And here is Chapter Three – still no progress on the banner front. I guess I could go to LJ help and read the directions, huh? LOL
Dragging one of the soft blankets with her, Buffy marched over to the cot and dropped onto it, wincing as something poked her in the back.
“Ow!” she muttered, feeling around for the source of her discomfort. Her hands could find nothing that might have caused the jab into her back and she slowly lowered herself onto the bed again until she was lying with her head on the hard pillow. The bed was just a camping cot- canvas stretched over a frame, without even the give to be found in a hammock – and Buffy glared through the now-dark room in the direction of the big, comfortable bed and its fluffy pillows.
She had no sooner squirmed into a semi-comfortable position when, once again something was poking her in the side. She shifted away from the area, again not finding anything when she searched with her hand, only to have the source of her discomfort follow her and poke her in the leg. She moved her legs to escape it; the object relocated itself under her hip. With a growl that would have done credit to a vampire, she turned completely over, only to find that something was now poking her in her other side.
Forty-five minutes later, Buffy was no closer to getting to sleep, in spite of the heaviness of her eyes and the tiredness of her body. No matter how she tossed and turned, or into what positions she contorted herself, she could not avoid lying on something small and sharp. Convinced that there must be gravel in the bed, she jumped up and turned it upside down, shaking it thoroughly before setting it down and cautiously lying on it again.
She breathed a sigh of relief when she felt nothing poking her anywhere and closed her eyes gratefully as she drifted off to sleep. No sooner had her breathing evened out and her mind begun to surrender to oblivion, then she felt the slightest nudge against her hip. Resolutely keeping her eyes closed, she tried to ignore it, only to sense it growing in size until it was jabbing her hard enough to make her yelp.
She lay on her back, feeling the hateful–and apparently sentient– object under her butt as she glared at the ceiling. She tried folding the blanket she’d taken from the other bed up and putting it between the cot and her body, only to become uncomfortably aware of the fact that the temperature in the room had dropped by at least twenty degrees as she began shivering again. She fought her body as long as she could; then with a frustrated sigh, she got up and carried her blanket over to the big bed.
Walking all the way round to the far side in order not to awaken Spike, she slowly eased her way into the comforting warmth of the soft bed; she squirmed around until she was satisfied that she was in a comfortable position, and yet far enough away from the vampire that he wouldn’t notice her. With a happy sigh, she allowed herself to fall into a deep, peaceful sleep.
On the other side of the bed, the wide-awake vampire grinned to himself as he felt her try to sneak back into the bed.
Silly Slayer. Thinkin’ she could sneak into bed with a vampire. Stupid bint could have been asleep an hour ago if she wasn’t so bloody stubborn.
He listened quietly as her breathing quickly evened out and her heart rate dropped to the slow, steady rhythm that told him she was deeply asleep. When he was satisfied that she was out for the night, he moved slowly towards the warmth coming off her body and curled himself up behind her. Once she was snuggled into his side, his arm loosely wrapped around her waist, he nuzzled her hair briefly and then allowed himself to join her in sleep.
Buffy woke up just enough to wonder why she felt so safe and comfortable; she noticed the strong arm holding her just tightly enough against what was clearly a naked man’s body, then went back to sleep with a contented sigh, resolutely pushing away the knowledge of exactly whose arm it was holding her so familiarly and deciding to blame her fairy godmother for her ready acceptance of his presence. The next time she awoke, dawn was seeping into the room; she suffered a moment’s panic as she remembered whose arm was holding her, and another unwelcome jolt as she watched the sun creep across the bed towards that arm. She calmed herself, remembering that, as long as they were here, Spike needn’t fear the sun’s rays; the momentary acceleration of her heart, however, was enough to disturb the vampire’s sleep, and he mumbled against the back of her head, “What’s the matter, luv?”
She bit back the snappish, “You’re touching me, that’s what’s the matter,” that would have been her response the day before, instead, saying softly, “Nothing. I just forgot for a minute that the sun couldn’t hurt you here. Go back to sleep.”
He smiled into her hair and squeezed her gently before doing as she asked and falling asleep again. Buffy lay there for quite a while before deciding that, since she was trapped in the house, there was no reason to get up yet. She rested one hand on top of Spike’s arm and, snuggling back against his body, went back to sleep.
She awoke again to find the sun was well up in the sky, bathing the room in a soft yellow light. Spike had rolled onto his back at some point, bringing her with him as he did so, and she was now resting against his side, her head on his shoulder, her arm across his chest, and her right leg draped over his thigh. It felt incredibly natural to be lying there with the vampire’s arms wrapped loosely around her and that she resolutely kept her eyes shut and tried to will herself back to sleep. When Spike softly whispered, “Morning, luv” she burrowed her head into his shoulder with a groan and tried to pretend she was too sleepy to know what she was doing.
“I know you’re awake, Slayer,” he growled. “Vampire here, remember? You can’t fool me by shutting your eyes and mumbling.”
Damn stupid vampire! Now I have to either move away or admit I don’t want to. And I don’t want to…do I? Oh my god, I don’t. I want to stay here and…”
Buffy’s panicked realization of her happiness at being curled up next to William the Bloody sent her heart rate up again, and the pace of her breathing increased as well as she fought the urge to bolt. With a resigned sigh, Spike removed the arms with which he had been holding her and waited for the inevitable push out of her personal space.
To his surprise and delight, instead of leaping away from him, she kept her eyes squeezed shut, murmuring, “I don’t want to be awake. I…I like it here.”
His arms went back around her immediately and he barely trusted his voice as he whispered, “Don’t have to pretend to be sleeping to stay here, luv. Could stay here forever if you wanted to. I’d never make you leave.”
Her quiet admission that she was happy in his arms, coupled with his own heartfelt response left them both with nothing else to say. Neither was willing to take the conversation any further, and both were afraid to say or do anything that might ruin the moment.
They might have remained like that for hours, afraid to move or say anything, had Buffy’s stomach not begun to complain audibly about its emptiness. And had Spike’s body not begun reacting favorably to having a warm slayer lying on him.
Laughing at her flush of embarrassment, he kissed the top of her head lightly and released her, turning slightly so that she would not notice the tent he was making of the covers. Buffy sat up quickly, more than aware of the sudden erection he was trying to hide and warmly grateful that he was willing to pretend it wasn’t there. It was one thing to admit that she wanted to cuddle with him, but to admit there might be anything more between them brought up unpleasant thoughts of Riley; she was certain he would be furioius if he knew that she was staying in the same house as Spike, much less in the same bed.
With a sudden burst of insight, she realized why there was always so much animosity between the two men, animosity that was not all about Spike’s being a vampire and Riley’s having been part of the organization that installed his chip. She mentally groaned at the implications of all this; however unwitting, there had been a huge change in her relationship with the vampire whose presence had become such a big part of her life.
Ever perceptive, he cocked his head at her before asking softly, “What’s wrong, pet?”
“Nothing. Everything. You. Me. Riley….” She looked at him sadly. “I don’t know what to do.”
“No sense worrying about it right now, Slayer We’re stuck here until her royal plumpness decides we can go home, so we might as well enjoy it while it lasts, yeah? I’m guessing if you check those kitchen cupboards again, you will find some breakfast food that wasn’t there last night.”
He deliberately waited until she was on her way to the kitchen before getting out of bed and getting dressed, carefully tucking his slowly softening hard-on into his jeans. This time, he fastened them all the way up and pulled a tee shirt over his head before joining her for breakfast.
Two bowls of cereal and a banana later, Buffy was leaning back in her chair with a contented smile while the vampire rinsed out their dishes and smiled back at her.
“Feel better, do you?” he said teasingly. “A hungry slayer is a careless slayer, I always say.”
“Oh, is that what you always say? I thought it was, ‘a careless slayer is a dead slayer.”
As soon as she saw his face darken, she was sorry she’d reminded him of their former history and she started to apologize, only to be cut off by his abrupt, “You know I don’t want you dead anymore.”
“I know,” she admitted, standing up and crossing to where he stood with his back to her, his hands tightly gripping the edge of the sink. She put her arms around his waist and rested her cheek against his back. “I’m sorry. I have Buffy-foot-in-mouth disease.”
They stood like that until she felt his body relax against her face; one she felt the tension leave him, she leaned back so that he could turn around to face her. He dropped his own arms around her shoulders, resting them there lightly as he looked into her apologetic face. “ ‘S alright, luv. It was fair. I just…I don’t want you to be afraid of me. And when you remind me that you should be…” He lifted one hand and brushed some hair off her face. His eyes searched hers for any sign of rejection before he took a deep breath and began, “Buffy, I lo-“
A hand on his lips stopped his declaration and he nodded, dropping his arms in resignation. “Right, pet. Not my place, I know that. But keepin’ me from sayin’ it isn’t going to make it any less true.”
Buffy dropped her arms also, stepping away from him and trying to find the words to wipe the crushed look from his face. She opened her mouth and shut it again twice before giving up, admitting to herself that she had no idea what to say. She couldn’t pretend that she didn’t know what he’d been about to tell her; if she was honest with herself, she would have to confess that it wasn’t a complete surprise. Although she hadn’t really known the depth of the feelings he was now expressing, she had known for a long time that he was grateful for his place in her life; she knew that he enjoyed their bantering and sparring as much as she did, and that he always had her back, even to the extent of watching over her annoying younger sister if he spotted her out alone after dark. She had taken advantage of that gratitude– and all of its side effects– without ever stopping to consider from where the feelings came.
Leaving the uncharacteristically quiet vampire in the kitchen, she walked around the tiny house, admiring the bright sunshine outside and wishing she could go out and enjoy it. No sooner had the thought crossed her mind than the window out of which she was staring turned into a set of French doors, the ground beyond them transformed into a small patio and yard. With a delighted, “Spike! We can go out now!” she threw open the doors and stepped out into the warm sunshine.
She quickly learned that her new freedom extended no further than the small picket fence surrounding the yard, and she resigned herself to the fact that they were still trapped. Spike had come to the doors when he had heard her calling him, and stood there staring dubiously at the bright sunlight in which Buffy was so happily standing. As soon as she noticed the large hammock on the patio, she swept past the vampire and into the house, saying, “I hope there’s a bathing suit in there that fits me. I might as well work on my tan while I’m stuck here.”
Spike gingerly extended his hand into the outside air, breaking into a smile when he still seemed immune to the sun’s rays and stepping the rest of the way out. Stripping off his tee shirt, he went directly to the hammock and settled himself in the middle of it, closing his eyes and soaking up the warmth he hadn’t felt in over a hundred years. Buffy’s voice when she emerged interrupted his intended nap.
“Spike! That’s where I was going to lie. You have to find somewhere else.”
“Plenty of room, luv,” he said without opening his eyes. He scooted over, leaving half of the large canvas hammock for her.
She rolled her eyes, grumbling under her breath, “Here we go again. It’s last night, act two.”
Carefully edging onto the gently swinging hammock, she settled down beside the vampire and closed her own eyes; she could feel him only inches away and wondered if he’d heard what she said. His quiet, “That didn’t turn out so badly, did it, Buffy?” told her that he had; she shook her head, causing the hammock to rock slightly.
“No,” she answered softly. “No, it didn’t turn out so bad.”
“Alright, then,” was his quiet reply as he allowed his hand to move toward hers. His fingers lightly brushed her hand and when she turned it so that her palm was facing his, he linked their fingers and sighed with contentment. She might not be willing to hear him say he loved her, but it looked like she was going to allow him to feel it and that, for the moment, was enough.
The warm sun and soft breeze had them both dozing off and on as the day wore on into afternoon. By the time Buffy was hungry again, she had gotten all the sun she wanted on the front of her body and was ready to get up anyway. She took a wary look at Spike, wondering if a vampire could get sunburned; it seemed, however, as though his protection from the sun extended to softening its effect on his skin, which had darkened to a pale golden color with no sign of burn.
“Where are you going?” he asked without opening his eyes. She surprised herself by leaning down to ruffle his untamed hair before straightening up.
“I’m hungry again. I’m going to go get something to eat and then I’m going to come back out and get some sun on my back.”
TBC and here, maybe, is the banner….
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/94312.html