Notes: Challenge Response. Remake of Season 2 -- Xander/Spike; various others Summary: Spike comes to Sunnydale bringing his insane lover Xander.

Archivist's Note: With thanks to spanderfan87 for supplying this copy. I couldn't find a full copy of this story anywhere on the net.

Season 2 With a Twist


When She Was Bad

Late August/Early September

Willow sat legs crossed watching Cordelia Chase, painting her nails. Shaking her head in disbelief she said, "It's your turn."

Glancing up, Cordelia waved her hand in the air. "Okay. They're heeeere."

Willow laughed, who would've guessed Cordy was a closet horror movie fan. "Poltergeist."

"Good! Now, you." Willow shook her head, she didn't watch many scary movies.

"Umm.... Oh, okay. I got one. Heeeeeere's Johnny."

"I will not even dignify that with a guess," said Cordelia, nudging Willow over.

"I couldn't think of anything. I don't like scary movies; real life's weird enough."

"I know. But what else are we gonna do. You won't let me make you over. Xander's gone and Buffy's...." Before Cordelia could finish Willow shushed her spotting a shape outside the French doors, grabbing a bat Willow moved to one side and Cordelia the other. Before either girl could react, the doors flew open, Cordelia screeched and Willow swung. Buffy caught it, knocking Willow off balance, "Hi guys. Miss me?"

Looking up from the floor, Willow grinned. "Like a root canal," said Cordelia, helping Willow up.

Closing the French doors, Willow turned "Buffy, when'd you get back?"

She shrugged, "Just now. Dad drove me over. I figured I'd see what you losers were up to. Imagine my surprise when I heard Cordelia."

Willow settled onto the bed, beside a reclining Cordelia. "Don't worry. Normally, I wouldn't grace you with my presence but my parents after promising to take me to St. Croix backed out. So here I am travel-less." Buffy opened her mouth to respond, but Willow quickly jumped in.

"Well, it's been a slow summer and Xander still hasn't gotten back from vacation with his parents," she said making a face.

"Interesting look there, Will. Cause you went mental when?" asked Buffy sitting in the computer chair.

"Oh, it's nothing. Just that Xander always has the worst luck on vacation with the 'rents. Something bad always happens. Like once they left him in Iowa for a like a week before they noticed he was gone and another time...."

Before she can go on to list the trials and tribulations of a Harris vacation Cordelia interrupted. "So, what did you do? Slay anything big and ugly, well aside from your hair?"

Ignoring Cordelia, Buffy turned to Willow.  "Ready for classes?"

Willow nodded eagerly. "I hear there's this great new teacher and...."


Xander sighed--June in New Orleans was hot. Not California hot, but sticky humid southern heat even the nights. Though it was infinitely preferable to Sunnydale nights. Still, being left in another state because your parents forgot they had a child sucked. It was bad enough when his parents used to lose track of him before; now knowing what's out there made it worse, somehow. Shrugging his shoulders, he carried the tray of dishes to the kitchen. At least this time he hadn't ended up in a foster home or jail.

He'd hit a growth spurt, filling out, and gaining a couple inches. He couldn't wait for Buffy to see him. She'd forget all about Angel. Xander snorted. Yeah and my parents actually care about me, he thought.

He guessed Angel was an all right guy for a vamp, but there was just something about him Xander didn't like. Never mind his being a member of the undead. Xander wandered back into the diner absentmindedly clearing tables, picking up dishes, and tips. Starting suddenly, he glanced around. He could feel the eyes on him--hungry. Seeing no one he decided to make it an early night. Throwing his apron into the locker, he called out to his boss then headed home.

Xander paused on the tree-lined street. He couldn't help but stare at the magnificent architecture in the French Quarter. Whirling suddenly, he could feel the eyes again, he hoped to catch whoever it was in the act. But once again, there's no one. Sighing, he dismissed his paranoia. Resuming his walk he headed for the rundown motel he'd been crashing at. The shadow following him drifted into the light. Mad eyes glowed in the streetlight. She stood head cocked, holding a doll.

"You were right, Miss Edith. He's a like a little version of Daddy. I can have my own little daddy to love. And when we go home, I'll have two daddies. Ohhh... What do you mean he's not like Daddy, Miss Edith?" The vampiress held the doll to her ear as if listening intently. "You're right again, Miss Edith. But I can make him like Daddy. I remember aaalll the games Daddy played with me, and we're going to play them with little daddy. The stars tell me we will have such fun and pain." Giggling madly, Drusilla rushed off to start her plans; for soon she'll have a new daddy.


Rick watched the kid jump for the hundredth time in less than twenty minutes. He shook his head sadly. He'd seemed like such a nice guy, but lately he'd been acting like a junkie. Twitchy, nervous, pale, eyes wild, and peaked. Rick grimaced as Xander dropped the tray of glasses he'd been carrying. He was going to have to let him go if he kept this up.
Xander glanced up, hoping no one had noticed the avalanche of shattering glasses. Seeing his boss staring at him, he sighed. He knew he was going to lose this job too. He'd lost three jobs this week. He couldn't understand what was happening to him. He'd thought at first a vampire was stalking him, when he wasn't attacked he'd dismissed the idea. Now, he didn't know what to think. The voices which had started haunting him at night; now followed him into the daylight. The one place he'd thought would be safe.
It started with one voice, the first--dark as the ocean at night. It whispered softly, insistently in his mind. Promises of pleasure, and pain beyond imagining.
He'd tried to block it... but it was invasive, enspelling... trapping him. Soon he'd lost the will to ignore the voice as it chased him in the dark. Always telling him he'd never be alone again, if he would just let go. And some twisted part of him wanted to, to simply let it all drift away but he was Xander Harris. And despite what others thought, he was not a quitter. Strong willed it would take more than that to break him.

Drusilla smiled watching her little daddy heading towards that nasty motel. He heard her in his head. Miss Edith had said he would. She'd said he was special like her, but it was deep, deep because of the pain. But she would find it, dig it up. She drifted slowly behind him ready to start the next phase of her seduction.

Sunlight glinted off the mirror in the diner's bathroom that Xander stared into, not even noticing the glare. He snorted at the image staring back at him, he was paler than Dead-boy. He hadn't slept in days and he was running out of places to hide. New job, new motel, every two days but no matter what she found him.


And though he'd never seen her, he was sure it was a she. The voice. The gifts... he shuddered uncontrollably. The gifts... even when they'd been normal, there had always been a sinister undertone to them. It was just a matter of time. And sure enough... psychoville was the next stop. They had gone from unsettling to a malevolency he'd never seen before. The last one had burned itself into his brain, he couldn't close his eyes with out seeing it.

So, he didn't close them; which only made it easier for the voices to call him. He'd tried calling the gang. No answer. No help... nothing. He was on his own. There was nothing he could do, but pray it went away. Xander snorted, again. Not fucking likely.

Turning away from the empty-eyed reflection, he left the bathroom. As he cleared the tables, he could feel Patty's eyes on his back. He hadn't done anything, yet. Though it was just a matter of time.

Sooner or later he'd start answering the voices whispering in his head, or he'd see her and the screaming would start. When his hands started to shake, he put the tray down quickly. He hadn't destroyed any property as of yet, he planned on keeping it that way.

"Hey, Xander."

Xander tried not to jump, still his shoulders twitched. "Yeah, Mark."

"Package for you in the back. Looks like someone's got a secret admirer." Xander shuddered. There was no way in hell he was opening another thing from that demented bitch.

However, everyone gathered around him urging him to open it. "Come on, Xander. Let us see what your sweety sent you."

He really didn't want to do this... especially since it looked just like the last one.

That box had also seemed innocent, sitting on the foot of his bed. Same purple 6x6 box, wrapped with silver ribbons. He'd reached for it just like he was reaching out now. The same eerie feeling, descending on him. An urge to fling the box as far and fast as he could. Morbid curiosity compelled him to open it. His hands unwrapped the silver bow, lifting the simple lid, he reached in. His fingers touched something soft, and warm.

Fragmented pictures assaulted his mind, as he stared at what he held in his hand. His mind shifted and slick red liquid stained his fingers. The smell of blood flooding his senses. A terrified shriek erupted from his throat as he dropped the heart.

The sound of flesh hitting flesh, startled him almost as much as the sharp stinging in his face. A stunned silence settled over the room. Xander blinked staring at the woman in front of him.

"What the hell is wrong with you," cried Patty. Dazed he stared at the plush heart, lying at his feet, certain it had just been wet, real. Glancing around he realized only he and Patty were still in the back room. So caught up in memories come to life, he'd never noticed the others leaving. Patty watched him struggle to get back to reality. "Xander, I think maybe you should go home now."

"Please... don't--"

"Hush, I'm not going to fire you. I just think you need to get some rest, honey. Take the weekend off. Ok."

Xander sighed, "I'm sorry. Really." Patty gave him a gentle push, "That's all right, honey. Go on, now."

Buffy walked into the classroom, stopping when she saw Willow and Cordelia. Turning to see what distracted Willow, Cordelia saw Buffy too. Dismissing her Cordelia started talking again. Buffy cautiously headed over to an empty desk next to Willow.

"Hey, Buffy."

"Hey," she said quietly.

"We saved you a seat," said Willow gesturing at the empty spot.

Cordelia snorted, "She saved you a seat. I'm still reserving judgment. I hope you've spanked your inner moppet or whatever..."

Buffy sighed sitting down, "I've gotten over my 'tude as you put it. I'm sorry."

"That's ok."

"Whatever," said Cordelia shrugging.

"So what were you guys talking about?"

Willow looked worried, "We were kinda wondering where Xander is. I mean I know his parents are kinda not parents but even they should've remembered school has started."

Cordelia waved her hand, carelessly, "Dork boy will be here soon enough. What are we doing this weekend?"

Willow smiled, "I thought we could..."

Collin looked at all the damage Buffy had done. He stared at the pulverized bits of bone. "I hate that girl."

Some Assembly Required

Sunnydale -- September
Staring at the grave, Buffy sat playing with a yo-yo. "C'mon, Stephen. Rise and shine."

Angel quietly slid up, behind her, "Hey."

Buffy gasped, whirling around.

"Is this a bad time," Angel asked. Buffy stared at him speechless, for a minute.

"Are you crazy? You don't just sneak up on people in a grave yard. You make noise when you walk. You stomp or yodel."
Angel glanced around, "So, you alone?"

Buffy shrugged, "Yeah. Why?"

Angel looked away, "Just thought you'd have some one with you. Xander, maybe."

Buffy looked worried briefly, "Nope. No, Xander. Been back to school for awhile now. Still no Xander-shaped person. Will's starting to freak a little. Do you think you could..." Buffy's voice trailed off as she walked beside the vampire.

"Sure." Angel stopped glancing around, "Buffy?"

"Down here." Buffy gagged, "Someone's been digging up corpses. We should go see Giles."

August--New Orleans
Drusilla hummed softly to herself as she set up her pet's prezzie. "Oh, Miss. Edith, he's going to feel such pain. It's such a beautiful red prezzie. Spike would..." Drusilla's voice trailed off as she tilted her head toward the porcelain doll listening intently. "But Miss. Edith, Spike loves his Drusilla. I'm his princess he'd never hurt me." Drusilla stared at the doll, vamping out. "Naughty! Miss. Edith. There shall be no tea for you. Spike would never take mummy's little Alexander away. Now hush. I must finish little daddy's prezzie."

Drusilla floated around the room moving and tugging in various places. "Come now, Miss. Edith. Mummy can't stay mad. I've been having such fun. Maybe we won't tell Spikey just yet. Yes we'll wait until we go meet Daddy to tell him. Then we'll be one big happy family." Hugging the doll close, she slipped from the room, hiding in the shadows of the courtyard she waited for her pet to come home. Never noticing the darkness that trailed after her.

Spike stood half hidden, watching Drusilla as she mumbled contentedly to herself. She'd been disappearing for the last two months. He was tired of it. Especially after she'd come back to their lair smelling of blood and sex. He'd decided enough was enough, and followed his dark goddess into the night to see for himself what she was up to.


I think I'm paranoid. And complicated. I think I'm paranoid. Manipulate it.
Xander stalked down the streets of New Orleans. His body a confusing mix of movements. Half predator, half prey. He moved eyes constantly shifting, searching the shadows for danger.
C'mon, Xan. There's nothing there. Nothing other than the usual ghouls, vampires and.... Ok, scary thoughts bad. Something else... like the fact that you're losing your mind. It was a toy. Only a toy and you have a screaming fit. Yeah but the last one wasn't. Still doesn't make you less nutty. And this conversation... just proves our point.

"That's it all of you quiet."

Spike watched as Drusilla stalked the confused mortal. He wondered idly if she was changing her hunting techniques. When the expected screams didn't come Spike glanced up. Stunned he watched as his princess spoke to the mortal boy.

"Alexander... Alexander..."

Xander's head shot up, and he froze. That voice.... "Who's there?" His eyes darted around the courtyard, and he clutched the stake and cross. Suddenly she appeared. Brunette waves cascaded around her pale shoulders, as the ivory white dress floated around her ankles. Xander stared at the vision before him. She glowed in the pale moonlight, her eyes shining mirrors of his.

"W-who are you?" Drusilla giggled at his stutter. Xander shuddered at the sound like breaking glass.

"I'm going to be your new mummy. The stars told me so. Shhh," she said, drawing closer. Xander stood mesmerized until she stood right behind him. "Shhh, you can hear them too. Can't you, Alexander?"

Xander shook his head then started backing away, holding the cross up. He knew she was a vamp. Terror coursed through him as he tried to fend her off.

Drusilla caught his arms, knocking the cross and stake aside. She held him still with almost no effort. "Can't stay long, my pet. Cause Spikey is coming but I'll give you a kiss." Drusilla moved faster than he could follow. Her teeth sunk in his neck before he'd even registered movement. He cried out, feeling her nuzzling his throat.

Drusilla paused lapping at the torn flesh then dropping him she took off. She moved like lightning as she raced into the night. Surprised Spike hesitated--staring at the fallen mortal before chasing after his princess.

Xander lay dazed from the blood loss, unable to climb to his feet. Opening his eyes was almost impossible, but hearing a noise he struggled to accomplish the feat. Staring down at him was the manager of the hellhole he currently lived in. "Boy, what are you doing out here?"

Xander could barely manage an eye roll. "Enjoying the view. Now could you help me up." He missed the manager's answer; blacking out as the lack of sleep and blood loss finally caught up with him.


Spike cursed as he paced through the lair. Dru had led him on a wild goose chase the entire night. He'd finally given up, returning to the lair with the rising sun. Only to find Dru lounging in their bed, talking to Miss. Edith. He'd been unable to discover what she was up to with the mortal. Despite his inventive questioning.

Sighing he collapsed on the bed, ignoring Dru's whimpers. He didn't know when he'd grown so impatient with his sire but now he was tired of her incessant ramblings. Tomorrow, I'll find Dru's new toy.
Day dawned and swiftly passed as Xander slept on unaware.


Xander stretched as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. He had no idea how long he'd slept or even the vaguest recollection of how he'd gotten into bed. Uneasy, he tried to remember the night before. But all he got was a series of fragmented memories. He shrugged, and reached for the lamp--bumping into something beside him.

Terror gripped him and he bit back a scream as a urgent sense of foreboding flooded him. Inhaling deeply, he leaned out catching the light switch. He blinked at the bright light unable to see, as his eyes adjusted the room came into focus.

Screams shattered the unnatural silence. All over the motel people and demons alike paused in their activities. Heads popped out of doors as the day manager raced down the hall. Even as he banged on the door--the screams went on.

Mind breaking shrieks of madness echoed through the halls. Cursing, Jake leaned back kicking violently against the door. The locks shattered; slamming the door against the wall. Jake stepped inside, and immediately threw up. He backed out of the room, dropping to his knees in the hall unable to do anything but shake.

Voice raspy with strain, Xander kept screaming as he stared. His mind refusing to piece the images together. The room looked as if it had been painted red, an explosion of blood and flesh. And he was in the center of it. Dried blood spread out from the bodies in every direction, as if when they were moved they'd leave perfectly pristine outlines.

Somewhere between the first and last screams, something broke inside that would never heal. He felt strangely empty as if floating. He stared off blindly and then everything went black.

It was too much, as if someone flipped a switch his mind shutdown. He sat unaware in the middle of the carnage--utterly still even as the police arrived. He was almost silent now. Something had torn in his throat. The only sound he was capable of making, was a piteous whining. Which he'd been doing since his voice gave out.

Officers swarmed around the room. Several of the junior officers were unable to remain in the room. Detective Allison stared everywhere but at the bodies, and the young man sitting between them--drenched in blood. "Captain, sir. Do you..." Allison's voice trailed off as he gestured at Xander.

Captain Perkins shook his head, "He didn't do this..." he paused. "Nothing human could have done this."

"Do we know who?" said the captain.

"Yeah," said Allison, "His parents." Allison glanced at the scene again. He'd never seen anything like it. The bodies looked as if they'd been gnawed at, teeth-marks and missing flesh marred both bodies. He prayed they'd been done after they'd died but he didn't think so, too much blood.

The man's genitalia had been removed. They now sat in his mouth. The woman's eyes had been gouged out. They lay staring sightlessly at his mouth. Allison fought back the urge to gag; trying to ignore the bitter sweet smell of death that filled the room.

A junior officer hesitantly stepped forward, "Captain, sir. We're done here. What do we do about him?"

Perkins sighed as he stared at the boy. He'd seen strong men break from sights less horrific. He looked shell-shocked. "Child. Xander..." he waited.


Finally he reached out touching the boy's face. He shuddered when he met his eyes. The look in them was the emptiest he'd ever seen in another person. As if when he looked at him, he wasn't seeing them at all. Not that he thought he was blind, he saw something. Perkins was sure but not what. Not him, not a cop. Something else, his own twisted version of reality. He sighed, poor child.

Catching his hand, he pulled lightly, taking Xander away from the horror.


Drusilla giggled softly to herself as she hunted. She was having so much fun. She shivered remembering the horrified look on Xander's face after she'd left him his last prezzie. She'd laid them out so nicely in his room, all red and open. He'd screamed so sweetly when he'd seen them. She was going to pay a visit to her pet now at his new place.
Dropping the body, she'd just drained, she danced off into the night.

Spike paced the lair--something he'd been doing a lot recently. He was unsure for the first time in over a hundred years. His Dru was behaving oddly. No, she was behaving like... Spike cursed--like Angelus the twisted bastard.

He'd watched her as she watched him. After he'd seen what she'd done to the boy's parents, he'd known what she was up to. Angelus had done similar things to her, driving her mad just before turning her.

Spike growled; he knew what she was planning. He just didn't know what he was going to do about it. If she was just wanting a new toy, or someone to share her pathetic ramblings with--well then good on her. If she was aiming for a new Angelus or childe.... He'd stake the poor git himself. Snarling, he stalked from the lair to hunt.

When Dru slipped out for the third time that week, he'd had it. He was going to end it tonight. Following behind his princess, he watched as she moved silently through the shadows. Until reaching a dilapidated plantation.
Pausing outside the doorway; he looked up reading the sign. Saint Agean's shelter for the Mentally Disabled--it read.

"Fuck," he muttered. Hiding across the hall, he watched as she entered a room at the end of the corridor. He'd gone through half a pack of smokes by the time she came out. He stared at her, unable to believe what he was seeing. Mouth stained with blood and semen, she licked her lips hungrily, humming happily to herself. Spike bit back a howl of rage. His kitten was fucking the whelp. He would die.

Xander sat huddled in the dark. Waiting... praying... for death. He was so tired. He only wanted it to end. He was going crazy, and he couldn't even get that right. This was worse than being insane, because he was still here.

Sometimes... most times... the outside world was a vague, dim memory. But then there were the times when he was Xander again, those were the worst. He could see himself, cowering in this hellhole. Unable to function and he prayed for an end. So, when the door slid open and it was neither his doctor or Her--he thought his prayers had been answered.

Spike watched the mortal boy who looked up at him. Not in fear but with a mix of hope and resignation. Shocked he shifted out of game-face. "I should kill you. Now," he hissed. Xander struggled upright.

"Please. Please... do it," he begged, offering the vampire his throat. Bewildered, Spike stared at him--hating the rush of uncertainty. Angry, he grabbed the boy yanking him close. He bent to rip out his throat and their eyes locked.

Bend me, Break me
Anyway you need me, all I want is you
Bend me, Break me
Breaking down is easy, all I want is you
Bend me, Break me
Anyway you need me, as long as I want you baby It's all right.

Xander stared--he'd never seen such a beautiful creature. The vampire reminded him of the white tiger he'd seen at the zoo, once. Eyes such a clear blue, like sapphires bathed in moonlight, born predator. He was sad and happy, all at once. Glad he'd had a chance to see such beauty. Sad he'd never see it again.

Spike couldn't look away from those eyes. So deep, warm, soothing like hot cocoa. He hadn't felt such comfort in a long time. He couldn't help seeing the intelligence gleaming in them. He grimaced realizing he couldn't kill the mortal. There was no way he'd survive seeing the light in those eyes go out. He roughly shoved him away. Xander stumbled almost falling, before catching himself on the bed.

"You're not worth the effort," Spike snarled, turning to leave.

"No!" cried Xander, catching Spike by the arm. "You have to kill me. I can't live like this. Shifting between madness and sanity. I can't. It hurts... please."

Spike turned; something in him twisted. He didn't want anyone to hurt this beautiful child. Slowly he reached out to stroke the pale cheek. Xander whimpered, pressing his face into the cool hand. "Please... please. Kill me."

He stared into the dark chocolate eyes and couldn't do it. "No, pet. I can't..."

Xander sobbed, "Can't or won't?" Turning away, he dropped to his knees. Head bowed finally defeated.

Unable to help it, the vampire moved forward--crouching beside the mortal. He hesitated before pulling him into his arms.
"Don't cry, pet. It'll be ok. I'll get 'er to leave you alone. Then..."

Xander looked up at the vampire, "Then what? I'm losing... I've lost... hell, I'm just not all here anymore. I can't live like this. It'd be different if I was completely psycho. Hell, I'd prefer it but I'm not. And I never know when I'll fall."

Spike shook his head. Something in him wanted to hold and comfort the mortal more than he'd ever wanted to help Dru. "It's ok, Pet. I'll be here when you fall."

Xander stared sinking into that azure gaze. Spike shivered staring into the boy's suddenly blank face. He looked like Dru when she was listening to her voices.


A soundless noise whispered--ceaselessly in his mind. He drifted watching the colors, vaguely aware of the whispers. Then the stars were talking to him. They told him about the past, present, and future. An incoherent rush of mindless thoughts.
Trying to get away, he scrambled back; sinking into the red ocean. Suddenly, he was being hauled back. Shivering, he started floating again. He could feel the new voice surrounding him. It was like the stars but different. It told him things that would help him. It was quieter than the stars too.

And somehow he knew if he didn't have that little bit of sanity--he wouldn't hear it. Xander listened intently as the voice whispered beneath the whispers of the stars.

Spike watched as the blank look faded from his face. Spike sighed knowing that the sane part--the aware part-- he'd been talking to was gone. The dreamy look on the boy's face reminded him eerily of Drusilla when she was about to start rambling.

"Shhh," said Xander placing his finger on Spike's lips. "The quiet voice told me. You are good for me. You will help me... love me. Do you know the way blood flows? Down and over clothes... watch me as I go."

Spike sighed, watching as the mortal withdrew. Kissing him softly on the forehead, he placed him on the cot; pulling the thin blanket over him.

"Night, pet," he said softly, opening the door.

"The name's Xander."

Spike whirled around but the boy had already drifted away.


Spike cursed, watching the minion flee in terror. He would have staked him but he was so preoccupied with thoughts of his pet he couldn't think straight. He hadn't been back to the asylum in days. Unaccustomed to the strange rush of emotions, he'd reacted typically for him. He panicked then got angry. The boy had gotten to him in a way he'd never have thought possible. Bringing out emotions he'd long forgotten.

Feeling for a meal on legs. He'd done the only thing he could think of . . . completely dismissed the whelp from his mind. At least that was the plan but the mortal kept creeping back in. And now he was worried, the idiot fledge he'd told to watch Dru had lost her. Uneasy, Spike stalked from the lair.

He was only going to check on Dru. Make sure she wasn't with the boy. He didn't care if he was ok or not. But he'd just pop in to see.

Xander lay still, he had no idea where he was or how long he'd been there. He only knew he was no longer in the asylum. Staring down at the brunette head hovering over his crotch, he whimpered. Retreating further into himself.

She toyed with him--driving him to a pleasure he didn't want, feeding from him as he came. Everytime she did it--he could only think of it as it because if he thought of what it really was he'd scream. So it was just it--and everytime she did it he felt more of himself slipping away.

Xander whimpered again when Drusilla finally pulled away. Staring into the glittering yellow gaze he withdrew--falling into himself. It was getting easier to let go. To let the voices have him.

Except something held him still. Kept him from being as mad as the vampiress... something in himself. Something that screamed he was still Xander; it simply would not lay down and give up. Then there was the quiet voice--the one he called Jesse--it whispered beneath the deafening chorus. Helping him, showing him the path in what the stars told him.

Finally there was him, that vision. He couldn't be sure if it was real or not... but he couldn't help wanting him... Spike. So he held on. Balanced on the edge, over oblivion.

When he'd woken the next morning, after the visit, he'd been resigned to his half life. Until she came back and now....
He floated in a sea of red.

Willow followed closely behind a silent Angel as they made their way through the crowds--heading towards Giles. Peering over Angel's shoulder she grinned at Giles as she looked between him and Ms. Calendar. "Hi, Ms. Calendar! Hi, Giles."

Giles sighed, "Hello, Willow. Angel. What did you find out?"

Willow shuddered, "Eric's place was a bust. Nothing there. Did Buffy get back yet?"

Giles shook his head, "No, uh, no. Um, perhaps you should, um, circulate. See what you could find."

Willow tilted her head to the side as if she'd heard something. When she noticed the others staring at her, she sighed wistfully. "It's nothing. Just if Xander were here he'd have said something really funny about now. I guess I just keep kinda expecting it even though he's go..." Tears brightened her eyes as her voice trailed off. She turned, hurrying away from the group.

"Someone should probably go after her," said Jenny. She and Giles looked at Angel expectantly.

"I guess I could..."

Giles interrupted before he could finish, "Good. Good. Let us know how she is." Sighing Angel left.

New Orleans
Spike stood outside the asylum, uneasy. Torn between cursing and sighing, he began to pace. He hated feeling this way. His emotions were out of control because of a... mortal. Now he was worried --terrified-- that Dru had done something --killed-- to the boy.

No, she wouldn't. Least not permanently. She's doin' wat Angelus did. Spike stopped abruptly, thoughts focusing. Think...think. Slowly an idea began to take shape.

Fragments of conversations with Angelus played through his mind. Reminding him of exactly what Angleus had done to Dru. Ripping away her sanity. Driving her to, then finally taking her in the only sanctuary she'd ever known. Fuck... a church. She's taken 'im to a bloody church.

Spike raced back to the lair. After calling his idiot minions, he flipped through a tattered directory. There were hundreds of churches listed. Growling he tossed it, breaking a unfortunate fledges nose. Staring at the bleeding vamp, he tried to think.
Dru's a creature of 'abit. She'll go somewhere she's been before.

"Listen up, you lot. I want you to search the churches near St. Ageans. You 'alf 'ill take the north," he said pointing to the left. "The rest of you blokes 'll take the south. You hear, see, or find anything you get back 'ere, pronto."

One of the newer vamps stepped forward, "You want us to go in churches..." Before he could finish his complaint, the room was filled with dust. Spike, shook the ash from his coat. "Anymore comments?"  The barely controlled anger in his voice, suggested there had better not be. As one the minions shook their heads then took off into the night.

Unable to wait in the lair, Spike headed back to the asylum. Using it as a starting point, he headed west away from the rising sun. Moving swiftly he passed several churches, pausing long enough to sniff the air, before moving on. An hour passed then two; he'd called the lair twice.

He ignored the approaching dawn, loathe to return without finding one or the other. Xander, his mind whispered. Reluctantly he turned to go as the sun began its ascent. Stumbling when the scent of blood and madness roared over him. Spike whirled around, searching for its source.

In the distance he could see the spires of the cathedral. Hidden between the overgrown cemeteries. He was running before he'd even thought. He knew they were there.


Drusilla stared into the vacant dark-eyed gaze. He was almost ready. The stars told her she only had to finish the spell then she'd have another Daddy... just like her Angelus. Miss Edith sat facing the window. She had been very bad.
Singing softly, she stretched Xander out on the altar. She stroked a lock of hair off his face. Cooing gently at him, she plunged the black dagger into his palm. He shrieked bolting upright. She easily held him down, pinning his left palm with the dagger's twin. "Shush, shush, shush... soon, soon, soon."
Pulling a third dagger --this one blood red-- she waved it back and forth through the flames. She twined a dark lock of hair around the blade, "Belongs to Daddy. I took it before he left. Bad Daddy, but we will find him." Her eyes drifted shut as she chanted the spell then drove the blade into his heart.
Xander screamed his body arching up off the altar. Drusilla shoved him down. Latching onto his throat, she swallowed hungrily draining him. He struggled briefly then relaxed as his life flowed away.
Drusilla stopped, listening to the heart struggling to keep pumping. Purring, she placed her torn wrist over his mouth, open in a soundless wail. Like melted chocolate--it ran dark and thick down his throat as she continued chanting.

Xander struggled to stay afloat. Crimson and silver streaks of lighting, danced across the black sky as the blood sea churned. Waves rocked the sinking form as shapes stirred beneath the chaotic sea.


Spike flew through the early dawn, barreling straight into the church's doors. The loud boom echoed through the unholy silence.

He froze staring at the nightmare before him. Seeing everything as if time had stopped. The altar lit with black candles. Xander laid out a perfect sacrifice, pinned with ebony blades as Drusilla bent over him holding her bloody wrist to his sucking mouth.

"No!" his cry roared through the church--seeming to shake the altar. Time started again, and he was on her before she had even registered his presence. His hand struck as if of its own accord.

Knocking her clear across the church, cutting her off mid-chant. Reaching down he ripped the dagger from Xander's chest. Tossing it out into the rays of the rising sun.

Xander and Drusilla’s screams mingled and merged as the blade began to smoke. Flames rose turning the knife silver--incinerating the hair.


Tired, Xander had begun sinking as something stirred in the depths of the blood sea--rushing towards him. Unholy, malevolent, twisted and vast it reached to swallow him whole.

Xander screamed in pain as it was ripped away suddenly. Then something just as vast but not as dark took its place. The darkness began to wrap itself around what was left of the being known as Xander Harris.

As his soul battled with the demon for possession, his eyes drifted open.
Pulling the knives from his hands, Spike dragged Xander into his lap ignoring Dru's whines. Spike stared at the pale form. Torn. Delighted that the boy would be around forever. Sad that now a demon had taken the soul he'd come to... No, not going there mate.

And now he was most likely truly lost... a distorted version of Dru's beloved Angelus. Spike bit back a sob, dropping his head to the young vampire's.

Xander's eyes flew open, wide unseeing. Spike stared into them falling.

Soul and demon fought for possession of the body. Xander struggled, fighting the urge to simply give in even as the demon battled to gain control. As they warred voices rose and fell around them. The maelstrom of sound slowly quieted until all that could be heard was a single eerie chant...

Domine. Domine, Deus. Domine. Adiuva Me. Domine. Domine, Deus. Domine. Adiu, Aduima Me.

The voice seemed alive. Pulsing with it's own heartbeat. Racing through the two combatants. Lighting shot across the sky as the blood red sea churned. Waves crashed, the sky burned with white fire. Chaos reigned, twisted shapes swam beneath them. They froze in mid struggle as a new presence disturbed the battlefield.

Both entities stared at the electric blue eyes that filled the black sky. Enthralled by them--demon and soul alike. A dissonant cacophony of sound overwhelmed the void as the chant shifted and changed becoming a sing-song like nursery rhyme...
Electric blue eyes, where did you come from? Electric blue eyes, who sent you? Electric blue eyes, always be near me. Electric blue eyes, I need you.

In a soundless rush, the soul swept over the demon. Forcing its dominance even as they merged. The sea calmed, as the soul settled into its new existence.
Xander's eyes shifted as he stared up at the vampire. Spike shook himself coming out of his daze. He felt strange as if he'd witnessed the birth of this new vampire.

Xander gazed into the same electric blue eyes he'd seen in his head.

Still shaken, Spike returned the intense stare before asking quietly, "Pet, what the hell was that?"

Xander's eyes lost focus. And when he spoke it was in a childish sing-song, "If you should go, you should know.... I'm here. Always be near me, guardian angel. Always be near me, there's no fear."

Spike grimaced, poor pet. Turning he stared at the reason for his insanity. Drusilla sat weeping, clutching Ms. Edith. Spike gathered the new immortal into his arms to wait for nightfall.

Buffy glanced over at Angel as they walked through the cemetery. "God, the whole thing was so creepy."

Angel nodded, "Sounds like he took it over the edge."

Buffy sighed, "Love makes you do the wacky." Angel stared at her. "Crazy stuff."

Angel turned away slightly, "Yeah. Like being jealous off..." He stopped turning to walk the other way.

Buffy hurried to catch up. "You think he's dead. Don't you?" she said quietly.

"I heard some things. I don't think he's coming back." Buffy stared at the ground silent for a moment. Angel moved closer,
"Let me walk you home."

New Orleans
Spike watched the two vampires--who sat staring off into space--worrying.

Despite the age of his sire, Xander barely had the strength of a fledging. Dru's illness had somehow been passed onto him. He was as weak as her--physically if not mentally. For which Spike was profoundly grateful. While it was obvious his princeling was not quite all there, he was still more aware than Drusilla. He anticipated his little one's bursts of sanity. Those episodes were the highlights of his nights.

Drusilla suddenly began to keen loudly, rocking back and forth. Spike ignored her, he couldn't understand how he'd dealt with her overbearing demands for all these years.

Part of him wondered how he could now resent Dru's ramblings while patiently deal with Xander's. 'Cause you never felt this way 'bout Dru. Spike shook his head dismissing the disturbing thoughts.

Abruptly Dru stopped, "Princess is hungry."

Spike looked at her trying to control his annoyance. "Then go get something to eat."

Drusilla pouted. Spike no longer brought her prezzies or lovely people. Instead he spent all his time with the little dad... She quickly stifled that line of thought.

Xander turned to Spike as if Dru's hunger has triggered his. "Hungry, my angel," he whimpered.

Spike was beside him instantly. "C’mon, little one. I'll find you a nice pretty one."

Xander stood, trailing behind him. Drusilla followed still pouting.

Leaving Xander beneath a street lamp to wait--because the young vampire didn't like the dark--Spike hunted. He moved through the crowd, searching for his princeling’s dinner. Soon, he spotted her. Perfect. Blonde, about 5'4" and slender. His pet liked them like that. He was sometimes as bad as Dru. Forgetting to eat and sometimes having to actually be persuaded to do it. But for some reason he had a real thirst for petite blonds.

Holding the terrified girl, he remembered the first time he'd taken Xander to hunt. He'd been a natural. Luring them in then ripping them apart. Spike grinned, remembering the first sight of his little one's blood smeared lips. Still smiling, he dragged the girl back to him.

Xander's eyes tracked his lover's every move. Xander loved watching as Spike hunted. His guardian angel. He was so beautifully lethal.

He caught the blonde as Spike shoved her into his arms. Holding her he stroked her cheek, "This one looks just like Buffy. Maybe a bit taller than the slayer but still..."

Spike was surprised his pet knew of the slayer. They hadn't gotten around to her yet, even though he'd been teaching Xander about being a vampire. Spike watched his lover as his awareness drifted, replaced with the familiar dreamy expression.

Xander brushed the girl's hair from her face, "Grandfather is with the slayer. He's not an angel. Can make us strong if you find the cross... dulac... do like... I like. Shhh.... Do you hear it my angel? Death is near... hush hush heart rush... can you see it?" Then he was staring at the girl again, darting forward he bit deeply into her throat.

Spike watched aroused as he drained the girl; thinking vaguely about what his luv had said. He'd heard rumors about the Dulac cross. Was it possible?

Xander kissed the dead girl's cheek then giggled, "Silly girl. She did not know death already had her." Suddenly, he swayed. "Tired, Spikey."

Spike pulled him close. Deciding then that if going to Sunnyhell and seeing that bastard Angelus would help his little one he'd do it. Soothing the whimpering vampire, he headed back to the lair. He'd undressed and settled the young vampire into bed, before he realized Drusilla wasn't with them. Cursing he left the lair again.


Drusilla wandered aimlessly through the streets. Seeing a young child playing in a yard, she drifted towards her. Spike caught her arm just before she could grab the child. "Bloody hell, Dru. Are you trying to get us all cursed. You know the rules. No children in this place," he hissed.

Drusilla shrugged. "I want a prezzie. You've been mean to princess."

Spike ignored her snatching up the child. "Go home, Dru."

Carrying the girl, he headed towards the house. Dropping the child onto the porch, he turned to leave when something grabbed his arm. Snarling he turned to whoever had dared to touch him and stopped.

She barely came up to his shoulder. Her raven locks streaked liberally with silver fell like a curtain around her, cocoa skin gleamed with sweat. "Wat'cha be doin' wit de child vampyre," she asked in a voice, thick and slow as molasses.

"I know the rules, lady. Just was return' the kid," he said shrugging causally, but slightly nervous.

"Yah. You be stoppin' de loony one from makin' a meal 'o me granchile." Spike shifted, startled by the knowledge shining in her black eyes. So much like Xander’s. "For dat I show you sometin' den we be even vampyre. Wat you do wit wat I show yah be up to you."

Spike tried to step back, but was frozen in place as she grabbed his head. His eyes snapped shut as the images bombarded him. And then he was free, gasping for air he didn't need. "What the... Bloody fuck!!"

"Dat boy is yer future. Make of it wat you would."

Spike backed a way, wary. "Who are you?"

"Ah, boy. Yah don't be knowin' Mistress Sais Voir. I be wat you call of de old blood. Just like de loony one and de boy. But dat be all you gettin' from Mistress Sais Voir."

His eyes flew open as she faded away. He stood numb for several seconds. After a while he turned to leave, and her voice whispered on the wind. "I know how to see. You be sure you know how to do."

Spike walked home slowly deep in thought. Mind racing over the things she'd shown him. Hours passed. He was home standing beside their bed before he knew it. Deciding to think about it later, he pushed it all to the back of his mind. Stripping out of his clothes he crawled into bed with Xander. Pushing everything but the feel of his lover's body out of his head, he drifted into sleep.

Sunnyhell here we come.

S2.3 School Hard

"A lot of educators tell students, 'Think of your principal as your pal'," said Snyder. He glared at the two girls sitting in front of his desk. "I say, 'Think of me as your judge, jury, and executioner.' Tell me, who do you think is the most troublesome student in this school?"

Buffy sat silently beside another girl in the principal's office. She tried to look contrite but it didn't look like Snyder was buying it.

"It's a very narrow gap between the two of you. On the one hand, Buffy hasn't stabbed a horticulture teacher with a trowel."

The dark-haired girl snorted. "I didn't stab anyone with a trowel. They were pruning shears."

Snyder ignored her. "On the other hand, Sheila has never burned down a school building."

Buffy thought about suggesting it was mice, then thought it'd be best not to mention that possibility.

"Thursday is Parent/Teacher night. I've decided to put the two of you in charge of the event. Today is Monday. You have three days to prepare. Do well, and you will incur my good will. And may effect what I will tell your parents when I meet them. Screw up and you're expelled. Are we clear?"

Buffy nodded eagerly. "I'm clear." She looked at the other girl. "Don't you feel clear. We're very clear."

Snyder glared at both of them. "Are you still here?"

Buffy practically leapt from her seat, wanting to be gone before Snyder inflicted even more horrors on her.

Willow and Cordelia were waiting in the quad for Buffy. Actually, Willow was waiting; Cordelia was keeping her company. The red-head waved, spotting the blond girl.

Buffy collapsed onto the bench beside them, looking dejected. Willow commiserated with the miserable slayer after she'd explained what Snyder had said.

"He's got you guys making party favors, huh?"

Buffy sighed, nodding. "His two worst students." She looked up as the brunette, Sheila, who'd been with her in the office passed by. "That's what mom sees when she looks at me. A Sheila."

She glared at the girl. "I'm the slayer which requires a certain amount of cutting and fighting. What's Sheila's excuse?"

Cordelia looked up from examining her nails. "Homework. She won't do it. Most teachers respect that now. Oh, you might want to keep away any sharp implements when your working with her."

Buffy groaned. "Do you think any other Slayers ever had to go to high school?"

Willow glanced at Cordelia then back to Buffy. The brunette girl sighed, rolling her eyes. "Look, we'll help you. And as long as nothing bad happens, you're all good." She turned to the red-head looking for praise for her effort.

"Are you crazy," Buffy screeched. "What did you say that for? Now something bad is gonna happen!"

"Please. Nothing's going to happen," snapped Cordelia.

"Not until some dummy says, 'as long as nothing bad happens'," said Willow, then choked as Cordelia shot her a nasty look.

"Whatever. Since my talents aren't appreciated, I'm sure the two of you can work this out on your own," she said, standing. She glared once more then walked away.

Willow patted Buffy's arm one more time, before hurrying after Cordelia.

Buffy stood slowly, muttering to herself. "Maybe this time it'll be different.

Late at night the streets were practically empty. Which was a good thing as a classic 1958 Dodge Desoto Fireflite barreled down the town's main drag. The car wove back and forth wildly until it slammed into a sign saying, Welcome to Sunnydale. The engine shuddered to a halt as a howl tore through the night air.

Spike moaned as his adopted childe lifted his head from Spike's lap. Xander glanced up licking his lips, purring at the taste of his sire. Spike ran his fingers through the thick brown locks before tugging his childe's head up.

Xander allowed himself to be dragged away from his treat. Spike leaned forward devouring the swollen mouth in front of him. He only stopped when Drusilla yanked on his hair. He growled softly at his sire, then tucked himself back in. He glanced around, eyeing the quiet streets.

"Home, sweet home," he muttered, starting up the engine again. He backed over the sign, then paused.

Xander pointed to the left, towards the school. Drusilla pointed to the right, toward the Bronze. Neither said a word.

Spike turned the car to the left, peeling off into the night.

Following Xander's unvoiced directions, it didn't take the trio long to find the Anointed One's lair.

Spike leaned in the doorway listening as two younger vampires argued about the slayer. He snorted as the brunette one claimed to have been at the crucifixion. He stepped into the light. "You were there?" he smirked. "Oh, please! If every vampire who said he was at the crucifixion was actually there, it would have been like Woodstock."

The blonde vampire watched the younger one. He could tell he was enraged enough to attack. Spike decided to provide him with an opportunity. He was bored. It'd also make for one less idiot minion to deal with. "I was actually at Woodstock. That was a weird gig," he said, turning away to examine the lair. "I fed off a flowerperson, and I spent the next six hours watchin' my hand move."

The dark-haired vampire rushed him, almost before he'd turned his back. Spike swung almost too fast for the others to see. The brunette was dust before anyone realized Spike had ripped his head off. He grinned at the remaining nest. "So, who do you kill for fun around here?"

Collin watched the older vampire warily. He might just be able to get rid of the slayer. "Who are you?"

"Spike," he said, quietly. "You're that Anointed kid. Right? Heard tell about you. You got slayer problems. Know what works? Killing them."

Collin looked from his guardian to the blonde vampire. "Can you?"

He shrugged. "A lot faster than Nancy-boy could've. I've done a couple of slayers. I don't like to brag," he muttered, modestly, before grinning. "Who am I kidding? I love to brag. The first one was during the Boxer Rebellion, and she..."

He paused, sensing someone behind him. He swung around, fangs flashing then slid out of game-face as he caught sight of his lover. Drusilla drifting along behind him.

"Xander," he murmured, hurrying to him. "You shouldn't be walking around. You're not well." Spike pulled the fledging into his arms. Xander glanced around from the safety of his arms.

"Look at all the people. Are they nice people?"

Spike shrugged. "We're getting along."

Xander locked eyes with Collin. "He has power. We could feel it from the car. Is why we came in."

Spike eyed his lover, then Collin. "Yeah, he's the big noise in these parts."

Xander tilted his head, eyes moving over the boy. "Do you like twinkies? Hmm? I liked them. They were full of good, sticky sweetness. Don't like them anymore. People have all the sticky sweetness. They're twinkies, now." He shivered, snuggling into Spike. "Spike? I'm cold."

The blonde vampire pulled back, taking his duster and wrapping it around the younger immortal's shoulders. "I've got you."

Xander cuddled back into Spike's arms. "I'm a prince," he said, quietly. Spike stroked his cheek, gently; he moved into the caress.

"That's what you are, my princeling."

Drusilla stomped her foot, "No! I'm daddy's princess."

The couple ignored her. Xander leaned forward, nipping at Spike's jaw, drawing blood. Slowly he licked up the drops of blood. As one they turned to Collin. "Me, and Xander; we're moving in. Oh, and Dru."

She pouted at her childe's indifference, as Xander pulled away from Spike to wander around the lair.

"I'll do your slayer. And as long as you realize who's got the biggest wrinklies we'll be fine," he purred. Collin nodded.

Suddenly Xander, and Drusilla gasped in pain, both vampires grabbing their skulls. Xander whimpered loudly. Spike rushed to his side, as Drusilla began to wail, "I can't see her..."

Spike oblivious to his sire's ranting, focused on soothing his childe's pain. Xander hissed, cringing from the vision. "Spike," wailed, the young immortal. The older vampire hugged him close.

"What is it, little one?"

Xander lifted teary eyes to Spike's. "Slayer's strong. Grandfather's caught in her heart."

Spike snarled. It sounded like Angelus was in love with the slayer. "He's helping her?"

Xander nodded. "They're dating. They were mean to me," he pouted. "Kill the nasty slayer for me?"

Spike stroked him, nuzzling at his throat. "It's done, baby."

Xander stared up at him, eyes wide. "Kill her for your prince?"

He grinned wickedly. "I'll chop her to messes."

Xander's eyes lit up. "You are my guardian angel."

After settling him, Spike turned back to the Anointed. "How 'bout this slayer? Is she tough?"

After two days of rest, and adjusting to their new home Spike was restless. He wanted to see the town his pet had grown up in. Catching a glimpse of the slayer he planned to kill would be useful as well. With that in mind he took his childe with him for a tour of Sunnydale. They finished up at the Bronze.

Xander leaned into Spike as they watched the dance floor below them. "So, this is where your from, little one." He smiled shyly, nodding at his sire. "Do you know who's sitting with the slayer?" He turned to look.

"Little willow tree," he said quietly, frowning. "Nasty tongued little harpy."

"Do they have names, pet?"

"Willow and Cordelia," he said, cocking his head to the side before giggling. "Nasty thoughts to go with her nasty tongue. Shouldn't think such things," he growled.

Spike glanced down at the trio. The red-head seemed to be helping the blonde study. The brunette looked put out. He watched as she stood abruptly. Tuning out the club's various noises, he focused on the group.

"Look," said Cordelia. "I didn't come here to sit in a dark corner. I came to be seen."

"I thought you came to dance," said Buffy, smirking.

"That is just the means," she said, moving away from the table.

Buffy groaned, dropping her head onto her French book. "It's Wednesday, Will. I'm not going to bring my grade up by tomorrow. I might as well enjoy this last night of freedom."

Willow poked her until she sat up. "None of that missy. We are going to have you speaking French before the night's through," she said, firmly.

Spike turned to Xander, only to find him gone. He cursed seeing him wandering toward the girls. Shoving teenagers out of the way he hurried to him. He grabbed the younger immortal, pulling him away before he could be spotted. Xander whined, looking up at him with sad, dark eyes. "I want to see the willow tree."

He sighed. "Not now, pet. Maybe next time. For now I want you to go back to the lair." He turned him towards the door. "I'll bring you back something yummy. After I've checked this slayer out."

Xander swayed absentmindedly, as Spike tugged him outside.

"Right back to the lair, pet."

Nodding, the younger vampire drifted off. Spike watched him until he'd disappeared into the darkness.

Spike lingered by the door for a bit, before going back into the club. The brunette girl was on the dance floor, her body swaying to Nickel's "Stupid Thing." Her gaze would dance over to the group's table, every few minutes.

She looks good, he thought; eyes turning to the remaining girls. The red-head watched Cordelia with barely disguised longing. Naughty thoughts indeed, pet.

Spotting a vamp at the bar, Spike stalked over to it. "Go get something to eat," he ordered. He waited, giving the vampire time to catch a bite.

After a minute he moved closer to the group's table, speaking loudly enough to be over heard by the slayer. "Where's the phone? I need to call the police. There's some guy out there trying to bite somebody."

Buffy shot out of her chair, rushing from the club. Willow waved to Cordelia, then hurried after her. The brunette groaned but left the dance floor to follow the others. Spike trailed behind, taking up a place in the shadows to watch the slayer work.

Buffy had spotted the vampire as soon as she'd exited the club. She marched forward yanking him away from his victim. The girl dropped down to the ground, clutching at her throat. He roared, spinning to face his attacker. "Slayer," hissed the demon.

"Slayee," quipped Buffy, then launched a roundhouse kick to his head. He flinched but straightened quickly. He swung at her; she side-stepped his blows with ease. She went on the offensive, landing several punishing blows before he caught her arms. Using them as leverage, he swung her around, tossing her into the air.

Buffy bit back a curse as she slammed into the wall, bouncing back to her feet almost instantly.

Willow darted around the battling duo, hurrying to the weeping girl's side. She tugged her up, encouraging the girl to get away. The slayer kept herself between the vampire and the girls. She glanced away from the vampire she was currently beating to a pulp. "A stake would be nice," she called.

Cordelia rolled her eyes but went back inside for the stake. She looked through the slayer's purse, dropping items on the table as she searched. Eyeing the eyeshadow she pulled out with distaste. "How tacky," she said, discarding it. Finding the stake, she hurried back outside.

Distracted by Cordelia's reappearance, Buffy missed the coming blow. Hard enough to knock her to the ground, momentarily stunned she lay there. Taking advantage of the situation the vampire, bent to grab. "I don't need to wait for St. Vigius. You're mine," he hissed.

"Already taken," she snapped, kicking him in the face. He staggered back as she leapt to her feet.

"Buffy," called Cordelia, tossing her the stake.

"Spike," yelled the vampire as she stalked forward. Too late. As Buffy snatched the stake from the air, and in on swift move plunged it into his chest.

Spike watched all of this with a thoughtful look on his face. She's good, he thought. I'm better.

He straightened from where he'd been lounging against the wall. Clapping, he stepped out of the shadows.

Buffy looked around warily, eyes narrowing as she spotted him. Cordelia and Willow turned to where she was looking. Cordelia's eyes widened.

"Nice work, luv." He said, looking from the ashes to the slayer.

"Who are you," she asked, glaring at him.

"You'll find out on Saturday," he said, stepping back into the shadows.

"What happens Saturday?"

"I kill you," he murmured, disappearing into the night.

Buffy shuddered, then turned to the others.


They nodded.

Spike watched them leave, grinning smugly. Let the girl go to her watcher. She'd learn about him quick enough. He moved to leave, stopping as he saw a brunette girl stumbling drunkenly down the alley. His pet could use a bite. Plus, he was a bit peckish himself. Moving swiftly, he drained the two boys following the girl before she'd gotten more than a few feet ahead of them.

Sheila slowed to a halt. She spun around again, yelping at the man who'd come out of nowhere. "Who are you?"

Spike leered at her, "Who do you want me to be?"

She blushed staring at the guy. He was hot. Bleached blonde hair, and eyes like gem-stones. "Did you see..."

"Those two losers?"


"They got sleepy."


"And you got something a whole lot better," he purred, rubbing against her as he slid by her. He glanced back at her grinning and walked away.

"Hey, wait up! What's your name?" she called, hurrying to catch up with him.

The girls made it back to the school just in time to catch Giles before he'd left for the night.

Giles watched his pacing slayer, as the others studied in grim silence. "He can't be any worse than any other creature you've faced."

"He's worse."

Cordelia shrieked in outrage. The vampire's silent appearance and subsequent announcement startling her. She glared down at the red streak of nail polish on her sleeve then up at the vampire. Who was blessedly unaware of her anger.

"Once he starts something, he doesn't stop until everything in his path is dead."

Jenny looked from the tense vampire to the watcher. "Not your average minion."

Buffy angled her way to Angel's side. "We were at the Bronze earlier. Thought you said you might show."

Angel looked puzzled. "You said you weren't sure if you were going."

Buffy tried not to pout. "I was being cool. Two hundred years, and you don't know what a girl means when she's says maybe?"

Cordelia snorted. "Way to stay focused on the vamp that's going to slaughter you Saturday night."

"Yes, we do have slightly more urgent matters to discuss," said Giles. Cordelia looked smug. "Angel, do you know if this Spike fellow goes under any other name?"

When no answer came, everyone turned to look at Angel, only to find him gone.

Xander lay watching Drusilla and Ms. Edith arguing. His maker and her dolly had apparently had a falling out. He wondered idly, why the stars had become so quiet. Maybe they were as wary about returning home as he. He'd have to ask Spike; he'd know.

As if thoughts of his lover had conjured him, the blonde vampire walked through the door. He tossed a struggling bundle to the floor, crossing over to where Xander lay on the bed.

"Brought something sweet for you, little one."

Xander rolled over on his back, offering his throat to the older vampire in an instinctive move, that was also a plea. "Not hungry. I don't like it here. The dark is waiting. " He peered up at him through dark lashes. He scooted closer as Spike reached out stroking his brow.

"I miss Prague," blurted Drusilla.

The blonde vampire rolled his eyes. "You nearly died in Prague. We're here because here is where Angelus is," he dropped onto the bed beside his lover. "And Angelus is going to make you well." He nuzzled into the bared throat--lean hands roaming the body beneath him. Xander purred, pushing into the touches.

"Chant. Chant. Chant," mumbled Xander. "Like naughty cheer-leaders." He looked over his lover's shoulder as the sound of struggling caught his attention. The bound girl had managed to turn over, nearly working her gag loose.

Drusilla hummed softly to the sounds of the vampires doing the ritual in the rooms above. "They are preparing."

"St. Vigius, Saturday. Should be a party."

Drusilla gazed up at the ceiling. "You should go up with them and cleanse."


Xander sat up, the blonde rolling off of him. "Whose this?" he said crawling from the bed. She stared around with wide, freaked eyes. Xander gave a little grin. "I know you. Sheila, right?"

Sheila relaxed minutely. Something about him soothed her. In fact, he looked familiar too. Maybe the guys were having a little joke at her expense, she thought. Xander. Xander Harris. That was his name.

Drusilla's eyes wavered between the ceiling and her creation. "The boy doesn't trust you."

He shrugged, "Could care less, luv."

Xander drifted closer to the girl. He reached out, brushing the hair from her face. "Shh," he whispered, pulling her into his arms. Xander's quiet admonishment caught the older vampire's attention. He turned to him, grinning as he saw him cradling the girl. This was the first time in nearly a week Xander had gone after food himself.

Sheila sighed, slumping into the slightly chill embrace. The soft, gentle touches calming her. Xander burying his face against her throat startled her but didn't really worry her. She was up for a little fun and games. It'd teach those guys to try something like this on her. She jumped at the sharp pain at her throat, when it kept hurting she started to struggle. Panicking when she realized it was futile. Her screams rang through the room.

Spike laughed, realizing his pet hadn't pulled her under. Usually a vampire's bite was pleasurable, only minions and renevants caused pain with a bite; and a Master's bite was ecstasy. Which was why most victims didn't fight. Xander gazed at him from where he crouched with the girl. He tore his mouth away from the pulsing throat, and held the girl out. "Sire," he called.

Spike stood. "Got an idea, Dru baby. Why don't you go make nice with the natives, while Xander and I have a little teacher/student time."

Drusilla hissed loudly. She glared at them, snatching Ms. Edith before disappearing up the stairs.

Thursday dawned uneventfully, despite the previous night's scare. Buffy spent the day more worried about the Parent/Teacher conference than the blonde from the night before.

The Scoobies gathered in the library to help Buffy, each in their own unique way.

"It's been awfully quiet," said Jenny as leafed through the book on the counter.

"This is a good," said Buffy. She glared down at the vegetable tray, she'd just finished preparing. She hoped the parents weren't to hungry. Something was missing. What was missing? Banner's, check. Food, check.

Giles wandered out of his office. "That's because for three nights the unholy ones scourge themselves into a fury, culminating in a savage attack on the night of St. Vigius."

"Couldn't they just play Twister," said Willow, carefully placing the crossbow on the table.

Cordelia snorted, tossing the stake she'd been sharpening onto the table. "Not everyone's idea of fun is as wild as your's Willow. And how long do we have to do this? My fingers are cramping."

"Longer than three minutes, Cordelia."

Cordelia grimaced at the pile of wood. "She doesn't need that many stakes. I mean if this Spike guy is as dangerous as he looked. It should be over pretty quickly." Buffy scowled at her. "Still rooting for you on Saturday. I'd be there for you myself, if I didn't have a leg wax."

"Okay. Parents start arriving in an hour. The lounge is all comfy, everything's ready. What am I forgetting?"

"Punch," offered Willow.

Buffy looked around the library. She was right. "Punch. Hold down the fort, guys. I'm punch bound.'

Cordelia pushed away from the table. "As fun as this has been, time to go. Parent's to pacify soon."

The two students walked away, leaving Ms. Calendar and Giles to finish preparing for Saturday.

Xander danced silently around the room. Eyes closed, listening to the voices inside. They told him bad things about Sunnydale. He didn't want to be here. But Spike was insistent. They wouldn't be leaving until he was healed. He stilled, darting a look at his maker.

She was pouting in a corner. She hadn't appreciated being ignored the night before. Or the entire day. He stiffled a giggle.

He prowled over to her. Staring down at her for a long moment, before crawling into her lap. She growled softly, but allowed the contact. He knows she doesn't like him. He didn't turn out liked she'd planned. Plus, Spike had been treating her differently ever since they'd decided to leave New Orleans. His sire knew something. He was certain if he looked hard enough he could see what the stars had told him. It wasn't worth the effort though. Spike would do what was best for them.

"Mommy," purred Xander, burrowing into the still chest.

Drusilla perked up slightly. This was her childe, even if Spike tried to take him away. She brushed the dark curls from his face. So, like her own. She just knew Angelus would love him. If only Spike would play fair, she thought.

Spike stood at the door, entranced by the sight before him. His dark-haired sire, and childe curled around each other. It was beautiful.

Xander glanced up, catching sight of his lover. He wiggled out of Drusilla's embrace, gliding over to Spike's side. He buried his head into the curve of his neck. "Mommy and me need alone time, my blue-eyed angel."

Spike considered objecting. However, Drusilla had been peckish of late. He didn't want her acting out. Not until he was ready. "Sure, luv." He said, dropping a kiss onto the upturned face. "I'll just go grab something to eat."

Xander smiled and drifted back to his maker. She brightened and opened her arms for him. The look she gave Spike one of triumph. The blonde snorted but refrained from speaking. Xander was his, no matter who'd done the actual siring.

"Later, pets." He called, heading out to look for a little fun.

Buffy waited anxiously behind the snack table as the parents began to arrive. She hoped feverently that nothing would go wrong. She offered a bright grin to several of the parents and began doling out punch.

Willow wandered over. "What kinda punch did you make?"

"Lemonade," she said handing the red-head a cup. "I made it fresh and everything."

"Uh? How much sugar did you use?" she asked lifting the cup. "I don't like it too sweet." She took a sip.


Willow grimaced as the liquid rolled over her tongue. She coughed, then set the cup down. "It's uh good."

"Hey, no one said it had to be good. Now, all I have to do is keep Snyder away from Mom..."

"Hi, Mrs. Summers," said Willow, brightly. Buffy turned to see her mother heading their way.

"Hi, Willow. Hi, honey. Did you do all this?"

"Yeah! Try the lemonade," she said, offering her mother a cup. She looked up to see Snyder heading toward them. "Just as soon as Willow shows you the library," she said, putting it down.

Willow slid her arms around Joyce's shoulders, maneuvering her away from the table. "Actually, I'm sure you'd like French class better. Big study group, studying in the library now. They can get kinda nasty if you disturb them."

Buffy gave a huge sigh of relief when she noticed it was 8:45. She also offered up a blessing for Willow, who'd managed to keep her mother occupied all night. Fifteen minutes to go and she'd be home free.

"Are you even doing anything," asked Cordelia, stalking into the lounge. "We're locked up in that library working on your weapons. Slaves at least get to eat."

She paused staring at Buffy. Buffy glared back. "What?"

"You're starting to look a little slagged. What, are you just skipping the foundation entirely now?"

"Three lives, Cordelia. And right now they're all trying to collide. It's like oil and water, not mixing."

"Yeah, and I can see the oil," muttered, Cordelia. "Hey, is that your mom? Now, she knows how to moisturize. Did it like skip a generation?"

"I've seen every classroom, and not a single teacher," said Joyce, moving to stand by her daughter. "We've managed to just miss them every time." Willow grinned smugly behind her, giving Buffy a thumbs up.

Before Buffy could answer, Principal Snyder had descended on them. "Mrs. Summers. Principal Snyder. I'm afraid we need to talk. My office is this way."

Buffy watched in dismay as they walked away. Willow looked pained for her friend. Cordelia smirked.

"When they're done talking..."


"My guess? Tenth high school reunion, you'll still be grounded." Buffy glared, then whimpered.

When he mother returned from Snyder's office, it was all the slayer could do not to scream in frustration.

Seeing the look on Mrs. Summers face, Willow decided it was time for her and Cordelia to make a strategic retreat. Pulling the taller girl behind her, she headed towards the library.

Spike lounged against the cavern wall. Bored. Allowing his lover and sire time to themselves, left him with nothing to do. The 'annoying' one's minions were too pathetic to provide much entertainment and he didn't feel like hunting. Well, not hunting just anyone. The slayer was his target. Suddenly the vampire didn't feel like waiting until Saturday. He'd do her tonight, and get rid of the threat to his lover now.

Giles snapped the book he'd been reading shut. "I've found him." Jenny looked up from the computer screen.

"Him who?"

"Our new friend Spike or 'William the bloody'. He earned the name Spike by torturing his victims with rail road spikes. Lovely. Though the good news is he's not even as old as Angel. Barely two hundred. Oh, dear."

Willow and Cordelia paused in the doorway. "Oh, no. That can't be good," muttered the red head. "He's in 'oh, dear' mode."

Giles glanced from the teenagers to Jenny, who'd moved to his side. "Spike's fought and killed two slayers in the last century."

"We should warn Buffy," said Willow, tugging an exasperated Cordelia back the way they'd come.

Joyce stormed past several parents to where Buffy stood cringing behind the snack table.

"Car. Now," snapped the irate woman.

With a whimper Buffy turned to follow the rigidly retreating back. Willow spotted them just as they were leaving the lounge. She'd started to call out when the lights went out.

"What in the world," began Joyce, her question drowned out by the sound of shattering glass. Screams echoed from the lounge.

Buffy spun around, heading back to the room. Willow and Cordelia meeting her halfway. Before they reached them, the doors were flung open as panicking parents tumbled out into the halls. The girls jumped back to avoid being trampled. When the door cleared, Buffy made her way inside and froze.

The blonde from the night before was standing in a corner of the lounge, surrounded by vampires.

He grinned at her. "What can I say? I couldn't wait.' Spike lunged at her. Snatching up a nearby chair, she flung it at him and ran.

She wasn't ready for this fight. Not now. She didn't stop to see whether the chair had slowed him down. She raced into the hallway. A roar echoed from behind her. "Nobody gets out! Especially the girl!"

"Willow. Cordy. He's here," she yelled, slowing only long enough to grab her mother's hand. She headed for the nearest exit, stifling a curse as she spotted more vampires. She turned around, dragging her mother along. "Willow."

"Buffy, what is going on," cried Joyce, tugging at her hand. Buffy ignored her. "Willow," she called again. The red-head and the cheer-leader appeared at the other end of the hall. "Can we get out that way?"

Willow shook her head. "All of the exits are blocked," she yelled. Cordelia shifted nervously beside her. Not quite ready to panic yet, but on the verge.

Buffy paused, trying to remember the most defensible classroom. The science room with it's steel door would be good. "This way," she called, herding her mother forward. The girls collected the surviving parents, and all the stragglers. With Buffy in the lead, they headed down the hall almost to the room when the library doors flew open.

Cautioning Jenny, Giles found two torches. He handed one to her, moving to the doors. He could hear yelling. "Stay here."

Jenny rolled her eyes, following right behind him.

"What in the--" he muttered, spotting Buffy and a group of parents barreling toward them. Buffy didn't stop.

"Spike and an army," she snapped. "Look out!"

Giles spun in time to avoid the vampire that had snuck up behind him. He jumped back, shoving Jenny back, as he slammed the doors shut. Buffy rushed forward, launching herself at the vamp. "Everybody into the science room. The group of parents stampeded into the room like a herd of frightened deer.

"Buffy," screamed Willow as more vampires appeared, cutting the two girls off from the slayer. Buffy staked the vamp she'd been fighting, turning to help her friends. Paling as the number of vampires registered. There were at least ten between them.

Willow grabbed Cordelia's hand. "Help the others. We'll be fine!" With Cordelia following, she took off down the hall. Reluctantly Buffy entered the science room and bolted the door shut.

Familiarity with the school gave Cordelia and Willow the advantage. And they stayed just one step ahead of the vampires. Darting ahead Cordelia spotted a familiar door. "Here," she called, racing past another hallway without pause. She screamed as arms locked around her.

Willow searched frantically for a weapon. Her eyes locked on the football teams trophy case. Snatching one up she launched herself at the vampire.

"Hey," she yelled. It looked up, and she slammed the trophy into it's face. It roared letting go of the brunette, to grab at it's shattered nose. Scrambling at her pocket, Cordy pulled out a pencil and shoved it in the vampire. As the dust settled, the two darted in the closet, yanking the door shut.

Buffy examined the barricade the parents had erected. It would hold for awhile.

Giles gave the temporary barricade a look of disgust. It wasn't much but it should hold. Hopefully, long enough for Buffy to do her thing.

Spike waited impatiently in the lounge for one of the minions to return. He ignored the feeding vampires, as he studied the man he'd caught. "Nice of you to provide us with a buffet," he smirked, looking up as one of the Anointed's vampires returned.

"We cut the power. Nobody got out."

Spike quirked a brow. "And the slayer?"

The minion shrugged. "She's either that way," he said pointing to the left. "Or that way." He pointed to the hall Cordelia and Willow had escaped down.

"You don't know?" Spike glowered but refrained from staking the idiot creature. Instead, he lifted the human he'd been studying. "I'm a veal kind of guy. You're to old to eat." A sharp crack signaled the man's end. "But not to kill." He dropped the body. "I feel better now. Time to go slayer hunting."

Giles hung up the phone. Jenny glanced away from the doors. "Dead?" He nodded, deep in thought.

"If I remember correctly, there's a boarded up cellar behind the stacks. You can get out that way. Find Angel. He knows this Spike."

She shook her head vehemently. "I'm not leaving you here. NO."

"Jenny," he said softly, holding her hands between his. "It's for the best. Without Angel..." She sighed, squeezing his hand, before letting go. She pulled away, glaring at him.

"You get killed, I'm going to be pissed," she muttered, then vanished into the stacks.

Buffy resisted the urge to knock Synder out, barely. The whining little toad, was working her last nerve. "Listen, closely. Nobody goes out. Nobody gets in, until I say so. Do you hear me?" she growled.

"Who do you think you are?" Synder tried to look imposing, puffing out his chest, but it only made him look ridiculous.

"The one who's going to stop them," said Buffy, already turning away. Through arguing she scanned the room for a way out. The ceiling looked like her best bet. Grabbing a stool she set it on a lab table, then clambered onto it. She paused feeling a hand on her leg.

"Buffy, please. You can't go out there. I know you've gotten into fights, but these guys are serious."

Buffy patted her mom's hand. "I know. It's why I'm going up, not out," she said, pulling herself into the drop ceiling. "Don't worry..."

The blonde vampire stalked the halls, like the predator he was. His voice purred out into the hallways, as he taunted the slayer. Kicking in doors as he searched.

"Slayer! Here, kitty. Kitty. I find one of your friends first, I'm gonna suck 'em dry. Use their bones to bash in your pretty blond head."

The vampire smirked, he could smell fear. And it smelled like the little red-head and her brunette. Maybe he wouldn't just kill them. Xander would love a prezzie.

Cordelia jumped as she heard the sound of another door being kicked in. Willow hovered behind her. She could feel the other girl pressed against her back, and a familiar strawberry scent filled her nose. The brunette closed her eyes, and prayed for strength. She wouldn't let anyone hurt Willow. She opened her eyes, and squeezed the broom she held tighter.

She could hear the vampire as he paced right outside the door, and Willow started praying. Except she couldn't get past--'Oh, God! Oh, God!'

Spike leered at thought of what his pet would do to such lovely things. "Or maybe..." he continued, "We'll have a little fun first. I always was partial to brunettes."

Cordelia let lose an involuntary screech, that was quickly muffled by Willow's hand clamping over her mouth.

Spike snorted. Like he hadn't heard them instantly. He leaned back, lifting a booted foot and paused as a minion grabbed his arm.

"Master Spike listen...."

Spike stilled, tuning out the girls' heavy breathing and heart beats. He smiled. Clever girl. She was above him. "Someone's in the ceiling," he sing-songed.

Taking a deep breath, Giles finished stocking Willow's bookbag with weapons. Muttering he began unbarricading the door. He spun around at the loud crash behind him, swinging the axe he held up, ready to strike. Dropping it when he recognized his slayer. "Buffy, your all right."

She nodded, gathering weapons.

"The others?" he asked.

"My mother, the tyrant and most of the parents are locked in the science room across the hall. Willow and Cordy ran the other way. I don't know if they're...." She stopped, looking away.

"Where's Jenny?"

Seeing how distressed she was Giles didn't push.

"She went out through the stacks. She's getting Angel."

Buffy nodded, grimly.

"Good. I'm going to take out those vamps closest. I want you to get my mother out of here."

Giles shook his head. "No. I'll help you."

She paused in her weapon check. "Giles my mother is in that room. If I don't make it...I *know* you'll make sure she does."

Momentarily speechless, he could only nod. He watched her finish loading up, then helped her settle a stool under the hole in the ceiling. "Plan?" he asked, when he finally regained speech.

She grinned. "Set 'em up and knock 'em down."

Giles watched her dissappear back into the hole. "Be careful," he whispered, turning away.

Spike glared at the science room door. He knew the slayer's mum was behind it. He could smell her. He watched as the minion rammed the door for the third time, before giving up.

"The door's solid,"mumbled the vamp.

Spike rolled his eyes, and collared the vampire. "Use your head," he snarled and smashed the creature's head into the glass emergency case. He dropped the vampire and pulled out the ax, shoved it at the fallen minion and pointed him at the door. "Get her out."

Moving down the hall, he collared another minion, "You. Come with me." Snatching poles from a nearby utility closet, Spike tossed one at the minion, gesturing for him to head to the other end of the hall. Then he began to hunt.

Jenny walked warily beside Angel. She didn't trust the creature. "So, you know about this Spike guy. What's the plan?"

Angel glanced at the woman. He could smell her discomfort, her hatred. It would be a blessing if Spike actually did kill her. "Bait. Spike was always partial to a pretty brunette," he said, emotionlessly.

Jenny shuddered but allowed herself to be man-handled into the school.

Cordelia squirmed in Willow's hold, and couldn't help darting out her tongue. Willow gasped at the lick to her palm, and let go stepping back. Cordelia sighed but straightened up. "I think he's gone," she said, reaching for the door.

Willow looked at it suspiciously. "He could come back."

She snatched her hand back from the knob. "What should we do?"

The red-head shrugged. "I don't know."

Cordelia stepped closer, she could see the tremors running through the smaller girl. "Hey, we'll be fine. Buffy'll do her thing and it'll be cool. She wouldn't let anything hurt her mom or you." She awkwardly began patting her back.

Willow lifted worried green-eyes to the taller girl. "She wouldn't would she?"

Cordelia shook her head, the pats turning into strokes along the slender back. "Nah. If it was just me in here it'd be dinner time. But you..."

Indignant Willow moved closer. "Buffy wouldn't do that your her fri--"

Cordelia breathed in the scent of the girl who was practically chest to chest with her. "Friends," snorted, Cordy cutting her off. "No." She reached out a hand catching a strand of red-hair between her fingers. "Your friend. Buffy and I tolerate each other for your sake."

Willow's breathe caught as the brunette continued playing with her hair. "Why?" she whispered, unconsciously leaning in. The question asked nothing specific but everything important. Cordelia let the hand stroking the smaller girl close around her waist, and tugged her closer.

"I don't know about Buffy, but me...."

Whatever else she would have said was cut off as her mouth descended on Willow's.

Elsewhere in the school the blond vampire still hunted. Spike tracked the sound's of movement, shoving the pole he held into the ceiling ahead of him.

Buffy groaned and backed up as the pole shot through the space in front of her. She moved quickly, and quietly, hoping the rats eww! would be enough to cover the sounds of her movement. Backtracking she made her way to the science room, and slowed at the sound of wood splintering. Knocking a small hole into the tile below her. Peering cautiously through, she spotted a vampire directly below her.

Climbing to her feet she straddled the rails, then dropped through the ceiling onto the vampire. Pinning him to the ground with her weight, and staking him quickly. Standing up she surveyed the battered door, satisfied it would hold until she was done she started to leave.

Joyce could just see her daughter through the splintered door. "Buffy are you okay?"

"I'm fine, mom. Just hold on a little longer and I'll have you guys out of here." Reluctantly turning away, she crept down the hall stake in hand. A shuffling sound, made her look over her shoulder. She gasped in relief. "Sheila, where have you been?"

Sheila offered a sheepish grin."Sorry. But there were these really weird guys outside."

Buffy nodded, moving forward again. "Shh! I know. They're trying to kill us."

Sheila smiled, picking up the ax, dropped by the dusted vampire. "This should be fun.

Buffy gestured for her to follow, and began to make her way back toward the blonde vampire. The dark-haired girl grinned. She didn't understand how this ditz had her sire so worried. She was too stupid to even realize she had a vampire at her back. Sheila purred in anticipation. She'd kill this girl and her sire would be so pleased.

Fuming silently, Spike glared at the ceiling. The girl was gone. Somehow she'd managed to slip by him, or more likely the idiot minion at the other end. With a sigh he tossed the pole aside, and froze as a familiar scent hit him.

He looked up just as Angelus entered the hall, clutching a brunette. Here was his sire at last. All souled up and helping the slayer according to Xander.

"Angelus!" he cried out, faking cheer. It was a shame, his sire had been amazing in his day.

"Spike," called Angel, dragging Jenny closer.

Spike's gaze narrowed briefly. What was Angelus up too? Surely, he wsn't planning to use the brunette as bait. Did he think Spike an idiot minion?

"I'll be damned," he said, moving to hug the older vampire. He was willing to wait and see how this scene played out before calling his sire on his bluff. Spike let Angelus ramble on, studying the demon before him. He could smell the stench of the soul. It's existence a work of foul magic. Nothing like his beautiful pet.

Xander's soul was lovingly intwined with his demon. This was a caged monstrosity. Spike glanced down at the woman his sire was offering him. It was clearly a trap. But for who? He had a feeling the woman was as much bait as a nussiance Angelus would gladly be rid of. He could smell the stench of hate and fear coming off her and it wasn't for him.

Buffy crept up on another minion, almost ready to strike. Sheila seeing her chance vamped out, the excitement too much for her as she raised the ax.

Giles peering through the library's shattered windows, searching for his slayer's whereabouts, saw her and the vamp. "Buffy behind you!"

Buffy spun around, catching the ax. She snatched it from the female vamp, and swung beheading her. Another swing and the vamp behind her was dusted. Buffy coughed, waving away the dust. "C'mon," she called, yanking open the wrecked door. "Head to the library. There's an exit hidden in the back." She turned to go. "Giles, get them out," she yelled over her shoulder.

Tiring of his game quickly, Spike decided to call Angelus on his bluff. "Why're you scared of this slayer?"

Angel stilled. Spike snickered to himself. His sire had never liked being called a coward. Even if it was just implied.

"This tortured thing is just an act right? You're not...housebroken?"

Angel growled at the insult, and insolence in Spike's tone. Jenny shifted in his grip. Spike met his sire's displeased gaze head on. He was his own master now. He no longer answered to Angelus. Or what was left of the great Angelus.

Angel looked away when it became obvious Spike wasn't going to submit. "She killed the Master. You think you can take her alone. Be my guest. I'll just eat and run," he snapped, bending to Jenny's neck.

"Don't be silly," siad the blonde, moving closer. "A drink between Masters to show we're all friends. Together."

Both heads bent to drink, as Angelus moved closer Spike attacked. "You think you can fool me?! You were my sire! You were my Yoda!"

Angel growled tossing Jenny aside. "Things change."

Spike glanced from his sire to the cowering woman on the floor. "Not us. Not demons," he snarled, grabbing the pole he'd dropped. "C'mon people not a spectator sport," he barked at the watching vampires. The blonde launched himself at Angel.

Seeing her chance, Jenyy scuttled to the door, narrowly avoiding the other vampires. Sensing the slayer, Spike drew back from the fight. Allowing the others to chase down Angel and the fleeing woman.

"Fe, fi, fo fum," purred the vampire. "I smell the blood of a nice ripe girl." He whirled around to face the slayer.

Buffy stood waiting for him, swinging the ax she held. "Do we really need weapons for this?"

Spike looked at the pole he held, then the girl. "I just like them. They make me feel all manly." Shrugging he tossed the pole aside, and stalked forward. She dropped the ax; moving to circle him.

"The last slayer I killed...begged for her life." He eyed her. "You don't strike me as the begging kind."

Buffy shook her head. "You shouldn't have come here."

Spike sighed. "I do a lot of stuff I shouldn't. This though, I'll make quick. It won't hurt a bit."

Buffy's eyes narrowed. "No, Spike. It's going to hurt a lot."

Buffy launched herself into a spin kick. The vampire blocked it, tossing her into the wall. She bounced back to her feet, blows flowing like lighting. Except they never landed. Spike always one move ahead. Buffly leapt bach as he went on the offensive. Dodging blows until one caught her across the chest, slamming her into the wall again. Spike lunged forward and she dropped to her knees. Spike's fist punched through the wall where her head had been. Slipping behind him, she lashed out with her foot. The kick catching him in the head.

"Now, that hurt!" he roared, pulling his arm from the dry-wall; ripping out a stud along with it. He swung the beam, smashing it into the slayer's face. Buffy grunted, the blow knocking her to her knees.

"But not as much as this will," he muttered, standing over her. He lifted the stud, and roared in pain as something cracked across the back of his head. He dropped to the floor, clutching his skull as he looked up at his attacker. Stunned to see the slayer's mum looming over him with an ax, rearing back to swing again.

Spike staggered to his feet, keeping one eye on the slayer and one on her mother.

"You get the hell away from my daughter," cried Joyce.

Spike hissed, moving to attack when Buffy gained her feet. With a snarl, Spike spun and leapt out a broken window.

Looking pale, Joyce dropped the ax. "Nobody lays a hand on my little girl."

Buffy grined, wrapping her arms around her mother.

Giles hugged Jenny closer as the police escorted the survivors form the building. "Another wonderful, fun-filled evening," she murmured against his chest. He pulled back. "I will understand if you decide to start avoiding me."

She snorted, slipping an arm through his. "Wouldn't think of it. Though, Angel....not too fond of."

Synder glanced from the leaving squad cars to the Police Chief. "So, Bob. Everything cleared up?" The man nodded. "I need to say something to the media though."

Synder looked unconcerned. "So?"

"So? You want the standard story? Gang-related? PcP?

Synder rolled his eyes. "As opposed to what? The truth?"

"Right," said the Police Chief. "Gangs. PCP."

Buffy walked beside her mother to the car. "Cool. How long til this bit of good will wears off and you start ragging on me again?"

Joyce stopped, hand on the the door handle. "At least a week and a half." Buffy bounced. "Very cool!" She climbed into the passenger seat as her mother started the car. "Hey, did you see Willow? Cordy?"

A dark-head of mussed hair peeked around the corner of the closet door. Cordelia sighed in relief when nothing attacked. She glanced over her shoulder. "I think we're safe," she said stepping out of the closet.

Willow as red as her hair followed. "So, Buffy won." She said, tugging at her clothes.

Cordelia grinned watching the girl try to unrumple herself. "You think she'd have the decency to alert others."

Willow looked up, then away. "So. Umm...what does this...umm...."

Cordelia placed a hand over the babbling mouth. "It means I won't be mean to you again. Well, unless it's that time of the month. In which case, I don't think you or anyone else can hold me responsible. Now, why don't I take you home? "

Spike stood just outside the sunlight flooding the center of the warehouse, watching it and pondering his failure the night before. He'd known the slayer had friends, but family involved? That was just unbelievable. It hadn't helped that the Anointed's minions were little better than cannon fodder. His pet had warned him though. He'd chalk this up to experience. Next time he'd be ready.

Xander slunk into the room, moving to his side. "Did she hurt you, my angel?"

Spike shook his head. "Nothing serious, little one. Took me by surprise is all."

Xander whined in distress. He didn't like the thought of anyone hurting his Spike. "Nasty thing. Should eat her all up."

Spike grinned, pulling him closer. "Yeah, pet. Next time."

Xander purred, snuggling closer. "You'll kill her, and I'll lick all the lovely red. Tongue bath for a dirty boy."

Spike nuzzled the pale throat, then bit deep. Xander moaned and writhed against him. Not wanting to weaken his lover he only took a taste, then offered his own throat. "Go on, my pet. Drink."

Humming, Xander bit and nipped at the length of pale flesh offered to him, before finally sinking his fangs in. Spike moaned and reached out, dragging his lover closer until they were pressed chest to groin. Xander began to grind against his sire as he suckled.

Spike hissed in pleasure, thrusting against the body clinging to him, supporting them both as Xander drank and writhed against him. Dropping his head again, Spike tore into his lover's throat. And with a shudder he could feel, his pet came.

Xander drew back mouth wet and red, dropping to his knees. He slid his hand inside the tight jeans, palming the heavy length of his sire as he pulled him free. He purred and stared up at his sire from wide, brown eyes.

Spike growled at the debauched innocence at his feet. Mouth slick with blood, as he sucked him in. Hissing at the wet suction, Spike threw his head back as Xander worked him. Swallowing around the thick cock until Spike came with roar.

Spike purred, pulling his lover to his feet. "Just what the doctor ordered, luv." Xander giggled and tucked him back in, wrapping his arms around the blonde.

It was the soft growl and feel of his sire approaching that finally drew Spike from his rest in Xander's embrace. "What's wrong, Dru?"

"The Anointed One."

Spike sighed, then shrugged. "What's bothering the Annoying One?"

Xander laughed, then pouted. "He doesn't want to play." He turned his gaze to the other side of the room. "No fun."

Spike rolled his eyes. "Fine. I suppose I should make nice."

Drusilla nodded. Xander's nose wrinkled, then he grinned. "Sunbathe."

Spike's eyes glittered as he pulled Xander in for a rough kiss before releasing him. He made his way over to where Collin and his minion's watched on the far side of the warehouse. He knelt before the child, as Drusilla and Xander watched from the shadows. "I, uh... I offer penance," he muttered.

"Penance," roared Collin's bodyguard. "You should lay down your life. You've ruined the feast of Saint Vigeous and depleted our ranks."

Xander vanished back into the shifting shadows inside the cavernous room. He slunk along the edges of the room, skittering past the random rays of sunlight. Always just out of sight. Leaving Drusilla to watch the unfolding drama.

"I was rash. And if I could do it again," he stopped, laughing as he stood. "Who am I kidding? I'd do exactly the same thing, except I'd do this..."

Before the others could react Spike had lunged forward, and snatched Collin up into his arms. Collin struggled uselessly.

"First," he finished, carrying the child over to a cage hanging from the ceiling. Collin's bodyguard rushed forward. Or started to. Xander slipped a stake into his back before he'd even registered the threat. Smiling he staked the second guard before it could blink.

Spike tossed the kid into the cage. Xander dropped his stake, clapping his hands. "Do it, Spikey."

Spike pulled on the chain, starting it's rise toward the open ceiling as Collin struggled to escape it. "From now on Pet, I promise we're gonna have a little less ritual, and a little more fun around here," he said, giving the chain one final strong yank, lifting Collin into full sunlight.

"Yay," cried Xander, whirling around until he was dizzy and collapsed on the ground. Leaving the cage behind, Spike dropped to a crouch beside Xander.

"You like that, little one?"

Xander nodded. Spike gave him a soft grin, and picked him up, standing in one swift move. "Let's see what's on tv, pet." Xander snuggled closer, watching his maker over Spike's shoulder as they left the room.

S2.4 Incan Mummy Princess

Monday morning found the students of Sunnydale High enjoying a cultural experience at the local museum in honor of their soon to be arriving exchange students. The students milled around the various exhibits and displays. Chattering quietly, or just looking around.

On one side of the room stood Cordelia, who glared at the bumbling idiot talking to Willow. When her death glare appeared to bounce off a shield of stupidity, she decided to take a more proactive approach.

"Willow," she called, beckoning imperiously. Willow turned away from Rodney, glancing over to where she stood, just inside the Incan Princess display entrance.

"Coming, Cordy." Willow offered an apologetic shrug to her ex-tutee.

Cordelia's smile sharpened,"Now...would be good." But the smile for all it's ferocity was genuine.

Willow smiled sheepishly in return, hurrying to her girlfriend's side. The taller girl looped her arm through Willow's, giving a disgusted look over her shoulder at the teenage boy who'd taken up a considerable amount of what she saw as her Willow time. "Why were you talking to that future resident of the state?" she asked, pulling the red-head into the display area.

Willow sighed, knowing Cordelia's opinion of mankind in general wasn't the highest, and was even lower for the majority of their peers.

Cordelia strolled around the exhibit, examining objects from a past long gone, content to let her girlfriend answer in her own time.

Willow finally just shrugged. There really was no good explanation for Rodney. "He's not that bad. Just misunderstood." Cordelia snorted but let the subject drop, moving to look into the Incan sarcophogaus.

"Here's a girl who knew how to accessorize. Too bad the Incans aren't still around. I'd of made a great princess."

"Yeah. Right up until they ripped your heart out as a sacrafice," muttered Buffy, appearing behind the couple. Cordelia started, nearly bumping into the coffin.

"Give a girl a heart attack," snapped Cordelia, moving away from the display.

"Actually," said Willow "It was the Aztec who...."

Buffy held up a hand. "Not really wanting to know the details."

Willow nodded, turning toward the door Cordelia had just exited. "Gotcha. Why don't we see what else they have?" she said, heading after the brunette. Buffy groaned, but followed them out of the exhibit.

Rodney waited until the chattering faded into the distance, before entering the display the three girls had just left. The teenager poked restlessly around the room. Not really interested in anything, just glad to be out of class. Spotting the tomb, perked his interest. A dead body was bound to be at least mildly cool. Crossing over to the sarcophegous, he stared down into the dusty opening. The plate the mummy held caught his eye, and he reached for it.

Xander sat beside the pool of water, in the center of the Master's old chambers, staring into it's depths. It was here he'd saved the Slayer, cause her lover had no breath. Now he had no breath. He looked up briefly as Spike and Drusilla entered the cavern. Spike shot him a quick grin, and he hummed in pleasure before returning to his contemplation of the water.

Spike strode further into the room, as the remenants of the Anointed's minions gathered. He took a quick head count. "All here? Good. We're packing up," he announced. A disgruntled silence descended at his words. The blond vampire eyed the small crowd, taking in their various reactions. He really hated dealing with other Masters' minions. "I've acquired us new digs. A warehouse by the docks. Anyone who doesn't like it can split. Now."

Several vampires took the oppurtunity to leave. Drusilla giggled at her childe's duplicitness. If she concentrated, she was certain she chould hear Spike's minions dusting the deserters.

"All right," said Spike grinning. "Now that that's cleared up. I'm Master here. You answer to me. Fail me...and you'll beg me to dust you." He eyed the remaining minions as his own vampires filed into the cavern. "Understood?" Eager nods, and voices raised in assent filled the chamber. "Good. I want us out of here in a week," he said moving to crouch beside Xander. "This place isn't healthy for my Pet."

Xander finally glanced away from the water. "It burns and glistens. Like angels singing," murmured Xander, leaning into Spike.

"What Little One?"

"The Hellmouth," said both Xander and Drusilla.

Spike grimaced. "You mean we're sitting on the bloody damn thing?"

Xander nodded as Drusilla began to spin in circles.

"Change of plans. I want us gone in two nights," barked Spike. He watched as the minions still in sight, scurried to make it happen. He glanced back to Xander who was once again entranced by the water. "Xan-pet, what are you looking at?"

The brunette leaned forward, trailing his fingers into the water. He made grabbing motions as if trying to capture something only he could see. "Burning baby fishes," he whispered. Xander suddenly sat up, nearly knocking Spike over. "I want to see the Willow-tree," he whined, turning big eyes on his lover.

Spike sighed, pulling Xander onto his lap. At his sire's hiss of displeasure, Spike tore his gaze away from Xander. Drusilla was watching them from beneath narrowed lids. "Dru, why don't you go make sure they've got all your dollies packed. Wouldn't want to leave Ms. Edith behind." He could see her reluctance to leave. But with her worry over Ms. Edith compelling her, Drusilla slowly backed out of the cavernous room. Spike turned his attention back to Xander; who was waiting paitently for him to answer.

"Xan, baby. Remember your weak."

Xander nodded.

"And until I can make you strong it's best you don't see your old pals," said the elder vampire gently. He stroked the brunette's cheek. "Cause...."

Xander's brow furrowed, and a pout settled on his lips. "Cause the nasty Slayer and bad Angel-beast."

"Right, Pet. They'd try to hurt you," growled Spike. The very thought enraging him. "I won't let that happen."

Xander buried his face against a pale throat. "I know."

Spike stood abruptly, still holding Xander who giggled. "Hungry?"

Xander thought. "Only if we eat together."

"Of course, Pet." He said letting Xander slide down his body slowly, before leading them topside.

Drusilla clutched Ms. Edith close, as she watched her children dissappearing from the lair. She was anxious. Ms. Edith told her Daddy Spike didn't love he anymore. Which was impossible. He was her's. Daddy Angel had given him to her. He couldn't not love her, whether she loved him or not. And she wasn't sure she still did. He was trying to take away the kitten. She ignored the voice that said he had. The kitten would be her's. She could make this right. She just had to think.

Instead of suffering through Tuesday's tuna surprise in the cafeteria, the girls gathered in the school lounge area.

Buffy, Cordelia, and Willow sprawled across the sofas, observing their passing classmates. At least Buffy was, her slayer senses had been on alert for no reason that she could see. It was making her jumpy. Cordelia dropped her head down onto her arms, slumping in her seat.

"Sven is annoying," she moaned, dramatically. Willow nodded sympathetically. "I don't know what I was thinking." She shot Buffy a forbiding look. "Don't say it."

Buffy made zipping motions. "How's your guy," asked Willow, trying to get her girlfriend's mind of her Swedish problem.

"Not a guy," answered Buffy. Willow looked puzzled. "I know. But when I got to the bus station last night, there was Empada. All girl."

"Hey. We can all go to the dance together," offered Willow, eagerly. "We can get dressed up and...."

"Look like geeks," cracked Cordelia.

Willow's head dropped, and she quieted. Buffy got ready to berate Cordelia but was interupted by the appearance of her watcher. Which never boded well.

"Buffy, we might have a problem," he began.

Sighing the Slayer stood, stuffing her books into her bag. "And my day is complete."

Spike surveyed their new digs. The place was spacious; outside the Slayer's normal patrol pattern. Best of all...away from the bloody Hellmouth. The warehouse was also still connected with the city's electric and water grids, which was a bonus. Unlike the half feral vampires that populated Sunnydale he loved his creature comforts. Fucking his pet in a crypt was all well and good, but a bed was even better. Plus they were further away from his Grandsire, and less likely to be found. He knew Angelus would eventually come looking for them.

Which was the main reason for the move, taking over a weaker Master's lair was a common thing. When Angelus finally decided to come after him, that would be the first place he'd check. Of course, they'd have long vacated the area. He was nothing if not a fast learner.

Leaning on the railing, he watched the minions below from his perch on the catwalk. They hurried to get everything settled in, and set up. They'd actually done well. He'd issued the order to move Monday night, and by Wednesday night they'd pretty much cleared out of the old Master's nest. A black clad ass swaying across the floor below him caught his eye. He grinned as Xander danced into view, settling in to watch his pet even though he had things to do. Spike was reluctant to leave him alone. Of course, Xander wouldn't be. His vampires out numbered the last Master's. Drusilla was somewhere sewing Ms. Edith a new dress. Xander was protected.

Spike didn't move from his spot.

The brunette moved to sounds only he could hear. He bounced and leapt to some wild tune. Humming softly beneath his non-existent breath. Spike could almost make out the song. Dalton scurried by, and Spike grabbed him. "Nothing happens to him or else," snarled the Master vampire. Dalton squeeked out an affirmative. Spike made his way down the stairs to Xander's side. He wanted a kiss before he left to take care of business.

The humming became a song. Spike grinned recognizing the band.

Xander let the words roll of his tongue, sliding flawlessly into the next song, as he spun to face his lover. "I take one, one, one, cause you left me." Spike frowned, moving closer until he'd stilled Xander's movement, pressing the restless body into the stair case.

"I'd never leave you, love." Spike purred, nuzzling the curve of Xander's neck.

"Two, two, two, for my family. And three, three, three for my heartache," moaned Xander, thrusting against his sire.

"I'm your family now, Little One."

Xander hissed, hands dropping to cup his lover's growing hardness. He stroked slowly, then murmurred, "And five, five, five, for my lonely. And six, six, six, for my sorrow."

The blond pulled back to catch, and hold the wide brown eyes in his gaze. There was something restless in them. "Dalton. Set a watch," snapped the blond. Pulling reluctantly away from his lover, he straightened. Ignoring the minions, he tugged Xander behind him up the stairs and deeper into the warehouse. Reaching the room he'd had set up for them, he threw open the doors then pushed Xander inside. He shut the doors, locking them. Xander peered up at him from beneath dark lashes. Innocent even in death. Spike stalked toward his childe, Xander stood still as if mesmerized, until they were face to face.

"My Little One...what do you need."

A frown darkened the usually bright face. "Seven, seven, seven, tomorrow. And eight, eight--I forget what eight was for?" The words came out in a plaintaive wail. The voices in Xander's head were chaotic. The Hellmouth and his own memories making him uneasy. Wishing he and his guardian angel were well away from here.

"Ahh, love. Your mine. Today. Tomorrow. Forever. Drusilla. Angelous. The Slayer. In the words of the Violent Femmes they can all just 'kiss off into the air'."

Xander stopped mid hum, gaze locking with Spike's. The voices in his head slowly calming at the intensity in Spike's gaze. He could see his sire's love burning, flaming around him. His sire's aura a blaze of gold and crimson just for him. Xander let loose a happy purr and launched himself at Spike, sending them tumbling to the bed. "Ten, ten, ten, for everything. Everything. Everything."

Spike laughed, rolling them over until Xander was beneath him. "Love. I hope your not gonna make a habit of speaking in song lyrics. Dru's nonsense is bad enough."

Xander shook his head solemnly, as mischief sparked in his eyes. "Couldn't get it outta my head."

Spike leered down at him. "Well, let me help you with that." Xander grinned up at him eagerly, wriggling around until he'd managed to peel himself out of his clothes. He pressed hard, biting kisses to every inch of flesh bared as Spike stripped. With a low mewl he turned, back bending and arching like a cat begging to be petted. Spike slithered forward, giving open mouthed kisses to his lover's ass, until he came to his favorite place.

Xander moaned as a slick tongue fucked into him. Hissing in pleasure his features flickered, eyes shifting from brown to gold and back again. When Spike pulled away, he growled shifting into game face. Spike shushed him, sliding up and over the broad back. He howled in pleasure as Spike slammed home. Talons out, he clawed at the bed as Spike rode him hard, mind blanking as fangs sank into his neck. Xander shrieked, coming in one overwhelming rush.

Spike ripped into Xander's throat, hungry for his lover's blood. Knowing that the rough marking would send his lover over the edge. As Xander came, his body spasmed, tighting around Spike's cock. Blood and exquiste pressure sent the blond head-long into waves of ecstatsy as he came.

Friday night and the Bronze was packed. The exchange students and their hosts enjoying the festivities. The band playing was a favorite and bodies writhed on the dance floor. Cordelia shook her head, sadly, after Buffy finished relating what she'd found. "So Empada's the mummy," Cordelia said. "Man. That's gotta suck. Being chosen to die to save---"

Willow elbowed her girlfriend. Cordelia glared but quieted.

"Where do you think she is?" asked Willow. Buffy frowned. She hadn't seen the girl since she'd left for the dance. "No idea."

Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Are you just naturally stupid or is it one too many blows to the head?"

"Cordy," cried Willow.

The brunette shrugged. "What? I'm just saying. It seems obvious Empada's going after the seal thingie and whoever has it. She was really jonesing for it earlier."

Buffy's eyes widened, and she shot to her feet. "Giles."

Xander lay face buried in the curve of a hip. Scooting back, he crawled up his sire's body. "Daddy," mewled Xander. "I don't like it here."

The blond sighed. They'd had this argument more than once since they'd arrived in Sunnyhell.

"Bad things hide here," whined the younger vampire. "They wait to sting like nettles."

Spike stared up into the guileless eyes. "I know, love. Believe me I know," muttered Spike as memories of the old Cajun woman stirred in his thoughts.

Giles eyed his despondant slayer. Buffy ignored the concerned stare, burying her head further into her arms. She finally looked up when she couldn't stand the silence any longer. "It's not fair, Giles. For her or me. She wasn't bad."

Giles moved to sit beside the young girl. "No. It's not Buffy. I wish I could say something to make it easier, but unfortunately as you is rarely fair."

Buffy snorted and Giles stood to leave. She caught his arm, and he glanced down at her. "Can we just sit here?" she asked quietly. Giles nodded, sitting back down.

Angel moved further into the cavern. He lifted his head, catching the scent of his children that lingered. The scent had just begun to fade. He'd missed them by only a day or two. But it was enough of a lead, to make tracking them from there impossible. It looked like the blond brat had gotten smarter over the last century.

He doubted it though.

Giving one last careless glance at the rubble, Angel headed back the way he'd come. He'd find them eventually.

S2.5 Reptile Boy

Cordelia smiled brainlessly at Richard's comments, wanting nothing more than to tear her hair out in frustrated rage. She didn't know why she'd let her mother talk her into going out with him. Oh, yeah. He was a friend of the family.

A wealthy friend.

She glanced at his shy friend and wondered why she couldn't have gotten stuck with him. He'd have been easier to ditch. When Buffy appeared on the school steps beside her, she gave an inaudible sigh of relief.

"Thanks for inviting yourself along, Buffy," Cordelia said. Buffy suppressed an eyroll at the cheer-leader's version of graditude.

"No prob. Besides, I need fun time. I deserve fun time."

Cordelia snorted. "And this has nothing to do with making Angel jealous?"

Willow's arrival saved the Slayer from having to answer as they hurried inside.

Spike slung his duster on, closing the bedroom door behind him quietly. He made his way down various hallways until he reached the main room. "Dalton," snapped the blond, coming down the stairs. The bookish vampire hurried to his side. "I'm going out. Put guards on Xander's door. He doesn't leave the lair." Dalton nodded eagerly. "Anything happens to him..." snarled the vampire over his shoulder, as he exited.

The threat of unimaginable violence hung in the air unvoiced as he vanished into the night.

Spike grimaced as he stepped into the dingy bar. He hadn't expected much, but this was only half a step up from the cemetery. If that. Still it was reportedly the most frequented demon bar in Sunnydale. Everyone knew about it. If he wanted to establish himself as the new Master of the Hellmouth, Willy's was the place to do it. The blonde cracked his neck, rolled his shoulders and stepped into the bar. Two fledges seeing the grin on the blonde's face, filled with malicious glee, as he entered made a run for it the moment he'd stepped past them. Making it a total of half a dozen to survive the new Masters coming out.

Willy slowly crawled from beneath the bar. He tried to ignore the Fyral head staring sightlessly at him from the counter. The blond vampire, that had strolled into the bar an hour earlier, stood in the center of an explosion of blood and bile. Willy had thought the vampire was dead deader, when he'd leaped onto the table were the weekly poker game was held and challenged the patrons to a fight. It had been a massacre. By the time the blond slowed down, most of the bar had been slaughtered. Those he'd spared fled in terror. Willy eyed the demon nervously as he started forward.

"What can I do for you M-m-master," came the low stutter. The blond's grin was at once amused and terrifying.

"Well, mate. Just thought I'd introduce myself to the neighbors. Being the new Master in town. Name's Spike, or William 'The Bloody'. Whichever gets you off. Remember it." With that Spike stalked from the bar, pausing only long enough to dust a vampire hiding beneath an overturned table.

He knew Spike wouldn't be happy. But he was bored. And he so wanted to see the Willow-tree.

Willow walked home, eyes alert and cross at the ready. As she tried to keep an ear out for danger, she wished desperately that she'd taken the ride Giles had offered. But she'd seen the looks he and Ms. Callendar had been giving each other. She didn't want to cut into their fun time. She'd been certain she could get home without trouble. Most of the vampires having learned lurking on the blocks surrounding the Slayer's friends homes was hazardous. She wasn't so sure now. She sensed someone or something shadowing her.

She hurried her steps, trying not to panic. She was almost home.

The first vampire took her by surprise, despite being on alert. It appeared like magic. The demon popping up right in front of her. She jumped back startled, and shrieked as clawed hands gripped her from behind. Willow struggled uselessly in the tight hold as the creature in front of her leered.

"Looks like we got us a pretty little morsel."

She cried out in rage and fear as the one holding her spun her around. The ridged face stared down at her hungrily, and she began praying for Buffy or anyone to help her. Caught up in her terror she missed the sound of a vampire dusting. But not the vampire holding her, it dropped its meal turning on the one who'd dusted its buddy.

Willow found herself tossed to the ground as the vampire launched itself at something behind her. She scrambled out of the way of the fight, and darted behind a parked car. She didn't want to be in the way of whoever was rescuing her. When she heard the familiar 'poof' of a vampire being dusted she stood to thank her saviour.

Her rescuer had almost vanished by the time she'd made it to her feet. She noted that he was nearly a block away by the time she'd made it around the car. He moved fast, and seemed to fade into the darkness. She could just make out his features hidden in the shadows of the street. He was tall, broad of shoulder with dark hair.

"Angel," she called. She thought she heard a low growl. Why would Angel growl at her? He stopped, and half-turned. Her heart felt like it was frozen in her chest, and she couldn't breath.

"Xander," she screamed, racing toward the figure in the shadows. He smiled, slipping away into the night.

"Xander. Wait," she yelled. The figure vanished, leaving her alone on the street. Willow stumbled to a halt; head snapping around wildly. Had she really seen Xander? If it was Xander why had he left?

When it became obvious her saviour wasn't coming back, she turned toward home. And immeadiately felt the prescene shadowing her again. "Xander," she called hesitantly as she continued up the block. Her call went unanswered. Maybe she'd been mistaken. If it was Xander surely he'd have come when I called, thought the red-head as she finally made it home. Unlocking the door she ignored the feeling of being watched. One thing she did know, was that she' d been rescued. Someone other than Buffy or Angel was watching over her.

Xander waited until the door closed behind the red-head. He debated going to her, but he didn't. His angel wouldn't like what he'd done already. But he'd so wanted to see the Willow-tree. He'd missed her so much. Maybe Spike would give him a baby sister. Smiling at the thought the young vampire, vanished into the night.

Spike glared at the demon. It wasn't intimidated. Much.

"Master Spike, if you wish this to be done well...this is the price you must pay," said the creature.

Spike studied the Traken demon. Traders, magick workers, and opportunists by nature. He had no objection to cost. Nothing was too much for his Pet. He didn't want to be scammed either. The Traken met his gaze squarely.

"All right. Do it. I want it all." The demon nodded. It's tentacles waving in the non-existent breeze.

"As you will," it hissed before sulking away.

Spike gathered up the items he'd 'acquired' during the course of his night's work. He' d done enough for the time being. It was time to get home to his mate.

The vampires inside the Master' s lair were freaking out. No one had seen the brunette vampire leave.

His sudden reappearance, as mysterious as his leaving, was met with immense relief. Especially when the Master appeared only moments later. No one thought it neccessary or wise to mention the brunette's vanishing act to their volatile new Master.

Cordelia groaned as she dropped into the seat beside her girlfriend. "I'm glad this week is nearly over. One more date with College boy Friday and my daughterly obligations are finished." She frowned at the red-head's obvious inattention. "Hello. Talking here. Actually complaining," she snapped. "About the lack of see-age. All though it seems kinda one-sided at the moment."

Preoccupied Willow only nodded vaguely. Growling Cordelia turned to her lunch. Buffy wandered into the lunch room, spotting the couple she headed to their table and collapsed onto a chair beside Willow. A pleased little smile quirked at the corners of her mouth. "So we on tomorrow night?" she asked, snagging a carrot off of the red-head's tray.

Cordelia stabbed at her salad peevishly. "Whatever."

Buffy eyed the shreded greens warily. "Hey, Wills. You ready to take on Giles again?"

Willow stood, picking up her tray. She walked away and dumped her lunch, leaving the cafeteria without a word.

"Wills," called Buffy puzzled.

Cordelia muttered angrily under her breath. Buffy wondered briefly whether the girls were fighting, before her thoughts returned to Tom and fun.

Willow had only vaguely been aware of her girlfriend and friend. Her thoughts were all focused on her mystery hero. It had looked like Xander. Sorta. He'd been taller. Heavier, and paler. Familiar short, messy curls were gone. The stranger's hair had brushed his collar. Thick, mink-colored strands.

Xander. But Not-Xander.

Cordelia's and Buffy's words hovered at the edge of her conscious but didn't quite sink in. As she sat there thinking she came to an abrupt decision. She was going to visit the Harris house.

She'd all ready been there twice since he'd gone missing. But if her hero really was Xander...he'd have gone back at some point. Which meant there'd be some clue. Something to let her know what had happened to her best friend. She ignored the little voice that insisted she knew.

Knew all to well.

Xander lay staring up at the ceiling. It told him such naughty things. Turning over he nuzzled into his sire's neck. "Going out?"

Spike growled leaning in to bite at a pale shoulder. "Don't want to Pet. Things I have to take care of." Xander pouted and he caught the full bottom lip between sharp teeth.

Willow tried not to shudder. She'd sensed the prescene almost since she'd left the Bronze. Once or twice she thought she'd caught a glimpse of him. Walking fast she headed purposefully to her destination. Her steps slowed as she approached the walk. Glancing up at the worn down house, she tried not to cry. It was a visible, painful reminder that Xander was gone. She knew. The others though she didn't. But she knew. She was 'net girl. She'd found the police report. The slaughter of the Harris' had made the front page in New Orleans. She'd hoped that maybe, just maybe, his parents had been their typically neglectful selves and had left Xander behind somewhere else. Far away. But it had been months. And in her heart she'd felt him go.

Though something remained.

The porch creaked and she gasped, spinning around. Only to find nothing. At least nothing human. On the steps behind her lay a package. A tiny box wrapped in silver paper, tied with a purple bow. Stooping to pick it up, a wave of uneasiness hit her and she snatched up the box, taking off at a dead run.

The brunette vampire followed at a leisurely pace.

Safely inside her bedroom, Willow fell onto her bed. She slowly examined the gift-wrapped package. The silver paper sparkled with an odd sigil and the purple bow was tied in an intricate celtic knot. Curious she ripped into the paper, and tore open the box. She reached inside, pulling out the treasure.

Her heart climbed into her throat, and she couldn't breathe. Strangled sobs tried to escape as tears welled up in her eyes. She held it up to the light, then clutched the tiny Matchbox fire truck to her chest.

Outside on the balcony the brunette vampire hummed softly to himself.

Angel leaned across the bar invading the human's space. "Are you sure you don't know, Willy," growled Angel. Voice low, soothing and yet somehow oddly threatening.

Willy cringed back. He'd known sooner or later one of the Slayer's gang would come in wanting to know about the newest Bad. Generally he preferred Angel's visits. The soul usually making him too squeamish to really hurt a human. This time he'd wished it was anybody but. It hadn't taken him long to discover whose childe the blond was; he wasn't known as a snitch for nothing. He'd known this visit was going to be different. Business was going to be bad until the current situation was resolved.

Still Spike terrified the snitch more than Angel, at least in his current incarnation. "Hey. My buddy, Angel. You know I'd tell you, but he didn't say anything about his lair. Just announced he was the new Master, trashed the opposition and left. If I knew I'd tell you."

Angel snatched Willy close, pinning the rodent like human to the bar and growled into his ear. "You hear anything about my boy, Willy, you let me know."

Willy nodded eagerly, the vampire dropped him. "Of course, Angel. Ol' buddy. Anything for you."

Dalton squeeked beneath the boot that pinned him to the factory floor. "How long?"

Spike's voice was little more than a gutteral snarl. The bookish vampire gurgled, and the boot lifted up a bit. "Not long, Master," croaked Dalton. "We'd just checked on him not an hour ago."

Spike glared down at the toady. He debated dusting him on principal but Dalton was the only minion with any real brains he had. He let the vampire scramble to his feet. Instead turning his rage on his Pet's guards. The two minions were staked before they even knew they were in danger. Tossing the stake at Dalton who barely dodged it, Spike stormed from the lair in search of Xander.

It didn't take Spike long to find his childe. He'd had a pretty good idea where Xander would be already. Pulling himself up onto the balcony, Spike sat beside the still figure of his childe. He hadn't the heart to scold the brunette who sat gazing through the French doors so sadly. "Xan-pet," he started to say. Xander turned burying his face in the curve of Spike's neck, sucking at the still jugular like a puppy nuzzling at it's mother's teat. "Oh, luv. I know but not now, Pet."

Xander remained silent, scooting closer until he'd mostly climbed into Spike's lap. They sat that way, silently watching the red-head for several long minutes until Xander calmed. When the sucking became nuzzling Spike spoke. "Love. Did she see you?"

Xander shook his head tiredly. "Only ghosts of the past."

Spike took that as a no. "Ready to go home now?"

Xander nodded and Spike stood. Easily swinging the younger vampire into his arms. Xander giggled. "Home, James." Spike stole a kiss and did exactly that.

Willow glared at Giles and Angel. Both men looked sheepish as the red-head finished berating them. She snorted and grabbed a cross bow. Snapping out of their shock, the watcher and vampire loaded up. The three headed out for the Frat house to rescue the Slayer and Cordelia.

Cordelia leaned against Willow. "My heroine," she purred. Willow blushed.

"Actually Buffy did the rescuing."

Cordelia grimaced. She supposed the blond had been rather instrumental in their not being consumed by a giant snake demon. "Yeah, well. It's like her job. "

Willow grined at the typical Chase attittude. Not feeling like driving Cordelia tossed her car keys to Willow when they reached the car. For awhile they sat in silence as Willow drove.

"What's been your deal this week?"

Willow started, but didn't look away from the road. "Deal?"

Cordelia would have glared but that required movement. "Don't deal? me. What's with the non-verbal, lights on but no one's partying act?"

Willow sighed, and debated. What should she tell her girlfriend? There really wasn't much to tell. She thought she'd seen Xander. Somebody had rescued her from vamps. And she'd found a toy fire truck. All coincidental and nothing conclusive or proveable. "Just thinking about Xander."

Cordelia fell silent. She didn't know how to comfort the girl. She'd never really paid attention to the boy, and once he'd gone she'd had Willow to herself. Still he'd been important to her girl. "He'd be glad your happy," she offered.

Willow shot a look at her girlfriend, seeing the genuine sympathy in her eyes. "Thanks. He would." Cordelia slipped her hand into Willow's, and closed her eyes.

Reluctantly Spike left Xander sleeping. He still had unfinished business.

"It is done, Master Spike." The Traken stared proudly at it's masterpiece.


The demon nodded. It's work an unparalled mix of magicks and science. Perfectly blended into the world's tapestry, as unremarkable as all the others of its kind until opened. "Down to the last enchantment."


"My payment, Master Spike?"

Spike stepped back from his examination of his newest acquisition.

Blue blood splattered the pavement as the demon's head bounced down the street.

"Sorry, mate" muttered Spike, dropping the enchanted dagger onto the demon's still body. Pulling out a lighter from a hidden pocket, he flicked it before releasing it. Noxious flames rose from the swiftly burning body as Spike backed up.

"No one else can know about this."

The vampire waited until the flames died, leaving nothing but ashes, before striding into the night.

S2.6 Halloween

Buffy groaned straightening from her crouch. Either she was getting slower or the vamps were getting smarter. She suspected it was the latter. Spike didn't seem like the type to tolerate stupidity much. Turning away from her recent kill, the Slayer missed the vampire scurrying away into the shadows.

At the Bronze, Willow smiled gamely at Angel ignoring Cordelia's impatient huff. As friends it was their duty to make sure no one stole Angel away. "I'm sure she'll be here soon," she said patting Angel's shoulder tentatively.

Cordelia swayed to the music; wanting nothing more than to be on the floor with her girlfriend. She gave another impatient sigh as Shy began playing. The song totally reminded her of Willow. The brunette scanned the room restlessly. Cordelia snorted as Buffy walked in, picking straw out of her hair. "There's the street urchin. Can we go now?" Willow grabbed her hand and tugged her away, exasperated. Leaving Angel and Buffy to talk.

Cordelia peered up and down the school hallway carefully. She didn't see Willow coming up behind her. The red-head glanced at Buffy beside her who shrugged. Grinning impishly Willow snuck up on the brunette and goosed her. Cordelia screeched and spun around, quick tongue ready to cut the offender into ribbons. She glared at her smiling girlfriend, then grinned back.

"What's with the recon," asked Buffy. Cordelia grimaced, looking back over her shoulder.

"Synder's looking for students to help with the Volunteer Safety program for Halloween. The rodent has an interesting take on the concept of volunteering." She cast another anxious look around the hallway. "I don't intend to get caught." Willow's eyes darkened, and a far away look settled on her face. Neither her girlfriend or friend noticed as they headed to Cordelia's locker. She worked the combination, and swung open her locker. Grabbing her purse, she let the door swing shut and yelped. Buffy looked up at the sound and paled.

Synder stood glaring on the other side of Cordelia's locker.

"Ms. Summers. Just the juvenile delinquent I've been looking for," said Synder, thrusting a clip board and pen at the young girl.

Cordelia resisted the urge to bang her head against the lockers. She just knew she and Willow were going to get dragged into volunteering. Sometimes (a lot of the time) it sucked being acquaintances with the Slayer. Glancing over at Willow, who actually appeared happy to take the pen, she sighed. Wondering at her girlfriend's enthusiasm, Cordelia grudgingly signed the sheet when it was offered to her.

"There goes my evening," grumbled the cheerleader. Willow shrugged. Not exactly put out.

"Xander and I did it for the last two years, together."

No on said anything for a bit.

"Well if we get cool costumes, we could just head to the parties after." Cordelia smiled hesitantly at her red-head.

Willow smiled happily in return. She knew that that was Cordelia's way of making the best of it. She was actually looking forward to the night. She'd been avoiding doing most of the things she used to do with Xander; unable to stand the pain of remembering. Lately, she'd really begun to miss their little rituals. This outing would be something at least.

The trio continued down the hall. Buffy's mouth settled into a sulky pout. "I was gonna stay in and veg. The one night out of the year when things are quiet at least according to Giles." She tossed a spite filled glance over her shoulder at the tyrant of a principal. "Thanks a lot, Synder."

"How was your date," asked Willow hoping to move on to a pleasanter subject. Buffy moaned and she patted her back.

"It just went downhill after you guys left. He looked like he was having more fun talking with Cordelia."

The brunette shot her a look. "Not my fault I embrace the concept of personal hygiene. Anyway so not my type." She hurried on before the other girl could take offense. "I honestly don't think I'm his. Appears to have a thing for blonds." Cordelia smirked at her girlfriend. Willow squeezed the hand she was holding. She squeezed back, glad she'd pleased the red-head. There she'd been nice to the blond. That was her good deed for the day.

Buffy was unconvinced. "Are you sure? I don't even know what his type is. We've known each other less than a year and he doesn't tend to over share."

"True," answered Willow. "Too bad we can't sneak a look at the Watcher's diaries and read up on Angel. I'm sure it's full of fun facts to know and tell."

Buffy grinned slyly. "Yeah. It's too bad that stuff is private."

"Also, Giles has them in his office. In his personal files." The red-head looked positively giddy at the thought.

"Most would be wrong."

Cordelia eyed both; letting her gaze dance from one to the other as if she was contemplating the remains of their sanity. "Count me out." She shook her head, turning determinedly toward class. Buffy and Willow detoured to the library.

Inside the costume shop Cordelia flipped idly through the costumes. She took in the morose look on Buffy's face, the fretful one on Willow's. "How'd the search and recon go?"

Willow cast a worried gaze at Buffy who just looked more despondent. "Much of the princess type and very coiffed," answered the hacker.

Wanting to forget about her recent discoveries Buffy turned away from the couple, ready to be distracted. A flash of crimson caught her eyes. She followed her gaze until she caught sight of the source. Crimson satin and ivory lace called to her and she reached out for the dress on instinct.

"Might I be of assistance?"

Buffy jumped startled as the shop-keeper spoke. She regretfully turned her eyes away from the 18th century gown. "I wish."

The hawk nosed man gave a sly grin. "Why don't you let me play genie?"

Half an hour later the three girls left Ethan's with their costumes.

"Pet, move." Spike craned his head, trying to see around his mate. Xander ignored him, instead growling at the image of the Slayer on the screen. Spike tried not to laugh but a grin escaped. "C'mon now. Need to study 'er," he said reaching out to drag his childe closer. "The bint's a tricky one. You see how she uses what's at hand to kill? The girl's resourceful."

Xander stuck his tongue out at the screen, squirming in Spike's lap. Drusilla drifted into the factory's main room. The pale vampiress clutched her doll close. She moved to Spike's side. "Ms. Edith needs her tea."

Hitting the rewind button, Spike held Xander still. "Hush, Dru."

She snarled at the command. Spike ignored her, studying the figure on the television.

Xander nibbled at the body part closest to his mouth, unable to move in his mate's hold. He nipped at Spike's earlobe. "Do you love my insides, Sire? The parts you can't see?"

Spike hit the pause button, and turned Xander to face him. "Eyeballs to entrails, Xan-pet. Is why I have to study the girl. Learn her weaknesses. She's got Angelus wrapped around her little stake. I have to know her. Find her vulnerabilities. Once I know her...I can kill her. Then I can make you strong again. And you'll have your run of Sunnyhell. Maybe even a little Willow-tree."

Xander's smile was brilliant, and his laughter filled the air. Several vampires paused in their work, caught up in the unbridled joy of their Master's mate. Xander kissed his lover hard before wiggling out of his embrace. He spun off into the room. "Tomorrow, my angel. Kill her then. Inside out, outside in."

Drusilla hummed in agreement.

Spike's gaze bounced between his two seers. "Did my lovelies have a vision?"

Xander stopped dancing, peering up at Spike from beneath dark lashes.

"Do you know what I miss? Leeches."

Spike snorted at the non sequitur and left Drusilla to her reminiscing. Instead he cornered Xander, pinning him to a wall. Xander squirmed against the smaller, yet stronger body.

"C'mon talk to Daddy. This thing what is it?"

Xander swayed closer, dropping his head onto a pale shoulder, purring as he felt his lover hardening against him. "Someone's come to change it all. He'll make her weak."

"Willow. Come out of the bathroom,"called Buffy as she put the finishing touches on her costume. "You can't hide in there all night."

"You wanna bet?"grumbled the hacker. "Why did I let you talk me into this?"

Buffy checked herself in the mirror one last time. "Cause you wanted to surprise, Cordelia. Show her you aren't just plain ol' Willow."

The slender, green-eyed girl reluctantly left her hiding place.

Buffy gave a low wolf whistle as she stepped into the fading light. She circled her friend, admiring the new look.

Willow shifted uncomfortably under the scrutiny. She tugged at the short, black leather skirt. One hand moved to cover her belly, bared by the the burgundy mid-riff top she wore. She felt naked. Moving to the bed she snatched up her original ghost costume, hugging it to her chest.

"Cordy's gonna flip," Buffy said smugly. She snatched the sheet from her friend's grasp, tossing it aside. "Really." Willow looked incredulous. Before she could reassure her the doorbell rang. "That'll be, Cordy. I'm gonna set up your entrance. She'll go non-verbal," crowed Buffy.

Willow watched her go uneasily.

Buffy flung open the front door, and froze.

Cordelia leaned negligently against the opened door; a toy rifle slung low on her hip. The brunette wore a pair of hip-hugging green fatigues, that clung desperately to her curves. Her top a camouflage bikini, with silver dog tags resting between here-fore unseen yet undeniably impressive cleavage. Black Doc Martins finished off the outfit. Her long hair lay in one heavy braid, weighted at the end with onyx stones.

She looked at once dangerous and beautiful. Very lethal, Laura Croft-esque.

Cordy looked her over causally as she strutted into the house. "So, you do clean up well. Where's Willow?"

Buffy tried not to be irked at Cordelia's usual utter lack of tact. "She's coming. Wait'll you get a load of..."

A sound on the stairs, made the girls turn.

"Casper,"muttered Buffy.

Willow made her way down the stairs. Buffy frowned at her. Cordelia simply grinned. "Aren't you just the cutest ghostie."

Buffy shot Cordelia a disgusted look.

Xander was pouting. Spike was trying to ignore him. Trying being the operative word. It wasn't working. Xander's bottom lip stuck out, begging to be sucked. He could hear it. Big, brown eyes glistened. The brunette sniffed. Spike caved. "All right, Pet." Kisses rained down on the blond, he purred in pleasure.

Xander stilled feeling the hardness against his hip. With a wicked grin he moved to straddle his lover, he ground down against the body beneath him. Spike hissed, pulling him closer. Legs twined, and arms twisted until the two were locked together. Urging each other on.

Drusilla reached over yanking them apart. "No time to play."

Xander crouched where he'd landed, staring up at Spike. Lust and old habits making him pant heavily. The hunger clear in his eyes. For a long moment, Spike considered leaving the Slayer to her fate and staying in.

Xander suddenly collapsed, whimpering.

Reminding the vampire of his reasons for going after this particular slayer now. Spike swooped down on the younger vampire. Cuddling him against his chest. "Shh," whispered Spike, rocking the boy.

Xander muttered to himself. The voice was so loud. It made his head hurt. It wasn't supposed to be there. But it made such Chaos. Lovely wicked chaos. "Janus sute noctem."

Spike pulled away confused. "What, luv?"

Xander stopped whimpering, meeting Spike's worried gaze with gleaming eyes. "Show-time," he hissed.

Spike glanced at his sire. The brunette vampiress was giggling madly, and stareing off into the distance. Whatever they'd seen had started.

Cordelia muttered angrily as she herded the bunch of crumb-snatchers. She'd thought they'd be going out as one big group. Instead, Willow and Buffy had each gotten their own batch of hellions and gone in different directions. She was so owed some serious make-out time for this.

She paused hearing screams and turned in their direction. If there was trouble Buffy was sure to be in the middle of it, and dragging Willow with her. She froze as the air rippled around her and magicks ripped through the night. She felt a wave of something hit her, and tried to scream. Panicked she tried to throw her hands up, but couldn't. Suddenly Cordelia wasn't in control of her own body.

She could feel something...someone else inside.

Angel surveyed the ensuing havoc. Streets that should have been empty except for idiot mortals, were flooded with demons of every sort. Some of them he'd never even heard of let alone seen. He briefly thought of returning to his apartment. But didn't. His childe was sure to be right in the middle of this mess. Taking advantage of the chaotic situation. He couldn't leave Buffy to handle him by herself. With a sigh he turned toward her house.

Willow sat up slowly, the feeling of being choked gone. She stood, glancing down as she did. Her body lay on the porch. "Oh my god! I'm dead!" she shrieked, arms waving frantically. Her hand passed through the mailbox. "I'm a ghost. A real ghost!"

Gunfire interrupted her post-death breakdown.

"Cordy," shouted the girl, taking off. She spotted her girlfriend standing in the middle of the street. Not far from the Summer's place. "Cordelia." Willow rushed up to her freezing when the brunette spun around, the M-16 she carried pointing directly at her. "It's me. Willow."

Captain Chase frowned. "I don't know any Willow," responded the soldier, dismissing the young woman. She slowly scanned her environment. Where was the base? Where was she? How'd she get there?

"Cordy quite messing around. This is no time for jokes."

Capt. Chase spun slowly, tracking the screams on the night air. "What the hell is going on here?"

"You don't know me?"

Capt. Chase turned to face the young lady. Her gaze lingered on Willow's curves. Taking in a red-head's fair skin, the thrust of a nice handful of breast and flat tummy. "Sweetie. Believe me. If I knew you...I'd remember you."

Cordelia shrieked in silent outrage. Hey, Bitch. That's *my* girl. Though Cordelia had to admit, soldier-girl was right. Willow was hot. So, that's what the body she's been hiding looked like, thought Cordelia. The cheer-leader would have licked her lips, but her body wasn't her's.

"I suggest you find cover, honey." She began to march away. Willow leapt in front of her.

"No. Wait."

Capt. Chase walked right through the red-head. They both shuddered. Oh! Cordelia didn't know what that was, but she wanted to do it again.

"What are you," snapped Capt. Chase confused.

"Cordelia. Listen to me. I'm your girlfriend. I swear. Something crazy is happening. It's Halloween and I was dressed as a ghost. Now, I am ghost. You were supposed to be a soldier. Now, I guess you are a real soldier."

Capt. Chase frowned. "You expect me to believe that?" Cordelia snorted, silently. Hello! She just walked through you-me... us! Not to mention, there's an US!

Out of the darkness emerged a fanged, wickedly taloned creature. It barreled almost mindlessly toward them. Capt. Chase swung the gun in it's direction.

"No! No guns! That's still a little kid in there!"

"Step out of the way," barked Capt. Chase.

Willow stood her ground. "No guns! That's an order!"

Capt. Chase lowered her weapon. Cordelia cheered silently. That's my girl.

"We just need to find," began Willow as she looked up and down the street. "Buffy!" she cried spotting her friend. Motioning for Cordelia to follow, she raced across the street to Buffy. Who promptly fainted. Willow crouched beside the Slayer to rouse her. Once she'd woken her friend she began her explanation again.

Capt. Chase kept watch, half-listening to the on-going conversation. One word in particular caught her attention. "What's a slayer?"

Before Willow could explain, they were attacked again. Capt. Chase leapt forward, swinging her rifle. It connected with a loud crack. The creature dropped like stone. "I suggest we get inside before we come across anything...."

The Slayer's terrified screeching drowned her out.

"A demon! A demon!" Lady Elizabeth hid behind the woman with the weapon. Buffy cringed inside. She couldn't believe how wimpy she sounded.

"That's not a demon. It's a car," said Willow.

"What does it want?"

Capt. Chase pulled the clingy woman away from her. "Is this woman insane?"

"She's never seen a car."

"She's never seen a car?"

"She's from the past."

"And your a ghost?"

"Yes! Now let's get inside."

Capt. Chase eyed her again. Don't get any ideas, Bitch. Cordelia muttered sullenly. "I just want you to know I'm taking a lot on faith here, Red. Where do we go?"

"To a friends," answered Willow, leading them to the Summer's house.

Lady Elizabeth stood terrified as the two women began securing the domicile. The place was strange. Like nothing she'd ever seen. Turning she caught sight of a picture. It was amazing as if someone had captured a still of real life. She picked it up, wondering what artist had done it. Her eyes widened as she took in the picture's subject. "This could be me," she cried, staring at the girl in the portrait who was her mirror image.

"It is you!" snapped Willow, coming back into the hallway.

Tears gathered in Lady Elizabeth's eyes. "It's not me. I'd never wear that low apparel. I don't like this place. I don't like you. And I just wanna go home," she whined. Buffy rolled her eyes or at least she tried to. Low? That's Donna Karen, your Highness, she snarked silently.

"You are home," shouted Willow. Lady Elizabeth began to sob. Willow growled in disgust and went to check the kitchen again. "She couldn't have dressed like Xena?"

What a cry-baby! Buffy moaned in shame. If she could she'd slap herself.

A volley of gunshots made Willow rush back into the room. Lady Elizabeth shrieked and covered her ears. "Hey! What did I say?"

Capt. Chase tossed a look over her shoulder. "Big noise. Scare monster. Okay?" Willow nodded, shyly. Capt. Chase grinned at her. Suddenly terrified screams tore through the silence. Capt. Chase pulled back the window covering, and cursed. "Damn," she muttered and yanked open the door, rushing out into the night.

She raced toward the ditzy looking blond. Running scared the girl missed her saviour's appearance and slammed into her. The blond pulled back and gasped upon seeing who it was. "Cordelia! What's going on?"

Capt. Chase didn't answer, instead she hustled the blond ditz into the house and slammed the door behind them.

"Harmony," said Willow slowly. "Your name is Harmony. Your not a cat. Your in high school." Harmony looked confused.

"Duh. You went mental when?" she snarked, turning to Cordelia. "Cordy what's going on? Some freak attacked me. He tore my costume," she wailed. "Party town's not going to give me my deposit back."

Capt. Chase tried not to sneer at the whining civilian. She sounded like a bleating sheep. Ignoring her she turned back to the red-head who seemed to know what the what was. "What now?"

"I'm gonna go get some help. If something tries to get in--just fight it off." Willow lifted worried eyes to her Not-girlfriend. "Try not to kill anybody."

Capt. Chase nodded grimly.

"It's not our place to fight. Surely some men will protect us."

Harmony turned a disbelieving look on Buffy. Wasn't she in some kind of gang? She was always getting into fights. "What's that riff?"

Willow sighed. She was getting tired of explaining. "Type of amnesia. They don't know who they are. Just sit tight."

Harmony scowled, looking away. "Who died and made her Queen?"

Willow walked away, vanishing into the wall behind Harmony as she headed to the library and Giles.

Xander was having so much fun. The chaos was just lovely. He trailed behind his sire, watching the transformed children wreck hell. It was beautiful. The breeze shifted and a familiar scent reached his nose. He stilled, head cocking toward the scent. Intrigued he moved away, following it down a side street. The smell grew stronger as he tracked until he found the body lying on the porch. His Willow-tree was a ghostie. Cool! Not wanting anything to happen to her body, he picked it up. Intent on putting her somewhere safe.

Spike eyed all the confusion and laughed. "Well this is just neat! You like, Pet?" When Xander didn't answer Spike stopped, looking back over his shoulder. "Bloody hell, Pet! Where'd you go?"

Capt. Chase was getting tired of the complaining women. She sent the blond to recon the upstairs. Snatching up a piece of broken chair, she handed it to the brunette woman. "Here. In case they get in."

Lady Elizabeth pouted. "Fight? I won't."

"This ain't no tea party, Princess. Sooner or later you're going to have to fight!" barked Capt. Chase.

"Fight these low creatures? I'd sooner die," she snapped, crossing her arms indignantly.

"Then you'll die," growled Capt. Chase turning away. What happened to the idiot woman was of no concern to her.

Finally reaching Buffy's home, Angel slipped inside the back door. He made his way to the front room, relieved to see Buffy and Cordelia. "Oh, good! You guys are all right. It's total chaos out there."

Capt. Chase and Lady Elizabeth turned confused gazes on the man. "Who are you?"

Giles shifted the cards from one hand to the other as he rearranged the card catalog. He paused in his work as what sounded like screams echoed through the room, followed by sirens. Frowning he glanced up, wondering what was happening, just in time to see Willow walk through the wall opposite him.

"Jeez!" yelped the startled man, cards went flying, as he clutched a hand to his chest.

Embarrassed Willow waved awkwardly. "Hi."

Angel looked from Cordelia to Buffy worried at the looks of genuine puzzlement. "Okay. Somebody want to clue me in."

Capt. Chase stepped forward. "Do you live here?"

Angel shook his head. "No. You know that." He moved toward Buffy, "Buffy?" who cringed. He stopped, studying her. "I'm lost here. What happened to your hair?"

Harmony hurried down the stairs, having heard the voice of the hunk from the Bronze. "They don't know who they are. Everyone's a monster. How are you?"

Angel eyed the vacuous blond, frowning. She reminded him of someone. The lights went out and Lady Elizabeth screamed, latching on to Capt. Chase. The captain grimaced. "Do you mind?" Lady Elizabeth reluctantly let go. "All right," barked Capt. Chase. "You take the Princess and secure the kitchen. I'll take the blond and make sure the front is still secure."

Harmony followed behind the dark-haired solider, chattering inanely. "Have I mentioned you are looking seriously kick-ass in that outfit, Cordy?"

Lady Elizabeth watched the woman with the weapon leave. She glared at the new arrival. "I don't wanna go with you! I-I like the woman with the musket." Angel ignored her protests.

"C'mon," he said pulling her into the kitchen.

"Do you have a musket?"

Willow gazed forlornly at the pages in front of her. "I don't even know what I'm looking for. Plus, I can't turn the pages."

Giles closed the book he held. "Right. Well let's review. Everybody became what they were masquerading as." Willow nodded. "Right. Cordy was a solider. Buffy was an 18th century girl."

Giles gave the red-head a quick once over. "And your costume?"

Willow blushed, crossing her arms over her bare waist. "I'm a ghost."

Giles eyebrow crept up. "Yes. Umm...the ghost of what exactly?"

Willow's hands settled on her hips, and she frowned defensively. "This is nothing. You should see Harmony. A unitard with a tail and cat ears."

Giles blinked rapidly. "Good heavens! She became an actual feline?"

Willow shook her head. "No. She was the same old Harmony. Just in a cat costume."

Giles looked up. "She didn't change?"

"No. Hold on. Party town. She told us she got her outfit there."

"And everyone else who changed, got there's where?"

"We all got ours at the new place. Ethan's."

Spike tracked Xander to the little red-head's place. "Pet. What are you doing?" he asked just the tiniest bit put out.

Sensing his sire's upset, Xander paused in his arranging of the corpse. He stood, walking to Spike's side. "Just wanted the Willow-tree safe, my angel."

Spike gazed into the innocent gaze and couldn't stay mad. "Love, she's dead."

Xander laughed, shaking his head. "Not for long. Times running out and everything new will be old again."

Spike knew that meant his time to catch the slayer unprepared and off-guard was running out. Admonishing Xander to be gone before the girl revived, or at least to be hidden. He left Xander to take of his life size Ms. Edith, and set out to kill the Slayer.

Lady Elizabeth cringed, hiding in the dark alley. She couldn't belive she'd escaped the horrid creature. Buffy growled to herself. Hey. That's my man your insulting! As was par the course, her new roomate ignored her. Lady Elizabeth whimpered quietly, and hesitantly straightened from her crouch.

Spike sniffed the air. He could smell slayer. He was certain he could hear the blood pounding through her veins. He glanced around the group of transformed children he'd collected. "Do you hear that, my friends?" Growls and grunts are the only response. "Somewhere out here is the tenderest meat you've ever tasted, and all we have to do is find her first."

Giles pushed open the door followed by Willow, as he entered the shop. "Hello. Anyone home?" The swaying curtain at the back of the shop caught her eye, and she motioned to Giles. They approached the back room slowly, and Giles pushed aside the curtain freezing as he took in the room. The statue sitting squarely in the center of the altar held his gaze. "Janus. Roman mythical god."

Willow eyes the statue with it's glowing green eyes. "What does it mean?"

Giles explanation is cut short by the arrival of the shop keeper. Willow watched as Giles paled. He looked as if he'd seen a ghost.

Giles get Ethan's cocky stare. "Willow, get out of here. Now."



Reluctantly, she left. She didn't want to but she was also unwilling to cross Giles in this new mood.

"Hello, Ethan."

"Hello, Ripper."

Xander crossed Willow's arms across her chest, then tucked the package between them. She looked ready to be buried. Technically, she was as dead as him. He gazed up at the sky. Even if it wouldn't be for much longer.

Capt. Chase dashed forward, seizing the blond's attacker by the arm. He turned and she hit him with a round house. He staggered back and she swung the butt of her M-16 up. A short jab to his mid-section and he doubled over. She drove the gun into the back of his head, knocking him unconscious. With the threat neutralized she turned to the brunette. "Lady, are you okay?"

Angel hurried to her side, and Lady Elizabeth shrieked and cowered behind the woman with the musket.

"Lady, what is your deal?"

Lady Elizabeth threw up one shaky hand, pointing at Angel. "He's a vampire."

Capt. Chase fought the need to groan. First a car as a demon. Now a vampire. She should have left the woman to her fate. Still the red-head seemed to like the girl. So.... "It's okay. He's a good vampire. He would never hurt you."

Lady Elizabeth stood slowly. "Really?"

"Absolutely. He's our friend?"

Angel smiled gently. Before anyone could move, Willow came hurtling down the alley from the other end. "Guys!"

Angel looked away from Buffy to the desperate teen. "Willow?"

She jerked to a stop. "You've gotta get inside." She threw an anxious look over her shoulder. The others followed her gaze. Spike appeared at the mouth of the alley. Surrounded by the transformed creatures.

Capt. Chase scanned the area. "We need a triage."

Angel found an open warehouse. "In here."

Capt. Chase slung her rifle across her back. "Ladies. We are on the move."

Giles glared at Ethan. "Break the spell, Ethan. Then leave this place. And never come back."

"Why should I?" he asked, smirking. "What's in it for me?"

Giles stepped forward, his entire being screaming for violence. "You get to live."

Capt. Chase spotted a good area to make a stand. "Here!" She shoved the door aside and waved the others in. "Check if there are any other ways in," she ordered as she barricaded the door. Angel settled Buffy next to Willow.

"Stay here."

Capt. Chase set the grate in front of the door and backed away. It wasn't going to hold. She moved closer to the crying women, as she searched for anything else to shove in front of the door. There was nothing else.

Lady Elizabeth lunged for her, clutching tightly to the taller woman. Capt. Chase shot her a disgruntled look. "Fuck, more clinging." Turning away she eyed the door. She could see it buckling under the stress.

Spike studied the tableau before him. His monsters had Angelus and the brunette girl, Cordelia something or other, immobilized. And the Slayer lay cringing before him. He loved it. "Look at you. Shaking. Terrified. Alone. Lost little lamb." He stalked her as she tried to scramble away, toying with her. Until she was backed into a corner. "Yumm," he purred. "I love it."

Xander slid the red-head from his lap, casting a quick glance upward. "Too late," he moaned.

Spike reached out snagging a handful of brown locks. He dragged her closer, bending her back over the crates. Capt. Chase bidded her time, allowing the monsters holding her to become complacent.

"The spell," Giles snarled again. Ethan moaned, clutching his waist.

"The statue. Break it."

Capt. Chase lashed out with two brutal strikes. Incapacitating bother her captors. She snatched her M-16 from the still body on the floor. Willow spun around at the noise, and nearly cheered spotting her girlfriend free.

"Him you can shoot!" screamed Willow. Capt. Chase swung her rifle up and aimed.

Spike turned ready to attack the new threat, and paused staring down at the wig in his hand. He sensed the blow coming from behind him and dodged. Buffy followed relentlessly. The two exchanged blows for several seconds when Buffy snagged a length of pipe and went on the offensive. "You know what? It's good to be me," she crowed.

Spike lept back barely avoiding the swings. Angel appeared behind the Slayer. Deciding retreat was a good idea, he lunged once more at the Slayer. Buffy dodged away but Spike kept going.

Cordelia corralled the crying children, before moving to stand by Buffy. "Welcome back."

"You too."

Angel's gaze danced between the two of them. "You guys remember what happened?"

Cordelia nodded. "It was way creepy. I was there but I couldn't get out," she stopped suddenly, glancing around. "Where's Willow?"

Harmony stood up from where she'd been hiding behind a stack of crates. "She just vanished. Poof. What the hell is going on, Cordy?" Cordelia ignored the girl, turning to Buffy.

"Look. You get the crumb-snatchers home," snapped Cordelia. "I'm going to find Willow."

Xander cradled Spike's head in his lap. His sire wasn't happy. The Slayer had gotten away again. He considered suggesting they leave again but knew that wouldn't go over well at the moment. He really had no idea why Spike was so insistent on doing this ritual. He was perfectly happy with things the way they were. He had his angel and eternity. He didn't need anything more. Well...maybe a Willow-tree. But that was it. Though, even that wasn't enough to make him want to stay. He could sense badness coming. And not the naughty fun kind. Growling deep in his chest, he curled around his mate. And planned.

Willow sat up slowly, surprised. She hadn't been anywhere near home when she'd collapsed. How had she gotten to her balcony? She stood then jumped, startled, as something landed on the ground at her feet. Bending over she picked up the object warily. Tears gathered and rolled down her cheeks as she stared at the tape. A brand new copy of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Wiping away the tears, she pulled open the french doors and crossed the room, heading for her t.v. Determined to watch the tape like she and Xander had always done. It'd be a nice end to an otherwise hellish night.

She'd just popped the tape into the vcr, when someone knocked on her bedroom door. She got up to see who it was.

Cordelia stood on the other side, looking slightly put out. She'd been worried about her girlfriend, almost frantic when she'd been unable to find her. Until the thought crossed her mind that she might have just gone home. She was all set to let her have it for worrying her when she took a good look at the red-head. Stifling her anger, she simply asked,"Are you okay?"

Willow nodded, "You?"

"Yeah," she said quietly. "I guess we should call it a night." Willow shrugged sheepishly. "I guess. Or if you want, me and Xan used to watch the Charlie Brown Halloween special. I got it on tape, if you want to watch."

Cordelia nodded, stepping inside. "Sounds good to me."

Be seeing you...

Giles crumpled the note in his hand, and glared at the empty shop.

The End

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