No Rest for the Weary, Chapter 2
He remained still for a few moments, during which Buffy felt her heart begin to sink, and then began to respond. His hands came up almost hesitantly to wrap around her, but once they were they, they locked tightly, holding her against him so she was nearly breathless.
But that could have been the kiss, because—Boy howdy! thought Buffy—once he decided he was interested, he took control of it, parting her lips almost roughly and slipping his tongue into her mouth with a boldness that both thrilled and surprised her. She hadn’t thought the severe old chap had it in him, to be honest.
She wriggled until her arms were able to slither up between them and wrap around his neck, clinging to him as if she were afraid he’d disappear, and kissed him back. Her fingers went to his hair, burying themselves in it and massaging his scalp, and he growled against her lips. Buffy felt a jolt of arousal shoot from that faint vibration against her mouth right down to her general pubic area.
“Did you just growl?” she asked, pulling away to look at him. His eyes were heavy-lidded but bright, and he looked as surprised as she imagined she did.
“So it would seem,” he replied, and removed her arms from around him by gently grasping her wrists and tugging.
Reluctantly, she allowed him to peel her off of him and stepped back, touching her kiss-bruised mouth with her fingertips. “What just happened there?” she asked after a moment. “One minute, water, the next, smoochies.”
His eyebrow rocketed skyward. “You have only to ask yourself why you initiated… that, Miss Summers. I have no idea what brought it on.”
Her face pinkened. “It was… water drop… throat. It was a… thing. Oh, shut up,” she said, feeling cross. “Not like you didn’t get into it after a while.”
“I am a healthy male, Miss Summers, and you are an attractive young woman. My reaction was normal and logical.”
“You sound like a Vulcan,” she groused, and crossed her arms over her chest. The action served only to push together and plump up her (admittedly meagre) cleavage, and his gaze went to it like a homing beacon. “Hah.”
He dragged his eyes back to her face. “That, too, is a normal reaction. But I suggest that if we are to be here for any period of time, we forego that sort of activity. It will only lead to… an uncomfortable situation arising.” He seemed to realize what he’d said when he saw the delighted look cross her face, and actually blushed a little. “Er. As it were.” He brushed by her to return to the fireplace, and had a fire going after another few minutes whilst Buffy watched.
“You never did tell me your name,” she said after the little blaze was going merrily.
He stood, frowning as his knees popped, and looked down at her. He was even taller than Angel, she realized, and positively towered over her. She should have hated it, except that she kind of liked it. “James,” he told her at last, and to her surprise, took her hand, touching his lips to it. “Commodore James Norrington, at your service.”
“Still with that commodore stuff, huh, James?” she quipped, turning so the head from the fire could warm up her cold, wet back and butt. Gazing down at her hands, she saw that her skin was very pale, despite her new tan, and the beds of her fingernails a faint purplish tint. “We have to get out of these clothes or we’ll get sick,” she said without thinking, then looked up when the silence changed.
He was watching her again with that eagle-stare, and she felt like she’d already stripped naked. No secrets with this guy, she thought shakily. He can see right through you. “At my service, huh?” she said.
He only rolled his eyes. “Search the rest of the house for dry clothing,” he told her. “I’ll see if there’s not something to boil water in, and we can wash the salt water off.”
Damn. He was practical. Probably for the best, but try telling that to her libido, which was currently dancing the Macarena at being awoken after slumbering so long. She roamed through the house, poking in drawers and armoires until she located a nightgown-looking thing in one of the tiny servant’s rooms for herself, and a pair of very fine-looking pants in a buff-colour matte leather. They looked, were Buffy to be completely honest, a tad too small for someone of James’ height but then she thought of him in snug leather pants and could actually feel her eyes glazing over.
“Yes,” she said aloud, draping them over her arm, “these will do perfectly.”
She found a dark blue shirt of rough linen in another servant’s room, and was delighted to find that one drawer was entirely filled with socks. Warm, if scratchy, woollen socks and her frosty toes fairly begged her to put a pair on right now but it appeared that James had a prudent influence on her—she knew her sodden dress would just drip down onto the socks until they were just as wet.
Sighing, she began to search for other things. There was a basin-type washstand thing with a big bowl and pitcher, and on the little counter beside it was a shallow dish filled with hardened brown goo. Sniffing it, she was delighted to find that it smelled vaguely soap-like. Not far away was a little wooden comb—only missing three teeth—and even a straight razor.
Another drawer revealed a stack of white linen squares like big dinner napkins, and Buffy figured they could use them as towels. Piling everything into the bowl of the washstand, she debated including the razor but then remembered about the stubble and the water droplet and couldn’t suppress an evil little smile as she dropped it—accidentally, of course—behind the dresser.
Then she hoisted the washstand up and carried it back to the kitchen. James had found a large, battered cauldron and filled it with water, but couldn’t lift it to the fire. Buffy grasped the handle and matter-of-factly hoisted it over, hooking it over the metal arm jutting out over the flames. Not really eager to see his dismay at her unusual strength, she peeped from under her lashes, only to find him watching her with perplexity and not the slight fear she’d expected.
“You will, of course, explain that to me eventually,” was all he said before turning to look through her gleanings. “Resourceful,” he murmured upon finding the soap and comb. “I wonder, if I send you out for a joint of beef and Yorkshire pudding, will you come back with it?”
“If I knew what Yorkshire pudding was, I just might,” she replied cheerfully, taking the comb from him and beginning the arduous task of picking the hideous snarls from her hair in anticipation of washing it.
He watched for a moment before picking up a tin and shaking it. “Whilst you were gone, I found tea.”
“Did you find milk and sugar, too?” Buffy asked hopefully, then winced at a particularly bad knot at the back where she couldn’t really see.
“Sadly, no,” James said, and took the comb from her to work the snarl out for her. “You’ll just have to brave it, plain.”
Buffy didn’t reply; the feel of his hands in her hair was too soothing, and her crappy night’s sleep snuck up on her. She jolted awake just as she would have tipped over, and found him lowering her to the ground.
“I suppose a nap before bathing would not be amiss,” he told her, then hesitated before continuing. “Lay down, rest your head on my leg. I’ll comb the rest.” She hurried to comply and managed to beam a smile at him before passing out.
Her dreams were unsettled and her rest not terribly restful, and she was almost glad when he gently shook her awake. “The water is warm enough for bathing now,” James said, and she sat up. He’d removed his Ben Franklin coat and now just looked like a swashbuckler in his pants and boots and poofy shirt and sexy stubble.
Buffy took the washstand into the pantry, then returned to where James was filling the pitcher with equal parts of cold and hot water. Hurrying back to the pantry, she poured the basin full and stripped her still-damp clothes off, splashing herself with the warm water without care for the huge puddle she was making under her feet.
The soap lathered about as well as Lava bars, and Buffy was sure her hair was going to jump off her head in protest at its harshness, but at least she was clean. Patting herself dry with one of the linen squares, then rubbing as much moisture from her hair as she could, she reached for the nightgown and delighted in the feel of clean, if musty, cotton gliding over her skin. After the sun, sand, and salt of the past day it felt like heaven to be clean and dry.
Then her stomach rumbled, and she wished she weren’t so damned hungry.
Carrying the bowl carefully to the kitchen, she poured the greyish water down the sink and sluiced some clean water from the pump into it, then handed it to James.
“You look even more like an angel in that,” he said, nodding his head at the voluminous nightgown she wore. “Ironic, that.”
Buffy would have said something snarky in return but then remembered just how small the pants were that she had gotten for him. “Hmm,” was her noncommittal reply as she shoved the garments at him, and reached for a pair of the lovely socks.
Sitting before the fire, she rested her chin on her drawn-up knees and stared at the flames, wondering why she wasn’t more upset by this whole ordeal. It wasn’t every day that you got chucked into the 17th century, after all. Not that stranger things hadn’t happened to her… perhaps that was why she was so calm. Stranger things had happened to her; on a scale of “freaksome” from 1 to 10, this was barely a blip on her radar.
There were no demons, vampires, evil sorcerers, geeky losers, or anything that called for her to fulfill her destiny in any way. Just a bit of weirdness, which was par for the course, really. And it wasn’t like she was suffering horribly; now she was warm and dry, there was only the issue of food to worry about. And surely there would be fruit somewhere in the vicinity; by the time things righted themselves, as the universe always saw fit to do eventually, Buffy was sure she’d be full up on her required fibre and vitamin C intake.
And then there was James.
She thought of the water drop’s leisurely journey down his throat, and how she’d wanted to follow it with her tongue; a flash of heat leapt in her chest and speared downward. Then she thought of his hands, so gentle on her head as he’d combed her hair, and the heat jogged north again to settle quite firmly in the area of her heart.
How stupid is this? she raged internally. You cannot have a crush on the 17th century commodore guy. It’s lunacy. It’s idiocy. It’s—
James reentered the room then, clad in the (really much too snug) trousers and the blue shirt, unbuttoned. His clean hair fell rakishly over his right eyebrow and he gave an embarrassed little eep when he realized his chest was showing. The firelight gleamed off the pale, hair-dusted muscles revealed between the open panels of the shirt, and Buffy gaped whilst her brain finished, It’s a really, really good idea.
She was just about to open her mouth and say something incredibly stupid when James’ stomach rumbled. He blushed a little harder and Buffy found herself thinking, Aw, cute, before mentally slapping herself. She settled for watching as he brewed tea and poured it into two chipped earthenware mugs. She made a face at the taste—bitter, weedy—but finished it, knowing she needed some warmth in her.
“Any possibility for food?” she asked, trying to make her eyes as big and pitiful as possible.
“There’s mouldy flour, full of weevils,” he began with a smirk, “so unless you are secretly a master baker, I doubt—“ He stopped when she burst into laughter. “And what is so amusing, Miss Summers?”
“Master baker,” she gasped, leaning against him as she laughed. “Get it? Master baker?” No, he most certainly didn’t get it, and furthermore, didn’t understand why a respectable position was so hilarious… “Position!” she wheezed, and began to hiccup.
“You are a very vexing woman, Miss Summers,” was all he said, sipping at his tea.
“Leave me alone,” she said. Hic. “I’m in a mood.”
After a while, he commented, “I believe there is hardtack in the pantry, if you are hungry enough.”
She stared at him. “And what is hardtack? Do I even want to know?”
He only grinned at her and stood, going to fetch it. “Also known as sea biscuit, it’s single-handedly responsible for the lion’s share of constipation among His Majesty’s Navy.”
“You make it sound so tempting,” Buffy said with fake awe, accepting the flat, rock-hard cracker. She tapped it on the floor, then studied the surface; not a crumb had been shed by the hardtack, but there were a few new dents in the planks… “How do you eat this without breaking your teeth?” Hic.
“You don’t,” was his reply. “These are all wooden.” And he grinned widely at her, displaying a goodly number of his supposed wooden teeth.
Buffy rolled her eyes. “And you say I’m vexing,” she grumbled.
“You are vexing.”
Hic. “At least I don’t make stupid jokes.”
“No, you just laugh at them,” James parried. “Master baker?” He quirked an eyebrow at her and she realized that he was perfectly aware of why she thought it was funny.
A little embarrassed, and a lot tired, Buffy relaxed against him and buried her face against his shoulder. “I’m better now,” she protested, with a last hic. “I don’t think it’s all that funny anymore.”
He paused, stiffening a moment at her impromptu cuddling, before relaxing once more. “You put my soul at ease, to hear that,” James said dryly, even as he slowly wrapped his arm around her waist. “You are sure you don’t want your… delicious meal?”
Drowsy, Buffy murmured unintelligibly and snuggled deeper into the warmth. James sighed. “That would appear to be a ‘no’, then,” he said to himself. “Miss Summers,” he said, jostling her head with his shoulder, “are any of the beds yet intact?”
She managed to say something he was able to interpret as “upstairs” and he hoisted her slight frame into his arms. It was amazing that she could be as strong as she was, and yet seem to weight no more than a feather. He carried her upstairs, and went through room after room until he found one where the bed had all three things he considered a necessity: a mattress, no water damage, and bedding. He thought it might have belonged to Governor Swann himself, if the opulent hangings over the head of the bed and monogrammed linens were anything to judge by.
Peeling back the covers, he noticed they smelled slightly mildewy but there was nothing for it— it was either ignore it, or sleep elsewhere, and he didn’t much like the idea of this fragile-seeming thing with her bones pressed to the hard floor for several hours. James deposited her on the bed and pulled the covers up, but she latched her hand onto his sleeve and wouldn’t let go.
“Don’t leave me,” she said, very clearly, and he looked up from her grip on him to see she was awake, her eyes clear. She knew what she was asking.
He puzzled for the briefest moment over his reaction to her. It was utterly insupportable, the easy manner in which they interacted, the familiarity with which she tended to drape herself across him, and especially that kiss… He was fairly sure he’d never felt such a quick leap of desire within himself for anyone before. One part of him, the correct Naval officer part, was horrified at the liberties they’d taken of each other in just the scant hours since he’d woken, but the other part was utterly comfortable with her, as if it were meant to be somehow.
James blinked, and nodded to her, walking around to the other side of the bed. He didn’t remove any clothing, just slid between the sheets, and as though it had been rehearsed, she turned and curled into him at the same time he reached for her. She fit against him like she’d been made for just that purpose, and he felt a queer tightening in his chest that had no place being there, no place at all.
This was madness, he thought with a moment’s fear. This was unheard of. This was… sheer delight, he finished, and allowed a small smile as her arm wrapped around his waist and she nuzzled her cheek against his chest. Then his own fatigue overcame him, and he slept.
~ * ~
Buffy woke a few hours later and was surprised to actually be comfortable. Her pillow was moving rhythmically, and also seemed to be snoring softly. Lifting her head, she saw that she’d been sleeping basically sprawled all over James. By the tightness of his arms around her, he didn’t seem to mind too much, and she felt a really stupid smile spread across her face before she could stop it.
He was really cute whilst he slept, she thought. His face was relaxed, and his mouth loosened so that his lips weren’t pressed up all tight. They were well-shaped, when not all squinched up, and she remembered with great fondness how nice they’d felt against her own. So nice, in fact, that she very much wanted to repeat the experience.
“Were you going to stare at me all day,” he asked, not opening his eyes, “or had you planned on saying something anytime soon?”
Hmph. Just for that, he deserved no warning. Buffy pounced on him with great glee, sliding her fingers deep into his hair as she sealed her mouth over his. He went rigid with shock at first, but swiftly recovered his equilibrium to return her kiss, with interest, she thought happily as he slipped his tongue along hers, lapping softly at her palate and making her toes curl inside the lovely, warm socks.
Buffy squirmed, wanting to feel more of his warm, strong body against hers. She moved her legs restlessly until her knee slid over his thigh and brushed against what seemed, at first contact, to be a considerable and impressive amount of arousal. “Wow,” she mumbled against his lips. “All for me?”
Her words were like a dash of cold water; he pulled back, pushing himself to sit up, and leant back against the rickety headboard. “Miss Summers,” he began in what she just knew was going to be a speech of paralyzing boredom, “Surely you see how impossible this situation is… we barely know each other, let alone marriage—“
“Whoa, whoa,” Buffy interrupted, pulling herself up to kneel at his side. “Who said anything about marriage?”
James gazed patiently at her. “Miss Summers, just being here with you— even had we not kissed, or slept in the same bed— would demand we wed. If we go our separate ways after rescue, and remain quiet, then none shall be the wiser and life can progress as it would have before we met.” He paused, squelching a pang of dissatisfaction at the idea of never having known her. “But should we… become one, in that way, I will not be able to forget what has occurred. I would feel honour-bound to make you my wife.”
Buffy frowned. “That’s not how it is where I’m from,” she said softly. “We can have sex with anyone we want, without repercussions. It doesn’t have to mean marriage.” She laughed, but there was no humour in it. “There doesn’t even have to be love in it.” Her eyes met his, hazel burning into blue. “James, I’m not asking for a lifelong commitment. It’s just that… I like you. And I haven’t liked a man in a long time. Haven’t trusted one enough to want to be with him.
“I think… we’ve been given this time together as a gift, James,” she continued, and reached gingerly out to touch his arm, just taking comfort from the heat and strength of it under her fingertips. “It’s going to end soon, and I don’t want to waste any of it. Can’t we just enjoy each other while we’re together?”
He stared at her a long moment, and as the seconds ticked by, her heart sank more and more. She dropped her head a little, feeling utterly dejected, and was about to leave the bed when James grabbed her upper arms and hauled her against him. His mouth closed over hers, and when she gasped in a breath his tongue was there to taste and tease.
“So, that’ll be a yes, then?” she managed to say.
He maneuvered them so they were lower in the bed, and rolled on top of her. “Yes,” he repeated, and kissed her some more.
“Oh, good,” she managed to say, and started tugging on his shirt. It came off, then her nightgown, then his trousers. Finally, they were skin-to-skin, and each sighed at the sensation of it. His mouth latched onto her nipple, worrying it until it stood in a stiff peak, and her hands on his head held him there, holding him close as she twined her legs with his.
His arousal throbbed against her thigh, and needing to taste it, Buffy flipped them over, kissing down his body. “What are you… oh, mmm… doing?” he demanded breathlessly as her mouth found his nipples, reciprocating with lazy swipes of her tongue before continuing lower. “There’s no need for… ooh… that sort of thing.”
Slunk low in the bed, her hair tumbling around her face, which hovered directly over his groin, Buffy’s smile was sex incarnate. “I think there’s every need for it,” she replied, and took him in her mouth. James’ back bowed, and his hands came to clasp her head, arching almost helplessly into the wet heat of her mouth.
But she didn’t want their first time to end so soon, and stopped when he would have reached his peak. He thrashed briefly in frustration before he came back to himself. “You,” he declared, grabbing her and pressing her to the bed to cover her with his body, “are a tease.” And he began pulling on her nipples with his teeth, gently at first, then more firmly.
“Only a little,” she gasped, her own back arching.
“Don’t you know what happens to teases?” James inquired, his hand sliding down her body to push between her legs. His middle finger glided easily through the wetness he found there, and Buffy bit her lip to keep from shrieking at the direct contact that sent a bolt of pleasure lancing through her.
“What happens to teases?” she managed to ask, somehow.
“They have to taste their own medicine,” he replied, and slid down some more. He parted her thighs, then her lips, before leaning in to have a taste of his own. His touch was tentative at first, and clumsy— it was clear he’d never done this before, and Buffy felt a fierce surge of pride that she’d been the one to inspire him to it.
Then he groaned. “Dear God,” he whispered in awe. “Delicious.” And he fell to it like a man possessed, much to Buffy’s immense joy: lapping, lashing, licking, rubbing, suckling. Whatever he lacked in experience, he more than made up in enthusiasm, and it was only an embarrassingly short period of time later that her cries of pleasure were echoing off the tattered silk that had upholstered the walls.
He crawled back up her body as she lay there, gasping like a landed fish and trying to put the pieces of her head back together. He brought up his hand to wipe his mouth, but Buffy deliberately drew his face down for a kiss, shamelessly licking her own flavour from his lips before slipping her tongue into his mouth for a deeper kiss.
James quivered against her, almost painfully excited at her actions, as he thrust helplessly against the soft flesh of her belly. Buffy clasped her legs around his waist and rubbed herself enticingly against him, knowing the friction of passion-wet curls against his erection must be driving him insane. “Now, now,” she chanted softly, and obligingly, he pressed himself into her.
Ah, there it was… the slow, inexorable penetration, the feel of flesh parting, expanding, to accommodate him. She had not made love—or even just had sex—with anyone since Spike and it was almost amazing to her to feel the heat of him, the throbbing of his pulse so deep within, once he was fully seated. James stared into her eyes with an expression akin to desperation, and if she’d been able, Buffy would have reeled back at the depth of his passion.
“I want you,” he said, a harsh edge to his voice, and began to thrust.
“You’ve got me,” she replied, sighing as he filled her again and again.
James slid one arm under her back, gathering her close, and cupped the back of her head with the other. “I want you,” he repeated, then buried his face against her neck, moving with almost heartbreaking earnestness against her. Buffy felt tenderness rise up within her, warring with the pleasure that rippled outward from her centre, threatening to shatter her with their intensity as they grew.
“You’ve got me,” she said again, and wrapped her legs higher and tighter around him, feeling him go just a little deeper than before. She wanted to take all of him inside, just surround his entire body with hers.
“If only,” he muttered in her ear, and she realized she must have been speaking out loud. The sensations roiling through her began to take on a more frantic feel, and she moved against him with more purpose as her goal shimmered in the distance, elusive but obtainable.
“Come with me,” James gasped. “Hurry, I can’t last much more.” Buffy took his hand and guided it down, showing him how to use his thumb to help her. He was a smart man, and caught on right away. It wasn’t long before the tension in Buffy snapped and her entire world whittled down to an endless alternating of spasm and release, spasm and release. Blinded, almost deafened, she was dimly aware of his choked gasp at the feel of her climax around him, and with a last savage thrust, he followed her. James moaned brokenly into her hair, his hips pummeling hers, his arms shaking around her.
Buffy panted, then realized the reason she was having so much trouble breathing was because she was holding James just that tightly. She loosened her grasp and they both sucked in great lungfuls of air. “Sorry,” she said, a little sheepish. “I forget my own strength sometimes.”
“I forgive you,” he replied graciously, and licked a bead of sweat from her throat. “That was…” He trailed off, apparently at a total loss for words.
“Yeah,” she agreed dreamily, and pulled him down for a kiss. “It really was.”
“Can it always be like that?” He shifted so his weight wasn’t crushing her, rolling to his back and pulling her across him. He seemed almost shy about the question, and Buffy realized that since he wasn’t married— she hoped, probably should have asked before this point— he’d probably never had sex with anyone twice in a row… that the entirety of his experience had been with prostitutes. She couldn’t say she was thrilled at the knowledge, and— again, should have asked before initiating all the rowdy sex— really, really hoped he didn’t have some unfortunate social disease.
“I wouldn’t know,” she replied when she remembered he was expecting an answer from her. “My first, I loved him, but we only had the one time together. The second just used me, and threw me away afterwards.” Yes, she was quite aware of how bitter she sounded, thank you. “The third loved me, and I wanted to love him, and the sex was decent, it just wasn’t…” Her voice trailed way, sad now. “It was just decent. The only time there was any real passion was that time we were trapped in the frat house, and that was all artificial… and you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
No, he certainly didn’t. But he sure as hell wasn’t happy to hear her recount these tales. “Three?” he demanded. “You have been with three men?”
She coloured a little. “Um, actually, four. No, five now, counting you.”
“Five?” James sounded outraged.
Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “If you even think of calling me a name for having four lovers before you, I promise, you will be so very, very sorry.”