Rating: strong NC-17 for bondage, S&M, and generally smutty premise
Standard disclaimer: The characters aren't mine, just the story.
Distribution: Please do not repost.
Feedback: Hit me. (Not too hard.)
She'd never imagined doing this.
Spike in a nice leather collar, yes; that she'd imagined many times. And damn him for putting that image in her head in the first place. But going to the Magic Box where all her friends were, working her Mistress strut with a man on a leash?
Her exhibitionist streak was a ribbon next to that eight lane highway.
And yet, here she was sprawled in a chair with a foot on the table, brash as you please. And here Spike was, sitting on his heels at her side, her very own seeing-eye vampire sex puppy.
On the way over, she'd asked herself what the hell she was doing. As they'd put themselves back together at the end of their scene, she'd seen something in Spike that made her say, "It's not enough, is it?"
Spike had dropped his gaze. He would never, she'd known he would never, ask her for more.
When she told him, "I'll take care of you," he'd looked up at her again, wide-eyed and worshipful.
So it was partly for him. He needed a bit more time in the collar, she was (disturbingly) willing to hold the lead. Going out in public seemed like another bit of symmetry; it was only what she'd have to do later, when the collar was on the other neck. But why here?
Her only sure conclusion was that in the past year, she'd had enough of hiding. First she'd hidden the truth about where she'd been in her afterlife; within minutes of coming out with that, she'd started doing things with Spike she had to lie about. And when she hadn't been hiding her torrid, degrading affair, she was hiding the depression that had made her seek an escape. She was tired of it.
There might be a bit of pique involved in playing these roles in front of her friends; a tiny, wicked part of her that enjoyed watching them squirm. What she was doing with Spike now was arguably degrading, and it had ventured into torrid territory earlier, but it wasn't an affair. It was a necessity for her to be able to do her job. A job they had all sat there and soberly acceded had to be done. They all wanted to eat the sausage, well, they'd just have to deal with watching her grind it out.
And that was possibly not the right metaphor to use.
"Buffy? May I speak with you, privately?" Giles was bracketing his forehead with one hand. He had taken off his glasses, and wasn't even putting on the pretense of polishing them.
She silently followed him into the training room. As the door swung shut, he wheeled on her. "What are you doing?"
"I'm making it ok."
Giles gave a high-pitched, disbelieving huff.
"For both of us. I know what I'm doing."
Did she? Her few, furtive web searches into this bondage/punishment dealie the year before had mostly taught her there was a whole little world she knew nothing about. It had its own rules and customs, and was probably full of jaded vinyl-clad veterans who'd scoff at her attempting to take part. Just imagining the contemptuous amusement of imaginary women, hands bound behind their backs but still silently mocking, had sent her skittering away from the idea of playing the Domme even before she could contemplate the prospect of Spike's laughing eyes.
Even if she'd made a thorough study, she doubted she'd have found much guidance geared towards people like her and Spike. Are there people like me and Spike?
It didn't seem likely.
Maybe this whole 'I'll let you spank mine if you let me spank yours' thing was a terrible idea. It certainly wasn't something she'd have chosen to do unprompted, but when this mission had come up, she'd gone there unthinkingly. Instinctively.
Her Slaying instincts were superior. Her instincts with men, not so much. She knew a thing or two about Spike. She had a few rudimentary notions she'd never tried out, and she was channelling her inner Faith (pre-murder, natch) to get the 'tude. She wasn't at all sure how aerodynamic the seat of these pants would turn out to be.
But her instincts said they needed this, if they were going to take down Augusten. She could appreciate that Giles was concerned, but it wasn't for him to judge what she needed -- what Spike seemed to need -- to make them able to do that.
And it was squicky enough that she needed to discuss such things with Giles. Revealing enough having to enact a D/s dynamic in front of her friends. She certainly wasn't going to confide her domme-y insecurities to her Watcher.
Anyway, they had business to discuss.
"I'm gonna need the card." Giles had an expense account card, billed to the Council, for certain Slaying-related expenses... battleaxes, dummies... a catapult. The Council was was quite strict about its usage, as she'd discovered the last time she'd charged something on it. Her argument that leather pants protected her parts and were highly practical for Slaying had left them unmoved, and she'd had to pay them back. "For clothes."
She hoped he would get what that meant without further elaboration. She didn't want to come right out and say, 'I need money for sex toys and fetish-wear.'
"Yes, well, I suppose this time some leather might be justified." Apparently he got it. And, diversion, successful. "I thought you had an arrangement with several local merchants...?"
Buffy didn't take money from people she saved, but some well-timed slayage had gotten her at-cost clothes from a couple grateful shop owners. "Phillip's Phinery closed in the natural fibers revolt of aught one. And Celia's Oceanside Boutique doesn't exactly carry the kind of stuff I'll need."
"And your closet doesn't contain any -- that is -- ?"
"Gee, Giles, all my hooker-wear was given away after I died."
"What about..." Giles trailed off, looking uncomfortable. It seemed they had switched roles in this interrogation.
"What exactly are you implying about my wardrobe?"
He mumbled something vaguely apologetic that she couldn't make out.
"Why exactly did you think I already had this stuff? Did you think I was playing Dungeon Mistress with Spike all last year?"
Giles looked pained. "I was very happy never to speculate."
"So?" He gave her a baffled look. "The card."
"Ah, yes. Anya should have it."
Right. Anya had griped enough about the Scoobies' use of Magic Box merchandise that Giles had turned the card over to her. By the Council's redoubtable logic, whether Buffy had money for food and housing was none of their concern, but god forbid Willow have to pay for mugwort.
But, since it was their usual policy, she hadn't let it bother her. Much.
"And since this was your idea, you get to explain to the Council why there are charges to Ooh La La and Dominic's Leathers."
"Very well. I trust you will limit your purchases to what is required for this operation?"
"If you want, I can show you the receipts."
"I beg you not to."
By the end of her awkward conversation with Giles -- which she endured using her time-honored method of perkiness and feigned obliviousness -- Buffy thought she might have welcomed a fight to let off some steam.
Fending off one of her best friends who was threatening her [willing slave] sub wasn't what she had in mind.
Emerging from the training room ahead of Giles, she saw Xander looming over the table, braced on his fists, sneering. Across from him, Spike cringed.
Abruptly, she realized what she had done.
Since he'd been chipped, Spike's only defenses against humans had been swagger and sass. She'd stripped those defenses away when she put him into a submissive headspace.
Then she'd put a collar on him and left him alone in a room with people who hated him.
With a burst of Slayer speed she crossed the room and leapt onto the table between them, putting the vampire at her back, and causing the Scooby to stumble back in surprise. She landed in a crouch, one hand splayed flat on the tabletop, the other arm loose and ready at her side.
She wasn't channeling her inner Faith anymore. This was her inner First Slayer.
Xander looked stunned and almost horrified, as if he'd forgotten she was capable of such things.
She so rarely showed them what being the Slayer meant. If indeed she ever had.
"He," she stated, low and implacable, "is under my protection." When Xander started to protest, she added, "Just like I'll be under his."
The room fell silent. Buffy stayed where she was, glowering, until she felt Xander give. When he nodded, the fight went out of her as well. Slightly -- but only slightly -- abashed, she sat back, swiveled, and scooted off the table. She slid into a chair before daring a look at Spike. He was gazing up at her, but immediately averted his eyes. She let her hand come to rest on his hair and guide him closer until his cheek rested gently against her thigh. She thought she might have felt an inaudible vibration from him start up, but after a couple seconds attempting to ascertain for certain, she turned her attention back to the group.
And sighed at the range of worried and skeptical looks she was receiving.
Excruciatingly awkward D/s conversation, take two.
"Buffy?" Willow asked.
Buffy struggled to find the words before settling upon, "It's about trust."
"And you can't trust him!" Xander exclaimed. "What's it gonna take for you to realize that?"
"Right now it's about him trusting me." They didn't get it, she could tell. "Look, in a few days or a week or whenever we do this, this," she nodded at the kneeling figure at her side, "is where I'll be." Willow looked down. Xander shifted uncomfortably. "It will be up to him to make sure no one touches me."
Anya, who'd been taking this meeting as an opportunity to emphasize how little she cared by pretending to ignore them, snorted.
"What?" Buffy asked. A bit defensively, since this was the one person here besides Spike that she was absolutely sure knew more about this than she did.
"You don't know what you're doing," Anyanka told her, with her typical frankness. "Oh," she waved off Buffy's reply, "you may have an innate knack for it, particularly the domination and the sadism," she ignored Xander's sputtering and Buffy's red face, "but you're basing what you think will happen at a demon flesh market on the niceties observed by some of the humans who like to get together to dress up and play Ride the Pony." She fixed Buffy with one of her unnerving stares. "You really think vampires who trade in sex slaves aren't going to -- "
"I'll stop them," Spike growled, momentarily fierce. He quickly subsided with a frightened, apologetic look at Buffy.
"I know you will."
"Won't let them hurt her. Die first," Spike muttered at the floor. Buffy gave a sharp tug on his hair -- Enough -- and he subsided.
Buffy shuffled the warning to the back of her mind. There was nothing she could do about it at the moment, anyway, short of calling off the plan. "The point is, Xander," she went on, "this is practice, for then."
"I was wondering what the hell you were doing," Xander groused. "And I still don't get the flying-table-leap-stare-down thing."
"Oh, for Pete's sake!" Giles exclaimed. "You threatened her submissive. You directly assailed her authority and proprietary rights over him. If she failed to vigorously protect him, it would undermine the entire point of this appalling spectacle we are witnessing."
Resounding silence met that proclamation. Everyone turned to stare. Even Spike's head swiveled beneath her hand.
Wow. Thanks, Giles. I think.
[Continue to section three]