Monday, 22 February 2016

What you want (Chapter 1)

There was a feeling niggling at her and she couldn't quite figure it out. She lay, panting, in the ruins of the crypt with her lover wondering about it. She was distracted by his quiet laughter as he looked at the destruction around them and his related comment on the pointlessness of ever decorating. She teased him about his efforts so far. "Is that what you call adding a few candles and a TV? Decorating?"
"Hey!" He tried to look offended but due to his air of lazy satisfaction it lacked conviction. "I'll have you know I spent a long time looking round the dump for that TV!"
She smiled and looked away. As she did he gazed at her, taking in every detail. Had she asked him, he'd have been able to describe exactly how he felt. Happy, grateful, intimate, lonely, frustrated, satisfied and sad. Spike had loved before and such a roiling turmoil of emotion within him was how he felt it should always be. His love was always given with a commitment and intensity that would leave him devastated, whether it was returned or not. He strove to be the best he could, in any way that the recipient of his love required. With Drusilla it had meant savage cruelty; any antic or pastime that would entertain her broken mind and make her happy; and with Buffy it meant this. This and only this. She would let him fight beside her and would resent any impulse to shelter or protect her. She would come to him in the dark of night and hide from her friends. It wasn't him she wanted, he knew that, it was what he could give her. And so, every time they met alone, he gave her what he could.
He always wanted more. Every time he fell asleep, he wished she was cradled in his arms. Every time she left, he wished he had the right to ask her to stay. Every time she attacked him, he stood up to her and gave her the fight she wanted. Every time he stood outside her home in the night he wished he understood.
Looking at her now he wished he knew if she was happy. If she'd got what she wanted. He'd become increasingly creative with her, trying to find something that would meet her needs, but day after day, night after night, whether she came to him or he to her the outcome was the same. She would let him know she wasn't happy and leave.
Without a soul, he couldn't understand her guilt or shame. Without guilt and shame, all he took from their time together was a lot of happy memories and satisfaction. And so he was confused and took her ever nearer the darkness, trying all the things good girls aren't supposed to like. Night after night, she lay with him, returning for more and hating herself.
Tonight, Spike had found a way to get a little of what he wanted. She'd agreed to be bound and he'd taken the opportunity to love her slowly and thoroughly. He'd banished the darkness she sought for one night and tried to compensate with sheer pleasure. Without saying a word he'd succumbed to his deepest wishes and took her to new heights. Every time she crested, he lay with her cradled in his gentle embrace and listened to her breathe until she began to stir and he began again.
Now they lay together in their mutual afterglow and he knew the second he untied her she would leave. He didn't want that. He wondered if he could keep her with him, knowing it wasn't feasible, but unwilling to lose her again. Looking down at her he wished he could bring her closer to him. His chip didn't protect her, he could turn her if he wanted to, but it would hurt her too much and she might not be the same afterwards. His one rule – don't hurt the one you love – underwrote his every action and so, despite the demonic wish to keep her bound and enslaved to his desires, he reached to untie her.
She made a noise, as if she was stopping herself from saying something. He paused and looked down at her. Stretched out beneath him she looked so fragile and vulnerable and he knew she would be getting a kick from being unsafe, but to keep her that way would hurt her. He kissed her gently, then reached up again to remove the bonds. The cords were tight around her wrists and he rubbed them gently in apology, but when he went to untie them, his questing fingers found frayed ends. Startled, he looked sharply at the iron hoop he'd laced her ropes through. Her fingers were clutching onto it, but the ropes that had bound her had been broken.
He looked down at her and one eyebrow raised almost of its own accord. She shrugged defensively and said "I was enjoying myself."
He thought back over their evening, reflecting with serious pleasure on some highlights, until he recalled the point at which she stopped struggling. He'd already brought her to her peak twice and was just about to reach a third when she'd cried out and gone still. He'd stopped and looked at her and her wild eyes briefly regained sanity. She'd frowned and he'd smiled before going back to work. Afterwards, he'd moved in for his cuddle and she'd tensed briefly, as though to reject him, but then she settled into his embrace. He'd helped her come twice more before succumbing to his own physical need.
His heart lurched and he was speechless. She'd been able to leave, all that time, and she'd chosen to stay. Not just for the sex either; all those times they lay cuddling, all of that intimacy that she could have rejected, she could have spurred him onto more active pursuits, pushed him away or even sneered at him. Instead, she'd lain peacefully in his arms and given him a little of what he wanted.
"Invisible again, hmm?" The question came unbidden as he realised she'd hidden her choice to be with him behind the excuse of her bonds, the same way she'd used her temporary invisibility to be with him without fear of being caught. Her eyes narrowed fractionally and her lips tightened. Already defensive, she became upset and that earlier indefinable feeling fled.
She kicked at him and stormed off to retrieve her clothes. As she dressed, he spoke quietly: "One day, love, you are going to have to admit that you are here because you want to be and, shockingly, that you might even like me."
"You're disgusting, and perverted! There's nothing about this that I want!" she hurled the words at him like knives and they hit their mark. Had he been ensoulled, Spike would have had empathy enough to understand how her attack was in the form of defence - unwilling to admit the truth to herself she pushed away those who would make her see it. Instead, all he had to cling to was his certainty that she had chosen to lie with him, to hide the broken bonds and to accept his closeness as they cuddled.
He hesitated, then for the first time in his life, offered a woman he loved a glimpse into what he wanted. "Here's the thing, love. I want you to be happy." Feeling vulnerable, he leaped up and put on his pants. "You come to me, you do all of these things, it sounds like you like it, then you leave unhappy. I don't want that. I really like doing it, but I don't want you to be unhappy. So tell me, pet, what do you want? What would make you happy?" He dreaded the answer he knew was coming, but walked towards her, hoping that somehow his proximity might cause her to change her mind.
"I want you OUT of my life!" cried Buffy.
"OK. There's the door," he gestured towards it as he turned and walked towards the whiskey he'd liberated from Giles. "I'm not leaving Sunnydale, but I won't follow you. You want me out of your life? It's simple. Don't come back. Be very clear on this love: Stay Away. Because the second you walk through that door again, you're inviting me back in permanently. Understand?"
Buffy looked confused. "It's that easy?"
"There's nothing easy about it, pet."
Scared, she retreated towards the door and opened it. Sunlight slanted through, beckoning to her. She hesitated, then turned back. "Spike, I.."
He looked at her over the glass he held poised near his mouth. She walked slowly back to him and stopped just outside the reach of his arms. He took a hefty swig of the whiskey and watched her. She stepped closer, leaned upwards and kissed him. When she dropped away she whispered: "I don't know what I want, Spike. I haven't since I came back, but I know this," she gestured around them "is all wrong. I've got to go and figure things out and I might not come back."
She walked back towards the door and looked back at the last second. "If I do come back, I need you to know it won't be for this."
"What will it be for?"
"You. If I come back, I'll come back for you."