Buffy was feeling great. Her symptoms had disappeared on the walk over -- no ouch in the eyes, no sneezies, no sniffles... technically, she had no reason to be here. Except that she'd promised.
"Sigh," she said.
Descending the steps into Giles' garden, she heard the strains of Wheel of Fortune, and Anya yelling out, "Fat as a batter!"
She pushed open the door and saw the television screen: _A_ AS A _ATTER.
"I'd like to solve the puzzle, Pat."
"Toffee Crisp!" Spike greeted her happily from the armchair, holding an unlit smoking pipe by its bowl. "You can toddle off now, Scraps. The tastiest treat of all is here to spend a romantic evening with me."
Buffy squinted at him. "Are you wearing a smoking jacket?"
"Yeah. Can you believe? Giles actually owns one." Straightening the velvet lapels, he put the pipe in his mouth and went back to showily perusing the large book in his lap.
"Hey, Buff," Xander hailed, rising from the couch to mute the television. "So glad you could make it."
"'Mad as a hatter'? What does that even mean?" Anya recoiled at the sight of Buffy. "What happened to you?"
"Huh?" She turned to check the mirror and saw her unruly chick-fight hair. "Oh. Nice. I walked all the way over here like this. Two people said hello to me."
"I like it," Spike declared. "Makes you look like you've just been f--"
"No," Buffy said, whipping her head in his direction.
He smirked, F shape still on his lips. "--ighting. What did you think I was gonna say, Sour Patch?"
"Shut up, Spike." Picking out a dry leaf, she said, "Ugh. I hate bad hair slays."
"You and your kicky puns," Spike said, eyes on his book.
Meanwhile, Anya was whispering something in Xander's ear.
"So, you're all set, right?" Xander was poised at the coats, an anxious Anya clutching his arm. "We can just... 'toddle off'?"
"You're leaving? So soon? But..." She pointed at the TV. "Spinny wheels... exciting vowel-buying?"
"What's the matter, Bit o' Honey? Is the hard-up Slayer afraid to be alone with the irresistibly handsome vampire?"
"You mean Angel's dropping by?" both Buffy and Xander replied at once, then high-fived.
Spike gave her this one. "Well played, Bobbsey Twins."
"He's been strangely giddy all night," Xander asided as he put on his coat. "Please make him miserable."
"That's m'job," Buffy said. "Well, that, and babysitting a two hundred year old animated corpse for no pay."
"A hundred and twenty-six! Don't age me."
"Pipe down, Alistair Cookie," Buffy said.
"The cookies!" Xander remembered, and hurried to the kitchen. "Will said I could take the last batch."
"I used to babysit sometimes, when I was a demon?" Anya said, filling the awkward silence. "Or, I posed as a babysitter applying for a job until I got a satisfactory wish out of its newly single mother. I was so good at it, I barely ever had to watch the small humans--"
"Is there a point to this tangent," Xander asked from the kitchen, "besides the creepy thought of a demon alone with innocent children?"
"In babysitting jargon, Spike is what we'd call 'a real handful'."
"I'm all too familiar with the Spike handful." Buffy's eyes widened at the end of that sentence. She'd walked right into that, and now everyone was staring at her. "Metaphorically. You got that, right?"
"She was begging for a handful the other night," Spike informed them, unable to resist. "Or was it..." He closed his book with a dusty pop. "...a mouthful?"
Buffy scowled at him. She did not beg, she just... broached the subject, and hello, she was under a spell! "Fortunately for everyone, I experienced neither."
"Well, yeah. If you had, you'd know it was much more than a mouthful."
Ugh. Him and his sexual predator eyes! "That's it. I'm staking you."
"Hurray," Xander said.
Spike held the DAEMONS book up, tapped it with his pipe. "Do that and you won't know who Little Miss Hiss is until it's too late."
"Non-issue," she said, bored and breezy. "I'm better now, so you can drop the 'I hold all the cards' act. My eyes stopped stinging, like, five minutes ago."
"Which means..." He looked up at the ceiling, calculating. "You're about five minutes away from stage two."
She scoffed, hoping he was messing with her. Just to be sure, she nabbed Anya by the pea coat sleeve. "Good thing Anya's here to settle this."
"Me? I'm not here," Anya said, halfway out the door with her cookie-toting boyfriend. "I shared an anecdote and feigned camaraderie, and now I'm leaving to have sex with Xander. And possibly diner food."
"I bet the food rates better in the sack," Spike snarked.
"This will only take a second, Anya." Buffy smirked triumphantly at Spike as she said, "Lady demon, snake-hair, iridescent skin, clicking language. And it got all Jimi Hendrix on me when I killed it."
"It hissed out this purple haze."
Anya frowned, giving it some thought. "Doesn't ring a bell."
Wait. What? "But you know all about demons!"
"Only the ones I've met. And if I'd met one of those, I think I'd remember. Try asking Spike!"
Buffy's shoulders slumped. She pouted and turned to Spike, sitting there cross-legged with his book and his pipe and his boots and his ridiculous maroon smoking jacket.
Goodbyes were exchanged, the door was closed, and the hard-up slayer was alone with the irresistibly handsome vampire.
He put the pipe down and unstoppered the crystal carafe on the side table. "Looks like I'm all you've got. Again."
"And again, I don't want you."
"Cheer up, Juicy Squirts. Night's about to take an exciting turn."
She'd paused mid-jacket-unzip to gape at him. "What did you just call me?"
"What? Juicy Squirts? It's a candy. Don't they have that here?"
Buffy shut her eyes and envisioned him bursting into a million particles of dust. Sadly, this vision was not a reality.
"Feeling all right?" he asked, now swirling a brandy snifter.
"Just fine. Headache caused by the proximity of you notwithstanding." Jacket hung, she put her hands on her hips and stood tall. "Enlighten me, Spike. What is this alleged 'stage two'?"
Holding his brandy up to the light, he said, "Death. Any second now."
Her face fell. He couldn't be serious, could he?
What was she thinking? Of course he could.
She was poisoned. Fatally. And her friends had just left. The Slayer began to puzzle out scenarios, possible outcomes, survival tactics--
"I'm joking, Milky Buttons," he taunted her in sing-song. "You are so cute when you're afr--"
"Oh. My. GOD!" Like a wound up linebacker, she tackled him full force, making brandy fly and the chair topple over -- with the two of them in it. Getting in a good one-two punch before she started throttling him, she ground out, "That's enough! Enough with the obscene candy names and the innuendos and the not-funny jokes! You either give me facts or you shut! the fuck! up!"
"Hey, hey, hey!" he surrendered, hands up, trying very hard not to laugh in her face. "No need for violence and strong language, Red Hot. First of all, it'll wear off. So don't fret, alright?"
Mouth tight, she loosened her grip, and sat back. "You have ten seconds to tell me everything you know."
Rolling his eyes, he reached for the fallen book, opened it to a dog-eared page and turned it toward her.
There it was -- the freaky demon she'd just killed. "Sa'Q So-lat," she read aloud, taking the book. "'A rare, reclusive herbivore'? What's it doing on a college campus? Oh, here it is... 'emits a largely harmless venom upon death' -- ha! It is harmless!"
Trace of a smile curling his lips, he folded his hands behind his head. "Keep reading, Tootsie Pop."
"'...that can cause intense hallucinations and temporary tears in the fabric of one's reality. Victim will be highly suggestible and easily influenced.' Oh. Well, I guess she didn't hit me with enough spit, or slayers are immune, 'cause... I... d-on't..."
She watched with growing curiosity as the words she was trying to read began to bend and swim off of the page.
She heard smug laughter, and looked down at Spike, who was grinning wide as the Cheshire cat.
The second she thought that, the rest of his face disappeared. She tried to feel for his invisible face. "A grin without a cat. Hoh, boy. This is not good."
"What's the matter, Slayer? Never chased the rabbit before?"
The rest of him came back, but now he was growing rabbit ears.
That's when it finally hit her: "You did this! You made this happen!"
"Me? Whyever would I do that, Gummy Bear?"
"So you could weaken me! Or get me to hurt myself, or whatever your stupid plan is! I can't..." She made some clumsy attempts to strike him, but nothing landed. She felt soft and... gummy. "My arms don't... I know what you're... Your eyes are blue butterflies."
He smiled. Thank you, Rupert Giles, for leaving your books and baubles out for anyone to play with. "And your eyes are all pupil."
Buffy was riveted. His irises were transforming into electric blue butterflies that kept fluttering toward her and exploding into glittery Pixy Stix powder. It was freaky, but breathtakingly beautiful. "This is..." Her mother had a blue butterfly candy dish, but never put anything in it. What was the point of a candy dish without candy? "Wait. What are you gonna do to me?"
"Well, first, I'm gonna get you to find the berks who did this to me. Together," he put his hand on hers, the one that was on his face, "we're gonna force them to make me whole again, at which point, you and I are gonna slaughter them, and their families, and all your little friends, and then, I'm gonna suck you dry. Or turn you into a vampire. I haven't worked out that detail yet." Either way, he had a Plan B now: getting her to hurt herself. How had he not thought of that?
His lips were sugar-coated. "That's a lot to do in one night."
"The haze lasts six weeks."
What? Six weeks? "You...!" She tried to hit him again, but missed by a mile. "I am not gonna be your Helter Skelter hippie six slave for sex whole...! Six... Sex... Am I talking right now?"
Eying her with both suspicion and intrigue, he said, "Yeah."
"What did I say?"
"Quite a bit, Bit."
"Bit?" She gasped, and covered her mouth. "Did I bite you? I feel like I just bit you."
"Ride it out, Cherry Charms." Compelled by a twisted sense of paternal affection, he slid her hair behind her ear. "The hallucinations are strongest in the first... hour... What are you doing?"
"I'm riding it out," she said, eyes shut, nuzzling against his hand and undulating on his stomach.
In her own little world, she moaned softly, and spasmed like she was doing Kegel exercises.
Spike arched a brow.
It was that kind of trip.
Book hadn't cautioned against extreme horniness. Then again, this could well be a by-product of her obvious attraction to him. Haze just magnified it, brought it out. The question was, what should he do about it?
Buffy watched his adam's apple bob, and wondered if it was a regular apple, or candy-glazed. A red delicious, or a macintosh. She ran her fingertips over it. Swiveled her hips some more.
Should he just stick to the plan? Would telling her she wasn't in the mood make her stop? They could always do it later, after they'd killed everyone who posed a threat. They had sex weeks... Six...! Six weeks to get this done.
...Buffy was stroking his neck. Squeezing it. Just the right pressure. Might as well have been stroking his cock; it had the same effect.
Like he was saying, they had six whole weeks to get this done. What was the harm in putting the plan off for a minute or forty? As long as they got out of here before Giles came home...
Her beestung lips parted, and her pink tongue darted out to lick them, shine them up.
He came to a decision: he would leave it up to her. She'd be the coin, he'd just do the flipping.
"What do you want to do right now, Buffy?"
She smiled shyly. "Bite you."
He swallowed. "Where?"
Gently, she fingered his adam's apple. "Here."
Entranced, lashes low, he matched his volume to hers. "Why don't you?"
"You've got that hard candy shell. I can't break it."
He tilted his head. "Hard candy shell?"
"Uh-huh. It's all over you, all red and shiny... like on an apple. Or the lollipop Santas." She leaned forward and confided, "Those are my favorite."
"Yeah?" Well, that settled it, then. "Won't hurt to take a lick of old Saint Nick."
Wow. That made so much sense. And it rhymed! Lowering her head, she lathed her tongue over his skin, from the base of his throat all the way up to his jaw.
Spike let out a powerless squeak.
Her eyes rolled up, her tongue hit her top teeth, and she made a noise like, "Nmmmmn."
"Bloody hell," he whispered, balls tightening.
"You taste soooo good."
"Uh-huh. Taste." She touched her tongue to his.
Sparks seemed to ignite on contact. It was her. She tasted like the most delectable candy he'd ever eaten.
He grabbed her neck, and kissed her.
Buffy finally figured it out: why the butterfly candy dish was always empty. Sitting up, she exclaimed, "Because you're the candy, and the butterflies are inside you!"
Spike stared up at her, astonished. Her hair haloed around her, rippling in the wind... sparkling blue butterflies flitting about. Did those fly out of his eyes? Was that a rainbow behind her, with Skittles shooting out of it? And when did all those strawberries start growing on her shirt?
"Oh, no," he said. The venom. It traveled through saliva. Instantly. He probably should have read the fine print...
"Take off everything now," Buffy told him. "I wanna see your skin."
Without another thought, he got up on his elbows to shrug off the smoking jacket and yank the t-shirt over his head.
"Your skin is so pretty," she said, nearly orgasming when she coasted her hands over his chest. "So shiny and red... I wanna bite it."
"Bite it," he said, nostrils flaring. "Do it. It's all right if you break it."
She nibbled at his chest. "So pretty."
"God, you're so..." He touched her sunshiney hair. "You're so pretty."
He nodded, enamored. "You're growing fangs."
She touched her tongue to her new fang, and broke the skin. "Ow."
"I'll fix it, baby." He pulled her close and sucked the candy out of her bleeding tongue.
"I want to be naked," she said between kisses. "All the way naked."
"Me too," he said, hastily helping her out of her shirt.
"I wanna be wet."
"I can get you wet."
"I wanna be in the dark." She unbuckled his belt.
He pinched her strawberry nipples. "I'll turn off the lights."
"You should take a bath with me!"
"Yes, I should."