Chapter Notes:

Thank you to Lnw86 for helping me out. You have been such a great beta. 

This prompt took a minute to come up with anything, but I had fun. Thank you for reading!

The group had agreed to meet back at Giles' place early to accommodate Spike. When Faith, Buffy, and Spike began to walk to the meeting, she had let them know her slayer sense had made her perfectly aware of him being there, the entire night. This had caused heat to rise to Buffy's face, which Spike thought was adorable. The sun is barely in the sky, leaving the shadows long enough for him to move in. His body still feels warm, from having Buffy curled into him all night.

By the time the three of them arrive, everyone else has already gathered. Weapons are laid out on the table, a variety to choose from; ranging from axes to stun guns. Riley and Giles are bent over a map of the underground lab, marking places they want to plant explosives. There are three duffel bags on the floor at their feet, full of the explosives Riley had stolen and brought for the plan. 

Riley and Giles are going in through the elevator, using Giles' magic as an excuse to bring him in. Once inside, they will sound an alarm. Faith, Spike, and Buffy are coming in through air vents they will access from a separate entrance. After the three of them place the charges, the alarm that Giles and Riley sound will get the soldiers to evacuate, giving Xander, Willow, and Oz time to release any of the harmless demons before the group detonates the explosives.

As the group passes around supplies, no one says a word. Each of them knows that if something goes wrong lives will be lost. None of them want to say goodbye, because that would feel too final. Everyone just stares around the room, memorizing faces before they all walk out the door. Ready to do their part.

Faith pushes the duffle bags into the air duct before hopping up and crawling forward some. "I'll give you two minutes to do your mushy thing before I come back down there and force you into this air duct B!" she shouts behind her to her sister slayer. Buffy's face gains a rosy tint at the comment. Spike snorts before rubbing the back of his neck.

Buffy shakes her hands in a nervous gesture and lets out a long breath. "Ok, so I am totally not word girl, but here it goes. You and I have only known each other for a few days, and that feels wrong. With everything I know about you I feel like I've known you forever. You got me to open up in ways I never do. And if something happens in there, I need you to know I am so happy I met you. I wouldn't trade a second we spent together for anything." she pauses a moment, considering how ridiculous the words she's about to say will sound. But decides she doesn't care, for once she just needs to actually say how she feels, "I love you, Spike. It happened so fast, but I do." She looks up into his eyes. Scared to see what his reaction will be. For a moment, she's looking into the most beautiful shade of blue. A blue that she'd willingly drown in a hundred times, fears be damned. 

In the next moment, Spike's lips are crashing into hers. His hands are in her hair, his body molding into hers. He's lighting her on fire from the inside out. She opens her mouth, inviting his tongue to greet hers. Spike is in bliss; it feels like he's standing in the noon sun. His whole body is alit with passion. Her smell, her taste, he's being flooded with her, and couldn't care less. The world could turn to ash, and he wouldn't notice. When he breaks from her mouth, allowing her air, he lets his mouth wander over her skin. Travel a path down her throat, over her jaw, and then stopping at her ear. His voice is ragged when he whispers in her ear, "I love you, Buffy. More than anything. You and I are going to make it out of here and I'll show you just how much." The words leave both of them breathing heavy, even though Spike doesn’t need the air. They press their foreheads together for a moment before detangling themselves from each other. 

Faith doesn't say a word as they climb into the air duct behind her. They all move in silence, heading towards the drop-down point where they will have to separate. Each of them will take a duffle and a map and set their assigned explosives before running out the nearest exit. Each has a watch on their wrist that they will start the moment the alarm sounds, they will have 90 seconds to get out through the nearest exit. When Faith moves the grate aside, she tells Buffy and Spike to be careful and drops through with her duffle and map. Taking off down one of the halls, quiet as a cat. Buffy and Spike follow suit, hoping the others are managing their parts.

Several minutes pass and Buffy is placing the last of her charges. Once it's attached, she turns to find an exit, but something catches her eye. As she is turning towards the commotion behind her, the alarms start blaring. She clicks her watch to begin the countdown. She runs down the hallway to where she had seen the people who distracted her move. When she gets past the wall, she can see a few armed guards holding Willow and Xander. She rushes towards them and grabs the guard holding Willow and shoving him down the hallway away from them. "Get out of here! The whole place is going to blow up!" The soldier she'd shoved runs toward an exit. The one that had been holding Xander now stands over him, a long baton coursing with electricity making Xander flail like a fish. Buffy grabs the baton and chucks it down the hall, when she turns back the soldier is booking it down the hallway. Riley crosses his path as he runs towards the group of scoobies.

Xander's entire body stills for a moment before he breaks out in hysterical laughter. "Just because the water is red doesn't mean you can't drink it! A purple pig and a green donkey flew a kite in the middle of the night and ended up sunburnt." He smiles a little and turns to look at Willow, and says in all seriousness, "Aliens Have Invaded Zimbabwe. There's No Time For Rational Solutions." He shakes his head as if the current is still running through him and shouts. "Little Red Riding Hood decided to wear orange today!" Willow turns towards Riley and Buffy, concern apparent on her face.

Willow locks eyes with Riley and asks, "How much voltage is in those things?! Is he going to be stuck making even less sense than usual forever?!" His only response is a shrug and a small guilty smile. She lets out a breath and the others pick him up and get him to the elevator. They don't have time to waste, the alarms are still blaring all around them. At Buffy's worried glance Willow turns to her, "Oz already got out, he led the way for the harmless demons." Buffy lets some of the air out of her lungs. The elevator starts its ascent.

She glances at her watch and sees 15 seconds remaining as the four of them rush out of the elevator. As they are sprinting out of Lowell House Buffy mutters to herself, to keep herself from turning back. "Chill, he got out. There is no possible way Spike would be down there." As the ground beneath them shakes, signaling the explosion Buffy pleads to the wind, "Please let him be out and safe." She's torn. Buffy glances at her friends, they seem fine. The rest of the group would gather soon. Everyone had agreed to meet back at Giles' as it was unsure which exit they would have to take and where that would lead them. Spike would have to stick to the sewers anyway, it's not like she would see him until then. There is no reason to panic.

Every muscle in Buffy's body is screaming at her to take off at a sprint. To go to Giles' apartment and make sure he's there. As if sensing her inner battle Willow speaks up. "Go Buffy. We understand, just go." Buffy shoots her a grateful smile before turning and running. Her legs ache as she forces them to move. Her lungs hurt from the harsh inhale and exhale of breath she's taking. None of it matters. She barely even notices the sensations. The roaring in her head isn't physical, she just needs to see him, to touch him, to make sure he isn't dust, buried in the labs they just blew up. She reaches the door and barely stops in time to open it instead of just barreling through it.

Her eyes scan the room, searching, needing him. When she sees bright blonde hair moving about the room in tight, agitated circles, she's across the room in an instant. Jumping on him, nearly knocking him over in her desperate attempt to connect with him. After a stunned moment Spike is picking her up, she's wrapping her legs around his waist and burying her face in his neck. Taking in deep breaths of his scent. It quickly becomes not enough; she starts kissing his neck. Mimicking his path along her skin earlier she travels along his jaw, up the side of his face. Instead of saying anything, she crashes her mouth to his. After a moment the demandingness fades, and a sweet and tender kiss is left in its wake. Spike allows himself to savor this kiss, allows poetry to write and rewrite itself in his head. He doesn't care, as long as this never ends. 

Leaning temple against temple the pair gasps for air. Slowly Buffy lets her legs fall to the floor but moves no farther away. Only now, in his arms, reassured in his presence does she allow her shell to crack. Her tears come, and she fighting to get air into her lungs. "I was so scared-" a sob escapes her throat, "I didn't know if you got out. I wanted to run back and search for you. I didn't know-" her words stop. It's too hard to speak around the lump in her throat. Spike makes some soft comforting noises as he scoops her up into his arms. He walks over to the chair in the corner and sits down, holding Buffy to his chest. Eternally grateful she didn't run back inside. 

They sit there like that for minutes, hours, an eternity. Neither could tell you which one it was. Emotional exhaustion won and Buffy fell asleep. As the others begin to arrive at the apartment, he starts kissing her face to wake her. Lightly passing over her cheeks and forehead, her nose. Eventually her eyes open, his insides seem to melt at seeing their perfect shade of green. She smiles at him softly, before sitting up a little, not moving from his lap. Buffy looks over at her friends, the only one who hasn't arrived yet is Oz. But they expected that; taking the demons out through the underground systems was going to take some time. Willow is making Xander lie down on the couch and keep a cold compress on his head. She is also making Riley explain to Giles exactly what those batons can do so he might be able to help. Faith is in the kitchen throwing some ham, cheese, and mayo sandwiches together for the group. A mug of blood sits in the microwave behind her for Spike. 

As Buffy lays back against Spike's chest, the back of her head meeting one of his shoulders, Spike wraps his arms around her middle. "Love that can shape or can shatter a life till the life shall have fled?" he whispers low in her ear. "Nay, let us welcome him, Love that can lift up a life from the dead." he pauses for a moment, making sure he has her attention, "That's what you've done for me Buffy, your light, your love, brings me back to life, every moment of every day." She turns her head to look into those pools of emotion he calls eyes. Seeing everything and more in them, she presses her lips to his, adoration pouring from every inch of her frame. A few coughs from across the room remind them they aren't alone. Buffy shoots the group a sheepish smile. 

Everyone is munching on the sandwiches Faith prepared by the time Oz arrives. Willow is up and hugging him in an instant. There is a short debriefing between the group before everyone leaves Giles to his apartment. Faith is heading to the Summers' house to finish setting up her room in the guest room. Riley is packing his bags and getting on a plane to Iowa. Willow and Oz are going to take Xander home to rest, he's supposed to be back to normal tomorrow. Buffy heads to Spike's motel room, he's going to meet her there traveling through the sewers.

Buffy beats Spike to the motel. She goes into his room for the first time. Her fingers travel along the spines of books that are stacked on the room's dresser. A smile lights her face at a few small knick nacks that are obviously well-loved. Silently, she muses about how long he has had some of these things. What parts of the world some of them were acquired. She spins around as he enters the room, swearing slightly, batting at his burned flesh. By the time Buffy crosses the room to check the burns are healed. 

When Buffy and Spike's eyes meet, need starts to burn them from the inside out. They are on each other in an instant. Hands wandering over the other, lips meeting. Buffy's fingers tremble as she untucks his shirt, allowing her fingers to meet flesh. Her hands explore the contours and dips of his well-muscled body. Spike lets out a soft moan at the feel of her hands searing his skin, setting him ablaze. He has her shirt over her head and in the corner in the next instant. His eyes hungrily devouring the sight of her in front of him, clad in a dark purple bra. She reaches for him, pushes the duster from his shoulders, pulling at the hem of his t-shirt until he finally rips it over his head. Then skin meets skin, their bodies are pressed together impossibly close. They are walking backward until the back of Buffy's legs hits the edge of the bed. She is on her back, Spike above her letting his mouth move over her collar bone, travel down between her breasts. 

With a few quick motions, they are both completely devoid of clothes. Buffy has to fight the urge to cover herself from his gaze. Having only done this once before, she lets Spike lead. He moves slowly, breathing small adorations in her ear. Telling her things that turn her molten, until she can't bear it any longer and needs him inside. He complies in an instant, they both let out moans at the exquisite pleasure they feel. The sensations are almost too much but at the same time, not enough. Every piece of their beings is in total bliss, truly content for the first time in their existence. 

When they finish, Spike moves off of her, pulling her to rest on his chest. She is smiling at him lazily, her brain still coming back to earth. Everything with him seems to be a revelation for her. Each action writes something new onto her soul, adds something she hadn't known was missing. Spike peppers her face with kisses. Allows himself to savor being surrounded by her warmth, by her scent. Buffy stands up and grabs his discarded shirt as she heads toward the bathroom. Once she finishes in there she returns to Spike’s arms, laying her head on his chest. Every one of his senses is overflowing with her, and he couldn't be happier. 

The door slams open, Spike fangs out and rolls Buffy over, so he is shielding her from the intruder. Who he sees is a small woman, with angry eyes and short blond hair. It takes him a moment, but he sees an automatic gun in her hands, pointed at them. She is leaning against the door frame heavily; she has a few burn marks on her face. "You stupid, nosy brats!" her words spew from her mouth like acid. Venom coating every word. "What right did you have blowing up my work?! That research was years in the making! Now it's gone, buried under the ground!" Ice moves down Spike's spine. Buffy tries to move to see around the arms pinning her the bed, but he won't budge. She can feel the stillness in his entire body, she knows something is really wrong. As recognition lights her face and Spike's vampiric visage her rage turns white-hot. "Subterrestrial! Of course, I should have known. Your vulgar kind is good for one thing, making weapons to protect humans!" a snarl escapes Spike’s throat at the woman's hateful words. He knows this has to be Dr. Walsh. She is worse than Riley described. He can feel Buffy squirming under him, wanting to break free and throttle the other woman. Spike is the only thing that keeps Buffy from crossing the room and attempting to pull Walsh limb from limb. Buffy has never felt such potent anger go through her.

Spike crouches lower on the bed, close enough so he can whisper to Buffy without being overheard. "The bint's got a gun. When I move, you're going to roll off the bed on the other side. I'm going to get the gun while you move around to knock her out. DO NOT go near her until I have control over the gun." he pauses a moment making sure Buffy is understanding him, "I can survive bullets, you can't. Don't do something stupid. Please." The last word comes out hoarse from emotion. After a few seconds that last an eternity, he feels Buffy nod underneath him. In the next moment, he is on his feet, and she is on the floor. The sound of the gun going off fills the motel room. Spike knows he can't afford to let the pain stop him, Buffy is on the line, and nothing can stop him from protecting her. Each bullet in his body serves to anger him more, he grabs hold of the gun and pulls it backward, his hands searing from the sunlight coming in behind Walsh. As he moved away Buffy sprung out from behind the bed tackling Walsh to the ground.

Buffy hits her. Through the pain, it takes Spike a minute to notice, but Buffy doesn't stop hitting her. Walsh is unconscious, and Spike hurries over to Buffy and wraps his arms around her. She struggles in his hold, trying to keep going. "Love! -Buffy! She's out, you keep going like this and you'll kill her. We're fine. You're fine." Buffy goes completely limp in his arms, her entire frame shaking with the force of her sobs. Spike does his best, but she notices his pained grimace. 

Her face fills with horror, "Oh my god! You're shot!" Buffy scrambles to her feet, wiping tears off of her face. "Go! Sit on the bed. I'm grabbing supplies from the bathroom." After gathering everything she could find she kneels on the floor in front of Spike's place on the bed. He tries to tell her he's fine, or that he will heal but she doesn't hear any of it. Her head is still filled with the sound of gunshots, the gunshots that hurt Spike. Two of the bullets went clean through, but the last one is still in his abdomen. A curt nod from Spike and her fingers are in the wound, fishing out the bullet, she pulls it out as fast as she can. She bandages his entire midsection. By the time she's done Spike is feeling like a mummy. 

She won't look at him. Her eyes are trained on her shaking hands. Tears are rolling down her face. Horror is coursing through her veins; she's looking at his blood on her hands. He was hurt, protecting her. He was shot, and his blood is on her hands. The thought just keeps replaying in her head, over and over again. "Hey, look at me. I'm ok. I am going to be ok. This won't kill me." He tilts her chin up to look at him. He puts his hands under her armpits and lifts her up and into his lap. She clings to him, still unable to process any of it. Buffy looks around the room and spots a fridge, she jumps off of his lap, opening it. Searching for blood, knowing he needs it to heal. The fridge is empty, he drank it all last night before coming to see her.

The sun catches something over by Walsh. Buffy stands up and slams the door shut. remembering it being open would put Spike in danger. Her mind replays the glint, and she picks up a knife that Walsh had hidden on her person. An idea lights in her mind and Spike doesn't have enough time to protest. She slices the blade across her wrist, allowing the blood to well up before moving over to Spike. "Drink. You need blood to heal." When he opens his mouth to argue she cuts him off, "I already made the cut, the blood isn't going to go back in, you might as well make use of it." She can see she's starting to win him over, so she uses her trump card, "It would make me feel better. I don't know how to deal with you being injured, not when I can help." As his shoulders slump, she knows she has won. She hurries over and kneels behind him. Wrapping herself around his back, bringing her arm up to his mouth.

He begins by kissing her arm next to her wound. Then slowly licking it, letting her blood onto his tongue. His eyes nearly roll up at the taste. She makes an impatient noise behind him, letting him know she won't take his stalling tactics. His face shifts with a soft crunch, he slowly bites down on her arm. At first, she feels pain, but then something else tugs at her. It feels like pure ecstasy is flowing through her veins. She can help the low moan that escapes her throat. Spike can feel her blood moving through him. His wounds closing up in seconds. Once he's healed, he drags his tongue across her wound, letting his saliva close it. He turns around to look at her. She brings her hands up to trace the ridges on his brow. She smiles at him; at the smile something lightens in Spike's chest. Seeing her love and accept even the darkest parts of him. His face shifts back, and she pulls his face to hers, their kiss only lasts a moment before a groan from across the room throws ice water on their mood. Spike checks to make sure Walsh is still unconscious while Buffy dials Giles' number. They get their clothes back on, preparing for Giles' arrival. Though Buffy abandons her own shirt and decides to leave the one she stole from Spike on. Which has him in just his button-down and duster. Buffy and Spike sit side by side on the bed, keeping an eye on Walsh. She leans into his side, letting herself take a moment to gather herself before having to deal with this situation when Giles gets here. All she wants is to get out of this room covered in blood, to go back to her room with Spike, and curl up to sleep for a week.

Chapter End Notes:

The piece of poetry Spike tells to Buffy is a piece from Duet by Alfred Tennyson.

The prompt of including the sentence "Aliens Have Invaded Zimbabwe. There's No Time For Rational Solutions." is fulfilled by:

Xander's entire body stills for a moment before he breaks out in hysterical laughter. "Just because the water is red doesn't mean you can't drink it! A purple pig and a green donkey flew a kite in the middle of the night and ended up sunburnt." He smiles a little and turns to look at Willow, and says in all seriousness, "Aliens Have Invaded Zimbabwe. There's No Time For Rational Solutions." He shakes his head as if the current is still running through him and shouts. "Little Red Riding Hood decided to wear orange today!" Willow turns towards Riley and Buffy, concern apparent on her face.

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