Chapter Rating: NC17
Chapter Notes: Finally, angst starts to be worked through. *eyes the
television* Hear that, ME?
Anya found it surprisingly easy to think of words for how she felt, considering the low gear her brain was stuck in. Languid. Sated. Just a bit nauseous. Looking around at the plates scattered around and on top of the tray, she realized that she probably shouldn't have gorged herself. But then, she had no boyfriend and no wedding dress to fit into, so why not?
She craned her neck down the length of the bed and her body on top of it to see the slight swell of her abdomen. Money was inside the room's safe. Food was in her stomach, so much that it pushed out. She smiled and ran her hands lightly over the curve, rubbing the Buddha belly for luck.
The door sliding open made her look up. Spike opened his mouth, then frowned and looked down at her. "Did you answer the door naked like that?"
Happy sigh at the softness of the pillows. "Yes, why? It's a hotel, they must see a lot of people naked. This is where people come to have affairs, after all." Some niggling detail tugged at her memory. Something very important.
"No reason." There Spike went, being all amused. She'd gotten used to it over the summer, but not without an undercurrent of mocking. That was good.
It wasn't nice to mock a woman who was naked and stuffed to bursting with Belgian waffles.
Realization, painful like lightning, shot through her brain. Anya jerked up and bit back a groan at the sensations it caused. "I forgot to give a tip!" Had she forgotten so much so quickly? The wage structure of service employees was based around the expectations of tips, and the prices were adjusted accordingly. Such a simple concept in American life, and she'd already screwed it up. Life on the road.
"Was it a bloke?"
She thought back. "Yeah."
"Trust me, pet." He sat next to her and stabbed a waffle fragment with a convenient fork. "You gave him a tip."
"Oh." Anya smiled broadly. She hadn't lost her touch. Back to the sheets, then, complete with a cat-like stretch. Pride bubbled up in small bursts as she saw Spike raise an appreciative eyebrow at the motion. Skin slid against cotton as another niggling realization fought its way to the surface. "Um. I don't have any clothes."
"I noticed," he said as a bit of syrup dripped off the fork. It fell onto her stomach in a trio of maple drops, which he wiped off with the pad of his thumb.
The smile on his face when he licked it off was too appreciative to just come from the taste.
"I mean, I don't have any clothes besides what I left in. We just packed at your place, remember?"
"Oh, right. So go shopping."
She flopped over onto her stomach and grabbed the bit of paper she'd scratched out notes on the previous night. Not until this was done had she been able to fall asleep, despite the extremely pleasant post-shower glow. "I think it will take approximately three weeks for the shop to sell from the time when I call Giles-" Why hadn't she called him yet? "-upon which I should receive an immediate payment of five thousand dollars, assuming we split the down payment equally. Some of that might go to selling costs, but..." She happily droned away, lost in the world of financial planning.
"...Which means that, assuming we spend our nights in a hotel this expensive or less, I have eight hundred and forty-nine dollars for disposable, non-food spending." She finally looked up to Spike. He was just staring and blinking.
"Uh, yeah. You should go spend that, then."
She hopped out of bed. Hopped? Yes, she decided, she did indeed hop. Like a grasshopper or a frog or some other springy animal which was not cursed with beady eyes and twitchy noses. Heavy feet were less so now, and a heavy heart had a renewed sense of purpose: to shop.
After helping Spike gather up the dishes and deposit them in the hall, she tugged on her pants and hunted for her top. She made a face when she found it wrinkled with the pain of heartbreak and a thousand miles of travel. Her traveling companion glanced at the shirt, retreated from the room, then returned with a new one in hand.
Big, but not too big. Anya smiled gratefully as she worked through the buttons. Girlfriends were supposedly required to wear their boyfriend's shirts, but the size difference between her and Xander had been too great.
Swimming in a Hawaiian shirt wasn't cute and casual, it was just plain sloppy.
No hairdryer, so she worked her hair into a loose bun and plunged a courtesy ballpoint into the mass to hold it in place. No makeup, so she let the smile she was starting to truly feel shine through to make up for it. She looked critically at herself in the mirror. Casual, unpolished, and infinitely non- Californian. Xander had only complimented her when she was in a cute little scrap of filmy nothing that would look good on a Hollywood starlet.
Anya thought she looked perfect. She turned around to get a second opinion, only to blink in surprise. Spike was already sound asleep in the bed she'd vacated, even after the night's rest. Huh.
Quietly, very quietly, she gathered up her funds and slipped out the front door to contribute to the engines of capitalism.
* * * * *
Three years. Ever since being pulled down into that pit of clean white tiles and blankfaced doctors, he'd never been able to truly sleep. Forced to sleep in his enemies' homes, forced to keep one ear open for demons gunning for the traitor, forced to stay alert for his door slamming open in either demands for information or emotion-free desires.
He'd known in the summer of nightmares that he was tired, but not until falling into this bed had he realized that he'd been tired for three years. It had just been too subtle and bone-deep to notice. Predators were aware of their surroundings, even in sleep, but he'd been as much hunted as the hunter.
How did gazelles stand always looking out for the lions?
No one was coming for him now, though. The thought should have disappointed him, but it just filled him with a quiet relief. So Spike laid his head against the pillow and slept.
* * * * *
They had best stay in the Northwest for a good long while, Anya decided. At least, they'd better take the northern route to wherever they went next. She'd fallen in love with sweaters. No one here sold backless shirts or cotton dresses, they sold lambswool sweaters and buttery leather jackets. A few more shirts, some jeans and khakis, and the basic toiletries had rounded out her shopping excursion.
People smiled at her and said hello as they passed going down the sidewalk.
How infinitely peculiar. Half a day in the town and they already made this tourist destination feel more like home than Sunnydale. Little flashes of long- remembered anger were in everyone she passed, but then, that was normal. Every human possessed those dark memories and wishes for revenge. They were just much quieter here, where the Hellmouth didn't amplify those dark urges to serve as a homing beacon for her kind.
What did finally draw her attention away from the afternoon constitutional was not vengeance, but a familiar sound that sent her stomach to rumbling. She looked around until she found the source of the noise, put on her most openly happy face, and strode towards it.
"Hello, little girl." Anya smiled down at her. The geography of the human world might escape her, but she'd watched enough Nick at Nite with Xander to know when she was looking at cloying Americana. Cherubic cheeks dimpled as the pigtailed darling returned the greeting.
Mindful of her new pants, she kneeled down next to the girl's wares. Well, that was hardly the right word, as the handmade sign said her goods were going for free. Plaintive mewls arose in response to her new position.
"They like you!" the girl cheered. "Do you like cats?"
"Oh, I love kittens," Anya assured her. Wasn't even a lie, was it? "Can I have two?"
"Really? Sure! Just pick out the ones you want!" Not too successful had the girl proven in unloading her felines, that she was sure of. Only when the Box had taken far below its typical receipts did Anya start to show that much enthusiasm at one sale.
She didn't waste a moment in picking up the two bits of fluff that crowded her hands first. "Hello, kittens," she chirped to them. Cradled in her elbows, they fruitlessly bumped noses against her skin until finally giving in to sleep.
"Aww, they like you. Are you gonna keep them, or are they for someone else?"
"For both of us," she grinned. This town really did have wonderful shopping.
* * * * *
"You got kittens?"
"I figured you'd drain them, then I'd eat them. The meat's more of a demon delicacy than a vampire, right?"
Spike sat up in bed as he dangled one of the fluffballs by the scruff of its neck. It stared back at him with huge blue eyes, then swatted at his nose. He scowled at it. "How'd you get 'em in, anyway? Not thinking this place has a rule in the books to let you bring in live snacks."
"Just plopped a sweater on top of them." Purr purr, went the tiny figure on her lap as she skritched under its chin. "Aren't they cute?"
Spike eyed her. "Uh, suppose so. For food, you know."
"Oh, right, for food." The kitten started to climb up her top, so Anya leaned back to facilitate the trip. "I didn't realize something as fluffy as a bunny could be so cute."
If a vengeance demon was going this ridiculously soft, there was no hope for any of them. "Anya... Anyanka... pet... you know what happens if you play with your food, right?" His only response was for her to start petting the snack again, so he sighed and tried again. "Aren't you supposed to be the scourge of men across the planet? The unrighteous fear you, and so on through the whole spiel?"
"Oh, I am. I definitely am." Pet, purr. "Spike?"
He sighed. "Yeah?"
"I don't wanna eat the kittens."
A groan escaped him. Couldn't have made that any easier to see coming if a siren had been mounted on top. He looked very seriously at the kitten dangling in his grasp and made sure no worrisome similar feelings were running through him. Not a one, thank you. He didn't feel the slightest twinge of anything but hunger as he looked at those huge, blue eyes the same color as Dawn's.
"Oh, fuck." He flopped back against the pillows.
"Sad, isn't it?" Anya asked. And she meant it.
Spike just lay there for a long while, feeling disgusted with himself, with his roommate, Ms. Demon-That-Wasn't, and generally fed up with his lot in unlife. "This is bloody pathetic."
"It really is."
The kittens were released to play with each other on the bedspread as the two non-quite-heartless demons looked in resignation at each other. Resignation to their fate of being corrupted forever by their association with humans. It was, after all, a two-way street.
"Well," Anya finally said. "Guess this means I'm not all evil again."
Spike quirked at eyebrow at her. "Coulda told you that already. Real evil would've stuck it out in Sunnydale until your ex got exactly what he deserved.
I'm thinking weeping sores, a lot of 'em."
"That's good. I... I didn't want to be evil." She ducked her head. "I think... I think I need to get out of the vengeance gig."
Platinum blonde shot off the pillows. Now this was a surprise. "What was that?"
"At the wedding. One of my old targets was behind everything. I'd hurt him so much, and he destroyed my wedding for revenge. I try to get revenge on Xander, and wind up fleeing town. Every time I think about it, I just start worrying about how it's going to come back around to me. How much are the people I target really going to be hurt." She sighed heavily and let her chin fall into her waiting palm. "Guilt sucks."
"Yeah," Spike muttered. He had to find a way to tell Niblet goodbye.
"Does that mean you're not going to bite anyone? If the chip came out?" Shock must be flashing like neon, because she quickly amended, "Normal bitey vampires don't feel any guilt, right? And you had human friends. I know that normal bitey vamps never ever ever hang around with humans." She cocked her head to the side. "Or you could go be one of those bitejob vamps."
Couldn't help it; he shuddered. The images brought up by that idea would probably haunt him for days. "No thanks. Rather stake myself than be paid to bite."
"So you wouldn't bite anyone," she said. "Okay. Just wondering."
Fingers rubbed at his aching temples. Girl had her own brand of logic, from point A to point Y in a hop. "I'm a vampire, in case you've forgotten. Sorta what I'm here for."
Anya just shrugged. "Well, I'm a vengeance demon. It's even in the name, but I can hold myself back. I thought only minions, and young ones to boot, couldn't control bloodlust."
He wanted to back things up and go at things again. This conversation was not happening. Not after three years of being reminded how he was evil, that he was a vampire, and that he'd never be anything more was another demon telling him she saw a change. It was just too damned weird. "Hold up. You're saying you think I'd be all... good if I got this chip out?"
"Oh please, Spike. You'll never be good. It'd bore you. And I can see you deciding to be evil, sure. But you like people and you like fighting hostile demons. I know you like the fight, I've watched you patrol. Really makes more sense to live with the people you like and fight the people who're better enemies, right?" She sounded like it was the most obvious thing in the world, never mind that it was like handing over a mirror that showed his reflection.
"Huh," was all he could say. "Got a point there, I suppose."
Bloody Twilight Zone.
They just sat there for a few minutes, running the events of the last few minutes through their head. It was Spike who finally broke the silence.
"So... we've got two kittens in a no-pets room, who'd be bear snacks in ten minutes if we scooted them outside. Thinking there should be a limit to guilt."
Anya looked at the merrily playing fluffballs. "Well, when you put it that way."
* * * * *
"So you'll clean up?" she asked as she picked at her teeth with a bone.
"Next time I go hunting, yeah." Spike carefully gathered up all evidence of their snack. No need to tip of these blissfully ignorant people about the eating habits of their more unusual guests. The effort brought the sight of Anya's purchases to his eyes and he smiled faintly. "Well, someone had a good time."
"You know what's surprising? I did have a good time. I mean, I had a really good time. I went shopping and bought things that I liked--I now own comfortable underwear--and no one knew me, but everyone was nice. It wasn't all, ooh, is some big Hellmouthy threat coming up? Ooh, is Willow going to mock me with poor imitations of my speech patterns?" Anya paused in her speech and smiled. "I had a good time."
"That's great, pet. Glad to see your world's looking up."
"I am an independent woman who understands the importance of fulfilling my own needs in order to become a more stable partner for future relationships."
Spike blinked at her. Twice.
"You were still asleep when I got back, so I watched Oprah. That's a great show. I should have kept a television in the shop. Have you ever watched it?"
"What? No, I bloody well have not."
"I'm worth it," she said to herself. "I'm worth indulging myself, and I'm equal in whatever I do." Determined nod. "No matter what anyone says."
He caught the hint of pain behind that. Anya was more practical about emotions than anyone he'd ever met, but a person could only move so fast. She might be feeling better, but she wasn't healed, not by a long shot.
"You're absolutely worth it." Spike motioned for her to strip off her sweater. She did so, folding it into a neat square before returning to a cross- legged seat in front of him in jeans and a camisole. Making a point to search every inch of her form from toes to the crown of her head, he quietly said, "You're a beautiful woman, Anya. Brave as all hell and smarter than anyone gave you credit for."
She ducked her head, but he could see the smile building there. Just as he was about to add more, she murmured, "And I'm sorry I never stuck up for you.
When they talked about trust and who they could, I just stayed-"
Fingers to the lips, always an effective gag. Gentle, sexy, and effective.
"Shh. Shh, luv. It's all right. No need to apologize in return for the compliment. Wasn't fishing for one." He trailed his hands along the sides of her face, gently sliding them down to the curve where shoulders met neck.
Strong tendons there tensed, then relaxed as he began a slow massage.
Moaning slightly, she relaxed into the cool touch. The girl's body heat soaked into Spike, moreso when blood began to rise to just under the surface of well-tanned skin. He worked his hands slowly, carefully. Softer skin than Buffy's, without the scars. Still with that too-taut feeling, though. He had to get some food and lasting happiness into her.
Her back arced slowly but definitely, tilting her breasts outwards and upwards towards his touch. Baby isn't shy. Satin fell around hardening nipples, displaying the arousal he felt and smelled. Were she Dru, she'd make impatient noises and want him to be rougher. Harmony, and she'd be babbling about how much she loved massages, her sister was a masseuse. Buffy, she'd let him work out all her tension but keep her eyes closed during it.
Not Anya. She titled her head back up, a knowing smile playing across her face as his thumb flickered across one of the satin-coated nubs. Shoulders rotated like a dance, pressing the breast further into his hand, then completely free. Arms crossed in that typically female fashion as she grabbed the hem of the camisole and lifted it over her head in one smooth motion. That same knowing, anticipatory smile grew on her face.
Spike moved to place his hands back on her willing form, only to be surprised by her pushing onto his lap. Now her hips were doing the deliberate rotation, grinding against his groin. He groaned and found that several seconds passed before he could focus on anything but the warmth of her body against his rapidly hardening length.
She pushed harder against him, practically bucking even as she moved with a dancer's grace. Eyes rolling back, Spike groaned again. The woman was still someone men should live in awe and fear of. Middle Eastern dancers could only dream of that motion.
"Not so fast, pet," he found it in him to say before the proceedings got too lopsided. Hands on her shoulders to slow the motions of her lapdance, he lowered his head to her breast and deliberately circled the nipple with his tongue. Glancing up, he saw that her brown eyes had turned the shade of dark chocolate, rich and long-lasting. Now he was the one smiling as he licked again and softly blew across the resultant moisture.
Squirming in his grasp, and after such a short time. This would be better than with liquor. No frenzy, no focus on satisfying their own needs and hurts.
He could bring a woman pleasure without bringing pain along in the bargain.
That thought at the back of his mind set his hands to undoing the buttons of her fly, pushing the soft denim down her legs.
Determined to set the pace so she didn't push things towards his satisfaction again, he leaned forward to press her against the bed. Nimble fingers worked at his shirt as he pulled Anya's pants free, hooking his fingers around lilac silk as she bared his chest. Just as her fingers moved towards his own pants, he yanked free the last bit of her clothing, pressing the heel of his palm firmly against her warm-wet mound.
The pressure made her gasp. Formerly nimble digits forgot their efforts to bring him to a matching nude state, at least for a moment. That was all Spike needed to move his palm down, teasing the tender lips with wide, non- penetrating pressure while his fingers began to work around the center of her pleasure.
Her knees rose up on either side of his chest, locking him in place. Rise to the occasion, baby, he thought as she pushed up into the teasing motions, demanding more. He just smiled and slowed down. Gonna make this last, make up for last time.
"Spike?" Breathless, drawn out. Just the way he wanted to hear his name called.
"Yeah, baby?" he purred as he stroked, circled, teased.
"Enough foreplay. I want you in me now," she demanded. "I can get--oh God!-- off from it. Want it. Now."
"Ooh, bossy." He leaned forward, looking for all the world like he was going to comply with her order. Sounds like the girl wasn't used to relinquishing control. At least she wasn't shy about saying what she wanted. He teased wine red lips open with his fingers, delicately and reverently. Always a pleasure and a privilege, bringing that look to a woman's face.
Just when she thought she'd be filled, he instead slid backwards between her knees and replaced fingers with tongue. A flick upwards made her buck like before, but without the controlled grace. Just heat and need. He worked her slowly, ignoring the pressure that was building towards pain inside his rapidly constricting pants.
His name fell like a waterfall from her, both in thanks and in pleading. Only when it became more desperate than pleasured did he finally pull away to remove the last piece of clothing between them. He stretched out on top of her, trying to contain his own desperate needs to make sure hers were filled. Gonna do this right.
"That what you wanted?" he asked as he nibbled at her ear. His cock brushed the soft, peach-wet curls, and her knees wrapped around him again. She groaned yes, and he tugged lightly at soft neck flesh with blunt teeth. More teasing, more extensions of the pleasure.
"Sorry to rush things," Anya said in the midst of his nuzzling, just before she flipped him completely over in a display of her recovered strength.
Glorious she was, straddling him like that: uninhibited, enthusiastic, and completely in the moment. "But I did ask."
She mounted him quickly, taking his length in one practiced stroke. Both mouths fell open in silent yells of pleasure, and Spike thought he might crumble to ash. Hotter than humans, demons were. Hotter than he'd ever imagined, like the sun on his skin without the pain. No, with pain, but with that pleasure-pain mix that was even harder to fight than pure gratification.
Each of her long, measured movements was accompanied by a clench of her inner muscles. Fuck, but the girl had been practicing. Tears beaded in the corner of Spike's eyes as she pulled him towards release, no matter what pace he wanted to set. Burning hot burning pleasure fuck fuck FUCK.
It was all he could do to bring his hand back up to her curls and resume his earlier teasing. She did let out a scream then, loud enough to scare off any animals foolish to be near the window. Her movements doubled their speed, now making Spike be the one to babble out her name in mindless need. She pulled at him, then again, then one last time, her whole body tensing from the strength of her efforts.
He shot into her with a yell mingled with a roar, holding her hips close as he turned completely inside out and lost himself in this woman. She clenched one last time with that practiced move, then clutched desperately at his shoulders, arms, anything to anchor her as she began to shudder around him.
Time slowed into pleasant, languid nothingness as they laid there, still interlocked. Anya's heat against his torso was the only thing holding his consciousness from flying away, even as the soft heat from her breath on his ear teased him towards sleep. Safe, real sleep.
Her lips curled against her cheek. He could feel the smile as she murmured, "Next time, just listen to me the first time I ask."
He smiled back at her; well, at the ceiling, but the intent was there.
"Should know I never do what I'm told."
Laughter. Honest, pleased laughter, colored and warmed by their guilt free actions. Anya slid off to his side, but then curled back up next to him. Her leg wrapped around his, her head went on his shoulder, and her hand tugged the sheet back up around them. Just one go, then. Fair enough. "You're not a normal vampire," she sleepily whispered.
"Make the matched set, then."
She snuggled up closer. "I think you can do it."
He kissed her lightly on the forehead. "Same with you, luv."
With the moonlight still dancing across them, they fell happily asleep.
Continued in Chapter 6