Three’s The Charm Part IV
The tigers and cage were gone. Spike, unfortunately was not. So what if she’d slugged him? He’d gotten way too close and he knew it. She wasn’t one of his skanky vamp hos, and she wasn’t about to let him treat her like one, pushing up against her, holding her against that wall, flaring his nostrils as he inhaled her scent. What was going on? Between all the crazy games and Spike acting like… like he’d been acting. She really wanted to be home, patrolling with Riley, the way she’d planned on spending her evening. Predictable. Safe.
Safe sounded so good.
“Where did you get this memento?” He asked her. Buffy started. She hadn’t realized he was so near.
“What?” She whirled on him, ready to strike again.
“No, I just don’t like you.”
“Not all vampires,” he said. “Just me.”
“Huh?” Way to go Buffy. Keep him off balance with your utter lameness.
He touched his fingertip lightly to her neck, tracing the scars there, studying her skin intently. “I remember from before,” he said. His voice was soft and thoughtful, unworried that she might deck him again. Stupid. Brave, but stupid. “You had bites before, but this is new.”
She turned away, covering her neck with her hand. “It’s nothing.”
“That’s not from Captain Courageous.”
“It’s none of your business,” she hissed.
“But I thought you were in loooove,” he said. “But somehow you’ve let someone else, a vampire no less, put his lips on you. “Does Ralphie know?”
“Riley,” she said. “Of course he knows. He’s my…”
“Yeah, yeah. Your boyfriend. Your soul mate. The solid rock of your life. Nice and safe, isn’t he? Just what a girl like you needs.”
“I don’t need you.”
He gave her that wide-eyed look, with a flash of superiority and a whole lot of annoying. “I didn’t say you did, love.”
This was really uncomfortable, and all she wanted was to get away. Sadly, not really an option in this place. “We’ve got to get out of this,” she told him.
He reached for her hand, examining her bracelet again. “You’ve lost more charms.”
She had. More of the stars were missing. Now there were only two, and the bow and the hands. This thin had to have something to do with why they were here. Like a golden ticket. If she took it off, that might do the trick. It could be a spell, Dawn had been pretty vague about where she’d gotten this thing. Buffy turned it, looking for the clasp, but there was none.
“Was it Dracula?”
She was going to kill him. Everyone would thank her. “Would you drop it! My god, we have a real problem here.”
“I can’t believe you fell for his ridiculous line.”
“He does that thrall thing.”
“Only on the willing.” He walked away from her. Unbelievable, like he had some kind of moral step up on her.
“Hey!’ She followed and grabbed his arm. “You don’t get to judge me.”
It is time for the final challenge.
Final, like last. Best news she’d heard all day. She could tell from Spike’s relieved sigh that he felt exactly the same.
“What this time?” Spike yelled. “We really want to go home, not that this hasn’t been lovely, all around.”
Only one may leave.
Buffy groaned. She should have known.
Only one may leave.
Bloody hell. He hated these sodding games, and the higher beings who liked to play them. “So we’re champions are we? Your champions? One of you gets to win, but only if one of us loses?”
“Don’t you get it, Buffy? We’re nothing but bloody pawns here.”
“Spike, look. I can’t just stake you. Not like this. You’re not up to this.”
Rage surged through him. He was not weak, and certainly not helpless. He could fight, even her. Sure, he might get a couple of blinding headaches, but he would live through it. What was a bit of pain? He’d seen plenty of that in his time.
“Don’t coddle me.”
“They want us to fight each other. How can I do that, knowing you can’t be a hundred percent?”
“I’ll give you a hundred percent.”
“Don’t be stupid,” she yelled.
“And you don’t protect me.”
“Believe me, the last thing I want to do is protect you. You’ve tried to kill me. You’ve betrayed me and all of my friends. You’ve leeched off of us when you thought it would serve you.”
The girl had a way with the truth, when she chose to tell it. “Then this should be easy for you.”
Somehow, though, he knew that it wasn’t. “Do it, Buffy. Kill me. Just bloody kill me, or at least try. That’s one thing about you, girl. You always try.”
She almost seemed to blink back tears as she reached for her stake. But she was all business when she flew at him.
Stupid vampire. Lame, stupid, obnoxious vampire. She’d threatened to do this enough times, even today. So why was she balking when she had an open invitation to this? The world needed a Slayer. It needed her. Faith was alive, but locked up. BUffy couldn’t help but do her part in this crazy world that asked young girls to spend their lives facing monsters. Spike was a killer, just like all of them. Just like Angel.
But he wasn’t just like Angel. He wasn’t like anyone.
She firmed her grasp. She could do this. She brought up her stake, and plunged it down again, but he sidestepped her, and it was way too easy for him.
“Come on, Slayer, you can do better than that. Even that little girl had better moves.”
She spun, bringing her heel up and catching him on the side of his head. He fell, grasping her leg as he went down. Her back hit the hard marble floor with a thud, and he winced, holding his head for an instant before rolling to his knees and back to his feet. She rose, circling him slowly, gauging the best way to do this, and to make it quick.
But he wasn’t allowing quick. He wanted her to feel it and think about it. He was urging her on, making her aware of what she was. A killer, just like him.
“Spike, this doesn’t have to be so hard.”
“I can’t give in and let you, Slayer. It doesn’t work that way.” Now he was circling her, wary, watching. “Give me your best shot. If I’ve gotta go like this, you have to work for it.”
Spike was right. He did deserve more than the random dusting she doled out every night of her life. She dove in, this time with her heart in it. Her heels found their target, the middle of his chest. The wound that had started to heal there broke open, and thick blood oozed. Blood. Heart. It was right there, his heart. She brought the stake down hard, as fast as she could.
Somehow, he was faster. He jerked her wrist, freeing the stake and sending it out of reach. She gasped in surprise. The effort had hurt him, as the pain glazing his eyes attested. He grimaced and ground his teeth together, but didn’t let go of her wrists. She wanted to demand that he let her go, free her. The words wouldn’t come.
She relaxed and he rolled over, taking her with him. His lips hovered above hers for an infinite second. She lifted her face to seal their kiss. Her hands were free and she wound them around his neck. His lips played with hers, nibbling and pulling on them softly. She didn’t want soft. She pulled him down and deepened the kiss.
Now it was primal as they fought for dominance. Yes, this she could understand. This was also a power she could use, and she didn’t have to hold back with him.
She pushed what was left of his shirt off his shoulders and down his arms. His fingers were at her jeans, freeing the button and working the zipper down. She pulled her shirt off and fell back as he removed his own pants, feeling the coolness beneath her and nothing but Spike above her. His muscles were lean and strong and they somehow fit together perfectly. Her naked legs entwined with his. He kissed her again, owning her mouth. Nobody had ever kissed her like that, not even back when they’d been under that spell. This wasn’t giddy and fun, like that had been. This was life and death and heat and blood. And when they came together, they were one.
The challenge is complete.
Spike heard the voice, and cursed its timing. He wanted to bask in Buffy’s body and spend some time marveling at this gift he’d been given.
“What,” Buffy asked. Her eyes were soft, looking somehow more green than usual.
“It was our friends, love. They said it’s over.”
Her face hardened, and she scooted away from him, grabbing her clothes. “How can it be over?” she asked. “We’re still here. Both of us.”
“Yeah,” he grinned. “I got that.”
“Stop smiling. Get dressed.”
Bollocks, Miss Snippypants was back. He gathered his pants and pulled them back on. He didn’t bother with the shirt. What was the point? Buffy was already dressed again, and studying her bracelet.
“They’re gone,” she said. “The last two stars are gone. I only have these two left.”
He warily moved over to her, not sure how she’d take his nearness after what had just happened, but she seemed to be safely at home in her little box called denial. A she’d pointed out, the bow was still there, and the entwined hands.
“I wonder what happened to the fishy thing?” she said.
“I have it,” he told her. He checked his pocket and it was still there. “Here, see?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
He shrugged. “Dunno. Guess it didn’t seem important.” He didn’t really know what else to say. That was a novel feeling. “It’s a dolphin,” he pointed out.
Buffy reached out for it. He placed it into her hand, taking care not to touch her overly long. She was skittish.
“You were her champion,” she finally said.
“I guess so.” He toyed with the bow and arrow. “And I reckon you were hers.”
“Who do you think they are?”
He shrugged. “Hard to tell. Gods, demons, higher powers, ghosts.”
“And that last challenge?”
“She said only one could leave.”
Buffy blushed a bit at that. “I guess we were one.” She handed his charm back to him. “You earned this.”
“Thanks,” he said. “Buffy, if this is over, how do we get out of here?”
She held up the bracelet, and then grinned at him and took his hand. “Like this.”
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/146761.html