There could be benefits. Blood. And money. Be able to find a nicer lair with some green to spend. Also...
"Tell you what, Rupert. You got yerself a deal. But-"
He watched the watcher wait for the condition.
"I'll need a liaison."
Spike crooked a brow in his direction. "You did go to primary school, didn't you, old boy? A liaison. A go-between. I refuse to deal directly with Blondie - and you, frankly, are not my type."
He watched the watcher get it.
"You want a consort."
"Who?" Rupes was too suspicious for his own good. He was also too right, but Spike wasn't about to let him know that.
"Don't know yet, do I? Have to see who will suit. Send 'em over here, one at a time, mind. Hour apart starting at sunset."
"Who does he want?" Xander asked, praying it wasn't him. He didn't know exactly what a "liaison" was, but it didn't sound like fun.
Giles took off his glasses and polished them.
"He doesn't know. He wants to see who - well, who 'suits' him is the word he used. Spike needs someone to be his eyes and ears in the daytime. Someone to ferry information back and forth between us and him. Someone to take him blood and payment for the services he performs for us. It really is very wise of him to ask for one person to act as his agent. It means less time having to deal with the slayer face to face, which, as a vampire, he'd naturally want to avoid. It also means no delays in waiting until after sunset to get information to him because as Spike's consort, this person will have all inclusive access to Spike's new lair. Spike will not allow this person to be harmed - not by him and not by another demon."
Buffy stood, letting her anger show.
"This is ridiculous, Giles. I don't need him. We don't need him." She motioned at the people in the room: Xander, Willow, ex-vengeance demon Anya and Willow's new friend and their newest recruit, Tara. "We've done just fine without him so far."
"And you've already died once, Buffy, at the hands of the Master or have you forgotten? Spike has two centuries of fighting experience and he's helpless to feed himself, to live the lifestyle he was meant to live. That makes him a reluctant but very powerful ally to have if we can be lucky enough to get him."
Buffy sat. "Fine. How do we play this?"
After the meeting, the friends went home - or to their dorm rooms, to await the appointed time of their meetings with Spike.
Only one knew what the word "liason" really entailed. He wanted a consort. Only one had read the Watcher Diaries and knew exactly what was expected - and required - of a Master Vampire's human consort. Only one was determined to get the position if for no other reason than to save the others from having to take it.
A consort was a companion, a confidante, a partner. Someone who Spike could count on to keep his secrets for him and give him counsel. No one else would fit the bill. No one else would want to. A vampire's human consort, or so the books said, was also there to warm his bed. It wasn't a girlfriend, it wasn't a whore. It was a mistress, a concubine. It was someone who pledged his or her life to making the vampire's life as pleasurable as possible. In all ways.
A liaison to the human world during the day and a lover at night. It had to be her. It just had to be.
She stooped and reached for the locked box under her bed. Opening the lid, she pulled out a book with the title, "Watcher Diaries - Thomas Chastiwell - 1884-1886" and began to study it.
At seven o'clock, Anya walked into Spike's crypt. Before she'd even gotten the door closed, he told her to go. She smiled, waved goodbye and left.
At eight o'clock, Xander knocked on the door of the crypt before opening it and walking in.
Spike sat on a bier, smoking and reading.
"Define 'liaison'," Spike said, without looking up from the newspaper.
"You can go." Spike dismissed him and he went, gratefully.
At nine o'clock, a timid almost-knock roused Spike from the book of Whitman's poetry. Wondering who it could be - not even the scent was familiar - he dropped the book and headed for the door, pulling off his t-shirt as he went.
A meek looking blonde stood before him. "You lost?" he asked her.
"I'm Tara," she offered in a voice that sounded more confident that she looked. "I'm here for the interview."
He stepped back, holding open the door and motioning for her to enter.
"You're new," he told her after he'd taken a stance next to his bier and lit a cigarette.
"I'm Willow's friend," was her explanation.
His eyes took her in appraisingly, seeming to see things she wished he wouldn't.
"You won't be," he informed her. "At least, not the way you want."
Tara understood. "You want her. You're going to choose her."
Spike smiled. "Glinda, there's more there than you know. Doesn't matter if I want her - and I do. But she's going to come here tonight and beg me to choose her. That's the type she is. That one knows the role she has to play and she's going to beg me to choose her instead of one of her friends."
"It isn't just a liaison you're looking for, is it?" Tara asked.
Tara turned to leave, then stopped and asked, "You're not going to hurt her, are you?"
"Not on my unlife, Luv. I promise."
Satisfied with that answer, the girl left.
At ten o'clock, the last knock came.
She walked in, eyes downcast. She had just showered, he could tell by the clean, soapy smell. Her hair was glistening and shiny, styled just so. She was wearing a red blouse, unbuttoned down to between her breasts. A tight, straight black skirt graced her hips and fell almost to her knees. A pair of black stilettos on her feet. Like she'd dressed with special care, just for him. Girl knew her place.
Shutting the door behind her, she walked in bravely, stopping a few feet in front of him, eyes still looking downward.
"You know why you're here. You want the job?" It was a direct question, no sentimentality but no coldness.
"Downstairs is a bed. Strip and go down there."
He was really very surprised when her hands moved to her waistband and unhooked her skirt. Shaking fingers lowered the zipper and shaking fingers dropped the skirt to reveal a tiny black lace thong underneath.
When shaking fingers moved to take off the thong, he told her, "Leave that on. For now."
So shaking fingers pulled the bottom hem of the red shirt up and over her head to reveal pale, perfect skin with no bra underneath. She dropped the shirt and slipped off her shoes before heading for the ladder that would take her downstairs.
Spike watched her go, then sat a few minutes longer, thinking.
He'd expected her to come prepared. He'd expected her to know he had intended it to be her. He'd expected her to beg him.
He hadn't expected this. It was almost as if she really did want to do this. But that wasn't possible.
He found her sitting on his bed, eyes still studying the floor.
"Look at me."
She didn't. "Human consorts aren't supposed to look their masters in the eye, the book said so." Her voice was shaking, she was terrified.
But she was still here.
His voice softened. "Is that what you want? To be just my consort?"
Looking up, she shook her head in the negative.
Voice still soft and concerned, he asked, "What do you want, Red? Tell me why you came here."
She sniffled, holding back tears and answered, "I don't know."
He'd had it all planned out. Her seduction, her shame at the pleasure she found in his touch.
His plans never did seem to work out the way he'd intended them to.
"Can I ask you a question?" she asked, then added because she thought she should, "Master?"
Spike smiled and touched a hand to her cheek. "You can call me Spike, Pet, you always have before."
"Can I ask you a question, Spike?"
"Why me? I mean, you wanted me, right? You asked for everyone, but you did - you were trying to get me, right?"
He nodded again.
Master vampires do not kneel at the feet of their consorts. Ever.
Spike knelt on the floor at her feet and took her hands in his. "I think for the same reason you came here determined that it should be you."
She smiled a timid smile and asked, "Because you didn't want Xander to be grossed out?"
Spike smiled briefly, then caught her eye. "Because it had to be you."
He leaned in to kiss her, but -
He closed his eyes and groaned, whispering, "Bloody buggerin' hell" under his breath.
Buffy dropped down the ladder and saw her nearly naked best friend on the bed with Spike on his knees on the floor in front of her. Their arms were around each other.
Willow pulled him closer, trying to hide her body from Buffy's horrified gaze.
"Willow! You don't have to do this, we don't need him. We've been fine until now and we'll be fine again and - " she turned an angry red glare on Spike, "I can't believe you're forcing her to sleep with you! You sick, perverted son of a bitch! You said you wanted a liaison, not a - a - whatever this is!"
"Buffy!" Willow yelled, stopping Buffy's stake arm in mid-air. "Buffy, no! That wasn't - he wasn't - Buffy, Spike and I - I mean - " she turned to Spike, hoping for some help. "What do I mean?"
Spike, taking the cue, turned and faced the slayer, still shielding Willow's body from her demented and lethal best friend. His self-preservation was at stake here. Bad choice of words.
"What Red's tryin' ta say is that she got the job. She, uh, she takes right quick dictation and uh, she can type like a - she can, well, she got the job based on merits. And we were celebrating. Both of us. I wasn't forcing - I mean, well, I might, but only if she wants me to -"
Willow slapped Spike's shoulder to shut him up. "Spike! You're not helping! Give me a shirt!"
Spike, without moving from his spot in front of her, got her a t-shirt that was too big for her and covered everything that needed to be covered. She pulled it on over her head and then stood and went to Buffy.
"Buffy, I'm fine, really. Spike and I were just - well, you get the idea. He wasn't forcing me." With a pointed look in Spike's direction she added, "It's not part of the job, its just - well, he is really cute - "
Suddenly, as if her brain finally grew a few grey cells, Buffy got it.
"Oh. My. God! You and Spike are -"
"Well, no," Spike broke in, "Not with you standin' there we're not, so if you'd just toddle along we could get back to -"
"I'm going!" Buffy screamed before he could elaborate.
They both stood and watched her go.
Silence greeted them when the door slammed behind her.
Turning back to Spike, Willow started to say something but never got the chance. Spike had her over his shoulder and was carrying her to the bed. Dropping her like a rock on to the mattress, he jumped in beside her.
"She's gonna think -"
"Yeah, sorry about that," Willow apologised.
"Never be sorry."
His hands wrapped around the back of her neck and pulled her to him, lips finally meeting in a kiss. He'd been imagining this all day; he hoped she had too. He'd known just how he was going to play it.
Funny but he couldn't remember the game plan right now. Right now, his mind and his hands were filled with Willow, warm and willing and kissing him back. Right now, all he wanted to do was make her cry out in passion, not cry in regret.
His brain told him to kiss his way down her throat to her breasts, but before his body could process the command, Willow was taking the initiative and kissing her way down his neck and sucking one of his flat nipples into her mouth. He arched his back and moaned in pleasure.
She fumbled with his jeans so he helped her get them off and she continued her explorations down his torso. She licked into his bellybutton and it tickled but it felt so bloody erotic.
As she moved further down, his hands played in her hair. A thought struck him as funny and he shared it with her. "Consorts are only supposed to do what their masters tell them, Luv." He hadn't told her to do this.
She looked up at him and smiled. "Do you want me to stop?"
"Hell, no, woman! Do as you please!"
So she did, taking him as fully into her mouth as she could and sucking. His eyes rolled in their sockets and he thought he'd died again and gone to heaven.
Girl knew what the fuck she was doing down there, that was for sure. But this isn't how he wanted to get off. This time.
Sitting up, he grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back up the bed and turned her onto her back.
Sliding a finger inside her, he asked, "Need inside you. You ready for me?"
Her answer in the affirmative was just a confirmation of what his finger had already told him. Without waiting for her further consent, he rolled between her legs and thrust inside.
"Holy hell," he exclaimed, feeling her muscles tighten around him.
Willow giggled. "Yeah, what you said," she agreed.
He couldn't help but grin back.
"You're not what I expected," he told her.
"And?" she asked, hoping there was an 'and'.
"You're definitely what I wanted."
With another kiss - and another three hours - he made her believe him.