"Put the box down, Slayer," Spike said, admonishing her for even thinking to pick it up.
"What? I feel fine," she said, pulling away from the trunk to look at him.
"Yeah, that's right and I intend to do my part to keep it that way. It's not as if I need your Slayer strength to carry in a whole two boxes of stuff."
"Fine," she said, crossing her arms over her chest and extending her lower lip in her infamous pout.
He took one of the boxes out. "After you, pet," he said, waiting for her to walk to the house not trusting her not to pick up the second box after he went inside.
"Fine," she scowled.
He watched with rapt attention, head tilted as she spun around on a heel and strutted to the house. "Christ," he muttered under his breath. He had no doubt she was swaying her hips so seductively on purpose. He was not sure if it was his new soul making him take this celibate, one step at a time, fresh start route but it was moments like this that he wished he had kept his mouth shut in her bedroom earlier.
"What was that?"
"Nothing," he muttered with a scowl as he strode to the house. He paused once inside, waiting for her to tell him just where in the house he was supposed to put his things. She had mentioned the basement, but that had been if Dawn had a problem with his staying there. He was not going to be presumptuous that he was going to be sharing her room or occupying her old room.
"Come on," she said from the head of the stairs. He saw her foot tapping impatiently and ascended the stairs, following her command and her scent.
She was standing in her room, the room she used now and he paused in the doorway. "In here," he asked, hoping he had not just put his foot in his mouth.
"Yeah, where else would you stay?"
"Your old room down the hall."
"Well, if you want to. I still have most of my stuff in there, I haven't really gotten the heart to move my stuff into Mom's room even if I sleep in here."
"It doesn't seem right that I put you back in your old room, pet."
"I," she frowned. He hated when she did that, it meant he had said or done something wrong and it wrenched his gut something fierce. "I don't mind," she said finally and Spike sensed that was not at all what she had been about to say a moment ago.
"Talk to me, pet."
"Nothing. It just makes sense. I still get dressed in my room. So it's no big," she shrugged. "We can even put something over the window if you want to cover it up. Something more sun proof than curtains."
"No sense going to any trouble for me, pet. The curtains should be sufficient." He had to remember this was a temporary arrangement. She had said herself they would find him somewhere else to live. She was being nice, nothing more. Admitting she loved him was a big enough step, he could not expect her to want to jump in with both feet.
She laughed. "It's no trouble and it's sort of necessary."
"Whatever. I can take care of that tomorrow. No worries," he said, setting the box on the floor. "I'll go get the other box. Pathetic, isn't it?"
"That this is all I've collected over the past four months."
"I don't think so. It's not like you need a whole assortment of things. You're not mixing and matching guy."
"The scourge of Europe doesn't need more than black and, well, black."
"So I've been told."
"I'll be right back then. If you change your mind about the room arrangement, just let me know. Don't move the damned box on your own. Please," he added in an attempt to be somewhat polite.
He returned a few minutes later to find her sitting on the bed, Mr. Gordo clutched to her. He smiled slightly. She had changed into some cotton pajamas that still looked pretty sexy on her. "Good to know some things never change. Have you been sleeping with him?"
"When I can sleep."
"Has it been that bad?"
"Worse," she admitted. He had his own share of sleeping problems, but he was not going to admit that to her. With that admission would come explanation of the soul and he was not prepared to talk about it yet.
"I'm sorry, pet. You know you can sleep in here if you want to. With me. I've been sleeping during the day recently, so I could keep watch over you if it made you feel better."
"Thanks," she smiled shyly her hand stroking the stuffed pig's snout. "You don't mind?"
"Not at all. I always wanted to sleep with you I never hid that from you."
"Well, yeah, but that was with sex involved, but you don't want to have sex right now. Do you even have pajamas?"
"I actually own some boxer shorts; I could wear those I guess. You can trust me, Buffy."
"I don't trust our bodies," she said with a wry smile.
"Right," he said softly. In truth he was curious to find out what sex would be like with a soul. He had never experienced it as a human and was curious if having a soul would heighten his enjoyment. Maybe a soul had nothing to do with that, but he imagined it would. He was not ready to find out, though. Still too many voices and pictures in his head causing him to feel guilty. He did not deserve to be happy, not in that way. Hearing that Buffy loved him was bordering on even being too good for him right now. That she forgave him for that night months ago was over the top. "Well, if I stay awake we should be all right. I'll just sleep during the day while you're doing human things."
"I've got a job." He had opened one of the boxes, intending on putting the few things he had away, but was stopped short by that revelation. It better not be another greasy job flipping burgers, she deserved so much better than that.
"Yeah? Doing what?" She lowered her eyes and he saw that blush again. "Oh come on, it can't be that bad."
"For the school board."
"The school board. They hired me to handle problems on school campuses. All of them."
"Are you saying you're actually cashing in on being the Slayer?"
"Yeah. Giles said he didn't see why I couldn't since they apparently know."
"Well, that's good then. Been much action so far?"
"Some. Dawn hates it though because my office is at the high school."
"Oh I just bet. That'd be like having your mom right there."
"Well, they built the new school where the old one was. All Hell Mouthy. So they want me where they expect most of the trouble to be."
"I'd think your Watcher would come back then."
"I'm a Watcherless Slayer," she shrugged.
He knew that was a source of pain for her and proceeded with caution. He sat next to her on the bed and placed a hand over the pig's head, stroking its ear with his thumb. "You've got me to help you if I can. I'm sure the whelp will help where he can, too. We've got all of Giles' books, right?"
"Yeah, he copied them all to discs or something. Dawn's the computer guru not me."
"Well, there you have it. You have research girl in Dawn, so she won't come in harm's way. You've got me to help you with my knowledge and my muscle. And Harris, don't know where he can assist but I'm sure he can. I'm sure Anya would help too where she can with her demon world knowledge."
"Thank you." She laid her head against his shoulder and Spike breathed in deeply taking in her scent. His hand moved from the pig's head to her head and stroked her hair lightly.
"You're just rewriting the Slayer history books left and right aren't you." He kissed the top of her head, enjoying the feel of her snuggling against him. Yeah, he could get used to this, a kinder gentler Slayer.
"Oh, overcoming death, twice. Falling in love with a vampire, twice. Getting fed off by a vampire, twice, once to save his life. Getting paid to be the Slayer. Outing yourself as the Slayer."
"I guess I have done all of those things. But I think it's just the head of the school board who knows my identity. And Robin."
"Just be careful," he whispered. "Who's Robin?" There was a name he did not know. "A new member of the Scoobies?"
"No." She laughed lightly. "He's the new principal at the high school."
"And you call him Robin?" A low growl started in his chest and his demon visage showed itself.
"What?" She did not sound very frightened and it irritated him that he did not scare her. She should be scared since he could hurt her even with the chip after all.
"You see him outside of school?"
"Well, a few times with Mr. Cerny. Planning, negotiating and stuff."
"So why do you call him by his given name and the other by his surname?"
"Why do you call him Robin and the other one Mister?"
"Oh. Maybe because he realizes it's his ass I'm going to be saving not the head of the school board's."
"Have you gone out with him?"
"Spike. No. What is wrong with you?"
"Just curious. I want to meet him."
"You heard me. I want to meet him."
"I think you're overreacting. Are you jealous?"
"Well, yeah, but that's not why I want to meet him. I want to know who you spend your days with. I want to know who's got your back when I'm unavailable."
She turned onto her side, laying on the bed peering up at him as he hovered over her. "Why are you jealous? He's nobody, nothing. Spike, I've admitted you're right. I need what you give me."
"Well, yeah, but he still gets to spend time with you that I can't. When I can't. And he's going to see you in action at some point, all Slayer like, Slayer strength and he's going to fall for you."
"Don't be ridiculous."
"Who hasn't fallen for you who has seen you in action, Slayer?"
"I, well, none of Riley's friends."
"That's because they were jealous, pet. Once they got over their jealousy they would have been under your spell, too."
She reached with her hand to touch his face. "Who cares if he falls for me? I don't want him, Spike."
Her hand skimmed around his neck drawing him to her. Her back arched into him as she drew him closer still. He groaned when her lips met his. If she noticed his vampire features were in place she apparently did not care. She was tentative with her kiss, but as soon as his hand dropped to her hip the tentativeness left. He wanted to touch more of her, all of her, but if he started he would never stop. And he had to stop.
"Does that seem like I'm not sure," she asked, breaking the kiss. She ran the tip of her tongue over his fangs. "Whoops," she said with mock innocence when she drew blood. He groaned and she ran her tongue over his lips.
"Slayer," he hissed, trying to keep his demon in check.
She was offering he was not taking, but still it was wrong. She was a human, a Slayer, the woman he loved. She licked his lower lip again and he was lost. He brought her tongue into his mouth and sucked. He was aroused, she was aroused and their arousal increased as he tasted her. She moaned against him, arched herself into him further. He could feel the swell of her breast against his arm, her peak harden as it brushed against him. He drew away and with the aid of his heightened speed was off the bed in mere seconds. He gripped the vanity, holding onto it for dear life, looking into the mirror on the table seeing nothing but the wall behind him. His eyes he knew would be a deep amber due to his hunger and arousal, both of which had only been tapped and nowhere near satisfied.
"Nothing, pet. You just tasted so good, not just your blood either. I'd forgotten what it was like to kiss you."
"I don't think we've ever really kissed."
"Not like that."
She stood from the bed. "I'll go to my room. I don't want to make you do something you don't want to do, Spike."
"It's not that I don't want to, Slayer. I just need time to adjust to so many things. I wasn't expecting this. Your forgiveness came far too easily and I'm still trying to figure out how I got that."
"Because it was not entirely your fault. We talked about this already."
"I know, that doesn't mean I'm going to accept it so easily. I just need time. We need time. And I don't want to get used to being here with you, having sex with you when this is temporary." He heard her gasp causing him to turn to face her and saw the look of pure anger in her eyes and took a step back instinctively. "What's wrong?"
"What do you mean temporary? If you're going to leave again just go. I don't want to take things slow only to lose you."
"No, pet, I meant my living here with you and the li'l bit. I just don't want to get used to it, having you here with me in a bed every night only to lose it." He walked toward her and cupped her cheek, caressing it with his thumb. "I'm not going anywhere again."
"Oh well, I only meant we could find you some place else if Dawn doesn't like it. If she doesn't mind, which she doesn't seem to, you can stay here. I don't mind. I kind of like the idea honestly, knowing you're safe."
He scoffed. "Like you need to worry about that."
He lowered his head, his mouth closing over hers and kissed her lightly. "I like that you worry, pet, but it's probably best if we don't share living space."
"Why? How is that best? I finally admit that I love you not just to you but to myself, to my friends and now you're getting all pulling away like on me. What's the deal with that? Was it a game to you? Get the Slayer to fall in love with the big bad vampire and then screw with her head some?"
"No," he said forcefully. His other hand went to her other cheek and he forced her to look at him. "Damn it, Slayer, no. But you've got Social Services and stuff on your case about the li'l bit, I know that. You've got a job working for the bloody school board which is like a government entity. I doubt very highly they'd think too well of you shacking up with someone."
"Now that I have a respectable job and have been keeping current with my bills Social Services is off my case. I still have catch-up payments for the months I missed on the mortgage but I'm keeping current on those too. But it's up to you."
"The school board's paying you that much?"
"Well, no, Giles gave me some money to give me a bit of a cushion. I've got it in a bank account earning interest and I'm just paying the extra every month that I have to pay."
A stab of jealousy went through Spike at the idea of her Watcher helping her out when he could have been here helping her, should have been here helping her. Instead she had to go to another man for that help, a man who was not her father. "What about your old man?"
"His idea of helping me is to sell the house and Dawn and me living with him."
"Oh," he said cautiously not sure why that would be a bad thing. Other than the fact that he doubted her father would approve of someone like Spike hanging out with his daughters. But that was rather selfish of Spike so he felt keeping that opinion to himself was best.
"And I can't do that. Slayer duties here at the Hell Mouth."
"Right, sure. He's still in LA then?" He definitely did not like that idea now that he thought about it. LA would put her closer to Angelus.
"Have you seen him lately," he asked casually.
"I saw him a couple of times this summer, sure. But you know my dad, I haven't heard from him since August when he bought Dawnie her back to school wardrobe."
He watched with rapt attention as she licked her lips. "Let's go get you all tucked into bed then, Slayer. I'll make a deal with you. I'm going to stay awake, if you need me you come on downstairs. The couch should be pretty neutral for us since it's not a bed. As much as I might want you I don't want to make love to you for the first time on a couch in your living room."
She smirked but let him lead her to her room where he did in fact tuck her in, complete with a gentle kiss against her forehead. He placed Mr. Gordo next to her. "I'll be right downstairs if you need me. Do you have any blood I can heat up?"
"Yeah, freezer in the basement."
"Thanks, pet," he said, turning off her bedside lamp. "Sleep well. I'll see you in the morning."
"Yeah. Night," she said softly and Spike knew she was already pretty well gone.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com