[identity profile] eee1313.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] dancing_lessons_archive
Episode Seven: A Hero's Welcome

by adjrun & fenwic
Heroes by David Bowie
(Riley)
Windmills of Your Mind by Dusty Springfield
(Dreaming)
Shout outs: To cj and g – Words cannot begin to express…, to the MMConners – especially jenelope, for letting us have our Con-within-a-Con; to the DL Crew and all the regulars – for your inspiration, input and infinite patience; to our families and fleshfriends – who got blown off for our obsession-within-an-obsession; to Aaron Sorkin, George Lucas, and everyone else fenwic ripped off. Without all of the above, there would be none of the below. God, we love you.
Editor's note: It's another two-parter! This one's a bit longer than our average episode. Hopefully this will make it easier on your printers. --cj
Rated R for sexy sex! Don't look, kids!


*
She doesn’t love me.
The day that he said it had been a good day. They were happy. Everybody was happy.
She doesn’t love me.
He had fought the notion for so long, but finally saying the words had freed him somehow. As if naming the enemy gave him something to fight. But how do you fight an enemy defined by what it isn’t? How do you fight the absence of love? Maybe naming the enemy just gave him something to surrender to.
So why go back? Why go back to a town that wasn’t home. To a girl that wasn’t his? Did he think he could fix things? Change them? If he could just change that look on her face. The look he carried with him into every battle. The look that no amount of jungle heroics could ever fix. When had he become the guy who gets looked at like that? He was the all-American boy and a soldier in the War Against Evil. Since when did the all-American girl look at him the way she did that night? Like the enemy.
To be that close to her, and not have her.
She wanted to love him. He had sensed that. In fact, she actually believed that she did. But he knew. He and one other. You’re not the long-haul guy. He had given her so many chances to say it. Maybe that’s why, with so many places to go, he would go back. One last chance to be free, and whole, instead of forever missing the part of himself that he ripped out and gave to her. The part that would always hope. Against hope.
“Agent Finn.”
After a moment, Finn’s eyes followed the voice.
“We’re here, Sir.”
Finn seemed distracted. The transport had landed and the others had already offloaded. The airman quietly waited for his last passenger to clear out. Finn picked up his duffel and headed for the exit.
“Building 42, Sir.”
Standing on the tarmac, Riley took a moment to feel the difference in the air. It was less humid than in the jungle, and a little less sweet. He glanced at the cluster of buildings to his right, then back at the crew preparing for the next flight out. The setting sun glowed orange behind them, leaving their faces dark, and their movements shadowy. Finally, he slung his gear over his shoulder and walked straight ahead. There was someplace he was supposed to be, but before he could go anywhere, before he could be anywhere, he had to go to Sunnydale.
***
In the weeks since Faith had been released, Buffy hadn't seen much of her. Which was of the good. Definitely. Rationally, Buffy understood the Council's decision: she had a pretty full plate these days. Dawn was still fragile from her friends' deaths at the Bronze. Buffy sighed. Honestly, Dawn was still fragile from their mom's death. And Glory. And Drusilla. And that stupid boy had never called, which in some ways was worse than all the other things put together. Dawn needed her, and she had no clue how to help her sister. She just seemed to make things worse. There was this whole Child Protective Services issue gnawing a hole in her gut. Their money from the life insurance was running low. Plus, even though her patrols had been oddly quiet, Buffy had this eerie feeling that trouble -- big trouble -- was headed their way. So really, Faith was needed. By all outward appearances, Faith's remorse was real and she was sincerely trying to reform. And Buffy had forgiven some pretty serious offenses before. But when Buffy saw Faith, all the rational stuff got kicked to the curb.
There was just too much history there -- too much that Faith had done to her, too much that Faith had pushed her to do. Buffy would never be easy around her. Would never trust her. Would never let herself like her again.
She imagined that Faith felt the same. Hell, you lacerate someone’s kidney, they’re bound to be a little testy with you after.
So Faith trained in the mornings, and then cleared out while Buffy trained in the afternoons. Buffy patrolled on even days of the week, and Faith took the odds. Whenever they did see each other, they kept interaction to a minimum. Buffy didn’t talk to Faith, and Faith didn’t even look at Buffy. Eventually Buffy knew that they would need to learn how to work together. But that was eventually. And eventually wasn’t here yet.
Buffy rolled her shoulders and moaned. She was in desperate need of a long hot shower. Spike had been sparring with her today. She grinned – they’d really kicked each other’s asses. They had gone at each other hard and fast, and the battle had raged for close to an hour. She shook her head, remembering the look in his eyes. He had seen that she was restless and unfocused. She needed the clarity of a full-on brawl. And he had given it to her. And now they were both seriously sore. Sweaty, and tired, and sore. She’d left Spike on the floor of the training room, giggling from exhaustion. And trying not to giggle, as she’d badly bruised his ribs.
She walked down the corridor from the training room to the shop, looking for Giles. He was on the phone, talking in a hushed voice. “I don’t want you to tell me what’s causing the delay. I want this done with no delay. I must vehemently stress the importance of this—“
Giles saw her.
“We’ll discuss this later. For the present, get cracking.” With a sharp motion, Giles hung up the phone.
“Wow,” Buffy said. “When you want your eye of newt, you want your eye of newt.”
An expression flashed across his face, but was gone before she could be sure what it was. “Uh. Yes. Suppliers. One must be firm, or the next thing you know you’re getting shorted on mugwort and substandard tannis root. And with all these incompetent ninnies coming in for Halloween, thinking they can cast love spells or glamors to look like Angelina Jolie for the day—“ He stopped, and took a breath. “I’m a little frazzled, I’m afraid.”
“Kinda caught that.” She smiled at him. “Despite the fabled British reserve.”
She could see him relax a little. “Are you and Spike finished sparring?”
“Yep. Blood mopped up and everything,” she replied. At his look of surprise, she added, “Kidding. Hand to hand today, so all the bleeding was internal. And his.”
“Liar.” Spike had come in behind her, and he kissed her on the back of the neck. Then he looked up at Giles. “Strength and speed today were excellent. Technique solid, kicks particularly explosive. She’s dropping that right shoulder when she gets tired, though.”
“Darn. You caught that.” Buffy pouted a little. “But Spike’s telegraphing his kicks off his right foot, which is way worse.”
“Just to you. No mere mortal -- or non-mortal -- would catch it.”
“Thank you.” Giles jotted the note in his Watcher’s Diary. Buffy wondered idly why it was out in the middle of the day, when he had been focusing on business. Probably just waiting for Spike’s update. No big. “Anything else?”
“Towel shortage.” Buffy wrinkled her nose. “And Spike is big time sweaty.”
“Whereas Buffy merely exudes a ladylike glow,” Spike said. “Buckets of ladylike glow.”
“Buffy, go shower. There should be extra towels under the sink.” Giles was shaking his head a little. Afterwards, I thought we could discuss varying patrols. Perhaps this dearth of vampiric activity can be attributed to predictability of schedule.”
“Sorry, Giles. Plans. Willow time. She’s still—“ Buffy didn’t know what to say. Upset? Heartbroken? Devastated? None of those words seemed strong enough for the aching loss and self-doubt that were plaguing her best friend. “And it’s my night to patrol. But I’ll shake it up a bit out there, see if that turns up anything.”
“Which makes me Dawn monitor,” Spike added. “Someone’s got a book report due.”
Giles chortled.
"What?" Spike asked, defensively.
Giles laughed again. Spike. William the Bloody. The Scourge of Europe. Babysitter.
***
Dawn sat on a chair at the dining room table. Spike sat on the table facing her, his legs folded in front of him. His hair was tousled from running his hands through it while he read, and little reading glasses were perched on his nose. He hated having to wear them, but Dawn privately thought they were adorable. From the looks she'd seen on Buffy's face, Buffy thought so too. Between them Dawn had spread a slew of notes and papers. Everything she had written so far on her book report.
"No, no, no," Spike protested. "You've got it all backwards. Yeh, the racism is important, but it's a coming-of-age novel."
"But Tom Robinson--"
"Is the vehicle by which Scout learns about racism and injustice in the world," Spike finished. "The novel's *about* Scout."
Dawn sighed. He was right, of course, but she hated losing an argument. She tossed down her pencil. "I can't believe you've read this. Weren't you supposed to be out being all evil creature of the night for a hundred years?"
"Don't sleep much. When it was day, had some time on my hands." Spike looked at her, a slow grin spreading on his face. "Besides, Dill? The freaky kid? Based on Truman Capote as a kid. Fella wrote one of my favorite books *ever*."
"What?"
"In Cold Blood. True story. 'Bout a couple a blokes who kill a whole family. You might like it." He lifted his eyebrows at her. "Or not. Could be a little *much* for you."
Dawn got that challenging look on her face. She'd show him much. "Spike?"
Spike was wary. "Yeh?"
"I've been meaning to ask you. When you died? Did you lose control of your bowels?"
"Wha? That's vile!" He bolted off the top of the table.
"Well, it's just that I've read that it's fairly common. When people die," she stated. "And you died, so I wanted to know if it's true. It would kinda take away from that whole sexy vampire turning thing, dontcha think?"
"Well, I don't know, do I? I was a little dead at the time." Spike backed away from her, a hint of panic in his eyes.
"What about food?" Now Dawn slowly stalked Spike through the house, and he faced her while constantly retreating. "Do you digest it? Or does it come out the other end exactly the same?"
Spike clapped his hands over his ears. "La la la la la. I am not listening to the disgusting spew comin' out of Dawn's mouth. La la la."
"If you drink orange juice, would you pee orange juice later?"
"Look!" Spike cried. "I never drink orange juice!"
"You can smell blood, right? Can you smell when a woman's on her period?"
"Shut it. You are shuttin' your piehole right now, or I'm tellin' Buffy."
The phone rang.
"I'll get it," Dawn chirped.
"No, I'll get it. You do your homework."
"I said I'll get it."
The phone rang again.
They looked at each other. Then, as one, they both made a mad dash for the phone. He was faster, but she was closer. Spike probably still would've won, but she got in front of him and blocked the phone. Dawn knew that he would never push her out of the way; instead, he had to slow down, and she reached the phone first. She put her hand on the receiver, and stuck out her tongue at him. He returned the gesture, and crossed back to the dining room table.
She picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Dawn?" The voice sounded familiar. Omigod, she knew who it was.
"It's Doug. I know -- I'm sorry, I know you haven't heard from me in, what? A month?"
"Yeah." Dawn fought to keep the hurt out of her voice. To sound disinterested, aloof. "Has it been a month?"
"Look, I know you're probably really mad at me--"
"I'm not mad. I'm just--" Her voice caught. She would *not* cry. "Hurt. I was worried about you."
"Please. Don't say anything. I gotta -- I *need* to -- explain. Dawn, I am so sorry. My parents -- after the Bronze thing? They totally freaked out. They pulled me out of school and sent me to my grandma's. They wouldn't even let me call you. They wouldn't let me talk to any of my friends. They were sure I was involved in gangs, or drugs, or something stupid like that."
"But you aren't! You'd never!"
"Yeah, they know that now," Doug said. "But then? They were just so scared for me. They were just trying to protect me. And Dawn? It was horrible. I almost died. I--"
There was a long moment of silence. Then Dawn said, "It's okay. You don't have to talk about it. I'm just *so* glad you're all right."
"Yeah." He laughed, but it was full of bitterness. "I have to go see a shrink and stuff, and I'm officially all traumatized. But I'm pretty much all right. Hey. You know what would make it even better?"
"What?"
"Wow, that was a really lame transition on my part. Here I go, trying to be suave, talking to you on the phone, and I am just King Dork."
Dawn giggled. "Doug, what?"
"You know the Halloween dance at school tomorrow night? Are you going?"
"I hadn't really thought about it." She twisted the phone cord in her hand.
"Good. Whew. I know, it's kind of last minute. But would you like to go to the dance with me?"
"Oh."
"You already have plans. I understand, I'm sorry, I just really wanted to see you again--"
"No, it's not that. If it's up to me, yes. Sure. I'd love to," Dawn reassured him. "But I have to ask."
"Aha. Protective parents. Gee, I wouldn't know anything about that." He was being sarcastic, but she could tell he was also happy. Relieved that she'd said yes.
"Well, in my case, insanely protective sister and boyfriend of sister. But the prison camp atmosphere is the same. Just a sec."
Dawn carefully put the phone on mute, and went into the dining room. Spike was standing there, pretending to read a passage from her book.
"Can I go?"
Spike looked up from the book. "Go where?"
Dawn crossed her arms. "Oh, please, like you weren't listening. Like you couldn't hear his side of the conversation, too. Can I go?"
Spike scowled and walked into the living room. "Ask your sister when she gets home."
"Spike. The dance is tomorrow. And Buffy could be patrolling for hours. I need to know now." She began to wheedle. "Please?"
"I'm not your parent." He pointed a finger at her. "This really should be Buffy's decision."
"Please, Spike? Please?"
Spike groaned. "I dunno! If I say yes, Buffy has the right to veto."
"Okay." Yes! She'd won.
"And I meet him before the dance."
"Okay."
"And I'll drive you to the bloody dance, thank you very much. And pick you up after. And I get to see what you're wearing before you go."
"Spike!" This was taking it a little too far.
"You're not trottin' off to wriggle in front of some hormone-amped adolescent in some sexy little frock what leaves bollocks to the imagination. Wi' your tummy stickin' out and your skirt slit up to your business." Spike started to pace. "I'm a male. Trust me. We're all pigs. Worse than pigs. Bloody hell! I'll squeeze his head 'til it pops like a bloody zit, and he's thinkin' that way about you!"
She put her hand on her hip. "Should I just make myself a chicken-wire ham costume?"
He stopped pacing and turned to face her. "Yeh, actually, I'd like that. It'd be a load off."
Dawn looked at him. She opened her eyes as wide as possible, knowing he was a total sap when she pulled the big sad eyes trick.
"Agh!" Spike screamed. "Fine. Go. Let Buffy kill me. I don't care. Just stop it with the eyes thing!"
"Thank you! Thank you, Spike." She kissed his cheek. "You're the best. Now go away, so I can talk to Doug alone."
Spike shot her a sullen look and stomped back to the dining room.
"I know you can hear me in there!" Dawn called. "Go outside. You can smoke on the porch, or something."
"You don't get to go if you don't finish that sodding book report!" Spike slammed the door behind himself. Then he yelled through the door, "And no cutting corners! I know what you're capable of!"
Bleedin' hell. Little thing bats her eyes, and he folds like a house of cards. Just for that, he wasn't going to smoke on the porch. Hell, no. He was going to smoke *a lot* on the porch.
Half an hour later Buffy found him there, sitting in a cloud of cigarette smoke. He was still wearing those cute little glasses, and was scowling off into the distance. Buffy sat down next to him and propped her chin on his shoulder. "What's up? Why all Mr. Gloomy Face?"
"Remember the time I tried to kill you on Halloween?"
"Vaguely." She wrapped an arm around his back.
"Your sister's returnin' the favor."
***
Faith dreamed.
She was filling up a huge bathtub standing in the middle of a field. She had to carry the water in her hands -- there was no bucket in the well. And since it was a dream, it was uphill both ways. There was barely any water in the bathtub. She had a long way to go before she was done. Before she could take a bath.
Wicked obvious symbolism.
Flames shot up from the tub, a good eight feet in the air. Scarlet, emerald, cornflower. The colors fire turned when you shoved wrapping paper in the fireplace to burn. She stood and watched the column of flames. They were beautiful, mesmerizing. But they distracted her from her job. Hell. She was going to have to stick her hands in the fire to get the water into the tub.
Faith gasped as her fingers began to sear in the flames. It wasn't that the fire instantly caused her pain. Fire never did. It was the recognition of the pain to come, of the agony she would feel when the task was done. When she could afford to feel the damage she was doing to her hands.
Faith doggedly continued, though her cracked and blistered hands wept fluid. She couldn't move her fingers, which was fine. She needed them as they were: cupped to hold water. Back and forth. Back and forth. Carrying pathetic little drops of water -- a cup, a half cup, per journey, most of it lost on the way. And the flames weren't dying down. If anything, she was just fighting a delaying action.
A figure began to appear in the flames. A vampire. Bald, dressed in a close fitting leather coat. Morpheus, only bleached and beaten with the ugly stick. The vamp's face was pale and wrinkled, like his head had been underwater for too long and his face had gotten all pruney. He also had clearly forgotten what a napkin was for: there was no new blood on the vampire's lips, but the area around his mouth was stained red.
The vampire spoke. His voice was thick, with a bit of a rasp. His voice, even more than his appearance, made Faith sure this guy was old.
"The moment approaches. Our first abortive attempt failed, but an alternate path has been opened. I will wreak my havoc on the world. The complacent human population of this miserable rock will scream in terror. Will bleed, and burn, and perish."
Yep. Definitely old. It had to take eons to learn to be that pompous.
"In the flames I am renewed. I am cleansed. I am reborn."
***
Anya dreamed.
In her dream there were two Xanders. Wait, someone was kissing her ankle. Ooh. Three Xanders. Even better.
***
Willow dreamed.
She was dancing. The mist held her, like a lover, like a vise. She swirled around the dance floor, the mist leading her in the swooping circles of a waltz. She felt giddy, euphoric. The only sound in the room, the sound to which she danced, was the rhythm and impact of her feet on the uneven floor. It didn't matter that the floor was uneven, that the texture and give of the surface changed beneath her feet. The mist guided her. In its embrace she moved surely, gracefully in the rhythm of the dance.
Her intricate steps created a music both eerie and beautiful, a percussive symphony of cracks and pops, of crunches and punches and wet soft sighs.
For a moment, the blissful fog thinned. Willow wondered idly how the floor could make such sounds. She glanced down. What she saw there didn't register, and she returned her attention to the mist. Then it hit her. She looked down again.
The sounds she heard were ribs, or noses, or fingers breaking under the pressures of her heels. Her heels, punching holes in bellies and lungs, ripping gouges in soft cold cheeks. The mist continued to drag her around the room, to dance on the corpses of her friends. Their eyes stared up at her. Her friends. Her lovers. Everyone she had ever cared for. Everyone she had ever known.
She had killed them all.
***
Dawn dreamed.
She pulled all of her clothes into a big pile on the floor. They mounded as high as her chest. Pants, skirts, dresses, tops, sweaters, jackets, shorts. Striped, solid, plaid, flowered, print, checked, logoed. Pink, black, blue, red, white, green, purple, gray.
It was official.
Nothing matched.
She had to go shopping.
***
Buffy dreamed.
In her dream, she was swimming. Treading water in the middle of a large rectangular swimming pool. In the house beyond, some kind of party or celebration was taking place. She knew she was supposed to be in there; she was dressed for a party. She could see people standing in groups and hear the hum of myriad conversations. Here though, out in the pool, she was alone. Alone, enjoying the night and the stars and the way the lights embedded in the bottom of the pool threw rippling blue reflections into the air.
She leaned her head back, enjoying the sensation of the water caressing her hair and moving between her fingers as she waved her arms through the water. The skirt of her dress swirled around her legs with each kick she used to keep herself afloat. She spun, watching the fabric waft in the water.
Riley was now in the pool with her. He just appeared there, in the water, as she turned to face the house again. Like her, he was clothed: a white button-down shirt and jeans. Buffy wasn't surprised. She accepted his presence with the equanimity one often feels when faced with the unexpected in a dream.
He was smiling, but there was a sadness in his eyes. The smile only made the sadness worse, more painful to see.
Riley was only a few feet away in the water. He reached out to her, holding her face in his hands and pulling her to him. His kiss tasted of loss. Buffy knew that there was something wrong about this kiss. Not illicit or sexual -- she didn't feel guilty. But she knew that one of them wasn't supposed to be there. One of them was elsewhere now. Still, she tried to comfort him with her kiss, to ease the ache she saw in his eyes.
"Riley," she whispered. She began to pull away from him. She needed to return to the party; she would be missed. But as she moved toward the edge of the pool, he caught her arm.
She turned back to him, a quizzical expression on her face. Saying nothing, his gaze locked on hers, he hugged her. Her upper arms were pinned to her sides underneath his arms.
"Riley?"
Then his legs were wrapped around hers. She couldn't move. She couldn't move, and they were sinking. Buffy caught a panicked breath in the instant before her head was dragged under the water. Then she started fighting. She wriggled and twisted in his embrace, but his hands were locked together behind her. She fought harder, wrenching herself around so that her hands could work on breaking his grip. Her body was yearning to exhale; the jolt of adrenaline in her system had sped up her rate of breathing, which was spectacularly unhelpful. Buffy hit at Riley's hands, but the water and her fear sapped the power of her blows. Riley's grip was unbroken. She grabbed his index finger and pulled it back. She could feel the snap as the bone fractured. *I'm sorry, Riley.* She winced and grabbed another finger. *I'm so, so sorry.* Snap. Finally, his grip failed, and she pushed free of his arms. A kick and another kick, and she reached the surface of the water.
She was breathing. She was sucking in great gulps of air, and it was wonderful.
Riley. She had to save him. She took another breath and ducked back beneath the surface of the water.
Riley was floating at the bottom of the pool, staring up at her. His expression never changed. He never stopped looking at her. And the look on his dead face just made her want to cry.
***
"Riley!"
With a start, Buffy woke up. She was gasping, and her body was tensed into a fetal position.
"Shh. Shh, love, it's all right." Spike was behind her, whispering reassurances in her ear. Running his hand lightly along her arm. The second Buffy became aware of him, she rolled over. She threw her arm around his ribs and hugged him, hard, burying her face in his chest. Spike continued to murmur softly as he rolled onto his back, pulling her on top of him. He held her, loosely, stroking her back and comforting her as she fought to control her shivering. After long minutes, she could feel herself relax into him. Her breathing slowed and lost its panicked hitch.
She let go of him, and folded her arms on top of his chest. Resting her chin on her arms, she looked down at him. "Thanks."
"All better?" Spike asked. He still had his arms around her, and she could see the concern in his eyes.
"Mostly. Still a little weirded out," she confessed.
"Want to talk about it?"
"I was drowning. I hate that," she said, shivering. "I hate it when I drown. I hate dreams where I drown. I'm pretty much taking a hardline anti-drowning stance."
"Understandable." Spike was stroking her hair, and his voice was low and soothing. "That breathing thing is pretty integral to the whole Buffy Summers package."
"Oh. Yikes." Buffy pulled away and looked at Spike.
"What?"
"You're not freaked or anything, are you? By the whole 'me waking up calling another guy's name' thing?"
Spike looked bemused. "Nah."
"That confident?"
"Wasn't a sex dream."
She raised an eyebrow. "And you know what that looks like?"
Now bemused had turned into full-on amused. "Yeh. Fun to watch. Very fun."
"Enlighten me, oh freak who watches me while I sleep."
He took the dare. He caught his lower lip between his teeth as he looked up at her, considering where to begin. "Well, first, for sex dreams, you're always on your back. You lift your chin a good three-four inches, and sort of work your head from side to side." He demonstrated, though he kept his eyes focused on her. Damn. This was kinda sexy. And he knew it, too.
"Next, if things continue, you start to push your heels into the mattress. Like a cat kneading a pillow, one foot after the other. You arch your back just a little, and your breathing speeds up."
He grinned at her. Her breathing had started to speed up.
"Now it starts to get really good." His grin widened, and he flipped her over so that he was now on top of her. "You start to let out these soft little moans. Nice and low, a little breathy."
He kissed the spot just below the ear. As he talked, he planted soft kisses on a path down her neck to the hollow of her throat. "And then, you call out my name."
She swallowed. He wasn't going to get to her. "Your name? Hubris, much?"
"Well, that's the only one I've heard." Now he was kissing her collarbone, her shoulder. "It's soft, with this little gasping sigh in the center of it. Mmm, makes me hard just thinking about it. Slightly hoarse, still breathy, like you're begging me to keep touching you..."
His mouth was on her breast. She moaned. "Spike..."
"Yeh." He smiled up at her. "That's the one."
***
God how he loved to look at her. And right now she was glorious – sitting astride him, naked and smiling. Sex with her had been a revelation. That she was all the things in bed that she was in life delighted him. Loving, sweet, playful. Relentless, demanding and bossy. He loved it all.
Spike was a smart man, and a poet. He had the power to imagine a thing he’d never experienced before, and he had imagined quite a bit. But nothing had prepared him for the feel of her. Where Dru seemed made of the finest porcelain – pale, cool, smooth and hard; Buffy was like a peach about to ripen. A banquet of subtle textures and scents. The slight give of the firm flesh hinting at the lusciousness just below the surface. Her physical warmth had startled him at first. Even now, it overwhelmed him, whether he was deep inside her or just holding her hand.
As the trust grew they found the confidence to ask for the things they wanted of each other. And they both felt safe enough to say yes. Or no. Or later. Or huh? He’d known love before. They both had. They’d also known ecstasy, intensity, and obsession. But this trust business was new. And something else. They trusted each other enough for… Silliness! Fun. Laughter. The ridiculousness that was – sometimes -- sex. They liked to laugh in bed. They laughed until they rolled off the bed. They laughed because they rolled off the bed.
She was laughing now. Well, her eyes were. The smile had become a smirk. He waited, but she waited better and he gave in, eyeing her warily. “What?”
“Make the face.”
“Excuse me?”
“You heard me.”
“Yeh. I did.” Comeback, he needed a comeback. “But I’m not gonna.” Way to bring the poetry, William.
And here was the pouting.
Spike used his commanding voice, “You’ll get the face the same way that I get the face. By earning it.”
“But Spike. When you make the face, my face is usually, um, busy. I wanna see your face.” Here she leaned forward until her breasts just grazed his chest. As he was still inside her, the sensations brought about by her movements were not unpleasing for them both. That’s what he called resourceful. “Please,” she said, emphasizing the vowels in that way that drove him mad.
Spike looked into her eyes. He opened his mouth as if in assent, then – “Nope. No face until you’ve earned it.” With that he laced his fingers and put his hands behind his head. Then he taught her a little something about the art of the smirk.
Buffy sat up quickly. Surprise caused his eyes to widen. A different sensation forced the sharp intake of breath.
“Fine,” she said.
She closed her eyes, let her head roll back, then slowly began to move. She was tentative at first, as her hips explored his body for a beat, then a rhythm. He moved with her, letting her lead. She danced her intimate dance on him as if his flesh were the source of all music. She varied the pattern and he found the unpredictability compelling. He put his hands on her waist to help guide her. Then he closed his eyes and let his head tilt back as he felt her, just felt her. She was a lovely dancer.
He barely noticed when her fingers closed over his wrists. But then she removed his hands from her waist and, leaning forward, slid them up and held them down by his head. His eyes flew open and his smile took on a different quality. This was new. Suddenly her thighs gripped him and her movements gained force. Her hands tightened their hold and he winced. That was gonna leave a mark. Her pace quickened, intensified. But her gaze never left his face and he determined to keep his eyes open as… as…
She stopped. What? Full stop! Screeching halt!
“H-e-e-e-y!”
He stared at her and she just looked at him, smirking that smirk. His smirk.
“I said Hey!”
“You were right. It’s much better when ya earn it!”
And here was the giggling. Someone who didn’t know her might find the full, rich laugh unexpected from such a petite thing. She was just a girl, after all.
Surprise, embarrassment, righteous indignation and about twenty other emotions crossed his face. Just as many courses of action crossed his mind. The one he finally employed would never have occurred to Angel or Dru.
He tickled her.
In her side, he knew just where. His diabolical fingers tortured her ribs until she thought she might die. Gasping for air, she grabbed his slightly bruised wrists and the two of them rolled once, then a second time and right off the bed. They landed with a thud, but of course both knew how to take a fall. They were laughing uncontrollably now. His deep, edgy laugh entwining with hers, and carrying in that inconsistent way that voices sometimes do. It didn’t wake the girl sleeping just down the hall.
But if someone were standing outside… say, next to the big sycamore, looking up at the lovers’ window, their laughter would float, weightless, to his ears. As he fought hard to bat it down. As he waged war shutting out the impossible, the unacceptable. As his fists clenched, his breathing turned shallow, and his jaw shook. He closed his eyes, breathed deeply and focused, as if that were the only thing keeping his head from exploding. When, and only when he’d gotten hold of himself, he opened his eyes and looked up once more. Now he merely wondered how he’d never noticed the slight, wavy distortion of her windowpane. It may be that you couldn’t tell from the inside.

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