All About Spike

Playing by the Rules
By Sofia

Sequel to Phone Calls

Summary: The demons within and the rules that guide them.

Whatís this? More B/S/A AU, post season 4 of AtS. I'm ignoring season 7 of BtVS. What happened? Buffy and Spike have worked out their problems and live happily together in Sunnydale. Angel comes to visit from time to time. (If you want to know the details youíll have to read the other stories but this is enough.)

Authorís Note: Season 4 of BtVS just finished airing here and "Restless" blew my mind. Comparing it with the events of season 7 there are glaring inconsistencies when it comes to The Slayer's origins. So, I came up with this.

Disclaimer: Still not mine.

Thanks: to my B/A girls: Sept, who not only helped me overcome writer's block but also went way above and beyond and did some amazing beta work; Xana, who read through some really weird first drafts and still said "you go, girl!"; Chrislee, who I'm publicly blaming for the explicit B/A in this fic - you are an evil influence!

For Kita.

I live in the action of death, the blood cry, the penetrating wound. I am destruction. Absolute... alone. The Slayer does not walk in this world.

-- First Slayer, "Restless"

When you're a child, life is simple. The world is defined by a clearly marked set of rules that establish order and patterns.† You have a mother and a father and they love you. You drink your milk, go to bed when you're told, behave yourself. As you grow up you try to keep the foolish faith that there are absolutes. You are the Chosen One. You are on the side of Good. Vampires are the enemy.

Buffy holds no such beliefs anymore. Her paradigms have changed often enough. She has learned to take these changes as they come. And trust herself to make the right decision.† With a bit of luck, she probably won't screw up too badly in the end.

Her life is, by her standards, remarkably normal. In a very odd, twisted way.† She tends not to over-analyse the fact that she's in love with two vampires. Because, one? Vampires.† And, two? Plural.†

She tries very hard to ignore the fact that sometimes her hands itch for the comfort of wood when they're around her, muscles straining with the repressed need to pummel into flesh that should have long ago turned to ashes. The rational part of her mind dismisses this urge - it's just the primal power within her, the ever-present pull for destruction.

Deep down she knows better. She even thinks about it. Sometimes.†

She feels strangely akin to these men. Locked away in a Pandora's box inside her lie the whys. The knowledge that there is pure, unadulterated bliss in the act of killing. That she's never quite as herself as when she surrenders to the dance of death, body singing the joy of completion as the dormant killer inside her awakens and she becomes the weapon she's meant to be.

Only twice before has she felt this bond. Kendra and Faith. Even her skin had screamed in recognition. Kindred. And the fellowship and trust she had shared with those women, her sisters, remains unparalleled. More than anyone else's, Faith's betrayal was the one that hurt her the most. And that's her reminder, if one was ever needed, that utter surrender is the path to madness.

Every night she fights her battles on two fronts. With the demons outside. And with the demons within.†††

She thinks it's similar to what both of them experience.

Vampires with souls? They are the ultimate freaks of nature, always teetering on the brink of worlds. A mystery unto their own. She is the privileged watcher.

She has learned to question the nature of things. Appearances are deceiving.

Spike is a thing of beauty. Perfection made flesh and flesh made eternity. Moves like a jungle cat, predatory and sinuous, flare of hips and easy stride, all swagger and sensuousness. Yet, in sleep he looks like an innocent. Stripped of leather and attitude, he is such a small man.

Buffy can't help noticing - they're all small, Angel's lovers. She remembers Drusilla's a waif of a girl. Like some kind of delicate crystal vase, she looked like she might break if moved too fast.† And Darla had been so lovely. So pretty she managed to look graceful even in her Catholic schoolgirl outfits. Dainty little Darla.

Lethal killers, all of them.†

She looks into the mirror hung behind the bedroom door. The one that only returns her own image. Dawn is gonna be so much taller than she is. Like their mother. She wonders what strange combination of genes clicked into place to make her look like this miniature of a woman. So slender and deceptively fragile.

Angel's arms surround her and she leans against his so much larger body, comforted by the familiar scent of soap and leather and blood. So solid. So real. She closes her eyes because her mirror always lies.†

Did he hold them like this too?

What was it like back in the day? Are they that different?

Occasional flash of amber tiger-eyes, Angel's hand curls possessively in the nape of Spike's neck. Sometimes, Spike shrugs himself loose. "Hands the fuck off!" And sometimes, he drops back his head, exposing the throat, lidded eyes and seductive smile.

Like some obscure ancient language, the codes of their relationship remain ciphered.

The angels in her bed are of the fallen kind.†

There are hints here and there.

The gaze of adoration when Spike moves within her is still the same. He holds on to her like a shipwreck survivor marooned on undreamed island. Faintest tinge of dark despair in the poetry of his voice. "Love you, love you, love you...."

What will he hold onto once she's gone? She fears his soul won't save him, fragile, dangerous blend of strength and weaknesses he is.†

"You'll take care of Dawn if something happens to me."

"Sworn it before. Still holds, pet."

"You will never ever turn her."

"I wouldn't! How can you think that?!"

He stares at her incredulously, as if she's gone mad.† She doesn't doubt he believes his own words. But the heart has reasons reason knows nothing about. And he's a slave to his.

Angel is more secretive now than ever before. When she asks about the agency, he says all is well and doesn't elaborate. Says he doesn't like to talk about work, that he comes to Sunnydale for peace. Some measure of it, anyway. Doesn't sound like a lie, but she can tell it's not the whole truth either.

Lately he doesn't seem in control of his emotions. He acts strangely. Fiercely protective, for one. She picks up his signature, that special tingling in the back of her spine, at random occasions while she and Spike are out patrolling. He jumps in mid-fight, snarling, and turns to them in the end to check out if they've been injured, hands and eyes roaming over their bodies and turning them this way and that. The first three or four times it happened, Spike rolled his eyes, made a big show of hating it, muttered "poof" and let him do it anyway. Buffy had just giggled.

Until the day they had to restrain him to keep him from ripping to shreds some demon that had been lucky enough to get in a particularly nasty blow to Spike's face, splitting his lip. Nothing much, really.†

"Leave it be, Angel! It's dead!"

It took the two of them combined to haul him off the carcass.

His moods shift abruptly.

Soft rain of cool kisses down her thighs changes suddenly to the scrape of fangs.

"You smell like him. He tastes of you." He moves up her body and pushes inside her with little care." You think I don't see you? The looks you trade?"

She tries to concentrate on his words through the haze of lust.

"Been fucking my boy while I'm away, Buffy? Trying to take him from me?"

"What? Angel, what... oh God... yes...." And then trying to focus "I mean, no!"

"No? Not fucking him? Trying to tell me he doesn't do this to you?"† Tongue liking the shell of her hear, hand reaching between their bodies, searching, finding and pleasure bolts through her. Ridges brushing her cheek and that voice, so close, so intimate.

"I know when he wants you. And I can tell when you want him." The low rumble of a growl reverberates through her. "Are you thinking of him now, lover?"

She freezes for a moment and then throws him off her, shoving him away violently.

"What's the matter with you?" Screaming, angry. She feels her hands close into fists, black tide rising, threatening to engulf her.

But there are tears in his eyes. She unclenches her hands and reaches for him, caresses his face. Gently.

"What, Angel? Tell me. Whatever it is you can tell me."

He looks so broken.

"I can't lose you, Buffy. I can't lose him, either."†

"But you won't, Angel, you won't. We're right here."

He dreams of flowers and of a man with an Irish name. Always the same name, whispered with such sadness. Another one of his ghosts? She doesn't have the heart to ask him. She made that mistake before.

But he wakes up shaking and once, he did the weirdest thing. She was only half awake and perhaps he thought she was asleep, breath and heartbeat not betraying her, still even and slow. He turned to Spike and burrowed his face into his chest and inhaled deeply. Scenting him. And then he whispered. "Blood of my blood." Very quietly, like he was ashamed. Later, she had wondered. What did he have to be ashamed of?†

After that, she tried to get some information. She even did a search on the Internet but what she came up with didn't tell her much.

'Connor - of Celtic/Gaelic origin, meaning: strong willed or wise; much wanted.'

Sooner or later they'll have to go to LA. Find out what's happening. In the meanwhile, let him keep his secrets. Because crushed between her and Spike, Angel foregoes his silence. He talks in moans and growls and sighs and there's no need for words. There are answers to all the important questions in the way he abandons himself, unguarded and wanting. There are answers in the magic of his blood, tasted only briefly in Spike's tongue. His soul already trusts them. Sooner or later, his mind will have to catch up.

If anyone were to ask her if she trusts them, the answer would be, "With my life". Which is probably not wise. The wise thing to do would be to stick to the rules. Kill them both.

But she was never very good at following rules. Or at giving up. She won't give up on them - no matter how reckless that decision may turn out to be. It would be like giving up on herself.†

"Come to bed, love."†

Come to think of it, she always did like to set her own rules.

I walk. I talk. I shop, I sneeze. I'm gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back. There's trees in the desert since you moved out. And I don't sleep on a bed of bones.

-- Buffy, "Restless"

~~ Finis ~~

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