DL 2.9

Aug. 13th, 2005 02:08 am
[identity profile] eee1313.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] dancing_lessons_archive
Episode Nine: Shell Shock

by AurelioZen
The Space Between by Dave Matthews Band | Lyrics

Gigantic, enormous props to cousinjean, adjrun, and georgevna for holding my hand through this, suggesting word changes and lines, responding to my incessant whiny e-mails, and in adjrun's case, permitting me to shamelessly steal dialogue from her. Many thanks to the regulars from the MBTV Redemptionista thread - you guys help keep me keep the continuity and everything else straight and it's a pleasure writing for such a fantastic audience. And last but not least, big love to Mr. AZ, who did every conceivable bit of housework this weekend, and never complained about the hours I spent on the computer, even though he doesn't watch "Buffy" and he has no idea what this is all about.


*
"I feel him here already. He'll cleanse us in our sins, and we'll be strong again," Drusilla said, twirling lightly around the rubble-strewn basement of the old church. "And then we shall play jacks with the Slayer's bones. Do you think he'll come for tea with me?"

"I'm sure he will, dear," Darla said, trying to find a less dusty spot on which to sit. She missed the old mansion already - velvet and silk and a room with a view were so much more appealing than this pit. Yet another grievance to chalk up to the Slayer. Still, if Drusilla's visions could be relied upon, and if those little morons managed to show up with the Books of Aurelius in the next decade, then the Master's return was imminent. She would be his favorite child again, and then the Slayer would pay for all of this. She'd watch her little friends die in very inventive ways … The first one to go would be the traitor. Vampires took a lot of killing and Darla felt sure that with a sufficient supply of holy water, she could make it last for days. From the moment Dru had changed him, that little poser had been nothing but trouble. He had always been rude and disrespectful, and she had never forgiven him for eating the gypsies while she was trying to negotiate the removal of Angelus' filthy soul. If not for his utter lack of restraint, she might still have her lover by her side. Oh, yes, killing Spike would be a pleasure!

"Can't you keep her quiet?" Dracula interrupted her reverie. "This constant dancing and singing - it makes it very difficult to concentrate." His accent was another thing that Darla found tedious and annoying. Was it too much to ask that he learn to speak English properly? After all, they were in America now. Angelus had adapted; it was time Dracula did too.

"Her visions are what brought us here," Darla said, her tone a little sharp. The memory of burning skin and scorched flesh was still all too fresh for her to dismiss Drusilla's ravings as she had once done. In any case, she was hardly Dru's nanny.

"Very well," Dracula replied. "Forgive me if I have offended you. It was not my intention." He had noted the edge in Darla's voice and it irked him. He was Vlad Tepes; a prince, a general of armies, and this girl would do well to remember that. In his day, such presumption would have earned her a swift plunge onto the rocks far below his castle walls to feed the crows with her mangled flesh and pulverized bones. But for now, he needed her as an ally. There would be time enough to dispose of her and the other one later. A pity that - Drusilla was very beautiful, and she had been an apt pupil, in more ways than one. He had enjoyed teaching her a few tricks, but in the long term, she was far too unstable.

In fact, he was beginning to have a few doubts about this whole enterprise. He was of the Order, yes, and his sire was the oldest of their line, but he had never willingly called another "Master," as Hunyadi and the Sultan could attest. Still, he mused, in the end, the bonds of blood and fealty were strong, and he looked forward to the time when he would stand at the Master's right hand, directing the war against this intriguing Slayer and her strange allies.

They would all die, but there were ways of making it more interesting. He had most definitely earned his nickname. The turncoat would suffer the longest. He would die very slowly, Dracula decided, and before he died, he would watch, as his lover became Dracula's. That incident at the casino at Deauville still rankled ninety years later. And there was, of course, the matter of his recent betrayal. That one had always been arrogant and soon he would pay for his reckless pride.

"The prince is bored with our little games." Drusilla had approached him quietly and was now staring into his eyes. "He wants his own toys. How shall we punish my naughty William then?"

Dracula clicked his tongue in annoyance and turned away from her. She unnerved him sometimes. He would have to be more careful around her.

"I wish Miss Edith were here," said Drusilla, to no one in particular.

***

"How badly is she hurt?" Buffy asked, as Spike placed an unconscious Dawn in her arms and walked around to the driver's side. "Should we take her to the hospital? Spike, how I am going to hide that from Social Services?" She ran her hands over Dawn's arms and legs, trying to check for broken bones.

"I think it's mostly shock," he answered. "And a couple of bruises. Nothing we can't take care of at home."

"Thank God," Buffy said. Her voice was ragged, and Spike hugged her tightly to him for a moment.

"I wish I'd ripped that bugger's head off when he first came to the house. I knew something was wrong with him."

They drove home in silence; each lost in the horrified knowledge that their worst nightmares had nearly come true that night. Occasionally, Spike reached his hand out to stroke Dawn's hair or the back of Buffy's neck, an absent-minded gesture to reassure himself that they were really still there. When they reached the house, he carried Dawn in and laid her on the couch in the living room. Buffy watched how he shrugged off his duster and gently pulled it over her, and then took up sentry-duty on the arm of the couch, and suddenly a strange little lump in her throat made it hard to swallow. She turned to go and fetch some bandages when Dawn let out a low moan. Buffy knelt down beside the couch in front of her.

"I had the weirdest dream," Dawn said, as she sat up slowly, blinking at the lights in the living room. She looked around for a minute, and then she registered the ashes and blood on her hands. She began to sob again. "It really happened, didn't it? I killed him. You told me I was putting him in danger. And now he's dead. This is my fault."

"Shh," Buffy said, drawing Dawn into her arms. "You didn't do anything wrong. He tried to hurt you. You were just defending yourself."

"Buffy," Dawn said, "I was so scared. But … I don't think … he didn't want to hurt me, not really. He wanted to make me like him. He wanted me to be with him. It was really creepy … but … I didn't want him to die."

"Pet, look at me," Spike said, cupping her face in his hand, his voice urgent. "You didn't kill Doug. You killed a demon with his face. A demon that wanted to turn you into something like it. Buffy's right. You did nothing wrong."

"Dawn," Buffy said. "You're still in shock. Let's clean you up, and then you can sleep, and we'll talk about all of this in the morning."

It was a measure of Dawn's exhaustion that she didn't protest any further. Buffy took her upstairs and helped her out of her clothes and gently sponged the blood off her wounds. She drew a sharp hissing breath as she saw the bruises and bite-marks. Dawn flushed red, and turned away to finish putting on her pajamas. "Don't turn off the light," she said. "Sit with me for a while."

Buffy held her hand and watched her intently until she fell asleep. Had she been too harsh with Dawn? Was that why they had nearly lost her? I wish I knew what to do. I wish this got easier, she thought. She kissed Dawn gently on the forehead and then went downstairs to look for Spike. He was pacing the back porch.

"I'm sorry," she said.

He looked at her, puzzled. "What about?"

"You were right. I've been treating Dawn like she's a prisoner. No wonder she ran off."

"No, love, you were right." He shook his head. "There are all kinds of things out there just waiting for a piece of Little Red Riding Hood. And one of them nearly got her tonight. When I think about what might have happened …"

"Shh," she said, reaching up to stroke his cheek. "It didn't happen. She's all right. There will always be danger for Dawn, just like there was for me and Willow and Xander. But I think I have to start trusting her a little more. She's not a little kid and she's smart."

"And apparently she can implode things up just by looking at them. Wish I could do that." Spike grinned appreciatively until Buffy slapped him lightly on the arm.

"Well, yeah, there's that too. We're going to have to figure out what she did. I don't want her blowing up the gym. One pyromaniac in the family's enough." She sighed and then the tears she had been holding back for so long overcame her. "I can't lose her, Spike. I can't."

He had no more words to soothe her, and so he could only hold her in his arms as she sobbed out her worry and relief. Afterwards, they sat silently and watched the stars for a while. When she fell asleep on his shoulder, he carried her inside.

***

Spike had just gone to sleep, and Buffy sat in the kitchen, looking at the want ads. She was trying to find a part-time job that would help provide a much-needed infusion of cash for the Summers' household. The problem was that anything in retail was incompatible with Slayer hours, and her qualifications were kind of esoteric anyway. The ability to beat up demons didn't seem to be very high on any employer's wish-list, although considering that this was Sunnydale, Buffy thought someone might require a demon-exterminator.

Dawn came down a short while later. Buffy saw that the bruises on her arms and neck were still livid, and was glad that she had decided that Dawn was not going to school that day. Her call to Dawn's principal hadn't exactly been a lie, she thought. Technically, Dawn wasn't sick, but finding out that she could open gateways between dimensions at will definitely called for a mental health day.

"Want me to make you some eggs?" she asked. "Or waffles? I can make waffles. Or pancakes." Dawn's blank eyes were making Buffy nervous, and she desperately wanted to busy herself at the stove.

"It's OK, Buffy. I'm not really that hungry." Dawn sat down at counter next to Buffy.

"You have to eat, Dawn."

"No. I have to talk to you. About what happened. I'm really sorry I took off like that, Buffy. I just …" Dawn twisted a lock of her hair.

"You just didn't think." Dawn started to protest, but Buffy raised a hand. "I understand. I used to sneak out a lot too - to kill stuff mostly, but not always ..." She smiled a little. "The thing is, it wouldn't take much for them to take you away right now. Explosions, houses melting - that would definitely be a bad."

"I'll try and be more careful next time I blow something up." She was clearly close to tears again.

"Dawn, that's not what I meant…" She took Dawn's hand. "It's just … we kind of have to be on our best behavior right now."

"My best behavior? Like when I killed Doug? I didn't mean to …"

Buffy put her arm around Dawn. "Remember what Spike told you last night? You didn't kill Doug. Doug was already dead. And the demon that killed him wanted to turn you into a vampire. That's a big checkmark in the evil column."

"And what would have happened if he had?" Dawn looked down at the counter. "Would you have killed me? Would you have thought it wasn't me anymore and just staked me?"

Buffy paused, and realized that she had never considered that eventuality. Could she ever kill something with Dawn's face? "I … don't know… I don't think I could ... I would have tried to help you."

"Well, now you know how I feel about Doug. You keep saying he was already dead, but part of him was Doug. He remembered stuff … about us and about his parents … and he wasn't just evil … I thought … maybe he could be different. Like Spike. But he didn't have enough time because I blew him up." She closed her eyes for a minute, remembering the violence and the fear of last night. "Buffy, what am I? Am I evil? I don't want this power."

"I don't know if you have much of a choice there, sweetheart." This time Buffy's smile was a little sad.

A new thought struck Dawn. "What if I blow up this house? Or hurt you? Or Spike?"

"I don't think you would ever do that."

"I wouldn't do it on purpose. But what if it just happened?"

"Dawn, I don't know how, but I promise, we'll figure out a way to control your power. And there is nothing about you that is evil."

***

Willow woke with a start when she heard the knock on her door. She had been sleeping for … how long? Hours and hours. This was the third night in a row she had slept without terror. The dreams hadn't come back since that night she had met Faith in the cemetery, and talked to her. For the first time, Faith hadn't said anything that made Willow hate her. She had been really … nice. Nice Faith -- how strange that sounded. Faith had said some things that made a lot of sense and then she had taken Willow to Giles's place, and Giles had made her tea and talked to her for a long time too. About Eyghon … and about Jenny's death. She had cried and cried until she felt like every drop of moisture in her body had been wrung out. But afterwards and ever since, she had been able to sleep again and she was reveling in it.

"Will, are you there?"

Xander! Xander was here. She threw on a robe and ran to the door. Xander looked impatient and a little worried.

"Hey, Will. Did I wake you up? I'm sorry. It's past noon … I thought you'd be awake by now."

"No, no." Willow said. "It's OK. Come in. Do you want some coffee?"

"Um, actually, no. I need to talk to you, actually. It's important."

Oh no, Willow thought. He's going to tell me that he can't be my friend any more. That he can't trust me. Because I killed Amy. I can't control this power.

"Go ahead," she said. Her hands were clammy and her knees were shaking a little bit. She sat down in the big armchair to hide that fact. "Are there two Xanders walking around Sunnydale? Some kind of slaying emergency?"

Xander took a deep breath and sat down on the edge of Willow's bed. "I don't really know how to tell you this, Will…"

Here it comes. I can't lose Xander. Please let this not be happening.

"It's weird," Xander went on. "I'm so nervous. More nervous than I was with Anya."

Willow frowned. What did Anya have to do with this?

"The thing is, Will … I asked Anya to marry me. And she said yes. We're getting married. The two of us. Anya and me. With rings and everything."

Willow started to laugh in relief. It was going to be all right. Xander was still her friend. Her soon-to-be-married friend.

Xander looked a little offended. "It's not a joke, Willow."

She was immediately contrite. "I know, Xander … it's just … well, never mind. And congratulations! And lots of happiness!" She moved over to the bed to sit next to Xander.

"You don't mind?"

"Mind? Why would I mind?"

"Well, you didn't seem to care much for Anya in the past. I thought you'd be offended. And … um… I didn't want to rub it in or anything."

"You mean you were afraid I would lock you in a room overnight? Don't worry, I'm not doing any more magic… And … about Anya? Well, she hasn't always been my favorite person in the world. But she makes you happy. And I want you to be happy. So I like her for that."

"I am so happy. And kind of terrified at the same time. Whoever thought I'd be getting married? To a real girl. And I have a real job too. When did I turn into a grownup?"

"You've been headed there for a long time, Xander. And no one deserves it more." Willow smiled. "What did Buffy say?"

"Actually, I haven't told her yet. I kind of wanted you to be the first to know… We're going to tell everyone else at the Magic Box later." He looked at his watch and remembered a series of errands Anya had assigned to him that morning. "I should get going. "

Willow walked him to the door where he paused. "Will, there is one more thing. I'd like you be my best man … woman … girl. You're my oldest friend and you stood by me through the darkest buttmonkey days…"

"Thank you, Xander," she said, tears springing into her eyes. "Of course I will." She hugged him tightly. "You know I love you."

"Yeah," Xander said, kissing the top of her head. "I love you too, Will. You'll be at the magic shop? Four o'clock?"

"With bells on," Willow said, with a smile.

***

Spike yawned and stretched lazily when Buffy came into the bedroom. He patted the bed next to him and smiled, but Buffy shook her head as she sat down on the chair. "Spike, I talked to Dawn this morning."

"Yeah? She all right?"

"Not so much. She's pretty broken up about Doug, and she's afraid of her power."

"That's understandable," Spike said, as he sat up. " I'm afraid of her power. She did quite a number on that house."

"I promised her we'd find a way to control it. But I don't know how."

"What about Will? She's pretty powerful herself; maybe she can figure out a way to help Dawn?"

"I don't know, Spike. I don't think Willow's in any shape to be helping anyone else right now. And I feel kind of guilty even asking her. I've been ignoring her for days."

"You've had other things on your mind, pet. Dawn, soldier boy sniffing around again. Will won't hold it against you that you didn't call for a couple of days. Besides, helping Dawn might be just what she needs right now. Make her feel less lonely."

"I guess so," Buffy said. She sat silently in the chair for a minute, apparently engrossed in playing with the loose thread at the hem of her shorts.

"What is it, love? What else is bothering you?"

"Nothing … well, just something Dawn said this morning."

"What?"

"She said that Doug wasn't evil. That maybe he could have changed. She thought she could have saved him. Like I saved you."

Spike stood up. "First off, bollocks. That little bugger wanted to vamp her, not be saved." He paced around the room, agitated. "And second, you know, Slayer, I love you, but that's a bit conceited."

"Conceited?" She raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah, conceited. You didn't save me. You didn't redeem me. You don't decide to 'save' someone and Hey! Presto, no more evil. Doesn't work that way. They have to want it. I loved you and I really wanted it, and I did all the bloody work."

"OK, OK. Don't get so cranky. And could you put some pants on? This is very distracting."

"What's the matter, Slayer? You really want it too?" Spike flicked his tongue at her and then bent over the chair for a kiss. She succumbed for a moment, and then pushed him away.

"Spike, I'm serious."

"So am I."

Buffy glared, and Spike sighed theatrically. He pulled on his jeans and sat down on the bed again.

"The thing is, Spike, you changed. What if other vampires can too? If they can change, be non-evil any more, then I'm nothing but a killer. I don't have any right to decide that they should be staked on sight."

His eyes narrowed. "Buffy, that's bloody nonsense and you know it. Look, say you win a million pounds in the Lotto. You don't wake up every morning after that counting on another million pounds. It's a one-time thing: you enjoy it; but you don't expect it ever again."

"Now who's conceited? I suppose you're my million dollar man."

"No, that's not what I'm trying to say." He shook his head impatiently. "Buffy, I was very evil for a long time. It took a hell of lot of strange twists to make me what I am now - those sods put a chip in my head and you took me in instead of staking me, and then I realized that you were the best thing I'd ever hoped to know. But it's not like every other vampire's going to end up like me, even if you put a chip in their heads."

"If you say so …" She got up to and started to walk out.

"No." He grabbed her hands, and drew her to him. His eyes were cold and hard. "You're not leaving until you understand. And you're not going out on patrol thinking that the vampires are misunderstood victims of circumstance. You doubt yourself for a second and you're going to end up dead. And then I'm going to take a noontime stroll."

Buffy stared back at him, horrified. "No. You can't. I won't die, I promise. It's just … I don't see why … the new ones. The ones like Doug. It's not their fault they were vamped. They were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why can't we try and stop them from killing? You don't need human blood to survive."

"It's not just about the blood, love. You're right, we can live on pig's blood if we have to. It's more than that. It's power - you decide who lives and who dies. It makes you a little bit like a god, and it's intoxicating. That's what being a vampire is all about and you're never going to rehabilitate that out of anyone …"

"But that's what I do too. I decide who lives and who dies. How am I any different from the vampires?"

"Because you're good," he said fiercely. "You protect the innocent, and my kind delights in their destruction."

She frowned again, still uncertain.

"What's it take to convince you, Buffy? Do you know how many people I've killed? And I enjoyed every minute of it up until those Army bastards stuck a piece of plastic in my brain. I killed little girls like Dawn, and I made their mothers watch before I killed them too." Buffy looked at him in shock. "Even with the sodding chip in my head, I would have watched all of you die with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart. Until I realized that you were the closest thing to heaven that I would ever have, and that I loved you more than I loved blood or life. But it took a long time, and it's a bloody miracle. Water and wine, loaves and fishes. Like that. Don't think for a minute that the miracle will ever happen again. Because if you do, you'll die."

"But …"

"No, let me finish. I swear, Buffy, that if you hesitate because you think some other vampire's going to change like I did… if you die because I love you … I'll go out and slaughter every man, woman and child in this whole sodding town. I'd rather you put Mr. Pointy through my heart right now than know that my love killed you."

"NO!"

"Then trust me. You're still the chosen one, and you know what your duty is, Buffy. I don't know why I changed, but that makes no difference to what you have to do. You go out there and you fight. As hard as you can. As sure as you can." His voice broke. She put her hands on his shoulders, and he started to sob. "Please. Please, baby. I can't let you die. I can't let you die because of me."

***

"I used to know someone like you," Drusilla said, peering at the latest addition to their little family. She patted him on the head. "He was rather nice. And he fizzed just like a Roman candle. It was ever so much fun."

Her last remark clearly made the tweedy classics professor Darla had turned a few nights ago even more nervous. He certainly didn't make a very impressive vampire, his sire reflected, but they needed someone to translate the spells for raising the Master. She had never been interested in learning dead languages, and Dracula had reluctantly admitted that what little Latin he once knew had long since been forgotten. Their predicament had clearly called for professional help.

"I'm sure it was, dear," Darla said. "Now let the nice man get to work." She placed the four thick volumes of Aurelius' writings in his arms. "These should keep you busy for a while. And make sure you get it right or Dru here is going to have some more fun."

"Y-yes, I will," the former Professor Stevens stammered.

"Now," she said, turning to Dracula, "what are we going to do about accommodations? We can't afford to be found until after we've raised the Master. And the Slayer knows this town."

"I have taken care of this," Dracula said. Of course he had thought of such an important detail. Who did this girl think she was dealing with? "I do not like to boast, but you must know that I am rather skilled in the art of illusion."

Darla looked skeptical. "I wish you'd create some illusions of comfort in here," she said. Familiarity with her current surroundings had in no way increased her liking for them. How had the Master endured sixty years stuck in this hole? "Or maybe conjure up a nice mansion for us."

"I have explained to you that this is impossible. Drusilla tells us that this place is filled with the Master's aura, and so it is here that we must plan his return." Drusilla looked up and smiled at the mention of her name, and Dracula gave her a courtly bow in return. "I regret that I cannot provide you ladies with more luxury. It takes too much of my power to keep our presence hidden from the mortals who seek us - I cannot waste it on unnecessary things."

"Gypsy tricks?" From certain angles, Darla's expression might have been a sneer.

"Perhaps." Dracula shrugged. "But they have served me well before. I think Drusilla would agree. Would you not, my dear?"

"Oh, yes! You're such a lovely teacher. And you know how to make a girl scream." Drusilla smiled at the thought. "Almost as well as my daddy did. But I'm too hungry for lessons now. Come walk under the stars with me?"

"Dru, it's three in the afternoon," Darla said. How #had# Drusilla managed to live so long?

"Then we shall explore underground," Dracula said, with another bow. He took Drusilla's preferred hand and they walked toward one of the passageways. Darla stared after them for a minute, her eyes narrowed, and then followed them out with an impatient twitch of her shoulders. Professor Stevens looked up from his books with a small smile. He was not surprised that they had forgotten to ask him whether #he# was hungry.

***

"Maybe they just left town," Xander said. "That was quite an ass-kicking we gave them." He looked hopefully at the others gathered around the table at the Magic Box.

"I wish I could believe that," said Giles, "but somehow I don't think they've given up the idea of raising the Master. And there have been a rather a lot of unexplained disappearances lately." He shook his head. "I'm afraid we can't count them out just yet. But it is strange that we haven't found a trace of them in the past few weeks."

"I'd lay odds it's Dracula." They looked at Spike, startled. It was the first thing he had said since he told them about Dawn's adventures and made Buffy's excuses for not coming to the meeting at the Magic Box. She hadn't wanted to leave Dawn alone that day. "He's got all kinds of magic tricks up his sleeve. Probably laid up some kind of obscuring spell or something."

"Well, that shouldn't be too hard then," Xander said. "We've got Willow on our side. Nothing Count Chocula can come up with is gonna stump her for long."

"No," Willow said, refusing to look at anyone. "I … can't … I'm not doing any more magic. I can't control this any more. I don't like what it does to me … what it makes me do …"

"Willow, we need …" Giles began, but Xander caught his eye and shook his head. He respected Willow's determined face. She had been through a lot and they needed to give her some time.

It was Faith who broke the uncomfortable silence. As usual, she had been pacing around the shop as they talked, but now she came over to stand next to her Watcher. "There is another way. Vamps gotta eat," Faith said. Across the table, Willow flashed her a look of gratitude and Faith smiled back a little shyly. "I say we look for the victims and try and trace 'em back. Stake out the Bronze. All the places those guys like to hang."

"That's an excellent idea, Faith," Giles said. "If Xander here agrees, perhaps you and Spike could go along to the Bronze later tonight and see if you can pick up any information there." Neither Spike nor Faith looked particularly enthusiastic about their assignment, but Giles was oblivious to their evident discomfort.

"Yeah, sure, Giles. Sounds like a plan. And I'll head over to Willy's," Xander volunteered. "See if I can bribe anything out of him."

As Xander pulled his chair out from the table, Anya nudged him in the ribs. "Ow… What was that for? .. . Oh, right … there's one other thing. Anya and I have an announcement to make." He stood behind Anya, and put his hands on her shoulders. His pose mimicked any number of family portraits on Christmas cards. Or at any rate, it would have if the Harris family had ever gone in for such things. "Why don't you tell them, sweetie?"

Willow smiled broadly, as Anya said, "Xander and I are getting married. You're all invited to the wedding." She beamed around the table. "Giles, I need you to walk me down the aisle. I know it's traditionally the father, but my real father's been dead for a millenium."

Giles seemed remarkably pleased to be asked -- at any rate that was the way everyone interpreted his sudden fumbling with his glasses. He went over to give Anya a congratulatory hug, and there was a brief discussion of a raise.

Faith watched them for a minute, and then moved to stand next to Willow. "I figured it out a while ago," she whispered. "You knew too, huh?"

"Yeah," Willow said. "He told me first. And I'm gonna be the best … friend."

"Hey, good for you," Faith replied.

"And, Faith, I never really … I mean … thank you. Thank you for what you said to me that night. It really helped."

"No big deal. It's cool." Faith's cheeks had turned a little pink. She greeted Xander with more than a little relief. "Hey, Watcher Man, congratulations!"

"Thank you. You're coming to the wedding, right?"

God, they were all trying to embarrass her today. "Sure… and umm… thanks." She had a sudden horrible thought. "I don't have to wear a dress, do I?"

"Of course you do, Faith." Xander smiled. "Anya's going to insist. But it can be leather if you want."

"Speaking of … I'm gonna hit that punching bag for a while." She looked for Spike, who was moving towards the door. "I guess I'll catch you at the Bronze."

"Yeah," Spike said, without meeting Faith's eyes. He picked his blanket off the floor.

"Need a ride back to Buffy's, Spike?" Xander asked. "I can drop you off on my way to talk to Willy."

"All right. Thanks, mate."

Xander joined Spike near the door and dropped his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. "And Spike, can you do me a big favor?" Xander said. "I kind of wanted to tell Buffy and Dawn myself. I'm gonna stop in after dinner tonight, so could you …"

Spike nodded. "Don't worry, Harris. I'll keep my trap shut." He clapped Xander on the shoulder. "Nice to see she's finally made an honest man out of you. Congratulations!"

"Thanks!" Xander said. "It's pretty cool …"

"Ain't love grand?" He looked musingly at Xander, and then grinned. "Better let me organize the bachelor party. I'm sure Rupes here has no idea how to find a stripper in Sunnydale. This is gonna be fun. Come on, then!" He turned on his heel, and strode to the door.

Xander's mouth opened, but no sounds came out. Suddenly he felt dizzy. A bachelor party organized by Spike? Somehow the Master's resurrection paled in comparison to the horror of that concept. Well, maybe he'd break something or come down with measles before then. With that comforting thought, he followed the smoldering blanket out of the shop.

***

Hard to believe it was dinnertime already. The day had flown by. She'd done vast piles of laundry, and taken Dawn shopping -- outside Sunnydale, of course. They didn't want to risk running into anyone from school. Buffy smiled as she chopped peppers for a salad. It was kind of nice being domestic. She definitely liked it.

She liked it even more when a strong arm went around her waist, and she felt a series of kisses on the back of her neck. When she could breathe again, she said, "You really shouldn't attack a girl who's holding a knife, Spike!"

"Mmm …" Spike said, pausing for a moment. "I like living dangerously. You should put your hair up, though. Easier access!" He nibbled the skin over her collarbone.

Buffy turned around in his encircling arms, and then there were long, slow kisses, with the promise of much more to come. He bent her back over the kitchen counter, and had just managed to work the strap of her tank top off her shoulder when they heard a loud cough.

Dawn cleared her throat and Spike and Buffy straightened up with lightning speed. "Xander's on the phone," she said. "He wants to come over later."

Buffy had turned very red and it took her a minute to answer. "Umm … yeah, tell him that's fine."

"OK," Dawn said. "But don't forget, we're watching videos tonight. Oh, and, no offense, but I'm not actually gonna eat any of that salad." She grinned.

"You're using up your sympathy bonus," Buffy called after her as she left. "I wonder what Xander wants," she said, turning back to Spike with a little frown.

Spike smiled as he picked the pieces of pepper out of her hair. It was fun having an innocuous secret from Buffy. Then he remembered his assignation with Faith later and his face fell. Should he tell Buffy? She wasn't going to like it, but the last time he'd kept a meeting with a brunette secret, there'd been hell to pay. Best get it out in the open, and make sure she understood that it was all Giles's idea.

"Spike," Buffy interrupted his thoughts. "About what we were talking about this morning …"

"Yeah," he said, instantly alert. "What about it? Seeing things my way now?"

"Well, not so much … See, the thing is, I was talking to Dawn, and she asked me whether I would have staked her if Doug had turned her." Buffy twisted her hands. "And I realized that I wouldn't … I couldn't stake Dawn. And if I can't stake Dawn because she's my sister, how can I go out and stake the other ones? The new ones, before they kill? They're still as innocent as Dawn would have been."

"Look, Buffy, I thought we'd settled this. Vamps bad. You stake 'em. End of discussion."

She shook her head. "I just don't know. I'm not sure it's right for me to kill them before they do anything wrong."

He ran his fingers through his hair. Why wouldn't she listen to him? Why was she so stubborn? He had used every argument he could think of that morning, and she still wasn't convinced. Maybe it was time to find an ally. And he knew just where to look. In the meantime, he could try for at least one concession on her part. He sighed. "At least promise me you won't patrol tonight?"

"No problem," she said. "You already heard. I'm the slave of the VCR. Anyway, it's Faith's turn."

"Yeah, love. About that. First of all, Giles thought of this, not me …"

Buffy looked at him expectantly.

"Well, it's like this. Giles thought that maybe Faith and I could hit the Bronze tonight. Pick up some information." Spike gave her a hopeful little smile. If only she'd take this the right way.

"I really don't like the words 'Faith' and 'pickup' and my boyfriend all in the same sentence," Buffy said. She definitely wasn't taking this the right way.

"Believe me, pet, it's work, not pleasure." He took her hand. "And you know you can't avoid Faith forever."

"I'm not worried about me avoiding her, Spike," she said. "It's just … she went after Angel and Riley because they were my boyfriends."

"Well, apart from demonstrating her appalling taste," Buffy made a face, but Spike went on, "none of that has anything to do with us, or with who Faith is now."

"Spike, she said she'd pop you like a champagne cork. While she was in my body."

"Actually, pet, she said she'd squeeze me till I popped like warm champagne." He'd relived that speech in his dreams so many times in the days before he'd had a shot with the real Buffy. He was furious when he finally learned who'd really said those things to him. Of course, by then he'd had the consolation of knowing that everything Faith had said was true. Well, except that Buffy never intentionally hurt him, and he never had to beg for more.

"Whatever!" Buffy said, her anger clearly unabated. Maybe he shouldn't have corrected her misquote. "Can you understand that I'm a little nervous about your spending time with Faith someplace where there's drinking? And dancing?"

He took her clenched hand. "Love, I promise that the only dancing I'll do tonight will be with you. And it won't be at the Bronze." He kissed the inside of her wrist. "All right? You trust me, don't you?"

She stayed stubbornly silent for a very long minute. "Yeah," Buffy said, finally. "I do trust you. I really do. I'm not so sure about Faith, but I guess she's changing too. Just … try not to take too long?"

"I'll be back as soon as I can. You won't even have time to miss me," Spike said.

***

Giles settled into his armchair with his after-dinner glass of Laphroiag. He'd barely swallowed the first sip, when a crescendo of knocks interrupted his nightly ritual. Why did no one in this town respect a man's need to be alone with a single-malt? Certain courtesies ought to be observed even on the Hellmouth. He considered pretending not to be home, but then again, it was probably something important. He opened the door, and Spike pushed past him in to the living room.

"Spike! Come in! Oh, that's right, you came in already, didn't you?" Giles's expression made it clear that a visit from Spike was not high on his list of favorite things. "Aren't you supposed to be at the Bronze?"

"I'm on my way, but I need to talk to you first. It's about Buffy. It's important."

Giles's momentary annoyance vanished, replaced instantly by worry. "Is something wrong? Is she hurt?"

"No, not yet. But she's going to be if you don't do something." He fumbled for a cigarette, and cursed softly as he realized he'd forgotten his lighter. Giles wordlessly handed him a matchbook. "She's got this mad idea that vampires aren't necessarily evil. She thinks they can be saved - changed. And that's going to get her killed." Spike made another agitated circuit of the living room.

"I'm not quite sure I follow you, Spike. And please sit down! You're making me dizzy." Giles resumed his own place in the armchair.

With a grimace, Spike collapsed onto the sofa. "It's like this, see. Dawn's little boyfriend, the one that got turned - well, Dawn thinks the little wanker just wanted to be loved. She thinks he could have changed, been like me." He leaned forward, spraying the ashes from the end of his cigarette onto the carpet. "And she's got Buffy thinking the same, so now she wants to be Buffy the Vampire Savior. You can't allow this."

"Well, I must admit that your evolution certainly raises some questions about what I was taught concerning vampires," Giles said.

Spike looked at him in disgust. "Not you too. You're the last person I thought'd be joining People for the Ethical Treatment of Vampires."

"Certainly not, Spike. I'd always believed that they were simply evil, monstrous beings. That nothing of their humanity remained. Angel was an obvious exception, but I understood that it was his soul that made him so different." Giles removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Your case, however … Your very existence, the fact that you are on our side now, these are all tremendous challenges to the Council's orthodoxy. If we had staked you without hesitation on the many occasions when you richly deserved it…" He gave Spike a wry smile. "Well, without you we might never have defeated Glory, or Dracula. Buffy may very well have a point. I'm not as sure as I once was …"

"Rupert, you have to be sure. You have to be dead certain. You owe it to Buffy as her Watcher." He paused a minute, uncertain how to continue. "She's like a soldier in a great war. She has to believe in her cause. You must know that."

"Yes, I do, Spike," Giles said, his voice grim too. "And I'll try to convince her." He put his glasses back on. "But you know that she can be very stubborn." Spike nodded. Anyone who'd known Buffy for five minutes knew that she was stubborn. "I take it you've already talked to her."

"Of course I did." Spike stubbed out his cigarette in the remains of Giles's dinner. "I told her I'd kill everyone in Sunnydale if that would help her understand."

"How thoughtful of you." Giles said. Then he nodded, and his expression softened. "You really do love her."

"Finally figured that out, have you?" Spike stood up. "You love her too. That's why I'm counting on you."

"I'll do my best," Giles said, accompanying him to the door.

He stood there for a minute, watching Spike hurtle down the steps of the apartment complex. Then he turned back to his cozy living room. He tried to pick up his whiskey, but he wasn't in the mood any more. He had too many things to think about. His Slayer doubted her mission while the vampire who loved her was urging her to kill his kind. There was still the troublesome question of the Master. And last but not least, his flat smelled of Spike's dreadful unfiltered cigarettes. With a sigh, Giles went to the bathroom to fetch some Lysol.

***

"So Xander, what's the big secret?" Dawn asked.

"Yeah, Xander, come on. Spill it. Dawn and I have movies to watch. You want to stay? We've got lots of popcorn." Buffy gestured to the three bowls on the coffee table.

Their expectant faces made him feel a little bit like a bug under a microscope, but he'd brought it on himself. "Well, Buffy, Dawnster, since you guys weren't at the magic shop this afternoon, you missed the big announcement."

Dawn and Buffy looked at each other. Now they knew where this was heading. "You and Anya are getting married," Buffy said.

"No, it's much more important… Wait a minute! How did you know? Did Spike tell you?"

"Duh, Xander! It doesn't take a genius. Big announcement, have to tell you in person. I figured it out right after you called, and if Buffy and Spike hadn't been so busy …"

"DAWN! Enough!" Buffy glared at her. "What do you mean did Spike tell me? He knew and he didn't say anything? Oh, he's in so much trouble!"

"Come on, Buff. Go easy on the guy -- I asked him to keep the secret. Aren't you going to congratulate me?"

They answered him with an enormous group hug. The rib-cracking one had to be from Buffy, but then again, Dawn could be pretty enthusiastic too. "Ladies," he finally gasped, "Engaged Man must breathe!"

"Sorry, Xander," Buffy said. "This is wonderful news! I'm so happy for you."

"Me too, Xander," Dawn said. "Can I be a bridesmaid?"

"You can count on it. Anya wants all of you to be bridesmaids. She's already watched the video of 'Great Weddings of the Twentieth Century' about fifty times." Xander smiled, remembering that Anya had already ordered a backup copy. "And I think I'm going to have to build another bookshelf for all the bridal magazines. I can see the future and it holds pouffy dresses for Buffy and Dawn."

Buffy watched him fondly. How wonderful to see Xander so content! He was like a big furnace of happiness -- it was hard not to feel the glow. She felt only a tiny pang of regret that she'd always be a bridesmaid, never the bride. A Slayer and a vampire -- poetic maybe, but she knew they'd never walk down the aisle of a church. Even the waiting room at city hall seemed unlikely. Still, she wouldn't trade what she and Spike had for the whitest wedding in the world.

"Earth to Buffy," Xander said.

"Hmm. What?"

"I said, I have to get going, but we're having a party on Saturday and you guys have to come."

"Yes, of course, Xander. Dawn and I will be there, barring any big slaying events." She gave him another hug. "Congratulations again!"

***

"You … um … want to dance?"

Faith looked him up and down from her perch on a stool near one of the exits. He was cute in a goofy, uncoordinated way. He reminded her a little bit of Xander when she'd first met him. Time was, she'd have crushed this guy like a bug, and she almost meant that literally. Now, she just said, "Sorry, I'm waiting for someone." He nodded and walked away, and Faith realized that there was more than one way to crush a bug.

As if on cue, she saw a familiar blond head moving towards her from the other side of the club. Damn, but B had good taste in men! Half the people in the Bronze turned to watch his passage. She watched him for a minute and then she shook her head. Time to snap out of it. The last thing she should be doing was checking out Buffy's boyfriend. Again. This was strictly business. But sitting here made it kind of hard to forget the last time she'd had a heart-to-heart with Spike. With any luck, he still had no idea who had really told him about those special Slayer muscles. She gulped her drink. Who was she kidding? Of course he knew. She was just going to have to hope that they found some vampires before things got too awkward.

"Sorry I'm late. You see anything interesting yet?" Spike asked.

"Well, three guys and a girl tried to pick me up, but none of 'em were vampires," Faith said. "So I guess the answer is no."

"Huh," Spike said. "Think I'll get myself a beer. What're you drinking? Need a refill?"

"Coke. And no."

"Back in a sec then." He was edging away when Faith put her hand on his forearm.

"You can't wait to get away from me, can you?" she said. "I don't bite, Spike."

"I've been told otherwise," Spike said, looking down at her hand on his coat like it was an especially gross insect. "And I didn't come here to make chitchat."

She pulled her hand back, and turned her head so he wouldn't see how much that hurt. Maybe she didn't deserve any better, but it sure wasn't a good start to the evening.

"Look," he said, his tone a shade warmer than it had been. "The only way I can stand this bloody racket is with a hefty amount of beer inside me."

"It's called hip-hop, Spike. Get with it," she said. She ventured a tiny smile.

"Yeah, well, I don't think any self-respecting vamp's gonna come within a mile of this place tonight. We have sensitive ears, you know."

"You don't want to bet on that, do you?" she said, nudging him. She motioned with her head towards the other end of the dance floor. Four burly guys were maneuvering a couple of young men out one of the side doors. To the casual observer, it looked like some frat boys had had a little too much to drink, but Faith and Spike knew exactly what was going on.

"Look," Spike said, "it's Larry, Moe and Curly. And Shemp. Why don't you follow them out? I'll slip around the back," he said.

"Sure. You got some stakes?"

"Always prepared," Spike said, with a grin. "That's my motto."

Faith moved swiftly across the dance floor. She felt the sweet rush of the hunt and all of her uncertainties were banished. It wasn't hard to track her quarry - they weren't bothering to be very quiet.

She found them in an alleyway just a block away from the Bronze. Good thing about most vamps - they weren't all that clever. It never seemed to occur to them that they should bring a car along to a kidnapping.

"How's it hanging, boys?" she called. "Want to pick on someone a little smaller?"

They dropped their meals with snarls and growls. The big one - Shemp, Faith decided - smiled, showing off his yellow fangs. "Well, what do you know? It's the Slayer. And she's alone. This evening just got better, boys."

"First of all," Faith said, knocking back Larry with a roundhouse kick, "get your facts straight. I'm not the Slayer - I'm a Slayer. There's two of us in town, you know." She whirled and staked a second vamp who had come up behind her. She smiled in satisfaction as he exploded into dust, but her pride in her work was short-lived. Larry and Curly grabbed her arms, and Shemp walked toward her, still grinning. "I don't see anyone else here," he said.

"Well, your breath probably counts for a whole other person," Faith said, struggling against the two vampires . "Where the hell are you, Spike?" she muttered under her breath.

"I'd say the lady was right," said a familiar baritone voice. Shemp started to whirl around in surprise, but the sword that cut through his neck too quickly for him to complete the movement. Spike grinned at Faith. "New toy we got in at the shop. Thought I'd take it out for a test drive."

"Whatever floats your boat," Faith said, stamping hard on Curly's instep. He howled and let her go to grab his foot, and she used her newfound freedom slam her knee into Larry's groin. It was a good thing vampires and humans shared the same vulnerabilities. He bent over double, and she staked him quickly, while Spike made short work of his companion.

She paused to catch her breath, before she gasped, "What took you so long?" She went over to look at the victims. Except for being unconscious, they didn't look all that bad. She and Spike must've interrupted the vampires before they started to feed. "And how the hell did you get that sword into the Bronze?"

"This coat's not just for decoration, you know. And I'm sorry about the wait, love. Didn't want to cramp your style. I know you're independent." He blew the coating of gritty dust off the sword. "Besides, this town is crawling with vamps tonight. Ran into three others on my way over here. This is a lot more efficient than a stake."

"Next time, try not cutting it so close, OK …"

"Shh," Spike said. He reached behind the dumpster and pulled out a tweed-clad man who was shaking with fear. "Well, well, well … what have we here?"

"He's dressed like Giles," Faith volunteered.

"Except Giles doesn't suck blood," Spike said. "Not that I know of, anyway … Faith, be a pet and pass me a stake. I don't fancy getting my sword dusty with this one. He's a bit of a wanker, isn't he?"

"P-p-please," the tweedy vampire stammered. "Please don't kill me. I was just hungry."

"You really thought these guys were gonna let you have some?" Faith started laughing. "You must be wicked new. Vamps aren't big into sharing with the runts."

"Well, I offered to pay them," the vampire said. "They seemed willing to let me purchase some food from them. And I am indeed newly risen."

Spike cocked his head. "You know," he said, "I could be at home with my sweetheart right now. This is not a substitute." In one swift movement, he twisted Tweedy Guy's arm behind his back and slammed him face first into a wall. "I'm wondering why we haven't staked you yet." His voice was a seductive growl.

"I- I - I can help you," said Tweedy Guy.

"I very much doubt that," Spike said.

"Can't hurt to hear what he has to say, Spike," Faith said. "We can always stake him later."

"Right, you've got ten seconds to convince us not to kill you." He eased the pressure on the vamps head ever so slightly.

"Dracula," the vampire said.

Spike whirled him around. "What did you say?"

"Dracula and two women. They have me doing some translating. I was a Latin professor, before … Walter J. Stevens? My translation of Procopius has won several awards and received a very favorable review in the Classics Quarterly. Perhaps you have heard of it."

"Can't say as I have," Spike said. "Now what's all this about working for Drac? Sounds like a crock to me. Since when did he get all interested in culture?"

"They gave me four volumes today - they want complete translations by the time of the next new moon."

Spike looked up at the sky. The moon was a huge yellow disc in the sky. "That only gives you what, a couple of weeks?" he said.

"Yes," said the late Professor Stevens. "I've explained that the Latin is very arcane and mixed in with other languages, but they are very unreasonable. They don't understand how long it takes to do a good job."

"Unreasonable, yeah - pretty much sums 'em up," Spike said. "Especially the dark-haired bint."

"So where are you guys holed up?" Faith said.

"Oh, it's quite dreadful," Professor Stevens said. "Underground. Very dank. It's so hard to work in such adverse circumstances."

"Underground where?" Spike said. He wasn't even pretending to be patient any more.

"Some kind of church, I think. There are some statues with halos," said the professor.

"You can't be more specific than that? How did you get here?"

"No, no, I'm sorry. I'm terribly claustrophobic. I just closed my eyes and followed the air currents. It was the only way I could stand it." The professor shuddered at the memory of his ordeal.

"So you've got nothing else," Spike said. His voice was growly again.

The professor shook his head silently.

"Sorry, old man," Spike said, before he shoved the stake into the professor's heart. It looked like the Professor had opened his mouth to protest just before he exploded.

"Spike," Faith yelled. "What the hell did you do that for? He was harmless."

"God help me," Spike said. "Not you too. Is it something in the water?"

Faith looked at him, completely puzzled.

"Look," he said. "First of all, no vampire is harmless. He was no match for you or me, but he told us he was hungry. I think he would have managed to get himself a meal tonight. Do you want that on your conscience?"

She shook her head and he went on, "Furthermore, he just told us he's translating something for Dracula that needs to be done before the new moon. I'd bet you even money it's to do with raising the Master. At the very least, we've thrown a crimp in their plans and bought some time." He paused to light a cigarette. It took a couple of tries with Giles's matches. Where the hell was his lighter? "And we've got a much better idea of where they're holed up. We did a damn good job tonight, Faith. Don't start going soft on me!"

"OK, Spike, chill! I'm on board with the staking," Faith said. "I just thought we could, you know, tie him up and take him back to Giles. Question him."

Spike shrugged. "He didn't know any more than he told us. No point in wasting good bondage on him."

"So I guess we should head back and tell Giles what we found out," she said. "Hey, can I have a cigarette?"

"No," he said. "I've got enough on my conscience without contributing to the delinquency of an underage Slayer."

"You have a conscience?" Faith said.

"Well, it's new," he said. "It still pinches a bit. C'mon - I'll drop you back at Giles's place."

They rode back in a surprisingly companionable silence. When they reached Giles's building, Spike said, "Do me a favor? Can you fill Giles in and I'll add in my report tomorrow? I promised Buffy I'd be back early."

"Sure," Faith said. She put her hand on the door handle, and then stopped. "Spike, thanks for saving my life tonight."

"Nothing to thank me for. Harris'd have my head on a platter if I let anything happen to his Slayer."

She smiled, and he grinned back. "There's another thing…" She looked down at the floor of his car, intent on memorizing the pattern of the mat. "I … uh… met you at the Bronze before. Only I didn't look like … me … and I said some stuff …"

"Faith, I've known about that for a long time." Spike rolled his eyes.

"I figured," she said. "But I had to tell you myself. No wonder you've been so pissed at me."

"It's all ancient history now," he said. "If you ever do anything like that again, though, I might end up killing my third Slayer."

"Well, you can always try," Faith said, with another smile.

She sat still for another minute, and then she sighed. "This is hard, isn't it?"

"Yeah, it's the hardest thing in the world," he said. "Sometimes you feel like no one gives a toss. But in the end, it's worth it."

"I hope so," she said. She got out of the car and came around to his side. "Night!"

"Good night, pet." He watched her climb up the stairs. "And good luck," he said softly.

Then he drove away to tend to some unfinished business with the other Slayer.

***

"Spike, come watch with us," Dawn said from the living room as he walked in the door.

"Come on, give us some room then." He dropped a kiss on the top of Dawn's head before squeezing onto the couch between the two of them.

"You're back early," Buffy said. "Not that I'm complaining …"

"I'm a man of my word," he said. "You lot save me any popcorn?"

"If you're very lucky, there might be a few kernels at the bottom of the bowl," Buffy said. "And get your boots off the coffee table."

"Ooh, bossy! I like it."

"Shhh!" Dawn said. "I'm trying to watch a movie here."

Spike leaned back against the couch, put an arm around each of his girls, and smiled. It didn't get much better than this. Too bad it couldn't last forever. That Katherine Hepburn bird reminded him a little of Buffy -- small, and bossy and beautiful. And she always got the better of the men.

As the pile of dinosaur bones collapsed around the hapless Cary Grant, Dawn let out an enormous yawn.

"I'm gonna head up to bed," she said.

Buffy stood up too. "Want me to come up with you?" she asked.

"Um, Buffy, I'm not like five years old. I can get ready for bed on my own."

"I'm sorry. I know you don't need help," Buffy said, immediately contrite.

"No big." Dawn kissed Buffy goodnight.

"Sleep well, little bit." Spike squeezed her hand tightly.

"Do you mind if I leave the light in my room on?" Dawn asked. "I know it's not environmental, but it helps me sleep …" A shadow crossed her face.

"Sure, sweetie. Whatever you need," Buffy said.

They both watched her go up the stairs, and then Buffy turned to Spike. "So, how'd it go? Find out anything?"

He patted the cushion next to him and she sat down. "I'm knackered, pet. I'll give you the full report tomorrow."

He did look tired. A muscle in his jaw twitched and his shoulders were slumped. She relented. The details could wait till tomorrow. "How about a just short version now?" There were only a couple of things she needed to know right away.

"Let's see," he said. "Lots of vamps - more than I've seen in weeks. Otherwise, well … We came, we saw, we slew. And we might know a bit more about Drac's plans for the Master."

"Not bad for a couple of hours work. What did Giles say?"

"Faith's filling him in. He'll probably want to hash it all out at a Scooby meeting tomorrow."

"Huh! So that's all?"

He noted Buffy's pursed lips. "Oh, there was one other thing…" he began.

"Yeah?" she said, a trifle too eagerly.

If you ignored the tiny smile tugging up one corner of his mouth, he looked as innocent as a cherub. "Faith was telling about me about these special Slayer muscles …"

She cuffed him on the chin, which was his excuse to tackle her into the sofa cushions. Her giggles subsided into a low moan, as he traced intricate patterns in the hollow of her throat with his tongue. She arched her back, and he picked his head up for a moment to smile down at her. This time, there would be no interruptions.

Profile

dancing_lessons_archive: (Default)
Dancing Lessons Archive

May 2017

S M T W T F S
 123 456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031   

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 03:15 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios