Title: The Ewer of Enheduanna [2/4]
Setting: An AU Season 6
Length: 4,200 this part (10,200 total)
Warnings: Extremely dubious-consent, since demons made them do it; enjoyment of said dub-con situation
Summary: A life-saving quest, a road-trip to another dimension, two friends pretending to be master and slave, and a tantric ritual that no one’s really sorry for. But what the hell does a long-dead Mesopotamium priestess have to do with anything?
Notes: Many thanks to bewilde for beta duty and all round excellent cheerleading when I was feeling too ick to tackle this. I sadly haven’t finished it like I said I would. I suck. But here is another chapter! Enjoy :)
Buffy didn’t look at him for the longest time. Comments flitted through his head – anything to break the silence – but some were too soft and some were too hard and others were just plain unfair if she couldn’t punch him in the nose for it.
“All right, Slayer?” he finally settled on. The fingers of his left hand were still nestled between her legs, bodies jammed together, his spendings slicking both their bellies, and he felt stupid being so tentative in such a situation, but his heart wouldn’t come down from his throat and he didn’t quite trust himself not to do or say something stupid.
Buffy took a deep, shuddering breath, hardened her mouth, and swung her eyes up to his in a way that was achingly familiar. This – all of this – was a challenge, and she was girding herself to overcome it.
“Fine,” she said a little tightly, and he read it as embarrassment. Better than disdain, he told himself. Better than that. Then, she raised an eyebrow in a surprisingly prim gesture and asked, “Are you?”
Bloody brilliant, he almost said, and would’ve meant it in every way possible, if he hadn’t then realized she was referring to something rather more prosaic. Was he all right to continue, she wanted to know – physically. Like that would ever be a problem around her.
“No fear,” he said, flashing her a small, sardonic, and to his shame, slightly shy smile. “Vampire, remember?”
“Vamp stamina will win the day, huh?” she said, and then they were both letting out a breath as though they’d been holding it, laughing quietly but a little hysterically against each other.
“Not my pleasure that’s going to open that vault,” he reminded her.
“No, but you still need to…” She bit her lip, and he watched in fascination as the flush from her exertion rose to a deeper hue. “I can’t believe I’m blushing after… that,” she muttered, rolling her eyes to the dark, invisible ceiling.
“Don’t stop on my account,” Spike said before he could think better of it, and equally brashly – because when else would he ever get the chance? – leaned in to lick her cheek, tasting her sweat and the hot tang of blood just beneath the surface. When he drew back, her eyes were closed and her expression was one of surprised pleasure. Experimentally, Spike twitched his fingers against her soft, slick folds and had to suck on his cheeks to keep from grinning at the keening noise she made. “Ready for round two, then, pet?” he asked, and didn’t bother to wait for her answer. Besides, he’d have to uncover her for this part, so the sooner she got into it, the better.
Eight days ago…
“What on Earth is thi-”
Giles’s voice was cut off abruptly by a bright blue light and a sizzling sound.
“Oh, that can’t be good,” Xander said as they all stood around afterwards, blinking away the glare and staring a little dumbly at Giles, who seemed to be encased in a cocoon of blue sparks. He was staring right at Buffy, expression frozen in a look of surprise, hair standing on end like he’d just put his finger in an electrical socket. Which, she guessed, he’d kind of done the mystical equivalent of. Watchers.
“Shouldn’t we try to do something?” Dawn asked, looking nervously around the group.
“Giles?” Xander said loudly, waving his hand in front of Giles’s immobile face. “Giiiiiiiiles!”
“I mean like a spell or something,” Dawn said.
Anya shrugged. “What, though? We don’t know what it is or what it might-”
“Spike, don’t!” Buffy cut in, but it was too late – with an annoyed huff Spike had stepped up to her watcher and given him a firm poke in the middle of the chest. Or at least, that’s what he would have done if whatever magic was encasing Giles hadn’t sent him flying back across the large room and into a velvet upholstered ottoman.
“Ow,” he said, rubbing at the back of his head, but that might’ve been more from the cuffing Buffy, going to her knees at his side, had just given him. Then again, he was also smoking lightly.
“You idiot,” she said, leaning over to examine the damage, just as the Giles-cocoon, wobbling precariously from the force of the blast, began a slow, inexorable topple back into the plush carpet.
“Definitely not good,” Xander said faintly.
It wasn’t until later, after they’d snuck him out of Glory’s old apartment and back to his own, that Buffy managed to get a good look at the artifact that had done this to him.
“It’s a ewer,” Tara said as she unwrapped her cardigan from around it, careful not to touch. “Like a, a jug, for ceremonial purposes.”
“Was it booby-trapped?” Anya asked. They were all sitting or standing around Giles’s coffee table in his small living area, peering at the innocuous-looking piece of pottery with the funny, stick-like inscriptions carved into its side.
“I don’t know,” Willow said. “But there’s a few things we can try, see if we can figure it out.”
“What about Giles?” Buffy asked, glancing to the upper level where they had left him in his bed, still sizzling gently.
Willow and Tara looked at each other in a way that made Buffy’s stomach sink.
“We’re not sure,” Tara said, “but it’s safer to examine the ewer than Mr. Giles, given what happened to Spike.”
All eyes turned to the vampire slouching in the corner, still looking faintly frazzled. “I said it was a bad idea to go poking around in there,” he said, looking somewhere between smug and annoyed. “Hell Goddess’s pad, of course there’s going to be all manner of dangerous knick-knacks lying about.”
“Spike!” Dawn slapped his arm, hard enough to deepen his frown. “Of course we had to. Someone could’ve gotten hurt.”
“Someone did get hurt,” Buffy said, conceding neither point but wanting to move the conversation back on track. “And now we’re going to fix it. Okay. Willow, Tara, you go to the magic shop and do whatever mojo you need to do to figure out what this vase thing did to him. Xander, Anya, you’re on research duty – get some books and bring them back here. I don’t think it’s a good idea to leave Giles unprotected like this. Spike and I will do a quick patrol and then swing back around to help out.”
Everyone nodded and started moving purposefully, gathering up their things. Behind her, Buffy heard Dawn whisper to Spike, “Did she forget about me? Think I can go help-”
“Not on your life, platelet,” Spike snorted, just as Buffy turned and said, “Come on, Dawn. We’ll take you home before patrol.”
She didn’t quite seem to realize what he was doing as he kissed his way down her throat and the deceptively delicate line of her collarbone to visit first one breast, then the other, just let out a series of soft, sweet little sounds as he licked and kissed her taut nipples, cupping and massaging both breasts so that neither would feel left out. God, she was something – those noises were doing more for him than even her nudity, freely given as they were.
It wasn’t until he left her chest behind and started to make his way down her smooth, golden stomach, taking a few moments of decadent depravity to lick his own come from her skin, that she seemed to realize his destination, and clamped her legs together like a Victorian maiden.
“Spike, no. Wait,” she said a little breathlessly, looking mortified, and he thought she was about to get self-conscious again about being on display while he was kneeling at her feet and heading firmly south of the border, or maybe her damned morals had somehow just caught up with her and she was calling it quits. “I haven’t shaved my legs in a week,” she told him, and it was such a relief he laughed right in her… well, in her delightful little patch of manicured fuzz. She made a strangled noise and her legs relaxed again, the chains at her ankles, which had considerably more give than those holding her arms, clinking almost musically.
“Look,” he said, tearing himself away, “when I was alive, you were lucky if people bathed once a week, and women had a full bush, and legs the way nature intended. Think I can handle a little bit of…” he stroked her thigh, “this.”
“Oh god,” Buffy moaned, not really out of pleasure, he could see, but it only made him smile again as she looked down at him like the affronted sun goddess of his benighted sky. “How come you’re still all smooth and freshly shorn, anyway, while I’m all prickly Buffy?”
“You really want a lesson on vamp physiology right now, kitten?” he asked, kissing the top of her thigh where his hand had just been, and making sure that she felt his breath on her sensitive parts. “That what’d tickle your… fancy?”
“You’re a pig, Spike. Get on with it,” she said, imperiously enough that his cock jumped, but he heard the unwilling amusement in her tone, as well.
“Your wish, princess,” he said, and pushed her legs further apart and thrust his tongue into her as deep as it would go.
Her sounds this time were far beyond sweet, but wild, and guttural. She jerked against him, groaning loudly and low in her throat, working herself against him the way she had earlier, except now it was his face she was riding and Spike thought if he dusted just then, he’d probably go a happy vamp. She tasted like heaven, like light and life and goodness and ferocity, and he loved her powerfully in that moment.
She barely needed any coaxing at all to brace one leg over his shoulder; she spread herself wide for him, and whined and panted and practically growled when he fastened his lips over her clit, thumb tickling her entrance and fingers strumming over the sensitive little pucker in back. Her leg tightened over his shoulder in an iron grip, holding him in place in a way no human would’ve been able to take, and he loved her for that, too, because it felt a little like acceptance. With no breath, no thought to his own body at all, he lost himself in the rhythm and the overwhelming beauty of it, teasing her and tasting her and memorizing every little thing that she liked, before, eventually, she tensed, and tensed again, and all but howled as she came, and came, and was still coming as Spike rose to his feet, lifted both her legs around his waist, and drove into her body, deep, and deep, and deeper still, almost sobbing against her throat for how right it felt, how good, how much like home.
Six days ago…
“It’s called the Ewer of Enheduanna,” Anya said, tapping the wood-cut image in the book.
Buffy was one hundred percent, thoroughly and completely surprised when it was Spike, not Willow, who looked up sharply and said, “The Mesopotamian priestess?”
“You’ve heard of her?” Tara asked, looking just as amazed.
Spike frowned. “Well, yeah. First named author in all of history, not exactly one you forget, is it?”
“I don’t know, blood breath, four syllables is quite a lot,” Xander said from across the table.
“Strictly speaking, it’s five,” Spike said, looking unbearably self-satisfied. “I know that’s pushing the limits of your capabilities there, pea brain, but if you use your thumb-”
“All right,” Buffy interceded, shooting a glare at a smirking Spike. “So what do we know about this En-hoodoo-whatsis?”
“En-hedu-anna,” Spike said helpfully. Buffy kicked him under the table. Spike kicked back. She really ought to invest in some steel-toed fighting boots, she thought, surreptitiously rubbing her shin.
“What Spike said,” Anya told her a little sheepishly. “She was a high priestess in Mesopotamia, daughter of a king, kind of a celebrity of her day.”
Buffy sighed. That wasn’t much. “Anything else?”
“She worshipped the goddess… um…” Willow was paging through a second book, even bigger and fustier than Anya’s. “Here. The Goddess Inanna, Mesopotamian goddess of love.”
“Oh,” Buffy said, looking around the table, derailed for a moment. “Wait, Anya, was she-?”
“Way before my time,” Anya said, sounding offended. “Way. I mean, we’re talking three millennia apart, here.”
“Right,” Buffy said.
“Do I really look that old?”
“Because I know I’ve been around the block in human years, but in demon terms-”
“You don’t look a day over eight hundred.”
“Well,” Dawn said. “Goddess of love… that doesn’t sound so bad, right?”
Spike chuckled darkly and flashed Buffy a look she didn’t see from him very often these days, before turning to Dawn. “You’ve obviously never been in love, bit. Besides, if I recall correctly, she was also the goddess of battle and chaos.”
“And how, exactly, are those things related?” Dawn asked, arms crossed over her chest defiantly and that particular tilt to her chin that made Buffy’s teeth begin to grind on instinct.
Spike just rolled his eyes, and Buffy couldn’t help but smile a little in response, failing to smother it in time before Dawn looked her way for an explanation, and then deflated into a sulky frown.
“What if…” Tara started, and then cut herself off, looking down.
“Go on, sweetie,” Willow urged.
“I just wondered,” Tara continued uncertainly. “What was an artifact of one goddess doing in the old lair of another?”
“You think they were in league?” Xander said, sitting up straight, and Buffy’s chest clenched in panic for a moment at the thought, but no, that didn’t sound quite right.
“Didn’t Travers say something about…” She got up, suddenly restless and needing to move. “Something about… other gods? From Glory’s dimension? They kicked her out when she got too big for her boots.”
“Right, right,” Willow said, flipping pages furiously again, this time in one of her notebooks. “Two gods plus Glory. They ruled as a triumvirate, but when she became too powerful, they banished her to this dimension and bound her to a human host.”
“What if-?” Buffy looked around the table again as she paced, eyes catching on Spike’s.
“Could be,” Spike conceded.
“What?” Willow asked, looking between them.
“This Inanna might be one of those two gods,” Spike finished for her.
“Oh god,” Dawn said quietly.
“I think you mean gods, plural,” Xander said, but no one laughed.
“Oh god, oh god,” Buffy was chanting. “Nnng. Oh god.”
Her legs felt like a molten band around his waist, burning, constrictive, possessive. He pounded into her urgently, beyond what he could take, beyond words, nothing but breath and a body that felt like it was made to drive hers right through the bloody pillar. His face was buried in the crook of her neck, mouth open and sucking hard on her thundering artery, and he knew somehow that if he bit her now the chip wouldn’t fire, yet at the same time, he didn’t want to.
“I love you,” he grunted into her skin. “I love you. I love you so much, Buffy.”
“Spike,” she whimpered. “God. Touch me.”
For all her power, she barely weighed a thing, and he braced her weight with one hand to bring the other round to her clit. He took a moment to look down, catch his breath, find his place, and was transfixed by the sight of them, their bodies together, his and hers, his cock glistening with her juices and her sex quivering and pink with racing blood and desperate for his touch.
“How’d you want it now?” he managed to ask, voice hoarse and catching, watching her face as her eyes screwed shut in ecstasy.
“Hard,” she panted. “Yeah, like that.” And so he rubbed her without finesse, hard like she wanted, and tried to get his rhythm back. Something had changed, though, and it took him a moment to realize she was watching him now, eyes bottomless in the changing light, and he felt himself caught like an insect on a pin – caught and splayed wide open for her. Suddenly, he wished he could know where her hands would be, if she could move them – if she would touch his hair, his face, with any kind of wonder – and then an uncontrollable sadness rolled through him.
“Hey,” she said softly, nothing more than that, but it was enough to make him realize that he’d stopped, with his head bowed to her sternum, because this would end soon, and it seemed impossible to survive it. Still, he started to move again, slow thrusts that made him almost delirious, pressing desperate, soft kisses to the flat of her chest beneath her throat and refusing to acknowledge the golf ball in his throat. “Spike,” she whispered then, voice strangely small amid the heaving of her breath. “Don’t go away.” The words confused him, because they felt like his own, but when he dragged his eyes up to meet hers, he realized something, or perhaps just the possibility of something, but either way it hadn’t occurred to him before – that she needed him with her, just as much as he had needed it earlier.
“Sorry,” he said, though it seemed nonsensical, because suddenly everything else was gone, just gone, and he was making love to Buffy as she stared into his eyes so intently it felt like she was scouring him. And maybe she was, he thought madly. Maybe, finally, his love for her would make him good, and everything that made him evil and unclean in her eyes would just… disappear.
There were no more words then, just movement and her intense, unbroken gaze. She was squeezing him inside her with a strong, rhythmic movement that gripped him like a glove whenever he was deepest, her little nub hard and swollen against his fingers, her hands clenched in her chains. Dust skittered down the pillar, knocked loose by the intensity of their exertions, and stuck to Buffy’s sweat-slicked skin; her chains groaned under the tension; he took in every tiny detail without ever looking away from her eyes.
Between them, something was growing, an energy that coiled and crackled and mimicked the energy building within them. Spike felt it on his skin like the first warning of approaching daylight, that dangerous prickle he’d always found alluring.
“Think it’s – ugh – working,” Buffy panted, but Spike couldn’t speak, driven by some strange instinct to slow their bodies even further so that it felt like a dream, hazy and moving in slow-motion. He felt Buffy tighten impossibly around him, her mouth falling open in a rictus of pleasure; felt his own climax begin to build, and build, and seem to go on forever until he could barely move and had stopped breathing altogether. They teetered together at an impossible height, wound so tightly it hurt in the best possible way, and then something snapped and Spike drove into her with a roar that came straight from the heart of him, and Buffy screamed her release, body flexed, and distantly there was the sound of something breaking, but just then all Spike could comprehend was that he was coming, and she was coming, and her hands were in his hair, and her mouth was on his. When the waves finally began to subside in deep, full-body shudders, he sank to his knees, Buffy in his lap, and kissed her until he could breathe again.
It took a full day to get from ‘Is that a temple on the horizon?’ to knocking on the big oak door, but it was the right place at least, so that was of the good. The demons, it turned out, were a sisterhood – rare enough to be passingly interesting, though Spike’s attempts at flirting his way to their prize had absolutely zero impact.
“What you seek is very precious,” the demon leader – Mother Superior? – told them. “Very important. It is locked away and can only be accessed by magic, rituals.”
She held a large, flat stone in her outstretched hand that sparkled in strange patterns as she spoke. For communication, Spike had explained. Buffy read it as a pointed display of powerful magic.
“So, do the rituals,” Buffy said flatly, unimpressed.
“It is not that easy,” Demon Superior said. “It requires a sacrifice of sanctity. The participants must be properly prepared, observances made. Unless…” She was eyeing Buffy weirdly now, almost intrusively. “You are human, yes?”
“Yes…” Buffy said, just as Spike said, “So what if she is?” They glanced at each other. Spike gave her a minute shake of the head, which Buffy took note of before plowing ahead anyway.
“The sacrifice must be human,” she said, her smile distinctly unpleasant. “How badly do you want access?”
“Now wait just a minute,” Spike said, just as Buffy said, “You know, I could probably just kick the door down with a big enough incentive.”
“The sacrifice is figurative!” the demon said, backtracking rapidly. “Merely a sacrifice of virtue, not of self. Our Lady is the goddess of love – it is only by the action of love that her vault may be opened.”
“Wait,” Buffy said, pinching the bridge of her nose. “I am getting some severe mixed messages here. I have to sacrifice my virtue by acting in love? How does that even make sense?”
“Er, don’t think that’s what she meant by ‘the action of love’, Slayer,” Spike said. Buffy turned her glare on him, but his expression was sorta helpless.
“You must come to fruition,” Demon Superior said, looking way too pleased with herself. “Three times, following a sequence. With a demon. Only the tantric energy produced in such a union can unlock Our Lady’s vault.”
“Just to be clear,” Buffy said faintly, “by ‘come to fruition’ you mean…”
“Reach the height of sexual pleasure.” She looked between them. “Orgasm,” she said bluntly. “You have to orgasm.”
There was a pause as everyone let that sink in.
“Our acolytes are well trained and of various species and genders,” she said helpfully. “I’m sure we could find something that would-”
“What about Spike?” Buffy said. The words just came out, and once said, she didn’t dare look at him. Didn’t dare take them back, either. “He’s a vampire. That demon enough for you?”
Another factoid to add to the list of Surprising Spike-Related Phenomena: can actually be silent when sufficiently shocked.
Demon Superior gave him an assessing once over before pursing her lips and nodding. “He’ll do,” she said.
It took them both more than a few moments to realize that Buffy had broken her chains. Spike was holding her so tightly his arms were trembling, cock still nestled deep in her warmth, half-hard and comfortable, and she was kissing him with a sort of lazy, post-coital possessiveness that made him hum down to his bones with happiness.
In retrospect, he’d have expected it to happen quickly, the pulling apart, but instead the separation was as slow as the return of his senses, a natural receding of urgency and desire.
“So,” Buffy said almost tentatively as she finally turned away from his mouth. “Is it just me or were there more demons here when we started?”
Spike shook his head to clear it before looking around the cavern. It was empty, and not only that, it looked hastily deserted – various items had been knocked over or left behind, and Spike couldn’t help but grin, sliding his left hand from her shoulder down her bare arm to the hand now resting easily on his shoulder, wrist still adorned with its manacle and a length of chain like a very clunky bracelet.
“Well, sweetheart,” he said, toying with the length of chain so that her arm moved like a puppet. “I think you might’ve scared them away.”
She gave him a wide-eyed look before yanking her arm away and rising a little clumsily back to standing. Spike sighed, but rose to his feet too, and slipped his robe off when he saw her hugging herself and wrapped it around her shoulders.
“Oh,” she said, surprised. “Thanks. Um… aren’t you…?”
It was gratifying, the way her eyes slid lingeringly down his naked body, as though trying covertly to take it all in.
“Don’t feel the cold,” he said, though he knew that wasn’t really what she’d been asking, but she didn’t rise to the challenge in his raised eyebrow, and instead started turning around as though trying to get her bearings.
“There’s a little side room around here somewhere,” she said, clinking softly. “They made me leave my clothes.”
Right, Spike was about to say, mine too, when a bass metallic rumble filled the chamber and they both turned to see the vault door swinging open. She glanced at him, but there was no need to actually ask the question – he nodded, and they left their clothes for later, entering instead the glittering vault.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/533316.html