Warnings: bloodplay, biting
Summary: AU from The Gift. Plays a little fast and loose with BtVS canon. On winter vacation from college, Dawn pays Spike a visit.
Spike wasn't waiting for her at the bus depot. It was warmer here than at college and Dawn felt the mild air rush over her face as she stretched stiff limbs. She was shaky from her hours enclosed on the bus, jammed up against the window, engine vibrating under her feet.
Enclosed by the grime of the depot, she thought about snow. It hadn't snowed once the whole time she'd been at college, but her friends from colder parts of the country talked a lot about snow. They'd discussed the difficulties of cold weather with each other: scraping ice off the car, shovelling driveways, boots leaking. It was different from how Dawn had thought about snow before, her images from skiing magazines and holiday cards, and that one year when Xander had woken in his sleeping bag with snowflakes on his eyelids. She'd tried to get Spike to talk about snow once, too, a long time ago, but he'd told her about homeless people freezing to the pavement and having to be prized off, and he'd told it with a certain degree of relish, so she hadn't asked again.
She picked up her bags, walking briskly, glad to be free, finally, of the bus. The streets she walked were full of derelict houses. She pictured the other girls in her dorm going home to Christmas trees, mothers who made cake and cookies, piles of presents, relatives who drove them crazy. She knew she'd had that kind of life once, but it was hard to remember.
It was her second year, and she got along with her room-mates: they had similar tastes in music and wall décor and could share curries, pizzas and stories from their past. They said they weren't sure, now, if home really was home, they said they felt out of place in their teenage bedrooms and talking to their strict fathers. Dawn smiled, but she didn't agree: walking through dim streets, listening tensely for demonic activity, she felt months of college drift away, and she knew she was going home. Willow and Tara had offered to pay her air fair if she spent the holidays with them in Portland; Xander and Anya had made a similar offer, but she wanted to be in Sunnydale, and if she had could only afford to take the bus, so be it.
Streets gave way to the open spaces of graveyards. She didn't really need to visit this cemetery to get back: it wasn't even a short-cut, really, but her feet led her that way despite herself. It seemed quiet among the gravestones, but she knew Sunnydale could be deceptive, and she felt vulnerable: she couldn't do much to protect herself if a demon attacked. Dying now would be pretty pathetic.
She knelt by her sister's grave for a time, hand on the smooth corner of the stone. The familiar words now seemed both silly and proud—a declaration chosen by frightened children. The grass around the grave was long, and there were no flowers or other offerings. Dawn saw no reason to buy any: she gave what she needed to give by kneeling here, fingertips to stone, in silence, empty-handed.
When she grew stiff again and her thighs began to tremble, she walked the rest of the way home, her back-pack weighing her down, suitcase banging against her calf.
“Could've come to pick me up, you lazy jerk,” she sang out when she got in. “I dragged my damn suitcase up four flights.”
“Don't drive any more, do I, love,” Spike replied. He was curled opposite the TV on a sofa he'd taken off a street corner two years ago, facing away from the door.
“You could've carried my suitcase.”
“Don't want to encourage you to come. You should be off with your clever friends, talking about Proust.”
She'd dropped her bags by the door, and now she shucked off her sweater, her t-shirt, her jeans. They tangled together on the floor. “I'm all sweaty from the trip. I need a shower.”
Spike looked over. She knew he'd been longing to look over, that he'd been completely aware of her presence since she entered the building, but that he'd been stopping himself. She was impressed he'd managed for so long. It was all she could do not to leap on him now, to bury her face in his chest.
He swallowed. “I like you sweaty.” The words came out quiet, like he didn't want to say them but couldn't stop himself. “I like it when you smell like a woman.”
She came over, in unmatched panties and bra, underarms unshaven for three days and damp from hours on the bus, calves stubbly, thighs covered in long, fine hairs. Hair greasy, make-up worn off. He didn't get up, but he surged forward, grabbing her hips, burying his cold face in her stomach, just above the top of her panties. She could feel him smelling her, taking breaths he didn't need.
“You're beautiful,” he said. “You're so beautiful.”
“I know,” she said, because she knew. She pushed his hands away so she could straddle him, and then she kissed his forehead, his cheeks, his ears, his mouth. His tongue was cold and familiar and she dug her fingernails into his neck.
She didn't tell him she missed him. She didn't need to. She pulled his t-shirt off, and he unzipped his jeans, and though he took his cock out, he didn't touch it. He slid her off him and laid her on the sofa, and he knelt over her, licking her, nibbling her skin. He licked the places below her ears, the hollows beneath her clavicles, her armpits, the crook of her elbows, her hip-bones, her navel, her throat. He took her bra off and sucked her breasts into his mouth, swallowing convulsively until most of the sensitive tissue was surrounded by his cold cheeks. She shivered, shuddered, losing all steadiness, all the control she could build up when she was away from him. She was trembling, his again, the hours on the bus slipping away to nothing, the months in college a dream.
“Bite me,” she told him. He paused—she knew he was eager, because she was the only one he could bite, too magical to set off the chip. Still, he was always uncertain about taking this from her, and she waited, hoping, until he grabbed her foot, cold fingers settling below the heel, and pushed it toward her chest. Her thigh was revealed, pale and slightly hairy, the vein forced close to the surface by this angle.
When he bit, the pain was an anchor, a familiar touchstone, and she followed it, pressing into the sting. Her clit throbbed, her vulva wet enough to soak her panties. She felt the blood surging from her, listened to the sound of his mouth against her skin, his eagerness, his need. He took until she felt herself beginning to float, until she felt like she was dreaming. Then he began licking the wound and his face slipped back to normal and he looked small and rumpled there against her thigh.
She relaxed her leg, caught his hair in her fist, and pulled him towards her. They kissed messily, his mouth tasting of copper and salt, her blood on her lips, and then she wrapped her legs around his hips, pressing herself against him.
He shoved his jeans down, and she didn't bother taking her panties off so they cut into her thigh. He fucked her, her shoulder jammed against the arm of the couch, his hands digging into the small of her back, her hips raised, helping him to find the right place within her. It was quick and hard and she came trembling in his arms, and he came soon after, flopping on top of her, resting his head on her breasts.
She trailed her fingers through his stiff hair, tired and calm and covered in sticky sweat. “Well, I'm home,” she said.
He nuzzled her breast. “I won't have eggnog or cake or a fucking Christmas tree. There's hardly any hot water and the microwave's on the blink. And I hardly ever clean in here, and...”
“I helped you set this place up, remember? I used to do my homework in your bedroom at a desk you won for me in a poker game. I know what it's like.”
“God, all the women I sleep with are bloody mental. I thought you'd be too clever to come back.”
“I wrote you and told you. I would've come back at Thanksgiving but my room-mate really wanted me to visit her family.”
“Did you have a nice, thankful time?”
“No, it was boring. Her uncle got drunk and tried to feel me up, and her Mom kept telling me to wear more foundation.”
He laughed. “Did you like the uncle?”
“He was really burly, and I only like men who are so skinny they look like they might die in a couple of weeks.”
“As long as you know what you want.” He sighed through his nose, tugging her closer to him. He was heavy on her chest, but his weight was comforting and familiar.
“Right now I want pizza. You should go and get it.”
“Yes, boss,” he said, but didn't move.
She poked him in the side and sat up, squirming out from under him. “I'm going to go use whatever hot water you have.”
She found herself shaking slightly in the shower: she was more tired than she had thought. The water, though lukewarm, felt wonderful against damp and sore skin. Her muscles ached in a pleasant way, and the wound on her thigh stung familiarly. A little pinkish water leaked from it. She used Spike's shampoo, and would've shaved, but she couldn't find a razor in the shower cubicle, and she couldn't be bothered to get out. She stayed until the water was definitely cold and shut it off.
Spike was gone, hopefully to procure food. Dressing in fresh panties and one of Spike's t-shirts, she curled up on the sofa. She pulled a blanket over herself—it smelt a bit ashy, and she suspected Spike used it for brief forays into sunlight. She flicked through the TV, rejecting various shows until she came to a repeat of The OC, a show she was pretty sure Spike enjoyed. The apartment smelt so familiar that she almost couldn't name the scents, though she could guess at them: hair gel, beer, blood, smoke; and she felt like she could only really relax right here.
She drifted, dozed, and woke to find Spike holding a slice of anchovy pizza under her, nose, poking her lip with the triangle of dough. She laughed and took it, settling her feet in his lap. The OC had turned into Seinfeld but Spike didn't change the channel. He watched it with a glazed expression, idly eating pizza and stroking her feet as he did so.
They fell asleep on the sofa as they often did. Dawn woke in the early afternoon, long before him, dressed and went out into the comparative safety of Sunnydale in sunlight. The town looked smaller than ever before, and more run-down than it was in her memories, many of the stores shut and boarded up, the new high school still only half-complete, lots of houses clearly unlived in. The house she had grown up in was occupied, a car parked outside, a Christmas tree in one window. She stood outside it for a little while, wondering if the sight would be painful, but finding it wasn't. That pain, the pain of loss, was rooted deep, and was constant, and a handful of brick and mortar couldn't ease it or make it worse.
The town centre was busier, cafés and restaurants still open, people wandering in and out of stores. Dawn went into a café she thought she'd once visited with Tara and ordered coffee and a fruit-cup. Xander and Anya had moved away shortly after their marriage, a year after Buffy's death, but Willow and Tara had remained until Dawn had gone to college, desperately trying to keep a sense of normalcy in the dwindling town, yet unable to hide the wounds they all bore. Dawn had been unhappy and not unhappy. She had been alone but never lonely. Spike was there, constant, unchanging, open. Her seduction was clumsy and his response was tentative, but she didn't think she would ever forget the joy she had felt when his teeth had finally broken her skin.
She ate the fruit, pleased to have something fresh and sweet in her mouth, and then thought that, after last night, she would probably need protein, and Spike hardly ever had anything edible in his kitchen. She ordered scrambled eggs and bacon and ate them slowly, feeling more calm than she had in months, able to enjoy the flavours. She'd already decided not to get started on her college work until after Christmas—this was her present to herself, six uninterrupted days with Spike.
He was awake when she got back. He'd found her laptop, and was watching a video of kittens singing Christmas carols. He didn't even bother to switch it off when she came in.
“You don't have any shame, Spike. You could be watching porn, but no, kittens.”
“We can watch porn if you like,” Spike said, putting the laptop on the floor.
“I only watch porn in college when I don't have you around.”
“Oh yeah? What do your room-mates think about that one?”
“Oh, they like it. We gasp at the big cocks and then we eat each other out.”
“Liar,” he said. She sat down next to him, and he kissed her cheek. “Where did you learn to talk like that?”
“Mostly from you. Duh.”
“I suppose you didn't have much chance with me as your role model.”
She snorted. “You've been a lot of things, Spike, but you were never my role model.”
It was getting dark out already. She felt alert, and knew that, the longer she stated here, the more daytime would begin to fade in importance as she fitted into Spike's rhythms.
She pulled him to her, and they kissed: they were slower this time, and he was gentle like he had been when she was younger and was afraid he'd scare her. She flopped against him, a parody of a helpless maiden, and said, “Take me to bed, Spike.”
The sheets were musty, perhaps not often used, and she climbed on top of him, wrapping her legs around his thighs, sliding forward to nip his throat. She pulled his t-shirt off and licked his chest, curling her tongue over the nubs of his nipples. He was cold, almost unpleasantly cold, and he looked so young, and his skin tasted like ashes. She was pleased to feel him hard beneath her.
They were quiet for a time after they'd fucked, she curled close against him, nose against his neck. He breathed in before he spoke, which meant he had something he felt it was important to say.
“Sometimes I imagine you in college, you know, and some boy comes up to you, and he's wearing a plaid shirt, and smoking a pipe or whatever, and he's clever like you, and you like him, and when you sleep with him you're fucking amazing, and he says 'Wow, when did you learn to be such a demon in the sack?' and you don't tell him, but you think of me. It doesn't make me sad, you know, it makes me pleased. I want you to have things like that. And I don't want you to forget me.”
“Smoking a pipe? What do you think college is like, anyway? Do you think it's The Shire?”
He didn't reply. She sighed, curling away from him in the dark. His body was cold against hers. “I don't want the plaid shirt boy, Spike.” She didn't need to say 'I want you'.
“You might,” he said. “One day.”
“Well, so what if I do? I'm here right now. Live in the moment, Spike, jeez. You could get exposed to direct sunlight tomorrow and be a big pile of ash.”
“Yeah, yeah. Zen and vampires don't really mix.”
“You could come back with me, you know. We could live together. You wouldn't have to worry about me being distracted by boys.”
They'd had this conversation often, and he didn't reply. He was quiet for so long she thought he might have fallen asleep, though it seemed unlikely. It was hard to tell with vampires: their breathing never changed. Then he said, “I did get you a present.”
“For Christmas? That's a first.”
“You probably won't like it.”
“You're anticipating again.” Dawn rolled onto her back, pressing her warm flank against his cold one. “A present. God. That's exciting. I should get you something. What would you like?”
“Fuck that. Who needs presents when you can have sex with someone you love?” He illustrated his point by sliding his hand over her belly to her vulva. She thrust up against it, unsurprised and appreciative.