Author: Serina Christensen
Spoilers: “Shadows” I guess…
Rating: NC-17 for a sex scene
Feedback: Yes, please!!!
Summary: Riley needs something.
I walk into the hospital, feeling a little sick because of the smell…it gets me every time. It’s like they’re trying to cover up the smell of death…it’s horrible. Tara dropped me off. We had a big fight about it. She didn’t want me to come, that it was family business… “Willow! They don’t need you there! They’ll be fine!” she had practically screamed at me. I shrugged. “Yes they do,” I had replied softly as she drove off with a squeal of tires. Buffy looked really shaken today at the magic shop. And Dawn wasn’t doing much better…I feel bad for her. Buffy didn’t tell her and I feel bad about it. I mean, I’m not the biggest on honesty anymore but that’s because it has to be that way. I can’t tell her I have the biggest crush on Riley, that would just wreck her…and I can’t do that to her because she is going through a rough time…
Anyways, back to the hospital. I went up to the registration desk. “Can you give me Mrs. Summers’ room please,” I ask, fidgeting. I’m so scared for Buffy’s mom. I mean she’s been more of a mom to me than my own…
“Room 217,” the desk clerk replies, snapping me back to reality.
“Thank you,” I reply and walk away.
I spot Riley and Buffy talking and stop at the corner. They are sort of arguing. She can’t concentrate and he needs her…I can tell…I’m getting better at aura readings…something’s really bugging him… I wait until she goes back inside before moving towards him. He seems to shrink inside himself. “Riley?” I call softly. He is scaring me now; he was the strong guy; the one who would make you feel better, no matter what happened to you.
He turns around and he looks like he’s going to fall down.
“Are you okay?” I ask, touching his arm. “You look a little shook up…”
He nods. Obviously the something that is bothering him is a big something.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I don’t want to push but he looks really…sick…or something. I don’t know but I want to know…it couldn’t be Buffy could it?
I sigh. “Riley. Please.”
He turns towards me and suddenly his arms are circling my waist and he is kissing me roughly. His kiss is full of need and desire.
“Riley!” I squeak, pushing him away, gaining two inches between us. He won’t let go. “We can’t.”
“Riley. Please. I don’t want to hurt Buffy…”
His response is to sweep me up in his arms and carry me out of the hospital and into his car. I don’t say anything as he drives down the dark streets. I don’t say anything until we get to his apartment. “Riley. We can’t do this. It’s wrong.” And if we start, I don’t think I can stop…
He doesn’t answer as he turns off the car and gets out. I am too something to get out of the car and run. Afraid? Desiring? Wanting? Needing? I remember the first time I saw him. We dropped books on his head and we started talking. Well, me and Riley talked, Buffy made stupid comments…I liked him right there and when he came to me for help on how to get her…I froze up…I liked him dammit! But, no, he went for her. They all do eventually.
He circles the car and opens my door. I look up into his eyes and refuse to move. I will not be held responsible for what might happen tonight. He narrows his eyes at me and scoops me up, carrying me inside. A little voice inside my head accuses: You could have stopped him. Gotten up. Run away. Yet you didn’t…you didn’t…
I hear her heartbeat quicken as I place her on the bed. She is afraid? Excited? I don’t know…I don’t want to ask her. I am afraid of her anger. I didn’t even think when I took her from the hospital. All rational thinking left my brain long ago when I kissed her. I look down at her, steadying myself for her disgust at the way I’m acting. Nothing. Her face shows nothing. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. My mind goes blank again as I look at her lying there, her jacket open, her chest heaving from breathing. Damn. I reach down and pull off her jacket, shirt, bra, jeans, underwear, socks, shoes and throw it all into a pile on the ground by my bed. My clothes follow and I slide her back further onto the bed. She is so beautiful. When I first saw her in the bookstore, I thought, wow, she’s really something. And then all those words kept coming out of her mouth and she was smart and funny and I loved her…it scared me. I knew that I wanted her but instead I was a moron and went for Buffy. Buffy. How could she be so self-centred? She was great at first. Loving, caring, wonderful. I loved her. Then all sorts of things came up. Like me being in the Initiative, her being a slayer, my friends, her friends, vampires, Angel. Angel had been a big thing for me. She still loved Angel. Dawn told me that she made a bigger deal about him. Well, that made me feel a whole lot better about mine and Buffy’s relationship…it shouldn’t really bug me but it does. She told me that she was over him totally and was ready to move on with her life, to me… She kept this big thing from me. The whole, Angel-vampire-boyfriend- love-17th birthday-sex-curse-happiness clause-Angelus-terrorizing-dead computer teacher-curse-Willow doing the spell and Buffy having to finally send him to hell with his soul. Then he came back and screwed up her life again. And then just left her to pick up the pieces. Again. How could he do that? How could I do that to her?
I kiss her roughly as her body betrays her and she twines her fingers in my hair, pulling me closer. I start kissing down her neck to her breasts and back up to her mouth as I enter her roughly. She whimpers at first but finally gives in, thrusting her body up towards mine. I grab her breasts and knead them and nip them and push harder as she urges me on. I kiss down her neck and bite lightly into it as she gasps. She runs her hands up and down my chest, up and down my back, touching my cheek and brushing through my hair. She wraps her legs around my waist and pulls me in closer at every thrust. It feels so good. So right. Having her here with me. Under me. Around me. She comes with a cry and then I come and collapse onto her. I roll off and look up at the ceiling. So many things are going through my head right now. I have just half-raped my girlfriend’s best friend. And we have both enjoyed it. A lot. Buffy had pushed me away, I argue half-heartedly. But, she is my girlfriend, after all. We could have worked it out. We could still work it out. I could just pretend this never happened. Tell Willow to forget this ever happened. Go back to Buffy and be the willing, loving, caring boyfriend that was only supposed to come when he was called? The lapdog? For what? Did I just trade my relationship with Buffy for good sex? Was this how Angel had felt when he had been going out with her? Was she just a control freak that thought she could do whatever she wanted to whomever she wanted just because she was the slayer and could kick anyone’s ass? How would Willow feel about that? I don’t think I could just forget all this and I don’t think (I hope) she can either…
I turn my head and watch as Willow fell asleep, her brow furrowed. I reach out and smooth out her forehead, running my fingers over her delicate features. I tuck a few strands of deep crimson hair behind her little elf-like ear and kiss her lightly on the forehead. Then I settle back, wanting to hold her but staying where I am in fear she would wake up and scream and run out and tell everyone what kind of a hormonally driven jerk I am. I still can’t believe I have just done that to her…sweet innocent Willow…I’m such a jerk…
She rolls over towards me sleepily, pushing herself into my arms like a little, warm kitten. I accept her and hug her to my chest, knowing that she is going to wake up tomorrow and start screaming at me and go tearing out of the house to Buffy who is going to come and scream at me and beat the crap out of me and then call everyone else who is going to come and beat the living stuffing out of me…But for now I can enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling.
As I lie here and watch him sleep, I feel pulled in all directions. I have liked him, maybe even loved him, for the longest time, ever since Buffy left, yet I think he still loves her too much to be with me. Maybe someday but not today.
I sit up noiselessly and slide out of bed, grabbing my clothing and pad down the stairs and outside. It is around seven in the morning so no one is up yet and I run towards home as fast as I can, afraid of someone reaching out and grabbing me just as he had last night. It terrifies me. Not him. No. He would never fill me with terror, rather with a sadness and a longing. I get inside, slam the door shut and look out the window. Good. Nothing. No Riley running up the walk to bang down my door and complicating my life horribly.
“So what’d you guys do last night?” asked Buffy as we sat around the big table at the Magic Box.
“Nothing,” I replied, purposely not looking at Riley.
“Nothing,” he echoed sadly.
I know he is looking at me but I won’t turn. I won’t look at him. I’m afraid that if I do, I won’t be able to stop myself. I stand up and gather my things. “I’m going home so I’ll see you guys later…Tara? Can I talk to you for a second?”
I glanced over to Riley quickly.
He was looking right at me and then mouthed, we need to talk.
I frowned and shook my head, turning back to Tara whose eyes are narrowed and glaring. She follows me outside and as soon as the door shuts, she starts screaming at me.
“You’re breaking up with me, aren’t you, Willow? I can’t believe you! Is it Riley? What have you two been doing behind Buffy and I’s back?”
I looked at the ground. “It just wasn’t working, Tara. You knew that. It has nothing to do with Riley,” I bluffed.
“Yeah. Right. This isn’t over, Willow. You’re going to pay for this! I hate you!”
Tears sting my eyes as I hear the door open.
“Willow? Tara?” Riley asks.
This must look really bad. Tara is looking like she’s going to kill me. I’m bawling my eyes out.
“I-I’m sorry…” I gasp out before running off towards my house.
When I get there, I fumble with the keys and they drop onto the doormat.
“Red?” Spike asks, swinging open the door.
I scoop up the keys and rush past him up the stairs to the bathroom. Flinging on both taps I sob as steam fills the room. Spike knocks softly on the door.
“Pet? What’s wrong luv?”
I slowly open the door and face him. I can feel the tears still running down my cheeks and dripping onto the floor. He wraps his arms around me and rocks me back and forth. “It’s okay, luv, it’s okay.” His ran runs up and down my back soothingly.
“I’m so mixed up, Spike…” I whisper into his chest.
“Commando Boy. I can smell him all over you, pet? Care to share your little adventure in army land?”
“L-last night. He-I went to the hospital to see Mrs. Summers and he was there, just standing. And Buffy has not really paid attention to him lately and he-I…we…and then Tara and I broke up…”
“I see…” He went over to the tub and shut off the water. Then he came back and hugged me again. “Take a bath and we’ll do that mushy, silly, goopy movie thing…”
“T-thanks Spike,” I say, my tears drying on my cheeks. He leaves and I undress slowly and sink into the warm water.
We order pizza and went to the store to buy junk and get movies. The phone rang four times but neither of us picked it up. It felt good to just sit and laugh with Spike at the stupid couples on TV, knowing that I don’t have to deal with him, for now. I know that he will come and talk to me and I know that I will have to talk to him. But I don’t want to. So, I settle back and enjoy Pretty Woman and all its cheesiness.
I slam the phone down. Damn it! Why did she do that? Why did she just pretend that it didn’t happen? She ran from me this afternoon at the shop. But she also ran from Tara at the shop. I can’t believe she could just throw it away…
But, a voice replies, wasn’t that what you were contemplating?
Shut up, I tell the voice, and leave my apartment to find some vamps. I need to work off some steam.
The first three vamps I go through are not any trouble. I’m on autopilot. I’m so angry that I just punch, kick and dust without even thinking. Three gang up on me and have me on the ground, pounding into me. I feel woozy after the loss of blood by that vampire woman and now getting my head bashed in by vampires isn’t helping much. I sink in and out of consciousness, fighting to stay awake. One of them is about to sink his fangs into me when he turns to dust. I hear the other ones run after someone and gets dusted too. Everything goes black.
The first thing I hear when I come back is an annoyingly familiar British voice mocking me. “Well, well, well, Commando Boy gets saved by Hostile 17…a big bad vampy…” Spike’s grim face comes into my view. “Welcome back to the land of the living, which you still are thanks to me. Bloody wanker. I shouldn’t even let you live after everything you’ve done to Red…”
I scramble up and back. “She told you?” I ask, relieved that she hasn’t totally blocked it out of her mind.
“Yeah, she told me…” He comes towards me and punches me across the face. Then he clutches his head in pain. “Oh, god that hurt! Bloody chip!”
I fall back onto the ground, not bothering to get back up. “Okay, okay. I deserved that.”
“Yeah, you deserve a lot more than that…you deserve a beatin’ from the slayer…” He held out his hand to help me up. “You look pretty beat-up. What have you been doing lately?”
I accept and pull myself up. “I don’t deserve her…”
“You’re bloody well right you don’t deserve the chit!” he yelled at me. He is pissed. He wants to rip me apart. I probably wouldn’t stop him either. I am so jealous of him. He has lived with Willow ever since her parents just up and left. They were doing really good on their own. Willow worked at the Magic Box and Spike was a rogue demon hunter. I hate myself for thinking about it. They eat together. He gets to watch her sleep, to carry her to bed when she falls asleep on the couch while watching TV. He can hang out and watch TV and movies and comfort her and make her laugh and sing stupid songs with her. His face is the first one she gets to see in the morning when she comes downstairs with her hair cutely mussed and her eyes half-closed with sleep. He gets to have pillow fights and food fights with her…god…I want to kill him…he gets to see her all the time, day and night…I wish I could be that person for her. The person she trusted with her life. You’re the one who screwed it up royally, the voice replies, and now she hates you…
His voice cuts into my thoughts, “You just going to sit there all night? Or are you going to get going?”
“What are you doing here, Spike?” I ask wearily.
“Hunting down you and beating you up any way I bloody well can…” he replies sweetly. Then his voice turns serious. “You shouldn’t have done that.”
I sighed. “I know. She probably hates me and wants me to go kill myself…”
“Worse,” Spike whispered back. “She doesn’t.”
Someone is banging on the door. Silly Spike. Probably forgot his keys again… I roll out of bed and stumble down to the front door of my parent’s house. They left a month ago and gave me a huge bank account that they still put money into thank god. I didn’t care. Spike came to live with me and he’s like an older brother. Sort of undead weird older brother.
I fling open the front door and start to berate him. “Spi-” The word dies on my lips. There stands Riley Finn, breathing hard from running here from…somewhere that is else? I start to shut the door but he pushes it open with one hand. Spike comes in right behind him.
“I tried to stop him, luv. But there wasn’t much I could do, y’know?”
I nodded and turned back to Riley. He didn’t take his eyes off of me even when I went into the living room. He followed me and sat down across from me. I didn’t look at him anymore. I didn’t want to. If I did, I would probably jump into his arms and hold him and never want to let go. Spike stood in the doorway and watched us.
“Spike. Go away. I have to talk to Willow for a minute. Alone,” Riley said.
“Over my undead body, commando boy. You think I’ll leave you along with her again. You’re just going to-”
“Spike,” I interrupt. “I-it’s okay. Just give us a sec, ‘kay?” I look at him with pleading eyes. “Please?”
“Fine. But if you even try you bloody wanker chip or no chip…” he left the threat unsaid, clicking his teeth in warning.
He leaves and I looked back down at my hands.
“Willow? Can’t you even look at me anymore? God, I’m such a jerk…” he groaned.
“No, Riley, you’re not,” I interrupt looking up at him. Crap! His blue eyes are clouded over with worry and pain and I just want to hold him and tell him everything was okay. “I should have stopped it. We just have to forget about it.” Someone knocks on the door but I just let it go. Spike will get it.
He slid off the chair and kneeled in front of me, holding my hands. “That’s the problem, Willow. I can’t. I can’t just push it away.”
“Willow? Are you here?” Buffy enters and sees us. “Riley? What are you doing?”
“We were, uh, practicing. For drama,” I improvise, hoping she’ll take it. “Riley agreed to be my helper because we have to do a wedding scene and since I don’t think they’ll appreciate two girls and the fact that Tara and I broke up…so Riley offered to do it with me because he doesn’t have to be a TA in psych anymore because of the whole Professor Walsh is gone and all.” I was babbling but it was working.
“Slayer! Come help me bake a cake!” Spike yelled from the kitchen.
Buffy spun around and went to him. I could hear her yelling and then him yelling then she came back. “Well, I just wanted to know if you were okay after what happened at the Magic Box. Are you okay, Will?”
I steal a glance at Riley’s face. Am I really? I can deal with this, right? Yes. “Yes, I’m fine. I’ll see you at the Bronze tonight, ‘kay?”
She nodded. “Yup, see you there. Dress sexy so the boys’ll drool. Riley will you walk me home?” she asked and I cheered. She was taking Riley. I followed them to the front door. Spike came up behind me.
He opened the door for her and turned back to me.
“You owe me one, commando boy,” whispered Spike.
“We’re not finished yet,” he promised me.
I nodded. “Yes, we have to finish up the project so you can get back to hanging out with Buffy,” I said loudly so Buffy could hear me.
She turned back to me and smiled. “You weren’t thinking of taking him from me, were you, Will? Cuz I don’t think I could handle that…” Then she grabbed his hand and pulled him away.
After they were gone I sighed and turned back to Spike. “Well, delayed but not totally gone.”
“Don’t worry about it, luv. It’ll work out…” His arm settles around my shoulders.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Yeah, I hope so…”
“Ice cream,” I confirm and we walk into the kitchen in search of comfort food.
As I walk beside Buffy, I glance at her. She looks happy even though her mom is in the hospital. I’m going to have to tell her soon because it would just be cruel to hold onto her. She will be so depressed. I mean, it’s kind of like Angel all over again because he left her too because it didn’t work out. Well, this time it’s not going to work out not because I’m a vampire but because it was her best friend. I focused back on her. “Uh, what was that again?”
“When are you going to pick me up for the bronze?”
“Uh. Whenever.” Okay, this was getting worse. But I couldn’t do it now…
“How about eight? I have to get Dawn at the hospital. Then I’m free…” She squeezed my hand.
“I could pick her up for you.”
She hugged me hard and squealed, “Thanks, Riley! Let’s get her now and then we can go to the Bronze…you and me…” she let a seductive hand run up and down my chest.
I grabbed her hand. “Yeah, sure,” I replied, feeling a little disgusted with myself. I wanted to pull my hand away and run back to Willow. I wanted her to get mad at me and dump me and…that wasn’t going to happen… So, I just follow her towards her house, where my car is.
“Hey Riley!” calls Dawn as we pull up.
“Hey Dawn.” She can be annoying at times but she’s okay. I feel bad for her. Her mother is in the hospital and all her sister thinks of is herself. I feel the urge to ask her to come to the bronze with us but I know that Buffy would get mad and as much as I want her to freak out on me, I don’t. I’m a walking contradiction, I know.
“Seen any good demons around?” she asks conversationally.
“No,” replies Buffy.
“Okay then…” Dawn snipes back, and climbs into the front seat. I can see the anger building on Buffy’s face and I don’t feel like getting into another argument. I look pleadingly towards her.
She sighs and climbs into the back. “I can’t fight your puppy dog face, Riley…” She kisses me lightly on the lips.
“Can I come to the bronze tonight?” asks Dawn.
“I don’t-” I start.
Buffy cuts me off. “No.”
“Please, Buffy? I need to have some fun. I feel so sad and depressed and lonely…please?” implores Dawn, turning back to Buffy and sticking out her lower lip in a pout.
“Dawn-” Buffy says warningly.
“I’ll be good, I promise… please…just for tonight…” Dawn begged. “I’m willing to do anything to be able to go…Buffy come on! I’ll stay in sight…”
“Fine,” Buffy said, exhaling sharply as if mad, which she was but pretended that she wasn’t.
I did pick her and Dawn up at eight and we went. I spotted Willow as soon as I entered. She was sitting with Spike and watching Xander and Anya dance. He looked up and smirked at me. My eyes narrowed as he leaned over to her and asked her something. She gave him a slow smile and got up from the table. He led her out into the dance floor as a slow song started and he pulled her close. God, I want to punch him in the face so much that my fist aches for it.
“Riley? Will you dance with me?” Dawn asks as we drop off our coats at the table.
I nod and follow her as she skips to the dance floor. She comes up mid-chest on me. I watch Willow and Spike sway and she laughs at something he says. She looks really awesome tonight in her green sweater and black mini-skirt.
“You really like her don’t you?”
I shift my gaze so I’m looking down at Dawn. “Pardon me?”
“Willow. She’s awesome isn’t she? Sometimes I wish she were my sister instead of Buffy. She seems nicer and stuff.”
I nod. “Yeah, she’s awesome all right.”
“I’m glad Spike lives with her. She shouldn’t be alone. She deserves someone really nice and loving and…well, stuff…”
I nod again and now we’re both watching her.
“She’s not going to hook up with Spike is she?” Dawn asks in a whisper.
“Wha- no. No, they’re just friends. Really good friends.”
“Good. Because Willow deserves someone really nice a-and human,” Dawn mumbles and leans on me.
The song slowly winds down.
“Thanks Riley. That was great.” She grins and practically bounces back to the table. Willow and Spike move back over. Buffy disentangles herself from a guy and comes back. It doesn’t bother me. I’ve already distanced myself from her. Sort of. She comes back and wraps herself around me as we sit down. Dawn looks disgusted. Xander and Ayna keep making out. Spike just looks amused and as he glances over at Willow it becomes a scowl towards me. Her eyes are dark with jealousy and she quickly ducks her head and looks at the table as Buffy starts talking animatedly. As a fast song comes on Spike arches his eyebrow at Dawn. Dawn giggles and rushes off to the dance floor with him lagging behind. Xander and Anya slowly move over to it. That leaves Buffy, Willow and myself.
Willow is looking around the club and her eyes settle on someone who has just entered and they widen. With fear?
I turn around and watch as Tara slowly moves towards us. She waves her hands in the air and her lips are moving as if she’s saying something.
Tara! She’s doing some sort of spell. I watch her lips move, searching for some sign of what it is. She flicks her wrist as if throwing something invisible towards us. I mutter a spell and then I can see it. It is a cupid’s arrow…headed for…Riley? “Riley, look out!” I kick my chair back and jump at him. We fall onto the floor together and my concentration is broken and the seeing spell is lost. I look around, searching for the victim. Where? Where?
Buffy gets up and sashays towards Tara. Oh, no. Buffy? Oh, god. Just before she can make a fool out of herself, I mutter the reversing spell.
She looks up at Tara. “What?”
“Move.” Tara pushes her aside and moves towards us. “Why do you keep protecting him?” she hisses at me.
“Get away from me,” I snap back and pull out my cross chain.
She growls and moves back a foot.
I narrow my eyes and my foot lashes out. She falls heavily to the ground and I grab a stake out of my purse on the table. Her eyes widen and she starts wrestling with me. I let go and roll away. “How could you, Tara?”
She smirks. “What did I have to live for?”
“Oh, yeah, blame it on me! Why not? I’m the easy excuse…” I push her away from me. “Go home Tara, go back to your master.”
“I’ll get him. Then you’ll die. He’s going to kill you,” she hisses at me then leaves.
Everyone has come back to the table when I get there.
“I think I need to go home, Spike…” I whimper before bursting into tears and running out of the Bronze. As I race back home, I think about Tara. Sure, we broke up but that doesn’t matter…she could still survive without me…I get to the door and fumble with my keys.
Cool hands take them out of my shaking fingers. “It’s not your fault, pet.”
I collapse back against Spike as he unlocks the door and pulls me inside. We collapse onto the couch and he cradles me in his arms. “It’s okay, it’s okay…” he mumbles over and over again, stroking me on the back.
We look up and she is standing on the front porch with the door open. She looks so innocent and yet cruel at the same time. “Lemme in Spike…”
“Suuure…” he replies sarcastically.
“Spiiike…” she went on in a sing-song voice.
“Come in Tara,” he says mechanically as his body is thrown across the room and pinned to the wall. “Bloody hell!” he yells at her.
“Shut up,” she snaps at him then turns back towards me.
I wipe the tears from my eyes and stand up. “W-what do you want, Tara?” I ask carefully as she moves towards me.
“Change of plan. You die first of all…then Riley because he should be mine and then I can turn him and we’ll live forever together…”
“You’re a lunatic,” I state and she backhands me.
“Never call me that!” she screams and picks me up again. She throws me towards the kitchen and follows me, using her magic to smash me into everything in the room.
I grab a knife as I slam into the counter for the third time and use my own magic to steady myself and throw her off-balance. I can’t kill her now but if I have to… “Spike!” I yell as I run towards the living room. “I have the power over your all, unbind you now from the wall.” Spike fell off the wall and I continued to run. Up the stairs and into my room.
“Willow!” she screams in hatred, chasing after me. “Where is he?” she screeches, pounding on the door. I hear someone come up the stairs.
“Right here,” they say.
“Spike?” I yell. “Get out of here. Get Buffy!”
“Riley!” Tara shrieked and I hear her run at him.
I open the door to see her jump him she straddles him and smirks. “You’re mine now. For ever and ever.” Then she bites him.
“No!” I scream.
I hear her scream as Tara’s fangs slide into my neck. It doesn’t hurt anymore when vamps bite me. Too much practice. I have to stop. My head grows fuzzy because I’ve lost so much blood to vampires in the past few days. I see her reach down and grab Tara around the neck and wrench her away and throw her down the stairs where Spike catches her and throws her out the door, locking it.
Then she is just standing over me. “Riley?” I don’t move and she falls to her knees beside me. “Oh my god, Riley? Riley please wake up! Please.” She lies her head on my chest and cries. She’s mumbling and I have to strain to hear them. “I’m so sorry. This is all my fault. If I hadn’t done that to Tara. If I hadn’t broke up with her. If I had been with her the whole time. She wouldn’t be a vampire and you wouldn’t be dead.” She lifts her head and I feel her fingers exploring my neck. Damn. She’s going to find- “Oh Goddess, Riley. You were already bit. A lot.” Then she put her head back down on my chest and cried some more.
I couldn’t stay still anymore. We were going to have a talk even if I was half-dead. I wrapped my arms around her and as she gasped in surprise, I flipped us over so I was on top of her. My legs pinned down her legs and I sat up grabbing her wrists in my hands and pin them above her head.
“You’re alive! Riley! You’re alive!” She tried to move but I held her still. The only thing she can move is her head. “Let me go, Riley.”
“Not until we talk about us.”
“Let me go, Riley,” she repeated. “There is no ‘us.’ You’re with Buffy.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Yes, you need her. She needs you.” She starts struggling again. “Let me up, Riley. Then go home to Buffy. She needs you. And whether or not you’re willing to admit it, you need her.”
“Why are you blocking me out, Willow?” I ask letting go of her hands and she scoots back against the wall and I lean me head in her lap. “Why are you blocking us out?”
She runs her fingers through my hair and it feels so nice. Buffy never did this. We didn’t have quiet chats like this. Willow is talking and I tune in again.
“…and they wouldn’t talk to us for weeks. Oz was so mad. He didn’t want to get back together and I should have taken the hint. But I didn’t and then he cheated on me. I felt so betrayed and it was horrible. I hated him but I shouldn’t have. I should have just let it go…” Her voice was hypnotizing and I was falling into a foggy state. She was still running her fingers through my hair and it was calming.
“Let me guess. Red and her big doggy?”
“Shut up, Spike,” I groan from her lap.
He cackled and then sat down next to her. I rubbed my head against her leg and she sighed happily.
“This is the way it’s supposed to be, Spike. Total paradise. I’m finally happy.”
I felt the same way. Here I was, sitting it in hallway, my head in Willow’s lap while she was sitting beside a vampire and I was happy. If she wanted Spike there with her, okay, but if he made a pass at her…oh boy…there would be trouble.
“No problem, mate. She’s my friend not my lover, no matter how hard I’ve tried,” Spike replied and I realised that I had said that aloud. He grinned down at me and waggled his eyebrows.
Willow nudged him in the shoulder. “You’re just losing your touch.”
“No, I’m just too much of a gentleman,” he retorted with a straight face. Then he burst into laughter. Willow and I joined in.
I closed my eyes for a second and it was hard to open them again. Every time I blinked it got harder and harder.
“Spike. Call an ambulance. Riley, come on. Stay with me. Please. Oh, God Riley, please stay. Please.” She touched me lightly on the cheek. “You have to stay. I say that I want you in my life and you just wimp out and start to die on me. I don’t think so Mister!” she said strongly. “You are going to live. Spike! Call Buffy!”
I grab her arm. “No. No Buffy.”
“Riley, we have to. She’s technically your girlfriend still.”
The ambulance men came up the stairs and put me on a stretcher. As I was being wheeled out, I could see them questioning her. She was almost in tears and I felt bad. She shouldn’t be put through this. I start to struggle up towards her but I’m pulled back down. Something is jabbed into my arm; I feel the prick and then nothing.
I wake up again to the beeping of a machine. I’m in the hospital. There are nurses above me. I feel all woozy and weird.
“Oh, my god! He’s awake! Oh Riley, baby! How are you?”
I reach out to her. “Good, babe, good. Did you answer all the questions right for the police? What happened to Tara?”
“Yes, of course, sweetie, I answered the questions. And I found Tara and staked her.”
“That must have been hard for you. Give me a kiss. It’ll make you feel better.”
She leans down and I kissed her tenderly. We would start our relationship as soon as I got the hell out of here. Then I open my eyes to the face of Buffy Summers, the woman I just kissed. And in the doorway stands Willow, her face a mask of pain. She swallows a couple of times before Buffy turns to her.
“He’s awake, Wills. He’s awake!” she exclaims happily.
“Yes, I know Buffy. He woke up from his dream and found you.” She smiled at Buffy then turned away and left the room quietly as Buffy kept fussing over my bandages.
I sat straight up. “No! Willow! Come back!” I struggle to get out of bed but I can’t. They won’t let me. Buffy doesn’t even notice that I wanted Willow back in here. She keeps babbling that Willow would come back to visit me, and that I needed to rest. When I refuse to cooperate she helps them push me back down and the nurse gives me a sedative and I fall asleep.
How could I have been so stupid to think he wanted me? He just wanted something to fulfill his needs while she was doing mom time. I storm into the house, ignoring Spike and flopping on the couch. “What a stupid fink. Riley is a fink!” I yell and it makes me feel better. “I hate him.”
“No, you don’t, pet,” Spike says, sitting down beside me and putting his arm around me.
I lean into him. “Why are boys stupid?”
“Because we’re boys. We are so stupid we don’t notice much,” he replies wryly.
“I hate boys and I hate Tara.” I pound a pillow to emphasize each word.
“She’s dead, pet. She was dead when she offered herself to the vampire.”
“I know,” I say, feeling horrible. “But she was a good person.”
“Oh, Red, so forgiving. What would we do without you?”
“Not much,” I admitted.
“That’s the spirit!” He tapped me lightly on the head with a pillow.
“You are so dead, Spike. I am the ruler of pillow fights!” Then I chase him around the house with a pillow.
I pulled the note off the box and read it:
I thought this would look good on you for that semi-formal thing. I heard you were going with Spike. I am so sorry. I don’t know why or how Buffy didn’t figure it out but she didn’t and I want to make it up to you. If you will just listen to me, please. Meet me at the clock at midnight. Please. I’m so sorry.
It certainly was strange. But I was going to go. I stepped in front of the mirror and pulled open the box and blinked a few times to make sure that it was really there. It was a necklace with a crest of Celtic knots and a pale green stone in the middle. “Whoa.”
“Here, pet. Let me put it on.” He stepped behind me and slipped it over my head. It rested just above my breasts in the middle.
“What do you think, Spike?”
“I think the boy has taste…” he said, eying the necklace. “Of course, he could have had help…”
“Yeah,” I nodded, missing his smirk. “It’s really nice. He’s going with Buffy isn’t he?”
“Yes, pet. Now it’s time to go. You are so lucky that I had tonight free…I was going to go out with a…a slimy demon but I figured that you needed me…”
I stick my tongue out at him and grab my coat. He helps me put it on and we leave.
“It’s beautiful Spike. Absolutely fabulous. I-I holy cow!” I babble, moving inside. I see Xander and Anya sitting at a table with Buffy and Riley. I gulp and Spike tightens his grip on me. I put on a brave front and work my way over to their table.
“Willow! Hey!” Buffy jumps up and hugs me. I feel so horrible and mean.
“Hey Wills!” greets Xander.
“Hey,” says Riley quietly, not meeting my gaze.
“Hi Willow.” Anya waves and grabs Xander for a dance.
“Hey, commando boy. Mind if I steal your date for a dance?” Spike says, always the gentleman…
“Sure, if you don’t mind if I take yours…” he shoots back.
Spike looks over to me and I nod. He grins and practically grabs Buffy, leading her out onto the dance floor.
I feel really nervous just standing there and he finally looks up at me.
“Hey,” I repeat. “You want to dance?”
“Sure. But I’m not much of a slow dancer…” He shrugged as we moved out onto the dance floor. It felt so good to be held by him but I reminded myself that it was just because Buffy was with Spike. So I pulled back a few centimetres.
God it feels good to hold her again. She’s so small and warm. She moves away and I growl subconsciously, pulling her closer again. She struggles for a second then stopped as I tighten my arms around her again.
“Riley-” She’s stopped by the wall bursting in. She looks up and screams as Tara burst in followed by vampires. They each grab a person and hold them. Willow struggles from my arms as Tara levels a glare at us.
“No. Willow. Stop.” I hold her steady and Buffy and Spike rush over to us at the same time as Anya and Xander.
“What’s going on? Buffy you told Riley that she was dead!” Xander yelled at Buffy.
Buffy cringed and she looked at me with the sad puppy dog face. “I’m sorry but I thought you would feel better if she were dead so I told you that…I’m sorry…” She reached for me but then pulled away. “We have to stop her.”
Xander rolled his eyes. “Uh, yeah Buff…that would be the point…”
Anya looked over to Willow, still in my arms. “You guys are pretty close over there…”
“He’s comforting her, pet. Bloody idiots! Is that all you think about? How stupid are you morons? She’s obviously afraid of Tara because Tara wants to kill her! Good god!” He looked over to us and winked at Willow. She relaxed in my arms and I wonder if I could ever calm her down like that. She twists us so that she is looking at Tara.
“What do you want, Tara?”
“You dead. Then him with me.” Buffy starts forward and Tara raises her arm. The vampires tighten their grip on their victims. “Just try it, Buffy, and they’ll all be dead. Oh, and Willow. I want you to meet my new best friend, Oz.”
Oz steps out from behind her and grins in full vamp mode. “Hiya Willow. How’s life?”
Willow gasps and clings to me as her knees give out. “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” she whispers to herself over and over again.
“I came back to Sunnydale to see you. See if we could work things out and I run into Tara. She tells me that you’re shacking up with him and then she turns me. Well, I figure, revenge is good so I join up. And, so will you. Or, you’ll die,” he states bluntly.
Tara laughs and grabs his hand. “He’s so good in bed, Willow. But you already knew that, didn’t you?” She pulls him into a passionate kiss and his hands roam all over her body.
Willow whimpers and Buffy holds up her cross. “Before this night is over, you will die, Tara. Oz, you’re second.”
Willow suddenly pulls out of my grasp and twists away as I try to grab her. She grabs the stake out of Buffy’s hand. She races towards Tara and Oz. Stopping just in front of them she promises, “You will die tonight. Both of you. I hate what you’ve done to Oz, Tara. Personally I think he looks better without ridges on his face. More cute.”
Tara jumps down at her and Willow’s leg snaps up, connecting with Tara’s head. Tara snarls and circles her. Willow rips off the bottom part of her dress and then throws herself at Tara, smashing her into the ground. They roll around and Tara throws Willow at a table. Willow rolls over it and falls into an unmoving heap on the other side.
I move forward and Oz puts up his hand. “Ah, ah, ah…Riley…don’t disturb the girls.”
I move back, frustrated. Buffy takes my hand and I feel her iron grip, knowing instantly that she wants to be out there as much as I do. I look down at her and she looks up with accepting eyes. “We’ll talk about it later.” And I know that she knows and I feel better.
I turn back to Willow being pounded by Tara. She accents each word with a punch in the face, stomach, anywhere. “He (bam) is (bam) mine (bam) Willow (bam) and (bam) you (bam) can’t (bam) take (bam) him (bam) from (bam) me (bam).” Willow catches her fist and flips them over so she is on top. She takes the stake and forces it towards Tara’s heart. Slowly, tortuously it moves closer and closer. Tara screeches as it touches her shirt. “No!” And then it is done and Willow is lying on the floor, sobbing.
“No!” Oz yells, running over, ready to jump her. He flies through the air and she rolls over, stake upright.
As the dust settles around her, the other vampires drop their intended victims and run. I run towards her as they run away. “Oh, god, Willow. Are you okay?” I hear the others come up behind me and I turn slowly to meet Buffy’s blue eyes. Spike comes up behind her and puts his arms around her. And, surprisingly enough, she lets him.
I unlock the door and push my way into the apartment, dropping the groceries in the doorway. “Riley?” It’s dark and I’m expecting the worst. I know, I know. It’s stupid but I still am afraid. I move into the dining room and find candles everywhere. “Riley?” I call again. What if he was killed and the killer is still in the apartment. What if he’s in the kitchen with a big knife, ready to slice me up- I jump about four feet as arms come around my waist.
“Hey babe,” he says, nuzzling my ear and pulling me in for a kiss.
“Riley. Oh, god.” I rub my cheek against his and smile.
“Little jumpy this evening?” he says, chuckling.
“A little.” I turn in his arms and plant a kiss firmly on his mouth. He eagerly returns it.
“Did you get the ice cream?” he asks.
I nod and pull away from him to get the groceries. “How are Buffy and Spike enjoying Paris?” I call from the front hall.
He laughs again. “He complains that it’s different from when he was last there and she says he complains too much.” He grabs the groceries from my hands and bring them into the kitchen. “They’re going to live in your house. Giles and Mrs. Summers are happily married still with Dawn. Xander and Anya moved down to L.A. to help Angel. I was taken completely by surprise by that.”
So was I, yet I didn’t show it. I knew that Xander was smarter than to just sit around the rest of his life. “And you? How is your status?” I tease, coming into the kitchen after him.
He turns, waving a hand with a silver wedding band on the fourth finger. “Well, I met the most amazing girl and I married her but I seem to have lost her…can you help me? She’s about your height, thin, attractive, fiery red hair, emerald eyes, apple blossom skin, smart, funny, creative, loving…seen her around?” he asked, backing me into the counter.
“Uh, no,” I reply innocently.
“Oh, well, I suppose you’ll have to do…” He leans down and kisses me. My lips curve into a smile and he kisses me again and again. His arms come around me and press me more firmly to his muscled body.
“Riley…” I say between kisses. “Uh. The. Ice. Cream’s. Melting.”
He scoops me up into his arms and carries me to the bedroom. “Fuck the ice cream. We can buy some more later…”