Title: - Initiative Dreams 6/4/04

Author - Slaymesoftly

Rating: NC17

Season IV – but  AU

Word Count – 44000+

Disclaimer – Didn’t invent them, just play with them

Distribution – Sure, just let me know

Feedback – absolutely!

Summary – Buffy and Spike find themselves drawn to each other while they try to figure out what’s going on in the Intiative complex.

 

 

 

INITIATIVE DREAMS

              By Slaymesoftly

 

Chapter One

 

“I hate you!” she growled, swinging her sword toward the neck of the nearest gibbering demon.

 

“I hate you more!” replied the vampire beside her as he took out two more of the multi-toothed creatures attacking them.

 

“This is your fault, Mr. I-know-just-how-to-sneak-in,” she grunted as she decapitated two more demons.

 

“Hey, I’m not the one who said we could handle it ourselves, remember?”  In a high pitched voice he quoted, “No, Giles, we won’t need back-up. Spike and I won’t have any problems...” He stopped talking as four of the diminutive, but fierce demons attacked at once and he got very busy keeping them at bay.  He could feel the Slayer behind him and knew from her rapid heartbeat and breathing that she was as hard pressed as he was.

 

“Shut up and fight,” she managed to gasp as the horde of small, deadly creatures kept pouring out of the back of the cave.

 

They continued cutting them down until there was a wall of bodies beginning to build up around them and they were being pushed closer and closer together, leaving less room to swing their swords.

 

Spike hadn’t survived for over 120 years without learning how to cut his losses, and he began sneaking looks at their surroundings to find an escape route. Between demon killings, he noticed a ledge in front of what appeared to be a tunnel and decided it was reachable if they used the pile of bodies they’d amassed as a take-off point.

 

“Slayer, switch!” As he said it, he and Buffy spun around and continued fighting with no break in their defense.

 

“Do you see that tunnel up there?” he asked.

 

Buffy glanced up and saw what he was talking about. “I see it. Do you think we can get there from here?”

 

“We’d bloody well better be able to – I don’t see us running out of ugly  little biters any time soon, do you?”

 

“No, I guess not.  How do you want to do this?”

 

“On a count of three, from the top of the demon pile,” he instructed.  Both fighters jumped agilely to the top of the wall of bodies, then as Spike counted, “One, two, three!” they leaped upward to the ledge above their heads.  Just as Buffy  pushed off, the body she was using as a springboard shifted just enough to throw off her jump and instead of landing on the ledge with Spike, she found herself hitting the wall and sliding down toward the snapping jaws below. Before she had time to worry about her situation, she felt a strong hand catch her wrist and she was yanked up, none-too-gently, landing on top of Spike as he tumbled backwards.

 

“You can thank me later, luv,” he leered at her, “we really don’t have time for this now.”

Buffy glared at him and jumped to her feet, refusing to admit to herself that it had felt kind of nice, lying on that lean muscular body.  “Ugh! Spike. You are such a pig!”

 

“Yeah, that’s why you love me, “ he said, springing easily to his feet and pulling her toward the tunnel.  “Let’s go, Slayer, before they figure out what we did.”

 

They took off running with supernatural speed until they could see the way out of the cave system.  Since Spike didn’t need to breathe, he wasn’t panting, but he was tiring, and Buffy was clearly out of breath.  They stopped and sat at the entrance, backs against a wall.

 

“I hate running away!” she said angrily as soon as she got her breath back.  “I just hate it!”

 

“Know you do, Slayer, but what’s the first rule of bein’ a successful slayer?”

 

“Stake all annoying, direction-challenged vampires?” she suggested.

 

“After that one,” he growled. “And I am not direction-challenged.  They worked some mojo in there to confuse me.”

 

Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed.  Spike continued to look at her expectantly, waiting for her answer.

 

“What?” she demanded.

 

            “Waiting for that first rule, Slayer,” he said mildly.

 

“Stay alive,” she mumbled.

 

“What was that, Slayer?  Not sure I heard you.”

 

Stay alive! ,” she growled at him. “But I hate running!”

 

“But you live to fight another day, don’t you? And isn’t that your job? To be there to get the bad guys?”

 

“Thank you very much, Giles, Jr.” she snarked at him. “Then why are you still walking around annoying us?”

 

“Cause you’d miss me if I was gone, and you know it.” He grinned at her. “You’d have to go out looking for strange vampires to fight with.”

 

She smiled back at him in spite of herself. “You’re about as strange as they come, Spike. No need to go looking.”

 

“Ha, bloody, ha, Slayer.”

 

They rested in companionable silence for awhile, until Buffy sat up abruptly to say,  “I guess we’d better get going. Go back and tell Giles we’re going to need a plan B.”

 

“What’s your hurry, Slayer? I was just getting comfortable.” He looked at her curiously.

 

“Nothing, I just – I’m hungry.  Fighting makes me hungry,” she said quickly, grateful that he had never heard Faith’s “Slaying makes me hungry and horny” spiel.

 

He just looked at her with a curious smile on his face. “That all you want, Slayer? Food?”  he asked.  He could tell from her flustered but puzzled expression that she didn’t know he could smell her arousal.

 

“Of course, food.  What else would I be hungry for?”  She regretted the question as soon as the words left her mouth and braced herself for a lewd reply from him.

 

To her surprise, instead of making a piggy remark of some sort, he just looked at her quietly until she blushed and turned away from his too-perceptive eyes.

 

“Nothing, Slayer,” he sighed. “Nothing at all.  Let’s go then.”

 

He stood up and held out his hand to her.  She gazed up at him with wide eyes, but took the proffered hand and let him pull her to her feet.  They stood for a second, both remembering Willow’s spell from the previous month.  Today was the first time they had been alone together since their “engagement” and, aside from their brief togetherness while they were escaping, it was the first time they had touched since the spell.

 

As she stood facing Spike, their hands still linked, Buffy found herself remembering the kissing, hand-holding and caressing that had occupied them the whole time they'd thought they were getting married.

 

Spike looked back at the Slayer and tried to tell himself he wasn’t feeling what his body told him he was.  Slayer, Slayer!  he reminded himself.  Death in tight pants!  Nothing he said to himself seemed to make a difference. It was taking every ounce of self-control he had not to pull her to him and begin babbling in her ear things he never wanted to say aloud and that he knew she didn’t want to hear from him.

 

Buffy was staring at his mouth and remembering what a good kisser he’d seemed to be when they were under the spell.  She wondered if she thought that because of the spell or if he really was that good a kisser.  Without conscious thought, she found herself leaning toward him, face tilted up toward his mouth.  Which, she noticed with alarm, was getting closer and closer to hers.

 

A sudden clatter behind them in the cave interrupted the moment and they jumped apart, turning to face the back of the tunnel, swords raised.  A tense minute passed, than a fat raccoon waddled out and past them, barely deigning to glance at the two super-powered beings blocking his cave.  Buffy and Spike relaxed and shared a soft laugh at their own expense. A laugh, followed by an uncomfortable silence as each remembered what they were doing before they were startled out of it.

 

“We’d better get going,Spike,” Buffy said quickly. “It’s going to be dawn soon.  You need to get back to Giles’ before the sun comes up.”

 

There was no way to argue with her – he could feel the tingling that told him the sun was approaching, and he reluctantly followed her out and down the trail to where they’d left Giles’ car.

 

As Spike drove quickly back to Giles’ apartment, Buffy studied his profile and finally asked, “Spike, why are you helping me with this stuff?”

 

“Because these are the wankers who put this soddin’ chip in my head – and they’re the ones who can take it out.” he replied.  “Not to mention, I saw a few of my poker buddies in there.  Perfectly harmless demons being kept like lab rats.”

 

“Well, since the chip prevents you from hunting anyone, I kinda doubt they’re going to want to take it out.  Especially if it means you can try to break your friends out.  And since when do vampires and demons have friends, anyway?”

 

He didn’t answer her right away, just shot a speculative look in her direction.

 

“You know, Slayer,” he said quietly, “what you and your watcher don’t know about demons and vampires could fill a library.”

 

They rode the rest of the way in silence and were soon sitting in Giles’ living room waiting for him to wake up so they could tell him what happened on their fact finding venture.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“So, you’re saying the cave entrance to the Initiative base is protected by both magic and demons?” Giles was trying to clear his head enough to understand Buffy’s report on their mission.  Which wasn’t easy, with Spike interrupting every few minutes to add something or to correct her version of events.  Giles listened to their arguing about who was the most at fault for their failure as long as he could and then finally roared out, “Silence! Both of you!”

 

The angry, loud tone from the usually mild-mannered watcher shocked them both into a momentary cease fire.

 

“Whoa, Watcher! Didn’t know you had that in you,” Spike snarked.

 

“You have no idea what’s in me, Spike.  And I suggest you not do anything to find out.”  The cold stare and menacing tone were pure Ripper and Spike and Buffy both stared at Giles in amazement.

 

“Uh, Giles, you haven’t been eating band candy  again, have you?” Buffy asked suspiciously.

 

“Band candy?” Spike repeated.

 

“Tell you later,” she whispered, poking him into silence.

 

“No, I have not been eating magical candy.  I have, however, been awakened before dawn by two people who seem to have failed at a simple little fact-finding mission and can’t stop arguing with each other long enough to tell me what happened.”

 

Buffy was temporarily silenced, and even the vampire looked suitably abashed for a moment.  Before they could recover and begin telling their own versions of the tale, Giles held up a hand and said, “Let me see if I have this correct.”  Turning to Spike he said, “You say the caves were ‘mojo’d’ to keep shifting so that you couldn’t find the way in?  That would be the way that you assured me you knew, which was my only reason for allowing you to go along with Buffy?”

 

“Well, yeah.  Every time I could see the way in, a wall would move and I couldn’t see it anymore.  It just wasn’t where I knew it should be.  I tried to get close enough to see if the new walls were just illusions, but then the little biters started coming out and we couldn’t get close enough to feel it.  Wasn’t my fault,” he finished defiantly.

 

“And you...” Giles turned to Buffy. “Even with Spike’s help, you weren’t able to dispatch small, noisy creatures that, by your description, stand no higher than your waist? Does that about cover it?”

 

“There were lots of them,” Buffy protested.  “Lots and Lots! They just kept coming. We killed a whole bunch,” she said brightly. “Didn’t’ we, Spike?”

 

“Huh? Oh yeah! Hundreds probably.  Maybe thousands!”

 

At Giles and Buffy’s eye rolls, he finished by mumbling, “Well, we left a four foot high wall of bodies, anyway.  Little wankers wouldn’t quit comin’.”  He thought for a minute, then said, “You know, Watcher, there was something unnatural about those critters.”

 

“Well, duh! Demons!” Buffy rolled her eyes at him.

 

              “I know demons,” he growled in her direction.  “There was something... off... about those guys.  Something not quite right.  Like they’d been – I dunno, manufactured or somethin’.”

 

Buffy and Giles exchanged glances.  The watcher cleaned his glasses and sighed as he placed them back on his face. “All the more reason to find out what’s going on in there.  If they’re manufacturing demons— ”

 

“Why would you make demons?” Buffy wondered aloud.

 

“I’ve told the both of you, over and over – they’re doing all kinds of experiments on demons in there.  This soddin’ chip is one of their experiments – who knows what else they might be doin’ in there?

 

“Spike,” Giles pointed out, “that chip is the only reason Buffy hasn’t staked you yet.  I wouldn’t be so unappreciative of it if I were you.”  Giles was turning away as he said this and missed the thoughtful look Spike sent toward the Slayer and her responding flush.

 

“Yeah, guess that’s so....” he said with an unreadable look on his face as he turned away and sat down on the couch.  “’s alright if I crash here, Watcher?  It’s too light out to get back to the whelp’s.”

 

“I suppose so,” he grumbled. “But keep your hands off my good Scotch!”  The last sounded somewhat like the Ripper again.

 

“Fine, just me and the telly,” Spike said as he sprawled on the couch and flicked the TV on.

 

Buffy hesitated a minute, then said, “Giles, I have an early afternoon class. Can I catch a couple hours sleep here before I go? If I go all the way back to the dorm....”

 

“Of course, Buffy.   That would be fine. You may use my bed. I’m just going to shower and go do some research at the library.  Perhaps Willow has had some success hacking into their computer system and can find a way in for us.  In the meantime, you two should get some rest in case we have to try again tonight.”

 

“We?” Buffy asked indignantly.

 

“Yes, we. Apparently having someone along who can counteract magic could be useful....”  He glanced at Spike, who snorted and studied the toes of his boots. “...and more hands wielding swords might make it a little easier to clear a path through the little demon guards.” He then glared at Buffy who pushed out her lower lip, but didn’t argue.

 

She went upstairs and suddenly realized that she was actually very tired; she crawled into Giles’ bed, barely remembering to take her shoes off before she closed her eyes and fell soundly asleep.  Downstairs, Spike watched TV in a desultory fashion for awhile, but the rising sun soon had him yawning and he gave up the fight, putting a pillow over his head and going to sleep also.

           

 

 

 

 

Chapter Two

 

               Several hours later, Buffy began to toss and moan in the bed.  She was dreaming that she was trapped in a cage at the Initiative.  Nothing she did had any effect on the the walls enclosing her and when she tried to fight her way out, blinding pain behind her eyes caused her to fall to the ground.  Desperately she searched for an escape path, as she watched demon after demon being led off by soldiers with grim faces and stun guns.  She could hear the occasional screams coming from behind the door at the end of the hall.  Every once in a while, a demon would be returned to his cage – some walking slowly, some being carried.  Some never came back. At one point, Buffy saw a Flexit demon, a relatively harmless breed, carried back missing the long tail he’d had when he left. A cauterized stump was all that was left of what had been an important part of Flexit anatomy.  Buffy cringed and whimpered in her sleep.

 

                    Downstairs, Spike was imagining prowling through the damp sewer-like tunnels, holding a strange weapon.  Suddenly he was attacked by two very ugly demons with claw-tipped hands and venomous fangs.  Quickly he fired the weapon, only to find it didn’t work.  Anger at what was clearly a betrayal of some sort surged through his body and he growled in his sleep as he took on the demons in hand-to-hand combat.

 

                     In Buffy’s dream, she tricked one of the lab people into relaxing around her enough that she could push them aside with only a minor headache and sprint toward an exit.  After throwing another vampire into a group of soldiers – was that Riley? – she escaped into the tunnels and ran as fast as her supernatural speed would allow.  When she was sure there was no immediate pursuit going on, she slowed and finally stopped to rest and get her bearings.

 

                   Spike, meanwhile, had defeated the two demons that were obviously sent to kill him and was searching for a way out of the tunnels that did not include returning to the initiative headquarters.  As he prowled the tunnels, he picked up a familiar scent and followed it till he could see a small blonde girl, standing rigidly and staring in his direction.

 

               “Spike?” Buffy asked in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

 

                “Avoiding people who are trying to kill me,” he said.  “What are you doing here?”

 

                    “Uh, the same, I guess. Do you know where we are?”

 

“Not exactly, but I can smell fresh air. I think if we follow the outside smells we should be able to get out of here eventually.”

 

“We?” she asked incredulously, “What we?”

 

“Oh, you like it so much down here, you were planning to stay?” he sneered at her.  “Don’t you think we’d stand a better chance against any nasty surprises if there are two of us? Plus, I can see in the dark better than you can.

 

“I suppose so.  Just stay in front of me so I can watch you.” she ordered.

 

Spike stretched his neck and gritted his teeth, but complied.  “Bossy bitch,” he muttered.

 

“I heard that.”

 

“You were meant to!”

 

They followed the scent of fresh air until they came to a bend in the tunnel and heard voices approaching. Spike sniffed and growled, “Soldier boys, dead ahead. Do we fight ‘em or dodge ‘em?” 

 

He looked at Buffy to see what she wanted to do. Buffy was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness as she remembered the severe pain she felt every time she tried to defend herself.  That helpless feeling was crushing to someone used to being a powerful warrior and she looked at Spike with a new understanding.

 

“Uh – hide?  I’m not sure I can fight and we know you can’t fight humans,” she gulped.  In spite of what Buffy said about not being able to fight, now that she was with Spike, she felt more like herself and didn’t really think the pain was still there.  But she wasn’t willing to chance it.

 

“Oh, yeah, right.  OK, let’s duck in here.  At least these wankers can’t smell.”

He pulled her into a small notch in the cave wall.  The notch bent just enough that they could shrink back around the corner and be completely invisible to anyone going by.  Of course that required them to stand pressed up against each other as they pulled back against the wall as far as possible.

 

Spike put his arms around Buffy, pulling her back against his chest as he tried to flatten them both against the wall.  Her hair was at his chin and he couldn’t stop himself from breathing in her fragrance.  Her firm bottom was pressed up against him and it wasn’t long before he felt the inevitable reaction taking place in his pants.  Buffy stiffened, and started to pull away, but just then the patrol came around the bend and she had to remain silent and still while they strolled by, chattering among themselves.  She hated to admit it, but she was actually enjoying the feeling of Spike’s strong arms around her waist and his breath and why is he bothering to breathe? against her temple sent chills down her spine.  She felt his erection pushing against her bottom, but couldn’t bring herself to pull away even after the soldiers were gone.

 

For much longer than was necessary, the two enemies stayed pressed together, vampire obviously inhaling the Slayer’s scent; Slayer trying to pretend she wasn’t responding to his nearness.

 

In Giles’ bedroom, the dreaming Buffy was breathing harder and pushing her body into the mattress – totally lost in her dream in which she was standing in a cave plastered against a vampire’s hard body and quite happy to be there.

 

Downstairs, the bulge in Spike’s pants and his moaning indicated his dream was taking the same erotic turn as Buffy’s.

 

In the dream cave, Spike and Buffy were breathing hard as Buffy rubbed her butt cheeks against Spike’s erection, causing him to moan in his sleep.  Meanwhile, his dream hand was reaching into her pants and cupping her while his thumb rubbed on her clit until she spasmed against the mattress, climaxing with a small shriek.

 

 Downstairs, Spike awoke to find he’d ejaculated in his jeans.

 

Both slayer and vampire remained where they were for several minutes, allowing their breathing to come back to normal – or, in Spike’s case, abnormal, since there really was no reason for him to breathe; trying to come to terms with the dream each thought was weird but solitary.

 

By the time Buffy had collected herself and banished the dream from her mind as much as possible, Spike had cleaned up and was getting himself some blood in the kitchen.  Buffy came downstairs hesitantly, then scolded herself for her hesitation.

 

 What’s the matter with me? It was just a dream and he doesn’t know anything about it. Chin up, Buffy.

                       

However, the minute she walked into the room and their eyes met, each of them froze in place.  Spike broke the uncomfortable silence first.

 

“Hey, Slayer. Glad to see you’re up – bad guys won’t wait you know....”  His voice trailed off as she continued to stare at him.

 

“Uh, Slayer? Earth to Buffy?  Hello?”

 

Buffy looked at him with dawning comprehension.  “Spike,” she said slowly, “What was it like – where – when you got your chip?”

 

He growled and turned away.  “Told you lot already – cage, drugged blood, lots of vamps and demons in cages.  Got out, got lucky, got away.  Why?”

 

“Because I– I think I dreamed I was you ‘” Buffy went on to describe in great detail her dream, right up to the point where they heard the soldiers coming.  As she talked, Spike was staring at her in amazement.  When she was finished, she waited for him to comment.  After opening and closing his mouth several times, he finally said, “That’s exactly what it was like – except for the whole meeting you in the caves, that is.”

 

Buffy sank down on the couch. “Well, that’s just... weird.  This is one for Giles, I guess.”

 

“Oh, it’s weird all right.  It’s even weirder than you know, luv.” 

 

In response to her quizzical look, he went on to describe his dream, also stopping at the point where they heard the soldiers coming. I’ll be dust for sure, if I tell her the whole thing. As he talked, he was moving into the living room and he ended his recitation by sitting on the other end of the couch.

 

“So, we both had dreams about the Initiative caves, but I was you and you were me?  How is that even possible?  And we had the dreams at the same time.”

 

Buffy suddenly remembered where her dream had gone from there and a panicky look crossed her face.

 

“What’s wrong, Slayer?” Spike asked. He felt a sudden rush as he remembered how his dream had ended.  Surely she hadn’t....

 

“Wrong? Oh, nothing. Nothing’s wrong.  All’s right here! Yep, just waiting for Giles to come home and tell us how we managed to have switching dreams at the same time, that’s all.”  Buffy was practically babbling in her eagerness to avoid discussing any other parts of the dream.

 

“So,” he asked with a speculative look, “we met up in the caves? And then what did we do?”  He tried to read her face, but she turned away from his probing bad word choice! Bad Buffy!  look and just mumbled, “Well, we, we found the way out and we.... got out. That’s all.”

 

“How did we get out, luv? I mean, just to see if we dreamed it the same way.” He felt a little twitch in his pants at the thought that she had dreamed to the same conclusion he did.  “Can you describe the way out?”

 

He could see the flush rising up her face and hear her heart pounding as she tried to look casual and said, “Oh, you know, we walked and then there was an opening and we were out.  No biggie.  Your dream ending was probably very different from mine.”

 

“If that’s what you really dreamed, then mine was very different.  But I’m guessing from the look on your face, our dreams had exactly the same ending. Lucky us!  Look at me, Slayer.” he demanded.  “Look at me and tell me that’s the truth.”

 

“Why don’t you believe me?” she squeaked.

 

“The look on your face, luv.  Think – deer – headlights”

 

He waited for a minute then continued, “Come on, we were having the same dream right up until we had to hide from the soldiers.  You want me to believe yours all of a sudden took a different turn?”  He smirked at her, but his eyes were more hopeful than leering.

 

“Well, mine would take a different turn! My mind doesn’t dwell on sex like yours does!”

 

As soon as she stopped speaking and saw the triumphant look on Spike’s face, she realized her mistake.

 

“I knew it!” he crowed.  “I knew it.  You did have the same dream! Tell me, Slayer, was it good for you?  Oh, wait, I was there – yes ,  it was.”  He was practically dancing with glee.

 

“You are such a pig, Spike,” Buffy said in disgust.  “Get over yourself. It was just a dream.”

 

Her obvious disgust at having to acknowledge their dream tryst, put a damper on his delight and he stopped strutting around and sat down again.

           

“So, now what, Slayer?  What do you think it means?”

 

“I don’t know – but we are so not telling Giles the whole dream!” she said firmly.

 

“No problem, luv.  I’ve got no desire to be staked.  Should we get our stories straight then?”

 

“We dreamed we were each other, the Initiative was involved, we met up on the way out, got out safely, end of story.  And,” she added, “I’ll be the one to tell it!”

 

“Bossy bitch,” he grumbled, then froze when he remembered saying the same thing in the dream.

 

“I heard tha—” One look at Buffy’s stricken face told him she remembered the exact same words.

 

“Buffy, the Watcher has to know this – it’s just too....”

 

“Spike?”  Buffy’s look was almost pleading.

 

Instead of trying to make her more agitated, he reached his hand to her cheek and said, “Hey, easy, Slayer.  I’m just sayin’ he needs to know as much as we can tell him without gettin’ me dusted or spoilin’ your little goody-two-shoes image.”  He sat back abruptly and finished, “Won’t be me that tells him what a hot little number you are.”

 

The abrupt change from almost sweet! Spike to snarky Spike left Buffy dumbstruck.  Feeling more comfortable with snarky Spike, she settled for “Fine!” as her less than sparkling comeback and went to the kitchen to find something to eat.

           

As she was reaching to open the refrigerator, she sensed his presence behind her and whirled around to find herself trapped between Spike and the fridge.  He had one hand on either side of her head and was leaning in toward her.

 

“What are you doing?” she asked, much less coldly than she intended.

 

 Why haven’t I ever noticed how blue his eyes are?  They’re so pretty... bad Buffy! Bad, Bad!

 

“Testing a theory, luv,” he replied as he leaned in and gently brushed her lips with his.

 

“Okay, so not gonna happen!” she insisted.  “Just back off, fangface, before your chip fires.” While her words were cold, her body was suffused with warmth and her legs were trembling.

 

“That’s just it.  I don’t think it will,” he said, sliding his hands down her shoulders and pulling her to him.

 

“Spike! No, don’t, you can’t... chip?... chip?”

 

“Not trying to hurt you, luv,” he breathed in her ear. His lips traveled from her ear to her mouth, leaving light, butterfly kisses along her jaw line.  Her slayer instincts were screaming about having a vamp’s mouth so close to her neck, but instead of pushing him away, Buffy found herself sliding her arms around his waist and tilting her head up for his kiss.  She couldn’t believe that someone – something!, her mind was shrieking – with such a hard body could have such soft lips.  The kiss was soft and gentle, full of tenderness and longing and Buffy could not believe Spike was capable of putting so much into a kiss.

 

Then he changed the tenor of the kiss – running his tongue around her lips and teeth until she parted them and let him in.  As their tongues met, touched, withdrew, touched again, then plunged together in a contest of who could taste the most first, the rest of the world disappeared and suddenly there was nothing but two bodies straining against each other.  Their mouths stayed together until Buffy had to stop to breathe and every time she did, Spike would nuzzle her neck and whisper endearments to her until she pushed her face against his head, demanding his lips again.

 

The vampire wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him so tightly she would have been crushed if she was a normal girl.  But this was the Slayer and she clutched him back with a grip that would have broken ribs in a human man.

 

Her body felt like it was on fire – this need to feel his body next to hers, to feel him was like nothing she had ever experienced before.  Not with Angel, not with Parker or Riley. She whimpered with need as she pressed closer and tried to climb up his body.

 

The vampire could not believe the heat radiating off the soft, but strong body in his arms.  He wanted to bury himself in that heat and stay there until he melted.  The feel of her, the scent of her arousal, the passion he could feel radiating from her was like nothing he had ever felt before.

 

Buffy was pressing her body up against him as hard as she could, but it soon wasn’t enough for either of them and she found herself climbing up his body and locking her legs around his hips.  His aching erection was now pressed up against her warm, wet crotch and he groaned in her ear.

 

“Want you, Slayer, my pet, my luv.  I need you, want you, please....”

 

He pushed her up against the refrigerator, grinding against her as hard as he could.  Buffy was almost fainting from the sensations in her lower body.  Her breath was coming in little pants and whimpers as she pushed back against him, rubbing herself against his bulging jeans.  Her panting became faster and more urgent as she continued grinding against him and he was encouraging her verbally, “Yes, love, that’s it, sweetheart. Ride me, Slayer. Come for me, Buffy. Come for me now!”  as he pushed back against her.  With a growl that ended in a roar, he lost control and spent in his pants while Buffy shuddered and bit into his shoulder as she came at the same time.

 

As she recovered from the spectacular orgasm and realized where she was and what had happened, Buffy kept her face buried in Spike’s shoulder in embarrassment.

 

 Ohmygod - I can never look him in the eye again! Where is a hole in the floor when you need it?

 

Although she allowed her legs to slide down his body until her feet were on the floor, they would not hold her up and she clung to his neck.  They stood together for several minutes – his arms still around her helping to support her weak-kneed body, his face in her hair.

 

 Finally, he reluctantly pushed her away saying softly, “Let me go, love.  I need to go clean up before the Watcher gets home.”

 

Buffy slowly released her hold but kept her eyes resolutely focused on floor tiles.

 

Spike grinned at her flaming face and miserable expression, then felt sorry for her. Sorry for her? What the bloody hell is wrong with me?   He gently tipped her chin up.  “Come on, love, You can’t be any more embarrassed about this than I am.  Going off in my pants like a sixteen-year-old,” he grumbled.  “Twice in the same day for the same skinny little chit,” he added with a smile.

 

Buffy smiled back weakly, but her eyes were full of unshed tears.

 

“What is wrong with us?” she asked desperately.  “What just happened here?”

 

“Nothin’ wrong with us, pet. I think we’re bleedin’ amazing.”

 

She swatted at him halfheartedly, but there was a small smile on her lips as she turned away.  “Go do what you have to do,” she said.  “I don’t want anyone to guess what happened here.  Least of all Giles!”

           

               By the time the watcher returned, they were sitting on opposite sides of the room – neither one actually watching the TV that was on.  Giles looked from one somber face to the other and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

 

               “All right, then.  What’s going on here?”

 

                “Going on? Nothing going on here!” Buffy said shrilly. “What do you mean, going on?”

 

            “Nope, nothing. Not a bloody thing,” Spike agreed.

 

             “I see,” Giles said, raising his eyebrows.  “So the panicked looks on both your faces are because... what?  Passions was canceled?”

 

“It was?  Bloody hell! When?”  Spike looked genuinely horrorstruck.

 

“He didn’t mean it.  Shut up, Spike.”

 

“You shut up! He shouldn’t say it if it isn’t true!”

 

“Both of you shut up until you’re ready to tell me what’s going on, “ Giles glared them both into silence.

 

Buffy and Spike exchanged looks, then she took a deep breath and began, “Look, Giles, this is really weird - and it might not have anything to do with anything, but.....”

 

 

 

“But?” he waited.

 

She went on to tell him about her dream – leaving out where she and Spike hid and what happened while they were there.

 

“Ok, interesting, but to be expected, really.  You just got out of those caves. Is that it?”

 

Buffy looked at Spike again, sending him a silent plea with her eyes before she said, “Spike fell asleep too.  He... he needs to tell you his dream.”

 

Spike gawked at her in astonishment that she was trusting him to keep his mouth shut about the erotic component of the dream.  When he recovered, he quickly rattled off his dream for the Watcher, matching Buffy almost word for word when he got to the parts where they were together.

 

“And, that’s pretty much it, Watcher.  I was her and she was me; then we were us and we even dreamed the same conversation.  What do you think?”  Spike looked at Giles in anticipation.

 

Shaking his head, Giles said, “I’d hardly call ‘Bossy Bitch’ and ‘I heard you,’ a conversation, but I guess it’s what passes for one between you two.”  He was busy taking off his glasses and polishing them as he thought about his answer, so he missed the guilty looks Buffy and Spike exchanged.

 

“So, is that it, then?  You basically had the same dream at the same time, and now you want to know what it means?”

 

“Yup.”  “Yes,” they said simultaneously.

 

“Anything else I should know?” he asked, suddenly shooting them a suspicious look.  It was obvious from their frozen expressions that there was more to it, but each shook his or her head emphatically, so he sighed and resigned himself to his suspicions.

 

“Well, in Buffy’s case, it could be brought on by hearing your story and her imagination filling in the blanks.  Or a Slayer dream of some sort.  But, Spike, I don’t know how to explain what you dreamed.  But then, I don’t know much about vampire dreams. Perhaps they’re like Slayer dreams? Warning of the future?”

 

              Spike growled and shook his head, “Only seer I ever knew was Dru.  And she was like that before she was turned.”

 

“Well, one more thing we need to research, I guess.” he said, stretching.  “We’ll start on it tonight when everyone is here.”

 

Shooting Spike an unfathomable look, Buffy stood up and said, “I’ve got to get to class. Thanks for letting me crash here, Giles.  I’ll see you later.”  She didn’t say “Good-bye” to Spike, but glanced at him again as she went out the door.  He smirked and blew her a kiss, causing her to redden and slam the door behind her much harder than she intended.

 

Giles jumped at the sound of his door banging closed and turned to look thoughtfully at the vampire on his couch.

 

“I know there’s more to this than you’ve told me,” he said tightly.  “And I will find out what it is.”

 

Spike just looked back at him with no expression and said, “Not from me, you won’t,” and turned back the tV.

 

“You should tell me, you know.  It might be important or helpful.”

 

“Not mine to tell, Watcher,” he said softly and continued to stare at the television set.

 

Giles shook his head in frustration, but dropped the subject for the time being.

 

 

 

Chapter Three

 

At that night’s Scoobie meeting, it was determined that they would make a joint attempt to get in.  Willow would be along to counteract the magic and Giles and Xander as back up against the “soddin’ little buggers” as Spike referred to the small demons.

 

“Okay, now explain to us again how the walls moved?” Xander snarked at Spike as they proceeded, unconfused and unchallenged from the natural caves into the man made tunnels leading into the Initiative’s underground base.

 

“Sod off, Harris. It was somewhere around here when things started going all wonky.”

 

Buffy, who was right beside Spike and in front of the other Scoobies, held up her hand and hissed, “Shh – there’s something up ahead.”

 

Spike raised his head and sniffed and listened.   “Don’t hear any heartbeats, Slayer.   I do smell demon – but it isn’t alive.”

 

As the group slowly approached the area, they could make out several bodies lying on the floor.  Giles lifted his lantern to get a better look, and the group gasped collectively.  Spike went immediately into game face and made a sound that had everyone except Buffy cringing away from him in fear.

 

“Oh, dear God,” Giles said softly.

 

Willow looked like she was fighting tears and Xander was rendered speechless by the sight in front of them.

 

Lying on the floor of the tunnel were the bodies of numerous demons, large and small.  All had been mutilated in some way – one was missing both arms, one had it’s horns gouged out of its head, one appeared to have been skinned completely. All were missing some body part or other.

 

“I’ve seen this!”  Buffy said.  “My dream!  They were taking demons away and bringing them back with parts missing.  Some never came back.”  She shook her head remembering how it had made her feel in the dream to see the creatures in such pain.

 

A sound from Spike caused everyone to look at him where he was kneeling by a floppy-eared demon with incredibly wrinkled skin.  There were bloody holes all around the demon’s skull where something had been cut out of its head.

 

“Spike? What is it? Do you know him?” Buffy moved closer to him and leaned over the body. 

 

“It’s Clem’s brother,” he snarled.  “Never hurt a soul in his life – except maybe the odd kitten.”

 

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, briefly touching his shoulder with a sympathetic hand. “Why do you suppose they cut into his head?”

 

He flashed a startled glance at her and relaxed back into his human face. 

 

“They cut out his tentacles.  You rarely see them because these demons are so easy going and peaceful, but they have poisonous tentacles that they can extend if they need to.”  His voice was flat, but she could feel the trembling in his body that meant he was struggling to control himself.  “Clem will be crushed.  And his mother will be devastated.  What kind of wanker does something like this?  This puts Angelus to shame – not that he is above torturin’ demons if he hasn’t got anthing else.” 

 

He cast a look up at Buffy who frowned at the mention of Angel’s evil demon, but just shrugged and said, “No, someone would have told us if he lost his soul again.  And why would he spend time torturing demons when we....”

 

“Doesn’t care who or what he tortures, pet.  You ought to know that by now.”

 

“It isn’t Angel,” she said firmly.  “There’s something else going on here.”

 

“Didn’t say it was, pet. Just sayin’ it’s as bad as anything he ever did.”

 

Giles lowered the lantern so that they were no longer looking at the remains of what had once been living creatures, and said, “I have to agree with Buffy.  I don’t think Angelus did this.  It’s too focused on specific body parts and he wouldn’t bother to hide the bodies.  This is someone or something else and we need to find out what it is.”

 

“Uh, excuse me?,” Xander interrupted, “But aren’t these demons?  And don’t we kill demons ourselves?”

 

Spike turned eyes of blue ice toward the dark haired carpenter.  “Most of these demons are harmless or so peaceful as to be below the Slayer’s radar.  All their weapons are defensive, you stupid git.”

 

Giles spoke up before Spike could follow up his obvious irritation with Xander with something headache-producing and asked him, “ So what is missing from each of these... creatures, Spike?”

 

“Near as I can see, they’re all missin’ their fighting tools.  Claws, poison darts, whatever.  That’s what seems to be gone.”

 

“What about this one.  The one with no skin?” Buffy asked with a shiver.

 

“Don’t know, Slayer.  Hard to tell what it – he – was without his skin.  But I’m guessing that skin must be worth somethin’.  Maybe it glows in the dark or something like that.”

 

The group of humans stood together, trying very hard not to look at the mutilated flesh near them.  Spike and Buffy stood off to one side – both looking and listening to avoid any surprises from whatever did this.

 

Buffy wondered out loud, “What kind of being would do this?”

 

Spike stared at her incredulously.  “What kind of being?  Don’t you remember anything from your dream?”

 

Buffy’s face paled as she remembered watching the soldiers and the lab techs in their white coats dragging the demons off behind the door at the end of the hall.  She remembered the brief glimpse she’d had of Riley in a group of soldiers as she was escaping. 

 

“What’s the matter, Slayer?  Cat got your tongue? No, I guess that would be a job for the soldier boys, wouldn’t it?”  he said roughly and turned his back on her.

 

Buffy looked at Giles and said,  “We should get out of here.  I think I have another way to look into this.  Let’s leave before we have to fight our way out again.”

 

“Suits me,” Xander said.  “I don’t want to meet the guys that did this.”

 

“I’m afraid we already have,” Buffy said under her breath. 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“So then,” the watcher said, taking off his glasses, “ your new plan is to get someone to take you into that place where they are apparently carving up demons for what purpose we don’t know?  And how do you propose to do this?”

 

“Well, I think...” she glanced at Spike briefly, “if I was actually reliving Spike’s time in there, I think I know someone who works there.”

 

Everyone looked at her in amazement.  “You do?”  “Who is it?”  “What makes you think so”  the questions flew around the room as the Scoobies tried to think who they knew that might be involved in the Initiative.

 

“Uh, it’s Riley,” Buffy said, looking at Willow.

 

“Riley?  Graduate assistant to Prof. Walsh, Riley?”  Willow shook her head.  “What makes you think so?”

 

“Well,” she began, “when I was dreaming I was Spike....” She paused to glare at Xander who was visible shuddering.  “When I was dreaming I was Spike,” she continued, “I was sure I saw Riley with a group of soldiers in uniform.  And, I’m not sure, but I think some of the other soldiers were those guys he hangs out with at the fraternity house.

 

“I’m pretty sure I can get him to take me in there.  We’ve gotten pretty... close, and....” She stopped at the sound of a growl from Spike’s direction. 

 

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” Xander asked, looking back and forth between the two sworn enemies.   Buffy’s look could only be called panicky as she stared at the obviously angry vampire.

 

Spike realized everyone was staring at him, wondering what was causing him to flash in and out of vamp face.  Not wanting to upset Buffy, or find himself staked by an irate watcher or jealous male friend, he pushed his demon back down and said,

“Just thinkin’ about those wankers and what they’re doin’ in there, that’s all.  Didn’t mean to interupt the Slayer’s discussion of how to use her boyfriend to get in.”

 

Buffy flinched a little at his tone when he said “boyfriend”, but was grateful that he had covered so well.  She was pretty sure she knew why he reacted as he did, but decided to ignore the conflicting feelings it was inspiring in her.

 

“Anyway, as I was saying,  I’m pretty sure I can get Riley to take me in there.  I’ll just tell him I know he’s part of those commando-types we’ve been seeing, and we’ll take it from there.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Buffy sat back and looked at the dumbstruck man in front of her.

 

“So, that’s it,” she said confidently. “I know you’re part of some commando group, I know you’re targeting vampires and demons, and I want to know what it’s all about.”

 

Riley just gaped at her for a full minute.  Finally he gave himself a shake and said, “And you know all this because...?”

 

“I’m the Slayer, Riley.”

 

“The what?” He looked at her with a complete lack of comprehension.

 

“Slayer, the. Look it up.  I live here on the hellmouth for a reason – everything that happens to and with the demons in the world is my business.  They are my responsibility.”

 

“Buffy, I don’t know what you’re talking about; but I do know that dealing with subterrestrials is much too dangerous for a small woman to even consider....” He was cut off by Buffy’s irritated slap on the table.

 

“You’re right, Riley.  You don’t know what I’m talking about.  And you need to find out before you say anything else stupid.  Give me your hand,” she demanded.

 

“What? Why – what are you – ow!” he yelped as she squeezed his hand not quite enough to break the bones, but enough to get his attention.  “How did you....”

 

“I did it because I can, Riley.  Do you need to see more?”

 

“Ok, so you can squeeze hard enough to hurt.  I just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.”

 

“Riley, do you remember the other night?  When I hugged you and it hurt?” She looked into his eyes, willing him to understand what she was saying.

 

“Come on, Buffy.  I wasn’t serious.  You know—”

 

“Put your arm on the table, Riley.  Now, please.” She glared at him like someone at the end of her patience.

 

“Okay, why?” he grinned at her. “Are we going to arm wrestle now?”  His chuckle was cut off by her terse, “Yes, we are.”

 

“All right, Buff. This is getting silly.  I’m not going to wrestle you.  I don’t know what’s going on here, but you need to settle down.”

 

Buffy grabbed his arm, placed it in the correct position with her opposite hand gripping his and said, “Anytime you’re ready, soldier.”

 

He sighed and shook his head, then went to push her hand down to the table.  When it didn’t budge, he frowned slightly and applied a little more pressure.  To his astonishment, nothing happened.  Buffy just sat across from him with her arm upright on the table, not appearing to be putting forth any effort.  With a grunt, he called upon his drug-enhanced strength and attacked her arm with real effort.  Buffy’s face changed, and she was obviously working much harder to keep her arm up now that he was applying all his strength, but she also obviously wasn’t having any trouble keeping it there.  Then, to add insult to injury, she gradually began to force his hand back toward the table. 

 

“Buffy, “ he heard someone say, and looked up to see Xander.  “What the hell are you doing?”

 

With a guilty look, she slammed Riley’s hand down onto the table and let go.

 

“Nothing,” she mumbled.  “He just wouldn’t listen to me. I had to make him believe.”

 

“Well, I think you got his attention now,” Xander laughed as he saw the stricken look on the big man’s face.  “Welcome to the Buffyverse, Riley.” He added with a smile.

 

Buffy stood up and looked at the large, gawking man.  Her expression softened, and she reached a hand toward his face gently.  “I’m sorry, Riley.  I had to get your attention.  I AM the Slayer.  Go look it up and we’ll talk again tonight.  Okay?” she asked anxiously.

 

“Yeah, sure, Okay.  See you tonight,” he mumbled, still staring back and forth from the small girl to his aching hand.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

When they met that night at the Bronze, Riley had several of his buddies with him and Buffy could tell from the looks she was getting that he had told them about her.  He approached her and kissed her cheek carefully, before he introduced her to his friends.  “Buffy, I’d like you to meet my men.” She shot him a startled look.

 

“I’ve met Forest and Graham before, Riley,” she said.  “We met at the fraternity party, remember?”

 

“Yes, but you were meeting grad students – and they were meeting a pretty, freshman.  I’m going to try again.  Buffy, this is Special Agent Forrest, Special Agent Graham, and Sargent John Stevens.”  He tuned to the smiling men behind him and continued, “And, guys, this is Buffy Summers, The Vampire Slayer.”

 

“We thought you were a legend,” Forrest said admiringly as he shook her hand,  “Hard to believe we're actually meeting you.”

 

“A  legend, huh?  I kinda like that.... Oh, you meant as in, not real, didn’t you?” She blushed and ducked her head.

 

“Well both.” He smiled at her.  “We’ve been reading up on the Chosen One all day.  It’s pretty amazing stuff.”

 

Buffy blushed again, prettily, then said, “Well, it’s not like I did anything to earn it.  You just sort of get—”

 

“Chosen,”  said a warm voice behind her.  She whirled and gasped when she saw Xander, Anya, Willow, Tara and an almost unrecognizable Spike.  The blond vampire was wearing kahki pants and a blue button down shirt that matched his eyes.  He looked very human, and incredibly gorgeous.

 

Okay, SO not having that kind of thought about Spike! And what the hell is he doing here?  Is he crazy? All right, know that answer, nevermind.  But what is he thinking?

 

She was surprised to find herself worried about him and whether or not the soldiers would recognize him as a vampire.

 

To her, his trademark smirk and obvious amusement at her shocked expression was a dead giveaway, but Riley and the soldiers seemed to take him in stride and accept him as one of the Scoobies.  He shook hands with the soldiers, aplogizing for his chilly hand by explaining he’d been holding a cold beer in it.  Riley looked at him a little more closely than the others, perhaps remembering he’d seen him with them at the hellmouth, but he eventually relaxed and appeared to accept him at face value.  Their handshake, however, seemed to go on a little longer than necessary and Buffy got very nervous as she realized they were having a “who can squeeze hardest” contest.

 

She knew from her arm wrestling with Riley that he was stronger than the average human man and, while he had accepted that Buffy was supernaturally stronger than he was, she doubted that he would be thrilled to find out Spike was too.  Buffy tried frantically to signal Spike with her eyes, but he was busy meeting Riley’s grim gaze as they continued to try to crush each other’s hands.  She looked at Willow and Xander for help and found that fortunately Willow had also picked up on the antagonism.  Since she was standing the closest to Spike, she put her hand on his arm and squeezed gently.  The pressure was enough to get him to look up and when he saw Buffy’s frantic expression, he realized what he was doing.

 

“Ow!” he said reluctantly as he allowed his hand to relax.  “You’ve got quite a grip there, Capt’n.”  He pulled his hand away and pretended to be rubbing it .

 

“It’s Lieutenant,” Riley said, staring specutively at Spike.  “And so do you.”

 

“Yeah, well, I work out a bit.  Not as much as you guys, I guess, though.”  Now that the macho pissing was out of the way, his survival instincts kicked in and he retreated behind the larger Xander and tried to appear inconspicuous.  Buffy let out the breath she hadn’t even realized she was holding, and turned to Riley saying brightly, “Well, now that you’ve met all my friends and I’ve met yours, we can all....

 

 We can all what, Buffy?  Think! What can you all do together?

 

Xander, oddly enough, was the one to jump in and save the day.  “We promised the girls a lot of drinking and dancing tonight, so I think we’ll just get right to it,” he said as he herding Spike, Anya, Willow and Tara away.  “Nice to meet you guys.”

 

“Can you join us for awhile, Buffy?” Riley asked.  “We’d really like to ask you some questions.”

 

“Sure,” she said, throwing a glance over her shoulder at her retreating friends, “I have some things I’d like to ask you about too.”

 

Well into the evening, Buffy excused herself from the table to go to the restroom. On the way there, she caught a glimpse of Spike flirting with the waitresses at the bar and felt a pang of something she didn’t care to identify.  She almost growled as she saw one of them leaning forward to give him a good look down her cleavage – a look she could see he was taking full advantage of.

 

 Skanky ho!  she thought viciously. Just his type!

 

Just as she turned away, she saw him look up as though he sensed her.  He threw her a wink, then picked up what she was sure was going to turn out to be a free beer and ambled back to the table where the other Scoobies waited for him.

 

OTHER Scoobies?  He’s not one of them/us.  Is he?.

 

She spun away and flounced into the restroom, refusing to think about what was so disturbing about watching Spike charming free drinks out of obviously besotted women.

 

 Stupid girls! If he didn’t have that chip, he’d be having you for dinner.  Ohmygod? Do you suppose that’s how he got his food? By flirting with women and then eating them? Eeew!

   

She refused to think about what else he might have done with his victims before he drained them.

 

She stared at her flushed face in the mirror and gave herself a stern talking to. “Okay, Buffy,  Here’s the deal.  Spike is an evil, bloodsuckiing fiend, with whom you are sharing a mysterious, but temporary bond of some sort.  His comings and goings, and who he comes and goes with, are not important unless they pertain to you and/or the Initiative.  You will not waste any time thinking about him, or him and other women, or how his eyes match that shirt, or.... Gagh!”

 

She splashed some cold water on her face, dried it off, and ordered herself to go back out and enjoy the evening with her new boyfriend and his friends.  Her resolve lasted long enough to get through the door of the restroom and run right into the well-muscled chest of the vampire in question.

 

Instead of recoiling in disgust as she knew she should, she stayed there for a few seconds, just breathing in his scent and resting her forehead on his chest.  He had instinctively grabbed her arms when she ran into him and his hands stayed there, his thumbs rubbing soft circles on her biceps.

 

“You all right, Slayer?” he asked with a tilt of his head.  “Thought I’d better check on you. You were in there so long.”

 

“I’m fine, Spike,” she said, pulling reluctantly away from him.  “I was just... thinking.”

 

He touched her chin gently and tipped it up to force her to look at him.  “Anything I should know about?” he asked.  “Just in case we were thinking the same thing....”

 

“Since I wasn’t thinking about looking down the barmaid’s blouse, I kind of doubt we were thinking about the same thing,” she snapped, pulling away from him. She wanted to kick herself for allowing the hurt tone she knew he could hear in her voice.

 

He stepped back in surprise.  “The whelp’s runnin’ out of money,” he said slowly.  “I was just flirtin’ my way into a free beer.  What the hell’s wrong with you?”

 

“Nothing!  Nothing’s wrong with me. I already told you that.  So, if you came to check up on me, you can go now.  I’m fine.  I’m going back to my boyfriend now. And you can just go back to... whatever.”  She pushed past him and didn’t notice the sudden flecks of gold in his eyes when she called Riley her boyfriend, or the way his shoulders slumped as she left the hallway and headed for the table full of soldiers.

 

 What the hell is wrong with ME?  Was I just making excuses to her for spending time with those silly bints at the bar? I’m William, the fuckin’ Bloody.  I don’t make excuses to anybody!  And definitely not to the Slayer!

 

With a snarl in her direction, he stomped back to the table and slammed into his chair.  When he realized his obvious anger was scaring Willow and Tara, he forced himself to relax and smile at them.  “Sorry, ladies. Musta forgot to keep my happy face on.” 

 

“It’s okay, Spike,” Tara said with a small smile and a slight stammer, “ We know you won’t hurt us.” 

 

“Speak for yourself,” Xander mumbled, as Spike looked torn between indignation and satisfaction.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

By the end of the evening, Buffy had got Riley and his men to agree that she should be given a tour of the Initiative’s complex so that she could see what they did there to hold down Sunnydales demon population.

 

Riley walked her back to her dorm, and obviously was hoping to be invited up, but Buffy, pleading exhaustion, lied and said Willow would be in the room.  He settled for a make out session outside the door and Buffy tried to be an enthusiastic participant and not compare his dry, hard kisses to the bone melting ones she had shared with Spike.  Even standing on her toes, she got a sore neck from tipping her face up to reach his, and she got no pleasure from being pressed to his body; it just felt like she was being smothered.  She tried to surpress traitorous thoughts about how perfectly she and Spike seemed to fit together when they kissed. 

 

After agreeing to meet her the next day and take her on a tour of the Initiative base, he reluctantly kissed her good night and left.  Buffy sighed and turned to go into the dorm, then froze when her Slayer senses told her she was being watched.  She whirled around, searching the area with her eyes for vampires.  Just as she decided she must have imaging it and turned to go inside, something bright caught her eye and she saw Spike’s platinum head step out of the shadows.  He just stared at her, his eyes flashing gold, then suddenly threw his cigarette down and flowed across the lawn with vampiric speed. 

 

His voice and face were calm and impassive, but she could feel his body trembling as he pulled her to him and said, “Thought you might want a real kiss goodnight.” 

 

He reached for her mouth and she started to lean into him, then stiffened and asked, “Have you been spying on me?  How long were you standing there?”

 

“Long enough to know that wanker wasn’t turnin’ you on the way he wanted to,” he growled.  “Don’t know why you didn’t just tell him to shove off, Slayer.”

 

Buffy pushed him away and said indignantly, “ First place, vampire,” she said with heavy emphasis, “I don’t appreciate being spied on!  Expecially not when I’m with my boyfriend.  And you have no idea whether he was turning me on or not – as if it was any of your business anyway!”

 

He just looked at her thoughtfully for a moment,  “Guess ole’ Angelus didn’t teach you much, did he?”  He smiled at her puzzled expression and tapped his nose and his ears.  “Vampire senses, love.  I can hear your heartbeat – and I can smell you. You couldn’t hide arousal from me if you wanted to.”

 

Buffy just stared for a second, then felt herself blush all over as she said, “Eeeew!  That’s – that’s disgusting! “  She moved away from him and when he reached for her, gritted out between her teeth.  “Get away from me, Spike.  Just get  away.”

 

“Slayer, Buffy... don’t... please, luv.   Don’t push me away.  I just want....”

 

Buffy looked at him coldly.  “You have no right to want anything from me.  And I don’t want anything from you.  Stay away from me, “ she added as she turned and ran into the building.

 

He punched his fist through the door as it closed behind her, relishing the pain in his hand.  “You’re lying, Slayer.  Lying to yourself, and lying to me. I know you’re lying and I’m going prove it to you.”  He stalked off into the night, cradling his sore hand and snarling to himself.  He paid no heed to the students who screamed and ran away when he passed them on the campus.

 

            She can’t do this to me.  I know she wants me.  She doesn’t want that overgrown stuffed toy.  I’m going to rip his head off.  I’ll gut him and feed him his own entrails.  I’ll skin him like that poor demon we found in the caves....

 

As Spike continued ranting to himself, he remembered that he was incapable of following through on any of those threats, and his anger changed to melacholy.

 

            Bloody hell, can’t fight for her, and now she’s pissed at me and disgusted with herself.  I was definitely not planning to go home alone tonight.  Guess it’s going to be just me and the whiskey again.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

“She’s where?”  The vampire’s response to being told of Buffy’s visit to the Initiative was somewhere between a shriek and a snarl.  “You let her go? Alone?”

 

The watcher looked at the irate vampire in surprise and with a glint of anger. “We need to know what’s going on and she is the only one who can get in.  And,” he added pointedly, “her boyfriend’s with her. So she’s not alone.”

 

He watched in interest as Spike struggled to keep his demon in check at the mention of Riley.  After a minute of watching Spike’s eyes go back and forth between blue and gold and his forehead go from smooth to wrinkled and back again, he reluctantly added, “ Well, perhaps he’s not exactly her boyfriend yet, but he’s our best shot at finding out what’s going on in there. And I don’t think he will allow Buffy to be hurt....”

 

“Have you completely forgotten my dream?” Spike asked in a quietier tone. “She was set up by someone in there.  Sent out with a bogus weapon....”

 

Giles sighed, “I haven’t forgotten. But we still don’t know if the dreams mean anything or if it’s just a coincidence that you had similar dreams about the same place.  After all, you had both just come back from there, and....” 

 

He was interrupted by Spike’s “I’m going after her,” as he pulled on his duster.

 

“I really don’t think that’s necessary, Spike, You’ll just...” He was speaking to a closing door as the vampire shot out of the house, blanket over his head.

 

Muttering to himself about impulsive and stubborn people, he wasn’t sure if he was referring to Spike or Buffy.  He had, actually, tried to discourage his Slayer from going into the Initiative complex by herself.  He didn’t really trust Riley and his commando friends and he did suspect that the dreams Spike and Buffy had were prophetic in one way or another.  What he hadn’t figured out was why the two seemed to have a connection that would promote mutual dreaming. And, if truth were told, while he had his suspiciouns about what they weren’t telling him, he was secretly relieved not to have his suspicions confirmed. 

 

It was not lost on him that Willow’s spell had only required them to be married. It had not included anything about their being in love.  And yet, that was how it manifested itself.  Both slayer and vampire had been happily and thoroughly in love.  They fought as publicly and loudly as they ever had, but while under the spell the fights were followed by just as public and loud making up – and making out.  He still shuddered to remember the loud kissing sounds from the big chair in which they spent most of their time together.

 

He groaned at the thought of his slayer becoming involved with another vampire. Even a neutered one.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Outside, Spike had dropped into the nearest manhole and was making his way through the sewers toward the campus and the Initiative’s underground complex. Growling under his breath, he ran as quickly as he could, remaining vamped out so as to be able to see well,  dodging the odd shaft of sunlight that shot down through sewer grates and holes in the covers.  He slowed down as he approached the part of the sewers that went under the campus.

 

            If my dream was at all accurate, she should be around here somewhere, fightin’ with those demons.

 

He used all his vampiric senses to try to find her.  He listened carefully, sniffed the air and tried to sense her as he often could if she was close enough.  Suddenly he picked up the sound of fighting and raced in that direction.  He arrived just in time to see Buffy kill the last of the two demons with which she had just finished fighting.  He wasn’t terribly surprised to see that they looked just like the ones in his dream; nor that there was an unused weapon of some sort lying in the water. 

 

“You all right, luv?” he asked as he came into the small room where the fight had taken place.  Buffy glanced at him sharply, then put her finger to her lips and shook her head.  Motioning him to move into the corner, she picked up a headset with a small camera attached and turned it so that it was focused on her face.  She spoke directly into the camera and told Professor Walsh in no uncertain terms that she had made a big mistake thinking she could get rid of a Slayer that easily .  Spike had to grin as she growled out her determination to see that Maggie Walsh had the opportunity to find out exactly what a Slayer was.

 

When Buffy had crushed the camera under her foot and thrown the useless gun on top of it, he stepped out the the corner and approached her tentatively.  “You alright, Slayer?” he repeated his earlier question. 

 

“Yes, I’m fine.  No thanks to Professor Walsh.  I’m going to beat that bitch to a bloody pulp!  She set me up!”

 

“Just like in my dream?” He quirked an eyebrow at her.

 

            “Pretty much,” she admitted.  “Sent me out to collect two ‘harmless’ demons, with a broken gun to use in case an emergency came up.  Turns out the emergency was the two demons sent to kill me.”  She was still angry and paced back and forth jumping over the water in the middle of the tunnel.  “What are they, Spike? Do you know?”

 

The vampire walked over to the dead demons and looked at them intently. “Can’t say I recognize them, Slayer.  They almost look like they are made up of parts from a couple different kinds of ....” His voice trailed off as the sight of dismembered demon bodies came back to him.  “Bloody Hell!”

 

Buffy gasped as she remembered at the same time.  “Oh my god!” she said softly.  “They are creating demons!”

 

They stared at each other in dismay.  Buffy shivered and said, “We need to go tell Giles about this.” 

 

Just then, Spike held up his hand to quiet her and listened intently.  “Soldiers coming, luv.  Let’s get out of here.”  He grabbed her hand and yanked her toward the tunnel he had come in through.  He expected her to pull away as soon as they were on their way, but she left her hand in his until they came to a narrow passage where there was no room for more than one person at a time.  “After you, Slayer,” he said, gesturing to her to preceed him.  “No, Spike, you go first. You can see better,” she replied.

 

“Bossy bitch,” he smiled at her.

 

“I heard that,” she smiled back.

 

Suddenly the pursuing soldiers were forgotten as they moved toward each other. 

 

“Spike, what are you doing here?” 

 

“Came looking for you, didn’t I?  Was afraid this was going to happen when the Watcher told me where you were. “ 

 

 Afraid?  Was I afraid for the Slayer? Argh!

 

“How did you know where to find me?”

 

 And why did you want to?

 

“Can feel you, luv.  Soon as I get close enough.  Then I heard you beating up on those demons and just followed my ears.”

 

“Oh” she said quietly.  Then, “I... I’m sorry about last night.  That I was so cranky. You didn’t deserve that.”

 

“I prob’ly did, you know.  You were right.  I had no business following you and Capt’n Cardboard like that.  Just lucky for me I didn’t see anything I really Really, really!  didn’t want to.”  He smiled softly and tucked a piece of hair back off her face.

 

“Like what?” she asked, then mentally kicked herself.

 

He just looked at her for a minute then shrugged.  “I dunno, like him following you upstairs or something, I guess.  Watching him kissin’ on you was hard enough.”

 

“Says the man who spent half the night staring at a barmaid’s boobs” she growled at him. 

 

 Do I sound jealous?  I am soooo not jealous!

 

“Rather see yours,” he said softly, running his fingers lightly down the front of her shirt. 

 

Buffy felt her heart start beating faster and groaned as she remembered what he’d said about not being able to hide things like that from him.  She grabbed his hand and squeezed it softly.

 

 “Some other time, maybe,” she said firmly, Did I just say that out loud?  peering up at him through her lashes.  “Right now we need to get out of here.”

 

“Gonna hold you to that, luv,” he breathed in her ear, sending shivers down her spine and making her forget momentarily that they were standing in a sewer that was about to be full of commandos looking for her.  Shaking off her temporary inability to move, she pushed him into the narrow tunnel and followed him out of the complex.  As soon as they reached the municiple sewers, Spike grabbed her hand again and they raced toward Giles’ apartment as quickly as they could.

 

When they reached the manhole nearest the apartment, Spike stopped and said, “Hold on, pet.  I need to find my blanket.  It’s still daylight up there.”  He looked around until he located the ratty old blanket he had dropped on his way in and picked it up.  “Alright, I’m good to go.” he said lifting it over his head.

 

Buffy started to climb up the ladder to the manhole cover when she felt his touch on her arm.   She turned around to find herself only inches away from his face.  They  looked into each other’s eyes for a full minute without either one having any idea what he or she was looking for there.  Then with a groan, Spike surrendered to his body’s demands, pulling her toward him and capturing her mouth with his as he did so. 

 

            OK, this is bad. Very bad.  I’m kissing Spike again and we know where that went last time.  Time to stop, Buffy.  Stop... stop... kissing... Spike....

 

“Spike”, she murmured  aloud as she completely lost her train of thought.  The kisses were as deep and exciting as before, but with an element of tenderness that both astonished and moved her. 

 

            Damn, what’s wrong with me?  I should have my hand up her shirt by now, and instead here I am just playing kissy-face like a teenager.

 

He was lost in the sensations she was creating in his undead body.  Her scent, the silky feel of her skin, the softness of her lips.   He loved the way her body could feel so feminine and soft and yet so strong at the same time. 

 

Buffy finally broke the kiss and just stood with her forehead resting against his chin.  She knew that what they were doing was wrong, but somehow it felt more right than anything else she’d ever done.

 

Spike held her lightly in his arms, inhaling  her herbal-scented hair and resting his lips on the silky crown of her head.  “Ah, Slayer,” he breathed out, “What have you done to me?”

 

Buffy just shook her head gently and moaned.  “This is sooo wrong.  You’re an evil, soulless vampire and I’m the Slayer.  I can’t do this.   I won’t do this!” she said more firmly as she straightened up and pulled back from him slightly.  Which turned out not to be a good idea, as it meant she was looking into a pair of incredibly blue and desperate eyes.

 

“Don’t say that, love.  You think I don’t know this is wrong?  I’ve gone from wanting to kill you to wanting... just wanting.”  He ran his knuckles softly down her cheek.  “Don’t push me away, Buffy.  Please.”

 

She started at the sound of her name on his lips.  She couldn’t remember when, if ever, he had called her anything but Slayer  or pet, or love, or... not going to go there.   Hearing her name in his deep voice sent a shiver through her and she clutched her arms across her chest and struggled to ignore the way it made her feel. 

 

“We, we can’t do this right now, Spike.” she said, dropping her gaze.  “We have to get to Giles and tell him what happened.  And figure out how we’re going to get back in there and stop this.  Whatever ‘this’ is,” she finished. 

 

“All right, love. You’re right.  We need to find out what else those wankers are doing.  But this isn’t over.  Not by a long shot.” he growled at her and tipped her chin up to meet his eyes, forcing her to acknowledge what she was seeing there.

 

“It is over, Spike.  It has to be.” she whispered as she turned away from his hurt look.  Even as her words were spoken and she turned away from him, she was unconsciously leaning back into him.  His arms were on either side of her, holding onto the ladder, but he didn’t touch her – just allowed her to lean into his chest for a second.

 

 He planted a soft kiss on the top of her head, then tapped her lightly on her butt and said, “You keep telling yourself that, pet.” as he urged her up the ladder.

 

 

Chapter Five

           

The thunderous look on Giles’ face as Buffy told him about being sent out into the tunnels by Dr. Walsh was exceeded only by the long string of curses – many of them British expressions that she was completely at a loss to interpret – that he uttered as he paced the floor.

 

While Buffy stared at him in bemusement, Spike grinned appreciatively at the colorful language and applauded briefly when the Watcher stopped for air.

 

“I knew there was something wrong with that over-educated bitch!”  Giles finished. 

 

“Wow,” Buffy said softly.  “I guess it doesn’t always take band candy to bring out the Ripper, does it?”

 

Giles looked embarrassed and cleared his throat while he polished his glasses.  “Yes, Well then.  Back to making our plans....” He tried to ignore the grinning vampire and the giggles coming from his Slayer.

 

“Spike,” she asked between giggles.  “Can you translate all that and tell me what it means?”

 

“Why sure, pet.  He was—”  The vampire’s intended explanation of the terms Buffy was unfamilar with was interrupted by a glare from the Watcher and a warning, “Spike....”

 

“Uh, um, why no, Slayer.  I haven’t a clue.  Must have been Latin or somethin’” he said as he moved away from her and back to the chair.

 

Soon a still-angry Slayer was pacing around Giles’ apartment muttering about Maggie Walsh and what she was going to do to her.  Spike sat quietly in the corner, watching her rant with admiration.  Everytime the door opened to let another Scoobie in, the vampire straightened and tensed until he recognized the new arrival.  His behavior was not lost on Giles, who thought he was behaving like a two legged guard dog.

 

I guess there are worse things for her to have than a vampire bodyguard, he thought wearily.  Although how Spike is going to protect her from humans, I can’t imagine.

 

After all the Scoobies had gathered to hear what had happened, there was much arguing about what they could or should do about the Initiative.   All agreed that even though the complex was being run by humans and apparently the government, the fact that they were using demons and vampires for something – and the fact that they had tried to kill Buffy – made it Scooby business for sure.

 

Xander was very disappointed in Riley and kept insisting that he wouldn’t have had anything to do with trying to hurt Buffy.  Spike just kept calling him a soddin’ wanker and insisting he should be killed immediately.  Willow and Tara tried to be the voices of reason and come up with suggestions for safer ways to learn more about the secret organization.

 

Eventually it was agreed that the immediate need was for pizza, and the call was made to the nearest place that was still willing to deliver pizzas after dark in Sunnydale.

 

While the Scoobies were listening to Buffy’s story of how Professor Walsh had appeared to welcome her to the Initiative, but then sent her out to be killed, there was a knock on the door.  A glance around room indicated that anyone who was likely to be at a Scooby strategy session was already there.  As Giles went to answer the door, he realized that Spike was right behind him. 

 

“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked him coldly.

 

The vampire looked startled, then glanced down at the floor.  “I’m just... uh.... Bloody hell, Watcher – we don’t know what’s out there!” he finished, glaring at Giles defiantly.

 

“Well, we know it’s probably human, don’t we?” the Watcher said mildly and held the vampire’s eyes.

 

“And carrying pizza!” Xander chimed in happily.

 

With a snarl and a curse, Spike turned away and stalked back to his place in the corner. 

 

Giles answered the door and asked the delivery person to step in while he went to get his wallet.  The tall, skinny man’s eyes lit up when he spotted the blond vampire and he called out, “Hey, Spike!  Long time no see. What’s up man?”

 

While everyone else stared from Spike to the delivery boy in surprise, Buffy realized that her Slayer senses were itching and she walked up to the nervous-looking man looking at him intently.

 

“You – you’re a demon!” she exclaimed.  The man retreated to the doorway and cowered away from her. 

 

“Uh, no, no I’m not, Slayer.  I’m, I’m uh, just a pizza delivery guy.”  He looked around frantically and started edging toward the outside.

 

“Oh?  A pizza delivery guy who just happens to know I’m the Slayer?” she inquired with a glare as she stalked toward him.

 

Spike walked up and held Buffy’s arm gently.  “Easy, Slayer.  This is Jake.  He is perfectly harmless and he is a genuine pizza delivery man.  Who else do you think would be safe delivering pizzas in this town after dark but a demon?”

 

Buffy blinked for a minute, then said, somewhat shamefacedly, “I never thought about it.  I guess I just....” She glanced apologetically at Jake and mumbled, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

 

“Oh, no problem, Slayer.” he said eagerly.  “I’m just really – pleased – to meet you.”

 

“Likewise, I’m sure,” she said wryly.  “So, Jake, aren’t you worried about those guys going around snatching up demons?”

 

He looked at her with surprise, than said, “Well, yeah.  But I don’t really look like a demon, you know, so I don’t think....”

 

He was interrupted by another knock on the door.  Giles rolled his eyes and went to open it again, handing Jake his money as he did.

 

To everyone’s amazement, Riley was standing on the other side of the door, dressed in his commando uniform.  Jake’s eyes got big and he looked at Spike in terror.  “Spike!  We need to....”

 

“It’s Okay, Jake,” Buffy told him quietly.  “You can just take your money and go.  And thanks for the delivery.”  She sureptitiously pushed Spike away from the door and he took the hint, heading in the direction of the couch and Willow andTara.

 

Jake edged his way past Riley and took off for his car as soon as he was around the large soldier.  Riley ignored him completely, looking at Buffy with open-mouthed surprise.  Suddenly he swooped her up, hugging her tightly and muttering over and over, “You’re alive, you’re alive!”

 

He continued to hug her, holding her to him so that her feet were completely off the ground.  “I was so worried.”  His brows knit for a minute as he tried to reconcile Buffy’s obvious good health with his mentor’s assurances that she had been killed by a demon attack.  Meanwhile, Xander and Giles were staring coldly at Riley who had finally noticed Buffy’s lack of enthusiasm for his embrace and put her back down. 

 

“And why would you be surprised to find her alive, Riley?” Giles asked in a deceptively mild tone of voice.  “Is there a reason why she wouldn’t be?”

 

The soldier looked back and forth between Buffy and Giles, then said, “Well, Maggie – Professor Walsh – said that Buffy insisted on going into the tunnels alone to capture some escaped demons and that she saw them kill her.  I was coming over here to find out if you knew about it yet and....”  He stopped as he saw the way they were looking at him.  “What?” he asked.  “Why are you all looking at me like that?  And why does Professor Walsh think you’re dead, Buffy?”

 

“Because she tried to kill me today,” Buffy said dryly as she turned away from him.

 

“Oh no, that’s not possible.” he insisted. “You’ve misunderstood somehow.  She was thrilled to meet you – she was excited at the thought of having a Slayer to study and—”  His speech was interrupted by a commotion on the couch where Willow and Tara had thrown themselves on a vamped out Spike and were trying to hold him down as he tried to get to Riley, snarling about “lab rats” and “a girl, not a bloody science experiment.”

 

 Meanwhile, Giles having anticipated Spike’s reaction, had put himself between the vampire and the human couple and shoved Spike back onto the couch. There was nothing he could do to mask the growl coming from the vampire’s throat, though and Riley’s gaze went to the man in the corner.  Although Spike was not wearing his duster, he was back in his customary black jeans, tight T shirt and red silk shirt.  Riley’s eyes grew big as he recognized the vampire for what he was.

 

Buffy walked over to him quickly and touched the ridges on his face.  “Spike, please?” she said quietly. “I don’t want him to take you back.” At the touch of her hand, his face relaxed back into its human form and he sank back onto the couch, still growling.  She smiled at him and had to resist the urge to pat him on the head like an obedient dog.

 

She dropped her hand quickly as she heard footsteps and turned to see Riley striding toward the couch.

 

 “That’s Hostile Seventeen!” he shouted, shoving Buffy behind him. “I knew he looked familiar!” He looked from Spike to Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies.  “What is he doing here?” he asked angrily.  “We’ve been searching for him since he escaped.  Why have you been hiding a hostile from us?” Buffy snorted and pushed Riley out of her way.

 

“You’ve met him twice,” she said with an eye roll.  “How you guys catch any vampires is beyond me.  You don’t even recognize one when you shake hands with it – him!” she amended quickly.

 

“Well, I hardly expect to find my girlfriend” – wince from Buffy, snarl from Spike – “hanging out with them at night clubs,” he mumbled.   “And why are you hanging out with it?” he asked in a more belligerant tone.  “Why is the Slayer protecting a vampire? What is Hostile Seventeen doing here?”

 

That was the end of Buffy’s attempt at patience.  She whirled on the big man and began yelling at him, punctuating each complaint with a poke at his chest – each one of which knocked him back further and further toward the door.

 

“In the first place – he isn’t a ‘hostile’, he’s a vampire.  MY job, remember? I decide what happens to him – not some obscure government agency.  In the second place, you’ve crippled him…”  Giles and Xander exchanged surprised looks at her choice of words, while Spike flinched as though he’d been struck.  “…so he may be ‘hostile’ but he sure as hell isn’t dangerous anymore. And lastly, your boss just tried to kill me – and then obviously lied to you about it – so where do you get off complaining about anything I’ve done?”

 

Riley gawked at her.  He’d never seen Buffy in Slayer mode and he found that he was shrinking away from her as she advanced on him, pushing him toward the door.

 

“But, but, Buffy...” he began.  “You can’t... you don’t mean... Buffy, please. Can we talk about this?”  His eyes were pleading and as Buffy got control of her temper and the girl replaced the Slayer.  She stopped her relentless pushing and took a deep breath.

 

“What can we possibly have to talk about, Riley?” she said tonelessly.  “You took me in there, and they tried to kill me.  What else is there to say?”

 

“It’s got to be a misunderstanding, Buffy.  I’m sure Professor Walsh wasn’t trying to kill you.  Maybe she was testing your slayer powers or something.  I know she’s eager to know more about you.”

 

“Oh, she’s going to know more about me.  You can count on that,” Buffy said grimly.”

 

“Buffy, I don’t understand.  Can you tell me what it’s doing here?  I really don’t get why that creature is here.”

 

“His name,” Buffy said firmly, “is Spike.  And he’s here because your chip left him unable to feed or defend himself.”

 

“But... but, why haven’t you staked him?” Riley asked with a bewildered look on his face.  “He’s a vampire!”

 

“He’s also not dangerous right now, “ Buffy replied, ignoring Spike’s indignant  “Hey!”

 

          “I don’t kill harmless things” I hope, she though guiltily, remembering the butchered demons she had seen in the tunnels and Spike’s insistance that they were all as harmless and peaceloving as Jake and Clem.  ”And, he’s... helping us, right now.” she added, hoping that sounded more positive than it came out .

 

“He doesn’t look harmless to me,” Riley said, meeting Spike’s icy glare with one of his own.  “He looks like he wants to kill somebody.”

 

“Got that right, pillock,” Spike muttered, but with Buffy’s anxious eyes on him he kept his voice low enough that only Giles and Willow heard him.  Giles gave him a hard look and Willow put her hand gently on his arm, then quickly moved it when Spike looked at her with astonishment.  “Isn’t anyone afraid of me anymore?” he groaned under his breath and growled when Willow giggled at him.

 

Reluctantly turning his face away from the vampire, Riley looked at Buffy and pleaded, “I don’t know what went on this afternoon, but I’m sure it was all a misunderstanding of some sort.  Can we....”

 

“Your boss tried to have me killed,” Buffy said coldly.  “I understand that pretty well!”

 

“That – that can’t be right, Buffy!  She was thrilled to meet you.  She can’t wait to learn more about you....”  He stopped talking as he took in the look on Buffy’s face.  He had never seen her actually be the Slayer before tonight, and he felt a chill go down his spine at the change in his girlfriend.  Fortunately, the look didn’t last long, and his Buffy was once again looking at him.

 

“Riley, I know what happened to me.  The only question I have right now is – did you know it was going to happen?”

 

He gaped at her.  “Oh my god, Buffy!  You can’t think... I would never.... You have to believe me!”

 

The anguish and horror on his face was so real, Buffy relaxed her stance and sighed.  “I believe you, Riley.  But you have to believe me.  She did try to have me killed.  I barely got out of there.  If it hadn’t been for Spike’s—” She stopped as Riley shot a suspicious look at the smirking vampire.  Giving Spike a glare which made him look down at his boots intently, she said, “Well, nevermind.  The point is, I don’t think she wants me around.”

 

“Buffy, please.  What can I do to make this right between us?  I don’t know what Maggie’s thinking was, but I knew nothing about it.  I thought she was just taking you on a tour of the facility.”  Riley looked at her contritely.

 

Buffy met his eyes steadily for a minute, then looked at Giles and the other Scoobies.  They exchanged looks, then Xander shrugged and said,  “We might as well hear what he has to say, Buffy.  Maybe he can fill in some of the blanks.”

 

Buffy carefully avoided looking at Spike as she grudgingly said, “Okay, Riley. Come in and sit down.  We have some questions for you.”

 

He hesitantly approached the middle of the room and looked for a place to sit.  Giles pulled a chair out from the table and pointedly deposited it in front of Riley.  The rest of the gang seated themselves around the room, leaving Spike alone on the couch.  Buffy hesitated a second, then walked over and seated herself primly  beside the vampire.  She took care to be far enough way that she wasn’t touching him, although she could feel his presence near her without even glancing over her shoulder.

 

“What do you want to know?” Riley asked tiredly.  “Bear in mind that this is supposed to be a secret operation – no civilians involved.”

 

“We don’t exactly consider ourselves ‘civilians’ when it comes to fighting vampires and demons,” Giles said with just a trace of Ripper in his voice.  “The Council of Watchers and their Chosen Ones have been fighting the forces of evil for thousands of years.  I’m guessing we know more about it than you do.”

 

“Well, that may be true.  But with our weapons and technology, we think we’ve taken it to a new level.   For instance, Hostile Seventeen, there.” He gestured toward Spike. “That electronic chip in his brain  prevents him from attacking humans; thereby rendering him harmless, but still potentially useful.”

 

“Harmless? Useful?  You’d bloody well take that back, you wanker!”

 

Spike lunged toward Riley, then recoiled and threw himself on the couch holding his head and moaning.  Riley looked quite pleased with himself and said, “There, you see? He can’t hurt me – no matter how much he wants to.  We’ve effectively neutered him.  He can no longer feed on humans.”

 

 Spike can’t kill. That’s a good thing, right?  But he can’t defend himselve either. How can that be good?  But if he could, he might kill us.  Well, maybe not me. But Xander, Giles... this is making my head hurt.

 

To avoid thinking any more about Spike, Buffy asked, “What about the other demons?  The ones you’re torturing and maiming....and killing?”

 

Riley gave a start of surprise.  “How did you know about...?” He looked suspiciously at Spike, then back at Buffy. 

 

To everyone’s surprise, Tara, who was normally very quiet, spoke up and said, “We’ve seen the results of your work.  How are you any better than they are?”

 

Spike gave the witch a small smile as she blushed and ducked her head.  It was totally out of character for her to speak out like that in a Scoobie meeting and was an indication of how bothered she was by what they had seen in the caves.  Everyone stared at her in amazement for a second, then looked back at Riley and waited for his answer. 

 

“Well,” he fumbled, “I mean, they’re just sub-terrestrials, aren’t they?  No better than animals.  And if we can find uses for them....”  He stopped when he saw the horrified/hostile expressions on everyone’s face.  “What is wrong with you people? If I’m to believe what you say, you kill them all the time.”

 

Buffy winced slightly, then said, “I kill them.  When I catch them and they are clearly dangerous.  I don’t cut off body parts for my amusement.  Nor do I try to construct new demons from the parts!”  She paused and tried to push down the nagging question of whether or not she had ever killed a harmless demon like the pizza delivery guy.  “Why would you want to construct more demons anyway?”

 

Riley looked uncomfortable for a minute, then grudgingly replied, “I’m not really in on the whole experimental thing, but I know the plan is to make... creatures... that can be used in combat situations.”

 

“Demons as weapons!  Oh my god!” Willow burst out.

 

“Where do Spike and his chip fit in?” Buffy inquired quietly.

 

Riley took a quick glance at the vampire who was giving him his iciest stare. His blue eyes were flecked with yellow, but he remained in human face and just looked at the commando flatly.  “Yeah, Capt’m America, where do I fit in?”

 

“The chip is an experiment to see if we can render vampires harmless to humans.  If we can, then we can work on controling them and they could be very useful.  They can go where we can’t; they’re capable of passing for human; there could be lots of advantages to having a squad of tamed vampires.”  He finished quickly, edging away from the steady snarls coming from the end of the couch.

 

Buffy stretched out her hand and touched Spike’s leg in warning as he looked as though he was going to leap up and try to tear Riley apart.  “Don’t,” she said softly.  “Let it go”.

 

“Let it go?” he sputtered.  “Bloody hell, Slayer, did you hear what he said?  I’m nobody’s lab rat!  And I’m not all that tame, either!” he blustered, but he didn’t move off the couch or make any attempt to touch Riley. He had, however, moved much closer to Buffy and was glaring over her shoulder at the larger man who glared back and leaned forward.

 

Using one hand to keep Spike behind her, and the other to keep Riley at a distance, Buffy looked to Giles for help.  Coming up behind Riley, he touched the other man on the shoulder and suggested he might want to leave and allow them to digest what he’s had to say.

 

When Riley stood up, so did Spike and Buffy; the vampire still behind her glaring at the commando. 

 

“Buffy,” Riley began, “I need to take him back with me.  That’s an expensive piece of government equipment in his head.  We need to either have him, or to have our chip back to use on some other vampire.  One that doesn’t have the Slayer’s protection,” he added angrily.

 

“You can’t have Spike,” Buffy said flatly, ignoring the vampire’s “Yes! Let  them take it out and put it in someone else!”

 

“Shut up, Spike,” she threw over her shoulder as she glared at Riley.  “And what would you do with Spike, if you took it out?”

 

Riley looked at her in astonishment,  “Well, we’d terminate him, of course!  We couldn’t turn a killer loose again! Surely you agree with that, Buffy?”

 

            Buffy’s blood ran suddenly cold as she realized that that was exactly what she would be expected to do.  Suddenly the idea of staking Spike was not as appealing as it had been a few months ago.

 

“Well you can’t have him,” she muttered.  When she saw her friends and watcher staring at her with curiousity she added,  “Not until I know more about what’s going on in there and why that bitch wants me dead!  I – I might need his help,” she finished lamely.

 

Riley was looking at Buffy anxiously.  “I know this whole misunderstanding has to be a mistake.  Please, Buffy, can we just talk somewhere... else,” he concluded looking around at the hostile faces in the room. He decided to leave the subject of the chipped vampire to another time.  At least now they knew where he was.

 

Buffy held up her hand to forstall the objections she could tell Spike and Giles were going to raise.  Giles swallowed the rest of his, “Buffy, I don’t know that it’s wise to...” but Spike continued to growl softly.

 

“All right, Riley.” she agreed.  “But someplace public and well lit – and away from your buddies.  Maybe Willie’s,” she teased.  Everyone laughed except Riley who asked, “Willies?  The demon bar?” in a tone that suggested she’d lost her mind.  Rolling her eyes at his lack of humor, she added more seriously, “Or, we could go to the coffee shop – I promise no arm wrestling this time.”

 

  Riley glared at Xander’s snicker and the young man smiled at him apologetically and shrugged.

 

The large soldier and the small slayer left the apartment, assuring Giles that they would continue their talk in a public place and that Buffy would be back within an hour.

 

 

Chapter Six

 

earlier that day

 

Maggie Walsh was angry.  First, that the stupid little coed had gotten away from the assassins she sent after her – she refused to believe that the demons were dead -  and second, that the little hussy had the nerve to threaten her.   To soothe her mind, she let herself into the secret part of the lab and stood admiring her soon-to-be awakened “son”.

 

“Adam,” she said with pride.  “The ultimate soldier.  My finest achievement.”

 

Lying on a table was a large creature that looked like a combination between a very muscular man and a robot.   Not immediately visible were the many enhancements concealed in and around his body – both mechanical and those things “borrowed” from the demons that had been collected.  Maggie looked at him lovingly again and whispered, “Soon, my son.  Soon.”

 

She headed back to the floor in time to see one of the squads sent out after the Slayer come in carrying the very dead bodies of her assassin demons.  They set the bodies down on the floor and put the gun and smashed camera right next to them.  Maggie glared at the bodies and ruined equipment in surprise.  “She did this?  That skinny little girl?”  She waved them away, telling them to dispose of the bodies.

 

I need to rethink my strategy toward that girl.  I need to know more about her – and there’s only one way to do that.....

 

Mind made up, she strode to her office and called for her elite squad. 

When Special Agent Finn and his men arrived in her office, she studied them carefully before speaking.  “Riley,” she said quietly, “I have a special assignment for you.  Please go back to your quarters and wait for me there.”  He looked at her in surpise, but saluted and with a “Yes, ma’am,” left the room and went where he was instructed.

When he was gone, she turned to the others and said, “Special Agent Forrest, you are in charge now.  I want you to bring in that Slayer person.  We need to know more about her.”

 

Forrest stared at her.  “But... but, Professor Walsh!  She’s the Slayer! She’s on our side.  And besides, she’s Riley’s....” His voice trailed off as he realized why he had been promoted.

 

“She has destroyed two of our prototypes.  For no reason.  Obviously she is not on our side!  We need to study her – find out what her capabilities are and if we can put them to use.”

 

“How, “  Forrest cleared his throat.  “How do you want us to do this?” he asked carefully.

 

“By whatever means necessary,” she stated flatly.  “I want her alive – anything else is up to you.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

            Buffy’s watcher and her friends, including the vampire, settled down to watch TV and argue over the wisdom of letting Buffy go off with the man who led her into the Initiative in the first place.  Xander was sure Riley would never hurt Buffy – Spike was equally sure his entrails should be dangling from the shower rod.  When Giles got tired of the arguing, he snapped out, “If either one of you thinks she would have not gone just because we didn’t think she should, speak now!”  Xander and Spike exchanged a look and they both shrugged and turned toward the TV to the great relief of everyone else in the room.

 

Spike tried to maintain his interest in the program, but after several minutes he got up and put on his duster.

 

“Where are going?” Xander demanded.

 

“I’m gonna watch her back,” he growled.  “I don’t trust that wanker any further than I could throw his overstuffed body!”

 

“Uh, Spike, you’re a vampire.  Couldn’t you throw him pretty far?”  Anya asked curiously.

 

“Not the point, demon-girl.” he rolled his eyes.  “It’s just an expression.  And anyway, I probably couldn’t. Not with this soddin’ chip in my head.”

 

Giles followed Spike to the door.  “Spike,” he warned.  “You know she’s not going to be happy about being followed....”  Spike winced as he remembered how angry she had been at his watching her with Riley before.

 

It’s not the same thing,  he assured himself.  She could be in danger this time. I’m just watchin’ her back.

 

They won’t know I’m there, Watcher.  Trust me.”

 

“You’re not exactly inconspicuous, you know,” Giles pointed out, gesturing to the long black coat, red shirt and blinding platinumhair.  “You tend to stand out in a crowd.”

 

The vampire just looked at his fellow Englishman, then shook his head.

 

            “Watcher, I’ve spent over a hundred and twenty years as a vampire.  Do you really think I can’t be invisible if I want to be?” As he spoke, he became preternaturally still and almost seemed to blend into the woodwork around the door.  Giles gave a start of surprise, then studied the vampire hard.

 

“Maybe we’ve underestimated you,” he allowed.

 

“Maybe you have,” Spike agreed as he slipped out the door.  “Think about it, Watcher,” he tossed backover his shoulder as he literally disappeared into the night.

 

Giles closed the door and shook his head as he turned back to the rest of the Scoobies. “I’m not sure whether I find that reassuring or terrible frightening,” he muttered to himself.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

True to his word, Spike remained hidden in the shadows, completely unnoticed by the people around him as he stood and watched Buffy and Riley having an ocassionally very animated conversation across the street.

 

“Riley,” she sighed finally, “we’re just never going to agree on this.  I don’t trust your boss, I don’t think you actually know everything that’s going on in there, and I am not going back in with you.”

 

“I’m not supposed to know everything, Buffy.  I’m a soldier.  I just do what I’m told.  But it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be safe with me.”

 

“I wasn’t last time,” she reminded him.

 

He looked down at the table and nodded his head.  “All right,” he agreed reluctantly.  “I’ll try to get an explanation for what happened to you.  I’m sure there is one.  I just need to find out what it is.  Come on, I’ll walk you to the dorm,” he offered.

 

“No, that’s okay.  I’m going back to Giles’ – and I’m going to be in a hurry.  You go back to – wherever.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

 

He leaned down and gave her a tentative kiss, frowning at her lack of enthusiasm and participation.  “Buffy, you know how I feel about you.  Don’t let this come between us.  Please.”

 

“Sorry, Riley,” she smiled at him ruefully.   “Fighting for my life when I think I’m among friends makes me cranky.”

 

“Only when you’re among friends?” he smiled back.

 

“Well, yeah.  The rest of the time it’s either boring or fun – depending on who I’m fighting and why.  But it doesn’t make me mad.  Unless I get demon goo on my good clothes, of course,  Then....”

 

He shook his head at her and said ruefully,  “I’ve got a lot to learn about you, don’t I?”

 

“That you do, mate.” Spike said under his breath as he saw them part after another quick kiss.  “That you do.”

 

 

Chapter Seven

 

As Buffy moved off toward Gile’s apartment, she felt the familiar tingle that told her there was a vampire around.  She turned around and scanned the area, but didn’t see anything unusual.  “Almost feels like Spike,” she mused, “but he wouldn’t have....”

 

Her thought was interrupted by the abrupt arrival of Forrest and several other commandos.  Before she could ask what they wanted, the commando looked at her sadly and said,  “Sorry, Buffy”.  As he did, she was hit from behind with a tazer and went down in a twitching heap.   The soldiers reached for her to take her away, but they were bowled over by a snarling, snapping vampire who was roaring with anger and screaming in pain at the same time as his chip fired repeatedly.

 

Buffy struggled to sit up, but she was quickly hit with a second taser shot which left her unconscious.  Leaving his men to deal with the vampire, Forrest and Graham picked up the Slayer’s inert body and sprinted away with it toward the fraternity house.  The remaining men, seeing that the vampire was not moving and had blood streaming from his nose, ran after them, leaving Spike on the ground.

 

As Spike gradually regained consciousness and remembered what had happened, he groaned and ran toward Giles’ apartment, holding his head with both hands.

 

Giles leaped up at the sound of frantic pounding on his door and opened it to find a semi-erect Spike, bleeding from this nose and ears. He caught the vampire as he fell in the door and supported his weight until he got him to the couch.  Willow and Tara came over and began fussing over him, trying to clean up the blood and offering aspirin and healing spells.

 

Spike brushed them aside with a grateful look and struggled to sit up. 

 

“Buffy,” he gasped.  “They took Buffy.”

 

“Who? Who took Buffy?  Riley?”  Giles was in full Ripper mode as he grabbed Spike by the collar and shook him.

 

“No, not the wanker.  His buddies.  They hit her with a tazer, carried her off somewhere.”

 

“Where were you big guy?” Xander demanded.  “Thought you were watching her back?”

 

“I tried,” he snarled,  “There were too many of the bloody wankers for me to take out before the chip took me out.”  For a minute it looked like the vampire was going to cry and Xander felt mildly ashamed for baiting him.  Especially when he saw the looks Anya, Willow and Tara were giving him.

 

“You’re sure they were commandos?” Giles asked.

 

“I’m sure. They were even wearin’ their soldier stuff.”

 

“Well,” Giles said tiredly,  “I guess we’re making another trip into the caves tonight.  After I make a phone call,” he added.  He went into his bedroom and placed a long distance call to England.  “I don’t care what time it is! “ they heard him yelling into the phone.  “Get him to the phone, now!”

 

When Giles had come out of the bedroom, looking somewhat mollified, they gathered up the equipment they thought they might need and headed for the car.  In spite of the obvious pain he was in, the vampire preceeded them out the door saying, “I’ll meet you there,” as he disappeared into the night.

 

“Anybody else thinking I wouldn’t want to be one of those guys if Spike gets his chip out?” Xander asked conversationally.

 

“I wouldn’t want to be anybody, if Spike got his chip out,” said Anya.  “He seems to be very dangerous.”

 

“He certainly is, or at least he used to be,” said Willow slowly.  “but I’m not sure I think he would hurt any of us anymore.  Do you think so, Giles?”

 

“I don’t know, Willow.  I don’t think it would be safe to assume he wouldn’t.  He is still a vampire, you know. There’s no reason to think he wouldn’t start feeding again as soon as he could. “

 

At least, I don’t THINK there’s a reason.  Is there?  

 

 

When they reached the path leading into the caves, Spike was already waiting  for them, looking somewhat recovered from his headache.  They marched grimly into the caves, not sure what they would find and remembering the dismembered bodies they found the first time.

 

The closer they got to the Initiative tunnels, the closer together they stayed and the quieter they were.    When they came to a large opening that seemed to go into the ventilation system, Xander suggested they try that means of looking around. Ten minutes of prowling along the large vents and dodging the ocassional fan, led them into the labratory section of the complex and they found themselves looking down from various grilled openings into the different rooms.  They agreed to split up, with the girls going in one direction and Spike, Giles and Xander each taking a different vantage point into the lab area.

 

As they approached the area overlooking the cages, Spike went into game face and began growling under his breath.  From their lofty viewpoints in the vents, they were able to see down into the lab. At the sight of Buffy’s unconscious body on a slab, it took both Giles and Xander to prevent Spike from leaping through the grill and giving them all away. Although both her Watcher and her friend were fighting the same urge to leap into the room and rescue her, they were able to control their urges better than the impulsive vampire.

 

Finally, Giles wrestled him back against the wall and looked him straight in the eye as he said in a low whisper,  “I want them just as much as you do – and I don’t want them touching her either.  But we can’t help her if we get caught.  You’ve got to stay in control.  Can you do that?”  He forced the vampire to meet his eyes and after a few seconds Spike’s face relaxed into his human visage and he slumped loosely against the wall.

 

Remembering what he’d told Giles about underestimating him, he forced his demon down and nodded his head.

 

 “Sorry, Watcher,” he said, half-smiling at Giles’ surprised expression, “You’re right.  I need to use my brain, not my demon right now.”

 

“Brain? Spike?  Should those words be used in the same sentence?” Xander snarked quietly.  Matching glares from the watcher and the vampire, caused him to stop before he said anything else. 

 

“Well,” Xander started the whispered discussion, “how do we go about getting her out?”

 

Giles cleared his throat and said, “The phone call I made was to the council.  Through their contacts they should be getting someone in the US government working on this and sending someone here to find out what’s going on down there.  In the meantime, I guess she’s safe enough....”  A hiss from Xander interupted him and they all peered down into the lab in time to see a technician slice Buffy’s arm with a surgical scalpel.

 

“Professor Walsh wants us to time how long it takes for this cut to close,” one of them spoke to the other as he jotted the time down onto a clipboard.  “I guess that’s the last test for now.  Let’s put her away before she wakes up.”  They lifted Buffy’s unconscious body up and carried her out to one of the plastic fronted cages.  The cage they put her in was different from the ones containing the demons only in that it had an actual metal cot bolted to the floor and toilet facilities.

 

“Do you think we should give her some privacy?” the first technician asked, gesturing at the toilet and at Buffy who was clad only in a paper hospital gown that had ridden up her thighs.

 

  “Nah”, replied the other one.  “Good-looking as she is, according to Maggie she’s just as much a demon as they are.  She probably doesn’t have any shame either.”  With that, they slid the transparent panel closed and went back to the lab.

 

Xander was so angry he was shaking and swearing he would tear them apart.  To his surprise, neither Giles nor Spike were ranting like he was and he was about to whisper harshly at them for not caring about Buffy when he saw their faces. 

 

Spike was still wearing his human face, but there was nothing human-looking about it.  It was as cold and still as any corpse, and his normally blue eyes were pure gray ice.  The only sign that he was even aware of what was going on was the way his eyes would ocassionally flash gold.

 

  For the first time since Spike was chipped Xander found himself afraid of the vampire and he instinctively moved further away from him.  A slight movement caught his eye and he saw that Spike had squeezed the handle of the axe he was holding so hard he had crushed the wood to sawdust.  The vampire caught the axe head in his hand as it started to fall to the floor of the vent and slowly bent to lay it down gently by the wall.   Xander decided that exhibition of quiet strength, speed, and will, coupled with controlled rage, was the most frightening thing he had seen from the vampire in the two years since he had come in to their lives.

 

Giles was not as capable of perfect stillness as Spike was, but his face had the same cold, focused expression.   His breathing was deep and regular and Xander realized he was seeing some sort of transformation taking place.  The mild mannered, scholarly man he was used to was nowhere visible.  In his place was a cold, angry sorcerer whose eyes had darkened with magic.  Suddenly the man they thought of as a fusty old librarian looked more than capable of being a match for Spike or anyone else. 

 

While Xander was digesting what he was seeing and trying to decide if he should move away from both men, the girls came back whispering that they had found both Riley’s room and Maggie Walsh’s private office.  They shrank back in fear at the sight of Spike and Giles, although after a moment, Willow couldn’t resist getting closer to Giles and reveling in the feeling of power coming off his body.  When the girls saw Buffy’s semi-nude and bleeding body below them, they understood immediately what was going on.

 

“Guys?” Willow suggested.  “Shouldn’t we decide how we’re going to get her out of there?  You can work on looking scary later.”

 

“Although, you’re doing a wonderful job of it....” the former vengance demon began, than stopped at a look from Xander.  “Well, I’m just saying – they look really scary, but there’s nobody here to see them but us.”

 

Giles looked at Spike and said, “What can you tell me about the cages? How do they work? Can we open them?”

 

“The witches – or you –“ he added, looking at the Watcher’s eyes, “might be able to mojo them open, but I’m guessing they’re warded against that pretty well.  Our best bet is to get somebody to open them. “ He turned to the girls and asked, “Can you take Harris to Finn’s room?” 

 

They nodded their heads and the vampire looked at Xander.  “Do you think you can stop admiring the soldier boy long enough to get him here?  He should know how to open the cage.”

 

Xander nodded his head quickly, “Yeah, not feeling all that patriotic at the moment.  I’ll get him here,” he said grimly.  He left, following Anya through the ventilation pipe.

 

Giles looked at Willow and Tara, “Take me to Maggie Walsh,” he said coldly and turned to go.  He stopped to look at Spike. “You won’t do anything stupid while I’m gone, will you?” he asked sternly.  The vampire met his gaze and said flatly, “Nothin’ stupider than what you’re gonna do, Ripper.”

 

“Right then, I’m off.”  He slipped off through the ventilation system leaving the vampire staring down into the cage where Buffy was beginning to moan and wake up.

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

Spike wanted nothing more than to leap down through the ceiling and hold her as she woke up, but he knew that even if he could get in, he would just be trapped like she was and no help to her.  The frustration of knowing he couldn’t fight back against the humans holding her captive was making him physically sick and he struggled to hold his demon in check.

 

Got to stay strong for her and not go off half-cocked and bollix this up. Plenty of time later to find a way to make them pay.

 

As the Slayer woke up, she clutched the paper robe around her body and stared at her bleeding arm.  The wound was beginning to close, but it was still oozing and she frowned at the precise cut, wondering how and where she got it.  As her memory came back of what happened to her and she realized where she was, her confusion was replaced by fury.  She flew at the plastic front of the cage, pounding on it with her fists and kicking it, although she knew from Spike’s recounting of his time in there that she wasn’t likely to have an effect on it.

 

The sound of her cursing and banging brought the techinicians back in and they looked at the tiny woman in wonder.  “Uh, I guess we’re ready for the next test?” the quieter one said. 

 

“Looks like,” said the other with a speculative grin.  “Let’s see if she can keep that robe around her while she fights another demon.” he said as he quickly punched in a code and took the demon from the cage across from her at tazer point.

 

Holding tazers out in front of them to keep her at bay, they quickly keyed her door open just far enough to shove the demon in with her, then stood back to watch what happened.

 

To their disappointment,  the demon cowered in the corner begging the Slayer not to kill him, while she ignored him completely and continued her assault on the door.  Eventually the two technicians got bored and went back into the lab, snickering at the look of fury on Buffy’s face.  “Not so all-powerful now, is she?” one snarked as he waved at her on his way out.

 

Oh, I’m am so going to feed them their testicles!  Right after I get through breaking every bone in Riley’s body

 

Buffy stoped her futile beating on the door and began to take stock of her surroundings.  When she noticed the demon cowering in the corner, she growled at him to stop whining and get out of her way.  He scurried obediently to a different corner and Buffy proceeded to examine every inch of the room looking for a weak spot or an exit.  She didn’t really expect to find one, based on both Spike’s story and her dreams, but she made the effort anyway.

 

Suddenly she felt the familiar tingle that told her there was a vampire near.  A particular vampire,  she realized, only mildly surprised that she could tell Spike apart from the rest of Sunnydale’s vampire population.  Frantically she scanned the other cages to see if he had been re-captured, but didn’t see him.

 

She stopped, trying to relax and just feel him.  As she did, her eyes were drawn to the small air vent in the ceiling.  “Spike?” she barely breathed.  “Are you there?”

 

“Yes, love. I’m here. We’re working on gettin’ you out.”  He tried to keep the frustration and anger out of his voice and project confidence for her.

 

Buffy grabbed the bed and ripped it out of the floor so that she could put it under the vent.  She stood on it and reached up toward the grill.  She could just barely touch the slots, just enough for her fingertips to meet his.  In the process, her robe gaped open showing her wearing nothing but her lacy underpants.  His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her and he was sure his heart had started beating for a second.

 

They remained still for several seconds, just touching their fingertips and looking into each other’s eyes.  Buffy couldn’t believe how much calmer she felt just knowing he was nearby.  He explained that Xander had gone to get Riley and couldn’t help grinning as she gave a growl that would have done credit to a vampire.  Suddenly he cocked his head to listen and  said quickly, “Uh, Slayer?  Buffy?  As much as I’m enjoying the view – I’m not really interested in sharing it.  You need to get down, love.”

 

Buffy glanced at her open robe and the two men coming out of the lab and blushed all over.  With a last look up at Spike, she grabbed the robe and pulled it around herself as she jumped off the bed.  The two technicians looked at the cowering demon in disappointment, then did a double take as they saw where the bed was.

 

 “Uh, wasn’t that bolted to the floor?”  one of them began just as Buffy picked the bed up and threw it at them.  It bounced harmlessly off the plexiglass, but caused both men to leap back in fear.  Enjoying their sudden lack of confidence, Buffy proceeded to take the bed apart and fling pieces of metal at the door, cursing colorfully the whole time.  When she ran out of pieces of bed and American swear words she started on the toilet and sink and British vulgarities that she hadn’t even known she knew until they started coming out of her mouth.

 

Meanwhile, Giles had found Maggie Walsh’s private lab and office and was peering down at her as she stroked the arm of the monstrous creature on the table.

 

  “Oh, Adam,” she whispered.  “If you were only ready to go – we’d take that Slayer and put her away forever.” 

 

As she turned her back, the Frankenstein looking monster on the table lifted his head and called, “Mother?”

 

Maggie whirled around in astonishment.  “Adam?  You...you’re....” The rest of her thought was abruptly cut off as the creature extended a bayonet like device from his arm and stabbed her through the heart.   Her eyes filled with tears even as they glazed over and she fell to the floor.

 

Giles recoiled from the vent as though they could be seen – which they quickly realized they could be, as Adam lifted his other arm and fired an energy weapon of some sort at them.  He quickly scrambled back, pushing the two witches behind him.  Muttering something in Latin, he threw up a shield that deflected the next bolt of energy and told them to run.  All three took off back the way they had come wondering what new evil had just been released on the world.

 

Xander, meanwhile, was going “Psst” as loudly as he could at Riley who was lying on his bed looking very unhappy.  As the noise penetrated his self-imposed funk, he looked around to find the source of the noise.  “Riley,” Xander exclaimed, “Up here!”  He pushed on the vent opening and dropped down into the room.  Looking up, he told Anya to go back to the others and meet him there.

 

Riley stared at him in bewilderment.  “How did you get in here?  This place is impenetrable!”

 

“Uh, yeah, right.  Whatever.  Listen, you need to help us get Buffy out.”

 

“What? Buffy’s not here.  She—”

 

“She is here.  She’s here; she’s caged up like one of the demons and your boss is running tests on her.  They’ve already sliced open her arm to see how long she’ll bleed.”  Xander stopped and looked at the other man.  Riley looked like he was going to be sick.

 

“Oh my god.  I didn’t want to believe it.”   He shook himself and asked urgently, “Where is she?”

 

“I told you. She’s in a cage.  Probably royally pissed off by now if she’s awake.  We need to get there and open those cages so she can get out.  And, I need to borrow some soldier clothers,” he added. “I don’t exactly blend.”

 

As Xander pulled on some of Riley’s military clothing he explained what had happened after Riley left Buffy.  At the mention of Spikes’ name, the other man’s head snapped up and he stared at Xander.

 

 “You came in here on his say-so?  He’s a vampire. He’s probably lying about everything.”

 

Xander shook his head,  “Not exactly a card-carrying member of the Spike fan club here, Riley, but I know what I saw.  He didn’t make any of it up.  For whatever reason (and please, God, let the reason not be what I’m afraid it is), he’s on our side in this little adventure and I’m guessing we’re lucky to have him.  I suspect if it weren’t for that chip, this place would be floating in commando and lab tech blood right about now.”

 

Riley shuddered at the thought of an angry master vampire loose in the facility, but took comfort in the knowledge that Spike couldn’t kill without frying his brain.  At least we did one thing right, he consoled himself.

 

Grabbing weapons for himself and Xander, he rushed out the door and led the way toward the lab area.

 

Buffy had run out of things to dismantle and throw at the cage door and had taken to banging on it with a large piece of the bed.  She was delighted to see that it was actually beginning to bend under the steady rain of blows and she could tell from the expressions on the faces of the techs that they had never seen that before.

 

Riley and Xander slid to a stop when they got to the lab area and saw the terrified techs edging toward the alarm button.  Riley gawked at the cage in which a half-naked Buffy was whacking on a supposedly impregnable door with a large piece of steel.  The interior of the cell was a mass of twisted metal and torn up bedding and porcelin.  “Oh yeah, she’s pissed,” Xander whistled as he watched her steady assault on the plexiglass.

 

Coming out of the daze produced by seeing his little Buffy in the process of breaking down a door that had defeated demons twice her size, Riley ran to the techs and knocked their hands away from the alarm button.  While he turned to the control panel and started pushing buttons, Xander walked up to the tech that had sliced Buffy’s arm with the scalple and buried his fist in the man’s face.  Then he turned to the other one and punched him in the stomach.  He would have continued taking out his anger on them, but he was distracted by the sounds behind him.  He turned around to see that Riley had opened all the cages and the hall was rapidly filing with irate and/or panicky demons.

 

Many of the demons just began running blindly, looking for an exit, but most of them focused on the five humans and headed for them with obvious revenge on their minds.  Buffy leaped in front of Xander and Riley, trying vainly to maintain modesty and still keep the angry demons from tearing the humans apart.   Even using one hand to hold her gown closed, she was tearing a path through the demons as she worked out her own fury.

 

With a “Bloody hell, that looks like too much fun,” Spike dropped his duster on the floor, pushed open a vent ,and dropped down with a swoosh.  He was pulling his shirt off as he dropped through the ceiling and he tossed it to Buffy who quickly pulled it on leaving the paper hospital gown on the floor.  While she was putting on his shirt, he turned to face the advancing demons with an expression of glee on his face. 

 

The demons that had been advancing on Xander and the technicians were suddenly facing a Slayer with a lot of built up anger and a master vampire who had been prevented from taking his fury out on the beings that caused it.  Many of them were angry enough themselves to charge the two warriors, but once the others saw what happened to those foolish creatures, they all started looking for exits and ran in the other direction.

 

Riley and Xander ran up to Buffy and the larger man tried to hug her.  She easily side-stepped his attempted embrace and glared at him.  “Don’t even think about touching me!” she snarled as she moved back toward Spike.

 

“Buffy, please!  I’m sorry.  I had no idea.  I can’t believe they did this.  At least let me take you to my room and get you some clothes....” His voice trailed off as he watched the vampire put a proprietary arm around her and heard him say, “My shirt’ll do her just fine till we get out of here.  You keep your distance or I’ll tear your heart out – even if it does make my head explode.”

 

They were prevented from taking the potential confrontation any further by the simultaneous arrival of the rest of the Scoobies at the opening in the ceiling and by the arrival of Adam at the far end of the hall. 

 

“Quickly! Up here!” Giles shouted as he joined hands with Willow and Tara to throw up a barrier between Adam and the spot where Buffy, and the three men were standing.

 

Xander and Riley whirled around and gawked at the Frankenstein monster facing them.  As Adam raised his arms and sent projectiles toward them, they both fired the guns they had brought with them.  Everyone shuddered when Adam laughed at the bullets bouncing off  his chest.  He narrowed his eyes and turned his gaze toward the ceiling.  “That pitiful curtain of magic won’t stop me,” he snarled at them as he sent an energy bolt in the direction of the opening.  He grimaced as it bounced off and turned his attention back to the small group facing him.

 

“Time to go,” Spike commented as, without thinking, he grabbed Xander’s legs and threw him toward the hole where the grill had been.  As soon as he saw the boy’s kicking legs disappear into the ventilation system, he turned to Buffy and said, “Now you, Slayer.”

 

“No, Spike,” she said stubbornly, “I am tired of running from this place.  We can take him together—”

 

“No, you can’t!” Giles roared with a trace of real fear in his voice.  “We need to get out of here.  And we need to do it now.  I don’t know how long we can keep this barrier up.”

 

“Your turn, pet,” Spike said as he ignored her protests and picked her up to toss to the ceiling.  Giles and Xander grabbed her wrists and pulled her up into the vent.  Instead of leaving, she peered down and asked, “Are you coming?”

 

Spike and Riley were facing each other.  They both turned to look at the monster at the other end of the hall.

 

“What is that thing?” Spike demanded.

 

“I don’t know.  I’ve never seen it before.”  At  Spike’s skeptical look and raised eyebrown, he insisted.  “I swear!  I don’t know what it is.”

 

“Spike! Riley!” Buffy ordered them.  “Come on!”

 

“You go, Slayer.  Maybe we can slow this thing down.”  He nodded to Riley and they started toward the hulking creature at the end of the hall.

 

“No!” she screamed and started trying to drop back into the room.  Spike could see Giles and Xander hanging on to her arms, but he knew they couldn’t hold her for long.

 

“Bloody Hell!” he growled.  “Let’s go, soldier boy.”  He held out his cupped hands for Riley to place a foot in.

 

The other man stared at him, thunderstruck.  “What are you doing?” he managed to get out.

 

“Not doing it for you, asshole.  Doing it for her.  Now get your overgrown arse up there!” 

 

Shaking his head in disbelief, Riley stepped onto the proffered hands and was tossed toward the ceiling where Buffy grabbed one arm and Xander the other.  As they pulled him through the hole, Buffy was already leaning back down and calling to Spike.   “Come on!  Now, you idiot!”

 

The vampire bent his knees and easily sprang up to the hole.  Just as he got there, the magical barrier that had been holding Adam at bay began to break down and a bolt of energy shot from the monster’s arm and hit Spike.  His body spasmed and he fell face forward on the floor of the vent.  When he didn’t move immediately, Buffy turned him over and gasped as she saw blood pouring out of his eyes, ears and nose. 

 

“Come on, Buffy, we have to get out of here,”  Riley tried to pull her away. 

 

“I’m not leaving without Spike!” she said firmly as she lifted his dead weight onto her shoulder like a sack of flour. 

 

“Buffy....” Giles started as he shooed the scoobies toward the tunnels,  “I’m not sure there’s anything there to....”

 

He stopped when he saw the look on his Slayer’s face.  “Right, then.  We take Spike with us.”  He turned and pushed them ahead of him.  “Keep going, I’m going to try to leave some surprises to slow down pursuit.”

 

They ran as hard as they could.  Giles and the two young witches kept throwing up magical barricades that didn’t actually stop Adam, but slowed him down enough that they outdistanced him.   Gradually the bolts of energy fell further and further behind.  When they reached the tunnels and jumped down out of the ventilation system, they paused for breath and Xander offered to help carry Spike, but Buffy refused, just shouldering his body again and trudging toward the cave entrance.

 

 

Chapter Nine           

 

Buffy insisted that they take Spike to her house on Revello Drive rather than to his crypt.   Riley’s concern that Buffy was endangering her mother by leaving the vampire with her was completely wasted as Joyce took one look at his unconscious and bleeding body and ordered them to carry him upstairs to Buffy’s room.

 

For the first time since she’d met him, Spike looked truely dead to Buffy.  He was usually so animated and active that it was easy to forget that he had been technically dead for well over one hundred years.   Now, with him lying on her bed with no sign of life except the blood still slowly seeping from his ears and nose, she was forcibly reminded that despite his good looks  Irrelevant, Buffy!  We’re not thinking about Spike’s looks right now!  and human habits, he was still very much an animated corpse. 

 

             And the demon that animates him is what I was chosen to destroy.  Could my life suck any more?

 

Joyce came back in the room with a bowl of warm water and a wash cloth with which she began gently wiping the blood off his face. 

 

“What happened to him, Buffy?” she asked, giving her daughter a look that said, “We’ll discuss later the fact that you have nothing on but Spike’s shirt and your underwear.”

 

“He saved Xander, me and Riley before he tried to get away,  Mom.  I’m not sure  exactly what happened to him, but he’s not dust, so I think he’ll be OK.” 

 

I hope.  Please let him be okay. Why is it so important to me that he be okay?.

 

Buffy went to her dresser and pulled out some sweat pants and a tee shirt.  She took Spike’s shirt off, holding it to her nose for a minute and inhaling his scent before laying it down carefully beside him on the bed.  She reached a hand toward his face, then pulled it back with a guilty start as she noticed her mother watching her.

 

Joyce narrowed her eyes slightly, but didn’t say anything, just got up and went into the bathroom to empty the bowl of bloody  water.  She deliberately took her time rinsing out the washcloth and putting the bowl away before she came back into the room.  When she did, she saw that Buffy was sitting beside Spike’s inert body with tears in her eyes.  She put a gentle hand on Buffy’s shoulder and said, “I’ll watch him for  awhile.  I think you need to go downstairs and help your friends decide what’s next.”

 

Buffy gave her mother a watery smile and said,  “Thanks, Mom.  He really likes you, you know?”

 

“I know,” her mother said.  “I like him too.”

 

“You do remember he’s a vampire, right?” Buffy looked at her mother incredulously, remembering how much she had disliked Angel.

 

“I know that, honey.  But he has a good heart.  He’ll be fine here – and so will I.”

 

Buffy went downstairs shaking her head at hearing her mother describe William the Bloody as someone with a “good heart”. 

 

As she entered the living room, everyone looked up questioningly.  “Is he....?” Willow began. 

 

Buffy shrugged.  “He’s not ready to sweep up with the dust buster, so we’ll just have to see what happens.”  She turned to her watcher. “He’ll be alright, won’t he, Giles?” she asked, trying very hard not to sound like she was pleading.

 

Giles cleared his throat and cleaned his glasses before he answered, “I really don’t know Buffy.  We don’t know much about vampires and their nervous systems.  If he has brain damage from that chip....”

 

Buffy threw Riley a dirty look, even though she knew that if not for the chip no one, including her, would have given a second thought about Spike’s well-being.

 

The chip made me see what he really is; and now it might kill him.  Life just keeps getting better....

 

Willow got on her lap top and with Riley’s input, tried to find out what the creature they saw might have been.   Giles contributed the information that Maggie Walsh had called him “Adam” and referred to him as her “son”.

 

“I guess we can assume from that, that she created him – whatever he is.” Buffy sighed.  “Any ideas, Riley?”

 

The commando shook his head.  “Obviously she included some demon parts, but I have no idea where the other parts came from – or what they’re capable of.   If we could get into her records somehow....”

 

A loud noise from the driveway got everyone’s attention and they looked out the window to see two army Hummers pulling up.  At the sight of Forrest and Graham getting out, Buffy flew to the door and threw it open.

 

“What the hell are you doing here?” she growled as she stood on the porch glaring at them.

 

“Buffy.... look we’re sor—” The rest of what he was going to say never made it out of his mouth as the Slayer landed an uppercut to his jaw that sent him flying back several feet, briefly knocking him unconscious.  By the time the rest of the gang, including Riley, joined her outside, she was holding Graham up by his belt and collar and preparing to throw him into a tree.

 

“Buffy!” Riley shouted.  “What are you doing?  These are my friends.”

 

She turned to stare at him coldly.  “These are the men who knocked me out and put me in that place.  Don’t try to defend them, Riley.”

 

Riley looked at his friends, and Forrest nodded his head slowly, wincing as he moved his chin. “She’s right, Finn.  But we were just following orders from Professor Walsh.  We didn’t know what she was planning.  We’re sorry, Buffy,” he added.  “Really we are.”

 

Buffy reluctantly lowered Graham to the ground and continued to glower at them as she asked, “What are you doing here?”

 

“We thought this is where you might be and we were looking for Riley.”  They turned to meet the angry gaze of their senior officer and friend.  “We need to talk,” Forrest said.  “We have a big problem.”

 

“Yeah,” Xander put in, “we met him.  Big, ugly problem – with pointy things in one arm and energy cannons in the other!”

 

“We’ve got Professor Walsh’s records,” Graham waved at the vehicles.  “We’ll share them with you,” he added as a peace offering.

 

With a sigh, Buffy relaxed and turned back toward the house.  “Fine, you guys see what you can find out about this creep.  I’m going to check on Spike.”   She missed the look on Riley’s face as she went through the door and up the stairs, but Giles saw it and frowned

 

                   Leaving Giles and Willow to go over the records Graham and Forrest had managed to get out of the Initiative, Buffy went back up to her room and entered quietly.

 

“Mom?” she asked softly.  “Is he....”

 

“He’s just the same, Buffy.  Hasn’t so much as twitched.  It seems strange to see Spike so still.  He’s always so... vibrant.”  She looked up at her daughter and smiled.

 

“Why don’t you stay here for awhile and I’ll go downstairs and see if anyone wants something to eat or drink.   I don’t suppose....” She looked at Spike questioningly.

 

“Not unless you’ve got some O neg in the fridge,”  Buffy smiled tightly.  “Just keep everyone downstairs for a while, Mom.  I’ll take care of Spike.”

 

Joyce frowned slightly, wondering what that meant exactly, but shook her head and left the room.  Since finding out that Buffy was the Slayer, she had come to realize that there were some things her daughter was more qualified to make decisions about than she was.  She sincerely hoped this was one of them.

 

            Much later, when everyone had digested the information provided, agreed that there was nothing more to be done right then, and left, the house was quiet and Joyce came upstairs to try to get a few hours sleep before going to the gallery to work.  She tiptoed to the door of Buffy’s room and slowly opened it.

 

The first thing she noticed was that there had still been no change in Spike.  He lay perfectly still like any dead body with no sign that he was even alive so to speak, let alone conscious.  On the floor beside the bed, her daughter sat leaning against the bed with her head resting on the edge of the mattress near Spike’s hand.  She seemed to be sound asleep and Joyce decided not to wake her up.

 

           

           

 

            Chapter Ten

 

             Bloody hell.  This headache makes the rest of them seem like a spring breeze.  What the hell happened to me?  And where am I?  Feels soft – a bed? Smells like the Slayer?  What the hell?   Buffy?

 

He opened his eyes carefully and looked around as best he could without actually moving his head.  He didn’t recognize his surroundings, but the pervasive scent combined with the girly decor gave him a strong hint.

 

 I’m in the Slayer’s room?  In her bed?  Did I die? Is this Heaven? Not bloodly likely, that.  So I must be still among the living- er undead.

 

He moved his hand experimentally and froze when his fingers touched something smooth and warm.  Tilting his head carefully to the side, he looked toward his hand and saw that it was resting on a small blonde head.   Without consciously thinking about it, he began gently stroking, letting his fingers enjoy the feel of Buffy’s silky hair. 

 

The tired Slayer gradually woke up as the soft stroking of her head brought her out of the exhausted sleep she had fallen into while waiting for Spike to come to.  She sighed and relaxed into the hand touching her head, reveling in the sensual pleasure of fingers in her hair.  When she was awake enough to wonder whose fingers they were, she sat up abruptly and whipped her head around.

 

“Spike!  You’re awake!”  She looked at him with genuine delight, then frowned a little as she noticed how still he was.  “Are you all right?  Do you hurt anywhere?”

 

“Good morning to you, too, Slayer.” He tried to smile at her, but his facial muscles still didn’t want to work that hard.  His hand felt empty now that she had sat up and he was no longer touching her head.  He tried to reach for her again, but found that the rest of the arm wouldn’t respond at all so he settled for touching her silky hair where it fell over his hand.

 

“What’s wrong?  Why aren’t you moving?”

 

“Not sure I can, luv.  Can make my mouth work—”

 

“Oh, surprise,” she couldn’t help saying.

 

“And my hand,” he growled, tugging on a strand of hair hard enough to make her wince.  “That’s about it, though.  Nothing else seems to be workin’."

 

She moved up onto the bed beside him and ran her fingers lightly over his face. “So,” she said carefully, “You can’t move at all?  hmmmm...”

 

He eyed her warily and answered,  “Not at the moment, no.  Got no feeling anywhere except my hand and my face.   Got lots of feeling in my head, though.  Feels like a bloody parade band marchin’ through it.  Hurts like a bastard.”

 

“Let me get you some blood.  It should help—”

 

“Just let me rest some more, love.  I’m not sure I could swallow anyway.  Having you close by will do me as much good as anything.....” He looked up at her concerned face and tried to smile.  The smile quickly turned into a wince as his head throbbed again.  “Ow! Soddin’ chip!  Now it’s firing for no reason,” he groaned. “That’s just wonderful.”

 

“Maybe we can take your mind off your head.....” she said as she moved closer to him.

 

“Really?” he asked with little enthusiasm.  “How do you plan to do that, luv?” 

 

“Oh, I don’t know.   Maybe I’d better check you for other injuries?  See what the damage is.  Where else does it hurt?”

 

“Pretty much everywhere.  Feel like I’ve been beat black and blue.  What the bleedin’ hell happened to me anyway?”

 

“Adam – that’s the monster’s name—"

 

“It has a name?”

 

“Yes it has a name. Don’t interrupt me.” she said beginning to pull his shirt up.  “Adam shot you with some kind of energy or electrical beam.  Probably would have killed a human – made the heart stop beating or something like that.  But since your heart doesn’t beat...” As she spoke, she was running her hand lightly over his muscular chest, stroking it gently and letting her fingertips brush over his nipples. She stopped and left it lying on his chest right over his heart.

 

“Slayer?  Buffy – what are you doin’, luv?” he asked hoarsely.

 

“Just checking you for injuries,” she said, smiling.  “Can’t have any of my rescuers hurt....”  She lowered her head and began planting light kisses all over his chest and neck.  “Just trying to make you feel better.”

 

“Oh, I think that might do it, Slayer,” he gasped as he felt himself begin to get feeling back into at least some body parts. 

 

She reached up toward his face, sliding her body over his as she did so, and looked into his eyes.  “Thank you for coming after me.” she said seriously.  “And for trying to stop them when they grabbed me.”

 

“Wasn’t much help there, was I?” he snorted and looked at her apologetically. “I’m sorry, luv.  Never wanted you to end up in there like that.  I just couldn’t stop them before the chip fired.”

 

“You tried, Spike.  That’s the important thing.  You were there for me and I appreciate it.  I even forgive you for following me and spying on me again,” she teased.

 

“Was just watchin’ your back,” he growled.  “Not spying on you.  Not like I want to spend my time watching you play kissy-face with soldier boy, you know.”

 

“I think I’m done with that,” she said shyly  and ducked her head. He cocked one eyebrow at her.  “With him, anyway,” she added as her eyes traveled down his naked chest to the hard abs disappearing into his jeans.  Suddenly she remembered their fully clothed grinding against the refrigerator and felt her underwear getting wet.

 

“Then who....” His question went unasked as she fastened her mouth on his and began kissing him.  Suddenly the fact that he couldn’t move his arms and legs became more than just an annoyance.  The same overwhelming need for more contact that had swept through them both after their dreams was running through his body.  

 

God, I want her so much.  She smells so good, feels so good,  I need to touch her.  Want to make her feel it too......

 

He groaned with frustration and need as she continued to move her supple lips on his, darting her tongue into his mouth and running it over his blunt teeth.

When she pulled away from his mouth so that she could catch some breath, he groaned again and struggled against whatever was keeping him immobile, trying to reach her to pull her in again. 

 

“Slayer. Buffy. Please love.  Come back,  Buffy, “ he begged as he tried to reach her mouth again. 

 

“Not through checking for injuries,” she said in a huskier than normal voice as she slid her mouth down his chest and onto his stomach.  “If you can’t move your legs, there must be something injured down here,” she breathed as she unfastened his jeans and pushed them down his hips.   “I think I’d better check it out.”

 

As she pushed his jeans down further and ran her small warm hand down his abdomen, following the line of soft brown curls that began just below his naval, she thought she saw something twitch. She ignored the strangled sounds he was making as she continued her exploration.

 

“Looks like some parts are more recovered than others,” she said as she reached into his pants and pulled out a semi-erect penis. “Do you suppose I could kiss it better?”  As she said that, his eyes rolled back in his head and he started cursing softly under his breath.  When he felt her warm mouth surrounding the tip of his cock, he whimpered in frustration and pleasure. 

 

“Oh, look!  I made it all better,” she chirped as she was suddenly looking at a full blown and rock hard erection.  “Whoa,” she added almost to herself.  “I made it waaay better. “ 

 

 No wonder it makes such a big bulge in his pants.  Not gonna be able to hide that thing.

 

“Buffy.....”  Spike was putting so much energy into trying to move his arms and legs that he could hardly  speak coherently.  Having the Slayer running her tongue up and down his throbbing cock wasn’t helping that either.

 

“Poor Spike.  I should probably do something to help you with that, shouldn’t I?  It looks really uncomfortable.  Let me think.  Kissing it didn’t make it better – I wonder what else I could do?  I’ll think about it while I get ready for bed, I guess.”

 

She stood up and stretched her arms over her head before she pulled off her shirt and walked over to the dresser in her sweat pants.  “Oh, that’s right.  My  pajamas are back at the dorm.  Oh well, it’s a warm night – I’ll just sleep in my underwear, I guess.” She looked over her shoulder at him and grinned at the expression on his face. 

 

“You don’t mind, do you, Spike?” she asked innocently as she dropped her sweat pants to the floor and stood in front of him wearing nothing but a lace thong.  His eyes, usually such a pretty blue, were dark with desire and she almost turned away from their intensity as his gaze devoured her body. 

 

She found the intensity a little too uncomfortable, and reached for his shirt saying,  “Maybe I’ll just wear your shirt to bed.  It’s really soft and comfy – so smooth and silky,” She ran her hands down the unbuttoned shirt and over her body.  “I’ll see you after I have a little nap....” She put a pilow and blanket on the floor, smirking over her shoulder at him as she did so .

 

The immobile vampire growled and his eyes flickered yellow for just a second as he ground out between his teeth,  “You are a heartless, dick teasing bitch and when I can move again, you are going to pay for every second of this.”

 

“Or,” she said suddenly serious, “I could just leave the room and go sleep in the guest room...”  She whirled and turned to leave, face flaming.  She knew he was right, she HAD been teasing him, but still....

 

“No!”  he almost screamed, terrified that she would really go and leave him paralyzed and aroused.  “No,” he said more softly.  “Don’t go.  Please.”

.          

 ”I was just playing....”

 

“I know you were just playing, love; and if we were just pretending I couldn’t move, I would be enjoying the hell out of it.  But I CAN’T move.  I want to touch you, to hold you, kiss you, taste you.... and all I can do is lie here and think about what I want to do with you.”  He blew out an unnecessary breath and continued,  “I’m sorry, Buffy.  It was just the frustration talkin’.  Sleep here.  Please?  With me?”  He was disgusted by the begging tone in his voice, but couldn’t help himself.  The idea that she might not stay with him was frighteningly depressing.

 

            What the hell is wrong with me?  Why do I want this woman so badly? And why do I care so much what happens to her ? I can’t be falling in love with the Slayer.  I can’t –I’m William the fuckin’ Bloody.  I kill slayers.  I don’t ........

 

Spike’s thoughts were interrupted by the feel of the Slayer’s warm body as she slid into the bed beside him.  She put her head on his shoulder and nuzzled his neck as she threw one arm across his chest and curled one leg around his.  Having her there, snuggled up to him felt so right, so perfect that he completely lost his train of thought.  All he could think of was how good her body felt pressed up against his.

 

“Ah, Slayer,  what am I gonna do with you?”  He smiled down at the top of her head and wished again that he could move more than his head.

 

“Well, not much I guess if you still can’t move.  But that’s okay.  We do need to rest.  Tomorrow I’ve got a Frankenstein monster to slay.”  She nestled against him and yawned, “And you need to get better.”

 

 

Chapter Eleven

 

 

Buffy gradually became aware of a weight across her waist and a soft purring sound.  As she woke up, she remembered where she was and who she was with and was amazed at how good it felt to be snuggled up with an undead body.  Turning her head slightly, she saw that the weight on her waist was Spike’s muscular arm and she concluded he was getting some feeling back in his limbs.

 

Moving slowly so as not to wake him, she tried to ease out from under his arm so she could go to the bathroom.  At the first sign of her leaving his side, his arm tightened around her and he growled into her ear, “Where do you think you’re goin’, Slayer?”

 

Buffy gave up trying to be careful and sat up quickly.  “I have to go pee,Spike. Let me go.”

 

“Will you come back?” he asked doubtfully.

 

“Yes, I’ll be back.  Now let me go or you’ll be sorry....”

 

            “Oh, back to threatening me, are you?  Gonna hit a sick man?”

 

“I meant that I was going to wet the bed if I didn’t get to the bathroom; but if you’re going to be an ass about it, I could arrange a punch in the nose.”

 

He released her abruptly, laughing as he said, “OK, luv.  I get the picture.  Just come back soon.   Please? “ he added in much less confident voice as he pushed a piece of hair out of her face.

 

She leaned into his hand for a second, then pushed herself away, got out of bed and walked to the door without answering him.

 

Spikes dropped his arm and flopped back onto the bed.  He experimented with moving his other arm and his legs and found that he could feel them and with a concentrated effort he could make them twitch, but he still didn’t have full use of them.  Growling in frustration, he clenched his fist and pounded on the mattress with the one arm he could use.

 

 Got to get my body functioning again.  Can’t help her from here and I’m not sending her out there to face that thing alone

 

In the bathroom Buffy studied her face in the mirror and wondered who she was looking at.

 

 I just spent the night snuggled up to a soulless vampire and it felt like the most natural thing in the world.  What kind of Slayer am I? Two of the three men in my life are vampires – and I am saying Spike is in my life?  What about Riley? She groaned and put her head in her hands.   I must be the world’s worst Slayer.

 

She splashed water on her face, then squared her shoulders and walked back into her room.   She could see that Spike hadn’t moved from where they’d put him yesterday and frowned at him with concern.

 

“Can you move yet?” she asked anxiously. 

 

Not much,” he admitted reluctantly. “Some feeling’s coming back, but I can’t move much but my head and this arm.” He hit the mattress again in frustration.

 

She looked at him thoughfully for a minute, then said, “I’m going to go downstairs and get you some blood.  And if that doesn’t work, we’ll pull out the big guns.”  Spike stared at her curiously, but didn’t ask what she meant.  He watched her pull on her sweat pants and a clean top as naturally as though she got dressed in front of him everyday.

 

I wonder if that’s good or bad?  Is she that comfortable with me seeing her undressed; or just that unconcerned because I’m just a vampire?

 

Buffy herself wasn’t sure why sure why she was so unconcerned about being undressed in front of Spike – she just knew that, like waking up next to him, it didn’t feel wrong.  Deciding to worry about her lack of modesty later, she smiled a goodbye at him and went out the door.

 

To Spike’s surprise, when his cup of warmed pig’s blood came back upstairs, it was Joyce carrying it, not Buffy.

 

“Good morning, Spike,” she said cheerfully.  “How are you this morning?”

 

“Been better,” he growled, “But then again, I’ve been a lot worse,” he added philosophically.

 

“Buffy tells me you still can’t move.” she asked, setting the cup down on the nightstand.  “If I prop you up, do you think you can hold the cup?”

 

The former member of  the Scourge of Europe stared at the human woman with amazement for a minute, then ducked his head shyly and said,  “I think so.  Can’t get myself up, though.  Sorry.” he apologized.

 

“Nothing to be sorry for.  You got hurt saving my daughter and her friends. You deserve whatever help we can give you,” she said firmly as she tugged him up and propped him up on the pillows she put behind his back.

 

“I have to get to the gallery soon, but Buffy  and her friends will be here.  If you need something, just yell and someone will hear you.”  She handed him the cup of blood and turned to leave, then turned back and hesitantly touched his cheek.  “Thank you, Spike, for saving my daughter,” she said softly.

 

When she was safely out of the room, the vampire rolled his eyes and groaned, “That woman – she hits me with an axe, then fixes me cocoa, and now she’s feeding me blood and leaving me in her daughter’s bed.  What is wrong with her?”  In spite of his complaining about Joyce’s lack of fear and her kindness to him, he could feel a little warm spot in his chest for her.  “Bloody hell!  Another Summers woman to take care of.  I hope there aren’t any more of them!  I won’t have any reputation left at all.”

 

 

Downstairs the Scoobies were gathered for a strategy session, with the assistance of Riley and his two former comrades.  After poring over Professor Walsh’s notes, they felt they had some idea what Adam was, although how to stop him was still under discussion.  Buffy was all for charging in and taking him on face to face, the soldiers wanted to blow up the main bulding and hope he was in it, Giles was pleading for patience while the council got back to him about what kind of help they might expect from the government.

 

The discussion was becoming quite heated and loud when everyone’s attention was drawn to the stairs where a very slow-moving and shaky Spike was trying to work his way down while roaring, “What does a bloke have to do to get a little peace and quiet around here?”

 

The sound of an angry vampire froze everyone long enough for him to get to the bottom of the stairs where he collapsed onto the bottom stair. 

 

As Buffy ran to him crying, “Spike! What are you doing out of bed?” the two commandos recognized him and flinched back, reaching for their guns.

 

“It’s Hostile Seventeen! “  Obviously they had not expected to ever see him again after leaving him bleeding and unconscious on the campus.  Certainly not in the Slayer’s house.  When they realized no one else was getting freaked out at the sight of a vampire coming into the Slayer’s living room and being helped to a seat by the girl herself, they looked at Riley questioningly.

 

He shrugged, looking extremely unhappy as he watched Buffy fussing over the vampire and helping him get into a comfortable position on the couch.  The two witches moved over slightly to make room for him, but neither seemed inclined to flinch away from him.  If anything, they looked even more concerned than Buffy did. Giles looked at Riley meaningfully and the big man shook his head in disgust as he said,  “It appears he has become a... a....” He struggled to put a name to what Spike’s position in Buffy’s life had become.

 

“A friend.” she said quietly as she glared at Forrest and Graham.  “He’s the reason I’m not being chopped up in your lab, and that Riley isn’t a puddle of protoplasm on the floor of the zoo you guys were stocking.”

 

The two commandos has the grace to look embarrassed as they were reminded of their participation in Buffy’s kidnapping and imprisonment.  Mumbling apologies again for their actions, they relaxed back onto their seats and tried not to look at the vampire staring at them coldly from across the room.  The only reason they weren’t edging toward the door was the knowledge that his chip would render him incapacitated before he could actually hurt them.

 

Before the discussion could get back to it’s previous sound level, the phone rang and Buffy handed it to Giles.  His face when he hung up was grim.  “Well, it appears we may be on our own for awhile.  There will be no help coming until the end of the week – and then it appears it will be a new commanding officer for the military personnel already here,” he glanced at Riley and his friends, “not re-inforcements.”

 

“So,” Buffy said, “We’re supposed to what?  Let Adam run amok and build his strength while we sit here and wait for him to find us?  I don’t think so!”

 

“Until we figure out how kill him, it doesn’t make much sense to try to take him on in his own territory,” Giles pointed out.  “We still don’t know where he is vulnerable.”

 

“Uh, nowhere?” Willow put in.  She had spent a good bit of the morning going back over the notes from his construction and couldn’t see any way to take him out short of an atomic bomb.

 

“He’s got to have a weakness,” Buffy growled.  “I’ll find it.  And when I do....”

 

“Not by yourself, you won’t!”  Spike’s growl was deeper and more real than Buffy’s and everyone turned to look at him. “Not before I’m able to go with you.”

 

“Since when are you giving orders, evil undead?” Xander asked incredulously.

 

He fully expected Buffy to smack the vampire down, if not physically then certainly verbally.  Instead, she just looked over at him and said,  “Don’t worry.  You’ll be better by the time I’m ready to go”  Without offerering any explanation to either the frowning vampire or the curious Scoobies, she turned back to Giles and continued to plan.

 

“Willow says he’s powered by some sort of atomic thingie in his chest.  So cutting off his head won’t hurt him, but if I could get close enough to reach in and pull that out....”

 

“He’d fry you before you got within fifty feet,” Riley reminded her.  “He’s not approachable.”

 

Buffy looked at the two witches on the couch and her Watcher thoughtfully.  “But, if he didn’t know I was there until it was too late....” 

 

While the soldiers just looked on in confusion,  Giles and Willow exchanged glances.   “Well, we could try.... but we would need a trial run of some sort first to be sure he’s susceptable to magics.”

 

“Well, you held him off for awhile before, didn’t you?”

 

Giles responded, “Yes, but I was just throwing up shields against the power surges he was sending – and they didn’t hold very long.” He looked at Spike apologeticaly and the vampire shrugged. “And they didn’t prevent him from seeing any of you.  We’d have to come up with a spell that would hide you until you were close enough to—”

 

“Ok, well, you and Willow work on that.  I’m going to get something to eat and try to get a couple of hours rest before tonight.”  She turned around and started toward the kitchen but stopped when Riley said,  “Uh, Buffy?  What about us?  What can we do?”

 

“I don’t know, Riley.  What can you do?  I guess you could try to take out any manufactured demons that come after us.  I’m assuming your guns actually work?” she snarked at them. 

 

Not being in on what happened to Buffy the first time she visited the Initiative, Forrest and Graham frowned in confusion.  Riley looked annoyed and said, “Okay, Buffy.  You made your point about Maggie.  Can’t you let that go?”

 

An outraged snarl from Spike drew everyone’s attention and before anyone could stop him, he had pushed himself off the couch and into the larger man.  “You miserable, soddin’ bastard.  You let her get set up by your boss and you want her to ‘get over it?’  You shouldn’t even be in this house!”  The force of his leap had carried him into Riley’s body and knocked them both to the floor.   He was not in game face, but his intent was obvious. 

 

“Spike! Stop it! “  Buffy grabbed him by the collar, pulling him off of Riley and throwing him toward the stairs. 

 

Riley was on his feet immediately and leaping toward the blond vampire.  You don’t belong in this house!” he shouted.  “You don’t belong anywhere near her, you bloodsucking—”  He was stopped by a surprisingly angry Slayer.

 

“You stop it, too.  He’s just protecting me.... I mean, he’s...” At  the look on Riley’s face, she backtracked quickly.  “He’s touchy about that place – you know that’s where he got his chip....”  Her voice trailed off  and she turned to look at Spike with an expression of sheer horror on her face.  As soon as he saw her face, he grabbed his head and moaned, knowing he wasn’t fooling her, but hoping no one else had noticed that his chip hadn’t fired when he crashed into Riley.

 

 

Chapter Twelve

 

 

Buffy went through the rest of the morning in a daze.  She helped Spike get back upstairs and into bed, but refused to meet his eyes or talk to him.  There was no banter, no flirting or tender touches, she was all business as she put him back on the bed and took the empty cup back downstairs with her.  If it weren’t for the slight trembling he could see every once in a while, Spike would have thought she was completely unconcerned about him.  But the cold tone of her voice when she said, “Stay here,” and the way her hand shook as she picked up the cup told him how worried she was about what she’d seen.

 

When she got back downstairs, she went through the motions of eating, picking up after the visitors and cleaning the kitchen.  Finally, when she had run out of things to do  Avoidance much, Buffy?,  she squared her shoulders and went back upstairs to her room.  Pushing open the door slowly she steeled herself for the questions she knew had to be answered.

 

Spike was half-lying, half-sitting against the pillows with his eyes shut. He was so still she thought he might be asleep again, but without opening his eyes he said evenly, “So, Slayer.  Come to stake me?”

 

“How long, Spike?”

 

He didn’t bother to pretend he didn’t know what she meant.  “Don’t know, luv.  Prob’ly since that jolt of whatever.  Must have fried the chip.  Sure would explain the headaches.”

 

“When did you know?”  She struggled to keep the fear and anxiety out of her voice as she continued her interrogation. 

 

I won’t think about staking him until I know there’s a reason.

 

He opened his eyes and looked at her flatly, “Same time you did, pet.  When I knocked Cap’t Cardboard down.”

 

“Why did you do that?” she asked suddenly, surprising both herself and him.

 

Way to change the subject, Buffy.

 

As though reading her mind, Spike didn’t answer her question, just said quietly, “It’s not going to go away just because you don’t talk about it, luv.  I’m not guaranteed safe anymore. You have to deal with that.”

 

Buffy stuck her lower lip out stubbornly and said, “Just answer my question, Spike.  Why did you do that?”

 

“He made me mad,” the vampire mumbled, looking down at the bed spread.

 

Knowing full well what had upset him, Buffy  let her shoulders slump as she approached the bed and slid to the floor.  She rested her head on the side of the bed and sighed when she felt his hand tentatively touch her hair. 

 

Can’t I stop being the Slayer for just a few minutes?  Would the world come to an end if I took a little vacation and was just a normal girl for little while.  Oh wait. That’s right.  A normal girl wouldn’t have a vampire lying on her bed and feeling her hair. My life just sucks.

 

She gave a small groan and turned to look up at him with such uncertainty and pain in her eyes that he was sure he could feel his heart breaking. 

 

No use trying to kid yourself, nancy-boy.  You’re head over heels in love with this woman and the best thing you can do for her is to leave before you make her have to kill another man she cares about.

 

“Slayer – Buffy,” he began slowly.  “Don’t ... I’m not going to make you stake me, love.  I promise.  Let me help you take care of the overgrown science project and then I’ll leave Sunnydale.  Please believe me, love.  Let me help you.  Please. Will you trust me?” he ended in such a strained voice that she was forced to accept what he was saying.

 

“You’re telling me you aren’t going to start feeding again?  That you aren’t going to take revenge on any Initiative soldiers you come across?  That my friends and family are all safe with you?  How can I believe you, Spike?  Tell me!  How can I believe that?”  Her eyes were filled with unshed tears as she pleaded with him to make her believe.

 

Blue eyes bored into hers with an intensity that shook her to her core.  “Because I love you, Slayer.  I love you too much to do anything that would hurt you. I know you can’t love something like me, but staking me would hurt you.   I know it and you know it.  You don’t want to kill me, and I promise you I won’t do anything to make you feel you have to.”  He ran his hand from her head down her cheek and gently touched her bottom lip. “You’ve already buried yourself in my heart, Slayer.  I think the stake would be overkill.”

 

He loves me?  Spike loves me?  When did that happen? Where was I?  I thought he just wanted me – in some macho/vampire possessive way.  He can’t love me. He has no soul.

 

“Spike... I... I don’t... I can’t....”

 

“I know you don’t, pet.  Don’t care.  Alright, that’s a lie.  I care.  I care a lot.  But I don’t expect it.   Just don’t shut me out of this,” he pleaded.

 

Buffy took a deep breath, and shook herself.  I’ll think about this later.  Way to go Scarlett – think about it tomorrow.

 

“Speaking of helping,” she said as calmly as she could,  “we need to get you back to full strength quickly.  I think I know a way.” 

 

“Does this mean you trust me?” he asked.

 

              “I guess it does, “ she told him, meeting his eyes fully and letting him see the truth there.    She moved up onto the bed beside him and slid into his embrace. 

 

“Don’t make me regret it.  Please.” she whispered into his chest.

 

“Never,” he breathed into her hair as he tightened his arms around her. 

 

She was so still and quiet he thought she might have fallen asleep, but then she stirred and shook herself slightly.  “Okay, enough with the cuddly stuff.  We’ve got to get you up to full strength if you’re going to help me.”  She pulled away from his chest and put her hands up to cup his face.

 

“I know what can make you better faster than anything else.  And it isn’t pig blood.”  She looked into his face, forcing him to see her meaning.

 

“No!” he shouted, pushing her away from him so hard she almost fell off the bed.  “No way!  Are you crazy?”

 

“You told me I could trust you, Spike.  And I do.  Take what you need.  It’s the only thing that will let you finish healing by tonight and you know it.”

 

The vampire knew he was giving a good imitation of a fish out of water, but he couldn’t wrap his brain around what she was offering.

 

Is she really saying she wants me to drink from her? She’s offering me Slayer blood.  My god, I love this woman.

 

“Are you sure about this, love?”  He was torn between his desire to never harm her and his demon’s craving for the elixer she carried in her veins.  “Maybe just some human blood from the hospi—

 

“Not the same and you know it.  And I know it.  You won’t drain me.  I trust you.” He felt like she was holding his heart in her small hands as she calmly bared her neck for him.  “Do it, Spike. Now.”

 

After another second’s hesitation, he gently put his lips on her neck just over the pulse he could hear pounding.  She could try to appear calm about this, but the rapid beating of her heart gave her away.  Instead of biting her, he ran his tongue over the pulse point and gently sucked on it.  Keeping his lips on her skin the whole time, he moved his mouth back up to her chin, then fastened it on her warm, soft lips. 

 

At this first touch of his lips, the world went away and she was lost in the sheer sensual pleasure of kissing him.  The soft, gentle pressure gradually became more demanding and she willingly opened her mouth to allow his cool tongue to slide in and meet her own.  When she finally had to pull away to breathe, he moved his lips slowly back down her neck and placed them over the scars left by the Master and Angel. He sucked gently on the marks first, then let his fangs slide into her skin as easily as he could.

 

Buffy gave a little hiss of pain as his sharp teeth punctured her skin, then immediately moaned as the incredibly pleasurable sensation of his sucking erased all memory of the pain. 

 

Oh my god!  It never felt like this before.  He could drain me and I’d die happy.  This is just... too... too... Spike!  Oh god, did I just...?

 

Spike smiled into her neck as he felt her shudder and he stopped drinking, pulling his fangs out and licking the holes closed.  He felt the Slayer blood flooding his body with strength and healing, as well as giving him a raging hard-on.  He shifted uncomfortably, trying to relieve the pressure of his tight jeans without releasing his grip on the warm body lying next to his.

 

“Spike?  What the hell?  No wonder you killed so many people.  They must have been lining up for....”  She shook herself in disgust and groaned, “I did not really say that.  Please tell me I didn’t really say that!”

 

He looked down at her shocked face and kissed her gently as he said,  “No, love, nobody lines up for that.  And no vampire takes that kind of care with the bite when he’s hungry.  This wasn’t about feeding – it was about you willingly giving me something you wanted me to have.  And about my appreciation and the connection between us that makes sharing something like that a... a....”  His voice trailed off as he refused to let himself say aloud what he was thinking.  A holy experience.

 

For several minutes, he just clutched her to his chest, inhaling her scent and enjoying the feel of her in his arms, knowing it was probably the last time it would happen now that the chip was gone.

 

Buffy sighed with contentment as she snuggled up to him, forgetting for a time that he was an unchipped, potentially deadly vampire.   She gradually became aware that he was squirming carefully and realized that she wasn’t the only one to have found his drinking from her to be an arousing experience.   A quick mental calculation told her that they had some time to kill before anyone would be back to work on the plans to take Adam down.

 

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

“Spike?” she asked softly.  “How do you feel now?”

 

I could take on the whole bleedin’ US Army, and still have time left for Robo-demon. Like magic, your blood is.”  He smiled at her gratefully and squeezed her again.

 

“Um, so you’re all recovered,then?  You can move and everything?”  As she spoke, she was running her hand down his chest to the unmistakable bulge in his jeans.  He drew in an unnecessary breath as she touched him and wrapped her warm hand around the bulge.

 

“An’ everything,” he growled, turning her on her back and running his hands down her body.  He took both her hands in his and stretched them up over her head, holding them in place with one hand while he allowed the other to roam across her body.  Every feather-light touch set her skin on fire and she squirmed under him.

 

“Let me go, Spike.” she gasped.  “Want to touch you,” she begged, blushing as she did so.

 

“Don’t think so, love.  Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?” he grinned as he teased her nipples through her shirt, rubbing them until he could see the hard little tips sticking up.  He lowered his mouth to suck on one of them through the cloth and she was able to wiggle one hand free.  She used her free arm to pull him in tighter and press his mouth into her breast as she arched up into him, moaning.

 

Suddenly they both needed to feel skin on skin, and she tore at his tee shirt as he ripped her top off.   He slid his hand down into the warmth of her sweat pants and began sliding them down her hips, following his fingers with his mouth.  She moaned again as his tongue plunged in and out of her belly button then continued down the soft skin of her belly until he reached his target.  He inhaled deeply and groaned,  “Oh, Slayer, Buffy,  got to taste you....” burying his face in her folds and lapping at the moisture already there.

 

Buffy was reduced to whimpers and gasps as he moved his talented tongue over and around her most sensitive parts.  He pulled her into his mouth and sucked gently as he plunged two fingers into her warmth.  “So wet, so tight, so beautiful,” he managed to gasp out without stopping his ministrations.  When Buffy started throwing her head from one side to the other and making mewing noises, he finally stopped teasing her and grabbed her clit gently with his teeth as he sucked on it hard.  At the same time, his fingers were hitting a spot inside her she hadn’t even known she had and she screamed as a powerful orgasm seized her.   While she was recovering her breath and her ablility to think, Spike had shed his jeans and moved up her body to place his engorged cock at her entrance.

 

He didn’t push his way in;  he waited, trembling, until she was looking at him and meeting his eyes.   He leaned in and kissed her, losing himself in the feel of her soft lips and darting tongue.  As her arms reached around him and pulled him closer, he fought to keep his demon in check and nuzzled his bite marks on her neck.  Buffy sucked in her breath in a gasp as he pulled gently on the skin over the marks before pushing himself up off her body again.  She whimpered and tried to pull him closer again but he shook his head and said,  “I have to know you want this, Buffy.  I don’t want any regrets.”

 

“I would think it’s pretty obvious I want it,” she said wryly as her hips continued to push up toward him. 

 

He smirked at her briefly, then sobered, “No, love, I don’t mean that your body wants it . I mean that you – Buffy Summers, The Slayer – you want me.  Me – William the Bloody.  It means too much to me to settle for your body. “ 

 

She stared at him incredulously and he looked embarrassed,  “Alright, I’ll settle – you know I will.  It’s taking every ounce of control I’ve gained in the last hundred-twenty plus years to hold off this long –  but, I need to know you feel something... anything... just give me a crumb, love.  Tell me it means something to you.”

 

Buffy stared into his pleading blue eyes, reading the truth in what he was saying and felt her heart ache to give him what he asked for.

 

I am the Slayer.  I cannot love an unsouled vampire.  I can’t – shouldn’t love ANY  vampire.  People die when I allow my feelings for one of them to affect my decisions. I can’t give him what he wants.  I can’t. I’m the Slayer....

 

Buffy’s internal struggle was clearly visible on her face and her eyes filled with tears as she saw his sad acceptance of her unspoken answer.   When the tears spilled out of her eyes and ran down her cheeks he lowered his head and began licking them off her face. 

 

“Ah, don’t cry, love.  It’s alright.  I understand.  If I were you, I wouldn’t love me either.” He paused to give her his trademark smirk, but his eyes remained full of pain, “Well, I probably would – but then I’m evil – so I think I’m pretty bleedin’ irresistable.”

 

Buffy gave him a watery smile and said, “I think you’re irresistible too.  I just can’t....” she started to cry in earnest and clutched him to her.  

 

Way to destroy the mood, Buffy.  That’s me – Buffy the Romance Slayer.

 

Spike rolled off her, pulling her with him as he went so that he was on his side holding the sobbing girl in his arms and murmuring in her ear as he stroked her head.  “Don’t do this to yourself, pet.  Don’t, please.  I’m sorry.  I’m a bad, rude man and I never should have—”

 

“No, I’m sorry.  I want to... you don’t deserve....” She caught her breath and sniffled,  “I’m the Slayer, Spike.  I’m supposed to kill you, not fall in—” She stopped, hoping she’d caught herself in time, but one look at Spike’s startled eyes and hopeful smile told her he’d heard every word, including the unspoken ones.  Before he could say anything, she put a hand to his cheek and stroked it.  “I’m not going to finish that sentence, Spike.  It wouldn’t change anything.  I’m the Slayer and you’re a soulless vampire.  This is all we’ll ever have.”

 

“Then it will have to be enough, my love,” he breathed in her ear as he pulled her ear lobe into his mouth.  As quickly as her tears had doused the heat between them, the touch of his lips on her skin brought the inferno back and within a few seconds they were both breathing hard and rolling back and forth across the bed trying to touch as many body parts as possible at one time.  The last roll brought them back to their earlier position with Spike lying on Buffy’s body, the head of his cock pushing against her wet warmth. 

 

This time he didn’t allow any conversation to interrupt them.  He moved the head of his cock slowly back and forth from her entrance to her throbbing clit several times until she grabbed his butt cheeks in both hands and pulled him to her gasping, “Now, Spike.  I want you inside me, now.”  

 

With a groan, he slid into her, a little at a time, giving her time to get used to his size and adjust to it.  As soon as he felt her warmth around him, he shuddered and clenched his teeth, struggling to maintain control and not pound into her.  Buffy’s sigh of relief as she felt him fill her up completely helped him relax and for a few seconds they were still, just reveling in the feel of each other.

 

“Buffy, my slayer, my love.  You feel so good.  I’ve wanted to be here for the longest time.”  Some small part of her brain noted that Spike’s accent had slid into something much closer to the way Giles spoke than to his usual manner of speaking. Not being particularly verbal herself, she settled for planting kisses everywhere she could reach and clenching her internal muscles around him to show him how happy she was to have him there.

 

His “Hey, now!” and groans of pleasure made her smile and begin to move.  They moved slowly and gently at first, enjoying the closeness and the connection between them, but neither could keep that up for long and he was soon thrusting into her as hard as he could while she urged him on with gasps and moans.  The way he twisted his hips at the end of each thrust soon had her raking her nails down his back and gasping incoherently.   As she reached her climax and screamed his name, she also bit down on his neck with her blunt little teeth and the vampire roared and exploded into her in ecstasy.

 

“Love you, Buffy.  Love you so much,” he murmured  over and over as he inhaled her scent and licked at the tiny punctures on her neck. Everytime his tongue touched the mark on her neck, Buffy felt a tingle go through her body and she unconsciously pushed up into the lean body lying on hers.

 

Buffy glanced at the marks she had made on his neck with her human teeth and saw that she had bitten him hard enough to break the skin.  She tentatively stuck out her tongue and gently licked at the tiny trickle of blood coming from the toothmarks.  At the touch of her tongue on his wounded neck, Spike hissed in suprise and pulled back from her.

 

“You bit me!” he whispered in awe as he stared at her tongue, still wet with a few drops of his blood.  He lowered his head and gently kissed her – touching her tongue with his and reveling in the taste of his own blood on her.

 

 Easy, mate he told himself she has no idea what that means to a vampire.  It was just passion for her, not a commitment.

 

 

Chapter Fourteen

 

Buffy looked at his awestruck face and flushed as she tried to apologize for biting him so hard.  To her surprise, he shook his head and stopped her with a finger on her lips.

 

“Don’t apologize, love.  I know you didn’t know what you were doing, but that’s the most... erotic, loving ... and    Do I dare tell her?  ... binding... thing you can do to a vampire.  I’ll carry this memory with me forever.”  He held her gaze, willing her to see how important this was to him.  A worried voice in his head told him if she had any clue how close they had come to claiming each other and what that meant, that she would stake him on the spot, but he ignored it and continued to gaze at her with awe and devotion.

 

She tried to read the message in those beautiful eyes, but her knowledge of vampire lore was sadly lacking and she really didn’t see what the big deal was.  “Okay, I get that it’s erotic – I mean when you bit me, I... ” She blushed remembering her reaction to his bite.  “But, what do you mean – binding?  Binding what?”

 

He took a deep, unnecessary breath and said,  “Us, love.  If either one of us had entertained a possessive thought during those bites, we would have been claiming the other.   If we’d both thought it and/or said it out loud...”  He shook himself,  “But, it’s alright.  We didn’t.  So, we’re alright.  No bond.”  He tried to keep his disappointment out of his voice and off his face.

 

“Claiming?” She frowned in confusion. “What’s that?”

 

“It’s how vampires proclaim their... love... for each other.” He ignored her start of surprise at the idea that vampires could love each other, although she knew he had loved Drusilla and that he said he loved her.   “To make a claim, and have it returned is to mark each other as bonded for all eternity.  It’s a very long-term committment.”

 

“So,” she said softly,  “You’d want to be sure he was the long-haul guy before you did anything like that, huh?”

 

“Yeah, I guess you would.” He smiled down at her.

 

Know that’s not me, don’t I?

 

“Were – are – you and Drusilla bonded?” she asked carefully, not looking at his face as she asked it.

 

His face closed down for a moment, then he replied tersely,  “No.  She wouldn’t.”

 

She looked at him with surprise and said, “She wouldn’t?  But I thought you and her....”

 

“She fancied someone else and refused to tie herself to me any more than we already were.  She’s my sire, so there is a bond.  But it’s not a claiming.”

 

Buffy felt herself battling sympathy for the obvious pain in his voice as he gave her the explanation and jealousy that he could feel that deeply about someone else. 

 

 “So, you and she never.... But who else would she have wanted to....” Her eyes widened as she remembered why Spike had joined with her to fight Angelus two years ago and she realized who the only other vampire could possibly be.  “Oh,” she said quietly.

 

Way to destroy the mood again, Buffy.  Now we’re both thinking about somebody else.

 

“Yeah, oh,” he agreed and shut his eyes in pain.  The knowledge that the two most important women in his world were in love with his grandsire was almost more than he could bear.  He was mildly surprised to find that he cared more that Buffy loved Angel than he did that Drusilla loved Angelus.

 

As they talked, Spike had been supporting himself on his elbows so as to remain in as much contact with Buffy’s body as possible and so that he could look at her face as they spoke.  Somehow, with the memories of Angel and Drusilla hanging over them, the space suddenly seemed very crowded and he rolled off of her and moved away. As she felt him slide out of her, Buffy whimpered at the loss and turned toward him.

 

“I guess I spoiled that moment, huh?” she ventured, wondering if he would object if she touched him again.  She settled for resting her chin on his arm and touching the hand resting between them.

 

He turned his head sharply and linked his fingers with hers as he said, “Nothing you could do could spoil this for me.”  He brought his free hand up to her face.  “This means the world to me, Buffy.  Having you here, touching me, kissing me, sharing your blood... Bloody hell, woman.  You’ve made me yours forever – no claim necessary.  I’ll love you till I’m dust and I’ll relieve the memory of this last hour until I have no memory left.” 

 

Buffy felt warmth run through her at his words and her mood changed from sad back to joyful in the length of time he took him to finish talking.

 

“But,” she said playfully, “ we have a couple of hours left before everyone comes back.   There could be so much to remember that you won’t be able to....” Her sentence ended in a giggle as he pulled her on top of him and growled,  “I’ll take that chance, Slayer.”

 

She felt the growl shake her whole body with delicious vibrations.  “Have I ever told you how sexy that is?” she asked as she wriggled on top of him.

 

“No, love. Can’t say you have.” He smiled at her and allowed another rumble to shake his chest.

 

“Makes me want to—” She slid down his body just enough to place his newly erect cock at her entrance.  As she lowered herself on to him and saw the expression on his face, as he hissed in pleasure at the feel of her muscles contracting around him, she said softly,  “Let’s make memories, Spike.”

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

By the time Joyce got home from the gallery, Spike and Buffy were dressed and downstairs going over Willow’s notes on Adam.  She looked at them curiously, but attributed their subdued demeanors to the dangers they would be facing  later in the evening.  She couldn’t miss, however, the way Spike was looking at Buffy when she didn’t know he was watching her.   Joyce wasn’t sure how to feel about his obvious love for her daughter.  On the one hand, she liked Spike and she knew he would protect Buffy with his life.  But he was also a vampire.  A being her daughter was sworn to destroy.  She shuddered, remembering how wrong things had gone when Angel had lost his soul because of his relationship with Buffy.

 

Sighing, she resoved not to worry about it until the current crisis was over.  She knew Buffy kept her out of the loop about most of her activities and she was sure that if she knew the dangers her daughter faced regularly she would be a nervous wreck all the time.  But this time, with most of the planning taking place in her living room, and having seen Spike’s condition when they brought him in, she couldn’t shut her eyes to the very real possibility that one or both of them might not be coming back tonight.  At the moment, there seemed to be more reasons to be glad the vampire was in love with her daughter than to worry about it.  She was confident that nothing was going to harm Buffy if Spike was able to prevent it.

 

When everyone had gathered in the Summers’ living room, assignments were made, argued about and reassigned.  Giles did his best to provide guidance and a sense of structure; but the plan basically boiled down to getting as close as they could to Adam’s stronghold and then hoping Giles and the witches could put up enough of a smokescreen that Buffy could get close enough to pull his power pack out of his body.  Riley and whatever remnants of the Initiative garrison that had survived the demonic take over of their facility would provide cover fire to allow the Scooby gang to get as close as possible.

 

“And what’s the suddenly disgustingly healthy-looking corpse going to contribute to this expedition?” Xander snarked when he realized Spike hadn’t been assigned to any group.

 

“He’s with me,” Buffy said flatly in a tone that broked no discussion.  Spike’s instinct was to lord it over the glowering boy, as well as the equally angry soldier. The knowledge that this would probably be his last time with Buffy while they would both be around to comfort her when it was over kept the smirk off his face and his mouth uncharacteristicaly shut. 

 

Joyce caught Giles’ eye and walked slowly to the kitchen.  When the watcher had followed her in there, she turned to him and said,  “I know I usually stay out of Buffy’s duties, but I need you to know that  I want them to come back tonight – both of them.”

 

Giles took his glasses off and polished them vigorously as he thought about the implications of her request.  “Joyce,” he began, “It is always my hope and intention that Buffy come back relatively unscathed from any mission.  But I cannot make guarantees.   I will do my best for her of course, but Spike....”

 

“He loves her, Rupert.”

 

“Yes, I believe he does, Joyce.  But that doesn’t alter who or what he is.  Without that chip....”

 

“Both of them, Rupert.  They need each other.”  Joyce glared at him and he knew from whom Buffy got her determination.

 

“I’ll do my best,” he sighed.

 

 

Chapter Fifteen

 

As the group approached the cave entry into the Initiative, the remaining soldiers spread out to form an armed shield around the Watcher and the two witches.  Buffy held up her hand at the entrance to stop everyone.

 

“All right, everyone knows what to do, right?” she whispered, looking around.  “As soon as Giles is sure the cloaking spell is working, Spike and I will work our way to Adam and try to remove his power pack.  Riley and his men, and Xander,” she smiled quickly at her friend who seemed quite pleased to be included with the military men,  “will try to keep the demons away from the witches so they aren’t interrupted.”

 

The small army slipped into the cave entrance and took the widest, shortest route into the complex.  They hadn’t gone far before they encountered a couple of surprised demon sentries which Buffy and Spike took out very quickly.  As soon as they reached the entrance to the large open staging area, the commandos split up to allow Giles, Willow and Tara a clear look at Spike and Buffy.   Working quickly, they spread their herbs and began their chants.  When Giles was sure the spell was working he nodded his head at Buffy, and the Slayer and her vampire walked cautiously into the room.  

 

Buffy felt her nerves thrumming and her heartrate increasing as she moved silently through the space.  When they had eased their way past several demons and at least one guard that appeared to be a combination of human and robot, she began to relax a little.  She looked over at Spike to see if he was also being hidden by the spell and he took the opportunity to wink at her and blow her a kiss.  She glared at him for not taking their situation as seriously as she thought he should, but she felt a warm glow inside. 

 

And I’m not going to think about what it might mean that an air kiss from Spike makes me more warm and tingly than a full make-out session with Riley.  At least not until we’re out of here.

 

Buffy noticed that if she got too close to any of the demons, they looked around suspiciously, but none seem to realize that she was actually there.  Spike, on the other hand, didn’t seem to be inspiring any uncomfortable feelings which Buffy attributed to his lack of body temperature and breathing. 

 

They had got almost half way across the room when a door leading to the labs came open and Adam stepped out scanning the room with his mechanical eyes.  Buffy froze as his gaze swept over her and lingered.  She stopped breathing and willed her heart to slow down as she waited anxiously to see if the cloaking spell would work with Adam’s mechanical enhancements.  After staring suspicously at her general area for a long couple of seconds, he continued looking around the room, pausing for a shorter period of time when he looked across Spike.   Sudden movement at the entrance to the room made him turn that way and he pointed to the suddenly visible commandos, ordering his demon army to attack.

 

As the room filled with demonic soldiers all rushing toward the tunnel in which Giles and the witches were chanting, Buffy and Spike found themselves dodging this way and that as they tried to avoid being run in to.  Buffy had time to notice with amusement that Giles was taken back at the numbers and ferocity of the tiny little demon clones.  That’ll teach him!  she thought smugly.

 

 As Adam turned to go back into his lab, Spike moved toward the door and slid in behind him.  Buffy threw a look over her shoulder at the battle going on across the room, then hastened to follow him.

 

As soon as she opened the door and slipped into the room, she realized they had miscalculated how far the cloaking spell would carry.  Adam turned slowly, holding Spike up in the air by his neck, and greeted her with, “Hello, Slayer.  This is not one of my vampires.  Is he with you?”

 

Buffy ‘s mind went temporarily blank as she watched Adam squeezing Spike’s neck.   She struggled to keep her panic off her face as she lied, “No, I slay vampires, remember?  I don’t pal around with them.”  She shrugged and tried to look unconcerned as she edged her way into the room, trying to get behind a metal file cabinet before it occurred to Adam to shoot her with his built-in weapons. 

 

Apparently taking Buffy at her word, he tossed Spike off into a corner and spun around to face the Slayer.  A glance showed her that Spike was unconscious, but not dusty  and she immediately focused on the patched together being in front of her.

 

“Are you really planning to defeat me in hand to hand combat, little girl?” he asked her curiously as he tracked her progress around the room.  “I’m indestructable, you know.”

 

“Yeah, so I hear.  But you know me,  just gotta see for myself.”  As she spoke, she flipped toward him, finishing with a hard kick to his chin that appeared to accomplish nothing but making her foot ache.

 

“Very disappointing, Slayer.” He said as he backhanded her into the metal cabinet.  “I really thought you might be a challenge for me.”  He shrugged and turned away from where she sat crumpled against the cabinet.

 

“And you, vampire.  What are you doing in here?  I don’t need any more vampires.”

 

“Wanted to make a deal with you,” Spike growled, sitting up and rubbing his throat.  “Need this soddin’ chip out of my brain and figured you would know how to get it done. Just used the confusion out there to sneak in.”

 

Adam stared at him thoughtfully for a second, then dismissed him with a wave of his hand.  “I don’t have time for that right now.  And I can’t imagine you have anything I want or need.  If you leave now, I won’t kill you.  Please close my door on the way out.”

 

While he was talking to Spike, Buffy had pulled herself to her feet and she pushed a heavy metal table into the monster as hard as she could.  As Adam staggered briefly before flinging the table across the room, a recovered Spike launched himself at his back, pinioning his arms behind him.

 

“Now, Slayer!  Do it now!” he roared as he struggled to hang on to the angry robot.  Buffy leaped forward, plunging her hand into Adam’s chest and grabbing the warm power pack.   The robot stared at her in amazement as she pulled the power pack out and held it up.

 

“If you’re so indestructable, I guess you won’t miss this,” she said cheerfully. 

 

The mechanical man gaped at her and reached the arm he had wrenched away from Spike’s grip toward her.  Buffy scampered back immediately, stretching the wires running from the power pack into Adam’s chest cavity to their limit.  With a bellow, he threw Spike off into the wall and leaped toward the Slayer.

 

“Did you want this?” she quipped as she yanked it hard.   “Oops!  I’ll bet those were supposed to stay connected, weren’t they?” she added as the wires came free from Adam’s chest and he looked down at himself in confusion.  There was a tense minute in which Buffy was afraid Willow might have been wrong about what made Adam run.   She continued to back away from him wondering what was left to try if she hadn’t incapacitated him as expected.  Then, with a shudder, his eyes went dark and he toppled over with a very satisfying crash.

 

Buffy let out the breath she didn’t even know she’d been holding, then threw the power pack on the floor, crushing it under her boot heel until it was just a collection of metal and plastic parts.

 

“Did we win, love?” she heard Spike groan from the corner where Adam had thrown him.

 

She flew across the room and slid to her knees beside his battered body. “Yeah, we did, Spike.  Thanks to your help.”  Impulsively she leaned in and kissed him warmly but chastely on the lips.   He looked up at her and growled,  “’M not that beat up, Slayer.  Com’ere and do that right,” he said grabbing the back of her neck and pulling her in for a long, sweet langorous kiss that threatened to turn into something much more.

 

Buffy’s head was spinning as she finally pulled away from the kiss that she would have liked to just fall into for the rest of the day.  When her breathing was close to normal again, she rose shakily to her feet and pulled him up with her.  “We won in here, but there’s still a war going on out there,” she sighed and gestured toward the still closed lab door.

 

“Right, then,” he said, running one hand down her arm and squeezing the hand he was still holding, “Once more into the breach...”

 

“What?”

 

“Stupid American education system.” He muttered.  “Let’s go, pet.  The sooner we get out of this place the better.”

 

Shaking her head at him, she yanked open the door and pulled him through.  She almost wished she could go back inside and close it again.  The huge open area was swarming with manufactured demons, real demons and the little needle-toothed ones she and Spike had already fought once.   Now that there was no need for the cloaking spell, Giles was wielding a sword in a large circle around himself and the two witches, trying to keep them safe from the swarms of demons.

 

“Buffy!  Over here!” Riley shouted to her from the doorway.  “Quickly.  We’re just waiting for you.”

 

Buffy and Spike exchanged glances and sighed matching sighs.  “Damn, I’m tired of running from these miserable little....”  The rest was inaudible as they dove into the fray, using folding chairs to chop their way through the hordes of demons.  Working perfectly together, they quickly cleared a path to the rest of their small army and ducked behind the line of soldiers.

 

“Adam?” asked Giles anxiously.

 

“Taking  some permanent down time,”  Buffy  smiled at her watcher.  “Good job, guys,” she added, turning to include Willow and Tara in her smile.

 

“So, can we, um, leave now?” Tara asked meekly as she flinched from teeth snapping at her sleeve.

 

Riley stepped up to the group and looked for a second as though he was going to hug Buffy.  The lack of welcome in her body posture had him thinking better of it at the last minute.  “As soon as you guys, “ he pointedly avoided looking at Spike as he spoke, “are well on the way out of here, we’re going to set off some ordinance and hopefully, seal this place up.  We’ll meet you outside.”

 

“Ok, then.  That’s it.  Let’s go, kiddies!”  Spike grabbed Buffy’s hand and tugged her toward the exit.   He was brought up short when he reached the end of his arm and she was not moving.   “What?  Capt’n Cardboard said to get going.  So let’s get going.”

 

As the Slayer stood still, just glaring at him, he quit pulling on her and gave her a sheepish smile.  “Well, was worth a try, pet,” he said shrugging and moving with her to get between the Scoobies and the still loud fight going on.

 

Riley and Xander both watched the two with almost identical expressions.  Finally, Xander spoke out,  “Uh, Buffy,  you do know the evil undead is holding your hand, right?”

 

Buffy looked down at their linked hands in surprise.  She actually had not noticed that Spike was still holding her hand.  She froze and felt the flush rising up her face as everyone looked at them.  Before she could snatch her hand away, Spike smiled at her sadly and with a little squeeze dropped her hand. 

 

“Nothing to get anybody’s knickers in a twist about,” he growled.  “I just forgot to let go, that’s all.”

 

Buffy knew that she was the only one who could hear the pain in his voice as he moved away and relinguished her to Riley and Xander who almost knocked each other down trying to touch her and assure themselves that she was still Buffy.

 

“He didn’t hurt you, didn’t he, Buffy?” Xander asked, glaring at Spike.

 

“For god’s sake, Xander! No, he didn’t hurt me.  He was just holding my hand for a second while he tried to get me to leave.  What’s wrong with you?”

 

“And what, exactly was that all about?” Riley asked quietly.  “How did he know you weren’t going with him?  And why didn’t he leave without you?” he added with a long look at the vampire.

 

“Because we have to bring up the rear, Riley.”

 

“I didn’t hear you say anything to him.”

 

 “I didn’t need to. We’re the two strongest people here.  And Spike knows that.  He knew we couldn’t go scampering off with super speed and leave everyone else to try to catch up.  I didn’t need to say anything.”

 

 

            Before the conversation could go on,  Giles broke in to point out that they needed to get out soon before the commandos ran out of ammunition and Spike and Buffy were the only thing left between the demons and everyone else.  That broke the tension and everyone started moving out of the area, Giles and the witches first, Xander after them and Spike and Buffy right behind the soldiers, ready to jump in if their firepower was overwhelmed by sheer numbers.

 

            When the Scoobies had reached the cave entrance and were safely outside,  Riley’s men laid down a very heavy fire which forced the demons back temporarily and alllowed them to retreat into the outside air.  As soon as everyone was out, Riley gave the signal and the explosives were detonated.  For a few seconds after the plunger was pushed there was silence, then the ground shook slightly and they could hear amuffled roar from within the cave.  A small amount of dust drifted out the the entrance and wafted away on the breeze.

 

 

Chapter Sixteen

 

            At the home on Revello Drive the celebration party was in full swing.  The commados were busy congratulating each other and slapping backs as they described their exploits to each other.  Willow and Tara sat on the couch holding hands and staring at the men in amazement.

 

            “Giles,” Willow whispered, “Do they think they defeated Adam all by themselves?”

 

            “Apparently,” he said dryly as he took a sip of scotch.

 

            Buffy quickly tired of the testosterone fueled bragging and moved away from Riley and his men.  She scanned the room, but couldn’t see Spike anywhere.  She went into the kitchen and caught the glow of a cigarette outside the back door; opening the door quietly, she slipped out to join him on the steps.

 

            “Slayer.” He greeted her.  “Couldn’t take any more talk of medals and heroes?”

 

            She smiled softly in the dark and moved closer to him.  “Thought I’d come out here where the real heroes are.”

 

            Spike felt his breath catch and tried to hide the jolt of joy that shot through him as she spoke.

 

            “That right, Slayer?” he asked quietly.  “There’s more than one of you?”

 

            She poked his arm and said, “There’s more than one of us, Spike.  Don’t try to pretend you didn’t do anything.”

 

            “Just did what I said I would, love.  Backed you up.  Don’t make a big deal of it.”  He shrugged and peered at her out of the corner of his eye.  “Unless you really want to, of course,” he added hopefully.

 

            “I want to,” she said softly as she leaned in and kissed him gently.

 

            “Oh, well then....” He quickly deepened the kiss and they were so lost in each other that they didn’t realize the door had opened behind them.

 

            Their first sign was the fact that Spike was jerked away from her by a frowing Xander.  “Keep your filthy lips to yourself!” he said.  “You’ve got no right to—”

 

            Buffy held her breath as Spike’s eyes flashed back and forth between blue and yellow and he growled softly.  He quickly sprang to his feet and when the angry young man threw himself bodily at him, Spike just slipped out of the way and watched Xander crash to the ground with a loud “oof!”

 

            “Xander,” Buffy said firmly,  “That’s enough.  Leave him alone.”

 

            “Oh, that’s right.  Mustn’t hurt the poor, widdle, crippled vampire.  He can’t fight back.  Well, I don’t care.  He has no right to touch you like that and I’m going to see he knows it.”

 

            Spike streched his neck, wringing it around as he tried to control his temper and ignore both the things the boy was saying and the small pang he felt at being attacked by someone he’d thought had begun to accept him.  After Xander had taken several more ineffectual swings at Spike, Buffy stepped between them and put her hand firmly on Xander’s chest.

 

            “Wouldn’t that be my decision to make, Xander?” she asked him quietly.

 

            Xander was saved from answering her by the arrival of Riley and several of his men, coming to see what the excitement was about.

 

            “Riley!” Xander shouted, “He was kissing Buffy.  I saw him!”

 

            “That’s one mistake too many, Hostile Seventeen,” Riley snarled as he launched himself at the vampire.  “This nonsense ends now!”

 

            Riley’s size and enhanced strength made him a much more serious opponent for Spike than Xander had been.  Staying in his human face, Spike met the large man in the middle of the yard, but remained purely defensive in his tactics.  He thought as long as he didn’t allow Riley to get close enough to grapple with him, his vampire speed and reflexes would be enough to keep him from getting hurt without his having to let on that the chip wasn’t working anymore.

 

            However, the size difference became a factor when Riley was actually able to get close enough to Spike to pull him to the ground and the vampire found himself pinned down while Riley bellowed at his men to throw him a stake.  Spike’s eyes shifted to meet Buffy’s and she answered his silent question by nodding her head slightly.  The communication went unnoticed by everyone except Giles who narrowed his eyes at her thoughtfully before he turned his attention back to the fight.  As soon as Spike had the okay from Buffy, he shifted into his game face and used his now enhanced abilities to throw the larger man off him.

 

            Riley gaped at the vampire in surprise, but quickly recovered and leaped back at him, confident that Spike couldn’t really hurt him.  When Spike caught him in mid-leap and held him up off the ground with one hand, he started to worry that the fight wasn’t going to go quite the way he expected it to.  However, he continued to try, kicking out with one leg and catching Spike in the ribs that were still sore from where Adam threw him into the wall.

 

            With a hiss of pain, Spike dropped Riley to the ground, then gave a spine chilling snarl as he leaped onto the bigger man and carried him to the ground, reaching toward his neck with his fangs.  At the last second, he stopped his bite leaving just tiny pin holes in Riley’s neck.  Instead of draining the burly soldier, he buried his fist in Riley’s face.  He continued to pound on the commando until a softly spoken, “Spike, please,” came to him and he stopped abruptly.  With a last snarl at the semi-conscious soldier on the ground, he stood up and shook himself back into his human visage.

 

            He looked around at the shocked expressions on the faces of the on-lookers. He couldn’t resist a smirk at the look on Xander’s face as realization of how close he could have come to painful and bloody death sank in.  However, there was nothing funny about the frightened looks on the other Scoobies and soldiers, or the grim expression on the Watcher’s face.  The only people who weren’t looking at him as though he had suddenly turned into a rattlesnake before their eyes were Buffy and her mother.

 

            Before anyone could move or say anything, Joyce walked up to Spike and put her hand on his cheek gently.  “Come inside, Spike.  Let me see if that bully hurt your ribs again.”  Completely unafraid, she walked back to the kitchen door, pulling the astonished vampire with her.  With a guilty look at Giles, who clearly knew that she was aware of the chip’s malfunction, Buffy hurried to follow her mother into the house.

 

            Spike and Buffy were staring at each other from across the kitchen, neither one really noticing that Joyce was still there.

 

            “Well,” he said slowly,  “So much for having time to pack and make plans before I leave, eh, Slayer?”

 

            Buffy couldn’t say anything.  She was fighting back tears and trying to think like a Slayer rather than a girl.

 

            “Where are you going?” Joyce asked Spike in surprise.  “And why?”

 

            “He’s not chipped anymore, Mom.” Buffy said, never taking her eyes off the vampire.  “He can kill again.”

 

            “Well, yes, he can. Obviously,” her mother said with a puzzled frown.  “but that doesn’t mean he will kill.  Does it , Spike?” she turned to the vampire and waited for his answer.

 

            Spike gawked at her in amazement.  “Aren’t you afraid of me?” he asked.  “Didn’t you see how those people out there were looking at me?”

 

            “Well, yes, dear.  But they don’t know you like I do.  Why would I be afraid of you?  You’ve never hurt me before and we’re friends now.  Buffy, you’re not afraid of Spike, are you?” She turned to her surprised daughter cheerfully.   “Well, are you?” she pushed as Buffy didn’t respond right away.

 

            “Uh, no, of course not.  But I’m the Slayer.  I can’t just.....”

 

            “You just saved the world again,” her mother pointed out.  “I would think you could do whatever you wanted to.  Do you want Spike to leave?”

 

            “Mom!  You don’t understand.... I’m the Slayer.  I kill vampires.  Spike is a vampire.  If he stays here, I’ll have to kill him.... and... I... I don’t want to do that,” she finished softly and let the tears fall as her head fell forward.

 

            “I don’t see why you have to kill him unless he does something to deserve it,” Joyce argued.  “Spike, are you planning to make Buffy have to kill you?”

 

            “Not planning on it, Joyce.  But that’s not gonna carry much weight with those wankers outside.  You saw how there were lookin’ at me.  I’ll bet the Watcher and whelp are sharpening stakes right now.   Not going to do that to your daughter, Joyce.  I’d rather leave than put her in that position... again.”

 

            Joyce looked back forth between her now sobbing daughter and the vampire who was obviously so in love with her that he would put her needs above his and shook her head.

 

            “Well,  I guess you two know what you need to do.  I’ll leave you to work it out, but you know you’ll always be welcome in this house.” She gave the astonished vampire a brief hug and a kiss on the cheek, then went out onto the porch where there was a very loud discussion going on about what to do about Spike.

 

            Ignoring the loud voices from the backyard, Spike moved closer to Buffy and tentatively slid his arms around her quaking body.   He let out a breath he didn’t even know he’d been holding when she relaxed into him and put her arms around his waist, resting her head on his chest.

 

            “I need to leave, love.  You know I do.  If I stay....”

 

            “I know.”  She sniffled into his shirt.  “I just... I hate being the Slayer!”

 

            Smilling at her vehemence, he tipped her chin up and made her look at him, “No, you don’t, Buffy.  That’s why you’re so good at it.  Because you have fun while you slay, you love the fight and you like being the boss.  You know you do.”

 

            “If I’m the boss, why don’t I get to say who gets staked and who doesn’t?” she grumbled.  “I don’t want you to leave.  It’s not fair!”

 

            “Life isn’t fair, pet.  I know you know that by now.” He rubbed his hands in small soothing circles on her back.  “You know, love,  we could just ask them to replace the chip.....”

 

            Buffy shoved him away from her almost violently.  “Are you crazy? If that chip was working, Riley would have killed you just now.  I’m not going to have you crippled again.  If it means I never see you again....” Her voice trailed off as she contemplated that possibilty.  She looked up at him sharply.  “You would do that for me?  Get re-chipped?”

 

            He gently pushed a piece of hair behind her ear,  “If it meant I wouldn’t have to leave you, Buffy?.  Yeah, I think I would,” he said softly.  “But I don’t think I trust those wankers out there to do something like that.  I’m pretty sure there’d be some kind of ‘accident’ while I was under the knife.”

 

            “You’re probably right,” she agreed.  “Definitely not a good idea.  Guess you’re the Big Bad again, huh?”

 

            “I was always the Big Bad, love,” he said with his customary smirk.  “Just had to keep a lower profile for awhile there.”

 

 

Chapter Seventeen

 

            Meanwhile, outside, the argument over when and how to kill Spike was continuing.   Joyce stepped up next to Giles who was talking with Willow and Tara, and asked him quietly, “ Can’t you do something about this?  He just helped Buffy save Sunnydale from an evil robot, for heaven’s sake!”

 

            “Yes, Joyce. He did help her with Adam, and he has been very protective of her for the last couple of weeks, but we cannot forget what he is.  And now, apparently he is no longer harmless.”

 

            “Was he ever really harmless?” Joyce asked with a false innocence.  “I mean couldn’t he have made other vampires kill for him?  If he’d really wanted to kill us, I’m sure he could have found a way.”

 

            Giles gaped at her and saw that she already knew the answer to her question. “Yes,” he said slowly,  “I suppose he could have.  Can’t say I ever really thought about it before – but as soon as he knew he could hurt other demons he certainly could have declared himself Master of Sunnydale without actually killing humans himself. And I suppose,” he added reluctantly, “if he really wanted us dead, he could have just burned a building down or something like that.  It’s not like Spike isn’t capable of great creativity when it comes to murder and mayhem....”

 

            “So, what you’re saying is he has been helping you out and not harming the people around him because he chose not to, not because he had to.”  Joyce forced Giles to meet her steady gaze and waited for his response.

 

            The Watcher took off his glasses and proceeded to polish them vigorously while he avoided Joyce’s accusing eyes and struggled to absorb the new ideas with which she had just presented him.  He remembered seeing the end of Xander’s attack on Spike and that the vampire had never even gone into game face, let alone tried to hurt the young man.  And, he remembered seeing Spike look to Buffy for guidance when Riley had him pinned before he fought back even though the other man was clearly planning to kill him.  There was no question that the vampire had made a clear decision not to bite or drink from the soldier, in spite of having his teeth on the man’s neck.  Giles could not remember ever reading anything about a vampire showing that kind of control. 

 

            “Giles?”  Buffy’s mother prodded the Watcher. 

 

            The man sighed then said to her,  “You’ve given me a great deal to think about, Joyce.  I’m not sure I can process it all right now, but......”

 

            “Now happens to be when my daughter and the man who loves her are trying to say ‘good-bye’ forever because they’re sure no one here will trust him without that stupid chip!  If you listen carefully, I’m pretty sure you can hear their hearts breaking from out here.  I know I can.”  She glared at him definantly, clearly waiting for him to do something.

 

            “I... I... think I trust Spike.” Tara ventured tremulously.

 

            “Uh,  oddly enough,  so do I,”  Willow agreed.  “Even last year when he was saying he was going to kill me, I didn’t really think he would.   I don’t think he wants to kill any of us.   Well, maybe Xander, “ she added with a smile as he joined them on the porch.

 

            “Maybe Xander what?” he asked looking from Willow to Giles and Joyce.

 

            Giles cleared his throat and admitted, “We’re discussing the fact that Spike has not seriously tried to kill any of us since well before he got the chip.  And,” he added quickly as the young man’s face twisted, “he didn’t try to hurt you tonight, even though the chip is apparently not working.”

 

            “We’re talking about the evil undead, here!” Xander said with an almost hysterical tone to his voice.  “You can’t seriously be thinking about letting him go?  Buffy needs to stake him and if she won’t, I will!” he finished, folding his arms across his chest. 

 

            Giles sighed and looked at Joyce pleadingly,  “I’m leaving this one to you, Joyce.  I need to talk to Buffy – and to Spike,” he added as he reached for the door knob.

 

               The Watcher stepped into the kitchen to find his Slayer and the vampire facing him as a unit.  Their shoulders were touching and he could see that their hands were linked.

 

            “So, Rupert,” Spike asked with a growl, “You come to be sure I leave?  Or have you decided the safer option is to stake me now?”

 

            Buffy  stepped slightly in front of him, facing her watcher warily.

 

            “I’m not going to let you kill him, Giles.  No one is going to kill him.”  Her voice trembled slightly, but the look she gave him was pure Slayer.

 

            Giles sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to reassure them. “I’m not here to stake you, Spike.  But I do need to ask both of you some questions.”

 

            Spike arched an eyebrow in surprise.  Buffy relaxed her stance slightly and leaned back into him.

 

            “What kind of questions, Giles?” she asked warily.

 

            “Well, to begin with,  how long has it been since the chip stopped working?”

 

            “Since Robo-man zapped me, we think,” the vampire answered.  “And, to answer your next question, I knew about it yesterday when I jumped on GI Joe and it didn’t fire.”

 

            “And you haven’t fed on anyone yet?”  the watcher inquired with disbelief in his voice.

 

            Slayer and vampire exchanged a look and Buffy spoke up hesitantly, “No one he didn’t have permission to feed from.”  She met her Watcher’s furious look defiantly.  “I asked him to – so he would be able to heal and help me tonight.  He didn’t want to – and he didn’t almost drain me like Angel did.  It was no big deal,” she muttered as she looked away from the Watcher’s appalled face.

 

            To Giles’ amazement, the vampire looked thoroughly ashamed of himself and he offered apologetically,  “Would never have touched her if she hadn’t insisted.  I‘ll never do it again, I swear.”

 

            Giles approached them and went to reach for Buffy’s wrist to see the bite.   To his dismay, she turned her head so that he could see her neck.   As he was moving his gaze from the bite marks on her neck to her face, he saw Spike’s neck out of the corner of his eye and hissed as he saw the human teeth marks there. 

 

Suddenly the Ripper was in full view,  “Did you claim her?” he demanded as he shoved the vampire up against a cabinet. “What the hell is this?”  He knew if he’d had a stake in his hand, the vampire would already be dust and he would have a hysterical slayer on his hands.  At that moment he couldn’t decide if he was grateful he didn’t have one in his hand, or sorry about it.

 

Buffy stepped between them and pushed her Watcher back from the immobile vampire.  “Giles! Leave him alone.  We’ve both told you it was my idea.  I needed him healthy and that was the fastest way to do it.  It’s my blood and I’ll use it as I see fit.  It was a Slayer decision.”

 

“And your teeth marks on him?” he queried angrily.

 

“Different time, different situation,” she blushed with embarrasment,  “And soooo none of your business.”

 

Giles took a deep breath and stepped away from the girl that was like a daughter to him.   “Right then,  most definitely something I don’t want to know about.” He tried very hard not to see the mocking smirk on the vampire’s face.

 

There was an uncomfortable silence for a minute until Giles got himself under control and continued with his original line of questions.

 

“So then, except for, “ he waved vaguely in the direction of Buffy’s neck, “you haven’t been feeding off people?”

 

“No, Watcher.  I haven’t.”  Spike looked the other man in the eye blandly.

 

“Why not?” Giles surprised himself and the couple with the vehemence of his question.  “You don’t have a soul – what’s keeping you from feeding?”

 

“I may not have a soul, Watcher, but I do have a conscience.”  He put his arms around Buffy and pulled her back into his chest, making it very clear what his meaning was.

 

Giles looked at them curiously for several minutes.   He couldn’t get over how relaxed and at ease Buffy seemed in the arms of the killer of two slayers.  Nor could he pretend that he coudn’t see the love on the face of the demon with his arms around her.

 

“You know they’re howling for your blood out there, don’t you?”  he finally offered.

 

“Figured they would be.  Can’t blame ‘em.  I’d be the same way in their place.  It’s not like they don’t know I have plenty of reason to want them dead,” he finished with a growl.

 

“So, what is the plan then?” Giles asked mildly.  He tried to appear casual, but he was watching Buffy’s face closely and he saw the flash of pain that went across it at his question.

 

“We figured I’d just disappear.  Go somewhere else where there won’t be a crowd of people expecting her to do her job and stake me.”

 

“And that’s all right with both of you?”

 

Buffy just bit her lip and clutched the muscular arm that still held her against Spike’s chest, but the vampire exploded, “Bloody hell! No, it’s not alright!  I don’t want to be on the other side of the world wonderin’ if she’s alright, if she needs back up, if she... she....”  He stopped, not even willing to give voice to what was the inevitable fate of all slayers.

 

“Buffy?”  Giles inquired gently.

 

“I can’t kill another man I love, Giles.  I won’t.  As long as everyone thinks he’s dangerous, that’s what I’m going to be expected to do.  If I have to send him away to keep him safe from me, then that’s what I’ll do.  Even if it kills me,” she added softly looking up at Spike with tears hovering behind her eyelashes.

 

The vampire hadn’t even heard anything she said after “man I love”.   He knew his heart hadn’t beat in over a hundred years, but he was sure it was pounding in his chest as he fell into her eyes.

 

“Never want to leave you, my love.  Want you forever.  Love you so much....”

 

Completely forgotten by the two other people in the room, Giles watched in stupification as they stood, foreheads pressed together, tears on their cheeks  Can vampires cry? murmuring things he realized he had no business listening to as they prepared to part for the rest of their lives.   As he watched them, he remembered how short that period of time was likely to be in Buffy’s case, and the idea that she would spend what was left of her life wishing she was with someone she thought she shouldn’t be suddenly became very disturbing to him.

 

Murmuring, “Don’t leave yet, Spike,” he turned and went back out on to the porch.  He met Joyce’s eyes and nodded his head to her and was rewarded with a smile. 

 

The commandos had sobered up considerably after watching their leader get thoroughly thrashed by something they thought had been rendered harmless.  Riley walked slowly up to Giles, one eye swollen shut and blood on his cheek.

 

“Where is he?” he demanded.

 

“Gone,” Giles answered calmly. 

 

“Gone as in Buffy took care of him the way she should, or gone as in left Sunnydale?”

 

“Spike has left Sunnydale and I doubt he will come back.  He knows he can’t kill this slayer and he has no other reason to stay around.  He probably went back to South America.  I believe he owns property there.”  Giles spoke the lies without so much as an accelerated heart rate.

 

“I need to talk to Buffy,” Riley started up the steps only to be stopped by a hand on his chest.  He glanced at the watcher in surprise, then tried to push forward.  

 

“I wouldn’t go in there right now if I were you,” Giles said mildly, but the look on face made it perfectly clear that Ripper was more than willing to see that the advice was followed.

 

Riley huffed indignantly, but turned and went back down the steps toward his men.

 

“Let’s get going, men.  Nothing else for us to do here.  We need some down time before the new commander arrives.”

 

 

Chapter Eighteen

 

At Joyce’s invitation, the Scoobies and the Watcher all moved back into the kitchen for hot chocolate and coffee.  Everyone noticed that Buffy and Spike were standing close together at the edge of the room, but even Xander refrained from making any comments.  Giles raised his eyebrow at Joyce and she just blinked at him innocently as though having no idea what he was surprised about, so he just shook his head and sat down.

 

Joyce took orders for coffee and hot chocolate, but didn’t bother asking Spike.  She just handed him a cup of hot chocolate with small marshmellows floating on top. He smiled his gratitude at her and ducked his head shyly.

 

“Well,”  Giles finally began, “I guess we need to make a plan.”

 

“Plan?  What plan?  We just defeated the bad guy – we don’t need any more plans!”  Xander sputtered.  “Can’t we just go home and sleep?”

 

“Yes, of course.  We all need to rest – and we will, soon.  But first we need to be clear on....” He glanced at Spike and Buffy, still holding themselves away from the rest of the group as they sipped their hot chocolate.  “We need to be clear on what we talk to the Intiative people about.”

 

“Uh, G-man,” Xander put in as he looked over at Spike, “didn’t I hear you tell Riley that the evil undead was long gone?”

 

“Precisely.”  Giles glared at the young man.  “They cannot know that Spike is still here, or that we know where he is.”

 

“And that’s because...?”

 

“Because,” said Joyce quietly, “the women in this household do not want to be deprived of the pleasure of his company.  Which would surely happen if they knew where to find him.”

 

“So, we’re back to hiding Deadboy, Jr. from the Intiative again?  Cause that was sooo much fun the last time,” Xander groaned.

 

“Don’t worry, Xander, he won’t be staying with you anymore.” Buffy finally entered the conversation.

 

“Already hating myself for asking this, but, where will he be staying?”

 

“For the rest of today, he will be staying in our basement,” Joyce said firmly, gesturing to the brightening sky outside.  “Then we’ll see.”

 

“’Preciate it, Joyce.  But it won’t be for long.  As soon as it’s dark again, I’m going to take off for parts unknown.”

 

Buffy inhaled sharply, then reached for his hand and moved closer to him.  There was a gasp from Xander as she leaned into the vampire and put her head on his chest.  Soft choking noises could be heard from the dark eyed man as Spike’s free arm went around Buffy and he held her tightly.  Never taking his eyes off her shocked friends, he said very clearly, “But I won’t be gone long.  I’ll be back as soon as the Watcher tells me it’s safe. Is that the plan, Rupe?”

 

The Watcher met his eyes steadily and nodded once.

 

“Safe for who?” Xander muttered.  “Giles?  Tell me you’re not condoning this, this....”

 

“Buffy is not a child, Xander.  She is a young woman and she is entitled to whatever happiness she can squeeze into a very chaotic, sometimes unpleasant and always dangerous life.  I cannot say I am happy about the situation, but I won’t stand in the way of what makes her happy.  At the moment, that appears to be Spike.   I suggest you strive to achieve the same attitude,” he added pointedly.

 

Willow reached over and squeezed her best friend’s hand and whispered,  “Please, Xander.  Try.  For Buffy?”

 

 His brown eyes flashed around the room, meeting nothing but calm, accepting looks from everyone.  Even the vampire seemed to be waiting for him to say something.  Eventually, with a final glare at the vampire, he groaned,  “Oh, all right.  We survived one vampire boyfriend, I guess we can survive another.  But, if you ever hurt Buffy or Joyce, or....”

 

“Goes without saying,” Spike agreed quietly.

 

The tension suddenly went out of the room as everyone relaxed and Joyce quickly suggested that everyone find a comfortable spot to settle down for a few hours of sleep before heading to their respective homes.  Willow and Tara thanked her, but said they had early classes and wanted to get back to the dorm.  They left as the sun was rising, holding hands and leaning in to each other.

 

Giles also thanked Joyce for her offer, but declined and offered Xander a ride home.  As the boy went out to get in the car, Giles turned to Buffy and Spike and said, “Everyone needs to rest.  Is that clear?”

 

Picking right up on his message, Joyce added, “Yes,  Buffy, now that Spike is recovered, you can have your bed back.  Spike, there is a cot in the basement with sheets and blankets folded on it.  You should be able to sleep down there for the rest of the day.”

 

“Well, that was subtle,” Spike mumbled, looking thoroughly embarrassed as he began edging toward the basement door.  Buffy, however, hung on to his hand and looked back and forth between her watcher and her mother.  “I have three words for you two – hood, police car,” she said clearly.  When her flustered mother looked as though she was planning to speak anyway, Buffy added quietly, “stevedore”.  Flushing bright red, her mother mumbled a quick “good night” and ran for the stairs.  Giles vigorously polished his glasses, cleared his throat and with a “Yes, quite, well then....” he edged his way out the door.  When he got outside he paused and smiled to himself.  “Stevedore, huh?” he repeated as he walked to his car with more spring in his step than usual.

 

“What the hell was that all about, pet?” The puzzled vampire was trying to make sense out of the abrupt change in demeanor of the two other people.

 

            Buffy grinned at him.  “Remind me to tell you the whole band candy story sometime.  But not right now,” she breathed as she moved into his arms for a kiss.  “Right now we have resting to do.”

 

“Resting, right then.  To bed it is,” he said, swooping her up and opening the door to the basement.

 

 

Epilogue

 

The Slayer was restless.

 

 The Initiative was gone – sent to South America to collect and tag demons there.  She’d made it very clear to Riley that there was no reason for him not to leave with his men.  He hadn’t taken it well – finally snarling some ugly things about slayers and the vampires they couldn’t or wouldn’t kill.   The ugliness of his accusations and his condemnation of her calling was all it took to remove any residual feelings of affection she might have had.

 

I’m not a normal girl.  Never was, never will be. Don’t know why I even tried. I’m the Slayer.  Super powers, short life.  That’s my destiny.  I need someone who understands me and my life – not someone who wants to change it.

 

The Hellmouth was quiet – only the odd fledgling to dust on patrol.  And she hadn’t heard from Spike in a week.  He’d been very faithful the first month he was gone, calling every night and sending her the occasional letter written in an ornate, flowing script that she had a hard time associating with the hard-edged vampire she had met in the alley behind the Bronze two years ago.  But the calls had become less frequent and there hadn’t been any in the last week.  Not for the first time she wished she’d insisted he tell her where he was going when he left Sunnydale.  She suspected that Giles knew, but her pride prevented her from asking the Watcher if he knew where her boyfriend was.

 

With a sigh, she turned toward Revello Drive and her empty bed.  “Another night of trying to sleep when all I really want to do is... Damn vampire!”

 

When Buffy got into the house, she systematically checked all the doors and turned off the lights.  Her mother was away on a buying trip in San Francisco and Buffy  had offered to stay at the house.  She prided herself on her ability to handle the household responsibilities while her mother was gone.  She checked the phone machine for messages, frowning when there was nothing there from Spike. 

 

Her inherent insecurities about men were beginning to surface and she struggled not to give in to thoughts of his having found Drusilla or Harmony and deciding to go back to being the Big Bad with another vampire for a consort.

 

What if he didn’t like having sex with me?  I probably don’t do the things vampires like.  Maybe it was the chip that made him think he loved me.  Maybe he doesn’t want me any more.

 

Shaking off the negative thoughts, Buffy brushed her teeth, put on some loose boxers and a tank top and got into bed.  She closed her eyes, determined not to dream about Spike. 

 

An hour later she was tossing restlessly as she dreamed of cool hands sliding over her body and soft lips kissing hers.  She moaned in her sleep as she arched her body into an imaginary mouth traveling over her skin.  Suddenly she sat up, searching the dark room frantically.  She couldn’t see anything, but her Slayer senses were screaming and the bite mark on her neck was tingling. 

 

She gave a muffled scream as she was suddenly grasped from behind by arms that felt like steel cords.  Even as her slayer instincts were telling her to defend herself, she was sinking back into the body behind her and tilting her head to allow access to the bite marks.  She shivered as she felt his soft lips gently cover the marks and his cool tongue probe them softly.

 

“Did you miss me, love?” he murmured in her ear as he moved his mouth up to nibble on her ear lobe.  Relief at feeling his arms again and the desire to punish him for making her worry competed for Buffy’s attention.

 

“Not even a little bit,” she said as she turned around so that she could capture those soft lips with her own.  “I hardly noticed you were gone.  What with slaying, and the Bronze and school and....” The rest of the lie was smothered by Spike’s hungry mouth and tongue and talking became impossible and unimportant until she had to break for air.

 

“I missed you, Slayer.  Every second of every day.  All I could think about was you and what I was going to do with you when I got back.”

 

“What are you going to do with me?” she asked breathlessly, leaving little kisses along his jaw line and down his neck.  “Tell me, Big Bad.”

 

“Rather show you, love.”

 

As he spoke, he was working her shorts down her legs and off to the floor.  When he turned her around to face him, Buffy realized he was already naked and hard.   She moved into his lap and wrapped her legs around his waist, putting her warm entrance right over his throbbing cock.  Both groaned as she squeezed him against her, trapping his erection against her stomach.  She moved up and down slightly, rubbing her most sensitive parts on his shaft and spreading her moisture all along it.  Spike lowered his head to lavish attention on her breasts; sucking each hard, pink nipple until it was standing straight out and Buffy was moaning and pushing her chest toward his face;  her head thrown back and eyes shut. 

 

When her moans turned to whimpers and pleading repetitions of his name, he moved his lips back up her neck and fastened them on her mouth again, murmuring her name over and over as he did so.

 

Another bone-melting kiss later, and Buffy was lowering herself on to his cock and pulling him down on top of her as she turned them in the bed.  She shivered in anticipation at the same time her body felt like it was on fire.

 

Spike felt like he was going to spontaneously combust as he buried himself in her heat.  He pulled her arms over her head and stretched his body out on top of hers so that every inch of skin that could touch her was pressed up against her warm golden body.

 

“Buffy.” He groaned.  “I’ve missed this so much, love.  I could stay here forever.”

 

Feels like home.

 

This is home, Spike. 

 

 “Promise you won’t ever leave me again.”

 

“I promise, my love.   Never leave you.  Want you forever.  Love you forever.” He breathed into her ear as he began gently moving within her.  He vowed to make this reunion love making last, but it wasn’t long before his body took over and he was thrusting into her with all his vampiric strength while she met him – thrust for thrust, clenching her slayer enhanced muscles around him and sending him spiraling toward his release.  He slipped a hand between them and pressed down hard just as he reached his peak, sending her over the edge at the same time, screaming his name as she came.

 

When they had recovered enough to talk,  Buffy curled up next to the vampire, running her hand in small circles over his chisled chest as she asked, “Where were you?  You didn’t call or anything for almost two weeks.”  Buffy was surprised and not very pleased at the whiney tone to her voice, but didn’t seem to be able to do anything about it.

 

 Way to go, Buffy.  Start the conversation with a nag. That’ll make him want to stay.

 

She sounds like she really missed me.  Guess the time away didn’t change how she feels.

 

 Spike hadn’t been aware of how unsure of her he was until her words flooded him with relief.  As the small ball of worry he’d been carrying around the the last six weeks dissipated,  he gave a sigh and pulled her closer.

 

“Went back to England for awhile,  pet.”

 

She sat up with surprise.  “England?  What were you doing there?”

 

“Had some business to take care of – and, the Watcher wanted me to talk to some people....”

 

Buffy’s eyes narrowed dangerously.  “The Council,” she said flatly.  “He had you talk to the Council.  I’ll kill him.”

 

The vampire smiled and squeezed her gently.  “’S alright, love.  I was careful.  Didn’t actually meet with anyone until we were sure I would be safe.  Started with one of Rupert’s old friends and he kind of ran interference for me.  The Watcher wanted to know if you – we -- would be safe from the Council of Wankers if they found out about us.  So he had his friend do some diggin’, then gradually broke it to him that he wanted him to talk to me.  He didn’t tell them my chip was gone – figured asking one of them to meet with William the Bloody knowing I was free to kill again would be askin’ a little too much....”

 

Buffy looked at him with confusion.  “Digging for what?   To see if other Slayers have fallen in love with vampires?”  She laughed in disbelief.

 

“Actually, love, that’s exactly what he was looking for.” Spike said seriously.

 

“What?  He expected to find something like that in the records?”

 

“Well, not in the records they use every day – can’t have their people thinking vampires might not all be something to be staked on sight – but in the old Watcher’s Diaries.  Seems like we’re not as special as we think we are...” He smiled at the indignant look on her face.  “Well, maybe special.  But not as unique.”

 

“So... other Slayers have....”

 

“Not a lot.  Most don’t live that long, you know? “ He wanted to bite his tongue when he felt her flinch at the reminder of how short her life was expected to be.  He pulled her up so that she was looking into his deadly serious eyes.  You are going to – live, I mean.  As long as I have anything to do with it.  You’re going to be the longest lived Slayer ever – you’ll be the only one running around with a walker, beatin’ poor fledgling vamps over the head with it as they dig their way out of their graves.”

 

Buffy smile at the mental image of herself as a little old lady still slaying vamps in Sunnydale.

 

“Think you’ll still be around by then?  When I’m old and ugly and—”

 

His possessive growl startled her, but gave her the same familiar tingles that it always did.  “You will never be ugly to me.  And, yes, I’ll still be here.  If you still want me to,” he added softly, his insecurity showing through the macho bluster.

 

“I will always want you here,” she said shyly, forcing herself to look him in the eye so he could see the truth in her.

 

“And I will always be here.”  He met her look and she felt herself falling into those beautiful eyes.

 

Without consciously willing it, Buffy’s mouth moved closer and closer to his and they were soon lost in the sensations created by soft, supple lips and strong tongues.  Kisses that ran the gamut from soft and tender to heated and passionate and back again kept them occupied for a long time.

 

During a break, Buffy came back to Spike’s conversations with the Councel of Watchers.   “So, what did they find out about Slayers and vampires?”

 

“Well, it has happened before.  Not always with a happy ending,” he admitted.  “It’s always an older slayer.”  He laughed at Buffy’s snort of indignation.  “Not old, love, just not some little fourteen, fifteen-year-old virgin.  And, always an older vampire – usually a master.” 

 

“Why is that, I wonder?”  she mused aloud as she absorbed the information.

 

“Probably because the older slayer has had enough time and experience to show some discrimination in her slaying.  She’s not just out to kill everything that moves.   Same thing for the master.  He’s got some control over his bloodlust.  He’s got the ability to think past his demon.  And, an older slayer is a very good – or very lucky—” He laughed again when she punched him on the chest.  “Anyway, the two would be too well-matched physically for either to kill the other straight away.  Giving them time to get to know each other.”

 

“Makes sense, I guess,” Buffy agreed.  “But it doesn’t happen very often, right?”

 

“No, only a few times since Watchers' started keeping their journals.  And some of those times, the slayer’s watcher staked the vampire – or the Council terminated the slayer.”

 

“Terminated?  You mean like they fired her?”

 

“No, sweetheart.  I mean they terminated her.  Permanently.”

 

“Assholes,” Buffy muttered.  “I knew I didn’t like them.”

 

“Yeah, they’re a right bunch of wankers,” he agreed.  “But we needed to know that they would be alright with this.  I didn’t want to put you in danger,” he said gently, stroking the side of her face.

 

Buffy leaned into his hand, closing her eyes contentedly as she asked, “And are they?  Okay, I mean.”

 

“I think so.  ‘Course they think I’m still chipped.  I figure by the time they find out it’s not true, I’ll have a track record of helping you fight the bad guys and they won’t come screaming for my dust.”

 

“Over my dead body,”  she vowed, the Slayer very clearly present for a moment.  Just as quickly, the young woman was back and she eyed him speculatively.

 

“I’ll bet I know something that’s unique about us.” She smiled at him and ran her hands up his sides. Her smile got wider as he hissed and she felt him grow hard again inside her.  Ignoring his questioning look, she sat up, straddling him and began moving.

 

“Uhhhh,” he groaned as she rode him slowly.  “We’re bloody good at this, but I don’t think we invented it, love,” he gasped as he clutched her hips and pushed up into her.

 

When Buffy’s panting whimpers told him she was reaching her release point, he flipped them over so that he was on top and she was looking up at him.  She searched his face with her eyes wide, as though looking for something in particular.  Whatever she saw in those intense blue eyes burning into hers, was what she was looking for and she yanked him down, grabbing his throat with her blunt little teeth.

 

 “Mine!” she gasped as she shuddered beneath him.

 

Spike’s demon reacted before he even realized what she’d done, and before her teeth were even through his skin, his fangs had sunk into the mark on her neck and he growled, “Mine!” as he exploded within her.

 

Teeth buried in each other’s necks, the two arched into each other and shuddered as wave after wave of orgasm swept through them.  Buffy’s bite released when she lost consciousness from the constant waves of pleasure rolling over her.  As soon as she let go,  Spike’s demon withdrew and he collapsed on top of her, completely unaware of anything except the warm body under his and the incredible power flowing through his body from her blood.

 

Buffy came back to awareness with Spike feathering her face with kisses and murmuring over and over,  “Love you, love you, love you, love you,” as though it was a mantra.  She basked in the feeling of emotional and physical contentment for a minute, then had to interrupt his litany of “love you”s to request some space to breathe.  He moved to one side with a mumbled apology, but never let up the kisses he was showering on her face and neck.

 

“So,” she breathed softly, “Does this mean you’re my long-haul guy?  That you’ll still be here when I’m old and gray?”

 

She almost flinched from the devotion in his eyes as he stopped his kissing to stare into her face.  “There was never any doubt, love.  You didn’t do that just because you thought I might leave you, did you?”  His heart ached that she might have doubted him enough to have made a commitment she really didn’t mean.  He could feel tears prickling behind his eyes and blinked hard to try to keep them there.

 

Great!  Verbal moron Buffy strikes again! What did I say?

 

She reached up a tentative hand and touched the one tear that had escaped to run down his cheek.

 

“Spike?” she asked softly, her own eyes filling with tears.  “What’s wrong?  I thought you’d be happy....”

 

“I am happy, love.  You have no idea.  I’m just afraid that you don’t really understand what we just did.  That you’ll regret –“

 

She stopped him with a hand on his lips.  “No regrets, Spike.  I knew what I was doing.  This means we’re bonded forever, right?  I’m yours, you’re mine – for as long as we have together?  Isn’t that what you told me?”

 

He nodded slowly, unable to speak around the lump in his throat.

 

Well, she might as well know now what a nancy-boy she’s got herself.

 

Willing him to see how serious she was, Buffy said slowly and carefully,  “ I love you, Spike.  I want you with me for the rest of my life.  Are you okay with that?”

 

“Yeah, I think I’m good with that,” he finally got out.  At a loss for words for one of the few times in his life, he folded her into his arms and resumed his kissing.  “I’m very, very good with that,” he added, vowing to himself once again that she would be the longest- lived Slayer ever.

 

 

The End

 

Whew!  I knew there was a reason I wrote mostly short fics!  Hope you liked it!

 

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