Title: Ars Poetica
Author: Lirazel (penny_lane_42 )
Timeline: "Becoming Part II" - post-"Not Fade Away." Canon all through BtVS; ignores the comics and "The Girl in Question."
Installment: Part six of six.
Disclaimer: The world and characters of the Buffyverse do not belong to me. Neither do any of the poems.
Poetry: The poems featured in this chapter are "Elegy XX: To His Mistress Going to Bed" by John Donne (my favorite poet), a few lines of "may i feel said he" by e.e. cummings (you should look up the rest of it; it's pretty fun), and "Fate slew Him but He did not drop" by Emily Dickinson.
A/N: This first section is the closest I've ever really come to writing a sex scene. It's still not terribly explicit, but I pushed myself further than I've gone before. I'm kind of nervous, so let me know what you think.
Summary: The story of her life with Spike, Buffy realizes, is written in poetry, not prose.
As Souls Unbodied
“Poetry can’t be sexy,” Buffy says with a giggle.
It’s after. After tears and punches and shouts and kisses and accusations and vows and demands—though not necessarily in that order. Somehow, in a turn in conversation that she can’t quite trace but that doesn’t surprise Buffy in the slightest, Spike happened to mention a “sexy poem.” And now she’s denying that there is such a thing.
“Poems can be sweet or sad or angry or swooningly romantic. But they can’t be sexy.” It’s a blatant lie. All she has to do is close her eyes, and she’s back in Sunnydale, back in his crypt with his naked body wrapped around hers, his erotic words being rasped in her ears (“i like my body with your body…”). She shifts a little, feeling a tingling below her belt.
Still, it’s much more fun to argue with him about something like this, make him prove it, make him convince her. They’ve moved beyond all the harsh emotions (she’d never known that relief and joy can be as hard-edged as anger and hurt) now, and they’ve finally reached playful.
And ooooh, yeah. Buffy’s ready to play.
Spike throws his hands up in the air. “Of course it can, you barmy bint! There’s nothin’ sexier than poetry!”
She leans forward so that her breath fans against him and her lips brush against his as she speaks. Looking him straight in the eye, she arches a brow. “Prove it.”
A light flares in his eyes before he takes a step back and straightens. “Right then.”
Then he reaches out and takes her hands, and, walking backwards, leads her towards the bedroom area of the small apartment (has he really been living in a place so bare and cold? Another basement. It’s lacking the rugs and candles, pillows and books that made the crypt so…comfy). He lowers his voice till it enters the tone she mentally refers to has his “bedroom voice”—rough-edged and husky.
“COME, madam, come, all rest my powers defy ;
Until I labour, I in labour lie.
The foe ofttimes, having the foe in sight,
Is tired with standing, though he never fight.”
She shivers at the words and lets her hands drop to her sides as he releases them. Then his hands are stealing up, and gently but firmly, he unfastens her belt. His fingers brush against the skin of her midriff as he does, and goosebumps rise on her sensitive skin.
”Off with that girdle, like heaven's zone glittering,
But a far fairer world encompassing.”
He jerks it out of the loops, and it twists like a snake in the air before he throws it casually over his shoulder. Buffy bites back a gasp.
”Unpin that spangled breast-plate, which you wear,
That th' eyes of busy fools may be stopp'd there. “
Then his hands are back, unbuttoning her jacket and slipping it off of her shoulders. His eyes are half-shut, heavy-lidded, and the combination of his seductive words and the gleam in his eyes has her tingling with anticipation.
“Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime
Tells me from you that now it is bed-time.”
One by one, he slips the buttons of her blouse from their holes, and the tips of his fingers against the skin of her chest and stomach set her skin afire wherever they brush against her. He slides the silk of her blouse off her shoulders, his big palms molding to her shoulders, and she’s suddenly discovering that shoulders can indeed be erogenous zones.
“Spike,” she whines. “Touch me.”
“Shhhh,” he murmurs. “Patience, yeah? I’m showing you what poetry can do.”
She reaches out eagerly, wanting to return the favor and remove the black t-shirt that is currently covering his beautiful torso (that t-shirt deserves to be ripped apart violently, punished for keeping her eyes and hands from his skin), but he gently smacks her hands away and turns to her skirt.
”Off with that happy busk, which I envy,
That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.
Your gown going off such beauteous state reveals,
As when from flowery meads th' hill's shadow steals.”
He unzips the zipper so slowly that she can hear each tooth giving way, and the sound catapults her back to their first time, when it was the sound of his zipper being giving way under her hands that made it all seem real. It had sounded so loud in that collapsing room, and at the moment, she had thought it the sexiest sound in the world. She would still think so, except that Spike is still talking.
”Off with your wiry coronet, and show
The hairy diadems which on you do grow.”
As he speaks, he slips his hands into her hair, pulling out the elastic band that held it up, then running his fingers through it as she shakes her head to get rid of the tangles. His fingers are rough, calloused, and they catch on the silk, but then they’re back, massaging her scalp and she wants to collapse into a puddle of goo. Nobody knows how to massage like he does, and he’s proficient at caressing every inch of her body.
“So good,” she moans. Her scalp feel warm under his hands, and her shoulders still feel the warmth of his hands, and each place his fingers brushed is still glowing with fire. She can’t imagine how she’s going to feel when he actually touches her.
He grabs her shoulders again, pushing her back toward the bed. It hits the back of her knees, and she sits down abruptly. She nearly groans as he bends down at her feet.
“Off with your hose and shoes ; then softly tread
In this love's hallow'd temple, this soft bed.”
He slips each shoe off of her feet, then massages them, the arch, the heel, her toes. Even as he coaxes the tension away, sparks shoot up from her feet to every other inch of her body. He slowly slides his hands up her calves, kneading the muscle as he goes.
Then he rises, and again, his hands return to their familiar place at her shoulders, and he eases her down onto the bed. She lays there as he climbs up to join her.
”In such white robes heaven's angels used to be
Revealed to men ; thou, angel, bring'st with thee
A heaven-like Mahomet's paradise…”
He stretches out alongside her, propping his head up with one hand. The other worms its way underneath her body to find the clasp of her bra; with a snap, it gives way. He slides it off her shoulders and tosses it away.
Ill spirits walk in white, we easily know
By this these angels from an evil sprite ;
Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.”
Then he turns attention to her panties. He grasps the sides, his fingers once again setting her on fire where they brush against her hips, then he slides the lace down slowly, slowly, slowly: down her thighs, over her knees, past her feet, never once touching her body.
“Shhh,” he admonishes her again. “This is where it gets good.”
She moans at the thought.
“Licence my roving hands, and let them go
Before, behind, between, above, below.”
And he does. Drags the ends of his finger tips over her hair, her face, her breasts, her stomach, lower and lower and lower, till just the tips have touched her nearly everywhere, and he’s set her on fire. She’s breathing so hard now that she can barely gasp out his name, but she does, and his eyes flash in response.
”O, my America, my Newfoundland,
My kingdom, safest when with one man mann'd,
My mine of precious stones, my empery ;
How am I blest in thus discovering thee !
To enter in these bonds, is to be free ;
Then, where my hand is set, my soul shall be.”
Now his mouth follows the path of his hands, dropping kisses over every inch of her body between every few words of the poem. She’s barely paying attention to the words now, just hears the tone above the ringing in her ears as he explores her body deliberately, patiently, thoroughly. She can’t stop her gasps and moans, though he’s still just teasing!
And then he’s gone.
She blinks open eyes she hadn’t known were closed, staring around dazed as she tries to calm the pounding of her heart and the rushing of her blood.
He’s standing at the foot of the bed, slowly stripping off his own clothes, revealing his beautiful, familiar body to her with the accompaniment of the sensuous words. He draws the shirt slowly over his head, revealing inch by inch the pale expanse of his torso. Her mouth waters as she watches him.
“ Full nakedness ! All joys are due to thee ;
As souls unbodied, bodies unclothed must be
To taste whole joys. Gems which you women use
Are like Atlanta's ball cast in men's views ;
That, when a fool's eye lighteth on a gem,
His earthly soul might court that, not them.”
Now he unbuttons, unzips his pants every bit as deliberately as he did her skirt, and she knows he’s thinking back to their night in the collapsing house, too. She can’t rip her eyes away from where he’s lowering his pants, though she knows that if she did, his eyes would be burning into her.
“Like pictures, or like books' gay coverings made
For laymen, are all women thus array'd.
Themselves are only mystic books, which we
—Whom their imputed grace will dignify—
Must see reveal'd…”
He stands for a few moments, letting her admire him, his eyes smoldering as she runs her own over his body.
“God, you’re gorgeous,” she whispers.
“No. You are.” He strides back over to the bed, and she feels the mattress give under his weight as he once again stretches out beside her, slipping his hands between her legs and driving her mad as he whispers the final words low and raspy into her ears.
“…Then, since that I may know,
As liberally as to thy midwife show
Thyself ; cast all, yea, this white linen hence ;
There is no penance due to innocence :
To teach thee, I am naked first ; why then,
What needst thou have more covering than a man?”
“Now, Spike!” she commands, unable to bear it another moment, and then he’s within her, and they’re both finally, finally home.
Hours later, he’s driving her crazy all over again.
“Fine! Fine!” she shrieks through bursts of laughter as his deft fingers tickler her ribs, the bottoms of her feet. “I give in! You were right! I was wrong! Poetry can be very, very sexy!”
Smirking, he takes pity on her and rolls her over till she’s lying sprawled on top of him. “Never thought I’d live to see the day when the Slayer admits that she was wrong.”
She slaps his bare chest, then lays her cheeks where she’d slapped. “Oh, whatever. Like you’re any better about that.”
“Maybe not. But I’m right about this, and you’re not going to like it.”
She raises up a bit and rests her chin on chest so that she can meet his eyes. “You better not say what I think you’re going to say.”
He closes his eyes for a moment. “You have to go, Buffy. The Senior Partners—”
She shoots upright. “Oh, I cannot believe this! You want me to go now?”
He growls low in his throat and jerks her back down, wrapping his arms around her tight so she can’t escape from him. “I want you to be with me always. I never want to let you out of my sight. But the Senior Partners have me in theirs. Somethin’s coming, Buffy. Somethin’ big. We pissed them off, and they’re not going to let it go.”
“Exactly. You fought my fight, now I want to fight yours. We can call in backup—the Slayers will come if we ask.”
That gives him pause. “‘Ask’?”
She nods fiercely. “The Council doesn’t give orders anymore. Just makes requests.” He lifts an eyebrow. “Sometimes very insistent ones,” she admits. “But it doesn’t matter if none of them come. I lost you once. I won’t go through that again.”
“No more discussion. I’m staying.” Then she lets her voice sink low and says silkily, “I’ve been taking a poetry class. I’ve learned all kinds of poems. Want to hear one of my favorites?”
He seems both amused and turned on at the same time, and she loves that she can do that to him. “Always.”
She slides her hand down between their bodies, and laughs softly when Spike’s eyes go wide. “May I feel said he. I’ll squeal said she…”
“Oh, Buffy. You are the perfect woman for me.”
When Her Worst Was Done
When she wakes, she lays for a while in the warmth of the dark, listening to his heart pound beneath her ear. The heat of him, the rise and fall of his chest, and especially the sound of his heart beating…it’s all so new, and she revels in the novelty.
After a while, she becomes aware of his stomach growling, and she laughs softly as she slips out of his arms, rising and slipping into a robe. Belting it around her waist, she eases out of the bedroom as quietly as she can and pads down the hall to the kitchen. She loves taking care of him almost as much as he loves taking care of her, and she’s learned to anticipate his needs well—with the help of a few stomach gurgles. She’s had to learn to cook since the end of Sunnydale, living alone in the apartment in
An omelet, she decides. Something simple now, nothing fancy, though she has tomatoes and peppers and ham as well as cheese in the fridge. She’s just about to open it when she glances over at the front door and sees a square of white lying just in front of it.
It’s an envelope, she discovers as she picks it up, and her name is written on it in Giles’s precise script. With a sigh, she tears it open, certain that it’s an “insistent request” that she come over and help work out the schedule for this week’s patrolling.
But her eyes fill with tears at the words she finds there.
My dear child,
I cannot tell you how grateful I am that you’ve returned unharmed, though I’ve come to realize that if anyone can emerge triumphant from impossible situations, it’s you. I came across this poem while you were gone, and it seemed to me to be quite fitting for your—and Spike’s—current situation. I thought I would pass it along. When you’re settled in, do come and see me as soon as possible so that we can get patrolling schedules worked out for this week.
All my love,
She laughs a little as she realizes that she was right about the scheduling. She sets the letter to the side and pulls out the other sheet of paper.
She gasps as she reads the words, wondering at their perfection. Giles was understating it (well, he is British): these words are nearly prophetic. She can’t wait to show them to Spike.
She makes a mental note to call Giles as soon as she can, because she recognizes the poem for what it is: a gesture. This is his way of asking for forgiveness for trying to have Spike killed that last year in Sunnydale, and she can’t imagine a more beautiful way of doing so. As she rereads the words, all the secret resentment she’d harbored toward him slips away, and she finds that, once again, she can love him without reservation.
She sets the poem carefully on a tray and then busies herself whipping up the omelet, humming as she does so. When it’s finished, the smell permeating the small apartment, she pours a glass of orange juice and arranges the tray.
Spike blinks sleepily at her as she opens the door. “Breakfast in bed?” she suggests, hoping that she’ll get to devour him after he’s consumed his food—she’s never seen him look so rumpled and delicious.
“Love, it’s the middle of the night. Aren’t we supposed to be tryin’ to get me on real-boy schedule? You know, with the wakin’ in the mornin’ and sleepin’ at night?”
She settles herself down on the bed beside him, leaning back against the pillows. “A normal schedule’s overrated. Besides, you’re living with the Slayer. It’s not like you really need to learn to be not-a-creature-of-the-night. I’m about as nocturnal as they come.”
“Well, I won’t argue with the beautiful woman bringin’ me food. That smells bloody marvelous, pet.”
“Bet it tastes even better. Oh! I forgot a fork!”
“Never you mind. ‘ll just eat it with my fingers. Always was one to play with my food.” He waggles his eyebrows at her, but she just rolls her eyes.
“Well, I wanted some of it, too,” she pouts as he picks apart the omelet and starts popping bits of it into his mouth.
“I can take care of that,” he says, bringing a piece to her lips. She rolls her eyes again, but lets him feed her.
“What’s the note, love?” he asks.
She swallows quickly, then reaches over to take a sip of orange juice. “Giles sent it by.”
“Oh, yeah? Just wantin’ you to help him work out the schedule, then?”
“Nope. It’s about you.”
“Me?” He reaches out to pick it up, but she smacks his hand away.
“Uh-uh. I’m going to read it to you.”
He tilts his head in that absolutely adorable way. “Why?”
“Because these words are powerful. I want to give them to you.”
He watches, amused, as she settles herself further and unfolds the paper to read.
“Listen carefully,” she instructs. “She wrote this one about you.” With a deep breath, she begins.
“Fate slew Him, but He did not drop --
She felled -- He did not fall --
Impaled Him on Her fiercest stakes --
He neutralized them all --
She stung Him -- sapped His firm Advance --
But when Her Worst was done
And He -- unmoved regarded Her --
Acknowledged Him a Man.”
He stares at her for a long moment after she finishes, his face unreadable. The silence unsettles her a bit, so she speaks quickly to fill it up. “Don’t you see? I mean, sure, this poem is about how you proved yourself a champion and then fought that apocalyptic battle against the Senior Partners—with my help, of course—and won and how you got the Shanshu because of it. But it’s also about me. Make that ‘she’ Buffy Summers instead of fate, and it still works. I threw everything I had at you—every horrible, ugly thing—and you took it all. You were still standing at the end. And that’s how I knew you were a man—the man for me. It doesn’t matter that you have a beating heart and can go out in the daylight and all that. You—who you are, how you try—that’s what I love, and—“
But anything further she might have to say is cut off as he tackles her back onto the bed. She pulls back from his kiss, gasping for breath, just long enough to say, “Yes. You’re a man. You’re my man.”
And she’s got the rest of her life—and his—to spend proving it to him.