It had been days now. A week probably... she hadn't really kept track. It had all gone by in a blur.

Only days since Angel had crept into her house, and left unnerving pictures behind as a testament to how close he had been to killing her and her mother. Days since he had harassed Mom outside the house. Days since Willow had helped her out with the anti-invitation spell to block Angel out. Days since Giles had bum-rushed the factory, burning the whole damn thing to the ground.

Days since she had stood there, in that very spot with Giles. At Jenny Calendar's grave.

She stood there quietly now, hands in the pockets of the thigh length black leather trench she wearing. Just staring blankly at the simple white headstone; Jenny's name glared back at her accusingly. Jenny, the beautiful, light-skinned, dark-haired technopagan that had fallen in love with Giles. The woman also known as Janna, a Gypsy spy from the Kalderash clan, sent to Sunnydale to ensure Angel's suffering.

"The curse. If Angel achieved true happiness, even just a moment... he would lose his soul."

She had just been doing her job. She really hadn't known that Angel and Buffy would fall in love. Jenny hadn't known that she'd... meet her end at the hands of the man who had once saved her life.

She had lied... to protect them, to protect her identity. To protect the world from the unleashing of one of the most cruel, volatile demons ever recorded. But she'd failed.

If she'd succeeded, Buffy wouldn't be feeling that heart-wrenching agony that accompanied the thought of killing the only man she'd ever loved.

Anyway, the point she was trying to focus on was that she was ashamed. The "talk" that she'd "had" with Jenny that day on campus filtered through her mind. She could still see the hopeful, surprised look on Jenny's face when Buffy had intercepted her in the quads. She could still see herself getting out of forgiving her and the hurt look on Jenny's face when the teacher had realized that Buffy wasn't going to let her back into her good graces. And then her refusal to accept her apology.

And Buffy's mind took a fast forward. She was back in her house, having just finished the sex-talk with Mom (and if she hadn't already been hellbent on killing Angel, she would have murdered him for spilling the beans for that one alone). She was walking through the dining room with Willow. The phone rang, she heard Giles's voice. A smile appeared on her face, and she prepared to tell the man she secretly called "father" that the anti-invitation spell had gone off without a hitch.

And then the world collapsed from under her. Giles's voice poured from the receiver, quiet, numb, unfeeling. She single-mindedly handed the phone to Willow as she backed up against the wall. Heard the heartbreaking, disbelieving sob wrenched from Willow's throat, heard her burst into tears as she heard the news: Jenny's dead. She barely noticed Mom running frantically into the room, clutching an hysterical Willow to her as Buffy slid to the floor and buried her face against her knees; guilt, heartbreak and shame were her only companions.

She had the chance to make things right between them. To put aside the betrayal and work alongside each other for the greater good.

She had thrown it away. And now Jenny was dead. The bold name, the simple 'Jennifer Calendar' carved into the white granite, glared at her; a silent accusation, a woman's voice forever silenced, a question forever unanswered: why?

Why hadn't she forgiven Jenny? She had an answer for that: she had still blamed her for Angel. Blaming Jenny was incredibly selfish of Buffy, but somehow it had seemed easier than taking the whole fall for Angel's less than tortured fall-from-grace. Now, of course, she felt like the Wicked Bitch of SoCal for it.

But there was a question unanswered. Why had Angel killed Jenny? There had to be a deeper reason -- besides torturing poor Giles and sending Buffy a one-way ticket for a trip into Guiltsville. What had he been after...?

Her shoulders tensed and her head tilted up a bit.

She had company.

He was pissed. No, he was beyond pissed.

Bloody fucking hell, there wasn't a word invented in heaven or Hellmouth that described how bloody pissed off he was.

The last straw should have been the second fucking Angelus walked in with the warm heart as Dru's early Valentine's present. But he'd finally had it. He was sick of it.

He'd actually seen Dru copulating with the Royal Pisser.

Normally, when the case of hearing them came up, he would've swallowed hard, moved away, chalking it up to a mistake and would go back to working on his legs (he was walking quite well now, thankyouverymuch.)

Except that this time had been no mistake. This time dealt with visuals. Angelus had set it up, made sure that Spike would see Dru riding him, cooing, moaning, screaming.

Well it was kind of hard to miss when they were lying right there on the fucking floor of the hallway where his room was.

He'd wheeled himself away; pretty sure heartbreak and betrayal had all been evident on his handsome, expressive face. And when he'd moved past them, Angelus had opened his big brown eyes and watched him leave. A truly evil smirk on his lips, and triumph written all over his face as Dru fucked him right into another orgasm.

When Spike got to his room, Angelus had gathered Drusilla, and the two had been going at it like a couple of goddamn rabbits since then. And since he doubted that they would even realize that he was missing, he'd gotten out of that damn evil fucking wheelchair and left. His head was down, his hands were buried deep in the pockets of his much beloved duster, and he was walking through the graveyard.

He had a damn good reason to be so hurt. Yeah, Angelus was Dru's Sire, her precious 'daddy.' No one could ever replace the bastard in Dru's eyes. Angel and Dru had a Past, he knew. That Past had ended, should have ended, when Darla had come back to the fold. Since Angelus had his Sire back, he hadn't had any need for Dru.

Drusilla must have sensed something the night of that disastrous party, because suddenly he had found himself confronted with the loveliest vision that he had ever seen. Drusilla had taken Spike as her Childe, but when she had drained him down to the last drop of consciousness, she had gotten scared, refusing to feed him her blood. Angelus had found them and chastised Dru for trying to take a Childe without his knowledge or permission. Spike remembered him cursing when Dru had begun to whine and whimper and plead. He would have died permanently had Angelus not bitten his wrist and let him drink deeply.

Later Angelus had regretted it when Spike had turned out to be the most passionate, rebellious son of a bitch in the Valley of the Shadow that Angelus had ever come across.

However Angelus had seen him hadn't mattered; Darla couldn't stand him, but she had seen fit to keep Spike around in order to occupy Dru. And in the incredibly short time span between his Awakening and his first kill, he had already become fiercely protective and possessive of her.

There had been those times, however, when Angelus had become the possessive one, and Spike had become insanely jealous.

But the thing was that Angelus had fucking left them, and he had broken Dru's heart in the process. Spike's too, if he was honest, because while he would never admit it out loud to anyone, he had pretty much idolized the wanker. Angelus had been the one to teach him to fight, to prowl, to savor the hunt and the chase.

And then he had been left to take care of Dru for the next century. He'd protected her as best he could, and had taken out anyone that had threatened her life. His little bloodbath in Prague had been the most severe example of what he could do, what lengths he would have gone to in order to protect his Princess.

Wait -- fuck. She wasn't his Princess anymore, was she? Traitorous bitch.

And now Angelus was back. And he'd ruined his life.

Bloody hell.

Suddenly his head tilted up and swerved to the right. Hmm. There was some movement coming from the end of the cemetery, around 250 feet from him. His nose caught a scent, vanilla mixed with passion and dangerous aggression... feminine, with ferocity, power, strength and life. It was a familiar scent, one that teased his senses whenever he came across it.

The Slayer.

Frowning, he moved closer and was about six feet away when he saw that she was staring at a headstone. Oh, correction, the teacher's headstone, the one who had tried to recurse the shithead. He didn't bother to push away his pity. Hey, he felt bad. If it hadn't of been for Dru, Asshole never would have known about the attempt, and if Asshole hadn't killed the poor chit, none of this shit would have been happening. The Slayer looked awful, too -- her eyes had dark circles around them, her hair was all messed up, and she was dressed like a homeless person.

Eugh. He actually felt bad for her.

He saw her shoulders tense. Ah, she sensed him. How lovely.

Eh. The Slayer's company was better than no company at all.

He moved forward, standing beside her silently. After a moment, she slowly raised her head and gazed at him. His jaw was clenched, bringing out his very defined cheekbones. The hollows of his cheeks were sort of sinking in, and it looked like he was in poor health -- maybe it was just because he was a vampire -- but it kind of looked sexy in a way.

Sexy cheekbones on vampires. Sexy cheekbones on Spike. Ew.

She was so weird.

Oh. She wasn't only weird, she was stupid, too. The last time she'd seen Spike standing, she had hit him in the head with a pitcher, and an organ had fallen on him. He'd been in a wheelchair since then.

He must've been really determined to walk again. Or he really, really hated that wheelchair.

She let out a sigh. "How long?"

He didn't look at her; just stared at Jenny's grave. He knew what she was talking about. "'Bout two weeks. Dru an' -- they don't know." He gave a little snort of disgust.

She looked back at the grave and nodded. "Probably of the good."

Buffy could feel him glance at her. He sighed. "Probably."

The silence grew between them, and surprisingly, it was comfortable, but she couldn't help noticing that Spike hadn't attacked her or anything. Not even a leer, a cocky smirk, or a tasteful insult. She looked like shit -- she knew she did. The bullshit Angel had been pulling had really kept her awake at night, and she felt like such a scrub. But the fact was that he seemed pretty contemplative at the moment, just standing there and staring at Jenny's grave.

She couldn't resist her snide remark. "Come to pay your respects?" She couldn't help it. It was his side that had launched the attack first.

Spike looked up in surprise, his eyebrows creased. "Wha -- oh, the teacher?" Then he got it. "Uh, right. Sorry about that. Didn't really want her dead, you know. If the ponce would just stop fucking around, they'd all be just wailing for you 'stead of her. You know?"

She frowned. Funny thing was, Spike sounded like he really was genuinely sorry about Angel killing Jenny. Maybe he himself hadn't had anything to do with it. Of course, he had to ruin it by hoping out loud for Buffy's death, but then again, this was Spike. He was impatient; he hadn't even been able to wait until a measily little Saturday to fight her. And he'd been hit over the head with an axe by her mother for it. If the mood hadn't been so grim and somber, she would've laughed at the memory.

And now she had to ask. It was just sitting there, out in the open -- he hadn't made a single move to attack her. "Uh, Spike? Why aren't I dead, or at least pummeling you into a red pulp on the ground? Me here... you here... and you were pretty quiet coming up behind me. Why haven't you attacked me?"

He stared at her for close to a minute. To be honest, he wasn't really sure why he hadn't attacked her. Maybe it was because she wasn't trying to kill him either. They were both wallowing a little in their pain. She because of her inability to keep his crackpot Sire from killing a friend, and him for his inability to keep the woman he loved faithful to him. Finally, he shrugged. "Not in the mood to kill, I guess." He tossed her a little half-smile. "Reckon it's the same with you."

Yeah, she'd noticed her lack of attacking him, too. She shrugged. "Yeah, I guess."

He indicated the grave. "What happened here?"

She moved her head to stare at him bitterly. "You know what happened. Angel came after her, Angel killed her, and my Watcher lost the woman he loved. And it's my fault. Because I couldn't kill Angel."

He peered more closely at her. "No...." he drew out, cocking his head. "It's not just that. You've got something else besides all that boo-hoo bullshit for everyone else in there. Spill."

She stared up at him with something akin to shock. Hah, he had done it again; that little perception talent he'd had since he'd been alive. He didn't know where it had come from. He just knew that it helped out when a minion or a human was hiding something from him. He could look in their eyes and instantly tell if they were lying. The Slayer glared at him suddenly. "Why the hell should I tell you anything? Why do you care?"

He shrugged. "I don't. I'm bored. Humor me."

Hmph. At least he was honest.

She looked like she was about to throw herself on him and plunge a little wood in his chest, but she forced herself to relax and looked back at the grave. "I don't see why you want to know. I mean, I didn't even know her that well. She was just the computer science teacher, and she had a thing for Giles..." she winced, and rephrased herself. "She was in love with Giles. And yeah, she helped us out a couple of times, getting stuff off the Internet, and bonding with Willow, and making us trust her. And I'm sorry that I was so mean to her, and it's awful that she's gone and Giles is never gonna see her again, and I hate that I had a chance to forgive her completely and fully, and I blew it all away because on some level I still blamed her for Angel going bad..."

She stopped suddenly and sniffled, then brought her hands up to her face. Ah, he saw it now. The Slayer was ashamed of herself for being a bitch. Well, being a bitch to someone who hadn't deserved it. He actually kind of liked it when she was acting like she was PMS-ing, she was all fiery and passionate and... okay, anyway. Point was, she was feeling guilty. He wondered if her Watcher knew that.

He tentatively put his hand on her shoulder and patted it. Well, what the hell was he supposed to do, pull her into his arms and play Mum? He couldn't very well hug the Slayer, for Christ sakes! Although it would have felt good to have a nice, warm, curvy female body against his again, pressed up against him and...

He wasn't thinking that, he wasn't thinking that...

His awkward patting had become gentle rubbing, and the chit was still sniffling and snuffling. After a bit, she finally let up, but she didn't pull her hands away from her face. It clicked that she didn't want to look up and see the grave. Hmm. This was hitting her harder than he'd first thought. She was really making him feel bad for her.

She had better stop that.

She let out a deep breath. "God, I've got to get out of here."

He didn't even think as he took her arm and led her through the headstones, out of the cemetery. They didn't stop until they were outside the gates and about halfway down the road, heading toward the only bloody place he could think of -- the Bronze. Stupid town was getting to him. Or maybe she was, he didn't know. All he remembered about that place was that it had the highest concentration of horny teenagers, and that it was where he had first seen her. Dancing around, having a grand old time with her mates... twisting and writhing to the music. Hiding unfathomable strength and power underneath that silky smooth skin... Looking so unbelievably sexy and like such a woman that it was so bloody hard to believe that she was only seventeen...

Jesus. What the hell was wrong with him?

Dragging her into the emptying Bronze, he gathered a whiff of the quickly fading smell of sweat and teenage arousal. It was a good smell, sharp and cutting... it would have been fantastic, if it hadn't been having such a very physical effect on him.

Sometimes, there were disadvantages to being able to smell sex.

Other times... God, he loved being a vampire.

The bartender and the bouncer were the only ones left, the managers more than likely having told them to lock up before they took off. At the bouncer's attempt to stop him from entering, Spike's face shifted, and he growled as he looked up at the man, snapping his jaws. The bartender, who was coming up behind the bouncer just as Spike changed, let out a girlish shriek and both men took off running, dropping the keys on the ground. Spike chuckled and shifted back. "Damn pansies," he muttered.

He pulled her to the bar and sat her down on a stool, then crawled over the bar and dug out a bottle of something that the bartender had apparently been keeping for himself -- ahhh. Scotch, 1968. Not quite old enough, though a lovely drink, it was. Quite a fun year, too, what with all the bloodshed. He popped the bottle open, then poured a bit down his throat, almost purring at the warmth that coated his esophagus. He grunted, then offered the bottle to Buffy, frowning when the girl's nose crinkled and she backed away. He sighed and went under the bar again, dragging out a bottle of tequila that looked to be around five years old, and very, very not in use. In fact, it had dust coating it.

About five millimeters of dust.

He shrugged, then grabbed a shot glass off the back and poured some into it, handing it to Buffy. Buffy frowned at the sight of the liquid. "What's this?"

"Tequila," Spike informed. "Drink it down. It'll give you a nice buzz after a bit."

Buffy leaned in to sniff at the booze, then jerked back. "Ew..." she mumbled, then caught Spike's disapproving Look. Sighing, she lifted the glass, saluted to him, then tossed her head back and drained the shot. She slammed the glass down on the bar and let out a squeal of disgust as the liquid burned its way down her throat. "Ew, ew, ew!" she shrieked, kicking the bar as Spike snorted with laughter. It really should have occurred to him that while this girl was the Slayer, it didn't mean she could hold her liquor. Or had even tasted liquor. Or had gone within a centimeter of it.

Of course, looking at her now, he realized that the first shot had made its impact on her, and she looked willing for more, even if she wasn't aware of it. A plan shot through his mind: he could get the Slayer completely sauced, then tie her to the bar and drain her. Go back to the mansion, and let Angelus get a whiff of "his" Slayer's blood on Spike's hands, and then Spike was once again the Big Bad, with Dru by his side, as it should've been.

That was highly unlikely, seeing as in that fantasy, Angelus would've ripped Spike's head off for touching "his" property.

But it still sounded all well and good until he remembered that waltzing back into the mansion wasn't a good idea either. After all, Angelus and Drusilla still had no idea that Spike wasn't as helpless as they believed he was. Not that they took that much time out to pay any attention to him, unless Angelus was feeling like his old fogey-ish self and wanted to make with the funny-ha-ha wheelchair jokes, and Dru was making him feel like a bloody infant by trying to feed him something, like that poor pup she had snatched off the other day.

So another plan filtered through his mind as he poured the girl another shot. Maybe he could talk the Slayer into helping him get rid of Angelus once and for all. He knew she and her mates were planning it already, and if the Watcher's raid on the warehouse had been anything to go by, then Rupes was probably ready and willing to stand at the forefront in the line of battle. He shook his head. Angelus had really fucked up by going after the Slayer's friends. And the poofter had completely underestimated the Slayer's Watcher. Spike recalled passing through Bath, England with Dru around 1970, just before heading to the States, and coming upon the younger Rupert. He remembered just how dangerous the little sod had been when threatened. Dru had learned her lesson when her attempts to cozy up to the future Watcher had resulted in a black spell on her head for three days. The spell, on top of Dru's insanity at the time had nearly driven him crazy.

The number one tip for battle in Spike's mind was Never Underestimate Your Enemies.

You got royally fucked over if you did.

He jumped when the Slayer banged her hand down on the bar in front of him. He looked up and his lips quirked at the annoyed expression that was slightly muted by the alcohol clouding her brain. She had drained the second glass, with not nearly as much protest as before. Looked like she was getting nice and snookered, too. The alcohol was hitting her tiny little body way too fast, though, and he should really be cutting her off, so that the little hellion was at least slightly rational to hear his plan. He really didn't want to have to carry her home and dump her in ice water until her tiny little white top soaked through and her skirt molded to her legs.

Then again...

Dammit, there were those thoughts again! They just kept popping up out of no where, and it was disturbing how many times they had occurred since hed been in this cursed town. He was William the fucking Bloody, Slayer of two Slayers, he had to stop bringing up innuendos about that annoying bitch of a Third. In no way was it healthy.

"Hey. More a this," the Slayer slurred, looking up at him with barely focused eyes. Spike looked down at her, barely able to contain his amused grin. He couldn't help it -- she looked so cute, getting all sloshed. And she had only had two shots of tequila, which made it even funnier. He frowned when he realized that she was trying to snatch the bottle from his hand.

"Ah, ah, ah. Bad Slayer. No more. You look ready to be taken advantage of as it is. Nobody gets that pleasure but me, an' I need to discuss something with you anyway." Buffy pouted at him, then reached out once again for the tequila. He lightly slapped her hand. "You can't hold your liquor, pet, you're already a wobbly weeble."

Buffy whined. "I can so hold my lickers!" She shoved her finger at him in an attempt to poke his nose, but pricked the corner of his mouth, instead. "YOU can't hold your lickers! You're -- you're... unlickerable!" Suddenly she burst into giggles and Spike slapped his forehead, sighing. Dammit. He just had to have been so brilliant as to get the Slayer drunk, hadn't he? The little chit looked like she hadn't even been eating. She was thinner than normal, and she was already short and skinny. He really should have known better.

Well, there was no way out of it now. If he wanted to discuss a temporary alliance with her, then he needed her sober. Looked like the ice water option was the only one he had.

Once again, that could be bad.

Maybe he could just dunk her head in or something.

With each step he took, he cursed himself repeatedly for giving tequila to Buffy. Since leaving the Bronze, the girl had been babbling on and on about her shoes.

"They's strapped up an' the stumpies make my feets feel funny but I cannt tell Mommy that cus shhhell get not happy." Her head reeled back slightly and she peered up at Spike with crystal clear green eyes. "Do I have pretty feets?"

He mentally smacked himself again, but humored her. "Yeah, luv, you have adorable feet. Really. Adorably painful. You think you can not kick me in the face the next time we get into it?"

He shook his head when Buffy's response was a slightly hysterical giggle and a light slap on the shoulder, followed by: "Hah! Spikey... you's silly." Crap, she was drunk, and yet she still knew who he was? "Vampire's is not s'posed to be silly. They's s'posed to be mean and bitey. Mean and bitey why not you be?"

Oh, Christ, she was starting to talk like Yoda. This was hilarious. He grinned, reinforcing his grip on her shoulder, trying to keep her from flopping into a puddle on the street. "I told you, I don't feel like it tonight. Stop slouching, 'less you want me to carry you. Where's your house, Slayer?"

She pointed blearily toward a yellow brick home about twenty-five feet away. The porch lights weren't on, and he didn't see a car in the drive, so hopefully it meant that he and the chit could be alone for a bit. Suddenly Buffy stumbled and landed on her knees. The whine she gave alerted him that she may have hurt herself, and he stooped to lift her up. She effortlessly flowed into his arms, and he cradled her as he might a baby -- well, if he ever had a reason to cradle a baby. Checking her over, he realized that there was no mark whatsoever. She had just been whining because she had fallen. Either that or her Slayer healing was a lot faster than he'd initially thought.

He sighed and carried her toward her house. "Come on, luv. You're fine. Let's get you inside."

She kicked her feet up and wrapped one arm around his shoulders, loudly humming some mundane pop song that her sister had probably been playing non-stop. Shit... the sister. He had completely forgotten about her.

"She's staying for sleepy-byes with Willow, cuz she's kinda liking the witchery stuff, so witchy Willow kin kinda keep her away from the bad stuff," she slurred, rolling her head into his shoulder, almost as if she'd been reading his mind. Spike looked down, his eyebrows lifting in surprise. Figuring that maybe she was slightly rational through the alcohol after all, he hoisted her up more and walked up her porch steps.

"Got a key, pet?" he asked, peering down at her. She turned her sparkling green eyes to him and looked up at him with... odd... something akin to trust. How disturbing.

"Door's unlocked," she mumbled, snuggling against him. Spike paused, not sure if her conviction was as strong as she usually made it out to be. She seemed to be quite touchy-feely when drunk. Once again, he marveled at the fact that only two shots had done this to her. Shrugging, he opened the door, and started to ask for his invitation, only to be cut off with a lolling blonde head tucking itself under his chin and a softly spoken, "Come in, Spike."

There was more marveling. Had this girl completely lost her head that she invited an enemy into her home? Or maybe she had a death wish, and was praying that he could fulfill it. He sighed and entered, setting her gently on the couch. "There you go, pet," he muttered, then turned to shut the door.

When he turned back, he was met with an uppercut to the jaw from a completely sober Slayer. Letting out a grunt of pain, he stared in disbelief at the tiny blonde hellion, standing in a fighting position with a look of utter malevolence on her face. "What's the trick, Spike?" she spat.

Spike was stunned. "What the bloody hell are you talking about, what trick? Why aren't you sloshed?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Oh, please. Two shots of tequila? What kind of wuss gets completely smashed after that? And you know what I'm talking about! Why the hell are you here? Is Angelus executing some fucked up idea to let someone catch me with my guard down since I took his passage away? I gotta say, this is the most idiotic thing he's ever come up with!"

Spike stared at her for a second longer, then gave an amused snort. "You really are off your rocker, ain't you, Slayer?" he asked, walking past her into the living room. "You really think I'd go along with any plan of that wanker's, after everything he's done? Was his idea to kill your Watcher's girlfriend, his and Dru's." He looked around thoughtfully as Buffy followed him in with caution. "Nice decor." He turned to her, tilting his head. "Your mum's doing? 'Course, it has to be." Looking her up and down, he snorted again. "You don't have a single bone of art appreciation in that twiggy little body of yours."

Buffy's eyes widened indignantly. Twiggy?! I have a twiggy little body?! She ignored the hurt that his words caused. She'd always thought she was normal-sized skinny, and very pretty, come to that. Apparently, Spike didn't think so, and that really galled her for some reason. "Oh, that's it, I am so gonna kick your ass!"

Spike held his hands up as she came toward him, a cheeky grin on his face. "Ah, ah, ah, pet. Don't wanna ruin Mummy's nice, expensive things, do we?"

Buffy stopped, then stared at him, scowling. "Why are you here?"

Spike tilted his head, effecting an innocent, wide-eyed look. "You invited me in."

Buffy grabbed a pillow off of the couch and smacked him viciously with it. "What the hell do you want?"

Spike smiled, pushing the pillow away as he moved toward her. "Oh, I want you, pet." He looked her up and down again, slowly this time, his eyes lingering on every inch of her. His tongue slid out and he licked his lips in a manner that only could be described as hunger. Hey, it wouldn't hurt to have a little bit of fun with her. Besides... there was no way around it... the girl was hot. "I thought that'd be obvious."

Buffy pushed away, her face a mask of disgust. "You presumptuous, nauseating, revolting pig."

Spike pursed his lips and moved in front of her, grabbing her arm and pressing the lower half of his body against hers. He gently rubbed himself against her, pinning her with his eyes. "Oink, oink, luv."

Buffy shivered slightly, blinking once in her astonishment. Ooh, BIG! Wait... Holy crap, is that... oh my god, it is... her thoughts tapered off at the sensation he was forcing to course through her. Regaining her equilibrium, she scowled and shoved him away. "Get away from me. Get out of my house. Why are you here again?"

Spike sighed and cocked his head as he looked at her, his lips forming a pout. Boo. It wasn't any fun when she didn't want to play. "You wanna get rid of Angelus for good, right?" Buffy observed him silently for a moment, her lips forming a sullen pout, then nodded reluctantly. Spike nodded. "Right, then. So do I. Problem is, I can't do it alone. Neither can you. With Dru on his side, it's two to one, no matter which one of us they're against. I say we even it up a little. Two on two, vampires versus vampire an' Slayer."

Buffy remained silent, then tilted her head. "What's in it for you?"

Spike nearly snarled. "I get to show up that stupid blighter once an' for all, an' show Dru what a stupid bloody bitch she was for dropping me."

She rolled her eyes. "Like you're such a great catch." Spike scoffed, insulted. "What's in it for me?" she continued.

Spike stopped, then moved closer to her, tilting his head down until it was almost level with hers. "You get revenge for everything that bastard an' Dru have put you an' your mates through. An' you get a little justice for your Watcher an' his girlfriend."

He watched Buffy contemplate the alliance, her nose crinkling up slightly and her lips frowning as she thought. She was probably insane for even thinking about teaming up with an enemy, teaming up with Spike, of all people. But he was right. He couldn't defeat Angelus and Drusilla alone -- the power of two Master vampires combined, such as theirs, rivaled that of the Slayer. However, with a Slayer and a Master vampire combined, they technically outnumbered Angel and Dru three to two. And she couldn't defeat them by herself, either.

And she owed it to Giles and Jenny to destroy Angel and Drusilla. Spike was right. After all, it had been their plan that had killed Jenny. She wasn't exactly sure what it was about Spike's demeanor that was making her believe that he had nothing to do with Jenny's murder, but it was her gut instinct as the Slayer that was unveiling it, and she decided to trust it.

Slowly, she nodded. "Deal."

Spike nodded, his patronizing smirk disappearing, his face becoming completely serious. "Good choice, pet."

They shook hands, then stayed silent for a bit; Spike looked around the room with interest and boredom combined. Buffy looked everywhere but at him. It felt so odd to have struck up an alliance with him. Giles was probably going to have a coronary. She snapped back to attention when Spike blew out a deep breath. "Right, then. We'll, ah, meet up tomorrow night. I'll explain what that poofter is planning. Any specific place?"

"The library at the high school," Buffy immediately replied.

Spike paused. "Who's gonna be there?"

Buffy shrugged. "My friends, Giles, me."

His countenance darkened. "So you want me to walk right into the middle of what could possibly be a full-scale attack?"

Buffy waved it off. "I'll tell them about it. Although it would probably be wise if you wore, like, a bullet-proof vest or something."

Spike rolled his eyes. "Oh, right, that's gonna stop wood from reaching the tocker."

Buffy glared at him. "It will unless you piss me off."

He growled. "I'll figure something out. Just make sure you tell your mates. If I get dusted, then Angelus is gonna succeed. And you'll all die."

Grumbling to himself, he turned on his heel and stomped out of the living room. Opening the door, he paused and looked back at her for a second. "Don't fuck this up, Slayer. Everything is on the line, here. You're gonna have to choose what you think is more important. Saving this world, which I and a lot of other chaps I know happen to like, or saving your bloody ex. Don't be stupid."

Buffy watched as he slammed the door closed, then walked to the window as he stalked down the walkway.

She wasn't stupid. She already figured out what she had to do. It wasn't going to be easy, but she knew she had to do it.

And somehow, with Spike on her side, it only made it that much easier.


two || fog home || the naughtiness