"I'm sorry, Buffy," Willow said from the adjacent bed. "I wish there was something I could do. I tried to explain it to Riley, but he just didn't want to hear it."
"I know, Will. And thanks for trying," Buffy said with a wan smile, fingering Mr. Gordo's worn ears. "Anyway, I'll survive."
"You're strong, Buffy," Willow said. "You'll get over him."
"It's so stupid. That Spike, of all people, could break you up."
Buffy nodded halfheartedly. "Yeah."
"I mean, why can't Riley cut you a break? He knows how much you hate Spike. It's not like you'd ever do it again." She looked at Buffy quizzically. "Right?"
Buffy stared intently at her 'Chocolate' poster.
"...Right, Buffy?" Willow asked again.
"Oh! Right. Of course right! I thought that was rhetorical."
Willow sat up to face Buffy. "You know, you can talk to me about this."
"I know, Will. I am talking to you."
"No, I mean, about what happened with Spike."
"Oh." Buffy whined, "Do I haveta?"
"Yeah. I think it's important. The sooner you deal with it, the sooner you can move on." She moved closer. "I mean, when you finally realized what was going on? I can't imagine how traumatic that must've been."
At her friend's open, guileless expression, Buffy knew she couldn't keep the deception going. "Willow, I knew what was going on the whole time."
Willow frowned. "But. But the zombies..."
"Yeah, we were like zombies. We were being pulled by some magical strings, for sure. We couldn't stop even if we wanted to. But, I knew it was him. He definitely knew it was me. And traumatic?" Buffy tried to stop a stubborn, recurring smile from breaking out. "Not so much."
Willow blinked, trying to comprehend. "You... you knew... the whole time?"
"We sought each other out, Willow," Buffy confessed. "In a way. The forces in that house started it -- and yeah, kept it going, but I chose him. I mean, the engagement spell--"
"Oh god!" Willow cried. "This is all my fault! I knew it! I cast that spell and it gave you residual feelings for Spike! That's why there was the mutual thrall, and now the-the non-traumatic sex--"
"It wasn't the spell! I mean--" Buffy caught herself in hyper-admission mode and backtracked. "No feelings! There were no residual feelings. All I meant was, it wasn't a spell this time, it was some hormonal poltergeisty thing--"
"Right. It made everyone's hormones go all willy-nilly."
"And that explains why it happened..."
"But," Buffy sighed, "that doesn't explain the... the Spike."
"No, I guess it doesn't," Willow said, brow wrinkled. "Buffy, do you like Spike?"
"No!" she snapped, then softened. "It's not like that." She stood up to pace and reasoned with herself. "I've just come to accept that maybe Spike's hormones, and my hormones... sometimes sort of... mesh, but no," she turned to face Willow. "We can't ever do that again."
"You can't?" Willow ventured carefully. "As in you can't, but you want to?"
"No!" Buffy looked down and tossed Mr. Gordo aside. "He's disgusting. He's evil. He's tried to kill me, and more importantly you, and everyone else I love, more times than I'd like to count. No," she said sincerely, making up her mind. "Of course not."
"Sounds convincing," Willow said, "and, gotta respect the logic. But what are your hormones telling you?"
Buffy gave in, flopping backwards on her bed. "They're saying, 'Bring me Spike.'" She lifted her arms for emphasis. "'With whipped cream. And hot fudge. And possibly a cherry... on... top... '" She sat up. "Did I just say that out loud?"
Willow couldn't help but look horrified.
She quickly amended, "But that's just my hormones' idea of a good time. They're not the boss of me. Not like they were that night."
"I know, and that's a good. But... Buffy, just be careful, okay?"
"Don't worry, Will," Buffy said blithely. "I'm completely in control. I'm Control Girl."
* * *
The hunt. The kill. It made every part of Buffy feel gloriously alive.
Four vampires surrounding her, thinking they could one-up her somehow. How very naive they were. And how very wrong.
There was no uncertainty to slaying.
It wasn't like the rest of her life.
As she spun and flipped and tumbled and jumped, thrusting her stake into one heart after the other, Buffy was pure adrenaline. She reveled in her calling. Her body hot, blood coursing with victory, she pushed the stake neatly into the last vamp and watched him burst into dust.
Buffy was pumped, and ready for more.
Suddenly, the hairs on the back of her neck tingled.
Another one. But not just any one.
Behind her. About two rows of tombstones away.
She didn't turn to face him.
Eyes closing, she dropped her stake.
He approached, slowly, silently.
Black fingernailed hands wrapped around her waist, coasting over her shirt, stimulating her nipples through the thin material.
Control Girl made a swift exit.
Buffy arched backwards into him and ground against his erection.
Her hand climbed up his neck and into his hair. "Spike..."
He spun her around. They met with a desperate intake of breath, their kiss intensifying their mutual desire.
Spike tore away from her mouth to worship her neck and earlobe with a husky rejoice: "God I missed you."
The sound of his voice, his words of sweet relief were unbearable to Buffy. She gasped, "Me too... I missed..."
She brought him backwards and sat up on a wide, stout tombstone, allowing him to run his cool hands over her.
It felt different this time. No spells, no poltergeists, no playing around. This was real and this was right.
He pulled her thong down, off her legs, and stuffed it in his pocket with a smile.
"Saving that for something?"
"Hope I won't have to," he said, opening his jeans.
Buffy wrapped her legs around him and reeled him in.
Spike was immediately hit by her heady scent of arousal, more than he'd ever sensed before. She wanted him. Badly. And he wasn't one to keep a girl waiting.
Their mouths met again as their bodies intertwined, as he drove into her delectably wet heat.
"Mine," he claimed. "You're mine."
Buffy threw her head back, mouth open, letting him fill her. "Spike."
"Buffy." He grit his teeth, knowing he couldn't control himself for long.
"Don't stop," she said.
Damn... he thought, but answered, "Never."
"Shhh," he said, and covered her mouth. The more she made those sweet pleas, the sooner he was going to come.
She bit into his hand.
And Spike had a thing about biting. "Christ." Eyes rolling back, cursing God's name, he willed himself to hold out just a little longer...
He kept at a steady pace, and touched a finger to her clit.
She nodded, signaling that what he was doing was just right.
Buffy began to writhe around, bucking wildly against him.
In seconds, her entire body tightened. Her inner muscles strangled his cock, then released with a rush of new, slippery fluid. She cried out into his hand.
As she convulsed in orgasm, Spike lost it: pushing her onto her back on the grass, he pounded mercilessly until every last drop of his semen shot into her luscious core.
They gasped together, high on afterglow, and their eyes met, glazed with contentment.
"Guess your plan was the better one," Buffy said breathlessly.
"Surprising but true," Spike agreed.
Suddenly, they heard a tree branch break.
They shot up simultaneously, half-dressed, in warrior stance.
A wily possum pranced away.
They glanced at each other and relaxed.
Buffy's eyes widened, and she pointed at Spike. She began to bubble with laughter.
He looked down. His fly was unbuttoned, and Little Spike was dangling out.
She laughed harder, holding her side. "Fighting like that? Real scary."
"Oh, thanks," he said sarcastically. "Put a scare into you just a minute ago."
She broke into more hysterics.
He watched her warily as he stuffed himself back in his pants. "Least it was just a bloody rodent."
"And if it wasn't? If it was some demon, or, or -- Adam?" She giggled, and made a serious face. "'I would like to study your penis, Spike'", she said in a monotone Adam impression. "'And find out how it contracts from this--'" she held her hands about nine inches apart, then pointed at his crotch. "'To that.'" She doubled over.
Spike smiled despite the emasculating subject matter. She was a picture when she laughed. "Alright, alright. You had your fun, Slayer." He strutted up to her and took her hand. "And thanks for the extra inch."
Buffy wiped a tear from her cheek, recovering.
He was doing that thing again, with his eyes. But this time she didn't look away.
Then she saw it; what Spike saw in her.
Her face fell. "Spike..."
His brow furrowed, and he looked away. "Don't say it."
Buffy opened her mouth, and closed it again. "I can't..."
"I said, DON'T say it."
She touched his face. "I'm sorry."
Spike exhaled and looked up, shifting uncomfortably. "Don't be."
After one last pained look, he swooshed away, duster flaring behind him.
Buffy watched him go, confusion etching her features.
She didn't follow.
Spike was in love with her.