Ten Years After

Chapter 16

Spike propped himself up on one elbow, so that he could look more easily at Dawn lying asleep in his bed. The flickering light from the tea-lights played across her skin, and their scents of sandalwood and vanilla hung heavily in the air. He breathed in deeply and considered all the other things he could smell as well.

Sex. The scent of sex under laid the sandalwood and vanilla, a mixture of hormones and pheromones in bodily secretions; spicy, musky, more savoury than sweet.

Dawn’s perfume; a mixture of florals and greens, now mixed with the scent of sex in the slight sheen of sweat on her body.

Dawn’s breath; hints of alcohol, salt from crisps, chocolate, toothpaste, and Spike. Hints of Spike from where she had run her tongue and teeth over his body and now mingled the scent of his earlier arousal with everything else she had tasted during the evening.

His own skin; harder to find because it was a scent that accompanied him all the time, but now slightly more earthy than usual, because of the sex.

Blood; closest his own, where Dawn had dug her fingernails into his shoulder. Further away the scent of slightly stale O+ where he had left his mug in the tiny dishwasher in the kitchen before he had gone for Dawn.

Clean sheets; cotton, detergent, lavender and aloe vera recreated chemically. Less obvious now than when he had put them on the bed before he had gone for Dawn.

Food; tomato, cheese, chocolate, salt, spices, un-named but numbered additives and preservatives.

Leather; his jacket, Dawn’s shoes, the chairs.

Fainter and fainter, further away, on the edge of awareness were petrol, garlic, dogs, cats, humanity.

He took in another deep breath, and concentrated on the scents of sex and Dawn.

There was no point wasting time sleeping when he could enjoy this time, looking at Dawn, and thinking.

The light was playing across her skin – perfect skin, like an advert for Olay. The shapes of muscles were highlighted by shadow – not a totally soft and feminine body but firm, well muscled, not as strong as…yeah, OK, not as strong as her sister’s, but not so fragile that he worried about hurting her. Especially since her remark after the first time – ‘If you’d hurt me I’d have said ‘ouch’ instead of ‘ooh’!’ Tonight there had been quite a lot of ‘ooh!’, and no ‘ouch’ – no, he didn’t worry about always having to hold back and be gentle, and, to be honest, he was glad about that.

Not that he wanted another relationship like the one with Buffy had been for so long – hard, hard, hard, fast, fast , fast, orgasms, hurt and pain with no tender gestures allowed. During the final days at Sunnydale things had been different, but then it always seemed as if she was trying so hard to be tender that what little sexual contact they had had felt as if she was holding back, and he didn’t think she’d found it very satisfying.

This was different. Tenderness and romance were acceptable in this relationship, but he was fairly sure that there would be times in the future when ‘quick, hard, now’ would be the order of the day, and fragile though the figure beside him looked at first, he was sure she could give as good as she would get. This was going to be a relationship of equals, and Spike realised that he’d never really been in a relationship like that before – in all his long years.

Well – the one with Ilona was a meeting of equals, but he didn’t think it really counted – romance it was not. Not that he was sure that he was going to give that one up – not for a few years anyway, if he could avoid it – Ilona was a way of being independent for him, just as Dawn’s job was for her!

Yvette, though, he had already gently disentangled himself from. Last night after he had left Dawn asleep, he had paid one last visit to his blood technician, and explained that he was “leaving the research project and returning to England in a few days time”.

He had given her a small necklace of blue stones. (“Just like your eyes, William.” Yes he knew – he’d chosen that colour on purpose – it had seemed a suitably thoughtful gesture.) He would have kissed her goodbye and left at that point, but when she had asked for one last session he had obliged; in fact he’d made a point of doing a thorough job of it, but the contrast between that encounter, and the evening he had spent with Dawn just high-lighted how different things with Dawn were.

He hadn’t turned down the blood Yvette gave him “for whoever is taking on the research” but had taken it gratefully, including the extra, fresh, units she had added saying that she would log them as “unclearly labelled”. He wondered if she knew what he really wanted them for – he wasn’t sure any more.

But there would be no more from that source – he had fed well today, and would need no more for a day or two, but it would be ‘butchers’ best’ for the foreseeable future. A sacrifice worth making, to have this woman in his bed.

He listened. Dawn’s breathing, slow, steady.

Dawn’s heartbeat, a strong and rhythmical counterpoint to her breathing.

The clock in the bedroom, showing 3.26 a.m., ticking. Weird how they put a tick into battery alarm clocks – almost as if to reassure people before they go to sleep.

Soft electrical sounds from the living room and kitchen.

The distant heartbeats and breathing of the inhabitants of the apartment just above, and the sound of someone reaching orgasm in an apartment even higher up the building.

The sounds of the city outside. Cars, motorbikes, sirens, footsteps, dogs, people talking, a distant sense of an all night metro train passing through a tunnel somewhere.

He stopped reaching out, and enveloped himself again in the sounds of Dawn being alive.

He thought about the coming morning. Dawn going off to spend the day at Disneyland whilst he stayed here and watched television, read, slept. Shame he couldn’t go with her, some of the rides would have been fun, but there were things that you just couldn’t have and there was no point in spending time longing for the unobtainable. If he’d not become a vampire he’d not be here now, he’d have been long dead, after a fairly boring life. Being here now, with a purpose in life, was a balance for all the regrets.

Anyway, there were things that he could do with Dawn that would be fun – skinny-dipping at Versailles in the moonlight might not be viable, but other things were. Perhaps they could revisit some of the pleasanter memories of his humanity, and go to Cambridge. Not particularly to visit his old college, Sydney Sussex sounds more like an elderly aristocrat than an alma mater anyway; although perhaps on a wet, winter day, with a very big umbrella…

No, thoughts of skinny-dipping at Versailles had reminded him of one of the things he had done at Cambridge which had brought him guilty pleasure. Not that they called it skinny-dipping then; they had gone ‘moonlight bathing’, that earlier William and his friends. Moonlight bathing in the millpond at Granchester – he wondered if the students still did it now? These days it would be mixed bathing, of course, but all those years ago female students were a very new phenomenon, and William had hardly spoken to one throughout his entire university career.

Spike remembered, for the first time in well over a century, the feel of the cold water on his bare skin, and the way the moonlight had turned the bodies of his companions into moving marble statues. White – so pale they might have all been vampires. Of course then no-one ever went out without being entirely covered, in any weather, unless they were very poor workers, and so not even a hint of a tan on those upper class bodies.

Pale moonlight making the water that dripped from their bodies glint and shimmer as they left the pool. Cold water, William being glad that the water was cold, less possibility of his body betraying him and showing signs that his naked companions excited and aroused him. How embarrassed he had been by the sensations in his groin then. Spike smiled to himself. ‘Probably all felt exactly the same – all of us worried that we were un-natural. No idea what bloody un-natural could really mean then! Angelus gave me a good idea of bloody un-natural, but even that is all water under the bridge now. No hold over me now.’

Then he though ‘How the fuck did I get to Angelus? Well you big Irish lout you can piss off out of my brain – I’ve got much more pleasurable things to think about!’ And he looked down again at Dawn’s body still bathed in candle-light, and imagined taking her one summer night to the millpond at Granchester – new images to replace old ones – stops you ever growing too old.


***


Before Dawn left Spike’s apartment to take a taxi back to the hotel she had showered, and spent ten minutes doing a gentle work-out with the weights that she had seen in the corner of the bedroom the night before. Spike had said that he kept them for ‘when he hadn’t been to the gym for a while’, which had surprised her. “Might be a permanent twenty-something on a high protein diet, but there’s no need to get lazy, or a bit slow,” he’d pointed out, and Dawn agreed wholeheartedly – she was missing her work-outs herself, she realised, hence the ten minutes with the weights.

No, she’d explained, it was the idea of Spike as a member of a gym that she’d not thought about. “No reason why not – picked one I could access straight from the metro if I get my timing wrong, or I go in the evenings. Have to hold back a bit sometimes, but take the full weights and things when no-one’s looking – why not?” he’d answered and, when she’d got her head around it, why not indeed?

Actually Dawn had quite fancied watching Spike work out with the weights – but he’d told her he was leaving it for during the day, whilst she was at Disneyland – but he would be more than happy to watch her! “Yeah – well that would be one you’d owe me then!” she’d answered with a laugh, but the need to put some of the normality back into her life meant that she’d worked out anyway, and decided to check out the hotel gym – maybe tomorrow. Wouldn’t want to go home after a fortnight of French food and sight-seeing and find that Andrew could beat her in the training room!


***


Disneyland had turned out to be good fun; she had bumped into a couple of girls from Edinburgh in the first queue she’d joined, and had ended up spending the day with them. She had avoided swapping numbers or addresses with them though, rather sadly as they were really good company, but this was how life was going to be and so she’d decided that she might as well get used to it.

She had bought a Minnie Mouse hat for Thea, and assorted Disney mugs for Giles, Andrew and Willow to use at work; Eeyore for Giles, Jiminy Cricket for Andrew, and Minnie Mouse with an ear-shaped handle for Willow. (She congratulated herself on not buying any of the Wicked Witch type ones for Willow!). Then she had spotted a cat-dish with the Cheshire Cat on, and had to get that as well.

Spike was harder – somehow there was no way that she could see him in a Mickey mouse tee-shirt, although the idea of him drinking his blood out of a mug like a Winnie-the-Pooh honey pot did make her laugh. ‘Pity the Big Bad Wolf wasn’t Disney,’ she thought, ‘it would have fitted his Big Bad image!’ In the end she got him a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean 3’ tee-shirt, and a Tigger mug; because he had reminded her of Tigger when she had been much younger – and in some ways he still did.

Before leaving the gift shop she bought herself a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ night-shirt – thinking that it ought to amuse Spike.

Back at L’Hotel du Vieux Saule Dawn stashed stuff away and then decided to call Willow before Spike came around. “Hi Will. How are you?” she started. “I’ve just been to Disneyland, and I feel like a fifteen year-old – I had great fun! I did culture yesterday, when I went to Versailles, so I thought I could be silly today! How’s my favourite cat? I’ve bought him his own Disney dish.”

“Oh I am absolutely fine! Mhairi is staying here with me, although she’s out at the moment, and everything is good, really good!” Willow answered, sounding very pleased with herself.

“Oh yes? So you two getting down to the smoochies and things now? You sound like the cat that’s got the cream – am I getting happy vibes of the well satisfied in bed variety here Willow?” Dawn demanded.

“Um, yes, since you ask! She’s got such a lovely mind, she’s warm and we’re so close with the magic and … things,” came the answer.

“Lovely mind! Ha! Lovely curves, and soft bits as well, Willow Rosenberg! Just ‘cos it’s not what turns me on doesn’t mean I can’t see what turns you on, and I’m really pleased for you. I’m getting my happies, and so I want you to be getting yours as well. You want me to buy you some sexy French undies while I’m here?” Dawn asked, with a hint of laughter in her voice.

“Well there is a lovely shop only a few minutes away from where you are… they do do some lovely silk stuff, I’ve got a cream basque from there, but basques are really more a male thing … if you see what I mean!” Willow finished, laughing at the possible misunderstanding of what she had said.

“Oh Willow! No! I cannot even begin to imagine Spike in a basque – eek! When he comes around tonight I’ll not be able to look at him without getting the giggles, and how can I possibly explain? You have so totally ruined my romantic evening, you, you, you Witch you! I should buy you day-glo pink or acid yellow scanties now, just to make you sorry!” Dawn gasped, tears of laughter running down her cheeks.

Eventually both women stopped laughing and got their breath back. “So, you and Spike – cool then?” Willow asked.

“Well not so much cool as hot! Well as hot as a poikilothermic organism can get – which is pretty warm actually, when the bed gets hot! No, really we’re fine. We kind of understand where we are with each other now, and it is going to be good. He says he will always be around for me, and I know that he will. I just feel so much better about myself since I got together with Spike, I’m getting ready to come home and get on with researching myself with no worries.” Dawn answered.

They talked for a few minutes more, and then Dawn remembered to ask Willow what she’d thought of the photo of Dawn and Spike before their night at the Folies Bergeres.

“What photo? You didn’t send me one did you? I haven’t got it anyway. Send it again – I ‘d love to see you all dressed up, and Spike in a tuxedo – I really must see Spike in a tuxedo,” Willow said, without realising that she had totally stunned Dawn.

“Oh no! I definitely sent it! I’ll send it again though, right away,” she said, sounding somewhat distracted.

Inside Dawn was thinking “Oh fuck! I can’t have. I really can’t have been that stupid can I?” Because the person before Willow on her phone list was Giles, and he hadn’t mentioned getting a photo, so she must have sent it to the next person after Willow instead.

Two days ago.

Shit.


***


  • Chapter 17

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.