"Winged cupid painted blind"
-- William Shakespeare
Something twisted inside Spike as he watched Buffy lose consciousness. Unbidden, his hand moved forward to touch her hair then he snatched it back as if he had been burned. 'Just do this quick,' he told himself, 'while she's still out.' He knew just how fast a Slayer could recover, even from the worst injuries, and he didn't want her coming around and instinctively trying to kill him before he was done. And this way she wouldn't feel any pain...
Ignoring the irony of the thought of a vampire wanting to spare a Slayer pain, Spike unrolled a length of bandage and moved closer to her. He had begun keeping a small supply of bandages and other such when he had started getting staked, shot, and stabbed on a regular basis. 'Never thought I'd be using it on her though,' he thought grimly. Then, no longer hesitating, he picked up a nearby bottle of alcohol, uncorked it with his teeth, and tossed a substantial amount of the fluid over her wounds.
Buffy stirred, moaning, as the alcohol ran over her bare arm and shoulder, washing away much of the blood and revealing the full extent of the damage to Spike. He stared at it for a moment. Three deep parallel gashes ran down the length of her arm, starting near the collarbone and ending just above the back of her wrist while another, lighter slash ran across the back of her left hand.
Even as he watched blood welled up again in the cuts...and as quickly as that, bloodlust was surging within him like a tidal wave, blurring his vision and filling his senses. Spike's fangs descended unconsciously as the reality of the situation struck home. The Slayer was here, unconscious and helpless, her blood dripping down the side of the tomb, the scent of her filling the air. It was everything he had ever dreamed of, everything he had wanted since he had first come to Sunnydale. To sink his teeth into her, to feel her convulse around him while he drank her lifeblood, to go over that dark precipice with her in his arms... It would be so easy. All he had to do was bend his head and drink, to sink his fangs into the perfection of her throat and...
Only...he couldn't. Even though the very core of his being was screaming at him to just take her, his body aching with raw desire...he couldn't. Something inside wouldn't let him. And it wasn't the chip in his head either. Spike shook his head, trying to force his face to resume its human form, trying to will the bloodlust away. Just then, Buffy stirred, her head turning to one side, unconsciously baring even more of her throat to him. The vampire gulped then ran his tongue over his fangs. On the other hand, he could still have just a taste. Just a little. He had wanted, no, needed this for so long, and it wouldn't hurt her, not really... Unable to resist the craving still tearing through him, Spike slowly leaned forward, losing himself in the scent of her blood...
...then yelped as a shaft of blinding agony tore through him. Spike jumped backwards, almost falling, clutching his head with both hands as his lust and hunger turned instantly to fury. And, not for the first time, his self-control threatened to slip. It would be so easy to give into the rage that almost consumed him every time he thought about the chip in his head, to fight against it until it killed him... But he wouldn't. He wouldnt. No, he was smarter, stronger than that. And he wouldn't give them the satisfaction.
Besides, there was the Slayer to think about.
She needed him.
Shaking, Spike leaned on the tomb, eyes shut and fingers clenched, one hand on either side of the unconscious Buffy. Waiting. Finally, his fangs receded and the desire quieted. Just a little. But enough. With hands that were shaking only slightly, he poured more alcohol over her wounds then began to wrap the bandage around her wrist, trying to take his mind off...other things.
She was lucky the demon had got her on the back of the arm, Spike decided as he worked his way upward, his seething emotions finally beginning to cool. If it had clawed her on the inside of her wrist and hit the veins... Well, she'd be dead by now. End of story. Would probably have bled to death out there in the rain. Spike's heart contracted at the thought and another tremor went through him, one that had nothing at all to do with the chip in his head this time. He glanced up at her ashen face and his jaw tightened. She was so beautiful, so helpless, so...
'So likely to sit up and break this bottle over my flipping head,' Spike thought, self-derision lancing through him. The Slayer was about as fragile and breakable as a jungle cat. A cranky, bad-tempered jungle cat.
Except she was blind. And either completely suicidal, or near enough as made no odds. The bands around Spike's heart tightened even more. She had come here to die and as soon as she woke up she'd probably be heading back out into the night to finish the job...unless he did something about it. But what? For an instant the surreal -- and incredibly erotic -- image of tying her up with the spare set of chains and holding her here until she came to her senses, was pretty damned appealing...on a multitude of levels.
Nevertheless, he discarded the notion. Enjoyable as it might be, it wasn't very practical. She'd break free and stake him. Her friends would show up and stake him. Someone would show up and stake him. Guaranteed. Whichever way he played it in his mind, every scenario still ended up with him as a big pile of dust. Spike cast a quick glance down the length of the Slayer's body, taking in the smooth skin and lacy bra, the blood pulsing just beneath the paleness of her throat...and swallowed deeply. 'Might be worth it in the long run though,' he thought unsteadily.
* * *
Spike tied off the bandage and stood back to survey his handiwork. The Slayer was looking a lot better -- and slightly less mouth-watering -- now that she wasn't bleeding all over the place. Not that he wouldn't bite her in a heartbeat...if he could. But he couldn't, so he might as well think about something else. Like what he was going to do with her.
'Can't let her go back out there,' he thought. Not tonight. He damned well would chain her up, if it came to that. She wouldn't stand a chance, alone and sightless. She'd be a nice snack for the first nasty that came along. And if he couldn't have her for dinner, then nothing else was bloody going to either.
Likewise, he couldn't just send her back to her so-called friends and family. They'd already proven they couldn't keep her safe, couldn't protect her from herself. Pillocks. No, if he took her back to them she'd end up just as dead. Maybe not tonight, but soon.
He had to do something. Unfortunately, nothing brilliant was coming to mind. Spike sighed then straightened, wincing as pain stabbed him again in his right side, then walked around the tomb and picked up his leather coat, surveying it for a moment. Blood, drying slowly now, coated the inner left side. Still, it was all he had in the way of a blanket, so it would have to do. Be just his sodding luck if she caught pneumonia, after all he'd done.
Walking stiffly so as not to further aggravate his injured side, the vampire picked up one of his spare black shirts then returned to the tomb and leaned over the Slayer. There was a bit more colour in her face but her skin was still cold to the touch. With another sigh, Spike began threading her unmoving arms through the sleeves of his shirt, trying not to do any further damage to her injuries. 'Hope you appreciate all this when you wake up,' he thought crossly.
* * *
Buffy was dreaming again. She was still underwater, but somehow the dark and cold seemed less frightening this time. Maybe because she could sense that she wasn't alone. There was someone in the darkness with her, someone who didn't mean her any harm. She didn't know how she knew. She just did. Buffy stretched out a hesitant hand -- and the sea answered it. It was ageless. Powerful. Inhuman. And...welcoming. For the first time in a very long while, she felt safe. Protected. Like she could just surrender to the waters around her and...
...and there was something above her. Buffy opened her eyes and looked up. A light was shining dimly in the distance, faint and golden, miles away above her head. She frowned. Was she supposed to try to reach it? It was too far, she would never make it. She would drown first...
The moment that thought entered her mind, the Slayer was suddenly aware of her body's raging need for air. Fear tore through her. She didn't belong here. She had to get to the surface...or die. Fighting down the panic inside her, she began to swim upward, her eyes focused on the distant light. Around her she sensed consternation, concern - and something else -- from the being nearby, but she ignored it. It wasn't important. Nothing was. Only reaching the surface...
The light was too far away. She wasn't going to make it. Already her lungs were burning, her heart pounding, her limbs weakening. And the undertow had returned, trying to pull her deeper again, preventing her escape. Buffy struggled desperately, risking a quick look at the darkness below. It was powerful and endless, and she knew that if she gave into it she would be lost. Forever. With one final, desperate lunge, she threw herself to one side, breaking the thing's grasp on her and...
...and landing with a jarring thud on hard earth. She could see nothing in the darkness, but sensed instantly that somebody -- some thing -- was standing over her. 'Vampire!' her Slayer senses screamed...and adrenaline flooded her system. In a heartbeat she had gathered her feet beneath her and was surging to her feet, vaguely aware of pain in her left arm. The vampire took a step toward her...and the Slayer came up fighting for her life.
Continued in Part 6