Chapter 1

Spike sat on the edge of the mausoleum roof he'd scaled and lit a cigarette.  He had a view over the entire cemetery from there.  He considered the 'hunt for a slayer' urge that had led him here in the first place and the need for somewhere to hole up when the sun rose.  And somewhere to lick his wounds.  He fingered the deep gashes on his cheek left by Dru's sharp talons -- still there after almost three days as testament to her fury at him failing to off the Slayer -- and recalled the row that had him storming out of their lair and and heading to the cemetery. 

/"Where is she?  You promised me a Slayer, told me I would be able to drink her dry.  You're covered in her... you reek of sunbeams and purity."  She lashed out, biting and clawing at him until his face ran red with blood.  He didn't want to hurt her, but when she was out of control like this it was tempting to punch her senseless.  He managed to grip her wrists finally. 

"Dru, love – she had her bloody mum there with her!   I was just about to brain her when up trots Mum and smacks me over the head with a dirty great axe.  I barely escaped with my hide!" 

"Coward!  Running away like a weak human.  Angelus wouldn't run.  Darla would feast on their flesh and bathe in their blood.  BUT YOU…” she screeched.  “You're beneath me!!” That was when she'd gone berserk and gouged the deep gashes on his cheek, so shocked was he that he'd let go of her hands and she was too quick for him. 

Those words were destined to haunt him.  Beneath her, was he?  He'd show her.  Thought he was weak?  Well, just wait until he offed the Slayer and delivered the carcass to her as a love gift.  That would shut her up.  He was even more determined than ever to bag his third Slayer.  He may be love's bitch but he was no weakling. 

"Yeah?  You think so?  How many Slayers did Angelus kill, or Darla?  Or you for that matter.  The only one with any balls in this sorry family is me, so shut your mouth!  And when I get back you'd better be ready to drop to your knees and beg to take back your words."   

Snarling, Spike had strode out of their hideaway making sure that Dalton and the lesser minions not worthy of his notice would look after Drusilla until his return.  Just because she'd made him angry, didn't mean he didn't love her.  He worshipped her.  And he'd prove that he was every bit demon enough for her by delivering on his promise./ 

He'd asked around after the current Slayer and found out a good bit more about her, other than she had a feisty mum.  She was tricky, that was clear enough.  He hadn't reckoned on a Slayer being aided and abetted in her slaying by her nearest and dearest.  But they were only human, so therefore extremely breakable.  Shouldn't be a problem for a master vampire; hell, he always did like a three course meal.  And there was her Watcher, some guy called Rupert or something.  Well that struck terror into his very bones!  Not.  He'd be your regular Watchers Council smart arse no doubt, equipped to read books and waffle like all the rest.  Wouldn't be a problem. 

And so here he was contemplating a plan.  Or an opportunity.  He'd take either. 

Musing on his options, Spike noticed a flash of light and the sound of breaking glass coming from the large house beyond the cemetery walls.  He stood to get a better view, eyes yellowing as he vamped out to take advantage of the enhanced eyesight afforded by his demon.  He saw a figure, a girl, hardly pause as she crashed through the glass door and roll off the balcony to the ground below.  A guy in a hooded robe followed her out and peered over the balcony then rushed back inside. 

Spike switched his attention to the girl, now on her feet and sprinting for the trees that bordered the cemetery wall.  Five robed figures burst through the door on the ground floor and chased after her, the girl risking a glance back over her shoulder that had her stumble.  Panic giving her extra strength, she scrambled to her feet and continued her flight, reaching the wall and climbing over with the aid of a tree branch, dropping to the other side.  The vampire watched with interest; looked like dinner was being delivered tonight.  All he had to do was head her off at the – no!  Some bugger had got there before him, one of the pack had raced ahead and she'd run straight into him. 

Oh sod it, he could fight off a monk or whatever the hell he was.  After all, the girl looked downright tasty and he was well overdue a treat after the hell of the last week…  He dropped soundlessly to the ground and made his way towards the girl who was now surrounded by her pursuers.  But before he could reach them, they started to lead her back to the house, discussing the forthcoming party at the Delta Zeta Kappa fraternity house and the ritual sacrifice to be made to Machida.   

"Well, well, well Spike old son – looks like you've got yourself an invite to a fraternity bash.  Been a while..." he muttered to himself as he watched them go, concealed in the shadows. 

May as well have some fun while he tracked the Slayer, study her moves before he ripped out her throat.  That first night he'd seen her at the Bronze had whet his appetite for some hand-to-hand knockabout with her, and their little snarkfest at the school had him even more anxious to slap her around a bit before delivering the coup de grâce.  In the meantime, he'd heard of this Machida guy – half snake, half man and with a reputation as a big player among the rich and the ruthless.  It would kill some time, get him some beer, maybe some drugs and fresh, young blood at the very least. It was an amusement he'd be foolish to turn down.  Sensing the impending sunrise he returned to the crypt he'd chosen to bunk down in and curled up, wrapped in his duster, dreaming of Slayer blood sliding down his throat. 

+ + + + + 

Buffy and Willow chatted companionably on their way to class the next morning, clutching their books as they negotiated around their fellow students. 

"You dreamed about Angel again?" 

Buffy nodded.  "Third night in a row." 

"What did he do in the dream?"  Willow was eager for details, the daily deconstruction of Buffy's dream world romance being her equivalent of teen magazines. 

Buffy blushed.  "Stuff." 

"Oh! Stuff!  Was it one of those vivid dreams where you could feel his lips and smell his hair?" 

 Buffy grinned, her smile a mile wide.  "It had surroundsound.  I'm just thinking about him so much lately." 

In a burst of happy girly dreams, Willow sighed, her hand on her heart. "You two are so right for each other.  Except for the, uh..." 

"Vampire thing." 

"That doesn't make him a bad person.  Necessarily." 

Buffy stopped in her tracks, eyes wide and her lips set in a pout.  "I'm brainsick.  I can't have a relationship with him." 

Willow wasn't ready to abandon her version of love's young dream.  She was hopeless at dating, but that didn't mean she couldn't assist Cupid and get some vicarious feel-good vibes.   

"Not during the day, but you could ask him for coffee some night.  It's the non-relationship drink of choice." 

Clumsy feet caught them up.   

Willow flashed Xander a shy smile.  She still had dreams about him that she wouldn't share with anybody.   Dreams in which Xander... did stuff.  She carried on with her encouraging words.  "It's not a date; it's a caffeinated beverage.  Okay, sure – it's hot and bitter like a relationship that way, but..." 

Xander butted in.  "What's like a relationship?"

Buffy chuckled as they continued walking.  "Nothing I have.  Coffee." 

Xander did his patented idiot boy double take, looking between his two best friends and coming up blank.  "Huh?" 

He'd never understand girls. And therein lay the problem... 

Buffy tutted as she remembered she had elsewhere to be.  "Oh!  I told Giles I'd meet him in the library ten minutes ago! Aw, he won't be upset.  There hasn't been much paranormal activity lately."  Telling her friends she'd catch up with them later, she wandered over to the library as ordered. 

She was dismayed to find Giles pacing and lecturing her, despite the lack of Hellmouth happenings. 

"Just because the paranormal is more normal and less... para of late, it is no excuse for tardiness or letting your guard down." 

Buffy tried her pout.  It didn't work on Giles, but she lived in hope.  "I haven't let my guard down." 

"Oh really?  You yawned your way through weapons training last week, you… you… you skipped hand-to-hand entirely.  Are you going to be prepared if a demon springs up behind you and does this?" 

Buffy easily grabbed the arm he thrust over her shoulder and pulled it up behind him, forcing him to bend over and wince in pain.  She raised her eyebrow. 

Giles voice was muffled with pain.  "Yes, well – I'm, I'm not a demon.  Which is why you should let go now." 

Buffy walked away from him, turning to face him with her arms crossed. 

"Thank you."  He risked a glance at his Slayer as he straightened and rubbed his wrist.  "When you live on top of a... a mystical convergence it's only a matter of time before a fresh hell breaks loose.  Now is the time that you should train more strictly, you should hunt and patrol more keenly, you should hone your skills day and night." 

Buffy flounced over to sit on the edge of the desk, exasperated by her Watcher's attitude.  He really didn't get it. 

"And the little slice of life that still belongs to me from, I don't know, seven to seven-oh-five in the morning, can I do what I want then?" 

Rupert Giles ached for Buffy, he really did.  But his job was not to cosset her and give in to her pleas.  His job was to keep her alive.  And he'd do that whatever it took.  But still, sitting there, young and fresh-faced and with that damn pout... 

"Buffy, you think I don't know what it's like to be sixteen?" 

"No.  I think you don't know what it's like to be sixteen. And a girl.  And the Slayer." 

"Fair enough.  No – no, I don't" 

"Or, what it's like to have to stake vampires while you're having fuzzy feelings towards one?" 

Ah.  He'd wondered how long they'd go without the subject of Angel coming up.  So far Angel had proved rather useful with his information and hadn't made any attempts on their lives.  But he still didn't trust him.  If he had his way, the distance that had appeared between Buffy and her vampire suitor would remain the same, if not widen. He made a non-committal sound. 

"Giles, digging on the undead doesn't exactly do wonders for your social life." 

"That's exactly where, where being...different, uh, comes in handy." 

"Right!  Who needs a social life when you've got your very own Hellmouth." 

A social life?  A Slayer with a social life?  Had he taught her nothing?  Really, he did his best, but this was too much. 

"You, you – you have a duty, a-a-a purpose.  You have a commitment in life.  Now how many people your age can say that?" 

"We talkin' foreign or domestic?  How about none?"  

The pout was working overtime, and the attitude.  God, she tried his patience.  He may be tweed-clad and obedient to the Council now, but that hadn't always been the way.  In days gone by he'd been quick to anger and even quicker to act.  He tried to repress the Ripper-like thoughts that raced through his brain, and his voice was harsh when he spoke. 

"Well, here's a hard fact of life: we all have to do things we don't like!  And you have hand-to-hand this afternoon and patrol tonight.  So, I… I suggest you come straight here at the end of period six – and you get your homework done.  And don't dawdle with your friends."   

More pouting.  He tried to look away, he really did... 

"And, and don't think sitting there pouting is gonna get to me, because it won't." 

He risked a glance.  That bloody lip! 

"It's not getting to me..." 

+ + + + +  

It was as a result of Giles’ endless ragging on her about her training that she'd half agreed to go to the fraternity party with Cordelia.  She was still thinking about it to be honest, and the longer she thought about it the more attractive it seemed.  The guy, Tom, was hot and nice and he seemed to like her.  And really, what else was on offer?  A night of patrols and ‘constructive criticism’ from Giles, followed by a brief non-confrontation with Angel, wherein they chatted aimlessly about nothing much before he disappeared into the night.  That was what.  Way to go good-time girl! 

Still, after some more hand-to-hand training with Giles, which resulted in him nursing bruised ribs, she was now patrolling.  Alone.  Again. 

A glint of something shiny caught her attention and she stooped to pick it up; an identity bracelet, broken so that she couldn't read the inscription.  Vampire tinglies at the back of her neck made her aware of Angel's presence before he even spoke. 

"There's blood on it." 

Buffy turned to face him, a smile creeping across her face despite her not wanting to make him feel too certain of her delight that he was there.  And despite her protestations to herself, she was really pleased to see him. 

"Hi.  It's nice to... Blood?"  She looked down at the slender bracelet in her hands; she couldn't see any marks on it at all. 

"I can smell it." 

Ewww.  "Oh.  It's pretty thin.  It probably belonged to a girl."  Babbling now, Buffy tried to keep her heart from racing and her face from showing a blush.   


Well, this was awkward.  Buffy felt compelled to break the silence; maybe she should follow the advice she'd given Willow so long ago and seize the day. 

"I - I was...just thinking, wouldn't it be funny sometime to see each other when it wasn't a blood thing.  Not funny ha-ha..." 

Angel creased his already furrowed brow and dipped his head.  He'd been afraid of this.  "What are you saying, you wanna have a date?" 

Buffy sighed.  "No." 

"You don't wanna have a date?" 

"Who said date?  I – I never said date." 

"Right.  You just want to have coffee or something." 

Spike listened from the shadows.  He'd discovered the Slayer's address by systematically dusting a nest of vamps until one of them squealed.  Of course, he'd just carried on and finished the rest of them off when he had it, just for the hell of it.  He had a reputation to keep after all.  So, he'd lurked outside until she slipped out of the window and followed her to the cemetery.  He was just getting an idea of her style when he realised she was being followed, and by a vampire of his line no less.  Seemed the rumours he'd taunted his pussy whipped grandsire with were right.  Not only had Angel permanently lost the 'us' that made him marginally interesting, he was now moping round after the Slayer like a lovesick puppy.  Made Spike want to puke. 

He watched his bloody poofter grandsire failing to get groiny with the Slayer, despite the fact that she obviously had the hots for him.  It made him sick, really, and ashamed – Peaches couldn't even get into the knickers of a willing teen.  Loser.  Now he was telling her he was too old for her, saying he was two hundred and forty one.  The girl was pouting and all but stripping herself bare, offering herself to him but to no avail.  Angel.  What a tosspot.  But, still – knowing the Slayer was up for some vampire loving was good to know.  This could work to his advantage; if Peaches wasn’t willing to oblige, he wouldn’t say no to a taste of prime Slayer if it was going begging. 

It could be fun – shagging a Slayer instead of just offing one.  Maybe this sojourn to Sunnydale was going to have an upside after all. 

Spike considered having another go at his former mentor once the Slayer had skedaddled, finish off the fight they'd started in the high school when his grandsire had tried to trick him by pretending to offer up the Slayer's soppy friend.  But he had other things more pressing to deal with.  Time enough to see to the ensouled vampire when he was back in Dru's good books.  Maybe he'd even take her daddy to see her if she behaved.  He knew he could best Angel now having seen how whipped the sad git was, and that would wait for one good day. 

So he let the dark haired vampire go, heading off in search of the town's demon bar.