***Part Eighteen***

The doorbell rang just as Spike finished a cup of blood. "I got it," he called up the stairs, knowing it was Xander at the door. Spike had finished getting dressed more than an hour ago. What was taking Buffy so long he did not understand. Then again when his wardrobe consisted of black jeans it was not that difficult to choose what to wear. Choosing his shirt was the most difficult task for Spike. Tonight he wore a white T-shirt underneath a royal blue button up shirt.

"Harris," he said as he opened the door.

"Spike," Xander replied evenly.

"She'll be down soon. At least I hope so. She's been up there getting ready forever. You'd think she's never been to the club before in her life."

"I imagine you have something to do with it."

"Me," Spike said, surprised the whelp would say such a thing. "No, she's just cleaning up after having to take care of three vamps in the high school's basement today."

"But this is like your first date, isn't it?"

"I guess, though I'm not sure why if it's a date you're tagging along."

"Good point," Xander said and shrugged. "I don't know. She asked me to come so I said yes. I haven't seen her much this week."

"Not my fault. I don't keep her chained up or anything."

"I wasn't accusing you, Spike."

"Just making that clear. She's free to come and go as she pleases."

"That's assuming she wants to come and go," Buffy said from the doorway. Both men turned to look at her. She had come home from her day at school with a gash on her face and her body sore from taking on three vampires simultaneously. The cut was still visible, but she looked so stunning that Spike wagered no one would notice the flaw.

Her hair was crimped and teased. Her makeup while subtle accentuated her cheekbones, eyes and lips perfectly. Her lips looked deliciously kissable and Spike had to stifle a groan at that thought. The dress she wore he had seen before but had never paid much attention to it. Paying attention to her clothes up until now could prove deadly to a man who craved and loved her. She dressed to tease and arouse and it very rarely failed to have the desired affect. At least on Spike, though he doubted humans were any more immune to her than he was even if she did not date them. Tonight it was a brown mini-dress with a halter-like bodice that tied around her neck. It left her back bare and far too much of her cleavage exposed considering where they were going. But she looked amazing.

"Wow, Buffy, you look hot," Xander said as Spike gave the other man a low and threatening growl. He still had problems controlling his demon at times and it seemed Buffy was his weak point; jealousy was where he had the least amount of control. "Sorry Spike, but wow."

The silver chain she wore was long enough that the cross she wore nestled between her breasts. No matter what she did with it men were going to look and not at the cross she wore. She wore a pair of silver earrings with crosses dangling from them. "Apparently you're not wanting to get kissed tonight."

"As if that's a bad thing," Xander interjected. "I for one could do without you two kissing all night. Especially since I'm without a kissing partner."

Buffy wrapped her arms around Spike's neck and his arms went around her waist holding her against him. He was careful not to bring her too close, did not need a burn mark through his new shirt. It was nice and white and he preferred to keep it free of cross shaped stains. "You don't like my outfit, honey," she asked in a voice laced with seductiveness. She kissed him her lips barely touching his. "And see I can kiss you without burning you."

"Right of course you can," he said, drawing her closer. "And I do like the outfit. You're going to raise my body temperature is what you're going to do."

"That's the plan," she said, tracing a finger along his ear.

"Okay you two let's go before one of you forgets I'm in the room."

"Oh hi Xander," Buffy said, turning in Spike's arms so her back pressed against his chest. His hands clasped together at her abdomen to hold her warm body against his for as long as she wanted to stay there.

"Hey Buffy. You look nice."

"Yeah, I got that. Thanks. You both ready to go? Why am I the only one dressed up? Well, Spike doesn't need to answer that because Spike is Spike and he dresses the same way no matter what."

"Hey now, pet," he objected. She ground her bottom against him and slid an arm up and around his neck, placing her head in the indentation where his collarbone met his shoulder. "Play fair," he growled warningly in her ear. "I'd get dressed up if I had reason to, but it's just the Bronze."

"Let's go. There's much fun to be had. Dancing, music, friends. No responsibilities."

"Hey, Buff, you know Dawnie can stay with me anytime you need her to."

"I know, Xander. It's not that. I just like not having to worry about her for a couple of nights. Call me selfish, but it's nice to let my hair down and worry about Buffy. And Spike."

"I like the sound of that," he whispered in her ear and drew back quickly, his demon visage taking over briefly. "Holy mother of god. Did you have to wear crosses on your ears?"

She giggled. She actually giggled. "Sorry."

"Yeah, you're sorry all right. I'll just have a burn shaped like a cross on my cheek all bloody night."

She turned to face him and scowled, evidently seeing no burn. His human mask fell back in place as she touched the side of his face where his flesh had come in contact with the earring. Spike knew he had not been in contact with the cross to produce much of a burn. "You don't have a burn mark."

"Don't sound too disappointed, pet."

"I thought I'd really hurt you."

"It'd take a lot more than that to hurt me, pet. You should know that by now."

She blushed deeply and Spike chuckled. "Yo, guys, let's go before the Bronze closes."

"Yeah yeah," Spike said, offering Buffy a hand as he led her outside. "We'll take Buffy's car."

"What," Xander said. "What's wrong with my car?"

"Nothing, other than it looks like a car that a construction worker takes to work every day."

"And Buffy's looks like a mom's car."

"Hey," Buffy countered. "Need I point out that it was my mom's car?"

"Sorry, Buff."

"It's okay."

"It really doesn't matter whose car we take we're only going to the Bronze and back. Xander, are you drinking tonight?"

"I might have a beer or two, yeah."

"Then why don't we take my car. Spike can drive there and if you both drink I can drive home. I wouldn't want to drive your car, Xander."

"Fair enough," Xander said with a nod, opening the rear passenger side door of Buffy's Jeep.

The Bronze was busy when they arrived but not packed. The band playing, The Heducces, was a new band so it was fair to assume that all but the die hard Bronzers were staying away or would come later when the band had time to really get into their groove.

Spike paid the cover for all three of them causing Xander to fall to the ground feigning shock. "Get off it, Harris or next time I won't be inclined to be generous."

"But, Spike, you paid for something. I mean you actually paid. I saw you put money into the bouncer's hand. If you weren't incapable of getting viruses I'd be inclined to think you were sick."

"I'm warning you, Harris."

"You're warning me what? That'd be a lot more menacing if you could actually hurt me."

"Oh I see a table, guys, over there," Buffy said as she led the way.

Spike stopped and placed a hand on Xander's shoulder and Xander tensed at the vampire's touch. "I've been gone for a few months, Harris. How do you know where I was or what I was doing? Do you really want to piss me off and test your hypothesis that the chip is still there and functioning?"

Xander's eyes widened as Spike's words sunk in. "But you're here and you're not killing people. So it can't be malfunctioning."

"Right. And Buffy would let me live with her if I was out draining humans dry left and right."

"Uh, Spike?"

"Yes, Harris?"

"If the chip is no longer working and the only thing keeping you good is Buffy, let me say right now I'm scared. Very scared. No offense, but Buffy does not have a track record for her relationships working."

"You should be scared, Harris," he said calmly, too calmly, removed his hand from Xander's shoulder and walked in Buffy's direction to join her, leaving a shocked Xander in his wake.

Spike stood with an arm around Buffy waiting for Xander to join them. It would take Xander a few minutes to digest what Spike had told him. It went against what Spike was trying to do with his unlife right now to torment the lad like that, but he could not find it in him to let Harris get under his skin or get the last word in. Let the whelp fear him, he was still a vampire after all it was all right to use that to his advantage. It had to be.

"So, pet, what are you drinking tonight?"

"Just Coke. You and Xander can have whatever you want."

He smirked. "Is that permission you're giving me?"

"No," she said, her tone cautious. "I was just saying drink away if you want to. Buffy will drive home."

"That in itself is a scary enough idea to drive me to being a teetotaler for the night."

"Hey, I've been driving since school started. I'm getting better. No accidents. What's a teetotaler," she asked flustered. Spike chuckled lightly and was about to respond when he noticed her attention was no longer on him. "Oh good, he came."

"He who?" The last Spike had looked Harris was still getting chummy with a girl.

"Robin. Principal Wood."

"You invited him here?"

"Well, yeah," she said, standing from the stool waving in the principal's direction. "You said you wanted to meet him."

"I was thinking more one on one. Like I was going to pay him a visit one day."

"Yeah, I know what you meant. And hello? Jealous vampire boyfriend does not play well with Buffy's boss. So I decided to save you from embarrassing me and invited him here tonight. It'll be fun."

"Right," Spike whispered sardonically.

"Miss Summers," said the clean cut black man as he approached their table. Spike assessed him discreetly, easy enough to do given the dim light in the club. He was dressed in a suit. Great another Giles. He seemed about as uptight as Buffy's Watcher, too. No wonder she liked him. Though he had an earring.

"Hi. Glad you made it. It's a new band tonight so I can't promise their musical goodness." She leaned in toward Spike. "Where's Xander," she queried, her eyes darting around the dimly lit club.

It was not exactly the innuendo he had hoped to hear whispered in his ear and he sighed softly. "He's talking to some girl."

"Oh really," she asked, following Spike's gaze. "Good for him. Go Xander."

"Indeed," Spike said with a roll of his eyes, not at all caring if Xander ever got laid again. He allowed Buffy a few minutes to realize she had not introduced the men to one another. When she apparently did not realize it, he pushed forward despite his instinct telling him to flee before his mouth got him into trouble with Buffy. "You must be the principal Buffy has told me so much about. I'm William," he said, offering the man his hand in an attempt to be polite. "But most people call me Spike."

"Nice to meet you. And yes, I'm the lucky one to have gotten the job as Sunnydale High's principal."

"Lucky or damned," Spike said with a slight smile.

"It's not so bad yet. I've got Buffy to thank for some of it I suppose. You know, I was told this job would be a challenge, but I had no idea what they meant until I actually got to the school."

"Most don't want to believe in monsters that go bump in the night."

"Spike," Buffy whispered in a warning tone.

He glanced at her not sure why exactly he was being reprimanded. "I guess I'll go and get your Coke then, Slayer." He eyed the principal. "Do you want anything," he asked, hoping the man would say he would get his own. He was not exactly jealous of the principal, but Spike could not help but be a little alarmed. Things did not go well with Riley in part because of Riley's youth and inexperience. True, he had military experience, but from what Buffy had said about the twit he was one who did not ask questions. This man was older and was aware of who and what Buffy was. Spike believed Buffy needed whatever it was within him and Angel, but he would not put it past Buffy to give another, older, human a try if the opportunity presented itself.

"Just a Coke, thanks," the principal said, reaching into his pocket to pull out his wallet. He handed Spike enough money to cover all of their drinks. Spike looked at the money and then at the man. "I don't know how long I'll stay, so let me get the first round."

"Right, mate, thanks," Spike said and walked toward the bar.

"So, you come here often then?"

Buffy inclined her head to aid her in hearing him and nodded. "Not so much anymore, but in high school we came here all the time. Most everybody in my group of friends is gone now, so it's not quite as fun anymore."

The band started their warm-ups. "I see. Is Spike one of those friends?"

"Oh sure I've known Spike for years. I don't know that he's part of that group exactly," she said with a light laugh. "Do you ever dress down, Robin?"

"Sometimes," he said, offering her a smile. "Hey, I've got an earring, that's got to tell you I can let my hair down." Buffy laughed, considering he had no hair. "So to speak," he added as if he knew why she laughed.

"I just assumed it was leftover from your youth."

"And just how old do you think I am?"

"Oh I don't know. Older than me. So that would mean you're more removed from your youth."

"Very astute observation," he said and Buffy was not sure if he was mocking her. It was hard to tell with Robin. He was so serious all the time, even when he was making jokes. "I'm just not sure how well received it would be if we were seen socially together."

"Why not? Coworkers go out after work often."

"Sure, but I'm not your coworker, Buffy, I'm your boss and I'm asked enough questions about you and your qualifications to be where you're at as it is."

"Oh," she said downtrodden. "I'm doing all right with the kids, aren't I?"

"You're doing fine, Buffy. Relax."

"Okay good, because I really don't want to have to go back to the Doublemeat Palace."

He laughed loudly. "Is that what you were doing," he asked.

"Yeah," Buffy admitted. "Not much I can do with a high school diploma when I need evenings off. Not to mention the flexibility of being able to come and go when things are prowling in the daylight."

"I suppose that would be problematic. Well, if nothing else whenever your time with the school board is up you'll have an endorsement from us. It can't hurt your future career path."

"I suppose not," she said, not bothering to tell him she really was not planning on much of a future. Anything from last year forward Buffy considered borrowed time.

"Hey, Buff, where'd Spike go," Xander asked when he approached the table. The band had started playing by now. They weren't bad, at least so far.

"To get drinks, if you want something you'll have to get your own."

"No problem. Who's this?"

"My boss. Principal Wood. This is Xander Harris. He helped build the high school."

The two men shook hands. It was far more relaxed than the exchange of hand shakes between Spike and Robin had been. "Hey, good to meet you. Buffy's told me a lot about you, but I'm at a different sight now since the school opened so I haven't gotten over there."

"No problem, that's good. That means nothing's wrong with the school."

"Right," Xander said with a nod of agreement.

"Here you are, pet," Spike said, setting three plastic red cups on the tabletop. He handed Buffy her Coke first, placing her boss' in front of him second and keeping the cup of beer for himself. "Didn't get you anything Harris, thought you might not be with us after all."

"I can get my own."

"Thanks Spike," Buffy and Robin said in unison.

"Right," Spike said and took a seat across from Buffy in between Harris and the principal. Spike did not miss the look Buffy gave Xander and was glad to know he was not the only one who would have preferred sitting nearer to Buffy.

"So, Harris, what happened to the girl you were putting the moves on?"

"She's dancing."

"And why aren't you dancing with her," Buffy asked.

"I don't dance."

"You've danced with me," Buffy said, taking a sip of her Coke.

"She's right, Harris, I've seen you at least once."

"Come on, guys," Xander protested.

"What if Spike and I go with you?"

"Hey now, Slayer, I never said I danced."

"Fine then," she said as she stood and took Xander's hand, leading him to the dance floor too quickly for Spike to protest.

"What are you doing, Buff? Spike," he said, glancing back toward their table. "Are you trying to get me killed," Xander asked on the dance floor.

"I'm not trying to do anything. Spike doesn't want to dance and you want to hook up with the girl. Buffy does want to dance and obviously so does the girl. So here I am, Buffy to the rescue." Xander was searching for the girl he had been talking to. He was not much of a dancer. The few times they had danced, whether just the two of them or as a group, he had more or less just stood there while she or she, Willow and Tara had danced near him. Tonight was no different. But the band was pretty good and Buffy wanted to dance. She did glance at the table to make sure that Spike and Robin were getting along or at least not involved in some testosterone thing. "What's her name anyway?"

"Amanda," he said into Buffy's ear. Buffy had her back to him as she danced staying close but not too close. No sense in giving the girl the impression Buffy was with Xander. That would defeat the purpose of getting him out on the dance floor.

The band segued into a cover of "Young At Heart". "Go ask her to dance, Xander. She's here dancing with other girls," Buffy said as soon as the song started. She stepped away from her friend. "Go," she said and made her way back to the table.

"Hi," Buffy said, taking a seat next to Spike. "Are we having fun yet?" Neither man looked like they were having a great time. They did not appear as if they were about to lash out at one another so hopefully they were not fighting.

"Harris got the stones to ask her, huh," Spike said.

"Yeah, I kind of made him. Left the dance floor and he would have looked like an idiot just standing there."

"Well, it seems to have worked because they're dancing."

"At least somebody gets to dance tonight."

"Hey you did dance."

"Not slow dancing."

"Did you want to dance then, Buffy?"

"Not to this song. It's pretty lame. I mean, this is one of those old guys right? If I request a song will you dance with me, baby?"

"I guess I can grant you one dance."

"Thanks," she stood and put her arms around him and kissed him. She remembered the cross earrings at the last minute and drew back making the kiss much shorter than she meant to. "I'll be right back."

Spike and Robin both watched Buffy retreat and work her way through the club crowd. "I take it Buffy's your girlfriend," the principal said, bringing Spike out of his thoughts.

"Yeah," Spike said with a nod of his head his eyes on Buffy who was at the stage platform now.

"She doesn't talk much about her personal life. In fact, she barely talks about her non-student interacting activities."

"Come again."

"She's not very forthcoming about what she does. She doesn't report to me about the activity at the various schools, I was just told it was in my best interest to have her on my campus."

"That's an understatement," Spike said. "Have you actually researched what happened to the previous principals? Let alone how the high school got destroyed to begin with?"

"Well, I've been told what I need to know, which probably isn't much."

"Gotta love bureaucratic red tape."

"Don't I know it," Robin said, taking a sip of his Coke. "I'm glad to have her on my campus though. She was hurt when she left today, but she wouldn't hear of a stop at the nurse's station."

"Yeah. She wouldn't unless she was," Spike shrugged searching for a time when Buffy would actually ask for help.

"In a coma?"

"Yeah, that would stop her from protesting I'm sure," Spike said with a chuckle.

"You know, she never mentioned a boyfriend."

"Well, I was out of town for a while and you said yourself she's not very forthcoming. Is that a problem for you?"

"Not at all. A girl like that, though," Spike followed the principal's gaze as he watched Buffy walk toward the table cutting their conversation short. Spike was curious just what the man was going to say about Buffy. What kind of girl did he see her as? Perhaps it was better he not know.

"They're going to play it soon they said."

"That means they know the song you wanted?"

"Yeah, surprisingly. I wasn't sure, but it's something I think you might like," she said, offering Spike a smile.

"I'd like it better if I could just sit here and not have to dance."

"I'd love to stay, but I think I'm going to call it a night," Robin said, finishing off his Coke. He set the empty cup on the table and stood, offering his hand to Spike. "Have a good time, both of you. I'll see you on Tuesday, Buffy. Have a good long weekend. I hope your sister enjoys her mini-vacation."

"Thanks," she said smiling brightly. "I'm sorry you didn't stay longer."

"It's alright I'm just a little old for this scene. But thanks for the invite."

"You're welcome. Good night."

"He doesn't seem too bad."

"I told you he's not. I think he's a little lonely."

"That's what happens to people who move to new towns, pet. He'll get over it soon enough."

"I guess. It was hard enough moving here in high school. I couldn't imagine doing it as an adult. Knowing you probably won't live more than a few months to a year at your job."

"Well, he seems to think you will add some years to his life expectancy."

"I hope I do," she said simply. "Just because I don't like the thought of anyone dying on my watch. Principal or not."

"I know, pet."

"Oh, good, here's the song," she said as the lead singer announced the song they would be playing next. She stood from the stool and held her hand out to Spike. "Oh come on, you promised."

"Well, I didn't exactly promise," Spike contradicted. "But all right. This better not be some pansy song about only having eyes for you or some such nonsense."

"Oh come on, Spikey, where's that poet that I know lurks inside of you?"

"Pardon me, pet?"

"You heard me," she said with a wink.

"Oh great, you're making me dance to some whelp song. Slayer, I thought you knew me better than that." The sound of drumsticks striking cymbals albeit mutely did not have the sound of some sappy love song which made Spike realize that maybe he had underestimated his Slayer. As the guitar and bass joined the drummer Spike realized this might not be so bad. He did not really have to move anyway, did he? Buffy could dance around the Statue of Liberty herself and not notice her partner did not move.

On the dance floor her arms went around his neck as she began to grind against him in time to the music. Had there been no music it might have been obscene, but it fit with the music perfectly. He chuckled when he heard the hard rocker's voice sing his raspy version of a ballad.

It's another lonely evening
And another lonely town
But I ain't too young to worry
And I ain't too old to cry
When a woman gets me down
Got another empty bottle
And another empty bed
Ain't too young to admit it
And I'm not too old to lie
I'm just another empty head

"They're still dancing," Buffy said as she turned so her back was against Spike, an arm draped around his neck as she used his body like a stripper might use a fire pole on stage.

"Who," he asked gruffly. Was he supposed to be watching anyone but her? If she expected him to do that she had a screw loose. From where he stood and the way she was moving against and along the length of his body he had a perfect view down the top of her dress just earlier in the evening he had mentally complained about revealing too much. His hands went to her hips. It was easy to forget for the moment that he was trying to be a gentleman and touch and caress her like there was no tomorrow. She was here, in front of him, dancing with him, rubbing against him, looking incredibly hot and sexy for him and he wanted to touch her.

That's why I'm lonely
I'm so lonely
But I know what I'm gonna do -
I'm gonna ride on
Ride on
Ride on, standing on the edge of the road
Ride on, thumb in the air
Ride on, one of these days I'm gonna
Ride on, change my evil ways
Till then I'll just keep dragging on

"Xander and Amanda," she said breathlessly, turning in his arms to face him as one of his hands made its way to the small of her back and lower to her bottom.

"Oh, is that the git he was sniffing after?" He had to imagine this was exactly what the Young brothers and Scott had in mind when they made this song. It certainly was not a romantic song, but the beat was slow and seductive very appropriate to grinding and rubbing against your partner.

"Spike, don't be crude."

"Well, isn't that what he's doing?"

"I suppose so and yes, that's her."

"We don't have to stay and talk to them, do we?"

"Spike, we drove remember?"


"I take it that's a no. It was your idea to take our car instead of his."

"Me and my big mouth."

Broke another promise
And I broke another heart
But I ain't too young to realize
That I ain't too old to try
Try to get back to the start
And it's another red light nightmare
Another red light street
And I ain't too old to hurry
Cause I ain't too old to die
But I sure am hard to beat

"I kind of like your mouth, when you use it for the right things," she whispered before nuzzling against his ear. Her lips parted and her blunt teeth closed around his earlobe tugging on it gently swirling the end of it with her tongue before releasing it. She found the side of his neck then and nuzzled against it before licking and nipping as she had done to his earlobe. One earring had evidently stayed in contact with his neck for a little too long because her tongue met with a tiny but fresh burn mark right under his ear.

But I'm lonely
Lord I'm lonely
What am I gonna do -
Ride on
Ride on, got myself a one-way ticket
Ride on
Ride on, going the wrong way
Ride on, gonna change my evil ways
Ride on, one of these days
One of these days

"Slayer, you're killing me."

"What? You don't like my choice in songs? Is it not sappy enough for you?"

"I'll never think of Bon Scott in the same light again. I'll forever have a picture of you against me in my head."

"Good," she whispered, placing several feather light kisses against his neck and throat. "That was the point."

Ride on
Ride on
I'm gonna ride on
Ride on, looking for a truck
Ride on
Ride on, keep on riding
Riding on and on and on

"That was the last song of our first set, but we'll be back in about twenty minutes," the lead singer said before turning off his microphone. The members put their instruments away for the break and left the stage in pursuit of beer and a cigarette break more than likely.

"Well, they got my song in just in time," she said, kissing him.

"I guess so."

"Thanks for the dance."

"Well, you're welcome though I didn't do anything but stand here."

"But you felt good."

"That's my goal in life, pet, to feel good for you."

"You could make me feel better still," she whispered, pressing against him and purposely rubbing her breasts against his hardened chest. Her eyes fluttered closed, her lips parted as a soft, subtle gasp escaped her throat at the contact against her already painfully aroused breasts.

"I can, can I?"

She nodded in affirmation. "But not here on the dance floor," she added, running a finger along the length of his jaw. She followed the path of her fingertip with her mouth, stopping at his chin and kissing him.

"Do we have to wait for Xander or can we just give him the keys and tell him to practice safe sex in addition to driving your car home safely?"

"Eww," she said, drawing away from him.

"I didn't mean in the car."

"Oh good, because eww, that was my mom's car."


"Well, what," she said, kissing along the other side of his jaw that she had missed when detouring to his mouth.

"Can we give him the keys and just walk home? It's not like we haven't walked before."

"Yeah," she said quickly, not wanting to give him a chance to change his mind. Granted, they would be home faster with the car, but if Xander was not ready to leave yet she really did not want to announce to him she wanted to go home for sex with Spike.

Spike fished in his pocket for the keys. "Be right back then, pet," he said, his eyes searching and finding Xander as he walked away. "Here, mate, the keys to the Jeep. Just have it back by Tuesday morning."

"What? You guys are leaving?"


Buffy caught Xander's glance in her direction and merely glanced away. She always hated it when Anya spoke so freely about their relationship, and while she knew she had no reason to be embarrassed she hated that he would know why they were leaving. "Okay, well, here are my keys in case you need a car."

"Thanks, Harris. Have a good night."

"You too."

"Oh I plan on it."

"More than I needed to know," Xander called to Spike's retreating back.

"All set," Buffy asked.

"Yeah, Xander gave me the keys to his car. Maybe he's hoping to have a long night."

Buffy smiled. "I hope he does. He deserves it. But so do we. So let's go."

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