I'm entranced, possessed
I swear by stars above
I've never been so much in love..."
Strangely, even in the places where their bodies
touched, she didn't feel cold. It wasn't until she had
been awake for a minute or so that she realized they
were lying beneath an electric blanket.
Buffy turned onto her back, then all the way to her
other side to look into his face and watch him while he
slept. This was a first for her. He'd never really slept
before when they spent nights together, or, if he did,
she was asleep as well and missed it.
It was a delicious sight, she had to admit. His hair all
mussed and curly, those long, dark lashes making little
fans on his high cheekbones. He made such an enchanting
picture that she didn't even notice the lack of breathing.
She was wondering what time it was when the little
brass mantle clock chimed twice.
Only two in the afternoon? Plenty of time, then.
Sleeping in his arms was wonderful, and it was definitely
something she wanted to do more of, but she'd missed
him so much, for so long, that it seemed like a waste of
time at the moment.
She'd kept herself occupied while he was gone. School
work and slaying duties had taken up most of her free
time, with a little bit of playtime initiated by her friends,
but when she'd been through with all that, there had still
been too hours of empty space she'd needed to fill.
So, she'd headed for the mall. And while she was there,
she'd discovered the bookstore.
Reading had never been one of her favorite things to
do. Her mother had spent years trying to convince her
that there was no substitute for a good book when you had
some time on your hands, but Buffy had always held more
to the philosophy that life was to be lived and not read about.
But while traveling aimlessly up and down the aisles
of Walden's Books, she'd happened upon the romance
section and noticed a whole new trend had appeared in
the genre. There were still plenty of cowboys, Scottish
brigands, and pirates, but they'd recently been joined by
a new type of romantic hero....vampires.
Most of the stories were fairly predictable and followed a
basic formula; 1.Creature of the night spies beautiful mortal
girl and seduces her without bothering to let her in on his big
secret; 2. Vamp falls totally in love with her and she with
him; 3. Vamp finally fesses up but decides he can't
bear to take her from the life she was meant to lead and drives
her away, keeping her from having to dwell in the darkness with
him instead of romping in the sunshine with the secondary male
lead, who, let's face it, was pretty dull and not nearly as handsome;
4. Saves her from some unspeakably evil danger, which was
usually caused by either a jealous ex-lover of his or a former
rival from his past; 5. All of which culminated in his total reformation
and the realization that any life together was better than
one apart; and 6. The big happy ending sex fest that followed.
The reason she knew all this was because she'd bought
and read every book she'd found.
The vampire heroes were kind of generic, if you could call
a vampire generic in the first place. They were all tall,
dark, and handsome, with 'piercing eyes' of either ebony or
jade green. All of them seemed to be leading a torturous life,
feeling a great deal of guilt and remorse for their
carnage, which they brooded about constantly, as though
they were still possessed of their souls, and how lame was
She couldn't help thinking, as she'd paged through the
books, that she had a unique point of view on the subject.
Maybe, someday, she would write a little something on what
it was REALLY like to love and to be loved in return by a
vampire. About how all encompassing it was. How it
occupied every waking and sleeping moment, until all a
person could think about was the next time they'd be with
No. Who would ever believe it?
"Caught up, entwined in your embrace
You are my all
No looking back, too far to fall..."
These fictional vampires were nothing like the real
ones in a lot of different ways. For one, the only thing
that changed when they vamped out was their teeth.
But you couldn't blame the authors for that. Up until
she'd come face to face with her first vamp, she'd never
even dreamed of the sorts of changes that occurred, the
way their facial features totally deconstructed and re-
In fact, if things were very quiet, she could actually
hear the bones shifting, which seemed like it should
Still, even if they'd known about it, the authors probably
wouldn't play up the differences. They'd want to keep their
heroes handsome and sexually appealing. She was probably
the only one in the world who found a real vampire to be
that way, in both his human and demon guises.
Hard to imagine that she was the only one. William had
shown her most clearly that all vampires were not cut from
the same piece of cloth, as Giles assured her they were.
Vampires were individuals, just as people were. Some of them
chose to be a certain way, while others opted to follow a
different path and behave more like a human than an animal.
She suspected that it might have something to do with the
kind of person they were before being turned. For some
reason, it was a subject that had never come up between
them, but now that it had occurred to her, she was definitely
going to ask him just who William Hamilton had once been.
Probably a very handsome and dashing fellow, she
decided, examining his fine features. The confident and "in
charge" type. She could picture him attending social gatherings
and commanding the attention of everyone in the room just
by the force of his strong personality.
And that wasn't even factoring in his outrageously
attractive face and form, which was a work of art all by
The blankets had slipped down to his waist, giving her a
nice view of his strong upper arms and well built chest,
all tapering down to those incredible abdominal muscles.
And of course, if you kept traveling south, things just got
better and better.
Baby, don't you know you've got me
Wrenched an unknown feeling from my heart
Baby doll, you know you keep me
She couldn't lie there much longer without doing
something. Even though she hated to wake him up,
since he'd had so little sleep, the temptation to do just
that was a just a bit too hard to resist.
Now, how to go about it?
She'd read somewhere that if you stared intensely
at someone sleeping, that person would awaken. After
a solid ten minutes of it, Buffy decided that there
was no truth to the theory.
Rolling onto her back, she sighed loudly, then coughed
a little bit. When that got no reaction, she faked a sneeze,
jiggling the mattress for good measure.
Apparently, he was a really deep sleeper.
She cleared her throat, sat up and then laid back down,
changed positions, scratched a non-existent itch in the
middle of her back...nothing worked.
After taking it to the extreme of actually climbing out of bed,
going to the bathroom, and returning to bed...with as much
noise and movement as she could reasonably make...she had
to acknowledge the fact that if she wanted him awake, she'd
have to apply a little slayer strength to her shaking.
The thought came to her without warning, then refused to
go away. There WAS one more thing she hadn't tried yet.
Slipping one hand beneath the blanket, she placed it on his
upper thigh. The unusual warmth of his skin was wonderful,
and she let her fingers fan out and stroke the hard inner
muscle they touched.
At that moment, 'something' stirred under the covers. She
froze for just a second, waiting to see if she was going to be
caught red handed, but he remained perfectly still.
Gathering up every bit of her nerve, she allowed her fingers
to continue exploring, moving so slowly it would have required
time lapse photography to detect any motion.
When he still didn't budge, she began to get a little
bolder. Her hand moved up over his thigh and caressed
his flat stomach, her little finger dipping briefly into his
navel. Nothing happened.
"How can I wake you up?" she asked softly.
"You're going about it in the wrong way," he
answered unexpectedly, making her jump in surprise.
"I'm enjoying all the attention you're lavishing on my
unconscious body far too much. I can pretend to be
asleep all day for that."
"Oh!" Her cheeks turned pink. "You...sneak," she
scolded half-heartedly. "That wasn't fair."
He looked up at her with lovely drowsy eyes. "I'd
be happy to drop back off if you'd prefer to do it that
"Whatever you like."
She considered his answer, tilting her head in contem-
plation. "Okay, then...close your eyes."
He obeyed, wriggling down into the mattress a little deeper.
Buffy pulled the covers all the way down to the end of the
bed, fully exposing his naked body.
"It doesn't seem quite fair that I'm the only one with no
clothes on," he said.
"What difference does THAT make?" she asked reasonably.
"You're asleep, remember?"
Kneeling next to his prone body, she peeled off her t-shirt
and tossed it on the floor, leaving on her bra and panties for
"Did you take something off?"
"Do you always talk so much in your sleep?" She straddled
him, placing one knee on either side of his waist, but keeping
her body airborne. "Now...are you asleep?" she whispered,
dropping forward onto her hands.
"Yes," he whispered back, visibly trying to suppress a
Leaning down, she placed an airy kiss on his forehead,
then trailed her lips down his nose and over both his
cheeks. When she passed his own lips, he seemed to
strain forward in search of a true kiss, but she denied him,
ordering him to settle down.
Her lips placed a series of soft kisses along the line of his
jaw, then tugged playfully on his earlobe, making him squirm
slightly when she teased it with the tip of her tongue.
Ignoring the movement, she took her tongue elsewhere,
zeroing in on the base of his throat. Licking it as delicately
as a kitten at a saucer of milk, she moved a bit further down
"I'm so high on love
I won't come down..."
Buffy was having an unbelievably good time playing with
William's body, even though he wasn't truly asleep. The
whole thing was giving her a sense of power over him that
she'd rarely felt, having usually been on the receiving end
of the advances.
She was enjoying herself so much, that she forgot to
feel any of the irritating shyness such things normally
brought out in her.
Blazing a gentle path of kisses down the middle of his
chest, she turned her head and rubbed her cheek against
his left pectoral, eliciting an almost soundless gasp from
She sat up, reaching for his arms and raising them until they
were lying above his head. He smiled when she trailed her
fingertips down the smooth flesh of his inner arms from his
wrists to his armpits, stifling a laugh.
"Shhh" she murmured. "You're sleeping."
After a moment of thought, she reached around behind
her. "Don't open your eyes," she warned him, unfastening
her bra and letting it slide down her arms.
With the sort of cocky smile she'd picked up from him,
she leaned over again and pressed her breasts against his
His only reaction was to clench his fists.
Lifting herself slightly, she brushed the tips of her nipples
over his smooth skin until they were hard and sensitive.
William's control was amazing. He didn't make a sound,
although he did arch his back ever so slightly.
"Still asleep?" she inquired.
"Is that what you want?"
"Then I'm still asleep."
"Oh, oh...what do we do?
You fell for me, I fell for you
Bewitched, but adored
I never loved like this before..."
Watching him try so desperately to play the part she
wanted, Buffy felt her heart swell in her chest, literally
filling up with all the love she kept there for him.
She placed her lips against his ear. "I love you, William,"
she whispered. "You're my life."
It was obviously difficult for him not to say it back, but
he managed to keep a rein on the control he needed, letting
her call the shots.
"We're going to be together. No matter what my mother
says, or Giles. I won't let them come between us. I'll be
strong. You'll see."
It was a promise she would keep. No matter what obstacles
the others tried to throw in their way, and there would be a
lot of them, she wouldn't buckle under.
They would try everything, she knew, from gentle persuasion
to endless lecturing. Giles especially would point out the
impossibility of what she was doing. He would use every
piece of ammunition in his arsenal to straighten her out,
to make her understand that she was walking down a road
that would end in disaster or death...HER death, to be
She was the Slayer, he would say, the guardian of the
Hellmouth. How could she put herself in such a vulnerable
position? And not JUST her, but her friends and her family
He would bring up William's murderous past, victim by
victim, she had no doubt.
Giles would try...and he would fail. Willow and Xander
would take their shot...and would have no success.
Even her mother wouldn't sway her from the path she'd
Thinking of her mother for a moment, Buffy was once
again reminded of Joyce's passion for old musicals.
Specifically, a line in a song from West Side Story that
summed everything up nicely; "When love comes so strong,
there is no right or wrong. Your love is your life."
For the first time since William had suggested it, the
prospect of facing them all down no longer made her feel
a trifle nauseous.
"I had a dream
My wish was granted
We got a love I never thought I'd find..."
By some super-herculean effort, William stayed
quiet after her declaration.
She rewarded him for it by heading back down his
body, stopping to taste and tease.
It was a dizzying encounter. This "being in charge"
stuff was fun. She wished she hadn't waited so
long to try it.
Rising to her knees, she tugged at the tiny satin ribbons
that kept her panties in place on her hips. They fell away
from her, landing on the most sensitive part of his body.
His hips jerked in an involuntary response.
After getting her underpants out of her way, she leaned
down and drew a line with her tongue, starting at his
navel and ending at the base of his impressive erection.
Air hissed in through his clenched teeth. "Baby,"
he whispered. "Please...."
She paused. "Are you talking in your sleep again?"
He swallowed hard and shrugged. "Sure. Why not?"
Although she'd been planning to hold off a little more,
she scrapped the idea. "Okay, go ahead."
"Don't stop," he said immediately. "Take it in your
The blatant demand gave her an all over body blush,
but she did as he'd asked.
Feeling wickedly sexy, she curled her fingers around
his erection and kissed its tip. When she opened her
mouth and let it slide in, his head tipped back and his
legs locked up tight.
"Yeah," he muttered hoarsely. "Like that."
Buffy was still enjoying her power. The soft sounds he
was making as he struggled to hold still made her own
desire even stronger.
Then she heard a louder groan as he gave up the fight,
tangling his fingers in her hair, moving in and out of her
mouth in shallow thrusts.
"Buffy...sweetheart...feels so good."
Pleased, she drew him in further. Her mouth slid up
and down in a steady rhythm, her cheeks hollowing
on each upstroke.
"I'm...I'm going to come," he whispered.
She knew what to expect, and she brought her free
hand up to cup his sac, letting him know what she
wanted to do for him.
This gentle touch was about all he could take. With
a shout of pleasure, he exploded, filling her mouth with
Buffy dealt with it without making a face, then sat up
and grinned. "Did you like that?"
William's mouth curved in a matching smile, but his
eyes stayed closed.
"Shh," he said. "I'm asleep."
"Under your spell,
I stay enchanted
You cast a spell
Our love's divine..."
"Boys will be boys
Bad boy, bad boy
Boys will be boys
Bad boy, bad boy..."
Buffy stared at her reflection in the hall mirror, not
much caring for it. She looked pale and nervous,
nothing at all the way a Slayer should look.
She had spent a great deal of time practicing her
confrontational, bad ass, 'get in my way and I'll wear
your teeth on a chain around my neck' persona,
wanting to appear as threatening as a five foot nothing,
almost seventeen year old could manage; so much
time, in fact, that she was able to switch to it quickly
from her 'I'm just an innocent, helpless victim and please
don't hurt me' face.
But confronting hungry vampires was nothing compared
to confronting a mother with rather disturbing news
about the career her only offspring had been pushed into.
As a child, she had played all the different stages
in the "What shall I be when I grow up?" game.
From 'princess' to 'ballerina' to 'nurse' to 'veterinarian', she'd
run the full course, collecting all the "Yes, of course, honeys"
and "You'll make a wonderful whatever you choose to be,
sweeties" along the way.
Somehow, in all the discussions she'd had with friends and
family members, the topic of 'Vampire Slayer' had never been
So, how did one go about explaining this sort of thing to
a parent who had always pictured their child in a tu-tu or
a nurse's uniform?
She took a deep breath. "Mom. I'm a...why don't you sit
down...Mom...I'm a vampire slayer. Vampires. Real, honest
to goodness, vampires. I slay them. It's sort of my job. Oh,
and by the way, this is my fiance...who happens to BE a
vampire." She sighed deeply. "I'm dead. She's either going
to kill me or commit me."
Flicking off the bathroom light, she went into the living
room and plopped down on the couch next to William. His
arms opened instantly, gathering her up.
"You all right, luv?"
"Oh, sure. I'm just peachy. Couldn't be better, thanks." She
looked up at him with wide, pleading eyes. "Take my mind
"How can I do that?"
Placing one hand beneath her chin, he tilted her face up
a bit more and placed an extremely gentle kiss on her slightly
Buffy tried to deepen the kiss and intensify the embrace. She
turned and rose up on her knees, wrapping her arms snugly
around him and returning his kiss with a searing one of her
After a moment, he attempted to pull back. "Sweetheart...as
wonderful as this is....I don't think we should be doing it just
She pulled back, pouting. "Don't you want me?"
"You know better than that," he said firmly. "I want you twenty-
four hours a day. But if your mother walks in, it won't endear me
to her if she catches me with my hand up your shirt."
"No," she admitted. "But it'll make ME feel good."
He laughed, hugging her tightly. "I love you, and I promise that
when it's all over, I'll take you somewhere and do everything
I can to make you feel good."
The brief tussle had caused the top two buttons on her
sweater to come undone, and she was displaying a rather
tantalizing bit of cleavage. The sight, as always, made him
"On the other hand," he said, slipping his fingers just under
the collar of the sweater.
Buffy heard herself let out a squeaky protest when his
lips traveled down her throat, seeking the bare skin she was
showing. "My mother...." she began weakly.
"Don't worry," he murmured against her neck. "I'll hear her
in plenty of time to get to the other side of the room. God,
you smell wonderful."
"I....I do? But...but I'm not wearing...perfume." Her head
was beginning to spin.
"I know," he growled. "It's just your natural scent driving me
wild. Making me hard."
"Always getting so restless
Nothing but trouble
Boys will be boys, bad boy, bad boy
Get me feeling breathless
Nothing but trouble
Boys will be boys, bad boy, bad boy
His hand lifted, and the back of his fingers stroked her
cheek. When her lips parted, his thumb brushed over
the lower one. "Good girl. You open that pretty mouth
The kiss he gave her was long and hard. At one point,
he pulled away just enough to drag his tongue over
her lips and whisper, "You taste sugary. Like ripe
fruit....cherries, maybe. Or strawberries."
Buffy was finding it difficult to keep her feet on the
ground, metaphorically speaking.
"That's....that's my lip gloss," she sighed. "Cherry
His fingers left her face and began to play erotic games
on the bare skin of her shoulder, where her sweater had
slipped down. "Is that a fact?" he asked, his tone a
little husky. "Well, tell me, Cherry Delight...are you as
juicy as I think you are?"
She wasn't quite sure whether he expected an answer
to that question, or was just trying to provoke a reaction
from her. Whichever it was, she couldn't come up with
anything witty to say in reply.
"A car just turned the corner," he whispered in her ear.
"That's nice," she moaned, tilting her head to one side to
give him more access to her throat. "I...WHAT? IT DID?"
Placing her hands on his chest, she pushed him off so
hard that he wound up at the far end of the sofa.
She yanked the curtain aside, peering out into the dark.
"Oh...it's not her. That's Mrs. Darboldt's car. She lives
Buffy turned around and sagged back down on the sofa.
"Well, in that case," William said, grabbing her shoulders
and pulling her closer. "let's continue."
She shook her head. "No...now, don't. You were right
before. If she sees you...I mean us...like this...we're both
"I'm willing to take that risk."
"Yeah, but....oh....you shouldn't....do that."
He bit down gently on her ear lobe. "But I want to. I want
If he kept this up, things were going to get to the point
of no return even more quickly than they usually did when
he touched her.
"Bad, bad, bad, bad boy
You make me feel so good
I want you bad, bad, bad, bad, boy
You make feel so good..."
"What if she catches us?"
"What if she does? I intend to make an honest woman
of you. I even put a ring on your...where's your ring?"
"On a chain under my sweater."
"Really? Can I see?"
"Oh, come on. Just a peek. I want to see it all nestled
against your skin."
"Stop it! You're tearing it."
"Then let me pull it up."
"Hey...you! Oh, all right. There! Happy now?"
"Wait a second. I barely got to look. Come on, back up
with it...oh, very pretty. I think I'm going to buy you a
pendant with a diamond that hangs just in that spot. Or
maybe a pearl, to pick up the luster of your beautiful skin.
Have you ever seen a pink pearl?"
"No. Can I pull my sweater down now?"
"They're very rare. I saw one in Tokyo, the size of
your thumb. It was the palest shade of pink I've ever
seen, and it would look stunning between your bare
"What are you doing!?"
"Unhooking your bra. I want the full effect."
"William...stop that...I...I mean it, now...."
"In a minute, Cherry Delight."
"The way you hold me tight
You get me so excited
"Hello?....Hi, Mom....Uh-huh....Yeah, I'll be here...Love
William sat up from where Buffy had pushed him onto the
floor when the phone rang. "Anything wrong?"
"No. She's running a little behind, and she didn't want
me to worry."
She was busy straightening her clothes, so she missed it
when the look in his eyes changed.
"So, she'll be home....when?"
Buffy smoothed her hair. "Not for a while yet. She...no! Sit!
Too late. He was already unbuttoning his shirt.
Her only recourse was to turn and dive for the staircase,
unable to hold back a scream of excited laughter. "Get
"Never! Come back here!"
He was right on her heels as she scrambled up the stairs,
grabbing at her hips.
She turned over and placed her foot in the middle of his
chest, shoving him back down several steps.
"Oh, that's it!" he said loudly, shedding his shirt and
reaching for his belt buckle."
Buffy gaped at him in shock. "You wouldn't dare!" she
"I wouldn't dare what?" He started up the stairs again,
unzipping the fly of his trousers.
"Nothing...nothing." She backed up the stairs one at a
time, keeping the same amount of distance between
He crooked one finger at her. "Come here, Cherry Delight."
"No, we can't," she said firmly from the top of the
William just shook his head. "We have plenty of time for
short and sweet."
"I...what's THAT supposed to mean?"
"Come here and I'll show you."
She knew that if she got within a foot of him, it was all over
but the shouting. Jumping up, she ran for her room at the
end of the hall, forgetting that he was capable of moving just
as fast as she was, faster even.
"No, no, no!" she yelled, trying to close the door.
'Yes, yes..." He shoved the door open hard, sending her
across the room to fall backwards on her bed. "...yes!"
"You do me oh, so right
My heart goes beat, beat, beat, beat
Beat-a- beat, beat!"
Straddling her hips, William grabbed Buffy's hands and
pinned them to the mattress. "Trapped. No where left to
Well, she wasn't exactly dying to run off somewhere. Es-
pecially when his head dipped down and he planted a kiss
on her that she could feel deep down in her soul.
Desire spread throughout her body, starting in her
toes and working it's way upwards. When it reached her
vital parts, she relaxed her legs and let him fall in between
"Buffy," he moaned, nuzzling her hair. "Let me...please,
LET him? She was all set to MAKE him!
Still...she didn't want to seem too easy.
"But I'm a good girl," she protested.
"And I'm a bad boy." He nipped at her skin. "We're made
for each other."
His hands released her and slipped up under her skirt,
hooking in the sides of her panties, working them down
"We don't have much time," she warned him, arching
her back as he kissed her throat.
"That's all right, luv. I can still make you scream."
"William! I....oh, yes..."
"You like that?"
She put her hands on the sides of his face and kissed
him; long, sweet, drugging kisses, doing it the way he had
Not wanting to bother with the buttons, he pushed her
sweater up, nudging the cups of her bra out of his way.
Almost without her knowing it, her legs came up and
trapped him, urging him forward. He sent one hand down
between them, releasing his erection and rubbing it
against her, getting set to plunge inside of her.
"Now, baby? I want you now."
Now was good for her.
"Bad, bad, bad, bad boy
You make me feel so good
I want you bad
Bad, bad, bad, boy
You make me feel so good
I knew you would..."
Pushing her legs farther apart, he sank himself into
her, going deep, pushing hard.
Christ...nothing in his life had ever felt as good, like
sliding into warm cream.
A soft growl issued from his throat as he reared
back and then drove in again, drove in hard enough
to push her up further on the mattress.
Buffy lifted her hips, meeting each gliding stroke
that he gave her, her entire body vibrating with a
white hot intensity.
The only clear thought she could focus on was that
she never wanted this to stop.
"No, baby....I won't stop. Not until you come all over
me...not until I feel it all wet and hot on my dick..."
She must have articulated that last thought.
"Yes, that's it," he muttered, pumping faster. "That's
my good girl...my sweet little Cherry Delight...ahhh, yeah.
Fuck you all night...forever....unh...yes.."
Buffy was unraveling fast. Surely she would be over that
edge soon, free falling into space, taking him along with
It was so close...so close...just a little..bit...more...and
then....she....yes...oh, yes.....there it was....so good...so
"William...I...I love you...."
"Boys will be boys
Bad boy, bad boy
Boys will be boys
Bad boy, bad boy.."
"Buffy? Honey, I'm home. Are you up in your room? Wait
until I tell you what happened at the gallery today."
"Boys will be boys..."
Everything I Do
"Look into my eyes, you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart, search your soul
And when you find me there
You'll search no more.."
Buffy stared up at William, her eyes growing
rounder by the second, her lips parted and
He quickly placed one hand gently over her mouth.
"Don't panic," he instructed her quietly, straining to hear
Joyce's progress on the stairs over the wild drumbeat of
Buffy's racing heart. "Tell her you're changing your clothes
and you'll be down in a moment."
She whimpered beneath his hand.
"Sweetheart....do you understand?"
Closing her eyes briefly, Buffy nodded. William
removed his hand.
"Go ahead," he mouthed.
She tried, but the words were stuck in her constricting
throat and all that came out was a mousy squeak.
"Buffy?" Joyce called, her voice sounding closer.
"If you don't say it now," William whispered, "she's
going to walk in that door in about three seconds."
The horrible thought of her mother doing just that, of
turning the doorknob and walking in to find her only
daughter lying on her bed, her skirt pushed up around
her waist and her underpants nowhere in sight, was
the catalyst that finally freed Buffy's voice.
"I'M CHANGINGMYCLOTHES I'LLBEDOWNINA
MINUTEMOM," she all but screamed, running her
words together in a nearly incomprehensible manner.
William winced at the sharp pitch. "Nice going, sweet-
heart," he murmured, pulling back. "She'll never suspect
a thing now."
"Honey? You okay?" floated up from the stairs.
Buffy swallowed hard, trying desperately to call up some
semblance of the 'slayer remaining cool under fire' lessons
that Giles had been attempting to drum into her head from
She could recite the mantra by heart when she
was sitting in the library with no distractions, life threatening
Lesson Roman Numeral One was, of course, the universal
rule of thumb in any sticky situation, the ubiquitous and
ever popular: Don't Panic.
She usually never did....until now. Even when she was
scared out of her wits by whatever demon of the week was
trying to turn her insides out, she managed to control the
urge to fall apart long enough to take charge of a sticky
situation and come out the winner.
Lesson Roman Numeral Two was slightly more
work: Determine your ultimate goal and decide which
actions are necessary to achieve it.
Her ultimate goal at the moment was very clear cut; To
keep her mother from catching her in bed with her one
hundred and fifty three year old vampire lover. Unfortunately,
with her mom more than halfway up the stairs, that goal
seemed pretty far out of reach.
Lesson Roman Numeral Three was the 'make or break'
portion of the situation: Quickly assess ALL possible options,
choosing the one that will do the most amount of good in the
least amount of time.
Her options here were pretty much limited to A: Get up and
get to the door before her mom did, thereby blocking entrance
to the scene of the crime, and B: Hide.
"Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
You can't tell me, it's not worth dyin' for.."
William could tell by the change of expression on her
face just exactly what was going through her mind.
Despite his efforts to keep her calm and focused, she
was about to lose whatever internal battle was raging
inside of her.
His heart filled up with a sudden burst of tenderness
for his little slayer, who was very young and so terribly
uncertain of so many things. This little girl could stand
toe-to-toe with creatures undreamed of in the most
horrifying of nightmares, and yet underneath that stalwart
demeanor was a very fragile sixteen year old girl.
He pushed himself up from the bed, separating their
bodies, then grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet.
Giving her a gentle nudge towards her door, he moved
quickly across the room and silently opened the window.
"Buffy?" Joyce called.
He heard her take a deep breath and find her voice.
"I'm fine, Mom. I'll be down in a minute, okay?" she
announced, looking around the room for her discarded
"All right. I'm going to make some tea. You want some?"
"Sure! Tea! I love tea!," Buffy chirped. "Tea is great." She
spotted her underwear and snagged it, then pulled them
on, hopping on one foot and then the other as she wriggled
them up her legs.
"Oh, no," she moaned softly, eyes wide with alarm.
"What?" William had one leg out the window.
"I forgot to clean off," she hissed. "Things are....stuff is..."
"I understand," he assured her, watching her face turn
pink at the very idea of articulating her predicament. "Just
stop in the bathroom and clean up."
"What are you doing?" she squeaked. "Where are you
"I'll climb down the tree and come to the door."
"But...your shirt." She twisted her fingers together in her
distress. "You don't have your shirt. It's out there," she
added, pointing vaguely towards her bedroom door.
"Sweetheart," he said quietly. "Calm down. All right? Now,
listen. It's dark outside and no one will see. I have some
things in the trunk of my car. You just get yourself together
now, love. I'll wait a few minutes and then knock."
"You won't leave?"
"No." He smiled as reassuringly as he knew how. "Never
Pausing to pass a moment of gratitude that he'd not taken
off his pants and left them on the stairs as well, he swung out
into the tree and dropped noiselessly to the ground.
"You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you..."
The sound of her mother's footsteps descending the
stairs was all Buffy needed to get herself moving.
She stripped off the sticky panties and stuffed them into
the bottom of her laundry hamper, then pulled a clean pair
from her lingerie drawer.
Opening her door just a tiny crack, she peeked out to make
sure her mom was really gone, then made a beeline for the
bathroom, closing the door loudly so Joyce would hear it.
"Okay," she said to her wide eyed reflection. "This is going
to work. Everything is going to be fine, if you just remember
not to panic. Not panicking is key."
She ran some warm water and soaked a washcloth in it,
then wiped off the mingled bodily fluids trickling down her
thighs, dried herself, and pulled on the clean pair of under-
Wrapping the washcloth and towel together, she stuffed it
into the bathroom hamper.
By now, her heart rate was beginning to stabilize. Holding
on to the edge of the tile counter, she forced herself to breathe
in and out slowly to avoid the telltale hiccups she tended to
develop when she was nervous.
She counted to fifty, then flushed the toilet and let the water
run in the sink to maintain the illusion that she'd started by
closing the door hard so that her mother could hear it.
When she couldn't think of one more reason to stay, she
took hold of the doorknob, then gazed up at the ceiling.
"Please," she begged of whomever might be listening. "Help
me now and I'll never ask for another thing as long as I
At the top of the staircase she saw William's shirt just
lying there, a piece of highly incriminating evidence. She
bent down to pick it up."
"Whose shirt is that?"
Joyce was standing at the foot of the stairs. Startled,
Buffy nearly yelped out loud.
"This shirt?" she asked, balling the material up in her
fist. "This is my shirt."
"I don't remember ever seeing it before."
"It's...new?" The words came out as a question.
"Oh. Well, put it on," Joyce encouraged. "Let me
see how it looks."
"Aren't we having tea?" There was no hope for it, but
it didn't hurt to try. Pulling the shirt on, she walked down-
stairs and stood still for inspection.
The garment was ridiculously large, its sleeves hanging
well below her hands.
Her mother frowned slightly. "It doesn't fit you very
well, does it? " she observed critically. "What size
"Mmmmmedium?" Another question.
Joyce tilted her head, a signal that her bullshit detector
had just activated. "Didn't you try it on before you
Buffy swallowed hard. "I didn't...well, actually...I
didn't exactly BUY it...you know, like...like go into
a store and...and say 'I'll take THAT one'."
Joyce waited. Buffy squirmed.
"Xander!" she all but shouted, grabbing the only
semi-plausible excuse she could come up with. "He
didn't like the color...on him...so he gave it to me
because...because I did. Like it."
"Really?" Joyce asked, one eyebrow arched. "I can't
seem to picture Xander wearing a shirt like that. It
Buffy was willing to bet that it was. Before she could
open her mouth to reply, the doorbell rang.
"Look into my heart
You will find
There's nothing left to hide..."
Moving from behind her mother, Buffy dove for the
door, pulling it open wide to reveal William standing
on the porch. His eyes widened in brief appreciation
when he saw her wearing his shirt.
"Hi!" she said. Her voice cracked, and she cleared her
throat to try again. "Hi."
He smiled. "Hello."
She wanted very badly to grab him by the front of his
new shirt and drag him inside. Only the thought of
what her mother would have to say about that kept her
from doing it.
"Come in," she said, sending an urgent message
of need with only her eyes. She stepped back
to allow him in, closing the door behind him.
"Mom, this is...this is..."
"William Hamilton," he put in.
"William Hamilton," Buffy echoed.
Joyce smiled pleasantly. "Yes, we met last night,"
she said. "I see you found her at the dance."
"I did," he agreed politely. "Thank you again. I'd just
gotten into town and I was...very anxious to see her."
"Yes, I could tell," Joyce said dryly, then turned to
look at Buffy. "Do you have a date tonight?"
"Yes," Buffy nodded, then shook her head. "No. Not
exactly. Not a...not a 'going out' date. It's more of a
staying here and meeting YOU...thing."
Joyce looked pleased. No other boy Buffy had
ever gone out with had volunteered to sit down and
talk with her mother.
"How nice," she said sincerely. "I've made some
William acknowledged the invitation. "Thank you."
"Buffy? Why don't you and William go on into the
front room and I'll bring it in?"
Not trusting her voice, Buffy just nodded agreeably.
Once they were sitting side by side on the couch, he
grabbed her hand and brought it to his lips for a soft
kiss. "You all right, kitten?"
She nodded again, holding tightly to his hand. "Don't
"I don't intend to." Looking into her eyes, he smiled. "I
promise you it will all work out. I'll do anything I have to
do to make that happen."
"Do you believe me?"
It was not the most eloquent exchange, but it
served the purpose well.
"Take me as I am
Take my life
I would give it all, I would sacrifice.."
The tea was poured, and a few social amenities
had been observed when Joyce cut straight into
the heart of the matter.
"I have some concerns," she said, placing her cup
on the coffee table and looking directly at William.
"That's understandable," he replied, waiting for her
She settled back into her chair, crossing her
arms over her chest. "Let's get the most obvious one
out in the open. How old are you?"
Twenty-eight at the time of his turning, he felt he could
safely take off a few years. "I'm twenty-five last January."
Joyce glanced at her daughter."Older than I thought,
then." She returned her narrowed gaze to William. "You
DO know that Buffy is only sixteen?"
"I believe she's almost seventeen."
"My point is that she's much younger than you."
"Yes, she is," he conceded. "And, believe me, I didn't
set out to fall in love with a sixteen year old girl."
Turning his gaze to Buffy's, he squeezed her hand. "It
Joyce leaned forward. "In love?"
"How exactly did that happen?"
They both sketched out a brief explanation of the
relationship that had developed during Joyce's
absence, leaving out the intimate details that no
mother wants to hear spoken.
She was impressed by the story, and more than
a little enchanted by it as well.
But enchanted or not, there were still some things
that disturbed her.
"When I came back from New York," she said. "Buffy
was going to introduce you to me."
He knew there was no avoiding what was coming. "I
know," he said softly, wondering how many years
would have to pass before he could call up the memory
of what he'd done without it making him sick at heart.
"And I left her. I'm not excusing it, and I'm not going
to try and explain the...the circumstances.."
"I don't care about the circumstances," Joyce said
bluntly. "I care about my daughter's heart...and her
feelings. You're the man who shattered them to
Sighing deeply, he stared at the floor. "Yes."
Joyce was silent for a moment, then said, "But...you're
also the man who seems to have...put them back
Buffy, who had said nothing at all, now spoke up. "He
really did, Mom."
Joyce met her daughter's pleading eyes. "I believe you,"
she said simply. "I saw how things changed."
Turning back to William, she said, "I know this is going
to sound absurdly old fashioned," she began, "but I'm
going to assume that your...intentions...are honorable
William's head jerked up. "Entirely."
"And," she went on, "you understand that there are
certain things that I will not tolerate happening until
she's MUCH older."
Buffy's face turned crimson. "Mom!"
Joyce shook her head. "Buffy...he isn't one of the
boys you've dated in the past. He's a grown man, and
I have to know that he'll be able to...put these things to
one side until you're old enough for that sort of relation-
This was obviously not a time for any 'true confessions'.
"You can call me Joyce."
Briefly surprised, William nodded. "Thank you. Joyce, I
understand what you're referring to. It's not a problem
"Maybe not now...but what about a few months from
now?" She shrugged. "Can I trust you not to...press her
for anything like that?"
"Yes," he said. "Yes, you can."
"Plus," Joyce went on to point out, "she's in high school.
She has to put school before any kind of relationship. She
has curfews you'll have to abide by. Can you?"
"Don't tell me it's not worth fighting for
I can't help it, there's nothing I want more
You know it's true, everything I do
I do it for you..."
Joyce sat quietly, mulling the whole thing over in
She wanted very much to believe in all of this, for
Buffy's sake. Her child had always worn her heart on
her sleeve, and it was there now, beating with all the
sincerity that only a sixteen year old girl in love for
the first time could feel.
This man who said he loved her, loved her enough to
wait for her to grow up a bit more, was also showing
his emotions in a most unguarded fashion.
But she was under no illusions. Love that burned like
this couldn't be contained for long. He and Buffy would
become intimate long before she reached her majority.
Joyce was smart enough to know that there was no
All she really wanted was a bit of time first, time to get
used to it, time to get to know him, to make certain she
could trust him to do right by her child.
She leaned forward, willing him to meet her eyes.
"Promise me that you'll take care of her, no matter what
happens. Look at me and tell me that you'll be responsible
for her, that you'll answer for her future."
William didn't hesitate. "I'll love her...and take care of
her...until the end of the world, Joyce."
Taking a deep breath, she let it out slowly. "I'm going
to take a gigantic leap of faith here," she finally said.
"I think...that I can trust you. Don't make me sorry I
"There's no love, like your love
And no other, could give more love
There's nowhere, unless you're there
All the time...all the way..."
"I know I really should have asked you this before
but...you have a job of some kind?"
William nodded. "I'm financially secure. I have
some...investments and a large inheritance. She'll
have everything she could possibly want."
Joyce smiled. "Oh. Well, that's a very nice thing for a
mother to hear."
Buffy couldn't hold back. "He already gave me a ring.
Mom. I took it off before you came home, because...I
wasn't sure what you'd think."
"But...I don't want to keep any secrets from you. And
if...if you don't want me to wear it yet...then I won't."
Joyce almost laughed at the glum look and tone her
daughter was projecting. "Buffy," she said, trying to
maintain a serious expression. "A ring isn't something to
be ashamed of."
"I'm NOT ashamed of it," Buffy protested loudly. "I'm
really proud of it."
"Honey...that didn't come out the way I meant it to.
I'm sorry...and thank you for being honest about it."
"Do you want to see it?" her daughter asked eagerly.
"I would love to."
Buffy reached up under her sweater and felt around for
the clasp on the chain she was wearing. It came apart,
and the cool metal fell into her hand.
"Oh, my...Buffy. That's stunning!" Joyce took her daughter's
hand and stared at the ring, then at William. "I guess you
definitely can support her, than?"
"Very well," he assured her, leaning back into the sofa
One gigantic weight had finally been lifted.
Unfortunately, it was just the beginning.
They still had miles to go.
"Don't tell me it's not worth tryin' for
I can't help it, there's nothing I want more
I would fight for you, I'd lie for you
Walk the wire for you, yeah I'd die for you
You know it's true
Everything I do
I do it for you...."