Battle Stations
Chapter Seven

Ten minutes later they were inside what had appeared at first to be just another corridor, but had turned out to be a sort of cave-like room, vast and dark and decorated by some previous occupant with the bones of many animals, demons, and not a few humans.

It had been nearly half an hour since they had heard anything from the gang that was hunting them. Buffy sat with her back to one wall, watching by the glow of Spike's eyes as he gathered up a small pile of rags and trash in order to build a fire. His movements were so sure and swift and she was mesmerized by him couldn't drag her mind off of him, in fact, although she was supposed to be busy hatching a plan of attack. Instead, she sat there, watching him closely, wondering what she could do to convince him to stay once the immediate danger was past.

He threw a few small pieces of splintered wood on the pile and dug deep into his jeans for his trusty lighter. Damning the bad luck that had made him doff his duster before Butch had shown up--he badly wanted a cig, but they had been left behind--he knelt by the pile and held a flame to a bit of rubbish there.

Not really the fault of bad luck you've not got your coat or your smokes, mate, is it? It's her fault--like most everythin' else wrong with this bleedin' picture. He immediately felt guilty, almost disloyal, for having such a thought. Shut your hole, you pillock, an' be grateful you're occupyin' the same space, even if it's only 'til sunrise.

He felt her eyes on him and wondered what she was thinking. Most likely rehearsin' her 'let-the-demon-down-gently speech' for when we finally get out of this bleedin' mess. He had made a big noise with his earlier declaration that he wouldn't wait around for the honor of serving as her sex-toy, but he knew that it had been his pride talking. He would wait around for a good deal
less than that, and he suspected that she knew it.

"Come here an' get warm now, Slayer."

She complied and he lowered himself to the floor next to her, not touching her.  Taking a deep breath, she turned to him and spoke for the first time in several minutes.

"Don't you think it's time you told me about Butch?"

He was startled by the question. "Ahhh...don't know that I follow you, luv."

"Give it up already, Spike. It's SO not like you to be running from another vampire and dragging me along behind you, like I can't defend myself."

"Well, pet..." He stopped. He had very much hoped he'd never have to go too deeply into this subject.

"What is it, Spike?" There was impatience verging on crankiness in her voice.

Moving closer to her, he slipped one arm about her shoulders and leaned in to nuzzle her, hoping that it would be enough to distract her. He was stopped by a sharp elbow to his ribs.

"Nope. Sorry. Story first, smoochies later."

He seriously doubted that she would be in any mood for smoochies after hearing what he had to say, but he knew he couldn't avoid it any longer.

"Well, it's like this: Butch is not such an ordinary vampire. He's got some extra mojo goin'--you know what a sorcerer is?"

"You mean with the pointy hat and the dancing brooms?"

"Somethin' like that--anyway, Butch was sorcerer before he was turned, among other things."

"What other things?"

Spike looked uncomfortable. "Hmmm...rapist, murderer,' when a bloke like that gets turned--with extra powers to boot--just little magicks, nothing spectacular, not in Willow's league, but still..."

"Bad news, huh?"

"In a word, yeah."

"Who turned him?"

"Don't know...he was never very forthcomin' with the personal information. I've a feelin' whomever it was regretted it."

She shifted beneath the weight of his arm and he dropped it from her shoulders.

"OK--so he's the extra Big Bad. I still don't get why we're running. I can take him--I KNOW we can take him together."

"Glad to hear you're so confident. I'm not." He paused, wondering how much he should say. "See, luv, there's not much that's evil that I haven't seen or done, truth be told. But Butch...he's a special case. He disturbs me--always did."

She waited, knowing there was more.

"There was this one time, in Vienna, right 'round the end of the first World War. Came upon him lurin' a little lass into his dwellin.' Not to feed, mind you--Butch never fed off females. Said the stink of their blood made him want to puke--that's a quote. Anyway...she was just a whore, but so young, an''re sure you want to hear this, Slayer?"

"Go on."

"He invited me in to watch the proceedins.' Next thing I knew, he was rubbin' some powders between his fingers and mutterin' some' the girl was paralyzed. Wide awake, but couldn't move a muscle."

"He raped her?"

"Ummm...well, another thing about Butch...before he was turned, he did some time in prison for rape or some such wickedness--but in Morocco. Bad business, getting' caught out in a country like that, back then. They...they burnt the guilty parts right off him, balls an' all. Used acid, I think. Left him with a stub that wasn't good for much."

Buffy's skin had begun to crawl. A tale like this one--even when told in a warm, well-lighted place--might give anyone the creeps.

"A big one for misogyny, our Butch. Hated women an' little girls, even female animals. Blamed 'em for his disfigurement. Took out all his frustrations on 'em." He paused, knowing that she would want him to finish the story, but unable to put into words the revulsion he felt.

"Tell me, Spike."

"He hurt that girl. Like I've never seen. An' I was pretty young then, still gloryin' in the wicked an' the bad for their own sakes. But this was different.  This was worse than Angelus at his very worst, an' that's sayin' somethin.'"

He heard her make a small sound of pain, and instantly regretted his words.

"Sorry, luv. But it's the truth." He swallowed hard before continuing. "He cut her all over. Cut bits of her clean off--the bits with the most nerve endings, you know? Then he took this big knife--big as my forearm--an' he used it to...well, he DID rape her, I guess, an' then he cut her from the inside out.  An' she couldn't move--couldn't even scream. But her eyes...Buffy, her eyes..."

He fell silent. Buffy had drawn her knees up to chest in an unconscious gesture of self-preservation. She clutched her legs nervously, her eyes skimming the walls of the room beyond the reach of the firelight.

"Couldn't feed for three days after I saw that--made me sick just to think of it. Still does." He looked at her. "Now you know. An' since I've no idea what mischief Butch has been up to in the last few decades, I'd just as soon you avoided contact with him, pet. In this case, it's better to run, an' live to fight another day--with all your precious parts intact."

"But that's where you're wrong, Spike. I have to fight him, now that you've told me what he is. How can I let him live?"

"Mmmm...was afraid you'd think that way about it. An' I see your point, luv, I truly do. But we need help--we need Red an' the Watcher in on this to counteract the sorcerer mojo. Otherwise, we're walkin' blind into a bad kind of trap."

"OK. You're making sense. Or maybe I'm just really tired." She stretched out on the floor next to him and rested her head in his lap. "Is this all right?"

He smiled at her. She stared up into his eyes, fascinated by the depth of their color. Very gently, she reached up and traced the scar on his eyebrow with one fingertip. He felt it everywhere in body.

"It's shaped like a cross--funny, I never noticed that before."

"That's why it's still there. My first Slayer gave that to me. Took months to heal, because of the shape." He closed his eyes as she ran her fingers down the side of his face, past his jaw and down the strong column of his throat.



"I'm sleepy."

"Go to sleep, then."

"Are you sure?"

He opened his eyes and gazed down into her face. Her features had grown soft and drowsy.

"It's alright, pet. I'll keep watch--won't let anythin' wicked get at you."

"You're very, very nice."

"SHhhhhh...don't say such unkind things...just sleep now."

Her eyes fell shut and soon her breathing deepened. He continued to stare into her face as the minutes slipped past, all the while listening intently for any sound that might indicate the approach of danger.

The embers at their feet glowed red, and he gazed into them, thinking of the past two nights, wondering what was to become of them. The room, cavernous though it was, grew smoky, and she coughed in her sleep, shifting against him.  Then she began to stir restlessly, and he realized that she was dreaming.

In her dream, she was alone in the dark, with no steady hand to hold, and no glowing eyes to light her path. She was stumbling and falling and crying out to no one...and then, he was there. She felt a cool hand on her face, and strong fingers pressed into the strip of skin between her jacket and her jeans. She lifted her own hand to her face to capture him there, and brought his fingers
to her lips. They smelled of smoke and old things; they smelled like him. She slid the tip of one into her mouth and softly chewed at it, tasted it with her tongue. She knew she was no longer dreaming when she heard the rumble in his chest and felt a vibration that traveled from deep within him. Opening her eyes, she found herself gazing into his, as slivers of gold encircled the blue irises.

Removing his fingertip from her mouth, he pulled her into a sitting position and cradled her against him. When he kissed her, she could feel the restrained passion in him. Their tongues met and everything in her body clenched tightly.

He felt her shudder in response to his kiss, and broke it suddenly.

"Luv, this is no good---you don't want this."

She pulled back from him in surprise. "I don't? Are you a mind-reader now?  'Cause I gotta say, you suck at it."

"But here? In a filthy cave? Surrounded by the decomposin' bones of who knows what-all"

"What, not romantic enough for the evil vampire? You're starting to remind me--

"--DON'T say it--"

"--of Angel."

His voice deepened into an outraged growl. "TAKE THAT BACK!"

Hooking her hands behind his head, she brought her face to within inches of his and hissed a challenge. "Make me."

She hit the ground hard, barely missing the remains of the fire. He was on her, tearing the jacket from her body, mauling her breasts with rough hands. She arched herself into him, throwing her head back against the stone floor, glorying in the beastly way he pawed at her. Not like Angel, not like Riley.  Then he was kissing her mouth, nipping at her lips. She responded, sliding her
tongue beneath his to find the softest, smoothest part of his mouth.

She felt him tense and give an involuntary thrust of his hips against her.  Sliding her hands beneath his tee-shirt, she dragged her fingernails lightly down the expanse of his back, then again with more force.

She began to rub her tongue against the underside of his in a plunging, rhythmic mimicry of what she wanted, what she needed. She heard him growl again and felt him press his hips forward into her, grinding something hard against her. She thought back--had it only been two nights ago?and remembered what it had looked like, red and raw and throbbing for her. She wanted to see that

Breaking the kiss, she wriggled beneath him, trying to get to his belt and buttons. He resisted.

"Take it back, Slayer."

" You'll have to work harder than that." His face was a study in determination as he bent his head to her breast.

Slow, soft circles. His tongue and lips brushed so lightly, she could barely feel them. Frustrated, she gripped the hair at the back of his head and forced his mouth down harder. She felt him suck the nipple between his teeth and bite gently, then harder. His other slid down, down, so slowly, and grabbed at the fleshy part of her inner thigh, squeezing it through the denim.

"Mmmmmore." She hadn't intended to say that out loud. His hand moved up a bit, searching, finding the damp spot at the crotch of her jeans. He pressed his fingers there and she bucked against them sharply, biting her lip at the same time.

He lifted his head and looked into her face. "Take it back."

"Nope. Won't do it. Try again."

Then her jeans were sliding off, past her knees, to get caught by her boots.  She moved to kick them off, and he stopped her.

"Best not. We might need to leave in a hurry."

She nodded and fell back as his hands pressed he knees down and away, opening her wide.

His first cool touch on her bare skin set her trembling. She felt him lean over her and cried out sharply when he sunk his teeth gently into the flesh at the point where her hip and thigh connected.

Then his mouth was on her, his tongue stabbing into her, his hands holding her down. He licked upwards, catching her clit with the tip of it, and she pounded her head backwards into the stone.

He played there for what seemed to her like an eternity, finding a rhythm for a few seconds and then abandoning it when he felt her excitement begin to mount.  She knew he was punishing her for comparing him to Angel. She knew he would force her to give in and withdraw the comparison.

He was using all his weight to hold her down. She wriggled helplessly, wanting to beg him, fighting the urge to plead.

Then she felt a pair of cool fingers pressing into her opening. She slapped a hand over her own mouth to keep from shouting as he slid them inside of her, curled them forward and began to tickle that spot, that new place he had found within her that she hadn't even known existed.

His mouth found her clit again and sucked it upward, lapping at it. Then he withdrew and she felt his fingers increase their pressure. The sensation made her weaken, made her limbs feel like jelly.

"What...oh, god...what is that...nobody ever..."

"Mmmm...didn't you take some human anatomy, luv--or don't they teach the important bits in the good ol' U S of A." He pressed harder, boring upwards with his fingertips and watched with satisfaction as her clit swelled a bit more, and her entire vulva flushed dark with blood. "Lot's of names for it, ducks. Some doc not too long ago named it after himself--called the
G-spot--how's that for ego?"

" do you know?"

"I keep up with all the new developments--not that this is new--I've my own ideas about it, though. I believe that THIS," he punctuated his words with an extra firm stroke of his fingers, to which she responded with a stifled moan,"is really just the underside of THIS," he dropped his head and gave her clit a soft suck.  "Just one lovely, sweet little apparatus installed by the creator to ensure the survival of the prey--I mean, the species." He dropped his head again, found a rhythm and kept it up until he felt her begin to tense beneath him.

"Please...ok? close..."

"Hhmmmmm...very nice, that. Hearin' you beg, I mean. But you haven't taken it back yet, that little comment about me an' my grandsire. Take it back, luv."

He folded the heel of his palm upward and pressed it against her vulva, rocking it back and forth ever so slightly. She tried to move against it, seeking more friction. It wasn't enough. He held her there, on the razor's edge. She struggled, not wanting to give in, dying to give in.

Finally: "I take it back. Not like Angel...nothing like Angel...never...never..."

He flashed a devilish smile that she couldn't see in the dark. "That's my girl." She felt his mouth latch on, sucking, and his fingers rubbing and probing, and then she was biting into her own arm to keep from screaming as her body convulsed. She climbed higher and higher still, farther than she'd ever been, and then she was sliding back down as he gentled his touch, and then all
was blackness.

The next thing she was aware of was his hands as they slid her jeans back over her hips, lifting her to accomplish it. Had she fallen asleep or blacked out? Did it matter?

He crawled up to lie beside her, pulling her into his arms. He was trembling.

"Sorry...went bye-bye there for a minute."

"Yes, pet, you surely did. Thought I'd killed you." His eyes glowed yellow and she knew he was laughing at her.

Her hands felt heavy and clumsy as she fumbled at his belt-buckle. "Your turn to be the cupcake."

"Hmm?" He looked puzzled.

"Ants on a cupcake, remember? Can't you keep track of your own clever analogies?" The belt undone, she struggled with the buttons.

"Analogies? Ducks, you've been hittin' the books!"

"Shhhh...lie still." He obeyed, clasping his hands behind his head and settling into a comfortable position. "I'm gonna see if I can wake the zoo again."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah. I like it when you go all "Animal Planet" on me. Makes me feel..."


"How'd you know that?"

"Isn't much about you I don't know, luv."

She smiled as his cock finally sprung free from it's fabric prison. "We'll see about that."

What neither of them saw were the second pair of yellow eyes and the hot red tip of a cigar glowing in the blackness not fifteen feet away.

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