by Barb C
Pairing: B/A, B/R, B/S -- but not all at once.
Summary: You know those fics where in the middle of a sex scene a character starts comparing their current lover to all their former lovers, who invariably come out badly? Well, this isn't one of those.
Notes: This is set in the same universe as "Raising In The Sun," et. al. but could pass for canon until the final segment. It's set at some indeterminate point after "Necessary Evils," and contains no spoilers.
Um, this isn't, like, public, is it?
If you're sure...do I go in order, or what?
Angel. It was...OK, you know how there are these paintings? Which are wonderful masterpieces, but they've been sitting in the same room for, like five hundred years with oil lamps and candles and there's soot all over them till they all look like Portrait Of A Smudgy Brown Thing, but you're afraid to make with the Windex because anything strong enough to get through the grot would strip off the paint too? That's my first and only time with Angel. There's so much Angelus-soot all over the memory that I'm not sure anymore what was under there originally.
But I think... I think it was good. I mean, perfect happiness, it had to be good, right?
I was cold. I remember that. Harbor in January and boyfriend with no circulation = Buffcicle. Lots of nipple action, at least. And I remember that I made the first move--or no, we kind of moved at the same time, but in my heart? I'd been moving for months. Here was this immortal, sophisticated, modern-art owning guy, who had done it with who knew how many Darlazoids over the centuries. Let's just say that research was done. I had moves. I had plans. Just in case things ever progressed beyond kissage. And then when it actually happened, I was afraid to use them, because I was positive I'd come off like this little girl playing dress-up.
The funny thing is, I think it was probably just as difficult for Angel, because...it had been so long, it was almost like his first time, too. I can't imagine him frightened, or worried about screwing up, but I think he must have been, just a little. We're not talking perfect, romance-novel first times here. It hurt. I didn't realize it would hurt, the first time. And--you're sure he's not going to see this? He, uh, went off way too soon. Not that I cared, because I was so worried about whether or not I was doing it right. The second time--well, duh, of course there was a second time--vampire, remember? He was super-careful about making sure I was ready, and that I, um, arrived before he did. And the third time--I repeat the duh--I wish I could clean the soot off just that part, because I'm pretty sure it was beautiful.
But the thing with me and Angel...it really is like that painting. I can put the way I feel about Angel in a box and keep it there for a hundred years, and when I take it out it'll still be exactly the same. The same sharp corners, the same golden shine... we had one perfect moment, and where do you go from perfection? What can you do with a masterpiece except hang it in a museum?
Maybe if we'd stayed together somehow. Maybe the corners would have worn smooth and the gilt would have fallen off and we'd have, I don't know, sofa art. I think my metaphor just died a slow and painful death there. We loved each other--I'll never love anyone else in exactly that way again. It just...never worked out. I still wonder sometimes how things would have gone if I'd done something different. Or if he had. I imagine what our future would be. But we didn't, and here we are. Somewhere else.
Parker. Can I hit him again? That would sum it all up. Parker was all about making myself get over Angel. Or proving to myself I was over him. Or something. I was romantically deranged in some fashion, OK? I really liked him, and I thought it could be love. I thought if I tried hard enough--see, the thing with Angel, it didn't matter to me that our first time wasn't all wine and roses because there was all this...emotion. We could have gotten the melties just by staring at each other. And I thought every relationship could be like that if only I tried hard enough.
Cynicism one, Buffy zero.
The sex was...like I told Willow. Nice. The fireworks were minimal, but there were fireworks. If the earth moved I don't think it was more than a 3.2, and after vampire stamina there was some minor disappointment in the duration. But it was in the ballpark, you know? Because LOVE!
Can I hit him again?
Um. Ok. Riley. I think...with him I made the opposite mistake. I thought, fine, no relationship will ever be as intense as what I had with Angel. I just have to accept that. So I slacked. I was a slacker. I lived in the Love Slack. And he was a slack enabler. He was so easy to be with. Comfortable. Relaxing. Like a big ol' comfy chair with muscles. I fought with Angel all the time, and me and Spike, well, there should be manga. But Riley? Never. Not until the end.
I think he thought I meant boring when I said relaxing. I didn't.
With Riley it was the first time I ever realized that sex wasn't this huge one-time thing that defines your whole relationship FOREVER OMG. It was just part of everything else. And it could be fun, or it could be sweet, or it could be hot, or it could be not all that great...and that wasn't the end of the world, because there would be more sex tomorrow. Also? I discovered that I really, really, liked it. As sex, instead of as a Special Relationship Event. Don't get me wrong, we weren't working our way through the Kama Sutra or anything--Riley was a meat and potatoes guy, sexwise. His idea of exotic was the Victoria's Secret catalogue. But they were really yummy meat and potatoes.
It wasn't totally wonderful. The Slayer thing...it did bother him. Only a little, at first. Totally dealable. And I thought we were dealing. Looking back, I'm not so sure. I always wanted to go farther and do more than Riley did, and he was my...my compass, I guess. If he wanted to do something, it couldn't be weird or wrong, because he was just so...so normal. Anything that freaked him out was probably a weird Slayer urge I was better off ignoring--and I am so very NOT saying he repressed me or anything. This was all me, wanting to be Buffy Summers, Normal Girl With Normal Boyfriend.
Then he lost his secret agent gig and went all mid-life existential white boy blues, and I didn't know how to deal with that--oh, who am I kidding? I never even noticed it was happening. It never occurred to me that he could sink. He was Mountain Guy. Unsinkable. Except, not.
I loved him. I really did. Even if I never said the words. But I was supposed to need him, and I never needed him. So we broke up. Except for the vampire whores and the super-secret military black ops program, it was the most normal breakup I ever had. With Riley there were a lot of good times, and that's what I try to remember. But I never wonder what my life would be like if he'd stayed. Which is...sad.
I counted up all the times I should have staked him, once. There were twenty-three. I'm not saying we had some deep mystic bond from the beginning, but somehow we never managed to kill each other. And not to brag--I leave that to Spike--but we are both darn good at the killing thing, so the signal failure of mutual assured destruction on the Slayer/vampire front? Not insignificant. There were always feelings between us. Sizzling hatred at first, seguing into seething contempt, and gradually mellowing into mild yet piquant disgust--and then he went all heroic for Dawn, and everything changed. The day I realized Spike was in love with me, I was revolted. The day I realized I was in love with Spike, I was terrified.
That day in the Magic Box? I don't think I've ever been so scared in my life, because always before in the big scary moments I could be sure that at least I was doing the right thing. And this time, no guarantees. I had no idea what would happen if I went public with the wrong lusty Spike thoughts, just that my life would never be the same. I never wanted to be in love with Spike. I tried really, really hard not to be in love with Spike. But somehow or other, I was. What I had with Angel was like some exotic night-blooming orchid, and Riley was like a--I don't know, a philodendron, but me and Spike? Crab grass. You can mow it down and dig it up and poison it, but it's always going to grow up through the cracks.
So I ripped the romantic band-aid off all at once. And we ended up in the basement going at it like weasels on top of Anya's shipment of anti-pixie potpourri sachets, (which Spike turned out to be allergic to because there were garlic flowers in them and if Anya asks I have NO idea how they ended up in the sewer) doing everything I never got around to with Angel and only fantasized about with Riley. While everyone I knew stood around upstairs knowing what we were doing downstairs. Which if I'd thought about it--but all I was thinking about was touching every square inch of Spike.
This is where I'm traditionally supposed to go on about how Spike's better-hung than all my previous boyfriends and how none of the others wanted to go down on me and how his come tastes like champagne, but really? Riley and Angel were both pretty darn good with their tongues, and any guy who lives on pig's blood, alcohol, and junk food is going to taste gross, and compare-and-contrast with the boy-parts is el mondo tackioso. Also? If Spike's head swells any more he'll look like Mr. Garrison.
This is the thing: Spike loves sex. Most people like sex because hey, free orgasm! But Spike loves sex the way I love skating--for itself, not because there's a prize at the end. He loves flirting, he loves foreplay, he loves fucking and being fucked, he loves snuggling afterwards--he loves all of it, and it shows. He glows with it. I don't know if it's a demon thing or a Spike thing, but he makes love with such...such focus, it's like you're a leaf and he's a magnifying glass channeling the sun. And when he lies back and lets you make love to him...
That? Scary in a big way. Way more scary than handcuffs, or discovering I like them on him almost better than I like them on me. Scarier even than knowing we could still end up on opposite ends of a stake some day. Because you can't escape that kind of attention--you have to be there, and sometimes being there is the last thing I want.
But you know what? I think it's exactly what I need.