Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Rating: Soft R/M
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike Mini Nekid Guest: Dawn and beattheblackdog 68: Nickname
Word Count: 1,629
Date Written: 12 June 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
She's fallen asleep by the time the credits roll. He hates to wake her, but he knows if he doesn't soon, her big sister will surely come along and stake him at last. He drops his mouth next to her ear and whispers her name. His skin tingles where his mouth brushes against her soft, brown hair. He fights to ignore the sensation and calls softly again, "Dawnie? Nibblet?"
She blinks sleepily and peers up at him through big, doelike eyes that are still half closed. "Why d'you call me that?" she murmurs.
"What?" He can't help smiling at her when she looks like this. It's her "sleepy kitten" look, and nobody will ever know just how soft he genuinely is on kittens. There's a reason why he still sneaks around and plays kitten poker, and it's not to drain the little furballs of their sweet blood. "Nibblet?"
"Yeah." Her eyes are wide open now as she looks up at him. She's wondered the question before, but she's never asked him. Now that it's out in the open, she isn't backing down. "Why?" she asks, her expression truly puzzled. "I know you don't want to eat me."
For a brief second, he closes his eyes. When she said those words, his first impulse was to look right at her sweet neck that seems, so often, to beg for his attention. He can hear the blood coursing in her veins even now, smell the sweetness of it . . . But she's right. He doesn't want to eat her, not in that way. He'd never harm her, which is exactly why he never wants to bite her.
"I didn't mean it like that," Dawn whispers.
He opens his eyes quickly, glances into hers, and looks away to the telly. He turns the disc off.
"Spike?" she calls.
He still won't look at her. "You're right. I don't want to eat you." He wants to love her, but that's another thing he can never do. It isn't right for a monster like him to even gaze adoringly upon some one so sweet and pure. Dawn's got a mischievous streak a mile wide, but she'd never go evil. The darkness pulls at many of their friends, even Buffy, but not her. Her heart keeps her good, and brave.
"Then why Nibblet?" she asks, persistent, little bugger that she is. "I've heard you call other girls 'bit' -- Buffy, Willow, Anya, even Drusilla. But I've never heard you call any one else Nibblet."
"That's because it's your nickname," he answers before he can stop himself, "no one else's."
"'Bit''s not always a nice term, Dawn. It can be short for -- "
"Bitch. I know," she finishes for him with a small smile.
"I started calling you that after you threatened to set me on fire that time. You've got stones, pet, big stones for a woman."
Her laughter surprises him. When he looks to her questioningly, she just shrugs and says, "Look at my role models."
He grins. "True. But in your own way, you're bolder than Buffy, Faith even."
"I am?" She watches him in honest surprise.
He nods. "'Course you are. You meant every word of that threat. You don't have powers, Dawnie, but let somebody mess with somebody you love, and you won't back down."
She smiles. "That's true," she acknowledges. Her expression softens. "But then, I am supposed to be this Cosmic Key -- "
She's a Key all right, but he can't tell her to what. Instead, he shakes his blonde head. "Which means," he says, "you know more than most what beings can do to you. You've seen true tragedy. You've seen the worst kinds of pain there are, far more than most girls your age can ever imagine -- "
"None of them are my age," she interjects in a soft, almost sad whisper.
But he continues as though he hasn't heard her, "More'n any of them, Buffy included, know."
Dawn pulls herself up to a sitting position and bites her bottom lip. Something's bothering her, he knows, but he can't bear to look too closely at her right now. Instead, he gets up from his black, tattered couch, walks over, and pops the DVD out. He puts it in its box and readies the next disc of Passions for their viewing pleasure the following night.
"That's still not really an answer, you know," she says from behind him.
He smiles, his dark eyes twinkling. He should know by now he can't avoid answering her when she's got her mind made up that she wants to know something. It's a damn good thing she's never gotten curious about his true feelings for her. "I started calling you 'bit' when you threatened my life that time," he answers, his back still to her, "but it didn't stick. It just . . . didn't feel right."
"And Nibblet does?"
"If I did want to eat you, not saying I do 'course, you'd be just a nibble, just a little bit for me to chew on." If he still breathed, he'd hold his breath now, he thinks, in preparation for her coming answer.
"But you don't want to eat me."
He shakes his head, but still doesn't turn around to look at her. "I don't. But I've changed a lot since then."
"Did you want to eat me then?"
"You ask a lot of questions for some one who was just sound asleep."
He can hear her smile in her answer, "That's me. You know I'm always insatiably curious." He doesn't answer; he's not sure which reply he can give that will cause the least damage. "So," she persists in asking, "you never wanted to eat me?"
"I didn't say that."
"So you did want to eat me."
"I didn't say that either."
"Come on, Spike! I won't be mad. You wanted to eat Buffy once. I know that."
He starts to turn toward her but stops. He still can't face her. "And if I told you," he asks, his voice dropping to a husky, low, almost dangerous tone, "I had wanted to eat you but in a different way, . . . what then?"
Her answer comes surprisingly fast, almost as though she's had it prepared all along. "I'd remind you that I'm not as young as this body seems." There's something about her tone that catches him with the need he's been fighting for her for so long. "And I'd tell you to turn around and look."
His mouth is suddenly dry, his body filled with need and aching want. His tongue seems to fill his mouth; he can feel it pressing against his own fangs. He turns slowly, dark eyes wide, and his mouth drops wide open at the beauty behind him. She stands before him, her clothes in a pool of cotton and leather at her feet. Her eyes meet his, and if it wasn't for the look in those doelike eyes of hers, he might cave. He might swoop down upon her naked, nubile body and do something they'd both regret tomorrow: she for giving her virginity to a monster and he for hurting her, damaging her, tainting her in a way he's sworn so many times he will never do.
But he sees the innocence in her eyes and finds the monster within him. His growl echoes in his still crypt. "Get out."
"Spike -- " She reaches for him.
He closes his eyes tightly and turns away. "Get dressed," he growls, "and get out!"
"Spike -- " Her voice is pleading with him, but he knows if he looks back at her just one more time, he'll cave and give in to the dream made flesh he's yearned for for so long.
"Get out!" But instead of making certain she leaves his crypt, Spike sweeps away instead. The sun is almost rising, and he knows he has to make his escape fast and sure. He's trembling, beneath the streets of the Hellmouth, with need and barely controlled rage by the time the sun does rise. He'll stay down here today, down in the muck and filth where he belongs.
He'll have to go back tonight. He'll have to face her again tonight, his bite of sweet temptation, the Key to the part of him that still wants so very much to be a man deserving of her beauty, sweetness, and goodness -- but he can't be that man. He'll never be that man. But he'll still have to face Dawn again tonight. His roar echoes in the sewer. He'll have to face her, and he will, but he'll never give her what she asked for so foolishly today. He'll never take from her what she was so foolishly willing to give to him, a lowly monster who can never deserve her.
His mind flashes back on the promise he made her sister what now seems like so long ago. He'll keep that promise, he thinks yet again, even if it kills him not just because he promised Buffy. He also promised himself, and he promised Dawn, though she couldn't hear him. He will keep her safe, and that includes from monsters like himself, even if it does him in, even if it kills him, even if it destroys what he has left of his heart. He'd have no heart to give or be destroyed after all, if it wasn't for his Nibblet. His roar shakes the sewer again. She'll never know the full reason why he calls her his Nibblet -- he can't begin to tell her for to tell her would be to admit his feelings for her, feelings he has no right to have -- but he will always, always protect her, starting with, and ending with too, himself.