"After you, love."
Buffy looked at Spike askance. "How long 'til the weird chivalry wears off?"
"After what you let me do tonight," he said as he followed her into the motel room, "I'm thinking never. So get used to it, pet."
"I'm gonna take a shower."
He touched her hips and sniffed her neck. "Want some company?"
"Somehow I don't think cleanliness would occur that way," she said with a wan smile. "I'll be out in a minute."
"Alright then. I'll see what's on the telly." He shed his coat and jumped on the bed, then found the remote.
"Ooh," he said. "Next Gen."
* * *
"Love, come out here! Scotty just went into the old Enterprise bridge! It's bloody brilliant!"
He muted the television.
Then he heard a sob.
He jumped up and opened the bathroom door. "Love?"
Buffy was sitting on the closed toilet seat, crying into her knees.
He approached cautiously and sighed. "That bad, 'ey?"
A giggle shot through her tears. "No. You were great," she said, still surprised at how very good the sex was.
"Then what is it?"
"Oh, nothing," she sniffed. "Just my entire life."
Spike knelt in front of Buffy and moved the wet hair from her eyes.
"My deranged doppelganger is on the loose, some cyborg Frankenstein is terrorizing Sunnydale, I lost any chance of having a normal relationship with a fairly normal guy, I'm sleeping with the enemy..."
"Sounds like your average day at the office. Anything else?"
"Angel hates me," she said, muffling a sob.
"Angel loves you," he corrected, as much as it annoyed him to speak that truth.
"He'll never look at me the same way again."
"Why should he? You've changed. And for the better, I might add."
"Why, because I'm with you now?"
He squinted at her. "You're with me now?"
"No! Yes. Well... whatever this is."
He shook his head. "You're growing up, love. Living and learning. They're called growing pains for a reason."
"Says the vampire who'll be thirty forever."
"Hey! Twenty-eight! I was twenty-eight! Do I look thirty?"
"Spike, please, you're gorgeous and you'll never get any older and I will... if I live long enough. That's not the point."
"I know, but--" He squinted at her again. "You think I'm gorgeous?"
"Spike, I can't fall in love with you!"
"Wh--" Spike sputtered. She was falling for him! ...As well she should! "Why not?"
"Because you're a demon."
"Stranger things have happened, Buffy! You're a slayer! It's a bleedin' occupational hazard! Ask your Council of Wankers, they'll tell you the same -- prob'ly have some disability plan for it."
"You see what I mean? You're insane. This is insane."
He took her hands in his. "So, let's be insane together."
"Spike, I can't."
He moved to kiss a tear on her cheek.
"I don't think we should--"
Spike whispered in her ear, "Don't think."
Their mouths fused in desperate passion.
He took her in his arms and carried her to the bedroom.
* * *
As Buffy watched Spike doze off, face mashed against the pillow, she reached out to smooth the tousled white-blond hair above his ear.
He caught her hand and said sleepily, "Demon lover."
Buffy smiled and shook her head. "You're such an ass."
"Mm," he said. "Ass." He turned her around to spoon against her naked back, murmured "Love you," and fell asleep, lulled by the ambrosial scent of her neck.
Suddenly, a low purr emanated from his throat and his body vibrated against hers.
Buffy chuckled softly. Learn something new about vampires every day. Petting the arm wrapped around her waist, she whispered, "Nice kitty."
She relaxed into him and let her heavy eyelids close.
I'm just not meant to have a normal life, it occurred to her. After years of struggling against her nature, Buffy finally decided to give in.
To her surprise, it felt good.
So good that a strange feeling she couldn't identify had made itself at home in her gut, warming her to the bone.
Buffy was happy.