Chapter Four: Guilty Pleasure

            Anya looked up as Dawn came back into the bedroom. “What are they doing in there; are they getting impatient?”

            “They’re talking about old TV shows or something.” Dawn shook her head. “Don’t get me wrong; I love that those two are getting along, but all they ever do is joke around. I don’t think they’ve ever talked seriously about what happened.”

            “That’s how guys bond. They don’t have deep emotional discussions like women do; they insult each other. I don’t know why, but it seems to work for them.” Anya straightened out her clothing and took a look in the mirror; Dawn glanced up as she put on her shoes.

            “That looks great on you!”

            “Yeah, I’m glad I let you talk me into getting it.” She eyed Dawn’s outfit and gave her a wicked smile. “Spike is gonna love that!” Dawn gave her a look that said she knew exactly what Spike’s reaction would be.

            “You think?” Anya shook her head and laughed.

            “You are evil.”

            “Yep, that’s me. You ready?”

            “Let’s go.” 


            Spike and Xander had turned on the TV after Dawn left the first time and were now engrossed in an old horror movie. Spike was complaining about how fake and unbelievable it was when he caught sight of Dawn in the doorway. She just stood there motionless, and he marveled at how beautiful she was and how she always managed to stun him. She was wearing some sort of top that bore a strong resemblance to a corset. Green satin trimmed with black lace and ribbon, the way it hugged her curves was absolute perfection. She had paired it with a simple, floor length, black skirt slung low on her hips. Simple, that is, until she moved. Then he saw that each side had a slit in it all the way up to her hips exposing generous glimpses of leg with every step she took. It was sexy as hell. Spike looked up, his gaze heated, and Dawn smiled in satisfaction. Anya walked in behind her and Spike glanced at Xander in time to see his eyes light up in appreciation.

            “You didn’t tell us where we’re going,” Anya admonished. “So I hope this is appropriate.” She wore royal blue harem pants and a matching halter-style top that left her midriff bare. She wore her hair in a stylish upsweep that suited her beautifully while Dawn had worked some magic on her own hair that caused it to fall softly around her face in a riot of curls.

            “So?” Dawn prompted. “Do we pass inspection?” Xander glanced his way.

            “What do you think?” Spike crossed his arms and circled Dawn slowly before replying,

            “Well, I don’t know…” Dawn shot him a look and he laughed as he pulled her into his arms. “You two know you look gorgeous so quit fishing for compliments!”

            “We’re not fishing; we just wish we knew where you’re taking us.”

            “You’ll see soon enough.” Xander took Anya’s hand. “Ready to go?” They nodded and everyone headed for the car. 


            “Wow, I was not expecting the symphony.” Anya nodded in agreement, her gaze taking in the ornate beauty of the concert hall.

            “Are you disappointed?” Spike asked in concern.

            “Oh, no! This is wonderful. I just, I might have worn something a little more…conservative if I’d known where we were going.” Anya glanced up, her hand covering her stomach.

            “Yeah. I’m not sure it’s appropriate for me to be exposing my navel in a place like this.” Spike shook his head.

            “Xander checked when we got the tickets; you guys are fine. They don’t like people to wear jeans or shorts and t-shirts, but other than that they’re pretty liberal. Some people go formal; some people wear the clothes they wear to the office.” He smiled at Anya. “I’m fairly certain bare midriffs are acceptable.” Dawn took his hand and leaned into his side.

            “Good, then this is officially wonderful! I love this kind of stuff, and Anya’s really gotten into classical music lately.”

            “Oh, please!” Anya laughingly interjected. “I’ve been a fan of classical for longer than you’ve been alive. Beethoven? Mozart? Chopin? I saw them perform their masterpieces themselves!”

            “Longer than I’ve been alive? I’m way older than you, little girl,” Dawn said with a grin. Anya waved a hand dismissively.

            “Your ‘ball-of-energy’ years don’t count. I’m talking human years.”

            “Then I’d have to say your thousand years as a demon don’t count either.”

            “So? I’m still older than you.” Dawn smiled pleasantly.

            “It shows.” Anya shot her a look and smiled as she shook her head.

            “You’re lucky we’re in public, but don’t think I’m going to just let that comment slide.” They both laughed and Spike and Xander exchanged amused looks.

            “Really guys,” Dawn said seriously. “This is a wonderful surprise.”

            “Ah, and this isn’t even the only surprise,” Xander beamed.

            “Yeah. Later you get to walk home,” Spike managed to say without cracking a grin. Anya looked disconcerted and Xander choked on a laugh.

            “See,” Dawn began. “I know that’s a joke unless someone is dying for an ass-kicking.” Spike pulled her close and kissed her lightly on the lips.

            “We’ll see.” Dawn smacked him, and they all laughed.

            “So, what is the other surprise?” Anya asked.

            “Wait, wait,” Dawn said, holding up her hand. “Let’s just be surprised; it’s kinda fun.” Anya nodded in agreement, and Xander suggested they find their seats.


                                                *          *          *          *


            “You lousy son-of-a-bitch,” Sorcha raged, rubbing her still-tender wrists as the two of them headed for breakfast. “I could have died in there!”

            “Sweetheart, you’re already dead,” Lucius replied gleefully, causing her to shoot him a vicious look.

            “You know what I mean, darling! I’m all for fun and games, but if you ever try something like that again – I will kill you.” She felt her demon surge forward as he burst out laughing.

            “I’d pay to see that,” he chuckled as they entered the dining room. In the blink of an eye she had busted one of the chairs against the wall and tackled him to the floor. Her features shifted as she held the splintered chair leg over his chest.

            “Today, I’ll do it for free!” Knocking her arm aside, he caught her in the jaw with a hard right and flipped her onto her back.

            “Why don’t we just get this over with, hmm? You’re obviously itching for it,” he derided as he shoved her dress up and pushed into her. Sorcha moved against him desperately; he’d left her frustrated last night, and it didn’t take long for her to get there. He bit the side of her neck hard as they came, quickly pushing her away afterwards. He smiled, straitening his clothes as he watched her climb to her feet. “Now can we eat?” She nodded slightly, her features filled with satisfaction.

            “I want the brunette,” she demanded as they approached the two girls chained in the corner. “She looks delicious.”


                                                *          *          *          *


            “How did you guys get a reservation here?” Dawn asked, staring around the restaurant in wonder. “I heard this place was booked for the whole year.”

            “Ask Harris,” Spike said. “He’s the one with the connections.”

            “You have connections?” Anya said in surprise. “We have connections? Here?” Xander smiled.

            “I know the owner’s daughter. When Spike and I decided to do this I just gave her a call and she set it up for us.”

            “Excuse me,” Anya interjected. “The owner’s daughter? And how exactly do you know this girl?”

            “She’s married to my cousin,” he explained.

            “Oh. Well that’s okay then.”

            “You just barely pulled your ass out of the fire on that one,” Spike smirked.

            “So,” Dawn said as she opened her menu. “What is everyone getting?”

            “Do you think it’d raise any eyebrows if I ordered a big glass of blood?” Xander didn’t even bother to glance up from his menu as he replied,

            “Well, it’s bound to raise a few eyebrows, especially if the waiter notices that.” They all turned to see what he was pointing at.

            “Oh my God!” Dawn whispered as she noticed the mirrored wall across the restaurant. Then she giggled as Spike picked up the centerpiece and moved it around. “Would you quit that?” She smacked his hand lightly. “The mirror is far enough away that people probably won’t notice. Unless you start clowning around, so no wacky high jinks!”

            “What would they even do if they did notice?” Anya wondered, and Xander glanced up with a smile.

            “Yeah, can you picture the maitre d’ – ‘Sir, are you aware your reflection is missing?’ I think this place is way too highbrow to point out someone’s, uh…quirks.” They laughed and Dawn said,

            “Even so, I think a nice steak cooked rare will do fine. Yummy goodness and a little blood in the mix to top it off.”

            “We have weird conversations,” Xander muttered, shaking his head. Anya patted his hand comfortingly.

            “What do you expect when you hang around with a couple demons and a big ball of light?”

            “Energy,” Dawn corrected.

            “Right. Sorry.”

            “And your not a demon anymore,” Spike chimed in.

            “True, but still…”

            “Umm, are you folks, uh, ready to order?” The waiter asked from behind Xander, an odd look on his face. There was silence and then Spike managed to say,

            “You know, mate, I think we’re gonna need a few more minutes to decide.”

            “Okay, s-sir. You just, uh, let me know when you’re ready.”

            “Will do!” Xander assured him enthusiastically. After he left they all stared at each other for a moment.

            “Yeah, well,” Spike began. “I’m pretty sure our cover is blown.” Turning to find the waiter eyeing them suspiciously, they dissolved into laughter. 


            “Have you heard from the others recently?”

            “Well, Xander called a few days ago, but other than that not a peep.” Willow walked in and Tara waved her over to the phone. “Is something wrong, Mr. Giles? You sound upset.”

            “What’s going on?” Willow mouthed. Tara shook her head and shrugged.

            “I’m not really sure,” Giles was saying. “We’ve had some weird goings on over here, and I’m not quite sure what it means.”

            “Do you need to speak with Willow; she just got home.”

            “No, there’s no need, but I wonder…”


            “A particular book seems to be missing from my library. You girls have a rather extensive collection of occult literature, correct?”

            “That’s right; do you need one of our books? We could send it-”

            “That’s not necessary, but could you check into something for me?”

            “Sure. Just let me get something to write with.” Willow handed her a pad and pen. “Here we go; now what do you need?”

            “Do you have a copy of the Uldarian Text?” Tara glanced over at Willow.

            “Uldarian Text?” Willow nodded. “Yep, that’s one of ours.” She jotted it down as she spoke.

            “I need you to look up a group called the Jhidhara.” He spelled it for her. “Find out their rituals, their practices, their beliefs, specifically something called the Rite of Letum.”

            “Annihilation?” Tara repeated with dread.

            “Yes, it doesn’t sound very good, does it?”

            “It really doesn’t.” She shot Willow a look. “Do you want us to call the others?”

            “If you wouldn’t mind. I’ve a feeling Dawn may have some useful information on the matter, but every time I try to contact her…” His voice trailed off.


“Well, my calls won’t go through; it’s the strangest thing. I’ll keep trying of course, but there is a lot going on here that needs to be taken care of. You wouldn’t believe some of things…”

            “What exactly is going on out there?”

            “Mutilations, eviscerations, what appears to be ritual sacrifice, some sort of-”

            “I get the picture,” Tara broke in as nausea swamped her.

            “Yes. Sorry,” Giles said.

            “So, we’ll get right on this and let you know what we find out.”

            “Thank you, Tara. I’ll talk to you later then.”


            “Bye.” Willow watched as Tara hung up.

            “What’s going on?” she asked in concern.

            “I don’t know, but Giles is scared and that’s never good.” Willow nodded in agreement. “He wants us to look this stuff up for him.” Willow looked down at what Tara had written.

            “Well, let’s get to it.” 


            “Tonight was wonderful,” Dawn whispered, kissing Spike’s neck as he fit his key in the lock. Drawing her inside, he turned to push her up against the door as it clicked shut.

            “You have been driving me crazy all night with this out fit,” he muttered against her lips. His hand moved to the split side of her skirt, and she smiled as his fingers moved softly along her bare thigh. Her arms went around his shoulders as his mouth moved hungrily on hers. One hand moved up to weave itself into the softness of his hair as the other caressed his back, and she let out a soft moan, pulling away slightly to whisper,

            “That’s kind of the reaction I was going for.” Keeping one hand on her leg, he moved his other hand up to push her hair back from her face. Moving his thumb over her bottom lip he said raggedly,

            “Well, it worked.” She nipped at his thumb and he groaned, pulling her mouth back to his as she shoved his jacket down off his shoulders. He pulled her leg up to wrap around his hip, pressing against her as their mouths moved together desperately. Pushing him backwards, she turned suddenly, dragging him to the floor with her. Kicking off her shoes, she ripped at his shirt, hungry for the feel of his skin. His mouth moved down her throat and he tugged at her top. After struggling for a few moments he pulled away, his voice a harsh groan, “How do you get this bloody thing off?”

Arching seductively, she reached back to release the catch. Spike slid it down her arms and, tossing it aside, he moved his mouth over the newly exposed flesh. Dawn ran her foot down the back of his leg, reaching for the snap of his pants. She moaned as he took her nipple into his mouth, and her hands clutched at him. He rolled to his back to kick his pants off, and she followed him, placing kisses on his neck and chest and anywhere else she could reach. His arms came up around her, fingers trailing up her spine making her shiver against him.

Spike twisted so he was leaning over her again. Holding her gaze, he slowly slid his hand down her body, drawing her leg up slightly and caressing the inside of her thigh. He groaned as his fingers moved higher, slipping inside her panties to find her wet and wanting. He moved his mouth against hers, nipping lightly at her bottom lip as he continued to stroke her, the roughness of his fingers creating an almost unbearable friction. Dawn moaned, clinging to him as his mouth moved to her breast. She drew her knees up, her thighs brushing his hips as she moved against his hand. She pulled him back up, her mouth sliding wetly along his throat as she moved to whisper in his ear,

“I need you inside me.” He gave her a wicked smile, and she moaned as his fingers continued their torture.

“Not yet.”

He left moist kisses along her jaw, her neck, and continuing down her body as he slid her skirt off over her hips. Her panties were next and then his mouth was moving against the inside of her leg, his tongue slipping higher and higher until she was gasping with pleasure. He had done this so many times and yet every time he took her to new heights, honing her need ever sharper, and twisting her desire until it was so tight she thought she might explode. Her breath came faster as tension spread through her body, clawing at her insides and begging to be released. Bright light flashed behind her eyes as her thoughts splintered in a million different directions, and all she could focus on was the pleasure.

He moved back up over her then, sliding inside, and she moaned again at the feel of him so deep within her. Their eyes met as he began to move, and he rested his forehead against hers as she wrapped herself tightly around him. They rocked together slowly, drawing out the sensation and Dawn arched into him reflexively, trying to get closer. Their mouths met in a series of deep, drugging kisses as their tempo slowly began to increase. She ran her hands down his arms and then back up, sliding them into his hair. The tension was building inside her again, tightening and twisting, pulling her slowly toward the abyss. She rolled suddenly, maneuvering so that Spike wound up on his back as she moved on top of him.


“I want you to see the stars.” She kissed him deeply as her climax hit her, rolling over her with startling intensity. Dawn moved to bury her face in the side of Spike’s neck, and the room spun around them as he followed her over the edge.

“It’s beautiful,” he whispered reverently, and then they were back at the house lying together on the carpet in a mass of tangled limbs as they slowly regained their senses. Spike reached up to stroke her back, kissing her gently on the shoulder. “You always take me somewhere new. I didn’t even know that so many dimensions existed.”

“Infinite,” she said softly. He pushed a strand of hair behind her ear.


“Infinite possibilities, infinite dimensions.” She touched her lips to his in a gentle kiss, sighing happily as his hands continued to move over her skin. “We should head for the bedroom; it’s getting a little chilly out here.”

“Okay.” She moved off of him and watched as he gathered up their clothes.

“Hey, Spike?”


“I love you.” He pulled her into his arms for a kiss.

“I love you too, sweet.” She stroked her hand down his chest, and a mischievous smile lit her face.

“You know…” Her voice trailed off wickedly.

“What?” he prompted.

“I didn’t even get to model my other new…outfit for you.” He watched as she turned and made her way down the hall, naked body swaying seductively. Dropping the clothes he’d retrieved, he quickly followed.


                                    *          *          *          *


“So they’ve started already?” Lucius turned to find Sorcha holding up a newspaper. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I’m a little busy here, darlin’. You mind harassing me later?” She marched in, tearing the phone from his hand and flinging it against the wall.

“I don’t even know why you bother with this- this- nonsense! You’re not human; you’re not part of their world. Why do you act as if you are?”

“It’s called ‘blending in’, sweetheart. Something you should start learning how to do.” He ran his gaze over her derisively. “You dress like a whore.”

“I don’t have the patience for your insults right now. Have they begun or haven’t they?” she demanded through gritted teeth.

“Rhiannon tells me they’ve spread to the necessary locations, and things are progressing smoothly.” A smile lit her face and she dropped into his lap, winding her arms around his neck.

“Well, that’s just wonderful! Have they gotten the witch?”

“Marcus went himself.”

“We have to have her for the final ritual; I can’t do it on my own.”

“And you’re sure she’ll help?”


“Good,” Lucius said, removing her arms from around his neck. “Now get off me; I have business to attend to.”

“Yes, you do,” she agreed as she produced the knife she’d brought from the kitchen. She dragged it slowly down his cheek, licking her lips as he began to bleed. “Me.”


                                    *          *          *          *


At first she thought it was a dream, but she quickly realized where she was. This place was comforting and familiar, but she’d never expected to be back here.

“It’s good to see you again, Dawn. Welcome back.”

“Why am I here? Am I dying?”

“Definitely not. You’re here for information.”

“What kind of information.”

“You seem to be under the impression that you would somehow know if danger were about to strike. It is unwise to assume that you will receive fair warning of any and all impending doom.”

“But, I thought – ”

“There are dark forces at work against you, powerful forces. For every one of your strengths there is an opposing power just as strong. Many things may remain hidden from you until it is too late; your gifts are not absolute.”

“What do you mean? Has something happened?”

“You already know, but it’s hidden within your mind. You must pull back the curtain.” There was a long silence before she understood.

“Oh my God.”

“Oh my God!”  She jerked upright in the bed, startling Spike.

“Wha- What’s going on?” Dawn scrambled out of bed and pulled on a shirt. “Hey! What’s wrong?”

“I’m too late! I’m too late!” She sobbed, running into the kitchen. Spike hurried after her, tugging his pants on. He found her rifling through the kitchen drawers. “Where is it; where is it?”

“What? Dawn! What are you looking for?”

“Their new number; where is it?”

“Will and Tara’s?” She nodded. He grabbed the address book off the top of the fridge and handed it to her. “Would you tell me what’s going on?” She grabbed the phone, punching in the number.

“I’m so stupid. I can’t believe how arrogant I’ve been.” She shook her head.

“About what?” Spike demanded in frustration.

“They’re in danger. They’re coming for them, and I didn’t even know!” She listened as the phone continued to ring on the other end, her voice breaking as she whispered, “I think I’m too late.”

Chapter 5