Pain and friendship saga.

Author: Fayth


Couple: W/S

Rating: PG all innocent so far.

Distribution: want. Take. Have. Let me know.

Disclaimer: if I owned them I would make Spike forget Buffy and love Wills- oh he would be a lot more naked.

Feedback: Really, I reply to everyone who sends it.

Spoilers: Takes place after Oz leaves Will kinda turns AU.

Summary: Pain and a helping hand

Dedication: To sugarmouse and  Callie and Spiderqueen who does kickass W/S and unknowingly helped me stay sane through my exams with her fics!

Authors notes: Oz left Will after Veruca and they never had sex. Spike is chipped and had little crush on Buffy- I know this messes with The BTVS timeline but don't care!



~Part: 1~

She wrapped her arms around her middle as if to protect it from blows and bowed her head against the wind as she made her way through the cemetery. With her dark hair curling around her neck and framing her pale face and the look of pure pain echoing in her eyes there was no doubt that willow was engulfed in a private world of torment and anguish.

He watched her from the shadows, his cigarette a small flicker of light in the darkness. He sighed with unneeded air and followed her fragile form with his eyes.

Around her friends she kept a bright smile and bubbling conversation ready to convince them she was fine. But Spike could tell the smiles rarely reached her eyes and the haunted look never left them.

He had no idea what transpired between Willow and Oz after she had found him the Wolf-bitch but from the way she had appeared afterwards it had not been an amicable break-up.

Strangely Spike had felt drawn to her after that and all thoughts of the slayer had fled. He'd been used and abused by Drusilla in much the same way and felt a kinship with the cute Red-head.  Her stupid pals the scoobies had no clue how the girl felt and probably didn't care- as long as she wasn't moaning and they didn't have to hear about it they could care less. > Bloody Useless- the lot of them! < He stepped out of the shadows but nothing registered to Willow. > Stupid chit will get herself killed if she's not careful <

"Pet, not a good idea to be out here all alone." He said. She started at his words but relaxed as it registered who the speaker was.

"Spike." Not a greeting or question just an acknowledgment that he was there. The sadness in her voice almost broke his unbeating heart. Suddenly she recalled who he was and she struggled to dredge up a smile and unwrapped her arms from around her waist. Taking a deep breathe she tried for casual happiness.

"H-Hey Spike, how's it going- you with the lurking, you're a little too good at that."

Spike smirked "Nice try, pet."

"What?" she was confused

"That cute babbling thing only works if you don't look like someone just killed your puppy."

"I don't have a puppy." The smile fell and her voice sounded hollow "I had fish but it ended badly."

Spike's heart went out to her "You should get one; treat you better than dog-boy did."

Willow tensed at Spike's nickname for Oz and fought not to defend him. "What do you want Spike?"

"I don't like seeing you unhappy, it's blooding depressing watching you walk around like someone died." He knew it was the wrong thing to say as soon as his mouth closed.

Tears formed in her eyes "I'm trying!" she bit out in despair.

"I know luv," he said gently and moved closer to her "I'm trying to say that you shouldn't have to pretend around real friends, they should comfort you like I know you've done for them especially the bleedin' slayer. And you don't have to pretend around me." He reached up and wiped an errant tear from her cheek/

"Why?" she sniffed

"I understand, I get the whole suffering thing." He explained.

"Right, you've caused enough." She looked down at the ground

He grasped her chin with his fingertips and raised her head until she met his eyes

"No." he replied firmly "Your not the only one who has someone hurt them." He grinned wryly "I'm the original love's bitch."

"Drusilla, oh Spike 'm sorry I didn't even think!" she stroked his arm and once again Spike marvelled at the girls capacity for caring. Here she was swimming in pain and yet she tries to comfort a monster who has tried to kill her on numerous occasions.

Overwhelmed he pulled her into a hug and rested his cheek on top of her head. After a startled moment she returned his embrace. > It feels so good to have someone understand even if it is Spike < she thought and nestled closer. He stroked her hair as they were both comforted by the closeness.

"We'll be okay you know. We're both strong and we can deal with it. Sod 'em all." He murmured into her hair and she nodded.

"But it hurts so much Spike." Closing her eyes she lost herself in the sensation of Spikes hand caressing her head.

"I know but neither of us is alone now, right?" he asked hopefully

"Promise?" her eyes pleaded

He grinned "I promise Red, we're friends right?"

"Friends." She agreed the spark returning to her eyes for the first time in weeks.

He held out his hand and she took it.

"C'mon pet, let's get you home."

So the Witch and the Vampire walked hand in hand through the dark cemetery united in pain and friendship. And no longer alone.

~Part: 2~ Research

>O.k. so bored< thought Willow as she turned the page of yet another demon volume.

They'd been researching for this damn demon forever and even she, who normally liked the research, was bored to death.

A movement from besides her made her grin as she re-evaluated her last sentence, bored beyond death.

She turned and looked at a restless Spike who was dead and still bored. He noticed her watching and gave her a wry smile.

"Do we have to research this bloody thing until every one else here is dead?" he complained.

"Yes," replied Buffy irately "I need to know how to kill it."

"So stake it, cut off its head, pull of its horns. Dismember it and set fire to all the pieces." He retorted

Willow bit back another grin "That does cover all bases." She caught Spike's eye and saw the sparkle of humour as they shared the joke.

Since that night two weeks ago, the two of them had gotten a lot closer and found that they had a lot in common- such as sense of humour. They walked home together talking about everything and nothing until the early hours, they also tried to keep each other amused during research parties. Most of all they supported each other, when one felt down the other would be there to listen, to talk and to offer comfort.

> Funny, Spike probably knows me better than Buffy ever did. < Willow marvelled at this.

Giles rolled his eyes "Yes it certainly does, however we need to be sure what it."

"Got it," interrupted Willow as she caught sight of a small engraving on the next page. "It's a Suncus demon, killed by fire and eewww has a mucus thing you should watch out for Buff." She handed the book to Giles.

"That's it good job Willow."

"Yeah, you go Wills, now can we go?" Xander asked

"Yes we'd like to have sex now." Said Anya enthusiastically

"Wouldn't want to cut into that five minutes." Spike replied causing Willow to giggle.

"Hey dead boy junior, jealous much? The only action you'll be getting tonight will be of the demon variety." There was a pause

"Um Xander," Willow said helpfully. "So will you."

Spike burst out laughing as a chagrined Xander turned to his ex-demon girlfriend "Sorry honey."

"Me too, but I need you guys to help with slayage; this demon could be anywhere. So no smootchies." Buffy added regretfully

"Ah Slayer, I'm sure if you asked nicely one of the demons would oblige you," Spike smirked at his insult and the look on the slayers face "Maybe."

"Oh wassa matter Spike, missing your loony?" Xander challenged and was rewarded by the tightening of Spike's jaw.

"Hey." Shouted Willow coming to Spike's defence "That was uncalled for, how would you like it if we kept bringing up your ex's Bug-boy?"

Everyone stared open mouthed at sweet caring Willow insulting her lifelong best friend.

"Will," Xander tried. "I was just."

"Don't." she stated "Those insults arte below the belt and off the repartee ok?" Silence. "O.k.?" she put on her resolve face.

"Sure Will." Xander gave in. "No jokes about Ex's."

Buffy chuckled "C'mon Will, its just Spike."

Willow turned on the blonde "Ok so it'll be alright if everyone brings up Angel and Parker?"

Buffy's face fell. "No." she said flatly and glared at Willow. Willow softened as she realised she had gotten through to her friend.

"The lets agree that that topic is off. well off topic!"

Buffy nodded in understanding and smiled back at Willow.

"So time to patrol, lets go guys pick your favourite weapon."

As they got up t grab weapons Spike took Willow's hand and pulled her on one side.

"Thanks, pet." His smile was grateful

"Hey no one messes with my friends, not even my friends." Her forehead crinkled as she ran over that statement again "Did that.?"

"Came out fine, if a little suggestive." he finished raising an eyebrow

At her blush he smirked "Let's go."

"Weapon up." She ended and as they moved back to the others a thought hit her > When did we start finishing each others sentences? <

~Part: 3~ Introductions

"No way." Willow shook her head in denial

"Yup." Spike took a drag of his cigarette "Honest."

"Charles Dickens was a demon?" the scepticism raced through her voice

"A half demon, his fathers' side. Stupid he was too, always losing at cards. He blamed that on his demon bits o' course."

"A demon?" Willow couldn't believe it

"He looked human most of the time." Spike added relishing the look on her face.

"I can't believe you actually met him."

"Yeah and the poof died owing me money." He scrunched the cigarette beneath his feet.

After the latest demon hunt he had offered to walk her home- again > He really doesn't need to offer < she thought > If I said no he'd only follow me anyway. < Like he had done a few weeks ago. He had been fighting with Xander again, and they'd frustrated her so much. She had been trying to do her history assignment and with those two shouting, Buffy talking about her latest boy-toy and Giles asking to be shown to use the "infernal contraption" she couldn't concentrate and after snapping at them she had left refusing an escort home.

As she had stomped across the park she'd felt him following her. By the time she reached home she had cooled down enough to invite him in. He'd apologised and helped her with her assignment. She'd gotten an A*.

They reached her door and Spike couldn't resist adding "Remind me to tell you about the Bronte sisters sometime."

Willow's eyes widened "Let me guess, they were witches?" she asked hopefully

"No," replied a mischievous Spike "But Anne was an alcoholic and Emily was wild in bed."

Willow chuckled as she realised she'd been had. maybe. She reached to open the front door.

Spike suddenly went on red alert and pulled Willow back behind him.


"There's someone in there, pet. I can hear movement."

"Oh." Her voice very small > who's in my house? < She bit her lip.

"I'll take care of it." He reassured and stepped to open the door when a voice filtered through.

"Willow is that you?"

Willow sagged in relief "It's my mom."

A figure appeared in the doorway, and looked out at the two figures on the porch. "Hello." Sheila Rosenberg didn't recognise the tall, blonde, young man in front of her daughter but she knew so few of Willow's friends that that wasn't too surprising.

"Hey mom, I didn't know you were coming back today." Willow stepped around Spike "You gave us a scare, I thought we had burglars."

"Oh." Sheila gave a little smile "And this is your. boyfriend?"

"Boyfr. no mom this is Spike." She turned to Spike "This is my mom Sheila Rosenberg."

"Nice to meet you, finally." Spike tried to be polite even though he had nothing but disgust for the absent parents of his little red. >MY Red? Where did that come from? <

"Spike- that's an interesting name." she replied just as politely

"It's a nickname," Willow explained "Spike's real name is William."

"And he is?" Sheila encouraged

"Oh Spike's my best friend."

"Really?" Spike glowed in pleasure >Her best friend-me wow<

> Her best friend? He looks so much older than she is. < Her mothers instinct, although mostly neglected kicked in. "Well come in William, I'd like to get to know you."

>Uh-oh. < Willow's panic instinct also kicked in >Mom showing an interest- not good. <

"I'd love to but I should go." He remembered something "I have to meet someone later, but I just made sure Red got home safe. All sorts of nasties lurking who'd love to take a bite."

Dismissing the last sentence Sheila felt marginally better about the boy. "Oh you walk her home?"

"All the time." Willow grinned "he's my protector."

Spike grinned back "Someone has to take care of you pet. If that bloody.excuse me stupid friend of yours gave half a damn about anything but herself."

"Hey, Buffy has a lot on her mind." Willow responded automatically

"I don't think that Bunny is a very good influence." Sheila said

"I agree." Mischief danced in his eyes.

"Come in for a while." Urged Sheila, she actually liked the young man.

Willow smiled and twisted his arm. "We have hot chocolate."

"With Marshmallows?" Spike was already inside.

Spike sipped his hot chocolate and felt a buzz at the sweetness slipping down his throat. He fought the urge to moan. >Yeah Cuz that would make such a good impression. < And for some reason he cared about the kind of impression he was making.

"So William what do you do?" Sheila asked curiously.

"I'm a ." he hesitated > Vampire was really not gonna help here. <

"Student!" Willow jumped in "He's a student at college with me." > Phew! <

Spike almost breathed a sigh of relief at Red's quick thinking

"A student" Sheila smiled "What do you take?"

"History, especially European history of the 18th century." >Well at least I know something about that. <

"Is that how you two met?"

"Kinda," Willow's eyes sparkled as they met Spike's piercing blue ones "I met William when I was in high school, we saw each other a couple of times- like parent teacher night," >when he attacked the school to kill Buffy< "And Halloween," >when he tried to kill 17th century Buffy. < "But we didn't talk until my senior year when he kidnapped me."

"To help with a project." Spike cut in shooting a warning at a smirking Willow. "Although we didn't get close until recently, I don't remember why though, Red here is pretty amazing." It was Willow's turn to look wary, but Spike let her off the hook "She's damn clever and obviously gets her good looks from her mum."

Sheila blushed and Spike was amused to see how much she looked like her daughter when she was flustered.

Willow looked at her moms red face and marvelled at how charming Spike could be sometimes.

Spike checked his watch >Damn, time to go meet slutty for patrol. < "Gotta go pet." He got up and slipped on his leather duster "Thanks for the drink Mrs Rosenberg."

"Call me Sheila, please." Spike gave his sexiest grin. "Would you like to come over for dinner tomorrow night William? I'm sure Ira would like to meet you too."

Willow was taken aback "Huh?" >ok mom never invites my friends around for dinner. EVER<

"That'd be. neat. I'll see you tomorrow then."

"Night Spike."

"Night Pet." He flashed a smile and then his coat flowing he walked off into the night.

Willow looked at her Mom. "Dinner?"

"I like that young man. So much better company than that Bunny Summers and so polite. What shall I cook? "

"Steak," Willow quipped dryly "Very rare and bloody steak."


Spike stood outside Willow's house feeling incredibly stupid. He clutched a bottle of wine like a lifebelt and shifted feet. He was 126 for bloody hell's sakes, why did he feel like an awkward schoolboy?

He'd changed shirts six times. >Bloody idiot! < He chastised himself.

The door opened and Willow stood there biting her lip.

He stared; she wore tight blue jeans and a deep blue tunic top. She looked casual and cool >and damn sexy! <

>Hmmm Spike looks good enough to eat- no no BAD thoughts Will. < "C'mon in Spike." She let a grin slide into place, "Dinners ready and for once its not me!"

The joke broke the tension Spike had been feeling. He was here with Willow- best friend Willow. "Oh and I was looking forward to finally finishing you off luv."

"Bite me!"

"Been there, done that, got the migraine." They burst out laughing and it felt good.

Sheila appeared in the doorway "Glad you're here William, I was just dishing it out." Spike presented her with the wine.

"Here I thought this might go well." She looked at the vintage and raised her eyebrows "Quite you have good taste in wine." She led them into the dining area.

"What's for dinner?" Spike asked and Willow covered her mouth with her hand to stop from giggling.

"Steak." Spike stopped dead and looked very worried. "Willow assured me it's your favourite."

Spike turned to the laughing Red-head. "Very funny, pet. Very funny."


"So there I was standing in the middle of the street, no clothes on and a bright green bowler hat covering me unmentionables when this tourist comes over and asks me the time!"

Sheila wiped her face and tears streamed down it. Willow was holding her sides still shaking from laughter. Dinner had been a huge hit, both her parents adored William. He'd regaled them with tales of his misspent youth- although he didn't mention that it was over a century ago.

Her father had been charmed by his manners and opinions and her mother had been hit by Spike's sexy-as-sin grin twice- she was a goner! Willow was just thankful that she was immune to it >Uh-huh! <

"Dinner was fantastic Sheila, I've never enjoyed a steak so much." He glanced at Willow who bit her lip

"Thank you William."

"We'd best be off Red. Giles's is expecting us."

"O.k. lets go. I'll see you tomorrow Mom."

"Actually we are leaving early tomorrow for a seminar in Washington."

"Oh." Willows voice sounded small and Spike placed a comforting hand at the small of her back.

"William, I'm sure we can count on you to take care of our little girl?" Ira said with a manly handshake

"Dad I'm nearly 20" she knew it was useless

"Yes sir." Spike grinned

"Suck up!" Willow whispered as they got outside

"Jealous pet?" She nodded slightly

"Aw Red, you'll always have me." He pulled her into a hug

"Mmmm I'm the luckiest girl in the whole world!"

"Oy watch it sweetheart."

"Whatcha gonna do lick me to death?" she danced out of his embrace

"Mmm tasty." he moved to lick her neck as she scampered away shrieking delightedly "come back little girl." He teased

"Make me old man!"

"Harsh." He considered "Stupid little chit."

"Dumbass vampire" he rolled his eyes

"Useless tart." Will shook her head

"Platinum boy." He touched his hair

"Virgin" she grinned >not even close<

"Fangless" >ouch direct hit! <


~Part: 4~ Movies

"Did you make the popcorn?" Spike asked shrugging off his duster

"Yeah, sweet and salty so you can pick. Oh and there's some O pos on the table" called Willow from the kitchen

"Cheers luv." He sat on the couch and took a sip of the blood. >Aw she heated it for me too, just the way I like it! <

Willow walked in carrying two bowls of popcorn and setting them on the table, and sat next to Spike on the couch.

"So what's tonight's movie? Is it another "scary" movie?"

"No you laugh to hard at them." She scowled at him

"Sorry, pet." > But you get scared and then Spike gets snuggles<

"Tonight I educate you on the finer points of the romance epic."

"Aw not a soppy?" he looked disgusted

"Over two thousand people die and you get to see the corpses." she added

"That's more like it." He settled back on the sofa and pulled Willow's legs onto his lap and began massaging her feet. He loved this, every Wednesday was movie night, Sunday too if there was no demon hunting to do. They went out to the movies or stayed in and watched a video. Afterwards they spent hours dissecting the film together. It was a routine for the past four weeks and he loved it, just spending time in the company of his Red.

Willow felt her boy relax as Spike worked his fingers into her feet, soothing away the tension. This was one of the few times she felt totally at ease, relaxed, happy, content and safe. She watched as Spike read the credits



"Ok who's the old bint and what is she talking about?" Spike was asking questions again

"Keep watching." Willow instructed

"Ok but if I get bored, pet." he left the sentence hanging and raised an eyebrow

"Just call it revenge for House on haunted Hill." she shuddered remembering the film that grossed her out.

"It was funny!" off her glance he shut up but couldn't resist adding " I bet I fall asleep."


"NO, DON'T!" Spike yelled "Rose get back in the damn boat. Stupid. Bloody. Idiot."

Willow grinned through her tears, Spike was loving it. When Jack forced Rose to get in the boat leaving him behind, Willow's eyes started streaming and she'd reached for Spike's hand.

"Oh god, he's shooting at her. Run!" Spike held her hand tighter as the action played out on the screen. Spike couldn't believe her ex was shooting at her just because she'd chosen to be with the blonde. He liked Rose, her fire and Spirit reminded him of Red. He had felt her soft hand slip into his a while back and heard the soft sound of tears. His heart had melted and he wanted to comfort her but didn't know how so he just held her hand and waited.

"You're gonna die an old lady warm in her bed, not this night and not like this do you understand me?"

With those words Willow gave up any vestige of control and shifting closer to Spike began to cry in earnest. Spike wrapped his arm around her and pulled her onto his lap "Shh pet, it'll be ok. They be fine you just watch see." She looked up at him with tear-rimmed eyes.

>He's obviously not seen this before. < she focused on the screen, subconsciously clinging to Spike.

"Come back, come back." Rose called to the boat

Spike hugged Willow closer so she couldn't see the tears in his eyes. He watched as Rose slipped into the water and swam for the whistle, through the corpses.

Willow, hyper aware of Spike's body, felt tiny drops fall into her hair and realised he was crying. The big bad was crying over Titanic. She pulled back a little to see his face.

"Oh Spike." She whispered and softly brushed away the teardrops on his pale cheeks. She kissed his forehead and settled her head back on his shoulder to watch the rest of the movie.

Spike didn't want to move- ever again. He had his Red curled up on his lap, she'd wiped away his tears and kissed him. No one had ever done that for him, comforted him when he hurt or felt bad. Angelus and Dru had laughed and mocked his feelings calling him weak and soft, yet this little bundle of perfection, *his* bundle of perfection had simply been there. He was overwhelmed and completely head over heels in love. The thought hit him with the force of a freight train. He loved her. Totally.

Willow sat up and flicked on the table lamp

"What did you think?"

What did he think? As in forming a coherent thought? A proper sentence type thought?

"What kind of ending was that?" his brain took pity on him and decided to function.

"You didn't like?" she asked running her hands over her damp face

"He died and then she goes and throws the worlds most bleeding expensive diamond into the ocean and then suddenly poof she's back on the ship?" he shook his head in confusion

"She died an old lady, warm in her bed like she promised and then joined Jack in heaven or wherever."

"And the diamond." He demanded

"You can't take it with you." She grinned at him " besides it was metaphoric, the guy she loved with all her heart belonged to the ocean and so the heart of the ocean was given back"

"Bleeding metaphors. I get it, soppy chick thing but the actual sinking was bloody fantastic!" Spike enthused.

"The effects were good but I just loved the characters best Rose and Jack were so real." She stretched

"Rose reminds me of you." He blurted out

"Really?" she sounded surprised "Coz Jack reminded me of you."

It was Spikes turn to look surprised "Yeah, how come?"

"No you first."

"She'd got fire and spirit, chit was sick of trying to fit in with the quiet little girl she was supposed to be. Her wild spirit wouldn't give up and although she looked fragile she had a core of pure steel."

Willows breathe caught at his poetic words "T-that's how you see me?"

"That's you." He said firmly "so what about me and Jack, 'part from the obvious o' course."


"Being dead." Willow burst into laughter

"Well, you are both so stubborn, you got that never-give-up, almost stalker thing going on." She giggled at his face "Fiercely loyal." She smiled shyly "With a hell of a temper, totally wild and corrupting with a heart of gold, caring, self-sacrificing, funny and sexy as hell." She blushed at her daring. > Willow thinks I'm sexy? < he gave her a knowing look and a wolfish grin which sent butterflies into her stomach. "Great choice of film, pet." > I got cuddles, a kiss and complements; can we watch it again? <

She took the empty popcorn bowls into the kitchen. Spike sat back on the sofa

"So, what have we got planned for Sunday then, love?"


Willow glanced at the clock, just another hour and they could go the cinema. One more hour of Xanders grousing and Buffy doing her nails whilst she and Spike did the actual research.

"I have to go- need to get out before I go crackers." Spike squeezed her leg under the table before vanishing in a swish of leather duster.

"Does he have to be so dramatic?" Anya asked

"Probably thinks he has appeal." Buffy snorted

"Its kind of manly and dark, kinda sexy." Xander said distractedly, the three women stared at him

"Do you need a moment alone?" Buffy asked incredulous and Xander flushed

"Not to me, but to some girls it could be. help me out here Wills."

Spike and Willow had agreed to keep their friendship a secret, they knew if Buffy and the others would freak if they knew how close they were and how much time they spent together. So they arrived and left separately and were careful not to appear too friendly.

It annoyed them to have to keep it a secret but neither wanted Spike to be dusted or the inevitable "he's evil what are you thinking" lecture that was bound to follow.

"It could be construed as manly and sexy- if you were into that sort of thing." She replied carefully backing up Xander > Which I definitely am.< she added to herself. She looked at the clock again 20 minutes to go.

She was looking forward to the film, she'd wanted to see the Disney film for a while but her friend had dismissed Disney as for kids, (they were quite unaware of the fact that Disney is actually a student's prerogative!) and so refused to accompany her. When she found that Spike not only shared her love of Disney but also owned every Disney film on video ( hidden artfully within a small tombstone at the back of his crypt- he had a reputation to protect you know!) she was overjoyed. She just hoped his hyperactivity could contain itself long enough to watch the movie without them nearly getting kicked out. No more popcorn fights!

"Thanks Will." Xander grinned widely at his best friend.

Actually she considered Spike her best friend, they were so alike and yet so different, like strawberry and vanilla ice-cream. Not the same but perfectly complimentary. She loved him. She'd known it for a while but refused to voice it in case it ruined what they had. She would die if he left her or quit being around.

"Will, are you even listening to me?" Buffy asked, Willow snapped out of her reverie.

"Sorry Buff," she replied sheepishly "I kinda have a headache, I'm gonna go home." She wanted to go now!

"Do you want me to walk ya?" Buffy asked politely

"No I'm good, see ya tomorrow." Gathering up her books she left.

Feeling the cool evening breeze on her face she stretched enjoying the feeling of muscles uncramping after hours of inactivity, being hunched over books. She groaned in pleasure.

"Careful love, you never know who's listening." She jumped at Spike's words

"Give me a heart attack!" she admonished putting a hand over her chest

He looked delighted to have scared someone "I could think of plenty of things to give you, pet. A heart attack is not at the top of the list."

She blushed furiously and he sniggered > Damn! < she tried for casual

"So movie bound?"

"Yup, monsters inc for a monster!"

"You are not a monster, Spike. Just misundersttod and if you get us thrown out again I swear I'll. I'll." she tried to come up with a suitable threat

"Yes pet?" he stepped in close hoping to throw off her concentration

"I'll get Willy to announce that you wear pink underwear and dance to Westlife!"

"Bunch of Poofs!" he looked disgusted "Alright pet I'll behave."

"Good boy." She patted his arm

"Woof, bloody woof."

~Part: 5~ Patrol

Buffy stood in the middle of the room with her hands on her hips.

"This demon means business Xander. He's already killed five girls and we need to stop him!"

"I was just saying that hiding is a time honoured form of defence!" Xander defended himself weakly

Buffy glared at him " And if he goes after Anya?"

Xander relented "Alright so we saddle up, seek and destroy im down with that."

Giles wandered into the room "Has anyone seen my glasses?" he looked confused "They appear to be missing."

Spike feigned innocence as Willow pulled her book up to cover her smile.

Last night, over cheesecake, they had decided that research sessions were becoming too boring. And they had challenged each other to make it more interesting. Spike had started by hiding objects in the strangest places because it was funny to see people's reactions. It had been funny to see Any find her toothbrush in the cash register. It had been bloody hilarious when Buffy discovered her new shoes in the microwave and Spike had nearly wet himself at Giles' face when PLAYBOY fell out of Cruciments demon compendium- of course Xander got the blame for that one.

> Now where to hide the glasses? <

Determined not to be outdone Willow plotted her strategy. As Xander spoke with Buffy, Willow pulled the book he was reading further away with her magic. Spike watched bemused.

"So we patrol?" Xander finished and half stood up to retrieve his book. Using her magic Willow tugged at the chair moving it just out of Xander's reach, as he sat down he missed the chair completely and landed on the floor.

Spike couldn't contain his mirth "I knew it, you're so uncoordinated you get confused sitting down."

Xanders face turned beet red as he glared at the Vampire. Then he noticed Willow trying not to giggle.

"Aw come on Wills I expect that from Captain Platinum- whose roots need doing by the way. But not from my bestest bud."

"Sorry Xand, but you looked funny." She was contrite

"Yeah you did." Buffy added with amusement but was all business again "We need to patrol for this guy, but no girl goes alone!"

"I'm with Xander." Anya piped up as Xander rubbed his sore back

"I second that!" Spike demanded, no way was he getting stuck with the sex-obsessed ex- vengeance demon again, he still had nightmares about the stories she told and HE was a demon!

" Ok Anya with Xander, I'll go with Giles. Sorry Will, that leaves you with blondie. Again." Buffy apologised

Willow tried to look disappointed "Its ok Buffy."

Spike grinned inwardly "That's right don't ask me what I want, Spike doesn't get a say in whether he babysits the little chit or not."

"Hey!" Willow knew he was playing and decided to go along "S'not like I don't have anything better to do than hang out with the fangless undead."

He growled " I have fangs pet, wanna see?"

"Huh, I've seen scarier fangs in a bad b-movie."

"Guys!" Buffy interrupted worried "Maybe its not such a good idea to put you two together." She bit her lip "But we have no choice, Spike you know you can't hurt Will but i can still stake you so try to be nice or we'll be cleaning up your dust with a toilet brush!"

"Thanks." He replied sarcastically

"Or if you want Willow to stake your ass."

"I'll look forward to it." Whispered Spike for Wilow's ears.

After dividing up the town into sections for them to patrol, Buffy took Willow aside.

"I know you get stuck with Spike a lot, but I don't want to encourage the little fixation he has on me."

"Huh?" Willow had forgotten that Spike had had a crush on Buffy a while ago "Right, no problem, pesky fixation."

"Thanks Will." She turned to face the group "Any questions?"

Giles cleared his throat "Just one a-actually, why is the mummified hand of Askar holding Buffy's underwear?"


Willow couldn't stop laughing. She clung to Spike's coat trying to breathe.

"I can't believe you did that!" she managed finally

Spike grinned wolfishly "Couldn't resist."

"Where did you get them?" she asked suspiciously

"Mind out of the gutter pet, they fell out of her gym bag." He lit a cigarette and took a long drag " more to the point how did Giles know they were Buffy's?" he raised an eyebrow knowingly

"Eww. Eww. Eww. Bad mental picture." Willow shook her head "That's gross Spike."

He leered at her "Thanks love." He pulled the cigarette to his lips as Willow looked on in distaste

"Smoking kills" she lectured

"Already dead." He countered

Willow blushed " okay." >Walked into that one Rosenberg! < Actually she didn't mind the smoking it made him smell of leather and smoke which was actually a really yummy combination.

Comfortable silence took over as they walked through the park. Spike took an unneeded breath and turned to the red-head.

"Pulling the whelps chair out was a cute move pet, you really coming along with the magic's."

Willow's eyes lit up "Yeah, I'm getting good. I mean I can summon all four elements now, although I wont be doing the fire one on my bed-sheets again. oh and I found this teleportation spell which could come in handy. Im still working on the kinks but just imagine late for class and poof! Or evil scary demon and poof! Bu-bye" she took a breath.

"Just no more spells to make me snog the slayer ok?" Spike shuddered dramatically

"Hey that was like a year ago. And if I recall a few months ago you wanted me to do it again. Buffy still thinks you have a crush on her." Willow looked at him in askance

"No. the whole forbidden territory was a bit of a turn on and the chit is cute and strong, but after a while of hanging around you get to see the truth."

"Which is?" she was curious

"She is a spoilt, selfish little brat."

"That's not fair." Willow defended her friend whilst privately agreeing with him

He shrugged " Anyone can see it, anyway like you said that was a while ago."

"Have we really been friends for only a year?"

"Less pet, about six months."

"Is that it?" she couldn't believe it "I can't imagine not having you in my life." She blushed as she realised she'd said that out loud

"Aw Red." He teased but insides he melted with pleasure

"That reminds me, my parents called to say they're coming back next week for a couple of days and they said to say hi." She grinned


"Buffy's name they can't even remember but they call to say hi to you."

It was Spike's turn to grin "Must be my animal magnetism."

"And I thought it was just you being dead that attracted the flies!" Willow erupted into giggles at the outraged look on Spike's face. He growled menacingly

"There. Are. No. flies. On. Me." He pronounced each word as he stalked closer to her like a hungry wolf eyeing his prey.

Willow gulped and backed away from him suddenly wary.

Spike smelled the sudden scent of fear coming from Willow in waves and stopped in his tracks > What is the chit afraid of? < "Red?"

"Goddess Spike." Willow tried to calm her breathing "You scared me."

Spike immediately felt bad "I never meant.," he put his head on the side" Or good. Bloody hell pet, really?" he looked hopeful like a kid at Christmas

She nodded "I know you have the chip and you wouldn't hurt me but for a second there I thought I was gonna be dinner."

Spike tried not to look too pleased, the chip had robbed him of his dignity as a vampire. The being unable to frighten people had put a dent in his confidence a mile wide which he tried to hide by making with the mind-games; Angelus' tutorage coming in handy here. But it was so nice to still be thought of as threatening by the one person in the world who had nothing to fear from him.

"Well I am the big bad, even without my bite I'm a scary bloke."

"Not scary enough." Spike whirled to find the demon they had been "looking" for standing right behind him > bloody hell! < The demon was about six foot tall with green skin and muscles like Arnold Schwartzenegger, but that didn't bother Spike. What bothered Spike was the large spear protruding from its arm and the way it looked hungrily at Willow.

"Hmm another tasty little morsel, and I can feel the magic on this one. Perhaps you'll be good for a little fun before I eat you." His eyes raked over her body.

Willow tried not to shudder at the sudden chill that swept down her spine at his words. "Didn't your mother ever tell you not to play with your food.?"

Both Spike and the demon stared in surprise at Willow's words > Brave little chit?< thought Spike proudly

"Sorry mate, but this one belongs to me. So if you want her it'll hafta be through me." he threw his cigarette on the ground and readied himself for the fight.

> I belong to Spike? < She mentally squeaked >Me? Hang 21st century in-de-pen-dent woman not belonging to Spike where he could do whatever to me. for however long. Hey impending death situation here. Pay attention now, lust after Spike later. <

The Demon roared and rushed at Spike. Spike dodged the spear and rammed his fist into the nearest body part. The demon howled his fury and backhanded Spike snapping his head back. Taking advantage of Spike's dizziness the demon grabbed him in a headlock and attempted to pull Spike's head off.

Willow screamed and launched herself at the demon swinging the axe and imbedding it in his neck. Blood spurted as he dropped Spike on the ground.

"Bitch!" he yelled and smacked Willow across the face, the force of the impact sending her flying back and slamming her head into a nearby tree, she fell to the floor dazed.

"Willow!" Spike screamed as he saw her motionless body. His rage boiled up allowing his demon to come to forth. He grabbed the handle of the axe buried in the demons neck and pulled it out. He pulled back and swung at the demon again catching him in the chest. Clutching at the axe in his chest the demon staggered backwards.

With the loss of his weapon Spike relied on his fist.

"NEVER." He punched the demon across the face breaking his nose and spilling blood.

"EVER" He threw a right hook and dodged the retaliating blow

"TOUCH MY RED" the demon whimpered as Spike continued his assault

"AGAIN!" with one swift move he pulled the axe from its chest and hacek of its head.

Spike pushed himself off the demon and rushed over to Willow " Red, pet are you ok?" he rolled her over and grimaced at the huge gash on her forehead which was bleeding. It looked like she'd have a bruised face tomorrow.

"Bloody. Stupid. Question." She said mocking him and he laughed in relief at her use of his favourite slang. She struggled to stand and Spike helped her up

"You were dead brave pet, saved us all- very heroic. you gonna puke?"

"Maybe later." she winced and then looked at him, he had a large slash against the front of his shirt where the spear had caught him and he'd probably have a shiner tomorrow, but his cuts were already healing thanks to Vamp powers.

"Home?" she whispered. Noticing how shaky she was Spike picked her up and carried her in his arms trying to ignore the delicious scent of warm blood inches away from his lips.


Spike kicked the front door open and sat Willow on the couch as he went into the kitchen to fetch the first aid kit and try to get his demon under control.

Willow sat on the couch thinking, she'd looked up into his eyes and saw the unmistakable glint of gold which signalled that the demon was close. > My blood must be calling him< Yet strangely she wasn't scared.

Spike came back into the room and put down the bowl of warm water and cloth. He knelt in front of her. He went to place the cloth over the tempting wound when Willow stopped him.

"What?" He said not liking the glint in her eye, it meant she had been thinking.

"Spike, we're friends right?" he nodded " Friends trust each other."

"Ok." He said warily

She took a deep breath and raising a shaky hand pulled back her hair "Y-you can lick it off if you want"

Spike stared dumbfounded "Um. pet." He began hesitantly not sure if she meant what she was offering.

"Look I know you hate the bagged blood, really hate it and I can't imagine what its like being around us humans filled with the stuff but I'm guessing its pretty much torture. Like sticking a starving girl in a chocolate factory and saying "no eating" it's cruel and well. this is just going to go to waste so if you want it."

Spike took her free hand in his unable to express the words as he moved forward and placed his cool lips over her wound.

Will closed her eyes as she felt his cool, rough tongue sweep across her forehead licking up the sweet blood running down her face. He nipped at her cheeks with his teeth before returning to the wound and gently sucking.

Spike was in heaven. This sweet, innocent girl had offered her blood to him. It was sweet and delicious coating his mouth and tongue and soothing his throat. It was warm and human tasting of strawberries and Vanilla and something uniquely Willow, magic and her virginity completed the intoxicating taste of the heady mixture. Spike moaned deep in his throat.

Willow was In heaven, the feel of Spike's soft cool mouth against her hot skin was incredibly sensual, the way he'd licked the blood off her face like a lovers caress and now he sucked gently at her forehead she was overwhelmed with the sensation. > OK dizzy now< the abstract thought entered into her head and she groaned.

Spike reluctantly pulled away licking away the last few drops off his lips. She stared with heavy lidded eyes.

"Sleep now?" she said curling into a ball.

Spike sat besides her on the couch and pulled her head into his lap and began stroking her hair.

"Sleep now, pet." Spike watched her as she slept thinking about the marvellous capacity for caring that this girl had- even for him, a cold blooded killer who had even tried to kill her on occasion. > I love you < the words sounded strange in his head- having not said them for a while, fearful of rejection. He'd even stopped saying them to Dru when she laughed and talked about Daddy's love being better. No he wouldn't tell her yet, but one day, he vowed as she sighed in her sleep, she would be his- forever.

~Part: 6~ Midnight conversations

Willow stared out over at the darkened street, from her vantage point on her balcony she could see right down the road up to the old church.

Leaning her arms on the balcony rail she looked up at the glittery stars letting the wind flow through her hair.

Spike looked up at the vision standing there. She wore dark blue jeans and a white flowing peasant top which fluttered in the breeze. She had a look of complete peace upon her face, she was a Goddess, beautiful, enchanting and > too damn distracted. Stupid chit! < Spike thought angrily > Any Vamp could jump up and attack Red.<

Grinning evilly he crouched and used his Vampire strength to jump and grab hold of the rail with one hand and pull himself up onto her balcony.

"Juliet I presume?" he sneered as she turned to look at him

"Yep, I'm waiting for Romeo, so sod off." She broke into a huge smile at the look of astonishment on his face

"Language, pet!" he cautioned "Where did you learn such words?" he couldn't keep the amused tone out of his voice. It always amused him when she tossed his words back at him- it showed she was paying attention.

"Well he's tall, dark, sarcastic and better have bought my ice-cream!" she shot back

Spike held up the large carton of ice-cream like a trophy "Cookie dough"

Willow squealed "My hero! Gimme."

She held out her hands like a child asking for a present. Instead of handing it over he walked over to the bench that she had placed by the French windows leading into her bedroom.

"Unfortunately my lady, I'm not sure I should let you have some. You have been naughty." He raised his eyebrow knowingly

"Have not." She replied indignantly

He sat on the bench with one leg either side, "Oh no, where's your stake, holy water? Standing on the balcony with your eyes closed, you're practically begging to be a sacrifice-or lunch for some sodding fledgling."

She bit her lip in that adorable way that made him ache to ask for a taste.

"I forgot, I cant believe I forgot, its not like I've never lived on the hellmouth. I'm such a doof, an imbecile. I have no-"

Ok guilt overload "It's ok love, enough with the guilt. I just want you to be careful, Red."

"I will, sorry Spike. I j-just wish sometimes that I lived in a place where vampires were stories told to frighten kids." She sat on the bench facing him still looking downcast. He caught her chin with his fingers and lifted until her eyes met his.

"You're the first friend I've had and I don't want you to end up some damn fledgling's entrée. Ok?"

She felt her spirits lift at his sentiment. He lifted the lid off the ice-cream and dug into his duster to find two spoons. He handed one to her with a smile.

"Spike what's the difference between a fledgling and a childe?" she asked around a mouthful.

"Well pet." He placed a spoonful of ice-cream into his mouth before answering "Anyone can be changed into a vampire; Just a little blood exchange. Newly made vampires are called newbies or fledglings no matter who sires them, but most are suitable only as minions. Slayer-fodder, front line types." He paused "It takes something special to be a Childe. Some humans have this special feel- an aura if you like. See love, although anyone can be a vampire- not everyone can handle it; handle the whole living forever deal. Childer are chosen carefully to be a companion to their sire. The sire teaches them how to hunt- properly not your slapdash crap that most newbies in Sunnyhell seem to manage, can't seem to make two steps without being dusted by the damn slayer or vampire hunters. It's a sodding embarrassment is what it is, and a right shame. Sire's teach you to appreciate killing, feeding and how to be one with the night." Spike looked up at the same stars Willow had gazed at earlier. She stared at him, he was definitely part of the night, he belonged to it like the stars did; there was no other way of explaining it. It was primal and breathtaking

"What about other companions?" she asked trying not to gawk too blatantly.

Spike hid a grin, he loved the way her mind worked. They'd start a topic during one of his -very- frequent visits and they could talk all night. She was so inquisitive and probably knew more about Vampires than most Vampires! It was such a pleasure to have an intelligent conversation with someone who didn't treat him like an imbecile. Having lived for over 120 years he had amassed a lot of knowledge although he hid it to maintain his bad boy image, but occasionally it was nice to have a chance to show it. He ate another spoonful of the soft confection before answering.

"Some Master Vampire's keep human pets. Mainly for a quick snack or amusement, although some like the warmth of a human body."

"What for-" her face coloured as she realised "OH. Never mind." She muttered illiciting a chuckle from Spike

"I could show you." He offered lecherously waggling his eyebrows. She rolled her eyes


"Sorry Red couldn't resist. Anyway some vamps like the company of other demons, but most surround themselves with minions."

"Slayer-fodder." She added before taking another bite

"Yeah. The more powerful the Vampire the more minions he has. Very powerful ones have other demons or even witches in their employ."

"Their employ? Oh you've been spending way too much time with Giles! " She tittered

"Hey!" he said sounding outraged "Trying to be all manly here with the knowledge!"

"And now you sound like Cordelia." The giggles transformed into full fledged laughter

He grabbed a spoonful of the cold confection and flicked it at her. The Ice cream splattered onto her face shocking her into silence, now it was Spike's turn to laugh.

"Think that's funny do you?" She said and wiping the mess off her face she brandished her own spoon at Spike

"No, no pet. You wouldn't, that stuff doesn't come off leather. Ok ok I'll clean it off!" he waved his hands in mock surrender

"You'd better, buster."

Getting a wicked gleam in his eyes he pulled her towards him.

"Spike what are you doing?" she asked warily

"No napkins, love. Now hold still." Holding her head still with one hand he licked her cheek.

She took a deep breathe as his tongue travelled up the side of her face and he sucked gently on her nose.

"Mmmm, my favourite Ice Creamed Willow!" The stunned look on her face broke the spell and Spike couldn't help but grin.

"Who said that payback's a bitch?" he asked teasingly then he put his head on the side considering "You know with that expression on your face you look like Xapper."

"Xander " she corrected automatically and then her brain caught up. "Hey! Am not!"

"Are too." He said and slid her over and turned her so her back was against his chest and pulled her in close. She snuggled into Spike's chest and hugged her knee's to herself.

"So a powerful vamp would have a witch in his little family?"

"Yeah and I almost didn't notice the change of subject" he added sarcastically, he felt rather than saw the blush that spread up her cheeks. "If you didn't have the chip would you have one of those types of family?" the question bothered her, it wasn't that she wanted Spike to be lonely but the thought of Spike as a master vampire- like evil Angelus- with minions and human pets and demons bothered her.

"Yeah probably," he frowned "Used to have, when Dru was around. I had this dead intelligent guy who was real good with books Dalton or something, he was ok to talk to but most of 'em get bloody annoying after a while and I'd wan someone with a bit more upstairs." he tapped his head "like you."

"Like me?" genuinely surprised Willow turned tosee his face

"You." He repeated and planted a kiss on her forehead before pulling her back into his arms

"Actually you have quite a rep already."

"I do?"

"Resouling Angelus, helping the slayer and your demon research and spells. ever wondered why you hardly get bothered by demons?"

"Not really, the vamp attacks make up for it. Besides I still get kidnapped an awful lot." She said pointedly.

He looked embarrassed "yeah well, im a master Vampire. Anyway they're afraid of you."

"ME?" it came out as a strangled squeak "I'm nothing! i'm not even a slayer a-a-and I'm only a practice wicca."

"Bollocks." he replied succinctly " Don't give me that, you're worth ten- hell a hundred of the bloody slayer and I'd say way beyond a practice Witch." He couldn't believe she thought so little of herself. She was everything, she was powerful and beautiful and she'd make a great Vampire.

"In fact you know that aura I was talking about?"

She crinkled her forehead "The one a childe has?"

"Yeah, you have that pet. I'd wager you'd make a wonderful Vampire."

"Wonderful and skanky. The leather looks ok but the licking? Oh so disturbing and hands!"

"Um what are you talking about pet?" Spike was confused

"I met the Vampire me." Willow elaborated and his eyes widened a the prospect

"Really, how?"

"Me and Anya did a spell and ended up conjuring her from another dimension or reality. The Master changed both me and Xander, we were his favourite children. I-i mean she was all in leather, it was really tight and she was skanky and kinda gay."

"Gay?" he smothered a laugh "Red, all Vampires are kinda gay."

"For real?" she sounded intrigued, he began to stroke her hair

"Actually most Vamps will screw anything- male, female, demon- I knew this vamp who got real friendly with this tree-"

She swatted his arm and then the thought struck her "You and Angel?"

"Angelus." His voice went flat "Not the poof or the slayer obsessed version you saw a while back but pre-gypsy Angelus." She'd gone quiet "Issues pet?" he asked > Did I freak her out, too much information, does she want me to leave?<

Willow was lost in her head, Spike had sounded so vehement that the two Angel-us' that she knew were not the ones he had been intimate with. >Another Angelus? What would he think of the new Spike- what would he think of me? Would *his* Angelus have killed my fish? Irrelevant!< she realised Spike had just spoken to her

She clasped his hand in her own "I'm sorry, I know you don't like talking about him." She kissed his knuckle "We can talk about something else."

He was touched the chit knew how he felt about the recent incarnations of his sire. She really was a marvel, he had told her so much about his unlife and she kept on accepting him- even though she didn't agree with the joy of killing she never preached, instead asked about his demon and its urges. He was sure she remembered everything in that amazing head of hers. His throat closed with emotion and his demon felt disgusted.

"Tell me more about you pet, something secret." Without warning he felt her heart speed up and was concerned "Willow?"

She bit her lip and debated whether or not to tell him "Do you promise not to tell anyone- ever?"

"Of course." What did the chit know that would make her so concerned about telling anyone else

"And promise you wont get mad?"

"I'll try." He frowned

"Before Angel got sucked into hell, I gave him back his soul so that when he came back he was Angel not Angelus"

"I know that." She shifted awkwardly

"Did you ever wonder why he came back?" she asked hesitantly

"The first brought him back to kill Slutty or himself- right?"

"Why would the first evil bring Angel out of hell just for him to die or even Buffy- I mean one dies another is called, why would the biggest evil care what happens?"

"You saying they just took credit for it?" he hadn't thought of this- it made sense why would the First bother themselves with your basic good guy bad guy detail? " So if they didn't bring his back then wh-" he stopped mid-sentence in horror. Willow pulled away from him and turned to look him in the eye; her face a mass of uncomfortableness. "you?"

She bit her lip and looked down nodding uncertainly

"Bloody hell!" he said and reached in his pockets for his cigarettes, after finding and lighting one he stared openly at the shy little spellcaster "You bought the mighty Angelus back from hell and you wonder why the demons are afraid of you?" he took a deep drag savouring the taste "Does anyone else know?"

"No," her eyes were wide with fright "I only did it to cheer up Buffy and then I didn't think it had worked so I never said anything and by the time I knew he was back it was a little late to just go "yep I did it" please don't say anything, it doesn't matter who brought him back- only that he came back." Her eyes pleaded with him to understand

He watched her and spoke slowly "You summoned Angelus from hell and restored his soul to. Cheer. Up. Buffy?" she nodded again "That it?"

"No I've also been looking for a way to anchor his soul. I think I've found it." >Well might as well go the whole way< she thought as he let out a breath that he didn't need

"Crikey." He finished and dragged her back against him "That was a hell of a secret pet."

"Are you mad?" she wanted to know

"Not likely- if you do that to cheer up Buffy what would you do to stop me being all depressed?" he leered back to himself

"What ever you like." She teased glad he wasn't upset with her revelation

"So anything a little less earth shattering? A little more personal maybe"

"I still miss Jesse." She confessed after a moment "We were so close, the three of us. Me, Xan and Jesse- the three musketeers. Sometimes I feel like," she paused unsure

"Go on." He encouraged

"Like Buffy took him away and is trying to replace him." She looked down at their entwined fingers " is that bad?"

"No love, its perfectly natural. You were close to someone for so long and when they're gone you can feel resentful of someone trying to take their place- even if its unintentional." She wondered if he was talking about her and Drusilla

"Do you resent me?" she asked in a small voice

"Never Red." He said guessing her train of thought "I could never resent you."

She lay her head back against his chest, he wrapped his arms around her and held her close to him.

"Dawn's coming." She said after a while

"We still have a few minutes." They sat together relishing the feeling of being close and enjoyed the companionship and silence until the sun drove them inside.

~Part: 7~ Eviction

>Blah, blah, blah< Willow sighed and fought the urge to roll her eyes. She nodded slightly and made a small noise of what she hoped was agreement. She honestly had no idea of what Buffy was going on about.

She'd arrived at Giles's about three hours ago and Buffy hadn't shut up. First Willow had attempted to listen politely as Buffy lamented her love life and the list of guys she currently wanted to date. After an hour and half her brain had shut down for self-preservation and she'd slipped into boring-lecture-mode.

This was where she listened out for important words whilst disregarding the rest and responded appropriately "Right?" Buffy asked.

"Of course, stands to reason," She responded automatically as Buffy continued with her litany, without a clue to what she had just agreed to. She wished Spike was here, he'd make her laugh or at least shut Buffy up.

"...Shouldn't he?"

 "Sure," >Where was he anyway? < It had been a while since sunset and they had plans tonight; after patrol they were going to the fair. She had images of Spike and cotton candy, she resisted the urge to giggle >Spike on a sugar high was funny as hell<

A few weeks ago Willows mum had come back from her lecture tour and had actually bought 'William' a present; A huge box of chocolates. Spike had quite the sweet tooth and had eaten them in one sitting. For the next four hours he had been bouncing off the walls, laughing like a maniac and tickling Willow until she cried for him to stop.

He'd picked her up and danced her around the kitchen and garden until she was dizzy. She teased him about it for days. Shaking off the memory of a sugar high Spike juggling her cuddly toys she tried in vain to be interested in what Buffy was saying.

"..So then I said to her that if she wouldn't call him then I would, I mean it's not like she even had a chance, so she said..," Nope no good still not interested >I tried<

Giles walked in and handled Willow a cup of tea and smiled in a pitying Thank-God-It's-Not-Me Way.

"Any research?" She asked quite anxiously. Giles felt like making up a demon just to save the poor girl from having to listen to the slayers long winded dialogue. Having been on the receiving end of a he-said she-said conversation he'd more than once been tempted himself to call forth a silencing demon to get a word in edgewise.

"A-actually there is no." he paused at the look of sheer desperation in her eyes "Possible way I could research this by myself Willow could you get on the infernal machine and assist me." The look she shot him was pathetically grateful

"Oh ok, sorry Buff duty calls." She tried to appear disappointed that their girlie chat had been disrupted.

"Ok so what's the creature feature?" Buffy asked twirling a stake.

Giles glanced at Willow, neither were very adept liars but Buffy was so obtuse it really didn't matter.

"Erm prophecy demon, the old end of the world thing." Willow replied vaguely.

Buffy nodded "Uh-huh." She began to absently file her nails.

Willow booted up the computer and logged on to her favourite demon site, it never hurt to be prepared.

A feeling of unease washed over her and she shuddered > something's wrong< Suddenly pain like red hot knives erupted and swept through her brain leaving her gasping for breath.

"Willow?" Giles asked concerned

"Something's wrong!" she whispered >Spike! < Spike was in trouble, she knew it.

She shot out of the chair and bolted for the door ignoring Giles' calling her name behind her. She stumbled through the park towards the cemetery and Spike's crypt. She ignored everything in her panic, the drunken old men, the laughing group of teens and anything that might be lurking around. >Spike has to be alright he has to be! < She repeated like a mantra to the pounding of her feet. > There! < She caught sight of the crypt and stopped dead.

The door to the crypt was broken off and she could smell the stench of fire from where she stood. Praying to the Goddess that he wasn't in there she rushed forward.

"Spike?" she called frantically and looking inside her heart stopped beating.

Every piece of furniture had been broken and lay scattered like corpses on the ground, clothes lay strewn over every surface and glass coated the floor. The scariest thing was the fire that raged chewing up the wooden furniture and clothes. The fire crackled and the smoke blinded Willow as the intense heat hit her.

"SPIKE?" desperation coated her voice >He can't be in here, he can't be he.< a movement in the corner caught her eye. A black duster.

> Oh Goddess Spike! < Without thinking Willow ran into the burning crypt and dashed over to the unconscious figure. Turning him over she felt her rage build to the intensity of the fire surrounding her. His face was a mass of cuts and bruises, both eyes were cut and bleeding, one already closed and puffy. His lip was split and he had a jagged cut on his forehead gushing dark blood. Tapping into strength she didn't even know she possessed she picked up Spike and turned to face the door- which was now blocked by the blazing debris.

"OUT OF MY WAY." She screamed her fury and the debris split down the middle and divided forming a burning pathway to the door. She didn't even stop to marvel at the effects of raw magic working in her favour as she carried Spike outside and placed him gently on the cool grass. She turned her rage back to the inferno within the tomb, >That had been Spike's home! Whoever had done this would pay. < She vowed. Willow pulled Spike's arm over her shoulder and dragged him out of the cemetery towards her home.


She'd had to stop three times on the way home unable to support Spike's dead weight. There were tears of frustration running down her face as she finally came to her front porch. Without bothering to her out her key she pointed at her front door and it flew open under the influence of her anger- enhanced magic.

Struggling she lay him on the sofa, uncaring of the blood that dripped down his face and tricked over the cushions.

She rushed to the kitchen to fetch the two bags of blood she kept for when he came over, she knew that cold blood tasted foul but there simply wasn't time to heat it up. Cursing human slowness she ran back to his side and opening his mouth poured the blood down his throat.

"C'mon drink." She urged and relief swamped her as he swallowed the blood- his reflexes taking over. Stroking his head she realised her hands were coated in blood and looking down she discovered that the rest of her was too. She looked like something from a bad horror movie. >Spike must be cut somewhere else too< Raising him up she removed his duster and fought back the urge to vomit. His t-shirt was slashed and his chest and back were shredded, he had a cut down one arm that looked like it required stitches and in the light she could see a deep wound in his leg that was still pumping blood. She'd need more bagged blood if Spike was to get better, even with Vampire healing.

Who could she trust, none of her friends knew about her friendship with Spike and they would freak if they knew, but she needed someone to watch him while she fetched more: she made her decision and grabbing the phone she dialled.

"Hel-lo?" the chirpy voice irritated her.

"Xander its Willow. I need you here at my house now."


"NOW" she yelled and dropped the phone.

Pain washed through her and she turned back to Spike. Pulling off his ruined t-shirt and Duster and dropping them in a pile, she tried to hold back tears at the sight of Spike's perfect body covered in cuts and blood.

She undid his belt and taking off his boots tugged off his jeans, dropping them onto the bloody pile. Looking at the deep cut in his thigh she lost the battle of wills with her stomach and began dry heaving through her shudders. > Need water< her subconscious urged her into the kitchen to fill a  bowl of water and to get some towels to clean up Spike as much as possible while silent tears tracked her cheeks and blurred her vision. The front door banged open and a panting, dishevelled Xander charged through.

"Wil-" he stared dumbfounded at his best friend and tried not to throw up. Her shirt, jeans, hands and arms were covered with blood; there were even smears on her face and in her hair. Her eyes were red and bloodshot and she looked crazy.

"What happened?" he moved towards her "Forget it lets just get you to a hospital."

"It's not mine." She replied, her voice hoarse with trying to hold back sobs and screams. In her frustration her magic got out of control and a figurine on  the mantle exploded in a cloud of glass and dust. After taking a few breathes to calm down she motioned to the sofa and Xander took in the unconscious, almost naked Spike on the sofa.

"I-I-I need to get some b-blood for h-him, he's been beaten pretty bad and if he doesn't get more blood soon he'll die but I can't leave him here alone- I just can't he needs someone to be here with him." She took a deep shuddery breath "I love him Xand don't let him die."

Xander was shocked "Will i-."

"Please!" the tears fell again and Xander nodded. He'd never been able to see Willow cry; she was the strong one the one they all depended on. "In five minutes give him the rest of that bag and then wait ten minutes and give him the second." She instructed as she pulled on Spike's duster to cover her blood-caked clothes. "Don't give it all in one go or he'll throw it up. T-t-there's more towels and water in the kitchen." She bent over Spike and kissed his cold lifeless lips. "Thanks Xand." and with that she ran out of the door. Xander caught her as she reached the porch and pushed his car keys into her hand "Be careful." He insisted. Xander shut the door ands walked over to the unconscious figure on the sofa. He'd never let on but he was fond of the blonde vampire. He picked up a clean towel and started to wipe Spike's chest. "So Blondie who did this to ya huh?"


Willow broke every law to get to Willies, she was lucky that the Sunnydale police department was as lax and clueless about traffic violations as it was about what really goes bump in the night else she would have been locked up.

Reaching Willies in record time, she stumbled out of Xander's car and into the beat up place. All conversation quit as the red- head staggered up to the bar where Willie stood polishing a glasses.

"I need five bag of blood Willy." She said hoarsely

Willy knew this girl; she was the cute little red head that hung around with the slayer. Whenever she came to the bar with said slayer she was nice and polite and stopped Buffy from roughing him up too much; he liked her. He looked her up and down; she looked like she'd just crawled through hell.

"O.k. gimme a sec." his whiny voice echoed around the too quiet club as he went into the back to collect the blood bags, where he kept the fresher stuff. "Hey baby!" he returned with five bags of O-positive just as a newbie Vampire waltzed up to Willow "Blood coated chicks are my favourite!" he leered at her.

Willow had had enough "Leave me alone." She snarled. She'd put up with Buffy's inane conversation for three hours, she'd wrestled through fire-y debris and then she had dragged the bloody corpse of the man she loved through the streets. No way on earth or the sodding hellmouth was she putting up with this mouthy loser as well. Her eyes glinted dangerously as she fought to keep her temper.

"Hmm I love it when they play hard to get!" The Vampire grabbed her ass.  With a flick of her wrist a nearby toothpick flew off the bar and plummeted into his chest making him explode in a cloud of dust. Thoroughly pissed she climbed onto the bar and called for attention. All eyes were already on her, they hadn't seen the toothpick, just a small, blood-soaked, girl flick her hand and dust a vampire. Half intrigued and half in fear they listened.

"I need information." She growled "My. master- Spike was attacked viciously and his crypt set on fire." From previous conversations she knew that master Vampires sometimes employed witches- they didn't have human friends and identifying herself as Spike's friend would likely get them both killed but if they believed he had her as his subordinate maybe they'd give him the respect he deserved.

"I want to know who did it and I want to know soon. No one messes with William the Bloody, Scourge of Western Europe who doesn't mess with the wrath of both his witch and the order of Aurelius."

One particularly stupid Vampire- who obviously didn't know his genealogy asked "Who the hell are you?"

"I am the witch who restored Angelus' soul, I bought him back from hell, stopped Acathla and the Judge and sent Drusilla packing. I have closed the Hellmouth and stopped an Ascension. So who am i? Not someone you want to annoy." > O.k. slight exaggeration about Acathla and the Judge! But I think I got my point across <

The demons had heard about Angelus and his soul, they'd also picked up bits about the rest of her tirade, if the witch was telling the truth- which she seemed to be then she was someone to be reckoned with. And if Spike had such a powerful witch on his side then maybe the rumours about him going soft and turning traitor are untrue.

"What's in it for us?" one asked quietly.

"To the demon that finds the scum who did this to my Master; I will guarantee protection from the Slayer for six months." A gasp followed her announcement. Willow stepped off the bar and picked up the blood packets. She pulled out a couple of bills and dropped them on the counter "Thanks Willy and if anyone has any Useful information call here." She scribbled her number onto a napkin and handed it to Willy.

"Sure thing kid. I hope Spike makes it. Here give him this from his pal Willy." He handed her a bottle of Whisky and she smiled gratefully and left.

"There goes a gal in a million." He turned to watch her go.


Xander poured the red water down the drain and walked back to Spike. He had cleaned the blood form Spike and bandaged him up quite expertly thanks to training from Hellmouth College of World save-age. Willow's sofa was the real casualty in all this but at least Spike looked more human and less creature from the blood lagoon.

He had bandages wrapped around his arm, his chest, his back and his thigh. The gash on his forehead was covered and held in place by surgical tape and he resembled an unfinished Mummy from a bad B- movie, and yet he remained unconscious.

Spike hadn't even roused long enough to drink the blood Xander had given him; instead Xander had poured it down his throat and hoped like hell his reflexes had taken over. Xander was getting really worried; normal Vampire healing should have taken over by now! > Where is Willow? < As if in answer the front door burst open and Willow came in holding the bags like treasure.

"Here." She managed and pulling open the first bag poured it down Spike's throat. Without opening his eyes he vamped and gulped greedily.

"Has he woken up at all?" she asked worriedly

"Not yet." Xander pulled her close "He'll wake up; he has you to come back to. Who can resist the Wily Wiles of the Wilminator?"

She smiled reluctantly at his typical Xander silliness and relaxed against him. "You need all kinds of therapy, but thanks for not freaking out on me."

"Are you kidding?" he looked surprised "You just wait until Captain Platinum wakes up and then you get both barrels of full Xan- man freak out." This grin was genuine "So until sleeping beauty wakes up, you tell me about the ting between you two." He ordered.


"So I promised them six months of protection from Buffy, if they find who did this." Willow sat back in the chair and sipped her tea. Around Dawn, Xander urged her to take a shower whilst he made some tea for them both. Every half hour she fed Spike a little more and she talked to Xander. She told him about how her and Spike had become friends, about their movie nights and mischief at research parties, their late night walks and patrols. She also told him about Spike's relationship with her parents.

Xander was slightly hurt and jealous that Spike had worked his way into Willow's heart and friendship but he was more ashamed about the fact that he had ignored his friend in pain and had all but pushed her out of his life- for Anya.

"I can't believe your parents like him, and know his name. Do they even remember my name?"

"Sometimes I doubt they remember my name. But he makes quite an impression, my mom is completely taken." She looked at the prone figure on the sofa and her expression softened

"She's not the only one." He commented drawing a wry smile from a weary Willow

"I know, but we are just friends. He likes to tease me but that's all." She looked at the clock "It's getting early; he should be healed by now."

"I'm sorry I wasn't there for ya Will." Xander blurted suddenly "you know when Oz-"

"It's ok Xan, I got through. I wasn't alone."

"I should have been there, some best friend I am. My best pal is in pain and where am I?"

"I understood that you had Anya- all knew girlfriend details and stuff." She tried to avoid eye contact as she sipped her tea. In truth it had hurt that Xander had ignored her when Oz left, more than she would have ever let on.

"I wish he'd wake up." She said wistfully changing the subject "Besides Anya would have gotten mad- she doesn't like me."

Xander looked surprised again "Anya- sure she does, actually she thinks you hate her for being my girlfriend."

"Really" it was Willow's turn for surprise. A moan escaped from the blood soaked sofa.

"Spike?" she called gently but he slipped back into silence and unconsciousness. She stared at Xander with wide tear filled eyes "I'm scared Xan he should be ok by now."

"Spike is tough- the big bad. He's gonna be alright." Xander's face belied his calm tone. The sound of the phone broke the uneasy silence and Xander reached for it.

"Hello Rosenberg residence.Anya .no I'm ok I'm helping Willow with a problem. not that kind of problem." He groaned "Sorry honey I forgot. Willow needed my help."

"Xander," Willow touched his arm "Ask Anya to come over maybe she can help."

Xander looked at her "You sure?"

Willow nodded, it was time she tried to get along with the ex-demon and accept her.

"Listen Anya Willow wants you to come over. yes really. you. she'd like you to be here with us. ok I'll listen out for you." He hung up and couldn't resist a smile "She's so excited that you want her here, she was practically giddy."

Willow stroked Spike's forehead "At least someone's happy."

Xander watched as his best friend caressed the demon. She'd always been the caring one among them - the one who made everyone else feel better and this worried Xander too. Willow was so strong but would she survive if Spike died -again-. She was so in love with the guy- he could see it in her eyes. Feeling guilt over his previous behaviour Xander vowed that he would stand by her this time no matter what the outcome was of the blonde- very annoying- Vampire.

After about ten minutes the doorbell rang and Xander opened it to find a grinning Anya.

"Hey I came over as fast as I could." her blonde hair bounced as she glanced around the room "you have a very pretty house."

Willow went over and pulled Anya into a hug astonishing the girl "I am so glad you are here." She said

"Oh!" Anya's face was a picture of delight > Willow likes me! <

Willow pulled back and showed Anya Spike's prone body on the sofa. "He's hurt bad but no matter what I do he won't heal." She added desperately Anya peered at the Vampire and noted Willow's anxiety "He has a very nice body for a dead man, he's very yummy and will give many orgasms but I think you need a new couch." She nodded > that shocked them! <

Xander's mouth hung open " An, you remember those private things we talked about?" ignoring him she walked over to Willow "A few hundred years ago I was cursing a young man who has cheated on his wife with five of her sisters and her mother, I made his skin burn off or something- anyway there was a Vampire there who had a run in with a mob and if I remember right his Sire did this healing ritual to speed up recovery."

"Really?" Willow grew hopeful

"Five sisters and her mother?" Xander was incredulous

Anya took charge "I'll need some Bayless root, sage, night's bane, sacred sand and a virgin urn."

"I have all that upstairs." Willow dashed to her room to collect the required ingredients.

"FIVE sisters and her Mother?"

"Xander, honey. Focus."

"Here." Willow pushed the ingredients on the table

"Ok spread the sand in a circle around Spike and pass me the stuff. We'll need a large knife too- Xander." Xander got up and dragged himself in the kitchen to get the sharpest knife > I hate rituals. <

Anya crushed the items together in the urn as she chanted; she then drew a triangle on Spike's chest with the residue from the mixture. "I have to pour this around him too."

"It's ok the upholstery is pretty much ruined." Willow commented amiably

Anya poured the mixture around Spike. Taking the knife from him she turned to Willow with it.

"I need your blood."

~Part: 8~ Ritual Behaviour

Without hesitation Willow held out her arm. Solemnly Anya made a deep cut across Willow's palm and let the blood drip into the virgin urn she held underneath until it formed a rim around the container.

Xander paled "That's gross." They rolled their eyes at him and shared a silent look that said > Men are such babies. <

"Ok on my signal I need you to feed it to him." Will nodded at Anya's instructions. Casting her mind back Anya tried to remember the correct wording >I hate these dead languages! <

"C'larconic Menpasa Restoric, for the childe, for the friend, for the undead. C'larconic Menpasa Restoric, to heal, to bind, to uncover. C'larconic Menpasa Restoric. Restore, restore, restore." She gestured to Willow who fed Spike her blood.

An eerie blue glow filled the circle as the blood went down his throat, there was a flash and the blue light faded. There was a moment's silence.

"Is that it?" Xander broke it

"Um yeah. Pretty much." Anya nodded brightly

Spike groaned loudly "OW!"

"Spike!" Willow yelled in delight and threw her arms around him

He pulled her closer to his body and inhaled her sweet essence "Am I in heaven?" he asked dazed and then he saw Xander "Apparently not!"

"Hey dead boy junior. How you feeling?"

"Like Hell." Willow pulled back guiltily and Spike's arms felt empty.

"But, hey- conscious. That's new." Willow added waving her arms emphatically.

"Oh goodie it worked." Anya clapped her hands gleefully. Willow hugged Anya tight and whispered "Thanks" in her ear.

"Someone want to tell me why I'm trussed up like a bleeding mummy?" Spike demanded, pulling off his bandages.

"Hey, that was some of my best work." Xander protested

Spike stared "You wrapped me?" disbelief coloured his voice and when Xander nodded he replied incredulously "Why?"

"Maybe you'd better shower while we clean up this mess, then we'll talk." Willow suggested

"You saying I look a mess?" Spike teased trying to stand.

"Actually dead boy, you look a lot better than you first did." Xander threw back at him as Spike attempted to pull himself up a second time and failed.

Xander held out his hand and dragged Spike to his feet, he then placed Spike's arm over his shoulder and bearing the brunt of Spike's dead weight, helped him to the stairs.

Spike was beyond amazed. Xander was actually helping him- of his own free will and without complaining or mocking him. "Wha..?"

"Don't take it personally Blondie; I just want to get out of clearing up- again." Willow and Anya stared for a moment "Um Xan, Spike's clothes are a little- um torn so you can give him something of my dads." Xander nodded and helped Spike up the stairs to the bathroom.


"So what happened to you?" Xander asked. Spike stood in Willow's parent's room draped in a towel looking at her father's selection of clothes.

"It was a bloody ambush. Six demons waiting for me. I would've been right as rain but the bloody things had a human with them. I couldn't hurt him so he held me while they- wankers!" he growled

"Willow was so worried; I've never seen her so freaked." Xander said casually trying to gage his reaction

"Yeah?" Spike looked pleased "Red was worried for me?" he picked out some pants and a shirt

"From what I could tell she ran into the burning crypt to drag you out and then hauled your sorry ass all the way back here by herself. She was covered in blood and was doing a fair interpretation of Carrie." He shuddered at the memory

"Is she ok?" the Vampire demanded

> Pay dirt! < Xander crowed > He likes her too! < "Yeah after she exploded a couple of things and terrorised Willies bar she was ok."

Spike paused doing up the shirt "Say what?"


Willow glanced at the stairs and dropped the pillow she held >Yum! < Xander was helping Spike down the stairs. Spike was dressed in black slacks and a white shirt half buttoned, he looked irresistible.

"What's this 'bout you going to Willies bar and scaring the demons?" Spike smothered his amusement as Willow flushed

"I got mad." She murmured shyly shrugging one shoulder.

"Blondie here got jumped by a mob of demons and their human puppet." Xander placed Spike on the armchair and surveyed the room.

"Erm Will," he began

"Yeah the sofa's had it." She said her eyes twinkling "I'll take mom's credit card and get a new one tomorrow- the amount they're here they probably won't even notice."

Spike looked at the couch, it was covered in dark blood stains and some gooey substance, there were also some scorch marks on the cushions. He winced "Sorry pet."

"S'ok you're an expensive luxury." she grinned widely "You all heal-y?"

"Better, bleeding exhausted and only dead not dead dead. You know what I mean." He finished

"It's nearly time for you to get all sweaty at work" Anya commented as she gazed out of the window at the sun.

"Ok Will we are gonna go, I'll be back after work." He turned to the Vampire "get some rest Blondie." And with a jaunty wave Anya and Xander left.

"What happened to Xapper?" Spike looked curiously at Willow

"He feels bad about ignoring me after Oz, so he's trying to make it up by being nice to my new friend- you." She leaned in close "I think he likes you."

"Now I'm bloody scared love!" he looked horrified

She resisted the urge to laugh "C'mon Spike lets get you to bed."

"Aw pet, I didn't know you cared." He leered

"What?" realising what she'd said she turned a deep red "Spike, for heavens sake!"

"I'm a little incapacitated right now, pet. But give me a bit to get my strength up and I'll accommodate you."

She pulled him to his feet and rolled her eyes. She helped him up the stairs and laid him on the bed in the guest room.

"Ok Red, I'll try now. Come down here." He raised his eyebrow

She sighed and tried to resist the temptation to do exactly that- >what would he say if she did?< She wondered vaguely " They set fire to your crypt Spike, you'll have to stay here for a while, I'll fetch you some clothes tomorrow but for now you need to rest- get some sleep." She turned and walked to the door.

"Pet?" she didn't slow down "Love? Willow?" he urged

She stopped and slowly turned raising her own eyebrows, he gave her a puppy dog look "Stay with me, you look tired out. I won't try anything- just sleep." He patted the bed. She bit her lip hesitantly so he played his trump card "I could use the body heat; I'm still a bit cold." Shaking her head she lay next to him and snuggled into the sheets.

Spike draped his arm over her stomach and inched closer to her warmth.

"Thanks for taking care of me pet."

"Anytime Spike." Her eyes dropped as exhaustion took over "Anytime at all."


It was the banging that did it, Willow's eyes edged open as it continued

"Go 'way." She mumbled into the pillow. Her eyes flew open as she realised she was spooned against Spike's chest. He had one arm around her waist and the other touching her breast. Wriggling gently to extract herself she felt his response press against the back of her thigh.

"Eep!" she leapt from the bed and hurried down the stairs to answer the door.

"Xander?" she stared bleary-eyed "What time is it?"

"After six." He said "You just woken up?"

She nodded and yawned "I slept through an entire day of classes!" she recalled

"I told Buffy you felt sick so she probably took notes- maybe." He grinned

"Great now all I need is a translator to scroll through Buffy's spider writing and I'm set." she teased. "I have to shower, then go out and buy a new sofa and get Spike some clothes."

"Do what ya hafta, I'll keep blondie busy." He patted his bag mysteriously

"Won't ask." She headed for the shower.


As the key turned in the lock Willow heard the shouts within

"Oh you are so dead!"

"Yeah, well now you can join me moron."

"Look dead-boy I can kick your ass."

"Huh, call that kicking, sissy?"

"Shut up fangless. I'm so gonna kill you."

"I'll rip off your head and eat your entrails first!"

> Oh no, I knew it wasn't a good idea to leave them alone together< Willow hurried in and her mouth dropped as she surveyed the scene. Xander sat on the floor and Spike in the armchair. On the table sat two mugs and a pizza box. But what took her mind reeling was what they were doing- they were actually.

"Illegal move Blondie, watch me kick your ass!" -playing WWF on the play station?

"You got a fixation on my ass, whelp?"

"Guys?" Willow couldn't help it, she needed to laugh. They turned guiltily like naughty school boys.

"Hey Wills." Xander tried for innocence

"Hello pet." Spike grinned sheepishly - his slip lip had obviously healed.

"You Mr Badass vampire are supposed to be resting. And Xander, your idea of relaxation is WWF?" she put her hands on her hips and tapped her foot

"Sorry Willow." They chorused with their heads down. Mirth bubbled forth from her lips at their contrition and she chuckled.

"Here Spike I got you some new clothes, they'll have to do for now. The new couch will be here tomorrow morning." She sighed and stretched trying to ease her aching muscles.

"Tea?" Xander asked and then groaned "I'm turning into Giles, tea is not the answer to everything!" he lectured himself

"It is to this, I'd love one." She smiled at him as he went into the kitchen

"Tired love?"

"Mmm little bit." She sat on the floor besides his feet and glanced up at him

"How about you?"

"Vamp healing kicked in so I'm better. Bit bruised and all but I'll be back to normal soon."

"You, normal?" she rolled her eyes "As if!"

"Hey walking wounded here pet!" he sounded insulted. Xander walked in with the tray bearing three mugs

"Tea, coffee and AB- possibly."

"Cheers mate." Spike took his mug unaware of Willow's disbelief

"I can't believe you two bonded, it only took near death and a ritual!" she shook her head

Xander gave her a flippant smirk "well Blondie isn't as bad as Dead boy."

"And Xapper is slightly less annoying than Dog boy."

"Now all you have to do is learn each others names."

"Oh Giles called, he said you bailed PDQ yesterday he was worried-except he used more words."

Willow groaned and hit her head with her hand "I totally forgot about Giles. I better go over for research and explanation. Will you be okay?"

"I'll stay." Offered Xander "Besides I'm beating Blondie."

"Excuse me, I'm over 120 and have never played on a bleeding' play station, thought computers would be a fad. Give me a while to practice and me and my vamp reflexes will pound your arse."

"Oh bring it on, Captain Platinum"

Willow shuddered "Disturbing- very disturbing!"


"I just remembered I'd left a candle burning and I didn't want to come home and have burnt the place down. I didn't mean to panic you." Willow looked contrite.

Giles patted her hand "That's okay, for a minute I thought you'd had a premonition." He laughed but his words had stunned Willow - exactly how had she known Spike was in trouble? She smiled weakly for Giles' benefit but her mind was raging. She'd experienced great pain and she'd known Spike was in danger- how? Maybe it was a side-effect of being close to a vampire; she'd have to ask Buffy.

"What's the demon of the week?" she asked absently

"According to Buffy the demons seem to be scarce, which reminds me I haven't seen Spike recently- he usually comes around for blood supplies and of course to bother us repeatedly." He took off his glasses to polish them.

"I'm sure he's around somewhere, probably making a mess." She thought of her couch

Just then Buffy waltzed in "Hey Wills, you ok?"

"Fine." She managed a smile for her friend "Patrol was a bust huh?"

"Total. I even stopped by Willies but every demon was out looking for something."

This smile was genuine "Really?"

"They seemed pretty eager to find it too. Makes my job easier so that I can do a quick sweep tonight and go on my date." She practically danced on the spot

"A date, with who?" Willow was happy for her friend

"Riley!" Buffy beamed "We decided to give it another go and since we both play for the home team he'll understand if something apocalypse-y causes me to bail."

"That's great!" Willow liked the soldier boy- whatever his connections, she'd felt bad when Buffy had broken it off with him after her discovery of his involvement in he initiative. Riley had come back to ask her for tips to win Buffy and it looked like he had succeeded. Plus Willow liked playing with his gadgets. She blushed at her own suggestive thought > OK I'm even thinking like Spike. <

"Well if there is no research then I'll just head on to . Xander?"

"Hey Wills." Xander panted as he ran in out of breath "I just went past you're house and saw your MOM go in. I thought you'd like to know since you don't get to spend a lot of time with your mom so you should go home!"

"My mom." > Oh shit, the couch -Spike! Eep! < "Thanks Xand.2 she said as she raced out of the door- again.


Willow panted as she reached the front door > breathe in, out, in, out calm down, oh goddess, what is she doing here, what will she say, what did Spike say in, out, in, out< she pushed open the front door. Her mom was sitting opposite Spike at the kitchen table -- drinking hot chocolate?

"Hey mom." Willow squeaked

"Oh Willow, William told me what happened."

"He did?" > Oh how I doubt that! <

"It's a shame the police were unable to catch the gang that did this."


"The one's who attacked him, and I'm outright shocked that the hospital released him so soon. Are you quite sure you wouldn't like me to take you over there." Willow stared out at the late afternoon sun; it was getting cool but still enough sun to dust Spike

"I'm fine Sheila." he grinned

"But you can barely walk." she shook her head at the health system "I'm glad you bought him here."

"Well I couldn't let him just leave they burnt down his apartment." Willow stated

"Yes, we were just talking about that."

"Uh huh." Willow sounded suspicious

"Since William no longer has a place to stay I have recommended that he stay here."


"Really willow, your vocabulary is shrinking, what am I paying tuition fees for?"

"Sorry mom, you just caught me by surprise, so Spike is staying here?"

"Yes he can have the guest bedroom; I have already given him the spare key."

Spike noted the uncomfortable look on Willow's face "If that's alright with you pet?"

Willow started "yeah it's just a surprise," she let loose a grin "at least now I can keep an eye on you."

"Yes William, you are too pale, you need some sun." Spike adopted Willows deer-in-headlights look

"William is very photosensitive mom, he burns if he so much as looks at sunlight." Willow replied truthfully

"Oh." Sheila nodded "There was a boy at college like that; he never went out during the day."

Spike and Willow shared a look > Vampire? <

"Not that I'm not pleased to see you mom, but aren't you supposed to be on a lecture tour in Dallas?"

"Yes, I forgot a disk in my bedroom; I just dropped by to retrieve it. I am actually flying out in-"she checked her watch "Good heavens I really have to go."

"Thanks again." Spike said but her mind was elsewhere as she picked up her briefcase and left without another word.

"Bye." Willow said so softly that Spike's vamp hearing only just caught it. She looked sadly at the door and swallowed back tears.

Spike watched Willow struggle to look casual at her mothers oblivious departure "pet?" he commiserated

She shook her head tightly > Get over it Rosenberg, it's not the first time and it won't be the last- you are a rousing set of genetics to them. Nothing more. < The familiar words soothed the lump in her throat but did little to alleviate the ache in her heart. Spike cursed > was the woman totally blind and insensitive? Stupid bitch didn't even look at my Red. How can such a caring soul come from those cold hearted losers? <

"I could rip her head off for you, pet?" he offered

She turned to him with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes "She probably wouldn't notice."

He would do anything to get that abandoned look out of her eyes "Are you okay love?"

She shook herself "I have friends, college and a roof over my head and money in y pocket. I'm lucky." Spike opened his mouth to comment

"Drop it." she ordered sharply, she sat at the table and stared at the cooling mug of hot chocolate.

"And now of course, you have me as house mate so you are the luckiest girl in the world!"

She tittered gently "egotist!"

"Not if it's a fact pet." He puffed out his chest "Now I haven't seen myself in a while but I have it on good authority that I am the sexiest Vampire in history and lucky you now have me all to yourself." He raised an eyebrow

"Oh the possibilities"

"I'm not allowed boys in my room" she blinked innocently

"I'm not a boy, I'm a man." He deepened his voice

Willow looked at him with his chest stuck out and deep baritone voice and bust into laughter >Ah that's more like it! <

"If Xander could see you now." She giggled

"Yeah." suddenly the thought dawned on him "Bloody hell, what's the slayer gonna say?"

"She will probably introduce you to Mr pointy." Willow sighed

"Let's not tell her then!" he decided

"Oh Spike's a scared of Buffy." Willow answered in a singsong voice

"Am not. Take that back." Spike demanded

"Joking, relax. Besides I don't want her to stake my best buddy." She confessed

Spike grinned "She'll be all *Oh Willow what are you thinking being friends with such an evil fiend even though he is so ruggedly handsome and has a great body*" his falsetto made Willow laugh. He stood up and affected a "Buffy" pose, legs spread open, hands on hips and head thrown back.

"*Besides he is only living with you to get to me, I am the most gorgeous creature- if a little slow, every one wants me!*" he squeaked "*I have no fashion sense and my hair care bill alone could feed a third world country!*" Willow held her sides "Stop. ouch!" she was laughing so hard she didn't heard the door open. Xander watched amused.

"*And Angel will always love me, coz Poof's like him like air-heads like Me.*" Spike mimicked Buffy tossing her hair

"*That's right Buffy!*" Xander broke in, in deep baritone "* I like to look at you because I can't see myself in the mirror.*"

"*Oh Angel really?*" Spike clasped his hands and batted his eyelashes

"*Yes Buffy, I love you less than I love myself, how do I look?*" Xander put his hands on his hips

"*Ohh like a magnificent Poof- kiss me!*"

"No, you'll mess up my hair- this gel is imported, besides I have to go brood and look dashing and oh so gay!*"

"*My hero!*" Spike simpered

Willow fell off her chair, tears streaming down her face. "I'm cured!" she gasped fighting for breath. Spike looked down at her.

"Ya think she's cured?" he asked Xander

"Oh yeah."

"Play station?" he motioned to the living room. Xander grinned

"Play station."

~Part: 9~ Closure A.

"No, no don't!"

Spike shot up in bed and listened intently

"No, you'll kill him! NO!" the quiet whimpers grew and Spike got out of bed and made his way down the hall.

"Please, nonononono to hot!"

Spike pushed open the door to Willow's bedroom and moved over to her bed. Willow was thrashing against the covers which tangled in her legs, obviously caught in the throes of a nightmare.

"Please somebody help!"  The tears were streaked down her cheeks "Help me, I can't!" Spike sat on the edge of the bed and stroked her exposed shoulder.

"Willow, it's just a dream." Every night for a week she had this nightmare and Spike had managed to soothe her without waking her up from her much needed sleep, but this was much worse. > What could be so terrifying it scared a girl used to the horrors of the hellmouth? <

"No come back. NO NO!" She screamed "Spike!" she hurled upright shaking intensely, sobbing.

"Shh love, it's me. I'm here." Spike soothed

Willow blinked "S-Spike?" she threw her arms around him "I'm sorry it was too hot and- and I-I couldn't ."

"Shh, Spike's here. It was just a nasty dream." He stroked her back listening as the shuddering sobs subsided "It's OK now. The big bad is here to protect you." She pulled back and wiped her hot hand over her face breathing heavily. Spike flicked on the bedside lamp illuminating the room.

"I didn't mean to wake you." She said softly ducking her head in embarrassment. He bent his head to catch her eye "That's fine love. Nasty bugger of a nightmare."

She nodded remembering "Nasty."

"Wanna talk about it?" she shook her head quickly "Red, you've been having the same dream for a damn week, it might be best to talk about it, get it off your chest." She sniffed and nodded slightly

"This was the worst." Spike pushed her back onto the bed and stretched out besides her stroking her hair

"You can tell me pet."

"I'm in the crypt, I'm chained to the wall and I can't move or- or do magic." she shuddered. He kept up the stroking movements. "I look across the crypt and I see you." >Me? I'm causing the nightmares? < His un-beating heart sank.

"You're in chains too; you are all bloody with things sticking out of you. You hurt so much, then *they* come in and they have black cloaks and no faces. They pull off your shirt ad pour H-holy water over you and they've hung you on a cross so your back is all burning and you scream and all I can smell is burning flesh." The tears started to fall again "They say- they say I can make it stop but I don't know how and they say there's nothing I can do I'm weak and powerless, and then they set fire to he crypt and leave. My chains vanish and I rush over to you to t-try and g-get you out. But I can't and the fire is so hot and it catches a-and I'm burning and your burning." Her speech got faster and faster until she was tripping over her words.

"OK OK stop Willow." Spike urged using her name as he felt her fear rise. She turned to him so they were face to face.

"You are not supposed to die. You're supposed to live forever and not die. You can't leave me alone." The late hour and her residual fear made her honest and vulnerable and Spike was helpless to resist it. He pulled them so they were sitting up and dragged her into his lap cradling her against his bare chest.

"I'm not going anywhere pet. I'm staying right here, I know that damn mob did a number on me but I didn't dust- YOU saved me, Red. I'm sorry they scared you so bad. As soon as we find them we'll make them pay - in blood. No one messes with the big bad and NOONE upsets his witch!" Spike's speech had the desired effect, Willow calmed down and her heart rate slowed and her breathing returned to normal.

"Yeah?" she pushed back slightly to look into his bright blue eyes.

"Scouts honour!" he smirked

"You were a scout?" she looked sceptical, damp but sceptical.

"Well I ate one once, does that count?"

"No." she chuckled and ran her fingertips over his toned chest. She circled his sternum with her index finger and then traced a thin scar rising up towards his collar bone and back down towards his belly button.

"Um, pet." His voice was thick "What are you doing?"

"Checking they didn't hurt you permanently."

He caught her hand before it trailed over his nipple

"You really don't want to do that." His tone made her look up. She was surprised to see his eyes heavy lidded with desire.

She suddenly realised their situation, she was in a short strappy top and boxers while Spike wore black silk boxers- which were suddenly tight- and nothing else!

"Eep!" she scrambled off his lap and backwards yanking her hand out of Spike's grip. "Sorry!" She blushed from her toes to the roots of her hair.

He chuckled "Relax love." He enjoyed her discomfort > serves the minx right! < "Although if you want to help me with it.?" he raised an eyebrow suggestively and she bit her lip.

"Maybe some other time. I'm tired."

Spike had expected her to stammer or blush some more not "postpone" >interesting! < He got up to go.

"Goodnight Red."

"Night Spike." At the door he paused

"What?" she asked

"Would it really be that bad if I died?" he said it so softly she almost didn't hear him.

"Yes." She replied equally as soft but he caught it. He smiled all the way back to his room.


"Morning sunshine!" Spike bounded into the kitchen

"Shut up." Willow glared at him over her cereal

"Oh someone woke up on the wrong side of their coffin!" he breezed as he picked up the wheat-a-bix

"Vampires sleep in a coffin, Witches don't. And for a night person- thing, you are god-awful chipper in the morning." She growled good naturedly

"Guilty pleasure." He said munching on the breakfast cereal "What's the plan for today?"

"I'm meeting Buffy later for a trip to the mall then we go hunting for a boyfriend for me- since Buffy's back with Riley. Then."

"What?" Spike choked on his snack

"Buffy's back with Riley- I'm sure I told you-"

"I could give a damn if slutty screwed every soldier in the damn initiative. Why'd you hafta hunt for a boyfriend?"

"*I* don't, but it makes Buffy happy, when she's trying to fix me up. She says I could do with the help and she's got a point. Are you going to eat that or just get crumbs on the floor?" But the wheat-bix was forgotten as Spike stared at her.

"Bloody bint should keep her nose out and what do you mean she's got a point?" he was confused

"Well I'm not doing too well by myself. The last boyfriend I had was Oz and lets recall how well *that* ended. Besides I'm not exactly catch of the century, I'm no Cordelia." She grinned at herself

"What?" he growled but she didn't catch it.

"I guess I'm okay looking but I spend all my time with a slayer who look like a super-model, I spend all my time hunting or researching and getting covered in blood or goo and I'm a wimp." She shook her head, lost in reflection "Not exactly prime girlfriend material."

Spike was stunned- and angry- "Listen love, I'm only gonna say this once. You are stupid!"

"Hey!" she said insulted

"You are one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen and I've been around a while. Covered in blood, goo or sodding diamonds you are stunning, who in the hell said you were a wimp?"

She was taken aback at his vehement tone and the feral look in his eyes "Oh come on, after last night? I was crying like a baby, you were there and compared to Buffy I am a wimp."

"Oh here we go, compared to Buffy." He rolled his yes "Let me tell you something, being pretty and strong is a slayers compensation for having to fight the nasties, kinda a free gift. Besides Buffy has a destiny and *has* to fight the demons- you got into this gig by choice, you, dear, are a volunteer to this madness and that makes you braver than the damn slayer." He staked towards her like a hunter "you deal with this crap on a daily basis without flicking an eye, you've seen more horror than anyone should have to see in a lifetime let alone 20 years old. You have survived apocalypses, Angelus, that raving loony slayer, the Master, Dru, me and yet you are still here working alongside the slayer who was *chosen* for this stuff. The bleeding slayer could never compare to your bravery or your heart and if the worst you get is a couple of nightmares after one of your friends is nearly tortured to death then count yourself bloody lucky most people would be tucked inside a nut house. So bollocks to I'm a wimp!" he finished almost yelling in her face "OKAY?" he vamped out.

Willow cringed and drew back "Fine, okay brave me. Quit yelling." She requested sheepishly. He pulled back his eyes still gleaming yellow.

"Damn straight!"

"Um Spike?" she gestured to his face still vamped out.

"What?" he felt his ridges "Oh." He morphed back to his human face "Got carried away there Red."

"Really?" she raised an eyebrow "You are just full of pep talks recently."

"Well you obviously need 'em pet. I just can't understand how great you are but you can't see it."

"Thanks Spike, you know for a demon- you can really be sweet sometimes." She grinned waiting for his outburst.

"Argh take it back!" he looked at her in horror "I'm the big bad and I do not do sweet!" he patted his pockets for his cigarettes and on finding one he lit it. Willow pulled an ashtray from a drawer next to her and placed it in front of him. He caught her eye as she flashed him a use-it-or-I-will-make-you-go-outside smile. They sat in easy silence until the shrill ringing of the phone broke it.

"It's probably Buffy." Willow picked up the receiver and the smile fell from her face "Hello. yes speaking. I see. who?. when?. is he sure?. he knows where?. OK I'll come over now. thanks." She hung up the phone and stared at it.

"Pet?" Spike said after a moment

"That was Willie. There's a demon there who knows where to find your attackers." She turned and looked at him "I'm going down there now."

"To Willie's, alone? I bloody well think not!"

She pulled on her jacket "You could come but I doubt you could protect me as Mr big-pile-of-dust. Besides I'll be fine, I am the scary witch remember."

Spike clenched his jaw "Fine just don't go looking for trouble." He bit out "I want a piece of these blokes too." She nodded and left. Spike began to pace muttering loudly about daylight and poofs and irritating but beautiful witches. He suddenly had a thought and turned to the phone. "Oh what is that number?" he mumbled as he dialled *69 (that's 1471 in U.K- Ed.) he took down Willie's number

"Willie here."

"This is Spike, Red is on her way down to you."

"Hey its my pal, how you doing buddy?" Willie's nasal voice irritated Spike

"Fine but if anyone hurts my witch. I will blame you and Willie?"


"You'll be *in* your own drinks! Got it?"

"S-s-sure thing S-spike." But Spike slammed down the phone before Willie could finish his stuttered sentence. Spike growled as he began to pace again. He'd just love to rip off all their heads and stomp them into the ground and rip out their entrails and snap their necks like pea pods and. >hang on something's missing!< the though interrupted his tirade. Realisation dawned and he was floored >Bloody hell!<


Willow pushed open the door to Willie's bar like she was a gunfighter but she didn't feel like cowboy. She was just glad that she wasn't wearing her pink fluffy sweater- because that would make such a great impression! She thought wryly. She spotted Willie talking to a Kulak demon. She remembered researching them after that Slayerfest '98 debacle. It was a bright yellow with stegosaurus type fins on its head. If she remembered correctly some sort of spike came from its hands, it was a pure hunter. "Hey." She adopted what she hoped was vamp-willow's tone but it probably sounded like Elmer Fudd on crack.

"Hey Witch, thought you'd like to meet this guy." Willie gave her the respect she deserved.

"You have news?" she asked the demon coldly

He snarled "I followed their scent from the Spike's crypt to a dive joint downtown. There was a bunch of demons talking about how they'd offed Spike."

"What kind of Demon and how many?" Willow interrupted

"About six, seven Kailiff demons. I tracked them to a small cave about two miles from the St. Augustine tomb in the Crywood cemetery."

Willow nodded absorbing this "The old quarry caves?"

The Kulak nodded, his fins bobbing in the air "it's a small cave surrounded by trees but any demon can smell the stench of these filthy scum who would dare to hurt a master Vampire." He snarled again

"What is your name?" Willow asked


"Well Jo'tar if this checks out you are Slayer free for six months. after that you are on your own. But I advise you not to kill openly, there is an organisation capturing demons to experiment on. Call that a bonus." She nodded to dismiss him and Jo'tar bowed in respect  and left the bar immediately. Willow sighed and sat heavily on the nearest stool. Willie continued wiping down the counter

"You OK kid?"

"No seven Kailiff demons, whatever they are. But they have human helping them and how am I going to convince Buffy not to kill Jo'tar, plus she doesn't know about Spike and me and he's being all weird and Giles!" she groaned "This is going to take some fancy footwork and Buffy is at my house!" she hit her head with her hand and hopped off the barstool. "Thanks for listening." She dug into her pockets for some money but he held up his hands to stop her.

"I like you kid. You are good to Willie- get outta here and meet your slayer."


"Sorry Buff, but we are gonna hafta postpone the mall. Something demon-y has come up."

"Oh Will!" Buffy slumped against the door frame "I was looking forwards to boy hunting!"

"Me too." Willow lied "But last night this demon stopped me in the park and offered some information about a group of demons in a lair outside town who were killing or sacrificing Kids in exchange for protection from you." she offered weakly

"And you traded." Buffy stated wearily

"Hello kiddies!" Willow protested "And even if no kiddies then demons!"

"I understand Wills, I'd just hoped that today would be demon-free."

"Sorry" Willow replied genuinely "Even if they aren't hurting children then at least we get a heads up on a demon gang right?"

"Yeah- so did he give you a description or details?"

"Uh- huh, location and numbers and a name so I guess its research time?"

"Just look on the bright side?" Buffy said tucking her arm in Willows.

"What's that then?"

"We can still scope out cute guys for you at the Magic Box."

~Part: 10~ Girl Talk (Interlude to 'Closure')

"They're called Kailiff demons. K-A-I-L-I-F-F. The informant said there were six or seven of them."

"So we are gonna need a full team." Xander broke in "Is Spike at full strength?"

"Why wouldn't he be?" Buffy asked suspiciously. Willow glared at a sheepish Xander who had momentarily forgotten that Buffy had no idea of Spike's attack or friendship with Willow.

"I ate some bad blood!" Spike volunteered as he emerged from the back where he'd come through the sewer entrance. "Didn't know you cared, slutty!"

"I don't." Buffy hurried to add "But we need all the muscle we have- no matter how annoying and unwelcome the creature its attached too!"

Spike sat next to Xander kicking him in the shin in the process. The magic box had a slow but steady stream of customers which kept Giles and Anya busy and unable to contribute to research. That left Xander in the easy chair with Spike next to him, feet under the table and an attitude a mile wide. Willow and Buffy sat across the other side of the research table, willow engaged in research and Buffy staring at Willow - a past time often shared by Spike.

To amuse himself Xander watched as Spike watched Willow with an expression which read please-walk-all-over-me it was sappy and kinda sweet! And Will was totally oblivious to his emotions and attentions.

Buffy suddenly elbowed Willow "What about him?"

"Him who, what?" Willow's attention was ripped form the page she was reading and she felt a little disorientated. Buffy was peering at her.

"Him!" she pointed to a guy looking at candles in the corner

"He doesn't look like a demon." She was puzzled until Buffy's exasperated glance clued her in "Oh as boyfriend? Um- he's too short"

"So he has to be tall?"

"Yeah, not Riley tall but you know taller than me, so I would fit under his chin if we were hugging." Willow blushed at the admission but Buffy nodded knowingly

"Hugging tallness- gotcha. Good idea."

Willow settled back in her chair and cast a look at Spike from under her lashes >At least he's engrossed in his book, please don't let him hear this. Not that he would want to but it seems to make him cranky. I wish he did care but who am I kidding he is my perfect guy!< She realised she was babbling in her head and promptly shut up.

>Tall but not too tall?< Spike thought >I'm not tall, perfect height me and she fits just under my chin- like last night. I'm just the right height for her!< he leant back in his chair and put both feet on the table stretching out as if to say "look I'm tall!" it was completely subconscious- almost. Xander snickered.

"Him?" Buffy nudged Willow again pointing to someone in the corner.

"Um." Willow looked him up and down "He's okay I guess but a little too scrawny."

"I would never figured you for a muscles girl." Buffy said openly

"Don't get me wrong I don't want Rambo, I like hidden strength but you can tell it's there. Like Patrick Swayze or Hugh Jackman."

"Mmm Hugh Jackman is a total hottie." Drooled Buffy

"Oh yeah, perfect washboard stomach and strong arms without being a beefcake" Willow agreed

"I get it, a lean guy." Buffy understood "Angel was like that, a little bit too broad." She held out her arms to illustrate "He had shoulders  you could grip on- of course so does Riley." She amended hurriedly

"Angel was nice." Willow grinned " He was cute without being too cute, you know."

"I know." Buffy said readily "He had this edge, he was lean and cute without being too obvious."

"Plus he looked so sexy without a shirt on." Willow's expression was impish Buffy's eyes glazed as she remembered. > But he is no where as sexy as Spike!<

Spike was unaware of Willow's internal complement and was biting back a growl at their comments, he turned the page of his book savagely and Xander snorted aloud at his expression. > Bloody poof, not even here and he still manages to ruin my life and steal my women.<

"You'd be great for Angel!" Buffy said causing three pairs of eyes to stare incredulously at her.

"Who me?" Willow was amazed " But you and Angel with the forbidden love thing- soulmates."

Buffy took a breath "After what I feel for Riley I'm not sure it was soulmates, he was my first and it was intense and yeah forbidden but it couldn't last and we could never be together and it is better that way. Besides he deserves someone as good as you."

No he bloody well doesn't!<  Spike's eyes began to glow yellow and Xander hoped the girls quit this topic soon before Spike erupted or he went into hysterics.

Willow hugged Buffy overcome with emotion at her friends sentiment and mentally apologised for all the nasty thoughts she had for her friend. "Aw Buffy thanks. But I'm not sure me and Angel would work. I couldn't handle that much brooding!" Buffy laughed which covered Spike's sigh of relief

"Tell me about it!" she tittered "So back to you we need to find a tall, lean, not too cute, non-brooding guy with an edge who looks yummy without a shirt." Buffy summarised

>Me!< yelled Spike internally

Willow was actually enjoying this, it was like old times when they'd stayed up till all hours doing each others nails and talking about boys. She suddenly felt a pang of miss-age for her best friend.

"I love you Buffy." She said and Buffy smiled

"Love ya too Wills but don't change the subject. How about that guy?" it took everything Spike had not to look up at the intended target.

"No way am I ever going to date a redhead again." Willow supplied vehemently

"I have it. Riley has this totally hot friend called Graham, he is so fine and a little on the muscley side but he gets what goes bump in the night and that is a bonus. He would be so perfect for you. I can't believe I didn't think of him straight away I am so mentally challenged!"

>Seconded!< thought Spike as he viciously turned the page >Just what we need another sodding soldier boy!< Spike's expression of rage was too much for Xander who had to leave the room before he spontaneously combusted form mirth.

Willow motioned Buffy to join her at the front of the book shelf furthest away from Spike. This was out of his hearing- or so she thought.

"I'm not sure about this Buffy. Since Oz I kinda made up this whole fantasy guy thing and that's what I want."

"Oh do tell!" Buffy enthused "All the juicy details." Willow bit her lip and blushed

"Promise you won't tell anyone?" Spike gave up all pretence of reading and leaned closer, straining his Vampire hearing to catch her words.

"Cross my heart and Stake me." Buffy recited the slayer oath

"Ok, my ideal guy has to look sexy in denim jeans, a tight black T-shirt and leather jacket."

"Oh yeah!" Buffy agreed wholeheartedly

"He has to be able to sing and play an instrument- preferably guitar. I like my guys to like music and of course being serenaded is sexy."

"If the guy can sing!" Buffy shuddered recalling an ex- boyfriend who had attempted to serenade her and slaughtered her favourite love song until the neighbours called the police to get rid of him. She cringed whenever she heard the song.

"He buys me flowers and cooks for me, he is interested in everything I do, this time I want to be romanced. He loves me- for me and would rather die than ever cheat on me." She touched her heart recalling how it felt to be cheated on, her face turned wistful.

"Yeah." Buffy said softly

"He also has to look sexy in leather and um..." she blushed and whispered "He has a motorcycle."

"A motorbike?" Buffy gaped "Willow!"

"I guess I have a bad-boy fetish." She admitted biting her lip in consternation " But just imagine Buffy, a tall leather clad guy on a big black motorbike in the pouring rain, racing down dark country lanes with you on the back, legs wrapped around him and then pulling into a deserted lane and-"

"Sold!" Buffy whimpered and then grinned "Ill ask Riley if Graham has a bike," she thought for a second "And if he can borrow it!"

Willow chuckled as they returned to the table.

Spike stared in stunned amazement at his open book. >Sweet little Willow wants  a lean, mean, bad boy? Oh that is so very do-able.< An evil sexy-as-sin grin that would have melted Willow graced his lips >I'll see what I can do about that. Willow is about to be well and truly romanced , after all if my dreams can come true I'm sure Red's fantasy's have a chance!<

~Part: 10a~

"Hey!" Xander piped up in the silence. Four pairs of eyes turned to stare at him. Giles raised his head, causing his glasses to slip down his nose.


"I think I found our friends. Brown dudes with Spiky bits on their heads." He handed the book to Giles

"Yes I believe that is it. It says here they are quite often mercenaries due to their strength and tenacity. Some operate as lone-sharks or muscle for hire- they rarely work without payment and hardly ever in a group."

Willow exchanged looks with Spike and Xander > Who would pay to kill Spike?<

"The demon said there were about seven of them." Willow mentioned

"Maybe I should tell Riley and get some back up?" Buffy suggested

"Bleeding sods!" Spike bit out " These demons need to be killed not bloody experimented on. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy." He paused considering "Well maybe you."

Buffy scowled at him and clenched her fists "Just give me a reason to stake you chip-boy" Xander jumped in to divert the slagging match that would inevitably follow.

"I'm not to fond of initiative methods but we could do with the hands, maybe just Riley and one or two of his more trusty commando's." Willow nodded slowly considering "That might be best Giles?"

Giles straightened "Yes ask Riley for two friends who he could trust. We should meet here for weapons assembly about six. Willow knows the site so she can lead us there." Willow nodded again

"Sure thing G-man." Xander added happily

"I have asked you repeatedly not to call me that." Giles said exasperated


Since Anya was now stuck in the magic box Xander elected to stay behind and help while Giles and Buffy sorted weapons out back. Willow looked up spells that could help and tried to get started on her Psychology essay.

Spike escaped through the basement and returned to Willow's house. It was odd that since living in Sunnydale he said resided in a mansion, a factory another mansion and a crypt and now he lived- or unlived- in an actual house and this time it felt like home- mainly because Willow was there. Luckily  her house was built near a sewer access  so he only had a short way to run before he reached the safety of her shaded porch.

Once inside he threw his smoking duster on the couch (brand new!) and made his way up the stairs into Willow's room. He would never tell her he often went and sat there when she wasn't in. It made him feel comforted and close to her >SAP!< his brain yelled but he didn't care. He sat on her bed and felt her scent surround him. He lay back and pretended she was laying there next to him and he pulled her pillow to him. His mind was in turmoil and his thoughts galloped away so fast and loud he wanted to scream at them to shut them up. Someone had paid to have him killed- which was flattering and inflated his ego but he couldn't think who hated him that much that was still alive. He wanted to know who and why. Secondly was this mornings revelation what did it mean and how had it happened and what would Willow say when she found out? Thirdly was Buffy's little comments about his Sire and Willow- exactly how did she feel about the poof? Fourthly was he healed enough to fight the damn demons and protect his Red, especially since she had started fighting and going to Willie's- was he demon and/or man enough for her. Fifth or was it sixth- whatever- what was his position in the demon world and finally and most importantly- who the hell was Graham?


Graham was amused- this was a common occurrence these days around his friends so he didn't mind- In fact it made for an interesting life. Riley had come over a few hours ago and asked him and Forest to help to clean out a nest of demons. Forest had been all for it until he realised it meant working with the slayer. Forest hated the Blonde for taking Riley's time- he was like a jealous ex. That amused Graham. Now Forest stood with his arms folded like a five year old sulking, glaring at the slayer. That also amused Graham. He looked around the little group in the magic box. There was the little blonde hugging Riley, she was the slayer? >She's tiny! And she looks like a cheerleader!< By the shelf with a large hammer prominently displayed on it was a man who looked like a librarian, he was peering over his glasses at the three of them. There was a cute little woman at the till counting money with a happy smile. The young man with the embarrassed grin was watching her and shaking his head. Graham's gaze was drawn to the adorable red-head in dark blue jeans and a bright red v-neck top. She was pouring over some notes, but keeping an ear to the comments thrown around as if cataloguing them for future reference. Sitting quite close was a tall blonde guy who looked menacing if vaguely familiar, he kept shooting furtive glances at the soldiers before turning his attention back to the red-head.

"Thank-you for coming," Buffy smiled at Riley, "We really could use the help."

Riley returned the smile causing Forest to roll his eyes.

"That's Okay Buffy, my boys and me are glad to help."

"Speak for yourself," Forest grunted. Buffy glared.

"Forest," Riley warned, then he remembered his manners, "Forest this is Buffy, Graham," he pointed at his friend who was trying to hide a grin.

"Hey,"  he shook her hand much to Forest disgust.

>This is Graham?< Spike looked soldier boy up and down >Looks like the poof except more dense- slutty thinks he good enough for my red?<

Buffy was also looking Graham over >Mmm nice<

"Let me introduce you to everyone," she pointed to the librarian guy, "This is Giles."

Graham shook his hand too, "Pleased to meet you sir."

Giles liked this young man, "Yes quite," he took his glasses off and began to polish them.

"That's Anya," the cute 'till' girl bounced over.

"Hello I'm Anya- I work here like we humans have to do to earn money, So we can live as humans."

Graham smiled confusedly as she shook his hand >Huh!<

The guy with the embarrassed grin came over and grabbed her shoulder.

"An, calm down- go count the money," he shook his head as she bounded back over the cash register with a happy "Okay."

"I'm Xander," He introduced himself.

"Hey," He liked this kid he looked like he was a good laugh.

"That's Willow," Buffy continued. The red-head looked up and shot the soldier a warm smile.

"She's our major researcher, and a practising Wicca, she's getting really good," Buffy enthused causing Willow to blush bright pink.

Graham let loose his full grin which left Buffy speechless >Yum!< and made Willow stare.

"So Willow- you get stuck with the research too huh? Commander Finn here has an aversion to it so guess who gets roped in?"

Willow was captivated by his easy manner and killer smile "I don't mind it- its kinda fascinating- thus ensuring my geek-hood forever." She joked. Spike rolled his eyes and glared menacingly at the Soldier boy. Xander noticed Spike's glare and had to swallow back a chuckle >Gotta speak to Spike about jealousy!- or not coz he is funny as hell when he's sulking<

"Hey we geeks have to stick together," Graham returned lightly and Buffy beamed at how well they were getting along.

Forest broke in "As nice as this is don't we have demons to kill?"

"Yeah ok, Wills where did your source say the demons were holed up?"

"One of the caves near the old Quarry, south of St. Augustine cemetery. He didn't give specifics but said that any demon could tell from there. They have a strong scent- apparently." Willow explained

"We can track that with our gadgets." Riley said

"I love your gadgets." Buffy simpered and Forest gagged

"There are a lot of caves, we may need to split up to find the right one." Willow added smiling at Forests expression

"And I need to know what hardware you guys are packing." gone was the cheerleader and in her place stood the take charge Slayer. As Riley and Forest discussed weapons with Buffy, Graham wandered over to the only un-introduced member of the group and stuck out his hand.


Spike ignored the outstretched hand "Like the cracker?" he said in an amused tone.

"I guess so." Graham lowered his hand "Except not as crumbly." He tried for a joke

"That so?" Spike raised an eyebrow clearly unamused and again Graham had a flash of familiarity

"Do I know you?" Something flickered in the blonde's eyes and he looked Graham dead in the eye

"You hope not." Graham felt annoyed at this guys arrogance " You got a name to go with that attitude?

Spike tried not to laugh- he liked this kid >Dammit<

"That's Spike, ignore him. The only person he matters to is himself." Buffy shot over and Spike growled "You'll pay for that Slutty."

Forest spluttered "Slutty?"

"Guys focus." Willow's clear voice cut across the others as she anticipated a fight  "Demons to kill, fight now- bitch later."

>Oh she was so cute!< Graham thought whilst Spike fought the urge to throw her down on the table and claim her and shag her.>Not necessarily in that order<

"Ok so we spilt, if you commandos have those cool gadgets and walkie talkies we need one of you in each group. " Suddenly Xander's devil decided to get even with Spike for beating him the other day on the play station plus it was just fun "me Anya and Forest, Riley, Buffy and G-man should go together which leaves Wills, blondie and Graham." He grinned broadly at the seething vampire.

 Giles sighed "I have asked you."


"Why did we get stuck with crackers?" moaned Spike

"Crackers?" Graham chuckled at the nickname

"Spike be nice." Willow hissed poking him

"It's ok Willow." Graham loved saying her name "So you are Wicca, Riley said you were pretty good at it. He mentions you guys all the time although some of the stuff you guys do- he's gotta be making some of it up!"

"I dabble." Willow was wary she knew the initiative hated the supernatural

"Don't touch her I know how anti- paranormal you sodding commando's are." Spike growled

"Hey!" Graham was affronted " We are not all that biased you know, I happen to have an open mind."

"The trouble with that mate." Spike spat "Is that people tend to put things in it!"

"I know most of the initiative only deal in black and white but there are some of us that realise there are grey areas, like witches. Not all demons are evil like not all humans are good."

"So why experiment on them then?" Spike demanded

Graham gaped "How did you- Riley?"

"No Riley doesn't breach protocol. We heard it through the demon grape vine." Willow didn't want to get Riley in trouble

"Look that's not my call but if they kill, I figure they got it coming."

"Do you like animals Graham?" Willow asked

"Sure" he replied puzzled at the change in topic

"Well animals kill so maybe we should tie them up and torture them. Take a wolf who attacks a human and muzzle it so it can't eat and then wave meat under its nose, maybe beat it when it salivates?"

"That's evil." Graham shuddered

"That's what you do." She said coolly "Take demons or Vampires and make it so they can't feed, basically deny them food and make them in so much pain when they contemplate food that its torture to exist. Animals act on their nature but so do Vampires- they didn't ask to be changed" She thought about Billy Ford "Well most don't -they are victims too. Stake them and put them out of their misery but don't torture them."

Graham considered this " I never thought of it like that." He admitted  somewhat distressed

Spike grinned impressed and touched beyond belief that she would back him up "Red has a way with words."

"But don't let that stop you killing the scum who hurt Sp- those children." She amended hurriedly and Graham cracked up

"You are just an amazing girl Willow."

"Thanks." She looked on in curiosity as he took out a black beeping box form his belt "What's that?"

"It traces demon's signature so we can tell if there is one about." Willow thought quickly so Graham wouldn't discover Spike's less than alive status

"This is a regular demon haunt so I don't think your little box will be very helpful and could lead us the wrong way."

"I'll bow to your superior knowledge of that." He grinned at her again and Spike felt his hackles rise.

Suddenly he caught the abusively familiar scent of the demons. "This way." He growled his demon close to the surface at the hint of revenge. Willow put her hand on his arm squeezing gently.

"Calm down." Her soft voice had the effect of slightly soothing the demon's ire- something not even Dru had managed to do after a century. Graham noticed the look in Spike's eyes as he stared down at the red-head. It was love.

No wonder he hates me, he thinks I'm encroaching on his territory.< it was a pity Willow was taken but he hoped they could at least be friends- she had a refreshing perspective on things.

"Are you sure, you smell 'em?"

"Yeah- what?" Spike stared at Graham and Willow joined in his surprise.

Graham was glad his instincts were still on top form and the startled look on their faces went a long way to alleviate his disappointment.

""Spike" not exactly a human name, zero body heat and no reflection in the car window on the way over and attitude? All scream Vampire." He ticked the items off his fingers

Willow stood in front of Spike as if to shield him

"Yeah So?"

"Relax- it's cool I just don't get why any Vamp would be hanging out with the slayer and her pals. But I guess if they trust you-" he left the sentence hanging

"You might remember him best as Hostile 17." Will replied coldly

Grahams jaw dropped "The one that got away, we thought you'd be dead by now."

"No I had to turn to my enemy to survive now I'm all chipped and helpless." Spike announced with all the venom he could muster- which was a hell of a lot and Graham took an involuntary step backwards

"No wonder you hate us."

"Guys- look Graham Spike helps us now so your not allowed to hurt him or turn him in coz if you try, you and the initiative will have one pissed off wicca on your hands and I guarantee you don't want that." She practically growled at him with her hands on her hips and her eyes flashing in anger.

Graham watched for a second "Affirmative ma'am. Host- Spike is safe from me. Anyway I'll call Finn and let him know we have a trace." As Graham radioed Riley Spike turned to Willow with a teasing smirk on his face

"Who was it that said "I'm a wimp" this morning Hmm?"

She poked her tongue at him. They returned to safer topics as they waited for Buffy and the others to reach them.

"Ok then me, the three Soldiers and Spike will go in first. The rest of you take the back and no heroics ok?."

"You let civilians fight with you?" Forest complained in disgust "He doesn't even have a weapon." He motioned to Spike who smirked evilly.

"I can take care of meself mate."

Buffy just rolled her eyes "Lets go, on 5"

They poised at the edge of the cave "4-3-2-1-go" The five of them burst into the cave scaring the demons within- of which there were 9- not 6!

"What the-?" yelled one

"Room service." Quipped Buffy as she punched him in the face, he went flying into the wall but recovered quickly coming back at her. Willow watched as Riley shot one demon down but another managed to grab his gun and snapped it in half. Graham was wrestling with another and forest was trying to get a clean shot. Spike waded in and snapped the neck of the one wrestling Graham. Two down and seven to go. One saw Giles and headed for him only to be stopped by Anya anxiously hitting him on the head with a chair

"Bully." She taunted hitting him again. Xander swung his axe decapitating him, he grinned at Anya


Two demons ambushed Forest easily subduing him. Willow saw her chance

"Melatides acatkana prestas." She threw some dust at the two demons and one slumped to the floor unconscious, unfortunately the dust missed the other.

What appeared to be the leader turned to Spike


"Payback's a bitch." Spike growled and punched him while Graham ran to help Forest.

"Why are you working with the slayer, are all vampires going soft?" grunted the Kailiff as he pounded Spike

"Not soft!" Spike kicked him in his midsection causing him to crash through the table

"There's another Vampire in L.A helping damn humans. I had to collect from a brachan demon and he stopped me." He staggered up and head-butted Spike

"Dark haired chap- too much gel, long black coat screams Poofter?" Spike wrenched his arm behind his back and kneed his back. He fell over.

"Y-yeah, hung out with the filthy half- breed and a pretty girl whose apartment was haunted." He swung his legs to try to trip Spike but Spike booted him in the head

"Bloody Angel! Figures, who sent you to kill me?"

"Never met 'em, did it all over the phone and the cash arrived a while ago by FedEx." He panted as Spike crushed his windpipe then reached down and snapped his neck. He looked up- Buffy had killed her demon and was helping Riley. Graham and Forest had finally gotten the upper hand but the final demon had Anya by the throat and was taunting Willow as she stood by an unconscious Giles and dazed Xander.

"You can't stop this." He sneered and Willow had a flashback to her nightmare which sent her blood boiling.

"Release her." She commanded, her eyes began to blacken and raw power crackled around her like static electricity. "Now." The demon dropped Anya in fright.

"Who sent you?" her voice came from far away. Buffy stared at her friend in amazement, all sounds in the cave had stopped except for the crackle of magic.

"No idea- some loony from far away something about property or territory I never got the name." He whimpered

"Noone hurts my friends." Willow stated and pointed at the demon. One second he was there and the next second his ashes floated around the room. Riley's demon took this opportunity to run- as far and fast as he could. Everyone's attention was focused on the red-head. She turned shakily to her friends

"Uh- guys-" she slumped to the floor exhausted. Graham dropped the demon he had just killed and hurried over to the fallen figure of Willow who was picked up by Spike.

"It's ok." He told everyone "I've seen it before- when witches use too much magic at once they get burnt out fast. Red here just drained herself for a while she just needs to rest. I'll take her home." He left before someone could argue the logic's of letting a vampire carry their comatose friend to her house.

"Pretty amazing huh?" Riley said

"I for one am glad she's on our side. Him too." Graham nodded where the two friends had left the cave Buffy wandered over to a groaning Giles

"Did we win?" he managed

"Yup and tomorrow- when you are fully aware, we are going to buy you a crash helmet Coma-boy."