Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

***Part 1***

Spike stood in the shadows watching as the witch and her friends left the factory with the aid of Angel and Buffy. He meant what he had said when he left the Magic Box earlier, he no longer had need for the little witch to do a love spell. Drusilla had left Spike because he had gone soft, had lost that edge that had made him a suitable companion for her. That same edge that had attracted her to Angelus, both one hundred years ago and recently while stripped of his soul. He vowed that telling Angel and his little girlfriend where the witch and her friend were was his last soft deed.

On his walk from the shop to the factory his thoughts of Drusilla were replaced with ones of Buffy. Replaced was perhaps too strong of a word, superimposed might have been more accurate. The two were night and day difference, there was no comparing the two, and taking Buffy would be entirely different than taking Drusilla. Buffy could never replace Drusilla nor could Drusilla ever replace Buffy. Spike had seen that evidenced in Angel, even when he had lost his soul. He had toyed with Dru, had taken pleasure in her but it was more to antagonize Spike. Of course, Angelus got off on the pain of others so Spike had expected little else.

Spike had sensed soulless Angelus missed whatever it was Buffy gave him. It was not Buffy he missed, but love or a sense of what it was like to be human again after over two hundred forty years. Spike did not claim to understand it, he had tried as a human to understand love but other than his efforts at poetry about the elusive emotion he had failed at ever obtaining it for himself. So to have a human lover, have a human love him was something Spike could not fathom. But he realized he would be interested in fathoming it. Because being in love with Drusilla was just another version of torture and Spike was tired of torturing and being tortured. At least for now.

Spike's first thought had been revenge on Angelus for driving a wedge between Spike and Drusilla to begin with. He would take Buffy, convince her that Angel was unworthy of her. Hell, at least Spike could shag her, she obviously wasn't averse to doing it with the undead. He had heard once a human had a taste for it their interests rarely strayed from that path.

The fools wanted to deny they loved one another, which was fine with Spike particularly now. Perhaps Spike could benefit from their mutual denial of feelings stronger than friendship. If he were pressed about his sudden change of heart as to their being in love, Spike could claim a bout of drunken delusions.

There was of course the fact that Angelus was one of the biggest bastards when he was without a soul. If it were advantageous to him, Spike would not hesitate to remind Buffy of that. That and the fact she had not even received the full court press from Angelus. Yes, Spike imagined Angel's soul loomed large over the couple, waiting for the ball to drop. The first time it was sex that proved to be his true moment of happiness, who was to say that it had to be sex the next time.

As he thought of the Slayer, revenge no longer had the appeal it did earlier. Just as his desire to see her dead as he had planned when he had arrived in Sunnydale had dwindled the more he had seen her in action. Spike was not immune to her appeal. She was attractive, perky in a modern American girl way. She was not overly bright, but compared to Dru she was a Doctorate candidate. Not that that made Dru less appealing, but Spike did have to admit that caring for her and her childlike behaviors sometimes was tiresome. He was curious what it might be like to know a strong woman, one able to fend for herself, one who would not be dependent on him and therefore maybe he would not get so dependent on her like he had on Dru.

Two nights later Spike found himself standing across the street outside Buffy's house. The friend who had been hurt the other night at the factory, Cordelia, would be all right. He had actually gone to the hospital to inquire after the girl. He was not exactly sure why and refused to dwell on it. He had been invited into Buffy's home, both by Buffy and Joyce, but he stood on the street hesitant to go inside.

Buffy had not been pleased he had returned to Sunnydale, perhaps she had revoked the invitation as she had done to Angel when he had turned. There was only one way to find out. Her mother had gone out and Buffy had not yet left for patrolling. He could stand out here and moon over her like a child or get on with business.

He did not knock, he did not bother with the doorbell. He merely entered as if he had every right to be there. There was less chance of a neighbor noticing him lurking if he looked as though he belonged there. Spike was curious to know if any of Buffy's neighbors noticed that she left her house at all hours of the night and how well Joyce was thought of because of it.

He ascended the stairs quietly and found her room. His hand clutched the knob and he paused for a moment. "What in the hell are you doing," he said under his breath and let his hand drop from the knob. He could be a vindictive bastard as well as the rest of them, but suddenly he was not so sure of doing this. He did not particularly care about angering Angel, what thread of friendship they had shared once upon a time had long ago unraveled and snapped.

His eyes widened when Buffy opened the door not at all surprised to see him standing there. "Come in or stay out, just make up your mind, please."

"You knew I was here?"

"Well, no, I did not know it was you but I knew someone was. I heard the floorboard creek and Mom's gone."

"And yet you answered your door unarmed. I could have been anybody."

"If you were here to kill me, Spike, or if you were someone who was I don't think you'd have taken this long to decide whether or not you were going to knock or burst right in."

"Point taken."

They stared at one another, neither saying anything and Spike wondered if neither knew what to say. He was unsure of just why he was here and he was quite sure she had no clue. If she did she would be holding a stake up to his chest about now.

She stepped away from the door and sat on the edge of her bed, her hands at either side clutching the mattress beneath her. She was a fairly small girl with little about her to suggest she was as strong as she was. Spike knew how strong she was and how deceptive her appearance was. Despite the apparent invitation, Spike remained standing in the doorway. He was unsure if her retreat was an invitation for him to enter her bedroom or not, and was trying to be polite. There was some semblance of the gentleman he once was left in him.

"What do you want," she asked her head cocked slightly to the side. A gesture she used a lot, but Spike was not familiar enough with her to know what it meant.

"Your friend, she will be all right?"

"The one that fell at your dilapidated factory you mean?"

"Yes, that one."

"Well, I don't know that I would place her in the friend category, but she's fine. I have a feeling she will recover from her physical injuries faster than she will the emotional ones."

He must have reacted, must have physically given way to the fact that he had no idea what she was talking about because she continued. "Well, she found Xander kissing Willow."


"It hasn't been pretty. Xander and Cordelia broke up, I don't know about Willow and Oz. I would like to think they're strong enough but ya never know."

"I never intended for anyone to get hurt."

"You know, Spike, funny thing that I believe you. I'm glad to see though that you are not still moping around about Drusilla. You are too good for that."

"You think so?"

"Sure. If she bailed on you then it is not love, at least not the two-way street type of love, and no one deserves to be on the giving end of love and not the receiving end."

"Bet it hurt like a son of a bitch when Angel lost his soul."

She winced, averting her gaze and Spike briefly felt bad that he had to bring this point up. She had to be reminded what Angel would become should he lose his soul once more. Chances were good after spending the equivalent to hundreds of years in Hell, the Angelus that came to be this time would be hundreds time worse. The funny thing about Hell, it was similar to America's prison system, it reformed few.

He took a step, crossing the threshold from hallway to bedroom. "And to think that was before he'd spent some time in Hell."

"Is there a reason you came here tonight?"

"I struck a nerve with that one, did I? You didn't care for your beloved Angel without his soul, but you could not stop loving him, stop hoping that he would come to his senses, that a part of him would remember you, remember the love you shared, remember the moment of happiness you experienced together that caused him to change. Funny thing is, he did remember those things but Angelus hated you for them, hated that you made him feel human again even if it were only for a little while."

"Shut up."

"You know, I wonder if he even remembers."


"Remembers the events that led up to his losing his soul once again, you know attaining that one moment of true happiness. I'm sure you remember like it was yesterday, but for him it was generations ago as far as humans go."

"Stop it."

"Cutting a little too close to home, am I?"

"Just tell me what you are doing here. I doubt this has anything to do with Drusilla or Angel."

He laughed, his head resting against the doorframe before he pushed himself off of it in a fluid movement. Just as quickly he stood before her. His eyes met hers as she turned her face up to look at him.

"Spike, I," Spike stopped her from saying anything further by placing a fingertip over her lips.

"I am not here about Dru, Buffy. I am here about you."

She lowered her eyes and drew away breaking the contact between his finger and her lips. "What about me?"

"I think we both deserve love, don't you?"

"I," she paused and Spike smiled at her uncertainty.

"It is not a trick question."

"Okay, yeah I suppose so. Sure who doesn't? I don't give much thought to things like love, Spike. My life is a little too complicated for such things."

"On the contrary, it's because your life is complicated that you deserve such base things," he said softly, his voice a whisper-like caress. He knew the power he could wield with his voice. He could frighten, awe, seduce, or drive a person crazy with it if he wanted to. "You definitely deserve comfort, someone to make you feel safe and be strong for you when you are unable to be strong."

"What makes you think I don't feel safe on my own?"

"You should not have to do it all on your own, Buffy, that is the point. You should have someone that can console you when you lose a battle and who can help you fight the next battle."

"I already have that."

"But do you really, Buffy? Angel cannot give you the one thing that I expect sometimes you need most, the best way to get rid of stress or the adrenaline rush I know you get while slaying. How long is kissing going to last you? You had one taste of what it could be like and that's it? You don't crave it? Tell me you don't."

"I don't think about it really."

"You should think about it. He's your friend, right, so that means that there is no reason someone else can't pursue you." She smiled, that cute little half smile Spike had seen her bestow upon Angel and others she cared about when they said or did something she found amusing. "I amuse you?"

"What? Are you volunteering for the job?"

"I was thinking about it. You seem to like vampires, why not a real vampire, without a soul who is capable of caring anyway."

"I didn't choose," she averted her gaze, leaving the sentence unfinished and Spike smiled knowing full well what she was going to say.

"You did not choose to love Angel? Well, which is it, is he your friend or your lover?"

"We're friends," she said adamantly with too much conviction.

"So then why are you surprised I'm volunteering for the job as you said a moment ago?"

"Just a couple of days ago in a drunken stupor you kidnapped two of my friends so that one of them could perform a love spell to aid you in getting Drusilla back. You went all poetic on Angel and me at the magic shop about love and what it means. And now you stand here telling me you want to be my boyfriend instead of Drusilla's?"

"I'm tired of Drusilla. The more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me she done me a favor, the bitch has."

"Very nice."

"She is a bitch, even you cannot deny that is what she is."

"No, but she wasn't my girlfriend."

"And your boyfriend is Satan's right hand man. So what is your point, little girl?"

"There is a good way to win me over, insult me and call me a little girl. I did not think you were a pervert, Spike."

"It was an expression. You are still so young."

"You and Angel love pointing that out to me when it suits you. I am old enough for you both to fuck but nothing else, is that it?"

"I never said anything about fucking, Buffy, and if that is the taste Angel left you with then it seems I need to teach my boy a thing or two about pleasing his woman."

"I never said anything about Angel. Don't read more into my statement than what it was. I am sick of the two of you, and others, telling me how young I am. Obviously, the Council sees sixteen as being old enough or I would not have been chosen when I was."

"So let's stop talking about Angel then, Buffy."

"You are the one who brought him up. For someone wanting me to forget about him you are not going about it real well."

"What is there to forget? Do you always need to forget about your friends?"

"No, I don't."

"All right then, come out with me tonight."

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me. Get dressed and I will take you to the Bronze."

"You can't be serious."

"I am quite serious, Buffy. Or is it that I am not good enough for you? Having a soul is not everything you know. People with and without souls can perform evil acts just as easily as they can perform good acts. At least with me, you know what you are getting, I am not going to go shag you one minute and go postal on you the next."

The look on her face told Spike he had struck a chord with her. He had not meant to hurt her and for once believed silence was perhaps his best bet. He sensed somehow that going to the Bronze with him was not out of the question so he remained quiet. Whatever his words had meant to her could be forgotten.

But then he got a flash of something in his mind, a memory but it was not his memory. It was the connection he had with Angelus, Angelus's blood coursing through his veins. He did not see them having sex, but he could feel Angel's complete happiness and knew that this was the memory he was connecting to at that moment for some reason. And then his mind flashed to afterward, the things Angel had said, the way he had treated her with Buffy not knowing what had happened or why. No wonder she had that look on her face.

"Christ," he whispered. And she still loved him despite that. Angel had taken her innocence out of love and thrown it back in her face afterward. Angelus had to have known and could have at least for a few minutes not been his usual cruel self.

"I didn't realize vampires talked to God."

"Hmm," Spike asked clearing his mind, the memory fading. "I was not talking, I was swearing. One of the great things about being eternally damned, I can take the lord's name in vain all I want."

"I will go sign right up after that ringing endorsement."

"Sarcasm does not suit you," he said with a slight lift of his lips into a smile. Either she was not dwelling on the bitter memory his remark had brought up or she was better at hiding her pain than Spike gave her credit for.

"Yeah well, it helps sometimes."

"So will you come with me?"

"To the Bronze?"

"I believe that was my offer, yes."

"And you have no ulterior motive here? You have no plans on attacking my friends or anything?"

He laughed deeply with a shake of his head, stepping to the window which he leaned against. He crossed his arms over his chest and cocked his head to the side. "Now do you really think I would invite you to come with me if that was my plan?"

She seemed to think on this a moment before saying, "no, no I suppose you wouldn't. It doesn't make much sense to invite the slayer along to your party if your game plan is destruction."

"Exactly. So this invitation is merely that, an invitation. It was the tamest of my ideas and the one you were most likely to say yes to."

"Ideas for what?"

"To get to know me, of course."

"Get to know you? Why would I want to do that?"

"Because you deserve better than a friend and I deserve better than Drusilla. You said it yourself."

"I don't know that I was exactly volunteering for the job, Spike."

"I realize that, but I am going to start my interviews with you. You got a problem with that?"

"No, I suppose not," she said tousling her hair which Spike wished to hell she'd stop doing. She was nervous, he could smell it on her and imagined the hair thing was because of that nervousness. But still it was sexy in an innocent sort of way, particularly because he was quite certain she did not know it was sexy.

"So you will come with me then? I can't guarantee I will be much of a dance partner, but I will try."

"You are planning on dancing with me?"

"Why not? That is what you do when you go to that place, is it not?"

"Yeah, it is just," she shrugged and looked away. "Angel would never dance with me."

"His loss."

She looked at him again and he offered her what he hoped was a charming smile. Her eyes scanned the length of his body and he let her peruse. He had dressed casually in a pair of jeans, a white T-shirt and a black leather jacket and boots. He probably wasn't dressed for the type of dancing she was used to doing but if it was something Angel didn't do then Spike would go out of his way to try. "You are not exactly dressed for dancing."

"I was under the impression no one ever much noticed what the men were wearing, only the ladies."

"I suppose that is right. All right. You have to get out of my room so I can change, and I need to patrol for a while, too."

"I can go with you."

"You are going to help me patrol?"

He shrugged, a hand in the front pocket of his jeans. "And why not? I have helped you in the past a time or two."

"Only to save your own neck."

"Well, now I have an interest in your neck and not seeing that it is broken. Or bitten."


"Me or my little joke?"

"Your joke." She walked to her closet, Spike watched as she looked through her wardrobe for something to dress in for the evening. It was different knowing she was dressing with him in mind.

"Wear the black."

"I have a lot of black things, Spike. If you see something in particular that you want me to wear you will have to do better than that. I cannot promise I will wear it, but I will weigh your choice with my choice."

He pushed himself off the window frame and moved to stand next to her. "This one," he said pointing to a black tank mini-dress.

Both were quiet for a moment as he ran a pale hand along the length of the dress. Spike could picture it on her and wanted to see her in it. The need was something base and primal, the dress itself bordered on inappropriate but it was nothing any less appropriate than he had seen other girls wearing.

"Listen, Spike, if you are looking for more than just dancing and some company I hate to tell you this, but I am not your girl."

He spun her around to face him, a hand on either shoulder. His body pressed against hers, forcing her against the closet door. "I am looking for you to be my date, to take you dancing dressed nicely for me, and maybe if I am lucky I will have proven myself to you enough to get a kiss good night."

"Don't count on it."

"Which part? The kissing," he said pressing his body into hers further. His hands moved from her shoulders to either side of her head against the closet door.

"Yeah, the kissing part."

She was not nearly as cold hearted or averse to kissing him as she pretended to be, Spike could sense it. And with that knowledge came power. She had been so busy brooding over Angel that she had probably not paid Spike much attention, but he was here now and Angel was not. Spike, if nothing else, was a man who took advantage of opportunities.

They were alone in her house, her mother was out and she was currently looking up at him with eyes that betrayed her confusion. He took advantage of that confusion and dipped his head so his mouth slanted over hers. This was different than kissing Dru so he had to make a conscious effort to withhold some of his ardor. Dru did not mind a little fang against her mouth when they kissed, Spike sensed somehow that Buffy was not the same way.

It had been decades since he had kissed someone with so much gentleness, so much uncertainty. He was not uncertain of his abilities, but merely her willingness to reciprocate. His hands slid from the closet door on either side of her head down until he felt the curve her hips. He caressed her there, his hands against her hips and thighs, deepening the kiss slightly when she did not stop it. He encircled her waist with his arms and drew her against him.

"Spike," he heard her say though it didn't register right away the kiss had been stopped. He could understand why Angelus would be so bitter about her making him feel. Spike himself felt things he was unfamiliar with. Unlike Angelus, however, Spike did not believe those feelings made him less of a man - or a vampire. He drew away, his hands remaining where they rested at her hips, feeling the warmth of her body against his. He said nothing, though.

"We can't do this."

"Why? Kissing never hurt anyone."

She sighed softly, Spike felt the warmth of her breath against his chin. "You asked me to go to the Bronze with you."

"And so I did," he said softly, his chin rubbing across her forehead.

"This isn't going to the Bronze, Spike. My mom likes you, not that I know why, but I don't know that she would like you anymore if she caught us together in my room."

"Well now, we would not want to go and upset your mom, would we," he said drawing back but not before placing a relatively chaste kiss against her forehead. "Wear that dress and I promise to behave myself for the rest of the night."

"You don't keep your promises so well, Spike."

He winked with a wide smile. "Well now, you never know this is one promise you might not want me to keep. I'll wait downstairs."

He left the room, laughing as he closed the door behind him. The look on her face told him his remark was not too far off, perhaps it was more herself she did not trust than him.

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***Part 2***

Buffy stared at the door once Spike had left the room. "You're crazy," she muttered as she turned away. She paced the floor for over ten minutes stopping only when she heard a knock at the door.

"You in there, Buffy?"

"I'm here." She smiled slightly. "I didn't crawl out my window to escape if that's what you're asking."

He did not say anything else, but Buffy knew he was on the other side of the door. What in the hell was she doing going to the Bronze with Spike? What would Angel say if he saw them there together? She stopped walking at that thought and found herself standing in front of her closet, the dress Spike had chosen still somewhat askew from the rest of her clothes.

"I'll be down in a minute." She took a hold of the hanger, drawing it and the dress out of her closet. She heard Spike's retreating footsteps and sighed softly. She was probably making a mistake, but she had to admit that going dancing after patrolling did sound appealing. It was a way to burn up the energy she always had when done for the evening. She closed the blinds in her windows before changing into the somewhat skimpy black dress. She had sexier things, so she supposed she should have been glad Spike chose this dress over the others.

Fifteen more minutes passed before she finally descended the stairs, her blonde hair and pale skin offset by the black she wore. She entered the living room expecting to find him sitting on the coach or a chair in there waiting for her. "Spike," she called out when she didn't see him. She felt him rather than heard as he stepped into the doorway and she turned to face him, pushing some of her hair behind her ear as she did.

"Where," she started to ask but was stopped short by the look in his eyes. It was absolutely predatory and not in the evil sense of the word, she would not have hesitated to stake him if that was the look she saw. Rather it was predatory in the sexy sense of the word, the type that said he wanted to devour her with no vamp biting as part of the plan.

She shook her head and swallowed hard to clear her mind of those thoughts. She had never found Spike sexy. Revolting yes, sexy no. Then again, she had never let him kiss her before tonight either. "Where were you?"

"In the dining room."


"Because I knew you would look for me in the living room and I wanted to watch you for a minute."

"Oh," she said simply, realizing she should say something much wittier and insulting than that but she could not quite come up with a flippant remark. If he wanted to look at her, who was she to say she did not appreciate a guy finding her nice to look at? Okay, so he is not a guy, he is a vampire, and on top of that he is Spike. "Sorry I took so long."

"That's all right, pet, I could almost hear the wheels turning in your head debating over doing this. I almost expected you to be wearing what you were a few minutes ago, come down to tell me you had changed your mind."

"No. I mean, I have to go out to patrol anyway, and dancing will be good to do after patrolling."

"All right, so we're good to go then? You got your stakes and other stuff you need to patrol with?"

She shrugged into her jacket and nodded. "Yeah. Do you want some, too?"

"I suppose I should. I am going to be about as unpopular as you if I show up there with you tonight."

Buffy glanced at him as she flipped her hair out from being caught in between her back and her jacket. "You don't have to patrol with me."

"I know bloody well what I do and don't have to do with you, Buffy. Give me a stake, don't give me one. If you don't trust me not to stake you then we should just forget about this night altogether."

"Well, I might be an idiot, but for some reason I do trust you despite the little voice inside my head telling me not to. If you had wanted to kill me, you would have made your move by now."

"Maybe I just wanted to see if you would really dress for me."

"No," she said offering him a wide smile. "You wouldn't want to get this dress dirty."

Instantly, Buffy knew she had made the wrong comment. Not because her comment upset or insulted him, but he was no longer looking at her with indifference. The predatory look had not departed his eyes, but his eyes had been focused on her face until now. She clutched her jacket and forced herself to stay still under his intense gaze.

"The jacket makes no difference, Buffy. And you won't be wearing it all night."

"Maybe I will," she offered as a challenge. He was right, if they did in fact go to the Bronze, she was not going to keep the jacket on to dance.

"I have seen the way you dance, love, and there is no way you could dance more than two minutes without shedding that jacket as quickly as you could."

"You've watched me while I danced?"

"We had best get going if you want to patrol and before I say something to lose my date for the night."

"I'm not your date, Spike."

"Whatever you say, Buffy."

"This is not a date." She locked the front door once they were outside and turned to find him watching her intensely.

"What's wrong with having a date with ol' Spike, Buffy? It's not like I'm asking you to marry me or anything. Call it whatever makes you feel more comfortable, but if I'm going to get up on that dance floor and make a bloody fool of myself, I'm going to call it a date."

She had gotten used to her dates with Angel being the two of them alone together that the idea of an actual date in public with other people around and watching was foreign to her. She could list a few things wrong with dating Spike, but for whatever reason he had chosen to call a truce with her. It might not last past tonight, but if he could do it so could she. If he expected her to let her guard down, he was crazy, but she could still have fun. And as he had said, Angel was not her boyfriend anymore.

"Fair enough, it's a date. But I have the right not to announce that to any friends I see at the Bronze."

"Wait a minute now, you don't think I have a bit of reputation on the line myself, taking out the Slayer and all."

"You came to me, Spike, not the other way around. Why do we have to go around telling anyone we're on a date?"

"I have no need to, but if another fellow asks you to dance I expect you to get out of it."

"I wouldn't do that, Spike. I mean, even if I'm not sure how real a date this is, I wouldn't go off dancing with some other guy when I was with you."

They were basically silent as she patrolled. They talked here and there, but nothing significant. Buffy heard the whole sordid mess about Drusilla and she had to admit she felt a little sympathy for Spike. It made sense, too, why he would not want her dancing with other guys if they were out together. She had never really pegged him as caring about anyone but himself.

She had assumed that the relationship he shared with Dru was out of necessity and convenience. They obviously had similar tastes in things that Buffy was not even sure she wanted to think about. She was no Drusilla, and it made her curious why Spike wanted to go out with her of all the girls he could go out with. There were girls around Sunnydale who would take one listen to his accent and one look at his Billy Idol like hair and bow at his feet. Perhaps he just did not like something that easy.

What was most impressive about their patrolling together was that he stayed out of her way and unless she asked for help did not interfere with her subject. Buffy was not altogether sure just how old Spike was, he was not as old as Angel or Drusilla were she knew that. But she did know that he came from an era where women were typically defenseless and men came to their rescue. She wondered if that was part of his reasons for having stayed with Dru, she was obviously not stable mentally and would need him.

She took a sideways glance in his direction, his hands in the pockets of his leather coat. He called himself "The Big Bad" and he certainly fit that image, complete with a scar over his left eye. They had stopped to take a listen, both having heard something when she turned to face him. She reached to touch the scar without thinking about what she was doing or why. "How did this happen?"

"A fight of some sort, I don't quite remember. Why, don't you like it?"

"No, I don't know that I could picture you without it, I was just curious." She should not have touched him, she knew it but it was too late. His hand was around her wrist and the tug she expected him to do removing her hand from his face never came. She opened her eyes and looked at him, she could have very easily gotten her wrist out of his grasp if she wanted to.

When her eyes met his he lifted her hand from where it rested against his cheek. Her fingertips against his scar were the last of her hand to be lifted away. His skin was cool to the touch, not warm like a human's, but she could still feel the difference between his skin and the night air against the palm of her hand. And then he was kissing it and it was not feeling so cool anymore. She started to tell him to stop as he changed. Her breath caught at the feel of his lips parting and the tip of fang grazing her skin. She was too startled by the gesture, having expected him to try and kill her not tease her to react beyond a slight trembling of the hand he was teasing. He drew back after a moment, returning to his human form and kissed her palm.

Buffy was not sure what to say, he still held her wrist, watching her. She was not sure what her face and eyes were telling him, hopefully they were letting him know she was startled more than anything. She refused to think about the fact that what he had just done had excited her. She had kissed Angel when he was in his vampire form, but it had been different, a kiss, nothing seductive. Spike's kiss and teasing of his fangs to her hand was seductive and her excitement had nothing to do with love which was different. She had boyfriends before Angel, but she had just been a girl and it had been before she was chosen, before she had known what love and making love was.

He slid his arm around her and drew her to him. She tested his hold on her wrist, tugging just enough to cause resistance. They both knew she could break his hold if she wanted to.

"Sorry," he whispered, his face hovering just above hers. "I couldn't resist."

Her mind was screaming at her to put a stop to this, but her body did not seem to be in sync with her mind. Her lips parted as her eyes fell closed and she merely stood there and waited for what she knew was to come next.

The kiss in her bedroom had been somewhat forced and Buffy knew Spike was holding back. Just what or how much she was not quite sure, but she had known, felt and sensed it. This kiss felt the same way, as if he were holding back, but the feeling was there and she knew that it was not faked or forced. He wanted to kiss her. His hand around her waist slid to the small of her back and lower to her bottom, her mind and body were again conflicted. Her body won its second round as she moved closer against him, bringing her free hand to his neck.

He released her wrist at the moment she moved to pull it away and the kiss was broken for a moment as they both looked at one another. Her mind was no longer in such terrible disagreement with her body, he kissed well enough to render her mind in agreement with her body to want more. Her hand went around his neck bringing her body flush against his.

He must have sensed she was not going to be bold enough to initiate the kiss again, because he did. The fingers of one hand found the back of his head, making their way through his spiky short, bleached blonde hair. Her other hand slid inside the collar of his T-shirt, her nails finding his skin as the hand that had been securely around her wrist moments ago found her ribs. His thumb grazed the underside of her breast, causing her to arch her back.

"Buffy," he said softly as he broke the kiss.

She tilted her head to find him watching her, his blue eyes intense, evidently watching her for something. A reaction or response to his calling her name she presumed. Instead, she just returned his gaze, waiting for him to talk.

"Before I do something real stupid, let's get to the Bronze. Unless you were of the mind to work off that after patrolling adrenaline in a more primitive way."

"What if I said I did?"

"Which? The dancing or the more primitive stuff?"

She smiled, drawing her hand from his hair. "Maybe I want both."

Spike was quiet for a moment, long enough that Buffy looked at him puzzled. "Both," he finally said.

"Yeah, you know, both. Maybe we could come up with some primitive dancing."

"Were you talking at the Bronze or privately?"

She rolled her eyes and stepped away from him, he sighed sounding exasperated and Buffy smiled a little. "Let's go to the Bronze for a while, all right? Then we'll see about the private dancing later."

"Right," he said under his breath.

"Hey, you were hoping to get a measly kiss from me if you played your cards right, so don't go grumbling about my wanting to dance for a while."

"I don't know that I would describe your kisses as measly or meager, love."

"No? What would you describe them as?"

"Christ, as if you need to ask. And if you do, you have been kissing the wrong boys." She said nothing, just looked at him. "Oh all right, I normally don't bite when a girl is fishing for compliments. But just this once I'll bite. They're nice, sexy, definitely leave me wanting more."

"And so you object to going to the Bronze, dancing with me, knowing that the adrenaline will get pumping even more because?"

His eyes fell closed and he groaned softly. He was quiet for a long moment and Buffy wondered if he was internally counting to ten. "Because I don't bloody well feel like making a fool of myself tonight and have you deciding that kiss was enough."

Buffy thought on this. She was not that great of a dancer herself really. She just got on the dance floor and moved, but honestly she didn't care what anyone else thought of her. Spike obviously did. "Well, maybe we could come to some sort of an agreement?"

"Such as?"

"Well, come on now, Buffy, out with it already," he prodded when she was quiet.

"What if I didn't make you dance anything but the slow songs, but I could dance the others if I wanted to?"

"And I'm supposed to agree to letting you dance with other blokes because I'm feeling generous tonight? I don't think so," he scoffed as he stepped away from her to light a cigarette.

Buffy leaned into him, an arm going around his neck and her lips less than an inch from his ear. "Because I'm going home with you not them," she whispered before kissing his ear. She drew back as he started to cough, her comment and kiss having the reaction she had hoped for, he swallowed wrong as he was inhaling the smoke. She took the cigarette from between his lips, took a drag, and winked as she handed it back to him.

"All right, we can work out something I suppose. I don't have to be the jealous type I guess. So I don't have to dance but the slow ones, is that right?"


"But I can watch you, right?"

"As much as you can stomach watching, sure."

"I am not sure this is going to be a good idea, but I'm willing to give it a go," he said falling into step beside her. "I have been known to have a bit of a jealous streak in me."

She placed a hand across his midsection and glanced around, her senses alert to the fact they weren't alone. "There's someone out here, Spike," she said calmly. So far she could not sense a threat to them, but she wanted him alert in case it came at him instead of her. Demons did not always care for one of their own killing their own kind and Spike had helped dust at least one vamp tonight.

"Don't worry, I feel it too, but thanks, love, for the warning."

She was about to comment on the pet names he seemed to develop for her all of the sudden and had used as often as he had used her given name tonight, but refrained. The night was going too well to ruin it by being petty and she knew he didn't mean anything by them. He probably called every girl he was not trying to kill by some sort of name. She shuddered to think of the kinds of names he had for Drusilla, pet and love seemed too tame for her.


Spike knew who it was and was surprised Buffy did not. He had sensed Angel's presence, which was the reason he had broken the kiss. He did not mind an audience, but he wanted it to be just the two of them should anything beyond kissing occur. He would not have minded giving Angel a show, it would have been justice as far as Spike was concerned but Buffy deserved better than that. And with the touching he had been getting away with, something told Spike more would have been allowed had he pushed it. But any woman who had their first experience with sex turn out the way Buffy's had deserved to know there was more than that. He was not counting on him being the one to show her, but things were certainly looking better than they had at her house. If he could keep her from seeing Angel, he imagined his chances would stay pretty good.

He moved behind her to stand at her left dropping his right hand in her left. He hoped she noticed that he had left her staking hand free. "Let's go then, eh? If they wanted to hurt us, they would have made themselves known by now."

"I suppose you are right," she said glancing around them once again.

Wherever Angel was he was well hidden, Spike knew he was nearby but could not sense where he was. She did not remove her hand from Spike's, a surprise he welcomed. He could not help but smile wickedly as he tilted his head back, out of Buffy's view. Take that, Angel, my friend. Even with revenge no longer a factor, Spike could not help but enjoy knowing Angel was suffering. Angel would pay Spike a visit later, but if all went well, he would not leave Buffy's until tomorrow's sunset.

Spike did not normally have a wallet full of cash, but it just so happened he had come by some earlier in the evening so he could in fact treat Buffy as a date should. Of course, without the money he would not have suggested going to the Bronze to begin with.

"If you want to grab us a table, I'll get us something to drink." He released her hand then, placing his in the pocket of his coat. "Are you hungry? I could order us something to eat." Buffy smirked at him. "What? What'd I say?" He was unaware of anything he had said that could be construed as funny or offensive. Bloody hell, he had never taken a girl out really besides Dru, not in this day and age. It stood to reason that offering her something to drink and eat was customary.

"Nothing. Nothing at all, it's just strange that's all. I mean, you're really treating me like a date, offering to buy me food and everything. Normally you come here and steal my friends' money."

"Well now, I only do it because it's there and I'm not one to turn down an opportunity." He really had not planned on offering to take her out on a date, but if she wanted to believe that was his intention from the get go this evening he was not one to argue. It seemed to make her feel better. "So were you hungry then?"

"Sure. Order whatever you want, though, I'm not really that picky."

And before he knew it she had turned from him and was gone. Now what in the hell was he supposed to do? Order her food, yes, but what. Not being picky to a seventeen year old girl was clearly relative. He made his way up to the bar, got drinks for them both and ordered a few different appetizers based on the bartender's recommendation of the three most popular choices. He had passed on the onion that looked like a flower, onions and kissing did not mix and he hoped to be doing at least more of that tonight. Chances were good of the three he chose she would like at least one of them.

He remained by the bar for a few minutes watching the crowd and Buffy's reaction to the crowd specifically. The food would be brought to the table, so he took their drinks and made his way through the various people to Buffy. Someone he walked by was bleeding, the wound was fresh and Spike had to push back the hunger the scent awoke in him. It would not do to give into his desires this evening, not when he had fed more than enough before going to Buffy's house.

"Here you go," he said setting the tacky red plastic cups on the tabletop. "Can I sit next to you then?" He noticed she had removed her jacket, so he would have won the bet had she taken it on how quickly the jacket would get removed once here. Spike suspected, though, had she actually taken the wager she would have suffered for as long as she could have just to win.

"Thanks. And sure," she said gesturing to an extra stool.

"So our deal still stands then? I get the slow ones."

He watched as the question sunk in and she averted her gaze for a moment. He did not bother trying to follow her eyes as they looked around. She was not looking for anyone or anything in particular, just looking not to look at him for a moment. Perhaps she was a little shaken by that kiss in the alleyway, hell he was a little shaken and he had been kissing for a number of years now.

Buffy might be surprised at his inexperience before Dru had turned him, but it was not something he admitted to very often. And he was not all that sure that experience as a vampire nullified inexperience as a human being.


"Yes, our deal still stands, but I don't know that I'll dance more than the slow ones anyway. Whether you're a boyfriend or not, this is a date and I wouldn't do that to a regular date."

"Are you saying this is turning into a regular date?"

She met his gaze, her green eyes widened and then narrowed and Spike wondered if he had asked the question at the wrong time. He was going to give up, call it a night and go home if she came back with some sarcastic remark. He was trying to be nice, trying to be somewhat normal and respectful, trying to bring out a bit of the man he once was, but if it was going to get thrown back in his face he'd swear off Buffy Summers and go on a feeding frenzy for the rest of the night.

"I guess it is," she said propping her hand under her chin, her elbow resting on the tabletop.

He touched her forearm with the backs of his fingers. Kissing him outside in the dark where no one would really see was different than letting him touch her in here where anyone could see. But she did not pull back from his touch, so he left his hand there. "Well, if you really wanted to dance I would not stop you from doin' it."

"I know, and I guess that is why I would not do it. If you had tried to get all cavemanish on me and told me I could not even though it is something you do not care to do I might have gotten a little mad. It was your idea we come here after all."

"I know, which is why I said it. Honestly, when I was your age," he shrugged and stopped talking.

"No, tell me. When you were my age what?"

"Well, unless a man and woman were betrothed or married, he was not guaranteed more than one dance on her dance card. If a gentleman was granted more than one dance, well, that was a fairly significant event. So the idea of a woman I am escorting dancing with others is not entirely foreign to me, but times have changed and there are some things that I am grateful to see no longer followed."

"That would be strange I suppose, to watch the world you knew come and go, to give way to a new one repeatedly. I mean, you were there for electricity, the telephone, radio, and wars. Lots of wars."

"Don't get all philosophical on me now, Buffy," he said with a light laugh. "But yes, I've seen a few things in my time. Sure. But so have you, if you think about it. I mean, we all do, things are always advancing."

"Were you married?"

He almost didn't get the sip he had taken down without choking at that question. "Excuse me?"

"You know, marriage, a wife. Did you have one?"

"No, no wife."

"No children either, I suppose."

"Hardly. I would have needed the wife to have those."

"Not necessarily. And don't tell me that men and women didn't have sex outside of marriage back then, because I know they did. We may not read about it, but it happened."

"Of course you're right, but no I had none of those either. I believed in love, a foolish notion perhaps, but I believed in it and believed a wife and children should come as a result of that emotion."

She frowned and Spike wondered what he had said that had puzzled her. "So where does Drusilla come into the picture?"

"Dru? Well, she caught me when I was down, when I'd felt a gutter was the best place for me. And I had a momentary lapse of reason. Her offer sounded rather appealing, I don't know that I regret it. I suppose if I truly did I would have walked out into the sun years and years ago by now. Rules sucked anyway and she gave me what I needed to be able to finally shirk the responsibility that came with living among society."

"There had to have been easier ways to go about shirking responsibilities than getting turned into a vampire."

"True, but again as I said, she caught me in a moment of weakness," he shrugged. "I have seen and done many things. I cannot say she necessarily did a bad thing. I am here with you now when I would not be otherwise, so I reckon she done me a favor."

Buffy grew quiet then and Spike himself had little more to say, at least not about Dru and the time she had turned him. There were plenty of other things he would have preferred talking about. The last few words had been meant as a somewhat flippant complimentary remark, but had come out sounding a little too sincere. He had grown to love Dru and she him, but she was not here and Spike realized that Dru had been right about his buried feelings for the Slayer all along. No wonder he had been unable to follow through with his plan to kill her.

Baskets of food being delivered to their table saved him from having to say anything more. He was curious to know, though, why she cared if he had been married. Even if he had been, his wife would have been dead long ago. He knew some vampires who had spouses who had remained faithful and loyal until their spouse died. Spike was not overly sure he would want to watch someone he loved whither away and die. But at one time he was a man who believed in love and marriage and the vows and promise that accompanied the institution and he imagined he would have been duty and honor bound to remain by his wife's side until the time of her passing.

Until now, the idea of having romantic involvement with a human since he had become vampire was a notion he had never entertained. As Buffy bit into one of the mozzarella sticks, he began to see Angel's plight more clearly now. Spike had been gone until recently, so he had never really appreciated the fact that Angel might be staying away for both their goods. The soul issue was just part of the problem. Watching the girl he loved age or die of an incurable disease that Angel would not be susceptible to would be difficult.

Whether it was good or bad, Spike was not afraid of it. Love scared the hell out of him. He and Dru loved one another in a warped sort of way, but Spike was not sure it was the love conquers all, survives all type of love. Well, obviously it was not or he would not be sitting here with the Slayer.

The food eaten, dances danced with only one done by Buffy without Spike and she had danced with a group of girls she knew from school. She had been dead on accurate that watching her dance was not a bad thing, it certainly did not lessen his need for her. He held her in his arms while they danced a handful of times, which left him oddly content. No matter what might happen after they left Spike could be content with what had already happened between them.

For her to let him hold her indicated trust, though he sensed she was conflicted about instilling trust in him. He had no soul to lose, true, but he could befriend her and then for whatever reason turn on her without the soul as a reason. He was coming back from the bar when he noticed her friend Xander had helped himself to a seat at their table. Both had their backs to him, as they were facing the dance floor watching the people dance as they talked.

Spike was not purposely being sneaky, but he was curious what Buffy would tell Xander about whom she was here with and if she admitted it was Spike how she explained it. He, unfortunately, could not get close enough to the table without making himself obvious.

So he did the next best thing, pretended he had not seen Xander when he approached the table. Setting their drinks on the table top, he accompanied it with, "there you go, love. I know you said you did not want anymore, but I figured what the hell why not splurge tonight and get you another one anyway." He placed a hand on her shoulder and his eyes finally rested on Xander, and he hoped he successfully looked surprised to see him. "Well, I guess Xander here can have it if you don't want it."

"He can have it, I don't want anymore tonight. But thanks. I'm going to go dance one last time. I'll see you tomorrow at school Xander if you leave before I'm back."

"No problem, hey, see you tomorrow," he said. Buffy stood and left the table for the dance floor while Xander took hold of the cup and brought it closer to him. "Thanks for the drink, Spike."

"Well, I didn't really buy it for you, but you're welcome."

"So you must be rebounding pretty severely to be hitting on Buffy, huh?"

"Hitting on her? I asked her to come here with me, nothing wrong with that. She seems to be having an okay time of it."

Xander's gaze met Spike's, neither man giving an inch in the stare down. Xander broke first, which pleased Spike in some childish way he chose not to dwell on. "Yeah, I guess she is. I can't say that I'm glad it's you showing her a good time."

"Well, it's a good thing I'm here to show her a good time and not you, isn't it then, Xander?"

"She's not over Angel yet, you know."

"I reckon she's not. I'm not him if you hadn't noticed."

"I've noticed, so has Buffy. There's a reason she doesn't care for you much."

"Didn't. I think that should be in the past tense. And I'm well aware that she didn't care for me, the feeling was quite mutual. That was then, this is now," he shrugged and took a sip of his drink. "She never staked me, though, ever thought on that. How many vamps has she not batted an eye about dusting and yet the Big Bad is still standing."

"I can't say that I understand Buffy's logic at times. I imagine it had something to do with you being friends with Angel."

"I am not friends with Angel. I was friends with Angelus. Two different souls," he said with a light chuckle at his pun.

Xander downed his drink, setting the cup on the table. "Just don't hurt her, Spike, or I'll come after you personally. She's already been hurt by one vamp, maybe she's a glutton for punishment to go out with a second one, but she isn't up for any of your games."

"And who says I'm playing a game?"

"Yeah, you never play games. I lost my girlfriend you know because you only days ago were all gung ho about getting your ex-girlfriend back. And now you're here with Buffy. Can you say rebound?"

Spike held his temper in check, the only reason being that this was a friend of Buffy's and he did not feel like getting her pissed off at him when things had been going well so far. "You don't know a thing about it. It's a date, surely you know what those are. I'm not asking to court her, go steady with her or marry her, it's just a date."

As he spoke, his eyes fell on Buffy and a clean cut looking college aged guy hanging around her. Buffy was dancing with her friends, but this guy was not having any of that. He looked fine, but Spike didn't like him and he liked him even less when he saw the guy's hands go to Buffy's waist. "If you'll excuse me, but I think I need to go rescue my date."

"I don't see her begging to be rescued."

Spike stood and pushed the stool underneath the table with his foot. "Look at her, Xander. Look at her face, her eyes and tell me with as well as you know her she looks pleased to have that sleaze ball's hands on her."

Spike didn't give Xander the chance to reply, merely grabbed Buffy's jacket and approached the dance floor. His senses already heightened because of the scent of fresh blood he had been tormented by all evening at the Bronze and now with his exchange of words with Buffy's friends Spike did not bother to fight off changing. It hadn't pissed her off or frightened her away earlier, it would not now. The dance floor cleared a small path for him, though none surprisingly seemed frightened of him hurting them exactly. Perhaps because he looked like a man - or vampire - on a mission rather than one out for mayhem.

Buffy outwardly seemed oblivious to college preppie's touch, but Spike could smell the anger on her. She was probably just going on with her dancing hoping he would give up and go away. Fat chance that. He placed a pale hand on college boy's shoulder. He smiled menacingly flashing a bit of fang as the guy turned around to face him. "You would do well to get your hands off my date. Are you ready to go about now, Buffy?"

"What," she asked turning to face him. She took a step back when she saw him, but stopped at the one step.

"I asked if you were about ready to go," he prompted again.

Buffy glanced to college boy and shook her head slightly, whether she was irritated at him or at Spike Spike did not know. No one but Angelus had dared to try and touch Dru, so Spike was not overly accustomed to having to share his woman. He saw her retake the step she had taken away from him followed by a second in his direction and he changed again, though his eyes never left college boy. He could smell the fear on the guy and had he been more serious with Buffy that fear would have been justified. As it was, Spike had no right to kill someone for trying to dance with her, but he did have the right to put a stop to it.

He offered her a hand, which she took whether out of willingness or fear he was uncertain. "Is that a yes?"

"Yeah, sorry, I was not really paying attention."

He shook his head slightly and stepped in front of her. "No need to apologize, you were not at fault, Buffy." He spotted Xander out of the corner of his eye and kissed her lightly. He was surprised she did not pull back, but was not surprised that she broke it almost as quickly as it had begun.

"Not here, Spike."

"Not in front of your friends, you mean?"

"No, that's not it. Let's just go. I'd rather avoid getting into a fight tonight if I can."

"As if we'd lose," he whispered before dropping her hand. He slid his hand to the small of her back and walked with her off the dance floor and outside.

"Spike, I know we wouldn't lose, but it's hard to keep my secret if I get into fights at the Bronze."

"Ah yes, the anonymity factor." He turned her to face him, his arm at her waist as he drew her closer. "You act as if I could not protect you. Human form or not I could and you know it."

"I know, but it is not always easy for me to remember I am supposed to be a defenseless girl once the fighting starts. You know?"

It did not escape Spike's notice that while talking she had placed her hands on his chest. "You aren't upset with me for coming at you like that?"

"Well, I was a little, I mean, did you have to go all vampish on the guy?"

"He was touching you!"

"I honestly didn't notice, Spike."

"How could you not notice a man's hands on your waist and hips like this," he asked demonstrating. "Tell me you don't notice that?"

She thumped his chest lightly, but for Buffy even lightly carried some power and she laughed lightly. "No, of course I notice it, but we're out here, together and alone without a dance floor of people around us. I just wasn't paying attention."

"He had more than dancing with you on his mind that one did."

"Why did you change? I mean, I think just tapping him on the shoulder as Spike and telling him to get his hands off your date would have been effective. You can be pretty intimidating."

"Not nearly as effective, no, but I'm glad to know you think so. I had begun to believe you did not pay me much mind at all. And it is just habit you know. I get mad or jealous or feel threatened or whatever and I change. I smelled fresh blood all damned night and your friend Xander was mouthing off to me about how I'm not good enough for you. Apparently all of us vampires fit in the same category and because things didn't work out with Angel it means they couldn't work out with me. I was angry. It's instinct, what can I say. The fight or flight thing I guess and I wasn't going to run away tonight."

She avoided his gaze, her eyes focused on her hands at his chest. At least she hadn't moved them yet. "Come on now, love, don't be angry with me. It's not like I bit anyone or anything. I was controlled, a bit over the top perhaps to emphasize the point that you were with me, but I think the bloke got the picture."

"I'm guessing he won't try and dance with me again."

"Good, whether I'm your date or not. He's bad news that guy is. I could tell."

"Oh please Spike, you can't tell, if you could I wouldn't be here with you right now."

"Buffy, you know damned well if I was something more or different than what I seemed you'd know it, it's in you too, the ability to tell when things aren't what they seem. He wasn't. I don't know what it was, and I don't plan on sitting down to tea with him anytime soon to find out. It's not always easy to tell by what someone looks like to know what's inside of them, Buffy."

"Don't you think that I know that?"

"I think you realize good and evil isn't as cut and dried as you once thought it to be, but I think you're still learning a bit on what it all means." Spike's hand found her hair when she rested her head against his chest, where his heart would be if he had one to beat. Her hair felt smoother, silkier than he had imagined it to feel. "You getting tired then, pet?"

"A little."

"Let's get you home then. I didn't mean to embarrass you."

"You didn't embarrass me, Spike. I just don't like to be stared at, you know? It's one thing to kiss a guy in public, but it's another to kiss one that less than five minutes ago was a predatory demon most run away from."

"Well," he said starting them walking back to her house. "I won't deny I have some very predatory thoughts running through my mind right now, but none involve the public and none involve you running away from me. Not unless you wanted to incorporate it somehow."

"Don't even go there, Spike."

He laughed lightly and kissed the top of her head. "No worries, pet, I won't go anywhere you don't want me to go."

Return to Top

***Part 3***

Buffy unlocked the front door and stepped inside, Spike paused briefly looking over his shoulder. He was not overly worried about the preppie guy from the Bronze following them, only a fool would. He was curious if Angel was lurking somewhere in the shadows. Spike would be waiting to see if the other man left or ended up staying the night if he were Angel.

He stepped inside and closed the door behind him, flipping the light switch turning the exterior porch light off. "Joyce hasn't come home yet," he asked realizing her car had not been in the driveway. Very observant, he chided himself.

"No, she is pulling an all-nighter at the gallery."

"You don't sound too thrilled."

"No, it's just that she spends so much time there."

"Like mother, like daughter, both taking their jobs seriously."

"I guess. So where have you been staying since you've been back?"

"Why? You want to come visit me?"

She shrugged. "I was just curious. I know you're not at the mansion and that factory looks like it's about to implode."

"That's where I have been staying. I hadn't really planned on staying in Sunnydale until the other night. I suppose I should look for something a little more stable."

"Yeah, you probably should if you're going to be here a while." She stood with her back against the wall, her arms crossed over her chest watching him. She was nervous, he could tell despite her efforts to mask it. She had seemed comfortable walking home with him, maybe it was hopeful thinking on his part but still.

He shed his leather jacket and hung it up before entering the living room and taking a seat on the couch, draping his arm over the back. "What's on your mind? Are you scared of me all of the sudden?"

"It would not exactly be a sudden thing, Spike. Tonight is the first night we have not tried to kill one another or threaten to do so."

"There are first times for everything. Why don't you come sit by me? I won't bite," a corner of his mouth curled up into a half smirk. "Not unless you want me to."

"I don't want you to bite me. Do you want to watch a movie or something?"

"Sure. What do you have?"

She walked to the TV stand and opened the cabinet where the videos were. "You choose while I make popcorn. You do like popcorn."

"How could I not?"

"I'm not sure that was sincere."

"Go make your popcorn, Buff. Is there anything you want to avoid?"

"Anything with Dracula in it might be best to avoid tonight."

He placed his hand over his heart. "Oh, you wound me. Vlad has nothing on me," he said with feigned hurt in his voice.

She smiled with a small laugh. He'd take that laugh, though he had hoped for more than that. "It's not necessarily that I think he does, I would just rather not give you any ideas."

Spike followed her into the kitchen, his shoulder resting against the archway frame. He folded his arms over his chest as he watched her get the things necessary to pop popcorn. "The ideas are already there, love, you could make me watch Bambi and they would still be there."

"I could tell you to leave."

"You could, but you don't want to or you would have bid me good night at the front door. Instead, you've invited me to join you for some telly and popcorn."

"I have, haven't I?" Uh oh, he thought, he had made her realize something maybe he should not have - yet.

"Yes, you have. Not that I'm complaining or anything. Sticking around here is more comfortable than the factory."

"Is that why you're here?"

"No. It wouldn't be that difficult to find another place, I just haven't looked real hard. A lot sort of depended on tonight. If you tried to stake me before the evening was done I probably would be leaving Sunnydale real soon."

"And since I have not staked you?"

"Well, I guess I have no plans on leaving again." He took a few steps to stand across from her, the island in the middle of the kitchen separating them. "You know I saw you."

"You saw me?"

"I saw you in LA during the summer, working at some two-bit diner."

"You didn't come in there, I would have remembered seeing you."

"No, I knew you were hiding and didn't want you thinking you needed to run again." Even understanding whatever his feelings for her were less then than he did now, he knew that the Slayer as a run away was not what the world needed. As odd as it sounded, he wanted her doing her job. "I didn't tell anybody I saw you neither I'll have you know. Not even Dru."

She tilted her head slightly as if contemplating his words, probably deciding whether or not she believed him. Hell, he would not believe himself either and she did not know him well. Spike had never made it a big secret that he was out for Spike and screw anything that tried to get in the way of that. But her hiding in LA hadn't gotten in the way of much of anything, aside from Dru.

It was then that the talking in his sleep had started, or so Dru said. He reasoned that it was better to talk about another woman in his sleep than to call out another woman's name during sex. Dru had not agreed.

"Thanks. That was probably the nicest thing you could have done for me. I don't know where I might have ended up had I left LA. I lucked into a decent job, making a decent wage and found a decent apartment. My existence was just that, decent, but it could have been a lot worse."

"You're right, it could have. I wouldn't have let it happen, though. I watched you for a while to make sure you were all right. I would have done something to help you out had I seen you were in trouble."

"Now that I don't know that I believe."

"I wouldn't have given you the chance to stake me or anything, no, but I might have seen to it that something came your way to help you out. A better job or what have you. Believe it or not, I do know people here and there. I'm not a complete waste of space."

"I don't know that I ever claimed you were that."

"All right then. I mean you weren't there slaying, so it wouldn't have been contradictory to help you."

"You know there were times I think I would have welcomed it had you come into the diner and talked to me. I was pretty lonely sometimes. It's hard to make friends when you are living a complete lie."

"Yeah it can be that." He walked to the other side of the island and stood behind her. His arms encircled her waist, drawing her against him as he leaned against a counter. She placed her hands over his resting at her abdomen. He rested his chin at her shoulder, starting when he felt one of her hands touch his face and his hair.

"Ironically, if you had shown yourself to me, I would not be talking to you right now. I would have been mad at you, thought you were following me or something. But God there were times I longed for someone to tell me Mom and my friends were all right."

He was quiet for a moment. He had no reason to be, the answer to that was fairly obvious, but he wanted to stand there for a moment and just enjoy her. "Well, part of that I wager is that you were running away not only from them, but who you were. I mean, had you left them behind and continued slaying I think you would have been all right, but you were running away from your calling. You were chosen to do it, and though I've taken down two slayers in the past and both were challenges I never doubted I would win with the two of them. Two years ago I felt the same confidence with you, but I've watched you since I've been back and you've grown, your strength, your abilities, your speed."

"You sound impressed, Spike."

He tilted his head slightly, taking advantage of their closeness, of her touching him and kissed the side of her neck before finding her ear. "Well, don't let it go to your head or anything."

She laughed and turned to face him. "We wouldn't want that. It might compete with the size of yours."

"Now she insults me?"

"I think I've changed my mind about the movie and popcorn."

Spike knew his disappointment was clearly written on his face. Bloody hell, she was telling him to leave. He had pushed too hard, too fast kissing her neck and ear like that. He knew better and closed his eyes, scolding himself. "All right then."

She stepped out of his embrace and left the kitchen, Spike following her with his eyes. He really did not want to follow her as it would mean saying good night, good bye and chances were she would be back patrolling with Angel tomorrow. He could not very well stand in her kitchen all night either, so he walked into the hallway and was surprised when she was standing on the stairs leading to the second floor.

"I was beginning to think you were going to stand in there all night."

"I thought you were telling me to leave," he said a little sheepishly. Innocents were not his specialty, ironic perhaps given he was that himself once upon a time when Dru found him.

"No, but if you'd rather leave…"

"Uh no, I don't think so. Your mom?"

"She will be gone all night and might come home in the morning to change clothes, but," she said and looked past him out the window above the front door he realized, "it is not morning yet."

He joined her on the stairs, hell he did not need to be asked twice. "You're sure about this? I really don't mind watching television with you."

"I'm sure."

He followed her upstairs and to her bedroom, closing the door as he entered. Her closet and the blinds were closed, she must have closed them earlier as she changed. She slept with the blinds open he knew because he had walked by a time or two the past couple of nights. "I don't know that I ever told you that you look nice in the dress."

"I was wondering if maybe you regretted the choice, but thank you for saying so." She flipped some hair behind her.

She must have read his mind because she struck a match as he flipped the light switch and lit a candle. "Bring men up here often, Miss Summers?"

Her head was bowed, her hair framing her face as she lit the candle. The candle burning, she looked into his eyes without raising her head, pursed her lips and blew out the match. He had seen hundreds if not thousands of matches blown out over the years, but hell if she did not make him feel like it was his first time seeing it done. The gleam in her eyes did not help he supposed. He had not seen that look in a woman's eyes in a very long time, not even Dru bothered to look at him that way anymore. He stared at her, his eyes focused on her lips and then she smiled at him, dropping the match onto the saucer the candle was set on. "No, I like candles and I have a friend who is practicing to be a witch. Sometimes she practices here."

He swallowed hard, once, twice, three times before he felt he would be able to speak again and sound like a man, not a school boy who was going through the change. "I'd forgotten that."

"You don't look so sure you want to be here anymore, Spike. Was this some sort of test?"

He closed the distance between them, his mouth closing over hers as soon as drew her to him. His hands cupped her shoulders, thumbs grazing her collarbones. It was all he dared do at the moment, not wanting to stop touching or kissing her. He did not want to give her the chance to think about Angel, to change her mind about being here now with him. He wasn't fool enough to think he would get another opportunity if she changed her mind now.

He expected her to fight or not respond as she dwelled on Angel. Instead, she returned his kiss hesitantly but with fervor. Her shoulders rotated underneath his grasp and he took the hint, sliding his hands to her waist. Her hands found his upper arms and felt warm as they grasped him. Her lips welcomed him with such innocence yet fevered demand that Spike reveled in them, in her.

He cursed himself and his stupidity for suggesting she wear a dress. If he wanted to touch her it was going to be all with the dress off or nothing with the dress on. He did not want the dress on, he wanted to be able to touch all of her. A hand dropped from around her waist to her hip, sliding lower along her thigh until his fingertips met the hem of the dress.

He paused for a moment, long enough to give her the chance to object before he began sliding his hand up, the hem of the dress with it. He was probably going too fast, but for Spike it was not fast enough. He wanted her, had to have her there and then, could not wait. He had been good and kind even gentlemanly all damned night, but the feel of her nylon clad thigh beneath his fingertips snapped his control. He was no longer the gentleman he once was over a hundred years ago. The Slayer knew this yet was here with him and if the rapid beating of her pulse was any indication she liked it.

The bed was not too far away, but her nightstand was closer. He was strong, she was stronger a fact that was an aphrodisiac in itself. He could not hurt her, or at least no more than she wanted him to. Both hands slid around the hem of her dress to her thighs as he lifted her, feeling bare skin instead of more nylons as they slid up toward her bottom. "You wore stockings," he said gruffly against her ear before kissing it.

She nodded in acknowledgement as she tilted her head back, giving him clear access to her neck and throat. A trusting soul she was, and as tempting as it might be to take out his third Slayer the need to be inside of her outweighed any need to taste her.

She wrapped her legs around him, thinking perhaps he was going to take her to the bed instead of setting her on the nightstand. Distantly he heard the various items on it get pushed aside, some falling to the floor and breaking from the impact but he was too focused on the pulse point in her neck. The temptation was strong and he made it worse by grazing the point with his teeth. It would be so easy to change, it would be over in a second and he would have the blood of a Slayer coursing through his body.

The fact that on some level she had to trust him to present him with such temptation stopped him from doing more than feast on that thrumming pulse point with his lips and tongue. His hands slid along her outer thighs, feeling for the clasps of the garter only to find none. The stockings were held up by elastic, so Spike left them in place. The material was smooth and silky to the touch. He could just imagine what it would feel like when her legs were wrapped around his hips with his jeans gone.

His hands at either hip, he found the hem of the dress once again and began pushing it up. His thumbs grazed her abdomen and ribs as the dress made its ascent along the length of her torso. He made no effort to hide the fact he was touching every inch of her he could. For tonight at least she had granted him the right to.

The dress removed and tossed to the side his mouth found hers, her tongue searching for his. A hand dropped to a breast, cupping it, stroking its peak with his thumb, caressing the swell and underside. His other hand found her hip and drew her closer to the edge of the nightstand, if he had shed his jeans he would be inside of her now.

Spike broke the kiss when he felt her breasts press against his chest. He smiled slightly, there was no question in his mind his eyes reflected both his desire and need for her. Those feelings were reflected in hers as well, desire for him and no one else. He drew back as she reached behind her and a few seconds later tossed her bra aside. "I was getting around to that," he murmured against her ear before he bit her lobe.

"Not fast enough."

"I was trying to go slow for you, love."

She began working his shirt off, her hands running along his shoulders, chest and abdomen once she'd removed it altogether. "Screw slow. We have all night."

"We do at that," he said before drawing a peak into his mouth. He toyed with it, teased it and tasted it until it had grown hard and erect in his mouth. His hand at her hip moved to the front of his jeans, working the button and zipper. She surprised him by placing her hands at the waist of his jeans and pushing them down just past his hips.

Her hand reached for him, encircled him, stroked him and grazed the tip with her thumb. He almost bit her breast when he felt her touch him and was aware that if he put off joining with her he would change. His control was beyond reproach, but he liked tasting, biting, marking when he had sex and sex with the Slayer, with Buffy, would be no different.

He drew back from her breast, a large and dark mark already there from where he had been sucking while she was heightening his arousal by stroking him. Both hands went to her thighs, his thumb pushing aside the satin strip of her panties that acted as his only barrier now.

Her hands slid to his shoulders, her head fell back and her eyes fell closed in anticipation of what was to come next. "Look at me, Buffy," he whispered. Her attention gotten, her eyes open and looking at him he entered her. He held back some, mindful of her inexperience, but there was little gentle or hesitant in his thrust. He could not be sure if the noise he heard upon his entry came from him or her, perhaps both, but the look in her eyes told him she liked where he was and what he was doing.

Distantly, he was aware of her nails biting into his skin though he was not entirely sure she was. She reacted to him, touched him as if she had been made to do this very act. He was not self-absorbed enough to believe it was for him she had been made to do this act with, but it was a nice thought. The hesitancy and shyness she exhibited moments ago were gone, the barriers she held in place were gone and there was just them, their bodies joined together. She took what he gave no matter how hard, how fast, how slow or how deep he moved inside of her and seemed to relish it the more he lost his own control. She said screw slow and while he would have liked to have impressed her a bit more with his prowess, he gave the lady what she had asked for.

The next thing Spike knew his hands were braced against the wall and he felt Buffy's mouth licking and biting his chest. He had a vague recollection of reaching his climax and knew that Buffy had reached hers. But just how long ago that had been he could not be sure. "Ow," he said with a low chuckle, one hand reaching for and cupping the back of her head. "Watch it, pet, not quite so hard."

"You weren't telling me to stop a minute ago."

"Yeah well, when a man blacks out for a few minutes it's reasonable to expect him not to say much of anything."

"Oh you said a lot."

"I did, did I?" Was she teasing him? Hopefully, he had not gotten off and then gone off and filled her head with flowery words. That was the last thing she needed to hear, at least from him.

She drew back, placing her hands on either side of his face and met his eyes. "You did. I think you wanted me to feed, but I can't do that, so I tried my best to do something. You seemed to like it."

He glanced down at his chest, red and marked from her nails, mouth and teeth. "I see that. I didn't," he drew away, pushing her hair away from her neck.

"No you didn't." She smiled almost wickedly, moved her hips reminding him he was still inside of her.

"Buff," he said in faux irritation. "Slayer."

"Yes," she said looking innocent, though her clenching and unclenching around him was driving him mad. She had to know what she was doing.

"Stop that."

"Stop what?"

"Doing that thing with your thing. You know."

"You don't like it?"

He moved to kiss her, taking her lower lip in between his teeth and biting it lightly. "I did not say that, no. Maybe we should move to the bed about now, do you think? Then I can show you how much I like it."

"Really? So soon?"

He laughed loudly. "I might need some encouragement, love, but I get the feeling you know what to do."

Return to Top

***Part 4***

Buffy opened her eyes and glanced at her clock, or where her clock should have been. But it was not there. Neither was her lamp or anything else that a few hours ago had been next to her bed. She placed a hand over her eyes, clutching the top sheet around her securely. Had she really had sex with Spike? Once she could have excused as being delirious or a momentary lapse of reason, but there was no excuse for multiple times. She slunk down in the bed when she counted up to five times and did not want to count any more.

She sat up, drawing the sheet around her as she moved to the floor to find her clock. Every muscle in her lower body let her know she had used them in ways she never had before. Her one time prior to last night had not prepared her for the things Spike wanted to try. She glanced to Spike who was sprawled out naked besides her sleeping. She could just picture the satisfied look he would get in his eyes if he knew she was sore because of him.

She found the alarm clock, but all it told her was that it was not quite sunrise and that she and Spike had been having sex for hours. She padded to the window and opened the blinds a little. She would have to close them again before returning to the bed unless she wanted to have a crispy Spike in her bed in a couple of hours. She rested her forehead against the windowpane and sighed softly. Until tonight, she would have been revolted by the thought of any kind of Spike in her bed.

He had treated her like the gentleman she imagined he once was until they had gotten up to her room. Not that she had acted much like a lady herself. Was there something wrong with her? She had not acted so brazen with Angel. Making love with Angel had been exactly that, making love. She had loved him, he had loved her and that had expressed those feelings. Love had nothing to do with what she and Spike had done. A part of her thought she should feel dirty and repulsed by what they had done. She was not exactly rushing to the shower to clean herself, so what exactly did that say?

She glanced over her shoulder at his sleeping form, feeling the warmth of a blush on her face as his hand sought one of the iron pieces that made up her headboard. She tried to push back the image it produced of both his hands over his head, grasping the headboard with her on top of him. Handcuffs are better, he had said. She hoped he was teasing, but as the night continued she had stopped hoping he was teasing and wanted him to show her what made them better.

He had secured her wrists above her head with one of his hands, which was sort of pointless because both knew had she really wanted to get out of his grasp it would not have been difficult for her to do. She had to admit it was sort of fun playing helpless and it seemed to turn him on. She hated not being able to touch him, which he claimed was the point. She had her mouth available to her, and though she could not see it in the dark she knew his chest displayed the results of her only being able to use her mouth to touch him. His point had been driven home the next time he was inside of her because like a man dying of thirst coming upon a watering hole she had touched him everywhere just because she could. And she had relished being able to touch him.

She turned to the window once more. All was quiet on the street below. Her mother would more than likely not come home in the morning. She had lied to Spike unsure she wanted to let him stay the whole night. Her mind and her body were still at war on that matter. Her body was telling her to return to bed, wake him up and enjoy having him here while she did. Whatever he woke up in her as wrong as she believed it to be she could not seem to stop it.

She heard the creak of the bed and closed her eyes. She had to decide now if he was staying for the rest of the night before the sun came up and she had no choice but to let him stay here all day. He was walking toward her now and if she knew anything about Spike he was not wearing a stitch of clothing.

"All quiet out there," he asked his hands going to her shoulders. He rubbed her neck with his thumbs, sending thoughts of telling him to leave from her mind with the tension he eased out of her.

"Yeah," she said softly in response to his question. It had been rhetorical, but she felt the need to respond anyway. A hand slid to hers clutching the sheet to her body and tugged it away from her. The need to cover up with the sheet was forgotten as he cupped a breast, stroking the peak to attention with his thumb. She released the sheet and it slid to the floor in a pile of white cotton. On the tip of her tongue was a jibe at him for being unable to get enough. But then she wanted more too so what did that say about her?

"You look beautiful like that, the moon casting light on your body through the blinds."

"Thanks," she said and started to turn to him.

"No, stay like that," he said against her ear. She felt him behind her, hard and ready and she was as ready for him. She bit her lip hating that she felt this way, that he could touch her and make her ready for him.

"Will this work, Spike?"

"It will and I promise you will like it. Trust me, Buffy."

She nodded simply. She could not say those words aloud, could not admit that she trusted Spike, but for tonight she did. Anticipating his entry did nothing to prepare her for the power behind it once he did. Her head fell forward, resting against the windowpane as he thrust into her. Her body responded to him as it had the other times but her mind was still conflicted. There was something horribly wrong with this, with enjoying the things he was doing to her, yet she was powerless to tell him to stop. He felt good against her, inside of her and he made her feel good in every way possible. One thing about this night is that she could never claim having missed out on good orgasms. He had given her several already and despite the inner turmoil she was on the verge of another one. His hand between her legs, stroking her saw to that.

There was a difference to him this time. She had no idea what exactly it was, but she sensed it. She had sensed it in his approach, the fact he had not wanted to be facing her. This time was not about sex, there was more to it though she knew it was not love. Possession. She had no idea where that word had come from, but the word fit. This time was about giving to her yet taking from her as well, possessing her, spoiling her for anyone else. No one else could do the things he had done to her throughout the night over and over again.

"Spike," she called out as another release ripped through her. She hated not being able to look at him, kiss him, watch him as he drew closer to his own release which made no sense since this had nothing to do with love. Yet she craved that closeness, that intimacy, knowing she was pleasing him.

"Shh, love, you're nowhere near done yet."

"I need to touch you. To kiss you." He was kissing her shoulder and she felt his lips curve into a smile, but she refused to retract the statement.

He pulled out of her, his hands at her shoulders prevented her from turning around right away. There was a reason he had wanted her facing away from him, he had changed. He did not give her much of a chance to fight him or to think on what the repercussions of having sex with him while he was in vamp form might be. He lifted her and thrust her back against the window entering her again. Her legs and arms wrapped around him and her mouth found his. Caught up with his being inside of her she forgot until their mouths opened that he was not in human form. Her tongue slipped into his mouth, grazing a fang reminding her she was not just kissing him but having sex with him in vamp form.

"Buffy, if I'd wanted to hurt you I would have with your back to me," he said as she started to pull away. "Let me give this to you, to me, to both of us. Just once, if you don't like it I'll stop."

She had kissed Angel when he was in vampire form and in all honesty he probably could have fed off her if he had wanted to. His soul did not prevent him from feeding off humans, he just chose not to. Spike was still inside of her, but he stood still waiting for her decision. She swallowed hard and one of his hands went to her throat, tracing the length of it as she swallowed a second time. "All I have to do is say stop and you can? And you will stop?"


She looked into his eyes, searching for something. He was right, had he wanted to harm her he had the perfect opportunity when her back was to him. Speechless, unable to verbally give her okay, she tilted her head while placing a hand at the back of his head, encouraging him to her neck. "So help me God if I have to kill you, Spike I'll do it."

"No killing will be necessary, pet," he said.

She could feel him nuzzling, licking and biting her neck. The anticipation was killing her, the way Spike talked this would heighten the experience and though knowing she was crazy to risk it she wanted to feel it and know. He had yet to lie to her that night about whether or not she would enjoy something he did to her or he encouraged her to do.

She cried out, her fingers burrowing into his shoulders as he timed the bite with a deep thrust inside of her. She could not tell where the sounds she was making stopped and the ones he made started. She felt him feeding off of her, felt the ache in her neck where he had punctured yet as he brought her to another release the ache was a pleasing sort of pain. His release came right on top of hers and though he stayed joined with her, both at her neck and between her legs, he was still. He no longer fed and no longer moved inside of her.

"I feel drunk," he whispered when he retracted his fangs from her neck. He changed back into human form and kissed her, fresh blood in his mouth and on his lips.

"You what?"

"Your blood. The blood of a slayer is powerful." He ran his finger along the marks on her neck. "You'll need a bandage I guess."

She slid her legs from around him, placing her feet on the floor and shrugged. "I'm not going to worry about it." She healed fast, it would be fine.

"You mean you're not going to cover it up?"

"Why should I?"

"You want your friends to know you got bit by a vamp?"

She shrugged. "It doesn't really matter."

"You grew some during the evening, is that it? One date with me, one night of shagging me and you no longer care what your little friends think?" He kissed her again. "You know your friend Xander saw us, he is going to guess the identity of the vamp that bit you. And then he is going to wonder why you didn't dust me."

She turned to look out the window, she had not thought on that. She had forgotten Xander had seen them at the Bronze. "So big deal? It's not like I fed off you."

"Not off my blood, no, but you definitely fed off me, Slayer."

She felt her neck and face grow warm and knew she was blushing. "So I'll wear a turtleneck for a few days."

"Now she's ashamed."

"I didn't say that, but you're right they're going to wonder why I didn't dust you. And if they see you."

"You could tell them I got carried away kissing you good night."

She ran her fingertips over the puncture marks on her neck. "That's getting carried away all right, but that would not explain what I've done to you."

"Buffy, pet," he placed his hands on her shoulders again and drew her against him, so her back was against his chest.

"They cannot find out about this, Spike."

"Why the bloody hell not?"

"Tonight was tonight, I don't know what it was but you and I both know it won't happen again."

"Why not?"

"Because tomorrow I go back to being the Slayer and you go back to being the Big Bad."

"I don't have to go back to being the Big Bad where you're concerned. I could be the Good Bad," he said with a light laugh.

"This isn't funny, Spike."

"I didn't say it was. I think the problem is you had a good time, and I don't mean the sex either. I think we patrolled well together, we had a good time at the Bronze together, I got jealous once but that was understandable when my date was you, and I think it scares the hell out of you that I can't be categorized neatly. And the good sex doesn't hurt either."

"I can't believe I let you feed off me," she said softly, getting around to the root of why she was so numb regarding the mark. She had let him do it. She should not cover it, she needed to be reminded of how far she had fallen, what she had done with him and let him do.

"That wasn't all that it was and you know it. Look at me and tell me you didn't like it, that it didn't enhance it for you. The pain with the pleasure of your release. Tell me it didn't make you feel more alive."

"I shouldn't have let you, it was wrong."

"If it felt good then it was not wrong, Slayer."

Buffy did not want to think about what was wrong or right about what they had done together during the night. "So are you staying here then? The sun will be up any minute."

"Is that an invitation to stay or a subtle hint that you would like for me to go?"

"It's neither, I was merely telling you that if you were planning on going you're about to the time where you have to go."

"I think I'll stay then."

Buffy bent to pick the sheet up from the floor and walked to her bed. "Close the blinds," she said as she slid into bed. The pillow smelled like Spike and sex, two scents that smelled nice together. She felt him get into the bed beside her, taking the spot by the wall. "I thought men were supposed to protect their women," she teased.

"Only those that need protecting, Slayer. I do not believe you fall into that category." His hand went around her waist.

"I suppose you're right. You're not going to go walking around my house or my room while I'm sleeping, are you?"

"Your house, no. I make no promises about your room, love. If I wake up I can't claim I'll sit in bed and wait for Sleeping Beauty to awaken once more."

"Umm, I suppose you're right. Somehow I don't think your kisses are what the witch had in mind."

"You don't think I'm princely enough then, is that it?"

"Dark prince, maybe." He laughed lightly and Buffy smiled, glad he had not taken offense to her comment. "Pleasant dreams," she said after contemplating just what to say to him. Good night was not appropriate.

"You've given me much fodder to chew on, pet. My dreams I feel shall be pleasant indeed."


Like a glutton for punishment wanting to see just how much more hell he could be subjected to, Angel remained outside of Buffy's house. He should have turned and walked away when he saw the blinds open. He should have averted his gaze when he saw her standing with only a sheet covering her body.

If he had he would not have been subjected to watching as Spike made love to his girl. Damn this friends business to hell, she was his but now he had to share her. It would have been bad enough to have to share her with a man, a human, but to have to share her with Spike was too much. Angel looked at his wristwatch and wished he had not for it only served to point out what Spike could do what Angel could not. The two had been at it for hours and were apparently not finished.

Spike was being risky taking her in front of a window, Angel wondered if Spike knew after all that Angel was there and doing this just to spite him. Buffy did not seem to mind in the least, which is what irked Angel more. Not only that, but she let the vampire feed off her. He could hear Buffy's blood pumping from their time spent together, but he had never been able to taste her. The blood of a slayer was powerful, Spike had tasted two and now, tonight, had tasted his third.

They were finished now, at least he had not been made to watch them go at it for hours in the window. Angel felt his anger and jealousy rise when he saw Spike's finger graze over the place he had bitten. He should be up there, not Spike. It should be Angel loving her all through the night.

He would have a talk with Spike, who had claimed only days ago love for Drusilla. And Buffy had heard him! What was she thinking letting him near enough to touch her? What was she thinking letting him inside of her? Angel supposed he should be glad at least he did not have to worry about Buffy getting pregnant since her choice in partners was Spike. That realization did little to console him however. If it could not be him, he wanted her with a human, in a normal life not with another vampire.

He watched until the sun began its ascent into the sky. He stayed because he needed to be sure that Spike meant her no harm. Angel knew Spike's sexual tastes ran to the darker side, but either he failed to try these things with an innocent like Buffy or she did not mind them. Not once had he heard a sound like anything but pleasure.

He waited as long as he could, expecting that Spike would leave before sunrise himself, but he did not. She was letting him stay the day then. All sorts of insults flew to his mind. Some, like slut, were directed at Buffy. Others, worse ones, were aimed at Spike. If Angel knew Spike at all anymore, he knew that somehow he had prayed on Buffy. He was determined to find out how and get things back the way they were.

He walked from Buffy's as quickly as he could, taking side streets to his mansion without even thinking about the path he was taking. Who was he kidding? He could never put things back the way they were. Did he really expect a girl like Buffy, so passionate, so giving and so willing to love to stay celibate the rest of her life for him? He might have been able to stand by and know she was having sex with someone if he knew she still loved and wanted him but needed it. Someone else did not include Spike, though.

If Buffy ended up dead today, Angel, soul or not, would go after Spike with a vengeance. With dread, Angel had to admit that Spike did not seem to have murder on his mind. He looked at Buffy not as if she were the Slayer but merely a girl.

He had watched them all evening, stayed far enough away that Spike would not pick up on Angel's scent but close enough that he saw them patrol together, kiss outside of the Bronze, dance together and saw Spike rescue Buffy from the college kid with fresh hands. Angel did not blame Spike for that one, he had not liked the look of that guy from his distant spot on the Bronze's second floor.

But Spike had kissed her, right after having been in his vampire form, right there in front of everyone and while she had not returned it she had not exactly put a stop to it either. Was she crazy? Was Spike? Was Angel for getting all worked up over this? Angel had no idea.

He made it back to the mansion with time to spare, locking the front door and ensuring the drapes in the rooms he frequented during the day were securely drawn. He opened his refrigerator and took out a bag of blood, hoping the taste and smell would get his mind off Buffy and the images of her and Spike together.

It worked a little, but even drinking blood made Angel think of Buffy. For a while she had fed him, nursed him back to health and strength. He still was not one hundred percent, but thanks to her he was far better off than he would have been had she turned her back on him. She should have, lord knew he did not deserve her forgiveness.

Angel drained the cup of blood, rinsed it out and made a final walk through of his home before retiring to his room. His final thoughts before succumbing to sleep were that he hoped Spike treated Buffy whenever he left the way she deserved to be treated. Angel knew full well he had hurt her horribly. The words he had said before he left her after they had made love, after he had lost his soul had hurt more than anything physically he could have done to her. He had not had the chance to apologize for those words, he had honestly believed he would have time. It seemed that he had run out of time.

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***Part 5***

Buffy woke at the sound of the front door closing. Her mother was home and she was lying naked in bed with Spike who was not just naked but semi-erect. Did he ever get enough? She had little to judge him by since she had been as willing as he had been last night. She never would have thought it, and as she thought on it now she felt embarrassed. What would Spike say when he woke up? What would she say? If he teased or belittled her in any way she would stake him, it was as simple as that. She had exposed herself to Spike last night, letting down barriers she had not even known she had in place.

She slipped out of bed and into her bathrobe. It was not very sexy, but she was just a high school girl. Hopefully, Spike did not expect her to have a collection of teddies and other negligee in her possession. Sure, she had some bras and underwear that were lacey and sexy, but that was the extent of her lingerie collection.

She paused at the door, her mother could not find Spike like this in her bed. Buffy needed a shower, though, and badly or her mother would take one look at her and know exactly what she had been up to the night before and this morning. She went to her desk and scribbled a note to Spike, taping it to the back of the door where he was sure to see it if he woke up and decided to come searching for her.

She left her room and walked to the head of the stairs.

"Hi Mom, I'm just about to take a shower."

Her mom appeared at the foot of the stairs, her hand resting on the banister. Hopefully, the hallway was too dark so she would not take notice of her appearance. "Hi honey. I'm just home to change. I have a book club meeting tonight."

"Oh, so you won't be home?"

"No, I'll leave you some money if you would like to order a pizza for dinner, though. Maybe you could have Willow and Xander over."

"Uh sure that would be great Mom. Thanks." She had not thought much on Willow or Xander since the day before. She hoped they were both doing all right. Her mom was right, she needed to spend some time with her friends. She just hoped she could do it without giving either of them reason to suspect she had been doing the big nasty with the big bad all night. Buffy turned away, anxious to get into the bathroom and done with her shower, the sooner the better as far as she was concerned. She did not need her mother wandering into her bedroom.

"Why don't you come downstairs and talk to me for a minute when you've showered."

"Okay, I'll be down in a minute. I had a long night last night, so I need one pretty bad."

"I'll put on some coffee."

"Thanks Mom," she called out as she continued down the hall to the bathroom.

Buffy started the water and while it was getting warm went to the sink to brush her teeth, avoiding the mirror. She was not afraid of what she would look like, but was afraid of how she would react to seeing herself in the mirror after the things she and Spike had done the night before. She could not help but look, needing to see the mark on her neck. Today was Saturday, so hopefully by Monday it would be healed or at least healed enough to look like a hickey and not what it really was. How was she going to explain it to Angel if he saw it? He would surely know in his over two hundred forty years know the difference between a hickey and a vampire bite.

It was not as bad as some vampire bites she had seen, but then Spike had not been out to kill her. She did not imagine vampires who had willing humans to feed off left them too terribly marked, but it was still more than obvious what it was. Two puncture wounds, their placement inline with fangs. And to make matters worse, he had given her an actual hickey to the side of the marks, so there would be little question that she had been a willing blood donor. Angel was the least of her worries, Giles would not be pleased at all if he were to see it.

She released her hair, letting it fall back in place not wanting to think anymore on what she had willingly done and let Spike do to her last night. She removed her bathrobe and stepped into the tub, drawing the shower curtain closed. She spent more time than she normally did cleaning herself, wanting to wash any physical evidence of the night before away. Some, like the bite mark, would not wash away and Buffy knew she would just have to deal with that.

She was startled when she heard the scraping of the curtain rings against the metal rod indicating the curtain was being moved. Her mother would never walk into the bathroom without knocking, they both enjoyed their privacy too much for either to do such a thing. Spike.

She finished rinsing the shampoo from her hair and opened her eyes to see that it was indeed Spike, raptly watching as the last of the shampoo was rinsed off her rosy breasts by the water. "What are you doing in here, Spike? Didn't you read the note I left?" She spoke as softly as she could, hoping her irritation at his invasion of her privacy was clear enough without her having to shout.

He smiled charmingly, at least Buffy much to her chagrin found it charming. "I did, but I didn't think you would mind a little water conservation." He took hold of a bar of soap and Buffy was about to protest. Her mother would come in and find them and all hell would break loose. It was one thing for Angel to have told her mother they had made love and another for her mother to catch her naked with someone in her shower. But then he began washing her back silencing her protest. "I take it you have no argument to wage against my being here then, Miss Summers."

With those words he reached around with the bar of soap to lather her breasts and abdomen, his thumb purposefully sought out a nipple causing her to inhale sharply. She was sensitive from their night together, so his touching her in that way was almost painful but she could not form the words to say so. It was a sort of pleasant pain, like when he had fed from her. It hurt, but it was not so distracting that she had not enjoyed the sex.

She felt him hard against her and knew he had not come into the shower to conserve water. Chances were they would waste more than they conserved if they did what was on his mind. "My mom," she said softly as he slid his erection between her legs, parting her lips but not entering her.

"I locked the door when I came in. My clothes are in your closet, so unless she gets really inquisitive she won't know I'm here."

He placed a hand at one thigh and raised her leg so her foot rested on the edge of the bathtub. His mouth found her ear and he bit the lobe, swirling it with his tongue and placed a hand over her mouth as he entered her hard and fast. She was ready for him, that was not a problem and Buffy knew the hand at her mouth had been to stop her from crying out at the suddenness of his entrance.

Mutely, she made sounds against his hand, her lips parting and her tongue licking the palm of his hand, nibbling on it with her teeth as he thrust into her. He whispered words into her ear that under normal circumstances she would have slapped him for, but here and now she welcomed them, got off on them and he got off on her getting off on them.

"Spike," she whispered, wanting to climax but not being able to yet.

"Reach down and do it then, pet," he whispered his tongue finding the bite mark and tracing over it, circling the two holes which was sensual in a strange way to Buffy. She did as he said, hesitantly at first, embarrassed to touch herself in front of him.

Obviously, though, if he had not wanted her to do it he would not have suggested it. As soon as she started to, as soon as her fingers began to touch the apex of the soft curls between her legs her embarrassment was gone. His hardness inside of her, a hand still at her mouth, and his mouth paying homage to her neck she realized he more than likely was not paying much attention to exactly what she was doing. Small whimpering sounds were audible and Buffy realized she was making them, causing Spike to tighten his hand over her mouth again.

She could not help but laugh, last night he had gotten off more than once with the sounds that she made, the words she had said, the demands she had made in the heat of the moment. Now he was doing his best to keep her quiet. It reminded her of the saying be careful what you wish for. He had told her after their first time she was being too quiet, that he knew that inside of her was an animal wanting, craving to be let out. Slowly but surely as the night wore on he had enabled her to let the animal loose and now she was not sure how to capture it again.

He seemed to sense when she was about to reach her release and without asking this time, sunk his fangs into her neck. Buffy, in return, bit his hand and came, hard and intense. Within moments her climax had ripped through her he came too, his moans muffled by his feeding off of her.

He pulled out of her, both between her legs and from her neck a few minutes later and she turned to face him, angry that he had done that without asking or telling her he was going to. But he was not looking at her, he was looking at the bottom of the bathtub and she sensed somehow it had not been intentional. Even if it had, he had not hurt her and he had helped her over the edge.

"You need to ask, you know. I'm not your snack, Spike."

"Oh come on, Buffy, I woke up and I craved two things, sex and nourishment, and I got hard thinking of the nourishment you provided me. So I came in here for the sex assuming I could hold off on the nourishment part until later. Apparently my body had other plans."


He squirted some shampoo into the palm of his hand and lathered it into his hair. "Was it that bad?"

"Yes," she said hoping she was convincing. She was not going to turn into his food source or his human sex source. Buffy had no doubt he could find both in plenty of places.

"You're lying." He finished rinsing out his hair and washed himself off quickly. He placed a kiss against her cheek. "I'll get dressed and go out quietly and come back so your mother does not know I was here all night."

"Don't you think she'll notice your hair is wet?"

"I highly doubt she will put two and two together, Buffy. If for no other reason than you're her daughter and she would rather not think about her little girl shagging a vamp all night long."

Buffy did not have a chance to reply to him because he was out of the shower too quickly. "Damn vampires and their speed," she muttered.

"Speed was not something I heard you complain about once last night, love," he whispered and when she peeked out from behind the shower curtain to reply he was gone.

She finished her shower and dressed in a pair of jeans and a black sweater. She did not bother trying to cover up her neck, she did not want to think about it exactly but she was not ashamed to have the marks. She did leave her hair down, though, hoping it would cover them enough so that her mom would not see them and ask questions. Buffy was not ready for that.

She entered the kitchen and there was Spike sitting on a stool at the island talking to Buffy's mother as if nothing had happened between them. Maybe in Spike's mind it was nothing and that sort of bothered Buffy. Not that she wanted Spike as a boyfriend or anything, but she still wanted to believe that she had been good enough for him to maybe consider her a little bit.

"Hi Mom," she said kissing her mom on the cheek on her way to the refrigerator. "Hi Spike," she said in what she hoped was a way that reflected disinterest.

"I was beginning to think you were never going to come down," her mom said and Buffy stared at Spike for a minute.

"Slayer," was all that Spike said in greeting.

Great, Buffy thought, we're back to my being ‘Slayer'.

She got herself a bottle of water and leaned against the counter, the same counter where Spike had held her last night and charmed her somehow into inviting him up to her bedroom. "So, how was the gallery last night, Mom?" Surely Spike would take off if her mom started talking about work. It was evening now, so he could go out without having to worry too much about the sun.

"It was fine. I've got another all nighter tonight more than likely. The show opens Monday you know and none of us want to be all tired out for it, so we're trying to get it all done by tomorrow afternoon."

"Then why are you going to your book club?"

"I needed a break and I had assumed you had plans. It is Saturday night. You and Angel usually," Joyce broke off seeming to sense that talking about Angel right now was the wrong thing to do. Buffy glanced at her feet feeling like she had betrayed Angel last night.

"Well, I think I'm just going to stay in tonight, other than some patrolling. Pizza and an evening of movies sounds good."

"Great," Spike offered. "No anchovies."

"I didn't say you were invited," Buffy retorted.

"Play nice, Slayer," he said his tone indicating he was not teasing entirely. Buffy wondered what that was about. Was he mad that her mother had talked about Angel? Did he think Angel would be coming here to eat pizza with her? Last night had changed nothing between them, surely he knew that if Buffy could acknowledge it.

"I was going to invite Xander and Willow to come. Both could use the break since they're currently in arguments with Cordelia and Oz."

"Sounds like trouble is abounding in Paradise," he said and Buffy knew Spike was not talking merely about Xander and Willow.

"Sounds like," she said in agreement before taking a sip of her water. She did not have to tell Angel about last night, she did not owe him any explanations. She knew that things could not be the same between them, though. Spike had made Buffy realize things that she had been blind to until last night. She was not sure exactly what she was, and while she did not think she was a slut she knew that she could not go the rest of her life without experiencing sex.

"Well, I'm going to go upstairs and shower myself and get ready for the book club meeting." She reached into her purse, removed her billfold and put some money on the counter. Buffy noticed it was more than enough to buy a pizza. Was her mother trying to compensate for not being here two nights in a row? "That should be enough for all four of you to get whatever you want on your pizza."

Buffy rolled her eyes and frowned at Spike. He had managed to get her mother to invite him to stay for the evening.

"Thanks Mom."

"Thank you, Joyce, though it's not necessary for you to pay for my share."

"You're our guest tonight, Spike, it's no problem. I'm just glad to know an adult will be around when I'm not. I know Buffy can take care of herself, but a mother still worries."

"Of course and well she should," Spike affirmed and Buffy shook her head. Inviting Spike to look after Buffy was like inviting the Big Bad Wolf into your home and offering him your children as a snack.

"Thanks Mom," Buffy said again, hoping to get her mother out of the room and out the door before she'd married Buffy off to Spike in gratitude.

As soon as her mother had left the room and she was upstairs, Spike was off his seat and standing in front of Buffy. "You know if you really don't want me to stay, I'll go, but I admittedly have nothing else to do tonight. I've already fed, so I don't need to do that anymore. I had fun patrolling with you last night."


"Yeah, it was fun, I wouldn't mind doing it again. Not just the patrolling either," he said letting the back of his hand run the length of her arm.

"That is not going to happen again, Spike."

"Sure it isn't, sweetness. I'm in you now, just as you're in me. You couldn't stay away from me if you tried."

"You want to bet?"


She narrowed her eyes and stared at him. What did he know that she didn't? His confidence rather than his words themselves worried her. "It's not worth it, I'd hate to have you lose your hard stolen money."

"I didn't steal all of it. I'll have you know I earned some yesterday."

"Doing what?"

"I helped some poor chap carry some things into his house from his car. Heavy things they were and he was just a scrawny guy."

"And you took money for that?"

"Well, sure, he offered it I wasn't about to turn it down being unemployed and dead and all like I am."

He leaned forward to kiss her, and Buffy placed one hand against his chest, pushing him away. "Spike, I'm serious. If you want to stay for pizza and so long as you can behave around my friends it's fine, but no more sex. No more kissing. No more. It's done. I'm not that kind of girl."

"Oh, pet, you are that kind of girl and then some, but if it will make you feel better I promise to behave myself in a manner you deem appropriate."

She looked at him suspiciously. "So you will behave?"

"If that's the behavior you want from me, then I will do my best to abide by the lady's wishes," he said offering her a gallant bow that surprisingly despite it being the year nineteen hundred ninety-nine rather than eighteen hundred ninety-nine did not look that out of place coming from him. There were times as modern as he was a hint, a glimmer of the gentleman he once was shone through.

"Bowing was not exactly what I was looking for."

He took her hand and kissed it just where it joined the wrist, looking into her eyes once he had finished. "I can behave like a gentleman when I need to, I do remember how."

"Yeah, but a gentleman doesn't need to do those things anymore, bowing before a lady, kissing her hand."

"In my mind they do, at least if the lady is fair enough to deserve such treatment."

"How can you say I'm fair or deserving of such treatment after what we did last night, Spike? I didn't behave as a lady. I behaved as a harlot or whore, certainly no lady of standing I've ever read about."

His grasp of her wrist tightened and he drew her to him. He gripped her face in one hand, forcing her to look at him. For a brief moment she was scared, but she saw no threat in his eyes. He was merely trying to get her attention. He had it. "Don't ever say that again, Buffy. I don't know why you think that, but you behaved in no manner that reflects poorly on you, at least in my eyes. You should not be ashamed of what you did, but rejoice that you found someone who could bring it out of you. It's who you are, Buffy. You are not the type of woman that could marry some nine to five pencil pushing accountant who would make love to you two point five times a week, missionary style until you had the two children and then he would stop not wanting to exceed the American dream of averages."

"Maybe I would be happy with that."

"After last night, if you can still say that I feel sorry for you, Buffy. I truly do. I won't be crass or conceited enough to believe only I can bring that out of you, but you would be miserable in the scenario or any one close to it."

"And you think I would prefer to be with someone who treats me in such a fashion that I expect to find money on my nightstand in the morning?"

He hit her then, a blow with the back of his hand across her mouth, hard despite it being an open handed blow. It was so sudden that Buffy had no time to react at first. "I'm still here, aren't I? I could have just gotten dressed and left without saying good bye, but I didn't do that, did I? I realize I would not have been your first choice in partners in any part of your life, Buffy, but don't cheapen what happened between us. Just because you like things a little darker, a little harder, a little more violent and a little less traditionally does not mean that you're a whore and never once did that idea cross my mind. Not once. Not when I was inside of you, not when I was beside you, not when I woke to find you missing from the bed."

He stopped when he saw she was crying. Or at least Buffy assumed that was why he had stopped. His arms went around her, one hand going to her head encouraging her to place it against his chest. And she did. She took his offered comfort, accepted it, and felt oddly safe by it.

"Sweet Jesus, Buffy, you did nothing wrong. We did nothing wrong. Ask anyone. I mean, I wouldn't walk up to your friends and say hey I dig this am I crazy, but ask around and you'll find you're not alone."

"I'm not going to ask anyone, Spike," she demanded, wiping her face with a hand, still resting a cheek against his chest. He was not warm, he did not have a beating heart for her to listen to and be lulled by but he provided her comfort nonetheless.

"Fine then, love, don't, but I speak the truth. Get on that Internet thing that everyone keeps going on about and read up on it, you'll see. There's nothing to be embarrassed about or sorry for. I kept coming back for more, didn't I? So if you're sick, then I'm equally sick because I couldn't get enough of you."


"Really, pet. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We did nothing wrong."

"I want to believe you, but I felt so dirty afterward. So wrong."

"Well, I was not an overly religious man before I was turned and things have grown considerably lax since my days of going to church, but I think that feeling comes from church. As long as two people are consenting and adults, I see no problem with the couple doing what makes them happy."

Buffy did not want to ruin the moment by pointing out that legally she was not an adult, and so she left that alone. "I guess I see your point. I mean, Willow and Xander are the only two friends I have that I know well enough to ask, and other than Xander and his experience with Cordelia I don't know that either of them could provide me much useful information."

"And I would reckon, judging by looking at her, that Cordelia was about as proper as they come. All those hoity toity types are you know. So you'd better not ask Xander. The boy already has a mad crush on you, and I'd rather not have to get jealous over the fellow."

"You'd get jealous over Xander? Don't you think if I'd wanted to be with him I would be by now?"

"But you hadn't had a taste of sex until recently, pet. It was easy to turn him down, not like him then, but now you might be curious about what doing it with a human would be like. And that wouldn't sit well with me."

"Spike, you're not my boyfriend. What happened, it happened, but that doesn't mean it's going to happen again."

"It will happen again, Buffy. I may not be your boyfriend, and you may want to hide and deny that we're anything to one another but adversaries, but it will happen again."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because I know you, that's how."

"I wish you didn't."

"You don't mean that, Slayer, I know you don't. I think you like knowing someone out there knows a part of you that no one else knows."

"You think so, huh?"

"I do. Now are you going to get on the phone to your friends and invite them over? Should I go pick up a few movies for us to watch?"

"You'd do that?"

"As long as I don't come back to find the doors locked sure, why not?"

She smiled and laughed, the thought of locking him out crossing her mind briefly. But that would be cruel, if only because she would not just tell him not to come back. "You can come back," she said walking to the telephone. "No Dracula or sex movies."

"That rules out about ninety percent of the selection then, Buff."

"Well, just, nothing that's going to make Xander and Willow horny or sad all right?"

"No horniness, no sadness? Right, got it. Do I get to make you horny?"

"Not now you don't."

"Maybe later," he quipped.

"Maybe," she said distractedly as she dialed Xander's number. Vaguely she was aware of his question and the impact of her response. She ran her hand along the bite marks on her neck, remembered the variety of feelings he had brought out of her and given her. She turned to look at him while Xander's phone rang, ready to commit to more than a maybe but he was already gone. "Serves you right," she said to herself. He was coming back, with movies, and she could tell him yes then.

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***Part 6***

Angel hesitated before knocking on the front door. For close to a week now he stood by as Spike patrolled with Buffy, kissed Buffy, touched Buffy, talked to Buffy, and made love to Buffy without benefit of being behind closed doors or in out of sight places. They reminded him, in a less perverse way, of him and Darla when he had seen them go at it in the spot they had dusted a vamp only moments before. Angelus and Darla used to revel in the scents of a fresh kill scene, or just enjoyed torturing some poor person even further by making them watch them together before killing them. He did not want to admit he was jealous, trying to justify this visit by having Buffy's best interests in mind. Right. He had been cast aside, replaced and she had not even had the courtesy to tell him. Well, he was not going to let her tell him, he was going to tell her first.

He knocked and walked to the porch steps, pacing the short distance between the end of the porch and the front door. Finally, he heard someone unlock the door and open it. "Hi, Mrs. Summers, I was wondering if Buffy was home." He offered her his most charming smile, though it did little good on Joyce Summers any longer. He had ruined any chances he had of being on Joyce's good side when he had lost his soul. As if he should be held accountable for everything he did and said as Angelus! Of course, he realized he should be and that was the point, but still there were times he wished it wasn't the case.

"Sure, come on in, Angel," she said holding the front door open for her. He did not need the invitation, but it was nice to hear her invite him in.

"Thank you," he said stepping past her.

"She's upstairs getting ready to go to a meeting at school, but I'll get her."

"Thanks," he said again for lack of anything better to say. He made his way to the living room and sat on the couch. He closed his eyes briefly, but had to open them again from being haunted by images of Spike and Buffy on this very couch more than once this week. He stood then suddenly, not wanting to be near anything they had touched together. Of course, that would eliminate his being close to Buffy, but that was different.

Suddenly, there she was, beautiful and innocent. She was the one deserving of his name. He had expected close up for her to look different, used, soiled, unclean but he was sorry to say that was not the case. She looked just fine to him. Good enough that he'd forgive all if she asked him to. "Angel, hi."


"You look good," she said and Angel knew she was nervous. Good. He could smell fear. Good again.

"Thanks. You haven't been by to work out or to have me go patrolling with you."

"I, well, Spike's been going with me. I figured you'd need your rest to recuperate, get back your strength and all."

"I'm recuperated."

"That's good to know. I wouldn't want you walking around all not recuperated."

"Buffy, I know. Please don't lie to me or play the innocent act with me. I just want to know why. Why haven't you told me? Why him? What did I do to deserve being tortured like this? I came back from unspeakable tortures in hell, to the one bright spot in my entire existence only to be subjected to another version of hell. I'd go back to the other hell to save myself from knowing you were with Spike."

"I don't know what to tell you. It just happened. I," she shrugged slightly and gestured to the front door with her head. She did not want to talk about this with her mother around. That was understandable and so he walked outside with her and sat beside her on the top step once she sat.

"Nothing like this just happens, Buffy. He's using you."

"Angel, that's up to me to worry about, isn't it? I mean, you said yourself we're just friends. Maybe it's not him using me anyway."

"You couldn't use someone, Buffy."

"How do you know? I know you've made love to more women than just me, and yet I was the one that broke the curse. Me. So that means you can go out and sleep with anyone you want so long as it's not me. Well, I can't go the rest of my life like that. I'm not in love with him, I barely even trust him."

"Then how can you let him touch you?" He pushed aside her hair to expose her neck and touched the fresh bite mark there. "How can you let him feed off you? I would never do that."

"He only does it when," she paused and looked away, pulling her hair back to cover the bite mark. As if it was not ingrained in Angel's mind for eternity. His Buffy, the Slayer with a vampire bite she had willingly given.

"So what then? Where does that leave me? Us? I'm just supposed to wait in the shadows until you're done doing whatever it is?"

"I don't know what you're supposed to do, Angel. That's not for me to decide or even to offer a suggestion on. If anything, Spike has made me see one thing this past week. As much as I love you, I would not be happy with you. There would always be that risk that you would lose your soul and go ballistic on me and my family again."

"And you don't think Spike would kill you the second you crossed him?"

"See, but I know that. He's Spike. I don't know what's going to set you off. Last time it was making love, but this time. The spell Willow did was done by a different witch in a different era, who is to say our wedding day wouldn't be a true moment of happiness and break the curse again."

This gave him a moment of happiness. Marriage? Him? To someone like Buffy? He had dreamt about it, of course, dreamt that she would stoop low enough to accept a proposal from him but never had he imagined she would think of it herself. "You've thought of marrying me?"

"God, Angel, of course I did, but it can't happen. We couldn't make one another happy. You know it as well as I do. There's too much water under the bridge, too many unknowns in the equation."

"But why Spike? Why not some human guy that you go to school with?"

"I wish I could tell you, but I can't. He's here for a reason right now and I'm enjoying it. Even Xander has learned to tolerate him somewhat."

"I don't like it. He's going to kill you one day, Buffy. You're when all is said and done, the Slayer, and Spike has already killed two of them."

"That's assuming he can kill me, Angel, that I'm not prepared for it, that I'm never completely unguarded when I'm with him."

"Then why do it?"

"Maybe that's part of what I like," she met his gaze steadily for a brief moment and Angel knew she was not entirely sure of what she had just said. She looked away then and shrugged. "I don't know."

Angel nodded his head slightly, rubbing a pad of one thumb over the nail of the other thumb. It was true, Buffy had a dark side to her, Angel knew that but he had wanted to keep her fresh and pure and untainted and had not wanted to bring it out of her. She was no Drusilla or Darla that was for sure, but she was no vanilla either.

"I've done a lot of thinking this week, while I waited to see if you were going to tell me or if you were just going to keep me in the dark."

"I didn't mean to, I just didn't know what to say. How do you tell ex-boyfriend that you're sleeping with ex-boyfriends sort of friend, sort of enemy but that you still love ex-boyfriend."

"You still love me?"

"Always, Angel. I will always love you. I still love you after seeing you as Angelus, how can you doubt that?"

"I don't know. It hurts, knowing he can have what I want but can't have."

"It's not like I planned on it."

"That doesn't really help make it better, but I know you didn't." He took her hand in his and squeezed it. He sat there for a moment, quiet, content just to have her let him have this contact with her. "Buffy, I came to talk to you about Spike, to make sure you were thinking straight, knew the dangers. Not that I didn't think you did, I know you know what Spike is, but that's not the only reason. I came to tell you also that I'm leaving."

"You're what?"

"Well, it's clear my presence in Sunnydale is problematic, if not for you than for me. Maybe you'll be done with Spike in another week, but there will be someone after him and someone after that and I just can't handle that. As much as I'd like to say we could have a happily ever after you and me, it's not going to happen and I just think a clean break is best."

"Are you accusing me of being a slut?"

"No, I'm not accusing you of that. Focus, Buffy, focus. I'm not saying you're going to sleep with every guy, but I do know that you're funny and attractive and can be smart when you want to be. You can also be not so smart when you want to be, but that's one of the things I love about you. Other guys are going to love it, too, and they are going to hit on you. I'd rather not be around to see it."

"So you're going to leave. Just like that."

He was quiet a moment, digesting her question. He had thought on this throughout the week, but he had not really thought on the finality of it. "Yeah. Just like that. It's best for us both if I go, Buffy. You have to stay here, this is where the Slayer is needed. I can help you elsewhere. I'm not going clear across the world or anything and it's not like we can't call one another if we need or want to. But I think a clean break is best."

"This is so sudden. I mean, if it's Spike."

"It's not Spike. I mean it is, but there are things I can't forgive myself for doing and saying to you, and I wouldn't be good for you. I could get you killed by being distracted."

"But I don't want you to go."

Angel laughed lightly and released her hand, brushing her cheek with his hand. "I don't want to go either. I love you, don't ever doubt that or believe otherwise. If I did not love you I would stay."

"When will you go?"

"I leave tonight. I'm packed and ready to go, booked a train out of here that leaves around nine o'clock."

"So this is it?"

"It is. Please be careful with Spike, Buffy. I don't want to read about you in the paper or get a call from Giles that you are dead by his hand."

"He's not going to kill me, Angel."

"I hope you're right. He's a killer, Buffy, just remember that. He and I were if not friends companions who stayed together because of a common bond once upon a time because we were both sadistic bastards."

"I know," she said softly and Angel knew he had brought up the wrong subject. Good going you idiot, he cursed to himself.

He leaned in and kissed her, lightly ending it before she could respond. "I'll let you know where I am when I get there."

"You'd better."

"I will. I couldn't go the rest of your life without hearing from you from time to time. As much as it will hurt to hear about your life, know I'm not in it when I want to be I won't turn my back on you. We've been through too much together."

She smiled and Angel knew there were tears threatening to spill from her eyes but she was being brave and holding them back for all she was worth. Well, this was his queue then to go. He did not want to remember her teary eyed. He kissed her again. "I love you. Say good bye to your mom and everyone for me," he said as he stood. He hesitated in removing his hand from her cheek, his eyes never breaking from hers until he felt like he could get convinced to stay just by looking at her.

"Angel," she called after him when he was almost to the public sidewalk. He turned to face her, her face shadowed somewhat by the night sky. "Be careful."

He smiled and winked, though she probably could not see it. "Always, Buffy, always. You do the same." And with that, he walked away and promised not to look back no matter what she did or said. It was the hardest damned thing he had to do, but it was for the best. It had to be, because if he was going through this much hurt unnecessarily he'd kill someone for sure.


Buffy polished off the last of the pint of ice cream and licked the spoon clean. Willow sat next to her on the couch holding a box of Kleenex in her lap. They were watching chick movies tonight. Buffy needed to cry and watching movies like Sleepless In Seattle and When Harry Met Sally were the only way she knew how to go about it without letting on anything was wrong.

Angel was gone. It was after ten o'clock now and Buffy somehow had forced herself to remain at home and not go to the train station to stop him from going. She wanted to believe that it was because she knew he was right, his leaving like this was for the best. But another thought crossed her mind that she was not so pleased about.

Spike. Spike was part of the reason she was not as upset as she should be about Angel's leaving. She was sad, sure. She and Angel could talk about anything and everything. He had been her friend and her confidante and she had loved him, had given herself to him as a result of that love. But somehow in the past week of spending time with Spike she had moved on.

She was sad about his leaving, sure, because her friend was leaving. He said they'd keep in touch and talk, but how could they go from what they had to something distant and remote and survive as friends? They couldn't, at least Buffy didn't think so. Sooner or later, the visits would stop, the phone calls would dwindle down and there would be only memories.

"I can't believe you finished off that ice cream, Buffy," Willow said, bringing Buffy out of her reverie.

"I know, I can't either. I guess Meg Ryan gets to me and makes me all ice creamy."

"I guess so," she said softly.

"How are things with you and Oz?"

"Nothing new to report, still in a holding pattern."

"Xander and Cordelia?"

"They're finished I think," Willow said sadly. Buffy hated asking the questions, but she wanted to know how her friends were doing.

"I'm sorry, Willow. It's not your fault. I know you think it is, but if Xander was truly happy he wouldn't have kissed you."

"I try to tell myself that, except I am happy with Oz. I love him."

"I know you do, but you and Oz are different entirely than Xander and Cordelia."

"No patrolling tonight," Willow asked and Buffy understood Willow was done talking about the love quad situation.

"No, I'm taking the night off. Giles said it was all right."

"You deserve it. You should have invited Xander over, too."

"I wanted it to be just us. A girl's night, you know? We haven't had one of those in a long time and it's about time."

"So, Spike's not going to be showing up either?"

"I didn't invite him, but that might not stop him from coming by. If he does, I'll just tell him to go."

"You know, you don't have to tell him to go, Buffy. I mean, well," Willow grew quiet.

"What, Will?"

"Well, I just mean, just because Xander and I have love lives that are messed up doesn't mean yours has to be, too."

"And you think Spike has anything to do with my love life because?"

"Hmm, let's see, could it be that you two go off on your own all the time even if Xander and I come patrol with you? Could it be that I haven't seen Angel in over a week?"

"Well, you won't be seeing him again I don't think."

"Buffy, you didn't…"

"No, Will, I didn't stake him." Buffy laughed lightly. "He left town tonight. He came by earlier to say good bye."

"Oh Buffy, I had no idea. I mean, why didn't you say something instead of sit there and eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's?"

"Because I like Ben & Jerry's."

"Well, I do, too, of course. Ben & Jerry's is the best, but still if you think I can't listen to you because of what's going on with me and Oz, you're wrong."

"No, Will, that's not it at all. I know if I was in a talky mood you'd talk to me or listen to me. I just," she shrugged and focused on the spoon balanced on the pad of her middle finger. "I just don't know what there is to say. He's gone. He left. He left because of me." She shook her head.

"No, Buffy, that can't be true."

"No, Will, it is. But not in a bad way. We've been trying so hard to be friends, to deny we love one another and that this whole soul thing doesn't exist, isn't the real problem. Spike was right about one thing, Angel and I will never be friends. I mean, he is my friend. In some ways, he's my best friend." Buffy paused seeing the hurt look on Willow's face.

"In a way different than you, Will. Just like your friendship with Xander is different than what you and I have. You know, it's boy/girly rather than girl/girly. And, well, if it weren't for the soul thing things would be different. That's hard to live with every day, to see every day. I think he knew that one day it would be so easy to give into temptation and try. I mean, years from now when Giles is long gone and maybe, just maybe I've gone all senile and forgotten what Angel is like without a soul, or in a moment of drunken stupidness or in a moment of adrenaline rush after killing a huge bad guy or whatever. It hurts, I won't deny it. But I think he's probably right."

"But still, to leave town."

"Yeah, well, what else could he do? Just avoid seeing me. Like either of us could really do that."

"I mean, even this week with Spike helping," she shrugged. "I still could never just know he was nearby and not talk to him. I mean, even when he was all soulless, he beckoned and I went, right? He said he'd be a hindrance to me, a distraction, and in a way I think he's right. I've never thought about it, never needed to think about it, but the worrying and the feelings tie me up sometimes."

"And you don't have that when Spike patrols with you?"

Buffy shrugged. "Not in the same way, no. Spike is not Angel, Will. No one but Angel can be Angel."

"But he's your boyfriend, right? I mean, well, he is, isn't he?"

"Who Angel?"

"No, I know that Angel's not your boyfriend, Buffy. I meant, Spike."

"I don't know, Will, I don't know."

"Well, that's not a no, so that must mean that he could be."

"But he's Spike. I mean, he is a vampire."

"And so was Angel."

"Angel had his soul."

"Yeah, but Buffy. You get to see the big picture with Spike, you know what he's like good and bad. You had no idea what Angelus was going to be like because you had never seen Angel truly bad. Doesn't that say something?"

"And what am I supposed to do? Sleep with a stake under my mattress for the rest of my life?"

"Well, I don't think I was suggesting you marry him. But you like him, right? And he's got to be a help to you patrolling. Do you think he's killing vamps with you because he just wants to? I mean, he's killing his own people, Buffy."

"Well, yeah, but again, this is Spike we're talking about. I don't know that I'm all that surprised by that."

"Well, he certainly doesn't seem to be out for Slayer blood like he was when he first came to Sunnydale."

Buffy's face grew warm and she looked away. Sure he was not out for Slayer blood anymore because he was getting it willingly on a daily basis. She wasn't his source of feeding, she had told him after he took without asking in her shower that she would not be that for him. But she did not mind partnered with their climaxes or after a particularly brutal fight where a bit of replenishment was necessary having him drink of her. "No, I suppose he's not. I guess that's something."

"I think you might find Giles and Xander, and even me, might be a little more patient with you if we knew what was going on. Right now, we're not sure if we should watch your back or turn ours. Xander was all freaked out when he saw you two at the Bronze last week."

"Yeah, I know he was. It was the first night we went anywhere together or anything. I mean, it's not like I was hiding anything or anything."

"You mean, like you did with Angel coming back."

"Yeah, like that. I learned my lesson. I mean, obviously, we went out in a public place, so I wasn't hiding." Honestly, Buffy didn't trust Spike enough that first night to hide. She had wanted to be out in public with him. Now, she still was unsure whether trust was something she felt she could do where Spike was concerned, but it was better than before.

"Okay," Willow said pouting a little and Buffy was not sure what she had said wrong.

"I don't know what else you want me to say. I don't know what's going on between Spike and me because it hasn't exactly come up. I mean, it's not like we get all deep and conversationally together or anything."

"Why don't you try asking him," Spike's voice came from the archway that led to the hallway. Buffy and Willow both looked at him. Buffy wasn't sure what Willow saw, but to Buffy he looked sexy as hell. He was dressed in a pair of black jeans, his black boots and his black leather duster, nothing unusual there. But he had a black shirt on that was so see-through it might have well not even been on his body. Buffy gulped slightly because the shirt left nothing about his chest to guess about. And the look in his eye, it was all for Buffy, he was not angry but there was emotion there that Buffy did not quite understand.

"Spike, I didn't hear you come in."

"Obviously," he said with the arch of an eyebrow. He pulled the coat closed a little more covering up more of his shirt - or his lack of shirt - than was covered a moment ago. It did little to push the thoughts out of Buffy's mind of what his chest and abs looked like. God, why did he have to be dead? The undead? Whatever he was.

"Hi Spike," Willow volunteered with a cheerful smile from beside Buffy. "We're just watching When Harry Met Sally. Have you seen it?"

"Didn't sound like you were getting much movie watching in, but no I'm afraid I must have missed that movie when it came out."

"We've got ice cream and root beer and popcorn."

"Sounds like a regular feast."

"Don't you knock? I mean, I realize you're invited to come in here, but most people do still knock."

"I, uh," he stammered not quite looking her in the eye any longer. "Could I talk to you a minute, Buffy, alone?"

Willow stood from the couch. "I'll just take a trip to the bathroom, upstairs in Buffy's room. Just give me the all clear when I can come down. Unless," she blushed and looked at Spike. "Unless you wanted her bedroom."

"Willow," Buffy interjected.

Spike smiled slightly. "No, here is fine."

For a moment as Willow walked from the room, Buffy's heart stopped beating. First Angel had left her today and now Spike was here to do the same thing. She felt it spreading through her as sure as Spike's being a vampire was. He had overheard Buffy and Willow talking, lord knew for how much of the conversation. They had been talking like high school girls, seventeen year old girls, about Spike as if he were a boy not a vampire that had lived for a century and then some.

Strangely, she cared. She didn't want him to go. It was different than the loss she felt due to Angel's leaving. With Angel it was the only way they would get the closure they both needed. She was unsure what it meant with Spike. She did not love him. A week was not enough for her to fall in love with Spike, but she liked him and well she had hoped to see if maybe she could love him.

She stood after using the remote control to turn off both the movie and the television. She did not know what to say. She was not going to give him the satisfaction of leaving him first.

"I'm glad to see you're not alone."

"You're what?"

"Are you ears full of cotton or something, Slayer? I said I'm glad to see you're not alone."

She crossed her hands over her chest and stared at him, unsure what to say to that. "Thanks, I think," is what came out.

"Well, a little birdie told me that you might not be doing too well tonight and I thought I'd check on you."

"A little birdie?"

"Yeah," he shrugged his shoulder. "Angel paid me a visit before he left. He was worried about you, a little worried about what his leaving might do to you and me which surprised me, and well I saw you through the window talking to your friend there." He paused and looked at his boots for a minute. "Well, I wanted to know what you were talking about. I needed to know you weren't blubbering over his leaving."

"Spike," she started to say offended that he would have the audacity to think that she would not be at least somewhat upset by Angel's leaving.

"Hear me out, Slayer," he said holding up his hand and she said nothing further. "I wouldn't blame you, love, for being upset, for wishing he wasn't leaving, for a lot of things, but I couldn't bare thinking that you were in here thinking I was the cause of his leaving. I don't want your shell, Buffy. I don't want what's left over after Angel. I needed to know."

"So you spied on me?"

"Yeah. Hey, I'm a vampire, remember? I don't exactly follow the straight and narrow like you do, Slayer."

"I thought you were here to tell me it was over."

"Why would I do that?"

"I don't know. A part of me I guess thought this was some sort of way of punishing Angel some more. Sleep with the Slayer, his girl, really twist the knife good."

"I won't say that delightful thought hadn't crossed my mind a time or two. I'd be a liar if I said it wasn't, and you'd know I was lying. So ask me."

"Ask you what?"

"What you were talking to your little witch friend about."

"About us? What's going on between us? We were just talking Spike. It's not like I need an answer."

"Don't you? It sounded a moment ago like you might want one, love."

"She was just saying that the gang aren't sure what to do about you, they don't know what we're doing so they're sort of in a," she paused searching for the right word, "holding pattern I guess."

"Well, it's been a week, Angel's gone. Or is that the problem? Angel's gone? Do you need to think about us now? Maybe it's not me that was punishing Angel."

"No. I mean, no, that's not true. I'm sorry to see him go, but he's right, Spike. I've known it since he was sent back. I've known we couldn't be all friendly together and not go crazy."

"So you do still love him?"

"Of course I do. I've never claimed not to love him."

"That night at the magic shop?"

"We maintained we were friends. I love my friends, and I love Angel in a way that's way different than that. He was my first. He stood by me as I struggled with what being the Slayer meant, he fought with me, and he hurt me so much."

"Yeah, that's unfortunately the way love works, Buff. You love, you fight. The marital vows make it legal in the eyes of the law, but you can feel all of those things, adhere to those vows without the legal obligation. To have and to hold, through sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, until death do us part, so on and so forth."

"But Angel and I," she said softly and sat again on the couch, her hands rubbing her arms.

"Can never fight and make up, can never love as man and woman were made to love. I know, pet, I know." He moved to sit next to her on the couch, his arm going around her. "But you can do those things with me, pet. And we will fight, you know it as well as I do if not better. I don't mind patrolling with you, being your right hand man as it were, but one day we're going to run into a vamp who's a friend of mine and you're going to want to slay and I'm going to want to let him go. We know we fight well together and we know we love well together."

"Yeah, we do, don't we," she asked looking up at him. She smiled slightly. "So you were afraid what that I'd go all depressed like on you and tell you to get lost?"

"The thought did cross my mind, yeah."

"Spike, I don't know what we're doing you and me. Willow asked if you were my boyfriend and I don't know what to say to that. I like you and well, we've been together - in every possible way - every day since that night at the Bronze. But there's a part of me that is still afraid to trust you."

"And you don't think I don't wonder one day if I'm going to wake up in time to see you plunge a stake into my heart? The risk runs both ways. It's up to you whether it's worth that risk. It seems your friends are willing to let us do what we need to do, they just want to know what we're doing. And as much as that drives me crazy, I'm glad to know that they're here to look out for you when I can't."

"I know. I've been taking the risk so far, so I guess that means I'm willing, but I never really thought of asking you what we were doing until Willow asked. I didn't want to scare you. I'm sure the girls you normally deal with don't take a week to mean much of anything."

"Buffy, love, other than Drusilla, there really haven't been that many girls. I won't say after Dru cheated on me as she did I didn't try and get both of you off my mind, but it was never the same girl more than once."

"Eww, too much information, Spike."

"You sounded as though you were fishing in a way. Figured I'd better lay your mind at ease that you aren't one in a long string or anything."

"I'm glad he told you he was leaving."

"Actually, I doubt he would have except for, well, he gave me the mansion."

"You're going to be living there now?"

"Well, I said he gave it to me. I didn't say I was going to live there. I might, it'd be better than that factory until I found someplace better. But I'm not sure I want to bring you there."

"Oh I don't mind."

"Now. One day you might."

"So I'll tell you it bothers me and we won't go back there."

"And we'd see each other during the day how then, Slayer?"

"Listen, Spike, you have a place to live now that isn't going to fall down around you at any moment. Should you really be worrying about me?"

"Let me concern myself with what I want to worry about, pet. I just don't want the ghost of Angel and Drusilla and the past to be around us when we make love."

"All right." She leaned toward him and kissed him. "I must have the most interesting diary to leave for my grandchildren."

"Why is that?"

"What other Slayer can say they've had two vampire boyfriends?"

"Not many I wager."

"Okay. Well, now that we've had our little talk and I'm done being mad at you for just walking in my house and eavesdropping on my conversation with Willow, it's time for me to get back to Willow."

"Is she spending the night?"

"She was going to, why?"

"Well, I was going to say I could go upstairs and wait for you if she wasn't."

"Well, there is a guest bedroom up there."

"Right and your mom walks in to see me lying there and calls the police."

"Mom likes you. I'd just tell her you were resting before or after our nightly patrol. She knows you've been coming with me."

"You're naughty, Slayer."

She moved to straddle him, unable to resist running her hands along the nearly non-existent fabric of the shirt he wore. She had resisted for too long already. "And you just hate every minute of it, don't you?"

He tilted his head back and peered at her, his blue eyes wide and genuinely happy. "Oh yeah."

"Besides I need to work off that ice cream I ate tonight," she said with a smirk on her lips.

"Oh well, in that case, maybe I'd best go on upstairs and wait impatiently for you to come to bed."

"I'm not going to rush Willow to bed, though, Spike."

"I know, love, I have all night after all. And so long as the guest bedroom has heavy enough curtains, I have longer than that."

"The curtains will do," she said sliding off of him and offering him her hands to help him off the couch. Not that he needed it. "Come on, I'll show you and tell Willow it's safe for her to come downstairs."

"All right, love," he said following her upstairs.

The End

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