Exanimate
by Kat Leaf
Rating: NC-17
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Type: Het, AU
Pairing: Spike/Willow
Disclaimer: DISCLAIMER
Author's Notes: Continued from 'Crushed'. Spike and Willow find what they need in each other. Vague spoilages thru S7. I don't own either Spike or Willow, but everything else is mine.

The sneezes, while not forced, couldn't have come at a better moment. Embarrassing though they were, they got Spike what he wanted - an invitation. As he walked past the witch he casually brushed against her bare arm, leather against flesh, and was rewarded with the spicy scent of desire-heated blood, mingling with the familiar lavender and peppermint of her room. Her heart skipped a beat before resuming its quickened pace. He thought briefly to count his blessings. There was one good thing about this bloody rotten cold he could count on a spot of sex magic with the little witch. Maybe that would lift his mood, make him feel something again. It had been so long. He studied her for a long moment, taking in her splotchy cheeks and reddened eyes it looked like she could use a bit of the same. Well then, time to get this thing started.

"You look upset, love. Something happen?" His voice was the slightest bit stuffy, edged with the rasp of his sore throat.

Her brows furrowed briefly and her gaze sharpened. Spike allowed himself to slump just a bit, enough to suggest weariness, even illness, but that he was trying to put a brave front on it. She could read the signs like a book, would miss none of it. He resisted the sudden urge to smile.

"Nothing new," she said shortly, obviously unwilling to share whatever had been making her hurt. For a moment her reticence stung. Was a time she would have trusted him enough to be open. Unlike others... do you trust me? He'd once asked Buffy. Never. Her reply still cut and he shoved away the thought. Not going there. All he wanted was a spot of warmth. He had been cold for too many weeks. Or was it years. Ages.

Willow crossed her arms over her chest, hugging herself as though she needed warmth. There was something fragile in her eyes that drew him in, pulled him close until he reached for her. He wrapped his arms around her and she tucked her head under his chin. They stood together in silence until his nose began to prickle. Because he knew she wouldn't see, he allowed himself the smallest smile as he sniffled not trying to push it away, but to coax it closer.

The tickle grew, flaring across his sinuses so sharply that his nostrils flared and his breath (so odd to breathe) hitched in reaction. Willow made a small noise and burrowed closer to him. He couldn't decide whether to pull away, allowing her to watch or stay as he was, allowing her to feel the sneezes as they hit. A moment longer and the decision was taken out of his hands. He turned to the side just in time to avoid spraying her. "Heh-tchsh!" Another pause for breath, so strange involuntary and rarely done, yet perfectly necessary. "Uh... heh.. tch..shh!" She trembled against him, her slight frame shuddering.

"Pardon."

"Bless."

Both spoke at the same time, then she stepped away. Willow picked up a box of tissues from her nightstand. A flush stained her cheeks, but her eyes snapped green fire. Spike felt his own fires kindle, an answering heat pooling deep within. Yes, this is what he needed. Her hands offered the box; her eyes offered whatever he was willing to take.

He took a couple, folded them in half and spoke through them, though they muffled his voice slightly. "Appreciate the sentiment, but I don't believe it'll do any good," he said with a small smile.

Willow made her first move of the game. "Are you all right?" She managed to complete the sentence without stammering or babbling, but her gaze darted around the room unable to meet his. She kept her expression carefully neutral, but he caught the heat of her desire as it radiated from her as though she were the sun. He longed to bask in that warmth, perhaps it would banish this insufferable dis-ease. Perhaps it would dispel the cold. He shrugged, schooling his features into the perfect mixture of misery and tough facade. "It's nothing, pet. Seem to have caught a bit a chill." As if on cue, his nose began to itch. He sniffed. Sniffed again. Eyes fluttering closed, Spike reached blindly for the tissues again. The witch handed him one at exactly the right second. As their hands brushed a spark jumped between them, red like her hair. He was too busy sneezing to comment at the unexpected magics, but he noticed. "ht-essh!... hehesshuh! Pardon," he excused himself, the word rasping against his throat, and blew his nose.

He watched her from under lowered lashes as she watched him. Her hunger was written clear. It wouldn't be long now. Hunger of his own uncurled in his belly.

"Strange," she said slowly, "for a vampire to be sick."

"Stranger things have happened," he pointed out.

The truth of that surprised a laugh from her. She nodded. "Just in the past week," she agreed. Suddenly she sobered again. "Tell me, Spike, why are you here?" Her words were brittle and he knew the two of them were balanced on a fine point. One wrong move and he would be out in the cold, all possibility for companionship vanished.

He should have known she would ask, considering the way he had left things between them. The way he had left. He wracked his brain for an excuse, but it felt as though his head was swathed in cotton, making lies difficult to come by. Fortunately he was saved by truth, such as it was. "hehnxgt!" He stifled for the first time, pinching the sneeze off between thumb and forefinger, as though he were trying to explain. "W...was j-just.. htchxt! Pardon. Just passing through."

Willow tried to scowl, but her breath was coming short and sharp. "And if I said I didn't believe you?" She turned her back to him, watching the rain trickle down the window pane.

"Does it matter, pet? Wanted to see you. Missed my Red." His voice turned slow and sweet, cajoling. "Come, luv. Aren't you even a little happy to see me?" He crossed the distance between them, wrapped his arms around her and nibbled at the edge of her ear. At first she stiffened in his hold, but as he sniffled again, she melted against him going warm and liquid. Yes, this was what he had hoped for. "I've such a tickle," he murmured and she sighed, small exhalation of pleasure. "Been sneezing all day..."

With a fierce growl, Willow turned in his arms, shoving him backward onto the bed. He fell with a rush of surprise and she fell with him. Their lips came together in a heated frenzy, drinking deep of each other. Teeth clicked, hands groped, clothing hit the floor. Skin slid against skin, cold against hot. Nails raked across backs leaving bright weals, mouths left stark marks of passion on neck and chest. Moans rose and fell in waves. Passion climbed between them, building fast and sure. Red sparks danced across his skin, tiny pinpricks of pain that burned with a cold flame of pleasure.

Spike's fingers slipped between her legs, and triumph flooded him to find her already slick. She groaned with need. "Please... please, Spike." Her back arched, a perfect bow of desire, red hair flaming around her face, and he reached up, caressed her breasts then sheathed himself inside her with one smooth motion. She cried out, her song ringing through him and making him feel at least. A sigh slipped from between his lips.

Their bodies flowed together like the ocean, giving and taking, climbing together. She reached the edge first, tumbling over with a silent cry, eyes wide. He cradled her as she fell, and then she whispered something he had never thought to hear. "Taste," she said, pressing her lips to his once again, her tongue slipping inside. In her passion she had bitten her tongue and the spicy hot tang of blood spilled into his mouth, trickled down his throat and he groaned into her.

"Drink," she said then and tilted her head, offering the smooth white expanse of her neck. So freely offered, he could not resist. His teeth pierced her skin and the blood poured into him, giving strength, giving life... healing him. Her heartbeat thundered in his ears and he slowed his suck, taking only the barest taste. He could feel her shudder around him, her ecstasy echoing his. His own pleasure reached its peak and he shuddered beneath her, releasing his hold on her. His senses were hazed with the lingering rapture of feeding and he slipped to the bed, eyes sliding closed.

"Why," he managed to ask her, clinging to consciousness.

"Blood is life," she said simply.


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