Thank you to Slaymesoftly for beta'ing this chapter
Spike looked down at the sleeping girl in his arms. She was snuggled close to his side, her breathing deep and even--peaceful. He smiled to himself at the thought. A slayer sleeping serenely in the arms of a master vampire; something the Council of Watchers, even the new improved version, would shudder at the thought of. He was probably the only vampire ever to have loved a slayer. Now, as he watched the beautiful young girl so trustingly curled around him he wondered, was he falling in love with another?
The Slayer had been sleeping in his bed for several weeks now. They had fallen into an easy routine. He patrolled with her at night and she would come back to his place afterwards, where they would love each other for hours, slow and sweet, until they would fall asleep exhausted in each others arms. In the morning hours she would leave him, kissing him gently before making her way back into the sunlit world and home. Her days were spent studying or training; his alternating between contemplating the joys he found in his lover’s arms and the deep guilt and sense of betrayal he felt for finding joy there.
Her touch was so soothing, innocent and without guile. They never spoke of feelings of any sort. She seemed to know instinctively that to do so would cause her lover to close down, to shy away from the modicum of peace she offered.
Spike watched her as she slept, satisfyingly replete from their earlier exertions, her hand curling gently against his chest. His body ached for her warmth, for her gentle loving touch. It felt so good being touched again, to feel her hot little hands sliding over his body, to taste her kisses, so shy and yet so giving. He felt his body respond to his thoughts and he contemplated whether to wake Beth, or let her continue to sleep.
The decision was made for him as her gentle breathing, and the rhythmic beat of her heart lulled him to sleep. Her scent floated around him like a cloud, reassuring him in his slumber as he cuddled her pliant body closer to his, wrapping her warmth around him, blanketing himself in her presence as he drifted ever deeper.
The warm light surrounded her; her hair blew gently on the soft breeze, the sunrise playing colours through its long golden tresses. She smiled gently and reached out to cup his face; her hand was warm and tender as she stroked the sharp line of his cheekbone. All her love was evident in her touch, in her eyes as they shone brightly with unshed tears; not tears of sorrow, he knew that. Somehow, deep inside, he knew that the bright offerings glistening in her eyes were formed of untold depths of love and joy. His breath caught, as her touch burned deep into his being. He yearned for more. Yearned to take her in his arms and crush her to him, to hold her for eternity and whisper forever his meagre words of devotion.
Her voice stilled him, her smiles and laughter echoing in melodious tones, all her happiness and peace apparent to the ears of one who loved her beyond life, beyond reason. He knew her as he knew no other, she was his mate, his love, his existence, the time that had passed since he last looked upon her face, last heard her voice, could have been mere moments, his recollection of her every nuance as clear and sharp as ever.
He fought to focus, to concentrate on the words she spoke to him, his breath came in ragged gasps, his heart, he swore, was pounding in his chest, as his eyes flooded with the reality of her presence.
“Spike. Shh my love, it’s okay baby. Everything is okay.” Her smile lit him from the inside, filling him with radiance and awe. She stepped forward, closing the remaining distance between them and holding him fast against her. He was assaulted with her presence, her scent, her feel, the warmth of her body, the strength of her, the sensory memory of countless nights of pleasure spent in her arms. His legs gave way, as he dropped helplessly to his knees, her name a whispered prayer on his lips and silent tears fell unheeded down his cheeks. He burrowed his head into her, his face burying itself in the softness of her stomach as his grief poured itself out. Her fingers softly stroked and toyed with the dark golden curls at the nape of his neck as she murmured soothing words to her stricken mate.
After a while his desperate clutch on her lessened, his arms loosened and the steady flow of tears slowed. She gently pried his arms from around her and sank to her knees to press against his chest. Her face snuggled in to the strong chest of her lover, her arms holding him fast in their loving embrace as he buried his face in the silken flow of her golden mane, nuzzling gently. When he had calmed enough she raised her caring green eyes to his red rimmed blue, willing him to see the boundless love displayed there for him alone.
“Shh love, it’s alright Spike. Everything is alright. Hush now baby, I don’t have a lot of time, and there is so much I need to tell you.” Her voice was gentle, but firm as she tried to relay the urgency of her request.
“Buffy, love. You’re here? This isn’t a dream, pet?”
“Yes and no baby. I’m here, but you are dreaming. This was the only way I could come to you my love and I don’t have long. There is so much I need to accomplish tonight.”
She waited for him to take in the words she had spoken, before continuing, “Firstly my love, you need to know that it is alright to love. Just because you love another doesn’t mean you love me less. I will always love you; you know that, as I know that you will always love me. She will need your love and your strength. Be there for her Spike, completely, as you were for me. She is special, your Beth, she is the vessel by which the slayer line will be brought back to its strength. The strength that was lost when the line was divided. Do not be afraid to love, Spike, it is what you do best, it is who you are, it is the reason I love you so much.” Her eyes sought his, searching their deep blue depths before she leaned in slowly to gently press her lips to his. The kiss deepened, lips and tongues speaking a silent lament for the years of separation. All too soon they gently broke apart. “I have to go now baby; I will always love you, my darling, never forget that. Protect her Spike, and do not be afraid to love her.”
A lone tear traced its way down her cheek as she pulled gently from her mate’s arms, stepping back and fading, melting into the rainbow colours of the rising sun.
A beautiful young woman stepped out of the light towards her, her hair was long and fell about her shoulders in showering waves of sunlight. She smiled reassuringly and Beth knew this girl was kin. She wasn’t sure how exactly, but she knew, somehow, that they shared a bond.
The young woman stepped closer. Raising her hand she gently stroked Beth’s cheek before reaching out and taking Beth’s hand in her own. She smiled again and the nervousness Beth felt faded with the surety in the other girl’s eyes.
“I’m Buffy, I was a slayer. We need to talk,” the woman insisted. At Beth’s nod of agreement she walked them over to where a small old-fashioned timber bench appeared. Still holding the younger girls hand Buffy sat, urging Beth to do the same. “You are a slayer, but you do not have the strength a slayer should have. The line was…diluted, Spike can explain it all to you; I don’t have a lot of time. The slayer line was to continue through Faith, her power was divided out and it was never again available in the strength it should be. I am here to give you... gifts; I suppose you could call them. The first gift is my power, it is mine to give freely to who ever I choose, my power was never passed down, not really… again, that is something Spike can explain. So I am giving my power to you. Use it to fight evil, but never forget that evil does not always take the face you may think. And that which we assume is evil, may not necessarily be so.” Buffy smiled gently at the young slayer in front of her before continuing on.
“The second gift I am here to give you, isn’t really mine to give.” Tears welled in her eyes and Buffy fought hard, controlling them and preventing their fall. Her voice caught as she spoke softly to the young girl she was about to entrust her lover’s heart to. “Love him well; he is the purest heart you will ever meet. His love is a precious gift that, once given, will never be withdrawn. Spike only knows one way to love, and that is completely; so be sure you understand that, and are certain that is what you want. I’m begging you, please, do not hurt him; do not break his heart because I cannot bear to see him hurting. He has been alone too long and I believe that you could show him happiness; you could lift the pain in his heart and teach him to love again. To live again.”
Beth looked at her predecessor in awe. “You, you are the reason he hurts so much? He loved you didn’t he?”
Buffy smiled at the memory of her love, and their life together. “We loved each other. We had a wonderful and happy life together, but I’m mortal; Spike isn’t. He needs to be loved; I think I’m right in thinking that you are already falling in love with him?” At the other girl’s slight nod Buffy gave a small smile. “I think he is falling in love with you, too, but he has been worried that it was wrong, that it betrayed what we had together. I've tried to tell him that it is okay, that I want him to be happy; but he can be really stubborn sometimes. Stupid vampire. So I’m telling you, so you know… Spike loving you does not affect what he and I had together, nothing can. I want him to be happy, and I want you to be happy too.”
Taking the other girl’s hand and standing once more, Buffy led her to a soft patch of grass. They sank down to sit cross legged facing each other. “Now, time for business.” Buffy reached out and placed her fingers lightly on Beth’s temples. A warm glow began slowly where her fingertips rested, gradually expanding and growing stronger. They sat that way for some time, as the strength of Buffy’s slayer power flowed through her and into her sister slayer. Beth felt a force unlike anything she had ever known coursing through her, filling her and completing her. This was what a slayer was meant to be, this was what had been missing and for the first time since her calling she understood what it truly meant to be the Slayer.
Buffy removed her fingers from Beth’s face and smiled tenderly at the young girl. “I have to go now. I only had a short time I could be here and my time is gone now. Trust in your heart, trust in what you believe to be true, trust in Spike, and above all else, trust in yourself, for you alone are the Slayer.”
“Will I see you again?” Beth asked hopefully.
“I don’t think so, not for a long time anyway. But I’ll be with you. I’ll be with you both. In here,” she pointed to Beth’s heart, “and here.” She finished by reaching out to gently stroke the younger girl’s head, her smile sad, yet filled with hope and love. “Remember me, think of me and I will always be there. Tell Spike… tell him I’m happy. Tell him, we all are.” With that she leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on the young slayer’s forehead before slowly disappearing.
“Buffy!” Spike sat up, waking with a heart wrenching cry.
Beth awoke to the grief stricken, anguished call of her lover, to find him sitting up in bed, shaking uncontrollably. Moving to take him in her arms, she snuggled close to his back, gently stroking and soothing him, placing soft kisses against his skin. As his trembling lessened, she moved around his body so she could look into his tear rimmed eyes.
Reaching out a hand to gently stroke his face, she wiped away the tears that clung to the sharp angles of his cheekbones. For a creature so immensely strong and powerful, he looked so broken and vulnerable that her heart constricted in her chest, aching for him, for his pain and his grief; she wanted nothing more than to ease the hurt so clear upon his face.
Spike’s arms opened automatically, allowing the girl to slip onto his lap and wrap her arms around him, where she snuggled gently against his chest. As she looked up at him he saw the concern and compassion in her clear blue eyes and his heart twisted. It would be so easy to allow this lovely slip of a girl to love him, to allow himself to love her – and Buffy had told him it was alright to love again, hadn’t she?
Buffy! His arms ached for her, his lips longed for her; he had held her in his arms such a short while ago. It was only a dream, he knew that, but it had felt so real. It had been Buffy, he was sure of it! Her scent lingered, the taste of her kiss was still fresh on his lips.
His feelings were ripping him apart. How could he be longing so dearly for his love, his Buffy; and at the same time be aching to love the sweet girl in his arms? Dipping his head in anguish he buried his face in the crook of Beth’s neck, seeking comfort in her warmth, in the clean, sunshine scent of her. He felt her fingers gently wind through the curls on the back of his neck. So lost in his own thought he did not hear her properly, when she spoke quietly.
“What was that, pet?” he asked, breathing the words against her skin.
“I said, she is beautiful, your Buffy, she is so beautiful!”
Drawing back to look at her, he tilted his head slightly and raised his scarred eyebrow in enquiry. “That she is love, but how is it that you would know that, or even her name for that matter?” His voice was quiet, but with a cold, hard edge to it.
“I was talking to her, just now, she…she came to me in my dream, she gave me something, and told me some things. She is beautiful, and I can see why you love her. She loves you very much, you know that don’t you?” She spoke quietly, gently stroking him, wanting him to know that she was here for him, but not wanting to pressure him. The last thing she wanted was to chase him away, by trying to hold on too fast.
“She came to you, an’ you say she gave you something, pet? What type of something?”
“Slayer power. I don’t understand exactly, she said you would be able to explain it to me, something about the gift being shared or divided or something like that. Anyway she said her gift was hers to pass on to who she choose, and she gave it to me. It is incredible Spike, I’ve never felt so strong and so complete, like this is how I was meant to be… do you understand what I’m saying?” She looked up at him, hopeful blue eyes shining. “She also told me that it was okay to love you, that it was okay for us to love each other.”
His breath caught and he started to pull away. As he did, he saw her eyes brim with tears which she fought valiantly to contain. Without thinking, he stopped and gathered her into his arms, unwilling and unable to cause her further pain. His hands gently stroked her back, as she burrowed her face into his chest.
After a few moments Beth, pulled back to look up into his eyes, “Spike?” She quietly enquired.
“Ah, love, don’t. Don’t ask me for more than I can give. What we’ve got is good, init, pet?”
“What we’ve got? What have we got Spike?” she slipped out of his arms and pulled her jeans on, grabbing her shirt she looked sadly at the vampire still seated on the bed. When he touched her she couldn’t think straight. Her feelings for him had been growing at an alarming rate and even though she knew she could not expect the same in return, his distance still hurt. Continuing quietly she asked. “Well? We fuck… that’s it… right? That’s all this is to you? That’s all it will ever be?”
She pulled her shirt on over her head and cast around looking for her shoes.
“I’m sorry Spike. I just need to know if this will ever be anything more to you than just a roll in the hay. I’m not asking for your undying love, I just…”
“Buf… Beth, love, don’t, c’mon lets just calm down.” Spike winced inwardly and climbed out of bed. He pulled his jeans on and moved to take her in his arms. His arms closed on the empty air which only moments before had held the Slayer.
She threw him a look of pure slayer venom as she attempted to hide the hurt that had flashed through her. Her eyes shot daggers as she dared him to say anything more.
She scooped and picked up her shoes, ignoring the twinge inside that told her she did not want to hurt him, did not want to add to the depth of pain she saw everytime she looked into his beautiful blue eyes.
“You know what your problem is Spike? You’re dead… that’s what it is.”
“Well yeah, in case you didn’t get the memo… vampire!!!” Spike drawled at the tiny girl currently facing him down.
“Yeah… you’re a vampire… strangely enough I got that. That’s not what I mean, and don’t pretend to be so stupid that you don’t know what I do mean! Yes, Buffy is dead, and yes, you love her, I know that, I understand that… really I do. But, you didn’t die, Spike… so why did you stop living? Okay… look, I just can’t do this. You stay here and pine. You know where I live… look me up when you are interested in living your life, or unlife or whatever the hell you wanna call it, again.”
She turned away so as not to see the hurt and confusion so clearly written on his face.
As the blonde girl headed towards the door Spike realised that the last thing he wanted was to let her walk out that door. She was right, he had shut down, shut himself off completely from everyone and everything. He did not want to know the pain of losing a woman he loved, not again, but he also did not want to be alone anymore. He did not want to let this girl, no, woman, walk out of his life.
“Beth!” He’d watched in dismay as she ignored his call and continued to make her way toward the door and out into the early morning sunshine. With a burst of vampiric speed he had run after her, grabbed her around the waist and pulled her tightly into his embrace.
“Don’t go love, please, I’m sorry.” He kissed her hair, held her warm body close to him and hoped fervently that she could forgive him. He felt her immediately tense in his arms and prepared to let go, when just as suddenly, she relaxed against him. He snuggled her closer to him, all the while planting soft kisses against her hair, “Beth, I… it’s so hard to let go...”
“You don’t have to let go Spike, that is what I was trying to tell you. I would never expect you to stop loving Buffy. I just ask that you allow me to love you, and maybe one day you might love me in return.” She turned in his arms to look up into the worried blue eyes gazing down at her, “Loving me, or being loved won’t mean you don’t love her, Spike. You can never stop loving her, and she asked me to tell you that she is happy and that she will always love you.” She watched the tears brim in his eyes, before her mouth was captured by his hungry kiss.
She melted into his kiss, her lips parting as his tongue gently probed, requesting admission. He drew her body closer to him and clung to her; the thought that she had been about to walk out of that door, and quite possibly out of his life, twisted in his gut like a knife. He knew, beyond doubt, that he cared for this tiny slip of a girl, that she had made a home in his heart despite his best efforts to keep her out. Spike lifted her in his arms and carried her back to their bed, his mouth never leaving hers.
As he lay her gently down, he sought her eyes with his, ‘Beth, ‘m not saying I love you, won’t say that till I can mean it love, but I think I could love you, I think I very easily could love you, just, please, be patient with me. Can you do that?”
Beth reached out to cup his face gently, she lifted her head and pressed a tender kiss to his lips, “Of course I can. I’m not asking for any guarantees. I’m not saying we will fall in love with each other and live happily ever after, I just want you to allow for the possibility of it. Spike, I can’t and won’t compete with a ghost. I’m not Buffy, I will never be Buffy, and I would never want to take her place. I want to take my place. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“Yeah, pet, I do. I understand, an’ I’m sorry love, I never meant to….”
“Shh… it’s okay.” She silenced him with a kiss, her hands moving to stroke the strong bare torso before her. She ran her fingers lightly across his smooth silky skin, one hand snaking behind his back to run down along the firm line of muscle to skim below the waist of his jeans, her fingers curling slightly to allow her nails to gently scrape. She was rewarded by a sharp intake of breath and a rapid hardening swell to the front of his jeans.
Spike’s hand moved to the hem of her shirt, lifting it fractionally to slide below, his cool fingers finding the warm soft swell of her naked breast. Gently teasing circles over her needy flesh, he slowly inched his way toward her aching nipple. Her sudden cry, as his seeking fingers found their mark, fuelled his own rapidly growing desire. He pinched her nipple slightly between his thumb and forefinger while lowering his body to settle between her legs.
His mouth once again sought hers for a deep, urgent kiss, tongues duelling as they moaned their need into each others mouths. His fingers increased their pressure on her nipple causing her to arch desperately into his body, seeking as much contact as possible as she ground her hips to rub longingly against his straining errection.
Ripping open his fly, Beth pushed the soft, worn jeans as far down his slim hips as she could reach. He quickly shimmied them the rest of the way down, breaking contact with her for as little time as possible; at the same time his free hand worked her fly. He knelt, rapidly pulling her jeans down and off, leaving her clad only in her thin, white t shirt.
As he came to rest once more between her legs, he lowered his head to capture her mouth in another searing kiss, even as she hooked her leg behind his back, pulling him to her while lifting her hips to meet him. He paused only fractionally to settle himself at her entrance, her scorching wet heat calling to him, he thrust sharply, filling her and crying out in pleasure as she surrounded him, her own cries echoing his.
He marvelled at how urgent their need still was, when they had already spent most of the night loving each other, slowly and tenderly. This time however the need was urgent, the slow sensual loving they had engaged in so far would not suffice.
Sliding his arm under her back he gathered her closer to him as his hips began a pounding rhythm. He ran kisses from her mouth, along her jaw to her neck, licking and sucking sharply along the way. As he reached his mark he licked long slow strokes, savouring the taste and sensation of her blood as it pumped below the surface. Her cries increased in need and her strong slayer muscles tightened around his aching cock. With a moan of ecstasy he slipped his fangs into her throat, taking long pulls of the warm delectable blood as wave upon wave of pleasure flooded their bodies, leaving them exhausted and happily sated.
Rolling to his side, he pulled her close against his chest, sheltering her in his comforting embrace as they drifted off together into a much needed, peaceful slumber.