"Vampires can't do that," Willow said with a frown. "Why do they always put that in movies?"
"Can't do what?" Spike asked, leisurely sprawled across Xander's couch, his bare feet threatening to invade Buffy's personal bubble.
"You know," Willow replied from her perch on the chaise lounge, pointing at the TV screen. "That whole hypno thing."
"Some of 'em can," Anya, Buffy and Spike affirmed in stereo.
"Really? Wow! ...Who knew?"
"And who really cares?" Xander interjected, his arms around Anya, who sat in front of him on the floor. "Not me! Hey, look, there's a movie on TV!"
"It's true," Anya said to Willow. "I dated this vampire once--"
This got Xander's full attention. "You dated a vampire?"
"Don't be threatened. It was at least four hundred years ago and he's probably dead now." Anya turned to address the group. "I was called to exact vengeance upon him, but he held me in his thrall and, one thing led to another..." She noticed Xander staring at her with his mouth open and added defensively, "I was enthralled!"
After a beat, Xander said, "Is there anyone here who hasn't dated a vampire? Besides me?"
Willow raised her hand and cleared her throat.
"Or been one?"
Willow's hand lowered slowly.
Spike pointed at the redhead. "You--?"
"Sort of. Last year. Long story."
Spike shook his head and said bitterly, "I miss all the fun 'round here."
Willow gave him a look, then turned her attention back to the screen. "I wonder how it works. Guess I'll have to wait 'til I meet a vamp who can do it."
Spike said with a shrug, "Met me, haven't you?"
Everyone stopped to look at Spike. Buffy rolled her eyes and went back to watching the movie.
"You can't do it," Willow said, uncertain. "Can you?"
"Of course he can't," Buffy asserted.
"Sure I can. Don't like to. It's like cheating."
"Or lying," Buffy said. "Which you're doing right now."
"I like a challenge," Spike ground out. "Why do you think I keep coming back here to you and your ass kicking brigade? Oi, popcorn." Anya idly passed the snack bowl along to the vampire.
"For the free popcorn?" Xander guessed.
Buffy scoffed. "Please, you so would have tried it on me if you could."
"Don't bet on it," he said, mouth full.
"A challenge. You're such a colossal liar! You've always gone the easy way!" She snatched the bowl away from him.
Spike had to admit she was right. "If you must know, I always thought it was too poncy. Next thing you know, I'd be wearing frills and all that rot." Then he added, more to himself, "Though, now I've got this chip, maybe I'll swallow my pride..."
"I don't think you'd look very good in frills," Anya said matter-of-factly.
A few giggles filled the silence.
"Anyway," Buffy said to Willow, "I've only met two vamps who could do the hypno-thing. One back in L.A. and the Master. And they weren't much for the hanging around and talking about it."
"Hello? From the Master's line, here."
Buffy was unswayed. "You expect me to believe that everyone in the Master's line can do it?"
"Believe it, sweet bit," Spike said, digging in to the popcorn bowl that rested between her thighs.
"Oh, whatever, Spike." A look of worry creased her features, then she firmly shook her head.
"Spike's from the Master's line?!" Xander exclaimed to deaf ears.
Spike didn't need hypno power to read Buffy's mind. "Don't worry, we still have to be taught," he said, feeling strangely compelled to allay her fears. "Your precious poof never learned it."
"His name is Angel." Buffy glared at her enemy.
"Though God knows he's poncy enough," he added for good measure.
Buffy pointed at Spike and looked around at the gang. "Why is he still here?"
"Angel's in the Master's line?!" Xander then lowered his voice to ask, "What's a line?"
"It means the Master was like his... vampire ancestor," Anya explained, looking to Spike for assurance.
Spike sent Anya a quick nod, then returned his focus to the girl he loved to hate.
"Now that's just creepy," Xander said, reclaiming the snack bowl from the bickering duo above him.
"W-well, how does it work?" Willow asked, excited. "I mean, is it anything like telekinesis?"
"No, 'smore like gettin' inside someone. Feeling out what they need. They think they're gettin' it, and -- bam!"
"That's evil!" Xander accused, until Spike looked at him with an expression of "duh".
"But, really, how do you do it? I mean, do you think really hard, or..."
"It's complicated. I can't really explain in words."
"He can't explain it 'cause he can't do it," Buffy said.
Spike gave her a hard glare, then turned to Willow. "How 'bout I show you?"
Buffy sat up. "Leave her alone."
"Why? You want it, do you?"
"Not exactly eager to get you inside me." She realized the double entendre too late. The room was silenced. "Hypnotically," she stressed, disgusted with everyone.
Buffy composed herself. "It won't work on me anyway."
"Oh, it won't will it? How can you be so sure?"
"Duh. I killed the Master."
"Yeah, but not before he killed you."
Buffy had no comeback.
Willow chimed in. "Let's not relive that episode."
"Yeah, let's not," Xander agreed.
Spike shook it off. "What do you say, witch, you up for it?"
"Yeah!" Willow said. "As long as you, you know, behave yourself."
"Don't worry, it won't hurt a bit."
"If you try anything--" Buffy warned.
Spike turned to his blonde nemesis. "So you believe I can do it, then?"
"Oh, just do it already," Xander bellowed in exasperation.
"I agree, Xander, the sexual tension between them has dragged on far too long."
Buffy, Willow and Xander took a moment to gawk slack-jawed at Anya, the deliverer of yet another inappropriate remark.
Spike raised an eyebrow as a deep pink blossomed across Buffy's cheeks.
"I meant the thrall," Xander clarified. "Get the thrall over with so we can watch the movie!"
"Oh," Anya said.
Spike tore his eyes away from the irresistible site of a blushing slayer. "Okay, Red. Put away your witchly powers for a bit, pretend you're every day."
Spike took a deep breath, then set his sights on Willow. He pointed at her eyes and back at his own. The girl's face went blank, her body slack.
Soon, Willow was compelled forward and stopped, kneeling at his legs.
The gang made way, watching in awe.
Come to me, Spike repeated with his whole being. Willow sat in his lap.
Give me what I need. Willow obediently bared her neck. Xander and Buffy stood up, at the ready.
Spike went for Willow's neck... and gave it a chaste kiss.
The vampire looked up proudly. Willow snapped out of it, and Xander yanked her out of his lap.
"Right then," Spike said. "What do I win?"
"A big stake up your ass," Xander answered.
Spike's eyes twinkled as he leered at the boy. "Guess you want to go next then?"
"Ew!" Xander said, "You freaky dead thing. Are you okay, Will?"
"Yeah, I think so," Willow said, trembling. "Wow, that was... intense. All of a sudden he was just... inside of my brain, and I had no control at all. And... hey, feeling a little violated now."
"Sorry," Spike said.
"That's okay. But, yeah, for a second there you made me feel really..."
"Neat, innit?" Spike said with a wide smile.
Anya raised her hand. "Ooh! Can I go next?"
"Anya! I'm your Jerry McGuire here, remember?"
"No way he's doing that to you!" Xander explained petulantly.
"Alright Spike, do me."
Spike swung his head to face Buffy. "Come again, Slayer?"
"You think you're so good at this hypnosis crap," Buffy said, "try it on me."
"Think you can take it?"
"Think you can do it?"
"Oh I can do it, alright." His tongue curled under his teeth.
Anya swatted Xander's arm and mouthed, "See?"
Buffy feigned a yawn. "All talk, no action."
Spike got angry. "S'not a bloody parlor trick, Slayer! Takes a bit out of you, you know!"
"What's the matter? Having performance anxiety?"
"Hardly. This'll be dead easy." Spike narrowed his eyes. "Already know what you need."
"Oh, I'd love to see what you think I need."
"Shut your gob and I will." He began to focus.
A few seconds passed. Buffy glanced at her fingernails, feigning disinterest. "Ho hum..."
"Hang on..." She was tough. But not... tough... enough...
Moving pictures came to him: A triple slay. Falling head-first into a shallow pool. Bodies wet from the rain. That one looks good. Close in on that one, switch the guy. Better.
Come to me.
The gang watched as Buffy went blank and started to move. Like a cat, she crawled up his body and settled on top of him, staring into his eyes.
Visions of a dark room. Heat. Bodies slapping together. Lips and fangs. Blood.
Nose to nose, the vampire and the slayer began to breathe heavily, their bodies pressed together but completely still.
Give me what I...
Xander spoke first. "I feel like we shouldn't be here."
Throwing a handful of popcorn in her mouth, Anya said, "It's your basement."
Their breathing accelerated. Spike felt himself crashing through space.
"Do you think we should stop them?" Willow asked.
Suddenly, Buffy cried out as if she were in pain and Spike roared violently, grabbing hold of Buffy's hips.
Xander frowned in confusion.
Anya bounced on her heels.
The two blondes blinked at one another as their breathing calmed. Suddenly, Buffy slapped Spike across the face and jumped up.
"What?" Spike held his cheek. "It wasn't sposed to happen like that!"
"How the hell was it supposed to happen?" she demanded, standing over him, fists clenched.
"I wasn't sposed to feel it too!"
"And I was?"
Spike looked her up and down. "Well, yeah. God knows it's what you were aching for."
"You... pig!" She popped him in the nose.
"Uh... what just happened?" Xander asked.
Anya proudly supplied, "The thrall was mutual."
Everyone turned to Anya. "That happened once, with my vampire?" She smiled wistfully. "When he tried to enthrall me -- in a certain way -- we both felt it. I thought it was because we were in love, but..."
As if on cue, both Buffy and Spike cast a glance at each other, mumbled a quick goodbye in unison and exited in opposite directions.
"Sorry, Spike, you're not goin' anywhere," Xander said. "You're my prisoner remember?"
"--To the loo to wash up, you bloody pillock." He stomped over to the bathroom and slammed the door.
Buffy looked nauseous. "Oh god!" she whimpered, running up the stairs and out the door.
Realization dawned on Xander. "Ew, you... ew!" He turned to Anya. "That's what you meant by 'a certain way'?"
"Couldn't you tell that they both had an orgasm?"
"Ew! That's my couch you were on, mister! My bed!" Xander yelled in the bathroom's direction. "Can I just say again, ew?"
"You should buy a new couch," Anya said. "That one is old and smells funny, anyway."
"Wow," Willow marveled, ever the romantic. "A mutual thrall."