...Or is this the dream that never goes away? by velvet cat

1. Prologue by velvet cat

2. Chapter 1 by velvet cat

3. Chapter 2 by velvet cat

4. Chapter 3 by velvet cat

5. Chapter 4 by velvet cat

6. Chapter 5 by velvet cat

7. Chapter 6 by velvet cat

8. Chapter 7 by velvet cat

9. Chapter 8 by velvet cat

10. Chapter 9 by velvet cat

Prologue by velvet cat
Angel walked slowly away from Buffy's house, deep in thought. Tearing himself away from her was getting harder, sooner or later they would end up....

"Angel?"

"Miss Calendar?"

"I'm glad I found you, Angel; we need to talk."

"Sure, what's up?"

"This is going to be hard to hear but bear with me. It's about your curse."

"What do you know about that?"

"Until a couple of hours ago, not much. I had a phone call from my uncle..."

"And what does HE know?"

"There's something I need to tell you about myself, first. I'm a descendant of the gypsies that cursed you; I was sent here to see what's going on in your life because one of our seers says that your pain is less than it was."

"Go on." Angel prompted, his voice low and dangerous.

"The curse isn't permanent. It was meant to make you suffer, if you stop suffering and know true happiness, then the curse will be broken and your soul will be taken from you."

"And I'll go back to what I was before."

"Angelus. It's Buffy, isn't it?"

"What?"

"It's Buffy that's making you happy."

"I love her."

"Yeah, she fits the profile."

"WHAT?"

"You know you have a type, right?"

"What...?"

"Young, virginal, special in some way, beloved by her family and friends....is this ringing any bells?"

"You think I'd hurt her?"

"Angelus will."

"I'm not him."

"Once you've deflowered Buffy, you will be. What happens then?"

"Angelus will torture her by hurting everyone she cares about, then he'll kill her."

"Will he turn her?"

"No, he'll hate her too much for that."

"Because you love her."

"Yes."

"Do you, though?"

"What?"

"She's a TYPE. Your type and, because of that, Angelus' type. If you REALLY loved her..."

"I'd what?" Angel asked, "leave her?"

"Well, yes. What future can the two of you have, together? That's if you even still want her, once you've bedded her."

Angel turned away, angry but he recognized that what she was saying was true. Before Darla sired him, he'd been all about the chase. He'd loved to find some innocent - preferably someone lowly, who couldn't complain - and take what he or she had to offer, before discarding the unfortunate plaything. He had spent the rest of his time getting drunk with friends or paying the few skilled whores that were available to him. Sometimes he craved experience over innocence.

After Darla, the thrill of the kill had been added and best of all, the hurt. More than anything, he had loved to torment. He loved to find an individual and drive them to despair by taking everything from them, in the worst way that he could think of. Much as he would like to deny it, he and Angelus were two sides of the same coin. If he stayed with Buffy, she was doomed.

A squeal from Miss Calendar broke his reverie. He looked around to find Drusilla in the process of breaking Jenny Calendar's neck.

"Bad teacher to upset my daddy." She said, letting the body fall.

"Dru, what have I done?"

"Made ME daddy." She replied, running her velvet gloved hand lovingly down the side of his face.

"I should stake you." He said, looking into her eyes and seeing no hint of fear.

"But you won't."

"No, I won't but Buffy will." He made a snap decision. "I'm leaving for L.A., want to come?"

"Oooh, pony rides and candyfloss, I promise I'll be a good girl." Drusilla squealed with delight, clapping her hands.

"What about Spike?"

"I can't be 'is mummy anymore." She pouted, her mood souring, instantly. "Now 'e's seen the sunshine and soon 'e'll be flyin' in the breeze. Li'l motes of dust, sparklin' in the sunlight."


* * * * *

Contents of a letter from Angel to Buffy, delivered a few days before her seventeenth birthday.


My dear Buffy,

I'm so sorry to have to do this to you but I'm leaving Sunnydale. I know that you love me and that this will hurt you but I think that it's better for you, in the long run, if I go now. If I don't, we'll end up doing something that we'll both regret. You are only a child and I really am old enough to know better. The powers recruited me to help you, not to seduce you and I don't think that you need my help, anymore. You have friends, they are your strength, you don't need me.

I'm sorry to have to tell you that Drusilla killed Miss Calendar. To keep Dru out of mischief, I'm taking her with me. She told me that Spike's dead, so that's two problems out of your way. Don't try to look for us.

I'm sure that someday you'll meet a nice, normal boy, who will make you happy. Someone your own age. You have my best wishes for the future.

Angel



Willow read the crumpled, tearstained letter in silence.

"Oh, Buffy," She said, at last, "I'm so sorry."

"He's a patronizing bastard." Buffy spat.

"Really? Aren't you upset?" Willow asked, looking at the tearstains again.

"I was to start with, spent the weekend eating loads of ice cream and crying but now, I'm just REALLY angry. How dare he just sneak off like this? For my own good? Like HE gets to decide. He couldn't even tell me face to face. And this thing about the powers, sending him to help me? That's just another way of saying that the powers don't want me making my own decisions either. Not without a vampire stalker. And the worst part, the VERY worst, is this thing with Drusilla. He knows that she killed Miss Calendar, so he must have seen it happen. He could have come and told us, broke it to us gently. But no, he lets us all find out the hard way, Snider announcing it to the school. Poor Giles, finding out, that way, that she was gone. And....and has he staked Drusilla? No, he took her away with him, probably so I wouldn't kill her. Which means he still has feelings for her."

"I hate to say I told you so..."

"Shut up, Xander." Both girls said, in unison.


* * * * *

"What do you mean, she's gone?" Spike, helpless in his wheelchair, was still a daunting sight to the hapless minion who had drawn the short straw and was now delivering the bad news to his master.

"She's taken Miss Edith and she was seen talking to Angel."

"That bloody ponce!" Spike roared in rage. "What has he got that she could possibly want?" His voice dropped to a whisper. "I gave her everything, got her better, made her strong again. If it weren't for that bloody slayer, Angel would have died during the ritual. The SLAYER. It's all HER fault. I want you lot to watch her, the slayer. I want to know every move she makes, and while you're at it, spread the word, no one and I mean NO ONE, kills the slayer but me. I won't be in this chair forever. When I'm strong, we are going to fight, then I'm going to make her suffer and only when she asks me really nicely, I'm going to kill her. Is that understood?"

"Yes, master."

"Good. Now, get me someone to eat."
Chapter End Notes:
Sorry about the lack of sex and violence in the prologue but there will be some in later chapters, I promise.
Chapter 1 by velvet cat
Spike was laughing. He was reading a full report of the slayer's recent activities and it was a good read.

"Is this accurate?" He asked, between chuckles, "It reads like a pitch for one of those stories on the telly. 'The slayer's watcher is rapidly becoming an alcoholic. Her best friend is dating a werewolf. That sad whelp they hang around with, did a love spell and all the females in town got the hots. The slayer got turned into a rat?' You gotta be yanking my chain." He spun his wheelchair expertly around to face his group of minions.

"It's all true, we've been watching her round the clock. Two of us got dusted at her birthday party - if you could call it a party, more like a wake - but we've contracted out to some of the smaller, sun tolerant demons around town. Unless she's inside her own house, she's being watched."

"Perfect. Keep up the good work."

This surveillance thing was going well, he should have thought of it before. Finding out everything about your enemy was always a sound idea. Of course, before, he had had a life; still, keeping tabs on the slayer was turning out to be entertaining. Strange things seemed to gravitate towards her. Then again it could just be that the centre of the hellmouth was under the school library, where she and her sad little friends spent most of their free time. Either way, this was a fun way to spend HIS time, while waiting for his back to heal.

The feeling in his legs had come back first. A few days later he had slight movement in his toes; that was when he knew that he'd soon be out of his chair. Blood helped, of course and exercises. In the meantime, the latest instalment of 'Life with Buffy'...


* * * * *

"The slayer's in the hospital?"

"Y..yes." The hapless minion couldn't understand why his master sounded displeased.

"What happened to her?" Spike couldn't fathom why he felt bad inside at the news.

"She has 'flu, that's all."

"That's ALL?" Spike roared, "How old are you? Don't you know how many people DIE of 'flu?"

He vividly remembered the deaths. The great war had been so much fun; such futile carnage but then the 'flu had come. Nature, showing the world what amateur killers they all were, compared to her. Vile smelling sickness across the planet. People drowning in their own blood. So many deaths that the undertakers couldn't keep pace. He had read about the 'Black death' in school but THIS pandemic he had witnessed for himself. Vile. The thought of his slayer dying that way...

HIS slayer? He couldn't shake the image; Buffy coughing uncontrollably, blood on a little lace handkerchief, the unmistakable scent of lingering death. Himself, a helpless onlooker, able only to offer comfort to her in her last days...

"She's going to be alright."

"What?" Spike came out of his funk to find that he had kicked his wheelchair pretty much to death and his minion was cringing in a corner.

"She's only staying in an extra day to kill some child killer demon that's working the place. It's good that you're better, Master. Do you want the surveillance to continue?"

"Only during the day, I'll be watching her at night, from now on."


* * * * *

Something was up at the high school. A plague of snakes in the cafeteria, a teacher dead; witnesses said from a gunshot but the autopsy said from a fall and now, wasps. Spike watched from a distance as Buffy walked, calmly through the huge swarm that had engulfed the school building. This had all the hallmarks of a very nasty haunting.

Spike couldn't miss this!

The slayer was waiting for him and when she started to speak, Spike thought she'd gone completely bonkers, then he heard himself respond. The death scene was played out, with Buffy playing the despairing student, rejected - for his own good - by his love, shooting her by accident and watching as Spike plunged over the balcony to his 'death'.

Alone and devastated by his actions, James raised the gun to Buffy's head.

Spike and Buffy stood together in the darkened music room, arms wrapped around each other, kissing passionately. The two once broken spirits, joined at last, left together for their heavenly reward. Buffy looked up into Spike's eyes, with a contented sigh.

"Spike?" She murmured, then, realizing, jumped back. She staggered slightly.

"Easy, Slayer." Spike said, steadying her with a hand on her arm. "Give it a sec, possession like that takes it out of you."

He pulled a battered hip flask out of his pocket, opened it and offered her a swig. She swallowed, gratefully and then spluttered.

"Bleugh, what IS this stuff?"

"Bourbon."

"Tastes vile." She took another deep swallow. "Bleugh. Thanks." She handed it back to him. "Aren't you dead?"

"Well, yeah, vampire." He replied, with a smile, downing a couple of swallows from the flask.

"No, Angel wrote me that you were dusted."

"What would he know?"

"He said Drusilla told him that you were dead and then they left town together."

"That bitch!! I'm stuck in a sodding wheelchair and she tells everyone I died, so she doesn't have to stick around and look after me. After all I've done for her."

"You were in a wheelchair?" Despite herself, Buffy felt a twinge of sympathy.

"Yeah, someone dropped a church organ on me." Spike said, with a pointed look at Buffy.

"And it broke your spine?"

"Either that or when Dru picked me up to carry me out of the fire. I guess if she'd realized how much trouble I'd be to take care of, she wouldn't have bothered."

"But you're better now?"

"More or less. Soon as I'm a hundred per cent, we'll have that fight to the death."

"Not right now, huh?"

"Neither of us is good enough, at the moment."

"You don't want to fight me now, while I'm weakened?" She patted her pockets, "I'm sure I've got a stake here somewhere."

"A slayer always has to reach for her weapon," Spike said, softly, "I've already got mine." His face morphed.

"I know," Buffy said, with a smile, "I felt it while we were kissing."

Spike laughed, as he morphed back to his human face.

"You little minx, I ought to spank you for that."

"But not kill me?" Buffy retorted, shocked to realize that she'd actually been flirting with Spike.

"No. Where's the fun? There's no challenge, plus, you've been drinking. Fair fight or nothing, I'd sooner walk away."

"Not exactly evil, is it? Fighting fair."

"Hey, I'm bad; it's just not a good story - I beat the slayer because she was helpless. No respect, yeah?"

"If you say so."

"I do say so. Your friends are coming, I'd better go."

"OK. Thank you for the drink."

"See yer 'round, Slayer."

Spike walked one way and Buffy walked the other, towards her friends. She felt very confused and not just from being possessed. Vampires were meant to be evil, irrational, animals; hell bent on killing and drinking blood. Angel was meant to be different because of his soul but Spike....Spike was like a person. He loved Drusilla, Buffy had seen evidence of that and just now he had demonstrated that he had scruples. Also, she thought, blushing slightly, he was a great kisser. She had felt so safe in his strong arms, with his lips on hers. It had felt like coming home. Weird. Maybe it was left over from James and Miss Newman.

Spike watched from a safe distance as the slayer's friends walked her home. He wanted to be sure that nothing bad happened to her. She was HIS. He could still taste her on his tongue and he could feel himself hardening at the thought of her lush body in his arms. Holding her had felt so RIGHT.

"Oh, nice one, Spike," he muttered, under his breath, "fancy the bloody slayer, why don't you. Got a death wish?"

Then again, he thought, get some alcohol into her and she was a lot more manageable. That crack about his weapon! Ooh, she was asking for it and he was starting to wonder what it would be like to give it to her...
Chapter End Notes:
Thanks for reviewing the prologue. Reading it back, I was worried it was a bit dull. Sorry about killing Jenny but I needed Buffy to be really pissed off with Angel...
Chapter 2 by velvet cat
Author's Notes:
There will be sex and violence, soon, I promise. Bear with me.
Buffy was sitting on the beach, staring at the moonlight reflecting on the sea. The water looked black with white sparkles, as it gently rolled in. The beach party was in full swing behind her but she was lost in thought. Spike was here, somewhere. Buffy could feel the unique tingle on the back or her neck that said 'vampire' coupled with an odd feeling of security which said 'Spike'.

Security. It was so strange to feel this way around Spike but since the 'James' incident, with the 'Spike lips', she felt safe when she could feel him near; especially now, with so much going wrong in her life. Giles was a mess. Jenny's death had hit him hard and, with Drusilla gone, he had no focus for his pain. Buffy knew that he was drinking too much but there didn't seem to be any way of getting through to him. If they could find Drusilla and stake her, he might at least have some closure.

Damn Angel. How dare he make these decisions, like he was god?

"Buffy?"

"Sorry, did you say something?" Buffy looked round at the boy who was standing behind her.

"I was asking you out but, obviously, you're not interested." Cameron snapped, before striding away, up the beach.

"You got that right." Buffy muttered.


Spike watched, with a hint of a smile, as the swim team brat was rejected. 'That's my girl.' he thought, then chuckled as she 'rescued' another boy from a freezing cold dunking. He sniffed as the short-tempered bully passed by his vantage point. 'Steroids and something else,' he thought, with disgust. 'Stupid brats, poisoning their blood, just to win a race.'

* * * * *

Gage stormed out of the Bronze, obviously in a temper. Spike watched, from the alley, as Buffy attempted to follow the boy.

"Don't bother," He said, as Buffy passed.

"Spike. What are you doing here? Don't say you want to kill me, I haven't got time." She looked around for a second, "Damn, I've lost him."

"Why yer followin' 'im?"

"I'm meant to be his bodyguard. Some fish monster's been eating the swimmers."

"No, Slayer," Spike said, with a chuckle, "The swimmers are turning INTO fish monsters."

"Huh?"

"Yeah, I saw it, down at the beach. Kid split 'is skin and came out looking like 'The creature from the black lagoon'. Went off into the sewer system."

"Seriously?"

"What, you think I'd make that up? They're all on steroids, too."

"Steroids wouldn't do THAT."

"No, there's something else in the mix, I can smell it. Something fishy." He said, with a smile.

"So, how come you were at the beach?"

"Watching you."

"My very own stalker, like Angel used to be."

"Don't compare me to that bloody wanker!"

"Sorry. You're nothing alike, he wasn't planning on killing me."

"Neither am I." Damn. Why had he said that? "Not at the moment, this stuff is far too interesting." He said, to cover himself.

Buffy looked as though she was struggling with a decision; she sighed.

"Can we talk?" She asked, as if it were something huge.

"We ARE talking."

"No, somewhere else, private."

"Ashamed to be seen with me?"

"No! Look, I haven't told the others that you're alive and if they find out, they'll expect me to..."

"Stake me."

"Yeah. Any way I can."

Spike gave her a questioning look.

"Not in a fair fight, just kill you." She looked up into his eyes, "I can't do that. And they won't understand."

"Yeah, okay. I know a place."

"Great, give me two minutes, I need to make a phone call." She disappeared back into the Bronze.

When she re-emerged, Spike had brought the car round and was holding the passenger door open, for her. She got in, feeling, weirdly, as if she was on a date; then again, she thought, lips of Spike... Inside, the car was cosy. The blacked out windows made it seem like the most private, safe place on earth. Spike slid smoothly behind the wheel and they drove off into the night.

The trip was strange, surreal. Buffy couldn't see out of the windows, so she didn't know where they were; she should be afraid. She wasn't. She trusted Spike.

An hour later, they were sitting at a small table, in a bar and Spike was asking her what she would like to drink.

"Coffee." She replied, watching his face for a hint that he thought she was being childish. He didn't react, just ordered it and a beer for himself.

"So, Slayer, what's on your mind?"

"First off, please stop calling me that. It's WHAT I am, not WHO I am. I don't call you 'Vampire'."

"Fair point, alright, Buffy...What do you want to talk to me about?"

"Vampires." She replied, then fell silent, as the waitress delivered their drinks.

"What about us?" Spike asked, intrigued, once the waitress was clear.

"I'm worried that Giles...the watchers council...have been lying to me, to slayers."

"In what way?" Spike smiled, this was turning out to be an interesting evening.

"They tell us that you're just demons in a dead human body; mostly mindless, apart from bits that you might remember from your dead host's life. Without your soul, all you care about is blood and killing to obtain it."

"And you've started to doubt this?"

"Well, yeah."

"Because of Angel?"

"Because of you. Angel has a soul, so he's meant to be different, to be able to control his urges. But you..."

"It's not that straightforward, Buffy. If it was just a demon, remembering, Dru wouldn't still be insane. The thing with the soul? Humans have souls and are still one of the most violent creatures on the planet. Whatever atrocity you can imagine committing against another person or any living creature, for that matter, has already been done. By someone else, some human. I've been around a long time, I've seen what humans can do. Vampires are nothing, compared to you." He looked across the table at her; she looked so vulnerable and sweet. "Well, not YOU, obviously, humans in general."

"Why not me?" She looked like she might cry, "I'm the slayer. I've killed." She whispered.

"Yeah, but somehow I doubt you lie awake at night, thinking up new ways of hurting the things that you kill."

"No. Are they 'things', though?" Might they be just a different kind of people?"

"You think like that and you'll get yourself killed. Vampires kill people. They don't have to, not to live but they do."

"Oh, God, you...." She breathed.

"Well, yeah but not of late. Didn't want to give you a reason to come after me before we were both ready. So, me and the gang have just been feeding, no kills allowed."

"Gang?"

"Just a few minions. I make the rules, they follow 'em or they're dust."

"Like the Master."

"Yeah. Only without the unflattering bat features."

"You knew him?"

"Same bloodline, pet. He sired Darla, who sired Angelus, he sired Dru and she..."

"Sired you?"

"Yeah. You killed the Master, yeah?"

"Yeah but he killed me first." Buffy moved her hair to show him the faint scar on her neck."

"That's why there's two slayers."

"Yeah. Angel had this book full of prophesies about the slayer. He and Giles tried to keep it a secret from me. It said that the Master would kill me."

"You knew you'd die but you faced him anyway?" Spike felt unexpected tears prick the back of his eyes at the bravery of the girl. He blinked them back.

"Well, yeah. I wanted to run away but I knew that I couldn't. Anyway, it turned out that he only escaped the hell mouth because of the strength in my blood, so if I'd run..."

"He'd still be stuck down there. So, he drained you..."

"No. He took enough to restore his strength, then dumped me, unconscious, in a pool of water. I drowned."

"Then?" He was gripped, this was way better than telly.

"Angel and Xander found me. Xander brought me back. Mouth to mouth..."

"Angel let that whelp kiss you?"

"Well HE couldn't do it, no breath." She said, as though it were obvious.

Spike laughed.

"Of course we've got breath, what do you think we talk with?"

"So, is Angel just stupid, or...?"

"I would think, pet, that he didn't want to admit that he didn't know what to do. So, you killed the Master and Darla..."

"No, Angel killed her."

"His own sire, why?" Spike was really shocked, now. If Angelus could ever have been capable of love, he would have loved his sire. He had certainly given that impression, over the years.

"She was about to shoot me."

"He must really have cared about you, so how come he's run off with Dru, then?"

"I really don't know. We were okay. Mom had grounded me, after the thing with the demon eggs and Angel sat outside my window and we really were fine. Then he said good night and walked away. Miss Calendar died that night; Drusilla killed her, Angel said, in the letter I got, saying he'd left. I can only think that he took her away, so I wouldn't stake her. He could have told me face to face, though."

"Cowardly git! How come your mum grounded you because of demon eggs?" He asked, wanting to take her mind off Dru being responsible for her watcher's impending alcoholism.

"I wasn't where she said I should be, because of this demon. Mother Buzz Saw or something. She was buried in the school basement and things hatched out of her eggs, took over peoples' minds and made them dig her up. Mom too but then she couldn't remember - after I killed the demon - so she grounded me."

"She doesn't know that you're the slayer?"

"No. I tried to tell my parents, back in L.A. when I was first called but they thought I was crazy. They locked me away." She said the last part in a frightened whisper.

"Your own parents did that? Oh, kitten..." He wanted to hold her and comfort her; tear the watchers council to bloody shreds for allowing it to happen. Weren't they meant to protect the slayers?

"It was only for a couple of weeks, I managed to convince the doctors that I was after attention because my parents' marriage was on the rocks."

"Bloody wankers. A vampire could feed on 'em and they'd come up with a rational explanation."

"We've gone off topic, a bit. I'd still like to know how come you're like a person and Angelus and the other vampires I've met, aren't."

"When you say, other vampires you've met, you mean...?"

"Staked. Yeah."

"Mostly as fledglings?"

"Mostly."

"The thing with fledglings is, when they've just crawled out of their graves, they're a bit confused. Also, bloodlust is a major theme. Actin' like their normal, once human self, isn't high on the list of priorities. At least not until they've fed. The other thing you've got to realize is, that not all vampires are created equal. A lot of it depends on how much blood your sire lets you have, before you die. A little, creates a minion - weak, easily controlled, slave like. A lot and you create an equal, more or less. Someone who might live long enough to be a master vampire - strong willed, capable of abstract thought..."

"Less bloodlusty?"

"Sometimes, yeah. Now, I didn't know Angelus, before he was turned, obviously but from what I've heard, he was an exceptionally weak willed individual. A wastrel, who was well on the way to dying of alcoholism, if the clap didn't get 'im first. Then, he gets turned. A demon comes in and finds itself in a personality with no brakes; a man whose whole life, so far, has been 'if it feels good, do it'. I think that you can imagine how THAT went."

"Giles has books."

"You've read them?"

"No. I tried to judge him on how he is WITH a soul."

"And what about me? I don't have a soul and yet, here you are."

"I trust you." Buffy said the words, without thinking. "Th...that is, not to kill me until we're both ready for a fair fight." She continued, hoping he believed her. "Which reminds me, I was wondering if you'd mind sparring with me, now and then? Only I don't really get to practice, that much. Giles tries but I have to hold back, in case I hurt him..."

"I'd like that."

"You'll know then, when I'm ready."

"Yeah." Spike replied, distantly. In his head, he was trying to work out how he had gone from wanting to kill the slayer, to wanting to date Buffy.

* * * * *

The waitress cleared away the cold coffee and the warm, flat beer after the young couple had left. She smiled to herself; young love. Obviously sneaking around - the bad boy image probably didn't endear him to the girl's parents - but so right for each other. They hadn't touched, just talked but the waitress could see auras and this couple's auras had been reaching out to each other...
Chapter End Notes:
Thanks to everyone who reviewed my previous efforts. It's wonderful to know that you're out there.
Chapter 3 by velvet cat
Buffy was happy. The whole 'fishy swim team' thing had been sorted out. Thanks to Spike's information, the boys had been rounded up, before any more fish beasts emerged. Coach Marin was in jail, nursing various wounds, inflicted on him by vengeful parents. The two existing fish boys had been captured and were responding well to treatment.

Giles was starting to come to terms with his loss and wasn't drinking so much. He was currently advising the local museum on an artefact that had recently been unearthed.

Best of all, for Buffy, there were no big bads on the horizon; well, just one but he'd chilled out...

...Spike's head snapped back, as Buffy backhanded him in the face. He countered with a punch, which sent Buffy spinning against the wall, crumbling plaster showering into her hair. She used the wall as leverage and flung herself at Spike. They hit the floor together and rolled, Buffy putting an imaginary stake to his chest.

"God, that was fun." Buffy panted, getting to her feet and putting her hand out to Spike. He took it and she pulled him up.

"Coffee?" He asked.

"Oh, yeah."


They'd been doing this for weeks, now. The abandoned building that Spike had chosen, was looking decidedly battered and he was thinking that they should find another. Wouldn't do to have the thing fall down around them. This was so much more fun than killing a slayer - they trusted each other - sometimes he won, sometimes Buffy; the dance went on.

He didn't miss Dru. That had come as a bit of a shock to him but he didn't. She had been such hard work and the minions were happier without her torturing them for no reason. The number of times he had had to talk her down from inflicting ghastly injuries, as retribution for some imagined crime. His life was almost stress free these days. Now, if he could just stop himself from loving Buffy...

Fighting her was fun but the sexual frustration was killing him. They had kissed while possessed and, much as he wanted to, they hadn't since. He could smell her arousal, when they fought but what a women's body wanted and what her mind wanted were often two different things; he didn't want to risk upsetting her and putting an end to their arrangement.

* * * * *

Buffy was sitting in the Bronze, with her friends, who were so couple-y that she could hardly stand it. Everyone seemed to be paired off, these days and she missed Spike. She didn't want her friends to know he was alive, let alone that she was sort of dating him and God forbid they should find out that she was in love with him. It was a mess. She wanted to come here with Spike and dance and cuddle and kiss, just like her friends. Trouble was, she and Spike didn't cuddle and kiss and the dancing was more punching and kicking. They talked a lot, though. The talking was brilliant. She and Angel had hardly ever talked and she was begining to see that the whole Angel thing had been based on smoochies and nothing else. God, she wanted Spike but if she made a move, she might lose what she had.

"Buffy, we've got trouble." Giles had turned up, looking very grim.

"What's happened?" Buffy asked.

"Acathla's been stolen."

"Acathla?"

"That 'relic' I've been researching, it's got a petrified demon inside."

"Huh?"

"Turned to stone. Acathla was going to suck the world into hell but was stopped with a spelled sword. He turned to stone and has been waiting, all this time, for someone to pull out the sword, wake him up and let him finish his task."

"And he's been stolen?"

"Yes. I've been trying to find a way to make him safe but now someone's taken him. The dead museum staff have been drained of blood, by vampires."

"So we're looking for some vampires who want the world sucked into hell?"

"Either that or vampires working for someone who wants the world sucked into hell." Willow added, helpfully.

"I'll go ask around at Willy's," Buffy said, "Willow, any chance of a locating spell for this Alfalfa?"

"I can try."

"Good. Giles, you help her."

Giles watched, as his slayer left the Bronze. She was getting so independent, these days. He knew it was partly his fault and was the only good thing to come out of his recent pain and loss. He had neglected his duties as watcher but as a result, Buffy was, mentally speaking, a stronger slayer. She was much more self reliant, going off to Willy's, by herself.


Buffy strode confidently into Spike's lair. The minions had orders not to bother her and Spike was always pleased to have her drop by.

"Spike, we've got trouble."

"Haven't we always, pet?" He said, cheerfully, laying his book down on the table.

"Some vampires have stolen a stone demon, which can suck the world into hell."

"I thought that was just a myth."

"You knew more than me, then. I'd never even heard of it. Who, round here, has vampires working for them?"

"The mayor has some; they bother me occasionally but I just dust 'em. These days, his are the only ones that I don't control."

"Why would the mayor want the world sucked into hell?"

"Dunno, we'll have to ask 'im. If he's got this demon, that is. It's even possible that there's new vamps in town that I don't know about, yet."

"Willow's going to do a locator spell."

"I hope she's being careful, magic's tricky stuff."

Spike went over to a desk in the corner and took something out of a drawer.

"I was going to give you this, later tonight but you'd better have it now." He handed her a cell phone.

"Spike! Wow. That's just, wow!"

"My number's already programmed into speed dial. If you need reinforcements, call me."

Buffy flung herself at him and, without thinking, kissed him full on the mouth. He kissed her back. Their arms tightened around each other as the kiss deepened. When Buffy had to come up for air, she looked into Spike's eyes.

"I've wanted to do that for so long." She breathed.

"Me too." He said, pulling her back to him, for more.

Neither of them noticed Drusilla, watching from the shadows...

* * * * *

Kendra had come back to Sunnydale because her watcher felt that the world needed all the help it could get. He had provided an identical spelled sword, just in case Acathla woke.

Buffy had phoned Spike, to let him know that he should keep a very low profile, while there were two slayers in town. She hadn't forgotten that, on her last visit, Kendra had nearly killed Angel.

The gang were meeting up at the library but Buffy and Kendra were completely unprepared for the scene that was waiting for them. Giles was unconscious, a nasty wound on his head and Willow was nearly dead from blood loss.

"Xander, what happened?" Buffy yelled, as the medics loaded Giles onto a stretcher.

"Vampires." He said, "we got here and Giles was on the floor. Willow was in the office. She had this in her hand." Xander handed Buffy a map of Sunnydale. Buffy smoothed it out and saw that there was a burn mark on it. The locator spell.

"Jenny?" Giles murmured, as he was wheeled out to the ambulance.

"Xander, Cordelia, you two go to the hospital with them. Call Willow's parents and Oz. Kendra and I will sort out Acathla." Buffy's heart was beating fast and she was shaking. She hoped that the others thought it was just because of Willow and Giles but she had another reason.

If the locator spell was accurate, Acathla was in Angel's old apartment...
Chapter End Notes:
Once again, thank you so much for all the reviews. I'm sorry this is just a quicky but I've been sooo busy, this week.
Chapter 4 by velvet cat
Author's Notes:
Thanks to everyone who reviewed so far. I love you all.
All the way to Angel's place, Buffy's stomach was churning. What the hell was going on? Was Angel evil, now? Maybe he was trying to DESTROY Acathla. But then, why kill the museum staff? Maybe some other vampires stole Acathla and Angel stole him back.

She was clutching at straws and she knew it.

She might have to dust Angel. For some reason, the possibility didn't feel as bad as it should, given what she used to feel for him. She thought about staking Drusilla. She and Angel were probably together, so it was a possibility. She found she didn't want to. She realized, with shock, that she didn't want to hurt Spike and killing Drusilla would hurt Spike.

She was so in love with Spike, that she'd probably let Drusilla kill her, rather than risk hurting him.

God, what a mess.

She glanced at Kendra, striding along beside her, Mister Pointy in her hand. Everything was black and white, for her; vampires bad - stake vampires. SHE was the real slayer. Buffy was just a cosmic accident; alive when she should have died. If Kendra died tonight, a new slayer would be called; if Buffy died, nothing. Just a silly confused teenager, cold in the ground. Dead because she loved the wrong man.

God, she wanted Spike. She wanted him to fight by her side, to help her kill Angel and to kiss her again and make everything alright. She glanced at Kendra again. 'Yeah, seeing all the ways THAT could wrong.' she thought.

Against Angel, Drusilla, god knows how many minions and a hell sucking demon, two slayers were probably going down tonight.

The research Giles had done, suggested that to wake Acathla, 'the blood of the worthy' was required and he could be put back to sleep the same way but ONLY with the blood of whoever had woken him. If he was awake, they couldn't dust whoever was responsible.

At the apartment, there were a couple of minions standing guard but they didn't put up much of a fight. Buffy kicked the door open and she and Kendra strode in.

Acathla was in the middle of the room and Drusilla had her bleeding hand on the sword that protruded from him.

Kendra started fighting the bunch of minions who were standing clear of Acathla and Drusilla.

"No fair, sunshine," Drusilla said, pouting at Buffy, "you crash my party and I can't crash yours."

"Take your hand off the sword." Buffy said, raising her duplicate sword.

"You play with my toys, li'l girl; you bathe in the moonlight. Soon we'll all burn in hell."

Her blood ran down the blade and she pulled the sword smoothly out, with a flourish.

Buffy swung her sword and the two weapons clashed; Drusilla lost her grip, her hand slippery with blood and her sword spun harmlessly away.

A low moan, from behind, caught Buffy's attention and she turnd to see Kendra pass out on the floor, with the last of the minions bending over her. Buffy's sword bit deep into the vampire's neck and he sank, dustily, to the floor. Buffy turned back to Drusilla.

"Where's Angel?" She demanded.

"The music stopped and I had no one to dance with," Drusilla said, dreamily. "He had to miss the cakes and jellies. No life and soul at MY party." She glared at Buffy and waggled her fingers towards her eyes. Buffy had been focused on Acathla, his mouth was slowly opening and a whirlpool was starting to form. This was important, Buffy was sure but Drusilla was talking and that was important, too...

* * * * *

The floor was freezing. Buffy could feel the cold seeping into her bones, from her knees to her feet. Why was she kneeling on the floor?

"Hey, kid? Slayer?" The voice was annoying and too close to her face. She opened her eyes.

"Wha...?" She managed, looking up at a youngish looking man, with serious bad taste in clothes.

"Slayer, you back with us?"

"Who...?"

"Name's Whistler," he said, taking her hand and pulling her to her feet. "It wasn't supposed to go down this way. Angel was meant to help you..."

"I helped her." A low growl came from in front of the now stony Acathla.

"Spike?" Buffy ran to him, where he knelt, head down, tears in his eyes. "What happened? Acathla was waking up....I don't remember..."

"Dru had you in her thrall." He looked up at her, "Buffy, I sent her to hell."

"Spike, why?"

"Oh, Buffy, how can you ask me that? For you." He started sobbing again. Buffy turned to Whistler.

"Who are you?" She demanded.

"I'm a demon but I'm not a bad guy, the powers sent me. Angel was meant to be helping..."

"You wanna help? Get an ambulance for Kendra. I'm taking Spike home."


She went to Spike and gently pulled him to his feet; he put his arm around her and she put hers around him.

"Is the car outside?" She asked.

"Yeah,"

"Can you drive? Or should I try?"

Spike laughed, through his tears.

"I didn't save your life, so you could kill us both." He said, kissing the top of her head.

* * * * *

They left the car where it was and walked. Spike seemed to be weakened physically, as well as emotionally, by what he had done to his sire and Buffy was almost carrying him by the time they got to the factory. She got him onto the bed and started to take his boots off.

"Don't leave me, Buffy." He murmured, his voice barely there.

"I won't. Is there anything you need?"

"Blood...need blood."

He was almost unconscious and Buffy didn't think he could wait while she searched for take-out blood. Kicking off her shoes, she lay on the bed next to him. Craddling his head with her right arm, she lay her left wrist across his mouth.

"C'mon Spike, snack time." she said, encouragingly.

He started to kiss her wrist, pressing his tongue hard to the pulse point. She shivered, as pleasure from nerves she didn't know she had, spread through her body, igniting a fire between her legs.

"Oooh, that's so good." She murmured, kissing his soft hair and wriggling slightly. She felt his face change and gasped as his fangs slid smoothly into her.

She moaned as the most unbelieveable heat poured through her as he pulled on her blood. Heat that pooled low in her body and left her panties damp.

"Oooh, god, Spike." She groaned, when he stopped feeding.

He laved her wrist with his tongue, to close the wound and then he kissed her.

"Thank you." He said, his eyes full of gratitude.

Buffy wound herself around him and kissed him, hard; her tongue slipping between his lips, tasting her own blood on him.

"Spike, I want you." She gasped, when she broke for air.

"Buffy..." He groaned, as she ground her aching mound against the bulge in his jeans.

They kissed again, with more urgency, as they ripped at each other's clothes, Spike kissing his way down to Buffy's breasts as her top peeled off. She moaned as he sucked first one nipple, then the other, rolling his tongue around them and creating so much heat in her that she thought she'd melt. Her back arched and he took the opportunity to slide her jeans off, then kissed his way down to her soaking wet panties.

"So wet for me, kitten." He whispered, running his tongue over the dampness.

Buffy squirmed at the sensation and tried to scoot away, up the bed.

"Has no one ever kissed you here?" Spike asked, when he looked up at her face and saw how much she was blushing.

"No," she admitted, biting her bottom lip.

"Has anyone ever made love to you?"

She shook her head, too embarrassed to even meet his eyes.

"It's nothing to be ashamed of, pet." He said, sliding his hands tenderly over her hips and bringing her panties down. "Let me take care of you."

Her legs were closed but his mouth, trailing down, soon opened them. She sank back into the pillows, as he teased her hot folds apart and fluttered the tip of his cool tongue into her. Without realizing, she opened her legs wider, her body begging him to go deeper. He deftly slipped a finger in and his tongue began to flick over her hot little clit.

Buffy writhed and moaned as his finger penetrated further, his fingernail gently scratching at her barrier. He sucked hard on her clit and she screamed, as her first real orgasm hit and he drove his finger all the way in.

"God, Spike," she whimpered, as he sucked the virgin blood from his finger and pushed his tongue deep into her, to feast. "That was......Oooh, you're not finished."

"Not nearly," he rumbled against her thigh, as he wriggled out of his jeans.

It wasn't like he NEEDED an aphrodisiac but the taste of slayer's blood, mixed with slayer's arousal, was making him harder than he had ever been in his life. He trailed his tongue back up her sweet little body, his hand carressing between her legs. 'God, she's so tight, so hot.' He slipped the tip of his manhood into her entrance, as he kissed her; his finger gently rotating on her clit. She gasped and pushed her hips upwards, impaling herself on him, as he drove down into her.

Pain had never felt so good.

He stayed still, to give her time to adjust to the sensation and to keep himself from losing control. 'God, she's so TIGHT!' He gently pulled almost out, then slid slowly back in. He could feel her gripping him, her internal muscles flexing around his shaft, as waves of pleasure rippled through her.

They fell into a gentle rhythm, the sensations of skin against skin an unbelievable turn on. Bufffy had never felt anything like it, it was like melting inside, like her whole body was wide open for Spike to do whatever he wanted. He was covering her face with kisses and murmuring her name when something inside seemed to tighten and her body exploded with heat and mind blowing pleasure. She felt herself clenching around his shaft, as he pumped his cool seed into her.

* * * * *

"I'm sorry." Buffy said, into the silence.

"What for, luv?" Spike looked down at her, her head pillowed across his chest.

"Drusilla."

"Don't be. I couldn't let her destroy the world. I'll go to hell when I dust, I'm in no hurry to get there." He smiled, "Only just found heaven."

"I love you."

"Buffy..."

"I know that wasn't the plan. We can't have our big fight to the death because I could never kill you. It's not like I'm even the real slayer."

"Not...? How d'yer work that out?"

Kendra was called when I died, SHE'S the slayer, not me."

"You want me to go fight her?"

"Course not," Buffy smiled, "I love that you don't kill anymore."

"Killed Dru..."

"How did you know where we were?"

"I smelled her here, after you'd gone. Angel's place was the logical starting point. You were 'sposed to phone me."

"I didn't want Kendra to stake you. I hoped we could handle it."

"You fed me your blood." He said, as if he'd just remembered.

"You said you needed it."

"You trusted me not to kill you?"

"I love you, of course I trust you."

"I've been thinking about our fight to the death." He said, drawing her up the bed and kissing her. "I haven't wanted to kill you for some time."

"How long?" She whispered, looking into his eyes.

"Since I fell in love with you..."
Chapter End Notes:
Stay tuned for season three...
Chapter 5 by velvet cat
Author's Notes:
Sorry this has taken so long; pressures of the season.
Spike ran through the open door, into Angel's apartment and instantly took in the scene: unconscious slayer on floor in pile of dust - not Buffy - don't care, large stone demon about to suck world into hell, Dru, Buffy....

Buffy!!

Buffy down on her knees, her eyes dreamily focused on nothing, a small smile on her beautiful lips, Dru crouching in front of her...

"'Ello, darlin' boy," Drusilla said, not even looking at him, "We're all goin' to 'ell; except your sunshine, SHE'LL be in 'eaven!"

She slashed at Buffy with her fingernails and blood spurted upward in an arc; decorating the walls and ceiling as Buffy, still smiling, bled to death in front of Spike's eyes.

"NO!!!"


He awoke, with a jolt and, realizing that he had been dreaming again, mentally thanked whatever deity watched over evil, soulless vampires, that it hadn't REALLY played out that way.

He HAD been in time. He had snatched up Buffy's dropped sword and, without a second thought, driven it straight through Drusilla and into the stone demon. The look of betrayal on her face, would haunt him forever but he couldn't have borne his continued existence, if he had lost Buffy.

He hadn't expected it to hurt so much. Emotionally, yeah, he'd expected THAT. He'd thought himself in love with Dru for over a century, of course he would feel SOMETHING but he hadn't expected the physical hurt. It had been like putting his insides in a blender and if Buffy hadn't fed him her blood, he wasn't sure what would have happened to him. COULD he have dusted? He didn't think so but there was so much about being a vampire, that he didn't know. The only person he had had to learn from, had been Dru and SHE had been kept very firmly in the dark, by Angelus.

'Bloody wanker,' He thought. 'He leaves Buffy and runs off with Dru, then lets the silly bint almost end the world. Couldn't have bloody warned us!'

Still, it had all turned out alright. That strange little demon had turned up, going on about Captain Forehead. He'd snapped Buffy out of Dru's thrall and Buffy had told him to help the other slayer. Kendra had made a full recovery and was back with her watcher. She'd been left with no memory of what had happened and Buffy had happily reinvented the story, so that Kendra had been the one to send Dru to hell. Willow and Giles were also ok, although Giles was still a bit disturbed by his memory of telling Jenny all about the ritual for waking Acathla. Dru must have used her thrall on him, the bitch. Just when he was starting to come to terms with his loss. On the up side, he wasn't getting too involved with Buffy's life, at the moment. The last thing Spike needed, was an outraged watcher trying to defend his slayer's honour by attempting to kill him. It was hard enough trying to get her home at night, before her mother twigged that something was going on.

Sometimes, Spike had to pinch himself. He a big, bad, evil vampire, was dating a school girl. Worse, she was the slayer. He had come to Sunnydale especially to KILL her. Nothing personal, of course, he just enjoyed a challenge. He didn't hate slayers, he'd always pretty much felt sorry for them. One girl in all the world, up against so many vampires, sooner or later doomed to have an off day and get killed. Of course, his Buffy didn't limit herself to vampires; she'd take out demons, too. She was a superb fighter and adding her to his slayer kill count, at the height of her power, would have given him a lot of status. At one time, he had considered it a kindness - take them out in a glorious, fair fight - one last, historic battle. No longer. He was more than happy with the way things had worked out, with Buffy. Making love with a slayer was loads better than killing one. Best of all, she had already 'died' once and her replacement had been called; that took some of the pressure off her; two targets, instead of one.

They still sparred; in his factory hideout, these days. Whenever he 'won', he would kiss her throat, barely grazing her skin with his teeth and she would shiver and arch her body against his. He would carry her to his bed and tenderly make love to her. His slayer. His love. His Buffy.

* * * * *

It was just after nightfall and Spike was feeling restless. He could feel something strange, like a vibration, deep inside him. A low, thrumming, almost-sound, that pulled at him and bid him 'COME'. He resisted, testing his free will and, once he had proved to himself that he COULD resist, he gave in. Picking up a large battleaxe, he let the feeling guide him and it wasn't long before he realized where he was being pulled to...


Buffy was in trouble. The dead man that had smashed his way into her house, was, well, DEAD. Try as she might, she couldn't kill him any further and he was in danger of doing some real damage to her and her mom, who was cowering in the closet. The zombie cat had obviously been the warm up act, Buffy thought, as a second zombie crashed through the window.

"Need a hand, pet?" Spike asked. He was standing on her porch and she'd never been so happy to see anyone.

"Come in, Spike." She gasped and he ran in, swinging his axe.

The dead man's head went one way and his body the other but it didn't slow him down by much. He blindly groped towards the stairs. More of them were pouring through the door now and also heading upwards.

"ALRIGHT!!" Spike yelled, really getting stuck in with the axe, a huge grin on his face.

Arms and legs flew, as Buffy made her way up the stairs, pushing zombies down to where Spike was slashing. Body parts squirmed around the floor, all irresistibly lured upstairs.

The first intact corpse to reach the prize, walked triumphantly back to the landing, Buffy's mom's hideous wooden mask obscuring its face and an unearthly light pouring from its eyes. Buffy was transfixed. It reached for her.

Buffy blinked and stared at the sight before her. The mask on the zombie's face, now had Spike's axe buried across both eyes and sparkling light was fizzing around, taking the zombie with it as it disappeared. Buffy looked around, the other dead things had vanished, too.

"Damn, I was enjoying that." Spike said, retrieving his axe from the floor, where it had landed.

"That's twice," Buffy said. "Twice you've killed for me, while I've been all trancey.

"Would you care to explain that statement, young lady?"

"Mom! Er... this is..."

"William, Ma'am." Spike said, holding his hand out to Joyce and smiling at her with all the charm he could muster, under the circumstances. He still had his axe in the other hand.

Joyce looked around at the devastation.

"Where did those people go?"

"They vanished when Spi...er William killed the one wearing that mask."

"The one from the gallery?"

"Yeah, Mom; it was raising the dead."

"Have you gone completely crazy?"

"No. I. Haven't." Buffy said, coldly. "I. Am. A. Vampire. Slayer. You can't deny it any longer and I certainly won't let you put me away again."

"Buffy, vampires aren't real."

"Oh and zombies are? You saw them with your own eyes. This is what I do and William helps me."

Joyce looked at Spike again.

"I've seen you before." She said, "You were with that PCP gang, I hit you with an axe."

"That you did." Spike said, with a smile.

"And now you're, what? Dating my daughter?"

"Yeah, Mom, we're dating. And he doesn't do drugs." Buffy said, raising an eyebrow at Spike.

"And you're a vampire slayer?" Joyce said to Buffy. "Have you tried NOT being a vampire slayer?"

"Really not an option." Buffy sighed.

Joyce looked Spike over.

"At least you're not as old as that Angel. He was over here one time, 'studying' with Buffy; I always felt he wanted more. Way too old for her."

"Yeah, no class, either." Spike growled.

"Don't push it." Buffy muttered, as her mom led them into the kitchen for hot chocolate and marshmallows.
Chapter End Notes:
Anyone who's worried about Chanterelle/Lily, don't be. Obviously, Buffy didn't leave Sunnydale but Angel went to LA earlier and so was able to start helping people sooner. He saved her and put a stop to the whole 'hellish slave trade'. She probably won't have changed her name to 'Anne', though.
Chapter 6 by velvet cat
"I think my mom likes you." Buffy murmured into Spike's naked chest.

"I made a better first impression than 'that Angel'." Spike said, with a smirk.

"How did you know to come over tonight?"

"That mask was pulling dead things, I'm a dead thing."

"Then why weren't you trying to wear it?"

"I'm not MINDLESS dead, I could resist its pull."

"If you didn't know where it was pulling you, why come?"

"Thought it might be fun. Why didn't you phone?"

"I had my hands full. Besides, I'm the slayer, I shouldn't need rescuing."

"Not so I can rescue you, so I can fight WITH you. It's exciting."

"Yeah, you were loving it." She kissed him and slid her hands down his naked body. "Oooh, I've got my hands full, again."

"Minx."

Buffy trailed hot kisses down his body, loving the way he squirmed and his erection twitched in her hand. It made her feel so powerful, like she was the most sexually alluring woman in the world.

"No touching," She said, as he tried to reciprocate.

"I'm not allowed to touch?"

"I've got plans." She smirked.

"I don't think I can keep my hands off you." He said, leaning over to the drawer by the bed. He rummaged around and came up with a pair of handcuffs. He snapped one side on his right wrist, threaded the chain through the wroght iron bed head and cuffed his other wrist.

"There," He said, laying his head back on the pillow. "I'm helpless, do with me what you will."

He looked so trusting and vulnerable and the sight made Buffy's breath catch in her throat and a strange little tingle shot from her stomach to her clit. She could feel her moisture pooling on his leg as she leaned over and took the damp, velvety tip of his erection into her mouth.

Spike closed his eyes and groaned, as the heat of her mouth enveloped him. His wrists strained at the cuffs, as Buffy brought her tongue into play, flicking and sucking at as much of him as she could fit into her mouth.

"Buffeeee," He moaned, bucking his hips towards her. "God, Buffy, I'm gonna.......Arrrgh."

"Buffy swallowed rapidly, sucking until he had finished; his body limp and spent, beneath her. She kept her mouth around him until she felt him stiffening again. Scooting up his body, she positioned herself so that her clit was pressed against the hardness of him. He moaned as she leaned forward, her hard nipples rubbing his chest, her clit sweeping along his length until the tip of him slipped inside her. He strained to raise his hips and slide further into her but she held him down.

"Not yet." She admonished, teasing him with a little swivel of her hips.

Spike tried to relax, as Buffy gently scratched at his nipples with her nails. When she felt that he was squirming enough, she tightened her internal muscles and plunged down on him. The combination of pain and pleasure was too much and they both climaxed almost instantly.

"Where's the key for the cuffs?" Buffy asked, when she could speak.

"Top drawer." Spike moaned.

"Buffy retrieved it and released him. He had deep red marks around his wrists, where he had struggled and a smirk on his face that said he had loved it.

For the first time since she had been called, Buffy was happy to be the slayer. She was at peace with what she was and it was all down to Spike. Angel had done his best to convince her that she needed a normal life but the fiasco with Owen had made her see that it couldn't work. Besides, being with Spike made her realize how fragile 'normal' men were - too fragile for HER! She couldn't imagine what sex would be like, if she had to be careful not to damage her lover.

"God, Buffy, the things you do to me."

"Good?"

"The best. I'm so glad things worked out this way."

"Instead of killing me?"

He shivered at the very idea.

"When did you realize that you loved me?"

"Well, I was attracted when I first saw you but I was trying to bag my third slayer..."

"Consider me baggy girl."

"Then when you were in hospital with flu..."

"How'd you know about that?"

"I kept flashing back to my mum, when she was dying of TB and the thought of you dying of flu.... That's when I knew that I loved you. It felt so much bigger than with Dru....more REAL.... I didn't even have the decency to kill her." He finished, quietly.

"Huh?"

"Dru. Vampires don't die from a sword through the gut, do they. I sent her to hell, alive."

"She wanted it. God, she wanted it for all of us."

"Not you, she wanted YOU in heaven, so I couldn't have you."

"She KNEW about us?"

"Miss Edith probably told her."

"Huh?"

"Her favourite doll."

"And again with the 'huh?'"

Spike laughed.

"Dru was a precog., she had flashes of the future and the era that she grew up in, people thought she was the work of the devil. Angelus played on that, so, by the time she was insane and a vampire, she'd convinced herself that her dolls were telling her things. Absolving herself of the blame."

"She still had her gift, after she was sired?"

"Yeah. To WANT to go to hell..." He shuddered and then, as if he'd just noticed where he was, started to kiss Buffy's breasts.

* * * * *

Buffy and Spike were patrolling the woods and Buffy had a good reason to WANT to find a big bad SOMETHING. So long as Jeff Walken had been killed by something other than Oz, Buffy would be happy. The badly mauled body had been found and, thanks to Xander sleeping, when he should have been on 'Oz watch', no one knew if everyone's favourite werewolf was responsible.

"I'm not sure where exactly, just that he was found in these woods." Buffy said, as Spike strode confidently ahead.

"It's this way, I can smell the blood." He replied, looking over his shoulder at her. He wasn't that bothered about who or what had killed the boy but it was concerning Buffy and he might get a decent scrap out of it, so....

They came to a blood spattered clearing and, by now, even Buffy could smell it.

"God, what a way to go." Buffy said, watching as Spike stood amongst it and sniffed the air.

"I can't smell werewolf, at all." He said, a puzzled look on his face. "Nor demon, vampire, nothing supernatural. The killer was human but there's an odd undercurrent, drug abuse, maybe."

"Would you know if you smelt it again?"

"You want me to track it round Sunnydale, like a bloodhound?"

"Is your sense of smell really that good?"

"Your period's due in three days." He replied, with a knowing smirk, "Does that answer your question?"

"You can smell THAT?"

"Hey, vampire, pet; it's the highlight of my month."

"Yeah, me too." Buffy agreed, blushing.

"None of that now, now," He said, stroking her hair, "Never be ashamed of your sexuality. So long as we both enjoy it, it's not wrong."

"Oz is going to be so relieved that he's not the killer. Too bad I can't tell him 'til tomorrow morning."

"How are you going to tell him you found out?" Spike asked, not calling her on her deft subject change.

"I'll figure something out. I wish I could tell them all."

"I understand why you can't. I don't want you put in the position where you have to defend your choices to people that will just want me dead."

"Mom likes you."

"What's not to like? She doesn't know what I am."

"They gave me such a hard time over Angel."

"Yeah and that ponce has a soul!"

"Exactly! That makes YOU a better person. You have no soul but you CHOSE to stop killing people, to make me happy."

"Whoever tore apart that Jeff bloke, having a soul didn't stop 'em."

"If it's a human, it's a police matter. I only do supernatural."

"Take care 'til he's caught, love. It might be random but, if it isn't, it might be connected to the school."

* * * * *

Next morning, Buffy managed to get Oz alone.

"Oz, I can't tell you how I know and I'd rather you didn't tell the others..."

He looked at her, expectantly.

"I know it wasn't you that killed Jeff." She watched his face for any change of expression. "Wolf you." She clarified, when he didn't react. "Definitely, positively, guaranteed."

"And you know this from the Vampire?"

"I..."

"I can smell him on you. The same vampire, night after night."

"Please don't tell the others."

"Not my secret to tell." He put his hand on her shoulder, "I understand, Buffy. Love's complicated. Thanks for telling me about Jeff."

* * * * *

Pete was bleeding and more furious than he'd ever been in his life. Everything had been going hs way and then the sun had set. He'd tracked down his rival, the puny guitarist who had been trying it on with that slut, Debbie. HIS slut.

What was it with guys that played an instrument? First Jeff and now this little squirt, who everyone knew was dating the red-head but who Pete himself had seen, only this morning, touching up the skinny blonde and then, later, Debbie.

He had found Oz in the library book cage, dragged him out and begun to administer some payback and then everything had changed. Suddenly he had been fighting an animal, an animal that had BITTEN him. Then, the little blonde slut had HIT him. HIM. That couldn't HAPPEN. He had been chased, forced to hide away. That couldn't be right.

He was always in control.

Debbie, filthy little whore, was whimpering at his feet, unable to even LOOK at him. It was all her fault, she had every reason to be ashamed; manipulating him into killing....

"You're nothing but a waste of space!" He shouted at her terrified form.

"Whereas the world always needs bullying pieces of crap, like you." Spike said, sarcastically. Concerned about Buffy's safety and her unwillingness to hurt humans, he had sniffed around until he had picked up Pete's trail.

Pete spun and launched himself at Spike, who calmly stepped to one side and let Pete smack, full speed, into the metal shelf unit, behind him. There was a sickening crunch, as metal met bone and Pete slumped to the floor, blood spreading out from his, obviously fatal, head wound.

Buffy ran in.

"Spike, what happened?"

"He bit off rather more than he could chew."

"You killed him?"

"No, I got out of his way and let him kill himself."

"The others'll be here soon, I'll look after Debbie, you go. I'll call you later, when this is all finished." She looked down at Debbie, who was staring blankly at the floor, still waiting for Pete to kill her. "Oh, Spike?" He turned around, "Thanks." She said, with a smile.

* * * * *

"How'd it go?" Spike asked, later, when Buffy turned up at the factory.

"The police took Pete's body away and, at a guess, I'd say they'll find evidence of substance abuse. Debbie's not saying much, except that Pete loved her and that's why he killed Jeff and Mr. Platt. School counsellor." She added, to Spike's unspoken question. "Her family took her to an upmarket psychiatric unit and they've hired a lawyer, just in case. I don't think she saw you, so the police may try to charge her with Pete's 'accident' but I doubt it."

"Wolf boy bit him, so it was probably for the best that he died. Being a werewolf, on top of whatever he was on...."

"Bad combination."

"Yeah. Buffy? I would have killed him, if I'd had to."

"And I wouldn't have had a problem with that." Buffy said, pulling him to her for a long kiss.
Chapter 7 by velvet cat
Author's Notes:
No Faith, so no Kakistos or Mr. Trick. No 'slayerfest' either. The Mayor has vamps working for him, though.
Buffy, Xander, Cordelia, Willow and Oz had been happily discussing the Homecoming dance, when, once again, the subject of Buffy's date, or lack thereof, came up. Buffy had grown to hate these moments.

"What about Scott Hope?" Willow asked, "He's asked you out a couple of times."

"I don't need a date," Buffy replied, "Not after what happened with Owen. It's just too much pressure."

"You could just go with him to the dance." Cordelia said, "Dump him after."

"He's been so down, after what happened to his friends; that just wouldn't be fair." Buffy said.

"Hear hear," Xander agreed, "What gives women the right to think they can just use a man and throw him away? Hey, maybe you could rent one."

"XANDER!!"

"Talking of renting, what do you guys think about hiring a limo?" Cordelia asked. "It won't be that expensive, if we split the cost five ways."

"Count me in," Buffy said, grateful that the conversation had turned away from her love life. Oz gave her a telling glance but had so far kept his word and his silence. She briefly indulged in a fantasy of showing up at the dance with Spike but knew that it was out of the question. Besides, it all looked a bit childish, compared to the kind of relationship she was having with the vampire. Despite her still being in high school, Spike treated her like a grown up - something that Angel had never managed - letting her make her own decisions and her own mistakes. It wasn't until she had that kind of relationship, that she had realized what was missing from every other relationship she had. Unlike Giles, her mother, Angel and even Xander, Spike never tried to run her life.

All the school rituals were FUN; the dances, the year book, the forthcoming graduation but they were no longer IMPORTANT. Not the way they had been to her when she was in L.A., before she was called. She had grown up when she became the slayer and it had taken her this long and a man who loved and respected her, to make her realize it.

Buffy watched all the build up, with a kind of detached amusement. Cordelia was busy campaigning to be Homecoming queen; actually dishing out treats, in the hopes of getting votes. She had Willow helping with a database, highlighting the opposition's strengths and weaknesses and Xander was putting up posters. To Buffy, it just seemed like a lot of effort for people who were almost adults. Then again, maybe that was the point. After graduation, their lives would change, they'd all go off to different colleges; maybe never see each other again.


Homecoming was a weird night. The five of them sharing a limo - Buffy feeling like a fifth wheel - serious formal wear, something tense between Willow and Xander, Cordelia obliviously talking about the moment when she'd be crowned. Of course, nothing is ever certain. When it was announced that there would be TWO queens, Cordelia was put out at the thought of sharing but then she was fuming when it turned out that she hadn't even come close. She spent the rest of the night, spreading rumours about exactly HOW the winners had earned their votes. By the time Spike had picked her up and driven her to the up-market restaurant, where he had booked them a table, Buffy was desperate for adult company.

It was a beautiful end to a strange night. Spike was dressed like 'a complete ponce' - his words - but he had put his own spin on 'ponce-wear' and Buffy thought he looked really hot. He had on tight black leather jeans, a silk shirt the colour of an arterial bleed and even a black tie. He spent the remains of the evening opening doors, puling chairs out for her and even walking on the road side edge of the sidewalk - a very old fashioned piece of chivalry, designed to protect ladies from being splashed by passing carriages! Cordelia had been right, back when she said it: there WERE advantages to dating older men.

* * * * *

Buffy was so sick of the S.A.T.s; Giles had even got her practicing for them in the graveyard, after she had said that maybe slaying was a higher priority. Both he and her mom were obsessed with the tests and now Buffy was having nightmares about them. On top of that, Snyder had everyone in school selling candy bars to finance the band.

That's when things got weird...

The Bronze was full of 'grown ups' acting like seriously hyper kids. Thankfully, Buffy's mom was over at Giles' or Buffy might have worried about her. Then again, she HAD let Buffy drive, so maybe her judgement WAS impaired! Now, having pranged the car, Buffy was walking to where the cursed candy was made, 'enjoying' the sparklingly surreal company of Snyder! Her cell phone buzzed.

"Cool phone, Summers." Snyder said, "You may drive like a spazz but you got a cool phone."

"Hi."

"Buffy," Spike's voice filled her ear, a welcome distraction. "What the bloody hell is going on?"

"I think it's cursed candy."

"Of course. Why not."

"Someone is making the grown ups act like kids, I'm on my way to find out who and why."

"Just how well does your mum know your watcher?"

"They've spent a bit of time together, recently. They're obsessing over the S.A.T.s, why?"

"Because I've just seen them, getting to know each other REALLY well, on the hood of a police car."

"Oh dear God. I so didn't need to hear that."

"Yeah? Well I didn't need to SEE it. I may never be able to look your mum in the eye again."

"When this cursed candy thing is dealt with, I guess I'll try to track down her and Giles. Thanks for the heads up."


As it turned out, Buffy found her mom and Giles near to her destination, kissing passionately. Giles was wearing paint spattered jeans and had been smoking and her mom was wearing a coat that was several decades too young for her. Both of them - rather annoyingly - looked great; youthful and glowy. Buffy pulled them apart and tried to explain to Giles about the candy.

Giles was so different. Buffy had known that when he was young he'd been into the bad stuff but to see him so changed... even his accent. He was talking the way Spike did, back when they had first met. That thought made Buffy realize that Spike hadn't sounded that way in quite a while. Like he had been putting on an act - tough gutter talk - and now he was with Buffy he had let the act go. The realization made her feel warm inside and, after hitting and restraining Ethan Rayne, who - surprise surprise - was responsible; finding out about the missing babies and Lurconis, Buffy left her mom, Giles and Snyder at the maternity unit and met up with Spike at the sewer entrance.

"Thank God," She said, hugging him, "A grown up."

"Nothing's happened yet," He said, indicating the open manhole cover. "There's been some chanting but the babies are OK. I can hear their hearts beating. I was going to give it another couple of minutes, then start without you."


Buffy started down the ladder, Spike following. Mayor Wilkins saw her coming and beat a hasty retreat. Neither Spike nor Buffy saw him, they were too busy with the robed vampires.

Fighting together, as a team, was almost as much fun as fighting each other! In such close quarters, the robed vamps didn't stand a chance as Buffy and Spike fought as a single unit - she right handed, he left handed - complementing each other perfectly. When Lurconis showed up, expecting food, what it got was the hot end of a burning gas pipe and then there was one less demon in the world...

Once everything was back to normal, Buffy found, to her amusement, that her mom and Giles seemed strangely tense in each other's company. Buffy couldn't resist making things worse by telling them how glad she was that she'd got to them BEFORE they did anything. Watching the looks on their faces was priceless!
Chapter 8 by velvet cat
Buffy and Spike - over coffee


"So, I've just dusted the vamp - not my most challenging work, obviously; when this... this..."

"Tight-arsed bitch?" Spike supplied, smirking.

"YES!! Tight -arsed bitch. Gwendolyn Post (Mrs.) - sloppy slaying indeed; I'd like to see her do it." A puzzled look crossed Buffy's face, interrupting her rant, "How'd you know?"

"Oh, I have my sources. She checking up on Rupert, then?"

"Well, that's what she SAID: 'The watcher's council are concerned that your reports are sparse and Americanised.'" Buffy savagely mimicked Mrs. Post's prim, patronizing words. "She had the nerve to say that my slaying wasn't as 'efficient' as Kendra's and that Giles' library was inadequate!"

"Bet that went down well."

"Oh, yeah. But THAT was her undoing, see; Giles phones someone called Travers, in England and finds out that Bitch Post (Mrs.) has actually gone rogue and is in Sunnydale to find something called the Glove of Myhnegon, before a demon called Lagos, who's also after it."

"Don't tell me; she wanted YOU to kill Lagos and get the glove, so that SHE could take over the world."

"In one. It's amazing, the way you so readily grasp the workings of an evil mind."

"Innit though," He smiled, leaning across the table to kiss her, his face a picture of innocence.

"Anyway, the council sends a 'retrieval team' for her - all black clothes and attitude - and they take her away. I guess those watchers can be a bit dangerous."

"Bunch of pansies but I wouldn't underestimate them. Another coffee, pet?"

"Yeah, please. So, I kill this Lagos and Giles destroys the glove - living flame is just sooo weird - which really pisses off the black sweater brigade, coz they wanted it. 'Research purposes'."

"Yeah, I'll just bet."

"Spike?" Buffy asked, sipping her coffee, thoughtfully, "What were you like, before?"

"What's brought this on?"

"I've been wondering, for a while. The first time we came here, you told me about Angel but you never said what YOU were like."

"I wouldn't have, not then."

"Is it very bad? I know you were 'William the Bloody', before..."

"I was a pillock." He said, with a sigh. "My defining characteristic was 'love's bitch'. Still is."

"I don't get it, where did 'William the Blood..."

"Because I wrote bloody awful poetry. To women."

"You were a romantic, then?"

"A pillock. The night I died, the subject of my affections, rejected me. At a party, in front of everyone. Earlier, they'd all been talking about mysterious disappearances, speculating as to the cause. Ironic, as it turned out. I stormed off outside, met Dru and disappeared."

"She was behind the disappearances?"

"Yeah. Not by herself but, yeah."

"And 'Spike'?"

"One of the men at the party said he'd rather have a railroad spike driven through his head, than listen to my poetry. He was wrong, though." His voice was flat, emotionless; Buffy reached across and took his hand.

"I don't hold it against you - how can I? I knew what you were when I fell in love with you."

"Oh, Buffy, the things I've done..."

"But you're not like that now..."

"I could be, right circumstances, I could be; 'f anything happened to you..."

"Retribution would be swift and bloody?"

"Too right it would."

"Good to know."

"The violence impressed Dru, my not killing humans impresses you, I change to suit the circumstances - love's bitch."

"No, it's more than that. When I touch you it's like..."

"Coming home. I know. I've never felt this way about anyone else, ever."

* * * * *

Willow and Xander - lab scene: 'Lover's Walk'

Willow rechecked her ingredients, while she waited for Xander to arrive. This spell HAD to work. She had to stay faithful to Oz. This thing, with Xander, was so wrong and so right. She'd loved him her whole life and he'd never looked at her, that way. Then, there they were, dressing for the Homecoming dance and he'd kissed her. He wanted her, she wanted him - had always wanted him but she loved Oz. Dear, sweet Oz, who loved her and didn't deserve any of this.

"Smells like church," Xander said, sniffing the air, "Evil church."

"Just chemistry." Willow replied.

"No it's not," Xander said, noticing the spell book, "You're doing a love spell!"

"No. It's just a de-lusting spell, for us, to stop us...it's the only way."

"Only way? Willow, we don't need magic for that. We just...stop."

"Then why haven't we?"

"We stop RIGHT now," He said, sweeping her ingredients off the desk and into a bin he'd picked up from the corner of the room. "Cordelia has pictures of ME, in her LOCKER!"

"Huh?"

"A hot, beautiful girl, who can have pretty much whoever she wants, has pictures of ME in her locker. I think Cordelia loves me, I'm pretty sure I love her; we don't need magic to screw that up."

"How will it screw things up?"

"Remember MY love spell? The whole town wanting me and then wanting to kill me. You included. Remember how that felt? You wanted to KILL ME. Could you control yourself? No. If someone had told you it was just a spell, you still couldn't have stopped. Remember how Cordy and me ended up hiding out at Buffy's house? Her MOM came on to me! Magic is dangerous, Will. It messes with your head. Say you do this? What if we end up hating each other? What if it goes wrong and makes everyone in town hate us? You can't use magic to screw with people's feelings. You're not God."

"Not God? Where did THAT come from?"

"Forcing people to feel or not feel, changing our emotions to suit you. You want to use magic instead of will power."

"But we can't stop..."

"What if.... could you stand it if Oz suddenly, magically, hated you?"

"No. But he'll hate me if he finds out about us, I just want to..."

"There is no us. Magic is not the answer, Will. We are just friends and we WILL be faithful to the people we love. Now, let's go bowling."

* * * * *

Buffy and Spike - 'Amends'

"...So, with my test results, I could actually go away to college and both Mom and Giles say I should."

"What about the hellmouth? Aren't you meant to be guarding it?"

"Giles says he'll get Kendra here."

"So, where would you like to go?"

"Well, Willow wants to go to Oxford and I thought it might be fun to go with her but I wanted to talk to you, first."

"Oxford in England?" Spike asked, "THAT Oxford?"

"Yeah, that's the one and I wondered if you'd come with me, assuming I get in. Coz you know England and I wouldn't be so nervous about being in a strange country, if you were there. And I'd miss you so much if you didn't come and I think, away from Giles and Xander, that Willow would probably understand about us. Oh and my mom wants you to come over and eat with us, Christmas eve."

"Fine by me, pet." Spike said, with a smile. He'd had no idea that Buffy could talk for so long without breathing.

"Which bit?"

"All of it. I'd love to show you England or go with you, wherever you end up going and tell your mum, I'd be honoured to spend Christmas eve with you both."


Buffy and her mom had just finished trimming the Christmas tree, when Spike knocked on the door. He had a small, beautifully wrapped parcel in his hand and a wicker hamper, on the porch in front of him. Buffy opened the door. Spike handed her the parcel and then carried the hamper inside.

"Happy Christmas, Mrs. Summers." He said, putting the hamper down on the table. "This is for you."

"Please, William, call me Joyce. Is that what I think it is?"

"It's a Harrods food hamper, all the way from London. It's mostly chocolates, biscuits...er, I mean cookies and preserves, though. They won't deliver perishables this far away."

"I'm sure it will be wonderful, William; that's so thoughtful of you."

"Wow. How did you get it?" Buffy asked.

"I ordered it off the internet. What, did you think I popped back to England for the weekend?"

They all laughed.

"Can I open this now or do I wait 'til tomorrow?" Buffy asked, looking longingly at her present.

"You can open it whenever you want, love."

Smirking, Buffy tore the paper off. Inside, was a black velvet box. Buffy opened it and gazed at what was inside. A beautiful pair of ear rings: white gold studs with green stones that matched Buffy's eyes and large dazzlingly white diamonds.

"Spike.." She breathed, "They're so beautiful."

He tenderly slipped them on her and stood back to look.

"Good, they suit you."

"What would you have done if they hadn't?" Buffy asked, mischievously.

"Taken them back and got you something else, of course."

"I need to see them." She went to find a mirror.

"They look real." Joyce said, "That was very generous of you, William."

"It's not like I'm short of the readies. Before he died, my father made a lot of good investments." He didn't mention that a certain law firm had made it possible for the trust fund his father had set up for him, while he was still a baby, to be paying him a healthy income, even now.

"Buffy's been talking about going to school in England. I think she should."

"She needs to get away from the hellmouth."

"I agree. If she went, would you go with her? Keep her safe?"

"Of course."

"It was such a shock to find out about the monsters being real. I need to know she'll be OK."

"I will always do my best to keep her safe. I love her."

"I know. I can see it."

Buffy came back down, holding a gift box for Spike. Inside was a heavy, silver, chain bracelet.

"I love it, Buffy." He said, fastening it around his right wrist.


They had a lovely, relaxed evening, nibbling at buffet food and snuggling on the sofa to watch Bing Crosby in 'White Christmas'. It was quite late when Spike left and Buffy went up to bed, feeling like a normal girl for a change. As she drifted off to sleep, she couldn't help thinking that this was the nicest Christmas she'd had, since they'd come to Sunnydale.

To make the holiday atmosphere complete, just before dawn, a freak cold weather front caused snow to fall in L.A.....

* * * * *


'Gingerbread'
(Day one)

"You're trembling, pet. I think you need to forgo the coffee, tonight; have hot chocolate instead."

"Not tea?" Buffy replied, her voice shaking.

"Not in America, love." He said, firmly, "They don't know how to make it."

He smiled, beckoned the waitress and whispered in her ear. The waitress smiled and went to get their order. When she came back, she put a large hot chocolate down in front of Buffy. A hot chocolate with whipped cream on top, covered with chocolate sprinkles and a hint of ground nutmeg.

"Now, love, two big mouthfuls of that, then talk to me."

Buffy complied.

"Wow, that's great."

"So, what's up?"

"It's my mom."

"She sick?"

"No. She turned up on patrol. With a flask and sandwiches, she was trying to be all supportive. Just in time to watch me stake Mr. Sanderson, from the bank.

Spike winced at the image but sensed that there was to be more bad.

"Then, she wanders into the park and finds two little kids. Dead. She's completely traumatized and there's nothing I can do to make it better. Oh, I can kill whatever did it but that won't bring them back..."


(Day two)

"...It was unbelievable, Spike. She'd got the whole town together at city hall, the Mayor made a speech and then Mom got up and completely dissed the town. Saying it was just a haven for monsters and slayers..."

"She actually said that?"

"Yes." Buffy had tears in her eyes. "And Giles says that the symbol I saw, painted on the kid's hand, was used in witchcraft and it was probably humans that killed them. I'm not supposed to kill humans and Mom said that everone just ignores the goings on in Sunnydale and can she really not see a difference between me and the monsters?"


(Day three)

"...Now, she's formed this action group - Mothers Opposed to the Occult - M.O.O. It'd be funny, if it wasn't so crazy. They opened all the lockers at school, Willow and a few others are in trouble for having 'witch stuff' and they've taken Giles' books, so we can't even look stuff up."

"That's why we're meeting here, instead of going for coffee." Spike said. "I went to the park, earlier, to see if I could find anything. There was loads of flowers and stuff but no scent of dead children."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes. There was a strong demon scent, though."

"But the children... Mom said my being the slayer was fruitless if I couldn't prevent things from happening. It seems I just react to stuff and no matter how many things I kill, it never gets any better."

"Buffy, there never were any children."

"Huh? But they're dead, I saw the bodies, there are pictures."

"What about they're parents, their names?"

"Tell me."

He led her over to a desk in the corner of his bedroom, where he had his computer.

"It's all here, on the net. Every fifty years, going back to 1649. Two dead children, followed by a town going into meltdown. Angry mobs persecuting innocent people, usually for alleged witchcraft - public stonings, burnings, hangings - you name it. No trials, just accusations followed by execution."

Buffy looked at the computer screen.

"Hansel and Gretel?"

"I think they're entities that feed off hatred, fear and death."

"I have to talk to Giles."

She phoned the school library. After a few moments, she hung up.

"That was Xander, they've been on the net, too; Giles has already left for my house. Willow might be in trouble, so Xander and Oz are going there."

"We'll go find your mum."

"Giles seeing you, will complicate things."

"Can't be helped, pet."

As it turned out, Giles was unconscious on the hallway floor and Buffy's mom had helpers. Buffy was quickly subdued with chloroform and Spike was whacked over the head. He made a snap decision and pretended to be knocked out; he was fairly certain Buffy wouldn't want him to hit her mum or her mum's friends. As Buffy was carried out the front door, he sneaked out the back and watched as she was put in one of the cars.

He slunk stealthily to his car and followed the car with Buffy in it.

At city hall, the car stopped and he parked out of sight and watched as Buffy's mom went inside. The two men were preparing to drag Buffy off the backseat of the car when Spike ran at them. His face was pure demon and he was roaring as though he were capable of swallowing a man whole.

One of the men pulled a gun and fired a couple of times but Spike kept coming. The two men left Buffy and fled inside.

"Buffy?" Spike said, stroking her cheek. He knew she was coming round, he could hear her heart speeding up.

"Spike?"

"You're OK, love." His voice was hoarse with pain.

"My mom?"

"She's inside. Buffy...I can't help you."

"Huh?"

"I got shot."

"Spike!" Buffy sat up, her head spinning from the chloroform. Blood was soaking down the right leg of Spike's jeans.

"Got my kneecap, I can hardly walk, let alone fight. I'm sorry."

"Can you make it to your car?"

Yeah."

"Wait for me there."

Reluctantly, Spike complied.


Buffy ran into the building, following the sound of shouting, until she found them. What she saw in the room, chilled her to the bone.

Willow and Amy were tied to wooden stakes, piles of 'forbidden' books, at their feet, waiting to be burned. There was a third stake which had been meant for Buffy. Stapled to it was a photo of her, which her mom usually carried in her purse. Her mom was at the front of the mob, which was mostly made up of irate parents; Willow's mom was right next to her. The two dead children who Buffy had glimpsed at her house, just as she lost consciousness, were egging on the crowd with pitiful pleas to 'kill the bad girls'.

"Buffy! You're not in hell." Buffy's mom shouted, as some of the men grabbed Buffy and pulled her towards the front.

"Huh?" Buffy said, as she lashed out at the men, knocking the gun from the hand of the one nearest her.

"I was told that the devil came and dragged you to hell. That's why I had to purify you in effigy, instead." Buffy's mom sounded so reasonable, as she gestured to the wooden stake with Buffy's picture on it. "Fire is the only solution to your problem."

"THEY'RE my problem!" Buffy shouted, kicking and punching her way through the crowd and pointing at the two 'children'. "Dead people are talking to you, do the math."

Someone had lit the fire and Willow was yelling at her mom to help her. Strange lights had started to swirl around Amy, who seemed to vanish, leaving her clothes behind.

"Burn the witches." The crowd began to chant, as, unnoticed, Amy the rat, slipped out from her clothes and scampered away from the flames.

Giles and Codelia burst into the room and, while Buffy struggled to reach Willow, Giles performed the spell to reveal the hidden demon. As Cordelia turned a fire hose on everything but the fire, the two manipulative dead children, embraced, melted together and elongated upwards to become a single and truly ugly, creature.

The men struggling with Buffy, abruptly let go and shrank away from the demon.

"Kill the bad girls." It growled but no one was convinced. Buffy hit it in the face, almost cutting her hand on its teeth.

"How do I kill it?" She shouted to Giles.

"How the bloody hell should I know? You're lucky I managed this much." He was staring at his books. The ones that weren't partially burned, were soaking wet and he knew how hard it would be to restore them.

Buffy shrugged and continued pummelling the demon, who had scored at least one hit; slashing her upper arm with its claws. She could feel blood running down and hoped it wasn't too bad. She was vaguely aware that Willow was being untied by Oz and Xander, as she finally managed to get the demon down and, with a burst of savage strength, twisted its head until she heard and felt the satisfying crack of its neck snapping. The creature went limp.

"You wanna burn something?" She shouted at her mom, "Burn that." Without another word, she walked away.


Spike was sprawled across the back seat of his car, sucking human blood from a hospital pack. Dalton was in the front, waiting to drive Spike and Buffy back to the factory.

"How's the leg?" Buffy asked, carefully climbing in, next to Spike, as Dalton drove them away.

"Better than it was. Blood helps."

He had phoned Dalton as soon as Buffy had left him and the faithful minion had rushed to the blood bank and then to Spike.

"You're bleeding, pet."

"Demon scratched me. It's toast."

"Can I...?" Spike leaned closer, the scent of Buffy's blood pulling him.

"Of course." She murmured, stroking his hair as he tenderly ran his tongue over her wound. She moaned and squirmed in his arms as he began to gently pull blood from her. "So good," She groaned, as his fingers slid under the fabric of her top and began to caress her breasts. "Oooh Spike, I can't wait to get home."

"Hmmm?"

"Your home, I mean." She realized that she no longer thought of her mother's house as home. When had that happened? When her mom drugged her or when she had seen a photograph of herself about to be burned at the stake? Her mom had been under the influence of a demon, she couldn't be blamed but even so, Buffy no longer trusted her.

"Was it very bad?" Spike asked, gently. He had felt Buffy's change of mood and realized what had caused it.

"I've been in worse fights," Buffy said, uncertainly, "But not against my mom. She'd nailed a photo of me to a stake. They'd tied Willow and Amy to stakes and the third one had been for me but they didn't have me. Mom said the men bringing me told her the devil dragged me to hell."

Spike raised an eyebrow.

"Yeah, I guess that'd be you. I think seeing my picture nailed up was worse than if I HAD been tied. They had all Giles' books and they were going to burn everything."

"Indoors? Bloody amateurs."

"Yeah." Buffy agreed, with a short, humourless laugh.

* * * * *

"Can I spend the night?" Buffy asked, uncertainly, when they got back to the factory.

"Of course but won't your mum worry about you?"

Buffy made a sort choking sound and Spike realized that she was crying. He picked her up and limped towards the bed.

"Your knee." Buffy protested, between sobs.

"Isn't as bad, now. Dalton dug the bullet out, while we were waiting for you and I've had plenty of blood."

He sat down on his bed and held her in his arms, while she sobbed into his chest.

"That's it, love; let it all out."

"She was going to kill me. I know she was being influenced by an evil demon but I can't help the way I feel. I don't trust her and I'm not sure I can face her."

"You will, just not yet." Spike said, soothingly; stroking her hair. "My guess is, she feels bad too and is probably thinking that she can't face you yet, either."

"You can't imagine what it's like, having your mom go evil."

"Yeah, I can." Spike said, softly.

Buffy looked up into his eyes and saw something she had never seen in them before. Shame.

"Tell me." She whispered.

"Don't look at me... I can't if you're looking."

Buffy put her head back down on the damp patch on his chest and he began to speak.

"My mum was dying of TB. There was nothing the doctors could do, back then and I had to watch the person I loved more than anyone else in the world, cough blood, lose all her energy and her looks; waste away before my eyes. I felt so helpless, Buffy. I had to pretend that everything was alright, for her sake; pretend that I thought she'd get well, that the sight of her growing weaker each day, wasn't killing me. I knew how much she wanted me to be happy, so I went to parties, wrote my poetry and hoped that she could see me married, before she died.

"When Dru sired me, I went home to Mother. I didn't feel any different to how I felt when I was alive. I wanted to help her. I sired her, Buffy."

Buffy could feel his tears in her hair but his voice stayed steady. She didn't interrupt.

"When she rose, she was so beautiful. She looked younger, the way I remembered her from before but more so; she was glowing. For a moment, I actually believed that we'd be together and happy, forever." He sighed and for a couple of heartbeats, Buffy thought he wouldn't continue.

"She told me that more than anything, she wished to be free of me; that she had always hated me. She said that she wished she had murdered me at birth. Then she..." His voice started to catch and Buffy held him tighter.

"She said that she knew I had always wanted her... sexually and she tried to...touch..... I staked her, Buffy. She had transformed into her demon face and she looked hideous... I was responsible for that... I had wanted to save her and instead I had murdered her and polluted her with evil. In the instant before she dusted, she was her old self, again. It was like those old vampire films, where they stake the girl and she goes from being a ravening slut beast, to a corpse with the face of an angel. That's when I knew that I was truly evil and I should stake myself. Then Dru came into the room and I pretended that everything was all right.

"I was so empty inside and I so wanted to impress Dru, especially once I found out how much she loved Angelus. It was like a contest, who could be the most evil. I never looked back."

He looked down at Buffy and smiled through his tears.

"Until now." He said. "Your mum couldn't help herself, any more than mine could. At least your mum's still alive."

"Thank you. I know what it must have cost you, to tell me that."

"Actually, I feel better. That's been weighing on me for over a century and for the first time, I've realized that it wasn't her, telling me those awful things, it was just some demon."

"Maybe, tomorrow, I'll feel better about facing Mom."

"You will. Now, let's get some sleep."
Chapter 9 by velvet cat
Author's Notes:
Well here we are. Sorry it's been so long since I last posted, life stuff kept getting in the way. Enjoy!

…OR IS THIS THE DREAM THAT NEVER GOES AWAY?

CHAPTER 9

Buffy was in the park, when it happened. What should have been an easy kill, threw her down and twisted the stake in her hand, until its point was denting the skin over her heart.

“Let me know if I’m not doing this right.” The vampire said, smugly.

“You’re not doing it right.” Spike sneered, pulling the vampire up by his neck. He grabbed the stake, pushed it to the vampire’s chest. “This,” He said, pushing the stake a fraction of an inch in, “Doesn’t go in her, it goes in you.” He pushed the rest of the way and a cloud of dust scattered over Buffy.

“You alright, kitten?” He asked, helping her up.

“I don’t know. I felt really weak, if you hadn’t been here…”

“I’ll always be here for you. Let’s get you home.”

“I can’t be sick… my birthday..”

“I know, your dad’s taking you to the ice show.”

“Have I been going on about it?”

“Only extensively. I’ve got plans too, you know.”

“You have?”

“You’re only eighteen once. I intend to make it really special.”

He drove back to her mom’s house. As he’d hoped, Buffy and her mum had got over their various issues and were happy again. He’d been there for ‘first contact’ after the witch hunt fiasco and both Summers women had cried and hugged and he’d kept them supplied with ice cream.

The next day, Buffy turned up at the factory, straight from school.

“It’s got worse.” She said, miserably. “I’m officially weak and feeble. And I throw like a girl.”

“Maybe it’s a spell.” Spike said, carefully. “Give me your hand.”

Buffy put her hand in his.

“Now, squeeze, hard.”

Buffy did as she was told, hard as she could. Spike’s hand felt like granite. Was this what normal humans felt when they tried to fight vampires?

“Right.” He said, hiding the shock he felt at her feeble, human grip. “Something’s definitely wrong. I’ll do some research, you go home to your mum, she’s been twitchy enough, lately, without you being late home. I’ll patrol with you at sunset.”

“Giles says I shouldn’t patrol until I feel better.”

“Yeah, well, he doesn’t know that you have a bodyguard, does he.”

When Buffy met him in the cemetery, later, she was in an even worse mood than before.

“What’s up, kitten. Do you feel weaker? Are you OK to patrol?”

“It’s not that, it’s my dad. He bailed.”

“He’s not taking you out?”

“No, he sent the tickets and a lame excuse. You know, I really thought he enjoyed it as much as I do.”

“If he sent the tickets, then there’s no problem. I’ll take you.”

“I never thought you’d want to.”

“A night out with you, doing something that makes you happy, why wouldn’t I?”

“Don’t you think it’s lame?”

“No, of course not. Ice skating was very popular, when I was growing up. My granny used to tell me how she skated on the Thames during the last frost fair.”

“Huh?”

“England had a little ice age from the 1600s ‘til the early 1800s. The river Thames in London would freeze so thick, they’d set up shops on it. Before my time but granny saw the last one. 1814, if I remember rightly.”

“So you don’t mind coming with me?”

“To tell you the truth, I was jealous of your dad, getting to go, instead of me.”

“Have I mentioned, lately, just how much I love you, Spike?”

“Yeah but I never get tired of hearing it.”

He kissed Buffy, passionately but then abruptly stopped. He pulled away, slightly and sniffed.

“What’s wrong?”

“You smell different..”

“New shampoo?”

“No, your blood. Let’s get back to the car.”

He drove her to the factory, got her into the bedroom and asked her to take her top off. Then he started to sniff her.

“Spike, you’re being majorly weird.”

“You’ve been injected with something.” He replied, gesturing to her right arm.

“What, someone gave me a shot? I’d remember.” Buffy protested, looking at the tiny pinprick on the inside of her elbow.

“Whatever you’ve been dosed with, is interfering with your slayer powers, that’s why the mark’s still there, you’re healing slower.”

“Does that mean it’ll wear off?”

“Hopefully but we really have to figure out who did it.”

“It’s so creepy, the only time it could have happened was when I was asleep. Someone must have snuck in my bedroom.”

“Possibly more than once.”

“Don’t make it worse.”

“I’m serious. You said that this has come over you slowly, like a sickness?”

Buffy nodded.

“Well, to me, that suggests more than one dose. A cumulative effect.”

“Should I see if Willow can do a protection spell?”

“No. That would just keep whoever it is, out. I’d rather catch them in the act. When you get home, I’ll slip in your bedroom window and keep watch, while you sleep. Any nasty tries to mess with you tonight’ll have me to answer to.”

Abruptly, Buffy started to laugh.

“What?” Spike asked, puzzled.

“It’ll be like that old ‘Dracula’ film, where the boyfriend watches over his girl, to protect her from the vampire. Except, he always hangs around outside her room and Drac gets her. I’ll be loads safer and it’ll be the vampire protecting me.”

Spike sniggered.

“I’d be happy to see that ponce, he owes me eleven pounds.”

“Dracula exists? Wait, eleven pounds of what?”

“11, English money. Around $15, give or take.”

“Grudge holdy much?”

“Thing is, when I loaned it him, the average weekly wage was less than a pound, so call it three months worth of average wages, now. Quite a tidy sum and that‘s without charging him interest. Plus, of course, all the trouble he caused vampire kind with that damn book.”

“Not so much fiction, huh?”

“Dressed up as fiction, certainly but enough truth to keep people informed. How to kill us, how to keep us out…”

“You like garlic, though.”

“Yeah, always have, being dead didn’t change that. Made me a bit sick at the start but I persevered.”

“I love that about you. That you’re so different. Makes me feel safe.”

* * * * *

In the hour before dawn, Spike reluctantly left a wide awake Buffy, hopefully safe, in her room. This whole business was bothering him. He’d never heard of a slayer losing her power and he was fairly certain that Buffy’s theory that she wasn’t the real slayer, was rubbish. Up until recently, she had been the strongest slayer he had ever fought, he couldn’t see that having Kendra in the world would change that.

If Buffy lost her powers permanently, it would change their relationship. He would have to be careful not to accidentally hurt her and he would have to protect her from all the nasties that lurked in the dark but he loved her so much that a change in lifestyle would pose few problems.

Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that. He had Dalton researching - something the book loving vampire ‘lived’ for - if there was something to find, he’d find it. Spike, meanwhile, was planning a birthday that Buffy would never forget.

* * * * *

They had had a wonderful evening. Buffy had dressed up and Spike had hired a stretch limo, complete with chauffeur. During the drive, he had handed her a velvet box containing a diamond necklace to match the ear rings that he had given her for Christmas. He had tenderly fastened it around her neck and teasingly kissed her jugular. She had shivered with anticipation.

Now, they were on their way back to Sunnydale, where Buffy was going to stop off at her mom’s to pick up an overnight bag, before spending the night with Spike. Buffy was amazed that her mom was being so cool about her and Spike. Then again, as her mom had said, what was the point of saying no, when Buffy had already spent the night!

* * * * *

The front door was open. Buffy and Spike raced from the car, knowing that something was badly wrong.

“Your phones were off.” Dalton said, from the shadows.

“Where’s my mom?”

“She’s still alive. She’s in a derelict building across town, with two vampires. One of them is Kralik.”

“What happened?” Buffy demanded, at the same time as Spike swore under his breath.

“Your watcher set the whole thing up. He’s been making you weak, on purpose, for some kind of test.”

“Giles? He wouldn’t do that. Would he?” She said, as she suddenly remembered zoning out while looking into one of Giles’ damn crystals. Could he have given her a shot, then?

“Apparently all slayers go through this, when…if they reach eighteen.”

“How do you know all this?” Spike asked.

“Kralik’s new minion is a member of the watchers council. They had Kralik imprisoned, ready for the test but he escaped. He killed one watcher and sired the other. He wants to sire Buffy. Her mother’s just bait.”

“I’ll rescue your mum, Buffy. You stay here, where it’s safe.” Spike said. Before Buffy could protest, he ran back to the limo and told the chauffeur that they were finished, for the night.

Buffy was fuming.

“I’m coming with you, I can’t just hide here like some… girl.

“But your powers…”

“I’m more than just super strength. The council must think so too, or why this test? She’s my mom. I’m coming with you.”

Dalton drove, explaining how he had overheard the newly sired watcher, bragging at Willy’s. He had followed the minion and found out where the test was to take place and also ascertained that Joyce was still alive. Unable to raise either Spike or Buffy, on their phones, he had gone to the one place that he knew they would come to. He had planned to leave a note but Spike and Buffy had arrived back.

Outside the derelict boarding house, Spike and Buffy got out of the car.

“Stay here and wait.” Spike said to Dalton, “We may have to leave in a hurry.”

Buffy was already heading inside. Spike swore and raced after her.

Buffy was officially creeped out. The place felt like a Halloween haunted house, where she knew that there was a monster waiting. She wanted to call out to her mom but she knew that she couldn’t betray her own position. She felt Spike behind her.

“Your mum’s downstairs, I can smell her perfume.” Spike said, quietly.

“What’s this Kralik like?” Buffy whispered, as they looked for a door to the basement.

“Insane. He was a serial killer before he was turned. He got addicted to prescription drugs while in a institution for the criminally insane and his addiction persisted. He needs drugs more than he needs blood.” Spike explained, quietly. He gestured to a dark corner of the second room, where they was a doorway.

“Do you have any weapons?” Buffy asked, inwardly cursing her pocket less dress.

“Of course.” Spike opened his coat, to reveal customized pockets with a selection of vamp-unfriendly items. Buffy took something out.

“Isn’t it dangerous for you to carry this?” She asked.

“S’pose.” Spike murmured. “Take the crossbow, too.”

Buffy complied and when she was ready, they crept down the stairs.

The haunted house feeling intensified, as they walked down into almost total darkness. Spike went first, for the purely practical reason that his night vision was better. Not for the first time, Buffy wished that night vision came with the slayer package.

The stairs were old and every time one creaked, Buffy held her breath, listening for Kralik but they got all the way down, without incident.

They passed through a room full of Polaroid photos which featured Kralik gloating over a terrified Joyce. Buffy bit her lip at the thought of what her mom had endured while Buffy herself had been having such a good time. If anything had happened to her mom, Buffy would never forgive herself.

Joyce was tied to a chair, unconscious. Her head was bleeding and her face was bruised. Kralik had obviously been amusing himself, while he waited for Buffy to show.

Spike snapped the ropes and picked Joyce up.

“You can move faster than me, get her outside.” Buffy whispered.

“I can’t leave you here.”

“She needs a hospital, get out, then come back. I’ll be right behind you.”

Reluctantly, Spike sped off, with Joyce’s limp body in his arms.

He moved so fast, he was a blur as he flowed back up the stairs. Buffy followed, her slayer powers gone, she couldn’t sense any vampire presence in the house but she knew that Kralik would be waiting, somewhere. He was probably going to strike when Buffy was alone.

He jumped her at the top of the stairs.

Spike hurriedly put Joyce in the back of his car, making sure that she was secure.

“Hospital.” He said, tersely, to Dalton. “Now.”

He ran back to the house as the car sped away.

Buffy snatched the pills from Kralik’s hand and threw them over his shoulder to the far side of the room. He hit her across the face and, while she was reeling from the blow, chased after his pills. Franticly, he opened the bottle, stuck two in his mouth and washed them down with the conveniently placed glass of water.

Buffy was climbing to her feet as he turned back to her. Kralik could feel his insides boiling and realized that something was terribly wrong.

"My pills…?"

Buffy smiled, holding up the, now empty, bottle of holy water, that she had taken from Spike’s pocket.

"My water." She said, with a smile, and then ducked as an enraged Kralik used his last moments to hurl his glass at her. The glass broke on the wall behind her and a large chunk of it buried itself in Buffy’s neck.

Spike ran into the room, just in time to stop Buffy from pulling the glass out.

"You can’t, it’s embedded in your jugular, pull it out and you bleed to death."

"Hospital?"

"Too risky. I can fix it but only if…do you trust me?"

"Yes, of course I…" Buffy’s voice trailed off as she looked into Spike’s eyes and her reality was engulfed in an ocean of blue.

Spike gazed into her thralled eyes and swallowed. He hated doing this but this time he had no choice.

"You want to make me happy…" He murmured, his voice barely audible. "It’s sooo easy to make me happy….such a simple little thing….hear your heart beating….way too fast…slow it down for me….that’s it, kitten….slooow it right down…make me sooo happy….reeeally slow…."

The thrall sank deep inside Buffy’s subconscious and started to influence her autonomic systems. Her breathing slowed and her heartbeat began to do the same.

As soon as he judged her heart to have slowed enough, Spike deftly pulled the glass shard out and fastened his mouth over the wound. Instead of an arterial spurt hitting the back of his throat, there was just a warm trickle on his tongue. He swallowed, unable to resist, then nicked his tongue on one of his fangs and worked his blood deep into her wound. The tear in her jugular slowly closed and he sucked gently at her skin, until all that was left of the cut was a small red scar. He lowered her limp body to the nearest couch, as he heard someone moving in the next room.

From his hiding place behind the door, Spike watched as Quentin Travers came in and stared at Buffy. Her face was bruised and there were blood stains on her cream coloured dress. He sighed and pulled a cell phone out of his pocket.

"It’s me…..Yes, the plan worked, she’s dead….I’ll clean up here, you perform the spell." He put the phone back in his pocket and walked over to Buffy.

Spike slammed the door closed and Travers automatically looked up. His eyes met Spike’s and in that instant, Spike had him.

"You want to make me happy…"

Travers tilted his head to one side and began to unbutton his shirt.

“I don’t want your blood.” Spike could hardly contain his disgust at the thought of tasting the blood of this vermin, who had obviously plotted Buffy’s death.

Travers looked passively at his new master.

“I want information. Why do you want Buffy dead?” Spike asked, clenching his hands into fists and fighting the urge to rip the watcher into bloody pieces.

* * * * *

Buffy opened her eyes. She felt safe and warm and she wasn’t in any pain. That couldn’t be right. Kralik had hit her and thrown her into a wall and then she had had broken glass in her neck. She should be in pain. She sat up.

She was on Spike’s bed and, for some reason, it was covered in red rose petals. They felt soft and the air was full of their scent.

“I’m sorry, pet.” Spike said, gently. “I set this up before we went out. I wanted tonight to be so special.” He looked close to tears.

“What happened, Spike? Is my mom…?” Buffy couldn’t say the word.

“No, Buffy, no; she’s not dead.” Spike said, reassuringly. “Dalton got her to the hospital. Slight concussion but she’ll be fine.”

“What, then?”

“She doesn’t remember you.”

“She has amnesia? How long do they think it will last?”

“It’s not amnesia. The watchers council set the whole thing up. They wanted you dead and they didn’t want any comebacks, after. As soon as they thought it was over, one of them performed a spell. Anyone who knew you, forgot you ever existed.”

“What? How?…It’s not possible. You remember me.”

“I don’t think that the spell covered the demon world. Just humans.”

“Can we undo it?”

“The watcher that performed it, is in England; he’s the only person who can remember you. I figure he can reverse it.”

“We’ll go persuade him.” Buffy said, a look of grim determination in her eyes.

* * * * *

Buffy got out of the car and walked up to her front door. She had closed it, earlier and now, she seemed to have lost her key. She could have kicked it in but she didn’t want her mom to come home to that. Spike took a piece of wire and picked the lock.

Buffy went in. Spike tried to follow but was stopped by an invisible barrier.

“Come in, Spike.” Buffy said.

Spike stepped forward again and again he couldn’t cross the threshold.

“You can’t invite me in, Buffy. You don’t live here any more.”

Tears running down her face, Buffy raced up the stairs to her room.

It was a pleasant enough room, as spare rooms go. The single bed wasn’t made up and the walls were a blank neutral colour. The drawers and closets were empty, except for spare bedding.

Buffy was rooted to the spot with horror. She no longer existed.

She had come back home for two reasons, firstly to look for her passport and secondly because, deep down, she didn’t believe what Travers had told Spike.

“Buffy, are you OK in there?” Spike called up the stairs from the front door.

“No,” she whispered, taking a last, long look at her once bedroom. She went down the stairs, slowly; taking in the lack of family photos in the living room. Tears rolling down her face, she closed the front door behind her and fell into Spike’s arms.

“Take me home.” She murmured into his chest.

“Tell me everything.” She said to Spike, once they were back at the factory.

“They never wanted you to be the slayer.” He said. “It seems that they have seers to tell them which girls have the potential and then the watchers find them and adopt them, forcibly. They raise them to know what to expect, if they’re called. They didn’t know about you, I guess seers don‘t see everything. Apparently they lost three slayers in quick succession and they didn’t find out about you until after you were called.

“Mostly, the watchers believed that you would be killed quite soon because you’d had no formal training. They assigned watchers to you and waited.

“Obviously, you didn’t die.”

“That once…” Buffy said, snuggling closer to Spike; the scent of crushed rose petals intensifying.

“Yes. Kendra was called then and they had what they wanted. An obedient slayer.”

“So they tried to get me killed?”

“Not officially. Dalton was right, they do this whenever a slayer reaches her eighteenth birthday. It’s called ‘tento di cruciamentum‘, it’s an old tradition. If the slayer is easy to control, she gets a fledgling and if the slayer is the free thinking type…”

“They get someone like Kralik.”

“Yeah. They figured you’d die. They knew Giles would be upset and they were fairly certain that your mum would cause problems, so they used the spell. It’s like you never existed. Kendra is on her way here, now. She’s going to take care of the hell mouth, from now on.”

“Where’s Travers?” Buffy asked.

“Ah, Buffy, about that…”

“Did you kill him?” Buffy asked, looking up at his face.

“No. I wanted to but I knew that you wouldn’t approve, so I…”

“You don’t do stuff, if you think I wouldn’t approve?”

“Course not; I think ‘what would Buffy do?’ and I figured you wouldn’t kill him.”

“You’re so perfect.” Buffy said, kissing him, “But in this case, you’re wrong.”

“No, I’m not. You’re not a killer, Buffy.”

“What did you do with him?”

“Once I’d got all the information, I messed with his head a bit and then dumped him out on the highway. It’ll be hot, out in the desert but he’ll get picked up. When he does, he’ll confess to murdering a young girl, matching your description. He’s carrying so much guilt, over your death, that he’ll end up confined to an institution for the rest of his life.”

“Why would he feel guilty? He wanted me dead.”

“He feels guilt because I told him to. I had him in my thrall.” Spike looked away, unable to meet her eyes.

“Like you did me.”

“Yeah. I didn’t mess with you though.”

“I know. You are the reason that I woke up feeling so good, though, aren’t you?”

“Yeah. That’s one of the reasons I don’t do thrall. To much temptation. Also, it’s cheating.”

“Angel said you couldn’t do it. He said Drusilla could but you couldn’t.”

He couldn’t. If he’d found out I could…”

“He’d have killed you.” Buffy finished.

“And then some. I was never as good at it as Dru - she could make a whole room full of people line up and offer their throats - but I was good enough to keep the minions in line, Dru never twigged, either.”

“How do we get to England? I’ve got no passport.”

“I’ve got that sorted, you’ll have one by tomorrow night. Then we’re booked on a ship.”

“A ship? Why not fly?”

“The sun, pet. I’ve booked us a suite and specified thick curtains. We’ll board at night and disembark at night. By the time we reach England, you’ll be up to full strength again.”

“I’m feeling better, already.” Buffy said, kissing him again. “And it seems a shame to waste these rose petals.”

They made love slowly and tenderly; Spike going gently, so as not to hurt his weakened slayer. As they were about to climax, he ran his tongue longingly over the scar from her earlier wound.

“Do it, Spike; I’m yours.” Buffy gasped, as she bit into his neck.

“And I’m yours.” he replied, sinking his fangs into her.

They both climaxed, simultaneously and darkness engulfed them both.

Chapter End Notes:
So, that's the end but not to worry, there will be sequels, set in England, coming soon.


This story archived at http://spikeluver.com/SpuffyRealm/viewstory.php?sid=35955