Chapter One

It all started with a single utterance.

One solitary word turned my world upside-down before my very eyes.

Deep down, I knew that it would change things. I knew that my life would never be the same. Still, I wasnít afraid. Unsure? Definitely. Hesitant? Of course.

But Iím not the type of person who walks away from a situation because Iím Ďunsure.í Maybe thatís my downfall. Maybe Iím stupid for jumping into situations that Iím hesitant about.

But something in his voice got to me. The look in his eyes. I had never seen him like that before. He was . . . broken. Bloodied. Bruised. Hollow. And still . . . he reached out to me. Blood enemies.

A single word was all it took.

ďHelp.Ē

So I did.

And things havenít been the same since.

This is how it all started.


It was a night pretty much like any other in Sunnydale. Things had been blessedly quiet since Spike had jumped town to chase after drusilla yet again. I'll never understand the two of them.

I was about halfway through my patrol. Three cemeteries down, two to go. The Vamp action was kinda slow. I dusted three in the first cemetery, but hadnít seen any more since.

I was getting kinda antsy. Twirling my stake in my hand, I trudged through the fourth cemetery, just waiting for some kind of nasty to jump out in front of me and give me a run for my money.

Thatís when I heard it. A stifled moan rang out from a crypt just a couple of feet away from me. I stopped twirling my stake and held it tightly, my Slayer-senses taking over.

As I carefully approached, I noticed that a small light was flickering within the crypt. ĎOh great.í I thought. 'Some freak-vampire is playing with candles in there. Heís either doing a ritual of some sort, or heís getting all romantic with some corpse. Eww.í

With as much stealth as I could, I pushed back the large stone door that was already ajar and peeked inside.

I could see the candlelight flickering throughout the crypt, but I couldnít see any vamp or human movement. I opened the stone door the rest of the way and took a step or two into the crypt, glancing only half-interested at the room in front of me.

Thinking that I mustíve been hearing things, I slowly turned to go.

Thatís when I heard it again. A low, guttural moan.

ĎOh crap, itís coming from inside the casket.í

Upon my realization, I made my way towards the sole casket that was in the middle of the room.

I had to do a double-take when I looked at it. It was marble and had some old etchings on it, and it was quite stunning, actually. I could tell that it was really old. But, someone had added two large locks made of iron on it. They were obviously out of place on such an old casket.

After debating for a moment on whether or not I should open the casket, I decided that I couldnít let whatever was in there stay trapped like that.

Iím a human, after all. I have emotions and concerns, just like anyone else, and I donít like the thought of any creature, human or otherwise, being locked up in a casket and left for dead.

So, I made a conscious decision.

I would set it free. Then I would kill it. Heh.

I hopped up on top of the casket and readied myself to break the locks off. I brought my right leg straight up as high as my head, then dropped it down on one of the locks full force. It snapped right off.

I repeated the same gesture on the second lock, and it too shattered to the ground. ĎYeah, Iím bad!í I thought. Sometimes, I love being a Slayer.

I heard another groan from within as I broke the second lock. I braced myself, waiting to be thrown off the casket as whatever nasty that laid within came ripping out.

But nothing happened.

I pondered the strangeness of the situation for a moment as I continued to wait for something to pop out, like a kid waits for the Jack to pop out of the Jack-in-the-Box.

ĎAw, screw thisí I thought as I grabbed my knife out of my waistband and jumped down to the floor. I turned and began to lift the marble slab off the top of the casket, quickly pushing it over before taking a step back and hopping into a fighting stance.

But I didnít have to fight. I couldnít have fought if I wanted to. I could barely even breathe. Silence filled the crypt, except for the sound of my knife hitting the stone floor beneath me.

I felt tears well up in my eyes as I looked down into the casket. My face mustíve been priceless. I was shocked, appalled, and scared all at the same time.

Lying in front of me was a bloodied and bruised Spike.

Spike. William the Bloody. ĎHe of bleached hair and lack-of tan linesí. Mr. Pain-in-my ass. Normally, just the sight of him would put me into a defensive mode, either to exchange blows or sarcastic remarks.

But this was different. Terribly so, even.

He had cuts up and down his half-naked body, and he was covered from head to toe in dried blood. Some of his wounds appeared to be partially healed, while other that were deeper were still oozing and raw. I didnít even see the burn marks until much later.

His eyelids were bruised and swollen, so much that I could barely see his blue eyes that were looking directly up at me.

Through bloodied and peeling lips, he said one word in a tone so soft that it made a whisper sound like a yell. The one word that changed everything.

ďHelp.Ē

He didnít need to say anything else.

Without saying a word, I gently placed a hand on both of his shoulders and lifted him into a sitting position. Though I used an extreme amount of caution, he still visibly flinched in pain at my gentle touch.

I took off the large army-jacket that I had borrowed from Xander earlier that evening and placed it over Spike, gently working his arms into the sleeves.

Once he was in the jacket, I lifted him out of the casket and carried him out of the tomb.

It took me a few moments to realize that there was something different about him. I couldnít quite put my finger on it . . . but I knew something had changed. It was only when I was halfway through the cemetery in the cool night air that I felt it.

Spike was not his usually cold self.

He was hot. And I donít mean sexy or gorgeous because, well . . . eww . . . bloody mess here.

But he was warm to the touch, striking me as completely odd. He was vampire, after all. A half-naked vampire at that.

I shook my head, trying to clear myself of the Ďnaked vampireí thoughts. Thatís when I realized something else. Not only was he warm . . .

. . .he was breathing, too.

I guess I wasnít that far off when I said ĎHe was a vampireí, because he wasnít one anymore.

He was human.

Not stopping to ponder the weirdness of the situation, I quickly picked up the pace to a slow run and headed for my house, a million thoughts flooding my head.


Chapter Two

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