Out of My Mind

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Spike made it to his crypt with only a few minutes to spare before the sun rose. In one hand, he was clutching a half-empty bottle of tequila that he had taken from Willy's only moments before. With a growl, he drained it completely and threw the bottle, then yanked his coat off and tossed it as well. There was blood on his knuckles and it wasn't the Slayer's blood. It wasn't even Finn's blood. He had gotten himself all banged up by attacking the headstones in the cemetery. Harmony had finally seen enough of it and rushed off, leaving him to his own devices. Which, he thought, was good for her. She had it coming in a major way that one.

Slumping in his chair, he laid his head back, staring up at the various cobwebs on his ceiling. His mind wandered back to that first night, the night that Dracula had put the burn on Buffy. Spike had never felt as weak as he had when he saw her slumped on the bed, her body glistening in the moonlight with sweat and need. He couldn't have prevented himself from touching her if he had wanted to. Staring down at his hands, he remembered the way her slick skin had felt and the way she had arched upward, keening softly and pleading with him for more. He felt a thin line of sweat begin to bead on his own forehead and stood, pulling his shirt off. He paced a few feet, and then paused as realization began to outweigh the liquor he had downed.

The little bitch had come to him with money to help Riley Finn! Damn her to hell! How could he be thinking of her the way he was after what she had done? She didn't even care that the thought of her being with the Big Dumb Boy Scout was driving him insane. She still did it - even though he had thrown her out for coming to him with the smell of the wanker all over her. Talk about the slap in the face to end all slaps in the face. Putting his hands on his hips, he stared at nothing, but inside, he was seeing her tear the money in half and slap it to his chest. Then he flashed forward and saw her bringing the sickly little sweat hog down into the lab for his surgery. And he saw her cowering under him when he jumped up onto the table and leaped down at her.

And then something else dawned on him.

She hadn't tried to fight back. She had lain beneath him, hands slightly raised, but she hadn't prevented him from aiming a bite right at her throat. The chip had stopped him. The Slayer never even tried.

<><>

Buffy moved her untouched food around on her plate and sighed. She had been ready to tell Riley that she didn't want to see him anymore when he had gotten so sick. Now she felt responsible for him. She wasn't stupid. The entire time they had spoken in the caves, she knew which three words he needed to hear, but she hadn't been able to say them. She didn't feel them. She did not love Riley Finn and no matter how good he was to her, how great he was in bed, how much he loved her - she never would. Stabbing her fork into her mashed potatoes, she suddenly realized that there were two sets of eyes on her.

"You know, Buffy, no matter how much you exercise the food, it's still got calories," Dawn told her, taking a small bite of her own food.

"Sod off," Buffy replied absently.

"Sod off?" Dawn raised her eyebrow. "Do you even know what sod is? You just told me to 'grass covered ground' off. Do you want me to mow the lawn?"

"I want you to disappear," Buffy told her without inflection.

Joyce wiped her mouth with her napkin and stared at her daughters. "Both of you are going to see what a very angry mother is if we can't get through this meal in peace." Glancing at her eldest, she added, "Buffy, how's Riley?"

"He's good, I think. I haven't talked to him since last night."

Dawn, who was adding more corn to her plate, halted her movements. "Your boyfriend just had surgery and you haven't seen him? I don't even have a boyfriend and I know how wrong that is!"

"I thought he might be resting!" Buffy snapped, but she looked down at her hands. Dawn was right. If she were a 'girlfriend' in the strictest sense of the word, she would have stayed with him. But she couldn't very well stay over with him, when she woke herself up calling out for Spike every single night. "I'll go see him later tonight."

"If you're finished, you can go. Dawn and I will clean up," Joyce stood and began clearing the table. She saw Dawn about to protest and shot her a look.

Buffy nodded and stood as well. "Thanks."

<><>

It was dark when Buffy left her house. She had dressed in leather pants, a leather jacket and a pair of boots with a thick heel. The clothing was bold, tight, and she wore it like a second skin. Comfortable and in control. Halfway between her house and the room Riley had rented, she heard whispering and a scurry of footsteps behind her. She slowed, not bothering to glance over her shoulder and moved the stake from her waistband to her hand. Picking up her pace again, she squared her shoulders and waited for whoever it was to make a move. She was the Slayer, the best, but she enjoyed a game of cat and mouse as much as the next. To make it interesting, she ducked into an abandoned warehouse and slipped into the shadows, watching the doorway for any signs of trouble.

Trouble came from behind.

Someone wrapped a length of chain around her neck and kicked her feet out from under her. For a split second, Buffy was too shocked to register the pain, but when she did, it was blinding. Whatever was holding the chain was bigger than her, stronger, and had no problem dangling her in the air. Clawing frantically at the chain at her throat, she wheezed and gasped for breath, unable to make much of a sound.

The creature laughed. Buffy heard it, and that was enough to shake her to her senses. As it spun around, swinging her off her feet and through the air, the Slayer hooked her legs around a pole that ran from the floor to the ceiling, gripped the chain in both hands, and yanked. It caught the beast off guard and she was able to unwrap the chain as the fiend struggled to regain footing. She still couldn't see it, but she could hear it. It grunted several times, then laughed again.

"You're strong," it said in a hushed whisper. "But I am stronger."

Another voice, this one distinctive and familiar cut through the silence. "And I'm just bored!"

"Spike?" Buffy rasped.

"Slayer," Spike replied as he brushed past her, taking the chain from her hands. "Stay put."

She wanted to argue, but instead she did as he instructed and took advantage of the reprieve to take several deep breaths. Within seconds, there were the unmistakable sounds of a struggle and then a loud pop. Broken neck. "Spike?"

Nothing.

"SPIKE!"

Still nothing.

Fumbling with her bag, she dug through the contents for a flashlight, and then swore loudly when she came up empty handed.

"Gutter mouth."

Buffy dropped her bag as Spike stepped out into the light that was filtering through the open doorway. "Spike! Oh my god! Why didn't you answer me?"

"I wanted to see what you would do," he told her.

"What are you doing here?"

"Saving your ass, looks like."

"I would have -" she began, but faltered when he stepped even closer and brushed his thumb over her neck. "I- I would-"

"He got you pretty good, huh?" Spike frowned at the dark purple welts on her neck, then swallowed hard. "It was a Gorvlox demon. Big, nasty type. You kill them by breaking the horn off their back. What were you doing in here anyway?"

"I was being followed," Buffy said.

"I know. I took out four vampires before I came in." He realized that his hand was still on her, still rubbing the bruises, and he dropped it. If he saw that her face fell, he didn't acknowledge it. "Well, I guess that's it then. See ya 'round."

Buffy watched as he walked out the door and into the night, then grabbed her bag and followed. "You'll see me around? I don't think so! You tried to kill me last night! You tried to get that chip out of your head just so you could attack me!"

"I was going to bathe in your blood, actually." Spike glanced at her, but kept walking. "And I think the fact that you're not lynched right now more than makes up for it."

"Oh, so those are the rules? You try to kill me as much as you want, but as long as you make it equal to the number of times you save me, we're good?" Grabbing his arm, she stopped him and forced him to look at her. "You would have killed me, wouldn't you?"

"If I wanted you dead, I would have let that Gorvlox take care of it." He glared at her. "I was pissed, Slayer. Your Big Alpha Male is a bloody thorn in my bloody side. In case you failed to notice, I don't much like him. And I didn't much like you coming to me for help after what happened between us last time."

"He could have died!" Buffy cried.

"He should have! Why'd you want to save his ass anyway? You don't love him!"

"What I feel for him has nothing to do with it. I help people! That's what I do and he's a person."

Spike rolled his eyes and threw his hands in the air. "What about you? You're a person! Help yourself."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"You could have died tonight. If I hadn't been follo- uhm- been frolicking about town looking for mayhem, you would have!"

Buffy hid a small giggle. "You frolic?"

"Sod off," Spike growled and turned, stalking away from her.

She followed again, grinning at his choice of words. "What did you mean by 'help myself'?"

"Have you told your Watcher yet that you've been tasting demon blood?" He paused, digging a cigarette from his pocket. As he lit the tip, he studied her face. "You haven't!"

"So?" She shrugged and grabbed the cigarette from his lips, smashing it under the heel of her boot. "I realize that you're already dead, but my lungs like the right to breathe clean air."

He arched an eyebrow at her and grinned. "You just keep remembering why you're breathing at all right now, pet."

"I'm not going to thank you. And I don't owe you anything," Buffy told him. "I don't even like you."

Spike moved quickly, turning her around and pinning her against a fence that ran around the length of the parking lot. Holding her wrists at her sides, he rubbed against her, smiling when he saw her face flush. "You might think you don't like me, but your body more than makes up for anything that mouth of yours can say to me."

Buffy shivered, gazing up into his cool blue eyes. "Stay away from me."

"Or what?" He moved toward her mouth, then pulled back when he saw her lips part in anticipation. He moistened his lips, watching her hang on his every movement. He felt her arch against him, move up onto her tiptoes to close the space between them, and he stepped back. "Nevermind. You win."

Buffy was still leaning against the fence trying to get her bearings when he made his way up the street and vanished into the night. For a long time, she stood motionless, barely registering the pain in her neck or the fact that her body was paying her back for her mouth betraying it by aching in odd places. Aching for him. Finally, the protests between her legs were silent and she stepped away from the fence. The bounce in her step was gone though.

He would not get the best of her again.

<><><>

"Oh God no. Please no." Spike sat up in Harmony's bed, breathing rapidly. The dream was vivid. 'Buffy, I love you. I love you so much.' 'Spike, I want you.' And his cock was upright, straining for her warmth, and his heart, usually so silent and deadly, was screaming for her.

Harmony sat up next to him and laid a hand on his arm. "Spike?"

"Shut up," he growled and rolled over on top of her. He'd take his mind off the Slayer once and for all.

But the truth, no matter how much one ignored it, always had a way of biting you in the ass. Spike found this out the hard way. No matter how many times he pounded into Harmony, driving her over the brink and forcing her to scream his name, she wasn't Buffy. She was cold where Buffy was hot. She was bitter where Buffy was sweet. And she was complacent where Buffy was a challenge; a worthy partner. Harmony was ... suddenly repulsive.

With an agitated snarl, he let himself go, spilling his seed inside of her, then rolled to his back, roughly shoving Harmony off him when she tried to snuggle. "Get off me!" he growled.

Harmony stuck out her bottom lip. "You can't be mean to me this time around, Spikey. I've come a long way." She slowly, carefully, slid one foot up his leg and tried to put her head on his chest again, only to be shoved so roughly that she almost fell off the bed. "Hey! This is my bed! My cave! You do what I say!"

Spike cocked his head to one side, regarding her with a look of interest. "Is that right, pet?"

"Yes, that's right!" Harmony said steadily. "If you're going to be mean to me you can't sleep over. You can go back to your ugly old crypt and choke on the dust bunnies."

Leaning on one elbow, Spike glared down at her, pushing the cover down and exposing her breasts. He trailed his fingers around her left nipple, then tapped the spot over her heart. "I could make a few dust bunnies here, luv. Don't tempt me."

With a small squeal, Harmony leapt from the bed, grabbing her satin robe from the chair in the corner. "That does it! I don't want you here! You can either leave the easy way or you can leave with-" She faltered when she saw his scarred eyebrow arch up. "Uhm, you better go, Spike. We can do this again some other time, 'kay?"

Smirking slightly, Spike rolled out of the bed and grabbed his jeans. He could feel Harmony's eyes on his back, watching his every move. For show, when he had pulled on his shirt and lifted his duster, he pulled a stake from the pocket and turned to face her. Her eyes grew round and she brought a hand up, laying it over her heart. The fear on her face sent a steady jolt of electricity through his body. He had almost forgotten what it was like to invoke such emotion. Taking a few menacing steps toward her, he patted his palm with the piece of wood. "Are you going to throw me out, Harm?"

Her eyes never left the stake. "You know, vampires are talking, Spike. They're talking about how you've been killing our kind. They say you're just like that guy Angel who palled around with the Slayer for a while."

Spike's hand shot out at the mention of the poof's name and he wrapped it around her throat. She made a strange noise, clawing at his hand, and he lifted her, slamming her back against the jagged wall of the cave. "You know what, Harm? I think I've found the perfect way to show you that I'm not at all like him."

With ease, he tossed her across the room, grinning as her face changed and she crashed into a table full of unicorns, shattering several. He stalked toward her, letting his own demon emerge, and stomped on the crystal unicorn she was reaching for. "Angel would never, ever, do this," he told her.

"Do what?" Harmony cried as he gripped a handful of her hair and pulled her to her feet.

Backhanding her, he waited for her to regain her footing and face him again. When she did, he added, "He would just kill you and be done with it. I won't be that kind."

<><>

-Fin

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