In Harm's Way by dawnofme
Chapter #1 - 1. Harsh
A/N: Betas: mabel marsters, slaymesoftly and tanit. Thank you ladies! Much of the dialog for this chapter was taken for the episode "Harsh Light of Day". I've tweaked it slightly to fit the purpose of this story. Banner made by me.

Disclaimer: This story was written for entertainment purposes only.

In Harm’s Way

Chapter One: Harsh

Harmony brushed a bit of dirt from her hair and crinkled her nose in distaste. Why they had to spend so much time in tunnels, she didn’t know, but it was disgusting. Her eyes lit up when she saw her man. Her boyfriend.

If the girls from high school could see her now. She was sure that none of the others had snagged a man quite like hers.

“How’s my little Blondie Bear?” Harmony asked Spike, reaching up and squeezing his chin.

“Harm, does this look like a good time to talk?”

Taking a quick look around and seeing nothing unusual about Spike having Bryan’s head smashed into the worktable, she said, “Are you going to kill Willow today? Cuz, I want you to say, ‘this is for messing with my sweet girl’ and then…you know-” She growled playfully and bit lightly into his shoulder.

Spike released his hold on Bryan, pushed him away, and turned towards Harmony.

“The Slayer doesn’t know I’m here. Now, I’m not killing her friend, as that would tend to announce my presence. We’re too bloody close.”

“You almost killed her last year and suddenly it’s a big deal?” Harmony whined as she walked away.

“Sod off! Go eat something; I’ve got work to do. Once I get this gem, I’ll take care of the Slayer and all her friends.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Later, Harmony sat, pouting, on the ratty couch that was shoved up against a wall in the caves when Bryan came in and sat down beside her. She glanced his way briefly. He looked tired, but all of Spike’s minions looked that way. She wasn’t having any fun; no one was having any fun, and it was all the Slayer’s fault.

She couldn’t even talk about Paris without Spike biting her head off. She smiled at the memory from a few minutes ago. At least she got him to agree to take her out to a party.

“You know,” she told Bryan. “The sooner we get rid of Buffy, the better off we’ll all be.”

Bryan nodded. “You’re quite right.”

She liked to talk with Bryan. He always agreed with her. She looked at her nails, trying to decide what color to paint them for tonight, then glanced over at Bryan again. He was watching her with hungry, dog-like eyes. All the minions wanted her. She was their master’s girlfriend, after all.

“Too bad there isn’t a way to get rid of her right away. Then we wouldn’t have to spend so much time in these stupid caves, eating stale leftovers,” she told him with pouty lips.

“Well, I’ve been thinking about that.” Bryan pulled out a book from his bag. “I found this book the other day and I think I’ve discovered a spell that will do the trick.”

Harmony scooted a little closer and gazed at the book. She crinkled her nose. What was it about all these musty old books? Didn’t anybody read Cosmo anymore? “What is it?”

Bryan smiled proudly at her. “This is an ancient spell book.” He opened it up and flipped through the pages until he found the spot he wanted. “See this spell here? This could kill the Slayer.”

“Revenge Spell?” she asked him as she read the title at the top.

“Yes. It’s brilliant really. This spell will cause the human that it’s cast on to fall in love with the first vampire of the opposite sex that it sees. We could cast it on the Slayer.”

“Why do I care about the Slayer’s love life?” Harmony asked with a frown.

Bryan smiled indulgently at her. “Don’t you see? After the spell is cast on her, she will go on patrol, fall in love with the first vampire she sees and won’t be able to kill it. Therefore, the vampire will have easy access to her neck and she’ll be dead within minutes.”

Harmony sat up and clapped. “I like this idea. It’s so much faster than digging in the dirt for a stupid gem that probably doesn’t even exist. When are you going to do it?”

“You think I should?”

“Oh, yes. And soon. Can you do it now?”

Bryan glanced down, skimming the words on the page before shaking his head. “It will take at least a day to get all of these ingredients.”

“Harmony!” Spike’s voice echoed off the cave walls. “If you aren’t ready in ten minutes, you can kiss your night out goodbye.”

~ * ~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ * ~

Spike held on to his end of the bloke that they were taking back to the caves for the minions while smiling at the co-eds that passed them. They pushed through the crowd, with Harmony actually doing a good job for once, holding up her end.

The crowd cleared and he froze as they stood facing Buffy and some guy. College had really agreed with Buffy. Grudgingly, he admitted to himself that she looked hot. Spike had never understood Angel’s obsession with a teenager, but now that she was coming into womanhood, he could see the attraction.

“Spike. Harmony,” the Slayer said.

The guy Buffy was with look like a right git. She could do a whole lot better. Wait, what was he thinking? As soon as he got the gem, she’d be dead and wouldn’t be dating anyone.

“Buffy,” Harmony said. “Hi. What a cute outfit--last year.”

Spike wished she’d just shut up. For some reason, the fact that Buffy was not looking at him anymore really grated on his nerves. To get her looking his way again, he said, “Well, this is interesting. Sort of a double date.”

Buffy glanced around and he marveled at how fast she could think on her feet. He knew she was trying to decide on the best plan of action.

“I think you two should go,” she finally said.

So that’s the way she wanted to play it, then? He guessed Git-Boy didn’t know who he was on a date with.

Spike smiled pleasantly. “But the fun’s just starting: old friends.” He jiggled the boy he was holding up. “Lots to drink.”

Buffy’s date said, “Looks like your friend there started the party a little early, huh?”

With his eyes trained on the bug-eyed boy he said to Buffy, “Say, let’s have a look at the new boy. Hmm. I like him. He’s got - what’s the word - vulnerability.”

The urge to tear the boy apart was pretty strong.

“Hi, I’m Parker, “the boy said.

This one reminded him of the jerks he’d had to deal with when he was human. Spike was good at sizing up people at first glance. He glanced at Parker’s outstretched hand but refused to shake it.

“And you,” Buffy said with a crooked smile, “With Harmony. Lose a bet?”

“Hey!” Harmony cried.

The bitch So what if he couldn’t stand Harmony after the first twenty-four hours; who was she to judge his choice in women? Her choice in men was much worse.

He really needed to get away from Buffy. Now. It wasn’t the time for a confrontation, but once he had that gem, all bets were off.

To distract Buffy, he said, “Actually, how we met, funny story, really--”

Then in a surprise move, he tossed his dinner at Parker and ran into the crowd. Unfortunately, Harmony was able to get away as well. She followed him to the side of the house and clung to him as they watched the slayer searching for them. When she passed them, he saw his opportunity. Spike pushed Harmony off and stepped behind Buffy.

Now that they were out in the open, he could smell her better. Her unique scent was mixed with sweet perfume. He watched in anticipation for the moment when she’d know he was there. It didn’t take her long. He was ready for her when she whirled around and punched at him. Spike got a satisfying punch in, right to her face.

He knew when Harmony was at his back, because she panted like a dog. That just drove him crazy, but he couldn’t think about her. He had his slayer to fight with now.

“Dru dump you again?” Buffy asked smugly before she punched at him a second time.

Why did she always have to talk about his girlfriends? “Maybe I dumped her.” He punched back at her.

Behind him, Harmony spoke up, “She left him for a Fungus Demon. It’s all he talks about some days.”

If he could just find a way to shut that girl up. “Harm. We’re going.” He turned his attention to Buffy, unable to resist saying ominously, “It isn’t time yet.”

“Yeah,” Harmony added. “But as soon as we have the Gem of Amara, you’re gonna be sooo sorry - ow!”

Spike was seeing red now. The stupid bint! Why not give all their secrets away? He grabbed Harmony and yanked on her. He needed to get her away from Buffy, before she said anything more.

As he ran, he seethed with anger. He would deal with Harmony’s stupidity later, but she’d probably enjoy her punishment. What really pissed him off was the cavalier way the Slayer dismissed him and treated him as if he was some kind of fool. She’d be singing a different tune, once he had that gem.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy left Parkers dorm room, the next morning, a little tired, but happy. Too bad Parker’s mom was coming for a visit, but he did say he would call her. She fought the urge to squeal in delight. Finally, she was having a relationship with a real flesh and blood guy.

It had been a little touch and go last night, when she’d been a little too rough with him. Sometimes, she didn’t know her own strength. Once she realized that she was overdoing it, she lightened up and things had been fine.

She couldn’t wait to get to her room and get her stuff for a shower. Then, she would see Willow and share her joy with her. She walked by a group of kids talking in the hall and quickened her step. She was bursting with her news. She wanted to shout it to the world: Buffy Summers has a boyfriend!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It was too early for vampires to be up, but Spike had kept them on such a strange schedule for so long that she was finding it almost natural to wake in the early afternoon. Harmony gazed at her man, lying on his stomach. Even his back was beautiful with all those smooth, hard muscles.

She turned over to grab her purse. It was very important that she look perfect, even when she woke up. Harmony would do anything to keep Spike and that meant keeping up her looks 24/7. She opened a tube of lipstick and coated her plump lips. Glancing at his back again, she smiled as the idea hit. His back was like a work of art. Why not add to it?

In a sweeping motion, Harmony drew a big heart on his back. She bit her lip and smiled, pleased with how it looked.

Spike stirred. “Harm? What are you doing?”

“I’m writing “Spike loves Harmony” on your back.”

“Why?” Spike asked in his grumpy, just-woke-up voice.

“It’s fun,” she told him cheerfully. “I’m bored. You can write on me.”

She held the tube out for him, but he just ignored it.

“I’ve got to get back to work,” he told her as he pulled his clothes on.

He was such a party-pooper. All he ever thought about was that stupid tunnel and the Slayer. “You love that tunnel more than me,” she said with pouty lips.

He wouldn’t even turn around to look at her or say how beautiful she looked in the morning.

“I love syphilis more than you.”

Spike said it softly, but she heard it. She was thinking that she didn’t know why he had to be so mean, as he walked out of the lair. Harmony dwelled on that for a second and then shrugged her shoulders. He’d be a much better boyfriend after the dumb Slayer was dead. Harmony smiled as she got dressed and hummed while she fixed her hair.

Bryan was just where she thought he’d be. At the center of operations, poring over plans. He stood taller when he noticed her watching, and quickly came over when she motioned to him. Spike was not around, so Harmony got right to the point.

In a whisper, she asked him, “Did you get the things for the spell?”

“The magic shop had all but two of the ingredients that we need. The clerk says that they should be in tomorrow.”

In her utter disappointment at having to wait, Harmony stuck out her lower lip, but perked up again when Spike entered the room. Maybe if he saw that someone else was interested in her, he would see what a great catch she was.

She let out a loud laugh and intimately placed her hand on Bryan’s shoulder. “You’re so smart and funny, Bryan. I just love you.”

Spike frowned at Bryan, but ignored her. “Stop goofing off, Bryan, and let’s get the job done. Come here.” Spike waved him over. “What do you make of this right here?”

With a loud sigh, Harmony left the room. The sooner they did that spell, the better things would be, for her.

Chapter #2 - 2. Light of Day
In Harm’s Way
Chapter Two: Light of Day

The board he was lying on, coupled with the welders mask, was very uncomfortable. But, Spike had a goal and he was determined to find that crypt, with the Gem of Amara in it, at all costs. He could get any one of his minions to do this menial task, but being stuck underground was slowly driving him crazy. He had to do something.

Thinking about the last time he’d been topside, he slowed his drilling down. The image of large green eyes floated in front of him. He sighed. They were the eyes of a girl who’d gone through too much for her age, but they were beautiful. He paused altogether and let out a frustrated growl before pushing the drill harder. Spike berated himself. He shouldn’t be dreaming of her eyes! He should be fantasizing about her death at the hand of the Slayer of Slayers. It was going to happen.

The dull thudding sounds changed to metal clanging against metal. He paused for a moment and tried again. Metal! He was so close! Tossing the drill down, he threw off his mask and called out to the others. They came running with Harmony and Bryan in the lead.

“It's here! The crypt is here. I can't bloody believe it,” Spike shouted.

Letting out a relieved breath, Bryan closed his eyes for a second. “I knew it was here.”

“We’re close now,” Spike told the group. “No one leaves the lair ‘til we’re in. I don’t want the Slayer tracking anyone to the tunnel.” He glared at Harmony. “And that means you, Harm. You’re an indoor kitty now.”

“But, Spike, you said you’d take me places! You said we’d go to France and now I can’t even leave the lair?”

Low groans filled the cave as the other vamps cleared out. Getting in her face, Spike told Harmony in a soft and dangerous voice, “Listen to me, you stupid bint. This gem is everything. I came back to Sunnydale for it. A place which has witnessed some truly spectacular kickings of my arse.” He waved an arm at the cave. “The very sound of the name burns along my nerve endings. Do you get it?” he asked her but continued before she could speak, “I hate Sunnydale more than life itself. Now, when I have the Gem, the Slayer and her friends all die, but until then stay inside.

He leaned back and glared at her. “And by the way, I would be insanely happy if, from this point on, I heard bugger all about sodding France!”

To bring his point home, he shoved her against the wall. Spike knew he was being an utter jerk, but there was no other way to get through her thick skull.

She whimpered. “I don’t know why I let you be so mean to me.”

Thinking about all the mean things he’d endured at the hands of Drusilla in the past, he told her bitterly, “Love hurts, baby.”

Harmony ran away from him and down a narrow path where she bumped into Bryan. “Sorry.”

“Was he mean to you again?” Bryan asked sympathetically.

“Yes.” She paused before asking, “Have you got everything for the spell.”

“Not yet. Spike has kept me so busy with the drilling that I haven’t had a chance to get out.”

“Oh, no! Now he won’t let any of us out. How are we going to do the spell with out them?”

Bryan patted her on the back. “I’ll sneak out, first chance I get.”

~ * ~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~

Holding her yearbook open to Harmony’s senior picture, Buffy walked around campus asking if anyone had seen her. The answer was always the same. No one had. If Harmony were standing before her now, Buffy would twist her head off without a second thought.

Why did they have to come to town now? If it weren’t for Spike and Harmony, she could be up in her room waiting for Parker’s call. She quickened her pace so she could hurry up and check her messages.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The next night, Buffy strolled along in the cemetery with a stake in her hand. The place was dead - well deader than usual. When she spied the phone booth across the street, she went over to it and dialed her dorm room. After a couple of rings, the machine picked up. She dialed in her password, then listened anxiously. After a minute, she hung the phone up, feeling glum.

There had been a message from Willow, letting her know that she was over at Giles, doing research about the Gem of Amara, but no message from Parker. Her heart sank at the thought. It had been two days since she last saw him as she left his dorm room. Had she done it again? Was there something wrong with her? Why didn’t guys want to stick around and be with her, after?

Buffy shook her head, thinking how truly pathetic she was. Even Harmony could keep a guy longer than she could. And, Spike was much better looking and sexier than Parker was. Freezing in place on the sidewalk, Buffy gripped her stake tighter before putting it in her pocket. Did she just think that Spike was hot? Putting a hand over her face and shaking her head, she groaned. You’re supposed to kill the vampires, not lust after them.

“Slayer,” she said firmly. “You are the slayer. Of vampires.”

Movement over by the tree across the path caught her eye. “Oh, please let that be a vampire. I so need to kill something right now.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Just as the sun was rising over the hills, Buffy unlocked the door and dragged herself inside her dorm room. Slowly, she made her way to the answering machine and sighed when she saw that there were no messages.

She was emotionally exhausted and physically drained. What a waste of a night. There was no sign of Spike or Harmony and what little hope she had of hearing from Parker was dead now, too. Fighting back tears, she undressed and slipped under her covers for some much needed sleep.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Bryan stood up and stretched his legs. “That’s it. It’s done.”

Harmony jumped up and clapped. “This is so great. Too bad we have to wait until tonight for her to go on patrol, but it won’t be long until Buffy Summers is out of my way!”

As soon as Spike had left to start up his drill again, Bryan had slipped into Harmony’s room and woke her up. The spell had only taken twenty minutes to set up and perform.

“Help me clean up this stuff,” she told him now. “I don’t want Spike to know what we’ve done until after he hears that Buffy’s dead. Then I’ll tell him and he’ll be so grateful for what we did.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Later in the day, Spike hesitantly walked out into the sun for the first time in over 120 years. He took in a deep breath through his nose and enjoyed the way the earth smelled different in the daylight. He looked up and shielded his eyes. The sun was high in the cloudless sky on a perfect Southern California day.

Since the moment he’d slipped the ring on his finger, he’d felt great. There had been a slight tingling sensation as a very comfortable warmth spread through his body. His skin was now warm to the touch ,and he just knew that if he were to take his temperature, he’d be just at 98.6 degrees.

A college co-ed walked past him and smiled. He grinned at her and watched her walk away. He hadn’t eaten much since his self-imposed confinement in the lair, but he felt no need to feed. In fact, he felt fuller than he had in years.

He took his lighter out and lit a cigarette. Before he put the Zippo away, he flicked it on again, moving the flame under his fingers. Nothing. He chuckled. There was no pain and his flesh did not burn. The only thing that would have made this day perfect is if that stake that he’d thrust through Harmony’s heart would have dusted her.

Spike shrugged. He could kill her another time. Right now, he had a slayer to find and kill. He walked off in the direction of the dorms. Hopefully, they would have some kind of directory, so he could figure out which room she would be in.

He was thinking about what excuses he could use to ask where Buffy Summer’s room was when he saw her in the courtyard that he was crossing, talking with that wanker she’d been with at that party.

He casually leaned against a tree, just out of sight, but was close enough to hear the conversation. Spike frowned and clenched his fists. From the sounds of it, she’d let the idiot take a poke at her and now he was brushing her off.

“I’m sorry if you misunderstood something. I thought things were pretty clear,” Parker was telling her.

“I--I didn’t mean--I’m sorry,” Buffy said.

Spike was ready to jump out and yell at Buffy. What did she have to be sorry for? Then he came to his senses. He shouldn’t care what happened to her. He was going to put her out of her misery in a few minutes anyway.

“Look, I really have to go now,” Parker said, sounding put off.

“Parker, wait,” Buffy said. “I did this all wrong.”

Now, Spike was spitting mad. Buffy was strong, beautiful and confident. Why the hell was she groveling at the feet of some self-absorbed ponce?

Parker yelled over his shoulder, “I’ll give you a call sometime.”

Spike could stand it no more. He moved away from the tree and into her line of sight. “Well, thatwas pathetic,” he told her with an evil grin, and the thought crossed his mind that she needed some sense knocked into her. As she stared at him in surprise, he punched her.

Buffy went flying into the grass where she sat dazed, with blood at the corner of her mouth. He stood over her as what felt like a drug-induced euphoria spread throughout his body.

This was it. The moment he’d spent months waiting for. Finally, he’d have the chance to dance with Buffy again. He wanted to hold on to that feeling of anticipation for a moment longer, so as she grabbed a stick, he said, “Innit a fantastic day? Birds singing, squirrels making lots of rotten little squirrels, sun beaming down in a nice, non-fatal way.” He sniffed. “It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to find out if I freckle.”

Then she was up and punching him, and it was his turn to go down. He was able to pop up as if he’d only been hit by a pillow. It was absolutely incredible how good he felt. They were punching, kicking, and going at it. Dancing. He couldn’t help but admire her fighting skills. She was awesome when she got going, like she was now. She raised the branch and he stood still to let her drive it home.

Was that a look of regret on her face?

He shrugged the thought away and grinned at her. “Ooh. Do it again. It tickles. You know, in a good way.”

The wound closed up nice and neat with not so much as a twinge of pain for her trouble. Her eyes went wide and surprisingly, a look of joy came over her. With giddy jubilance, she said, “The gem!”

He frowned at her, not sure what she was trying to pull with the happy act. “Oh yeah. The Gem of Amara.” He held up his ring hand and punched her with it, hoping to knock the smile off her face. “Official sponsor of my killing you.”

Morphing into his demon, he lunged for her and with an ease that confused him, he was able to get his fangs into her neck. She wrapped her arms around him in a tight grip.

“Yes,” she whispered as she pressed her body even closer to his.

When Buffy left out a moan of pleasure, he slowed his efforts to drain her. What the hell was going on? Was she getting off on this? Something was not right in the universe. Feeling her heartbeat slow down, he pulled out from her neck and stared at her. No longer able to hold herself up, she clung to his coat and gazed into his eyes while fighting to stay awake.

“I love you, Spike,” she said before her eyes closed as she went completely limp in his arms.

“What the-bleeding, buggering hell!” he yelled out.

With a growl of frustration, he swept her up in his arms and began the long walk to his destination. Her heartbeat was slow but steady and he cursed the air. Once, he stopped and tried to talk himself into finishing the job. It would be so easy to drain her and dump her body.

Then, it would be all over. The years of all his plans being foiled, Angelus coming back to stomp on his life and take over everything he cared about, the problems with Dru and her ultimate betrayal, all of it, would be avenged and he could strut out of this two-bit town with his pride intact and another notch on his slayer kill belt.

But the inner him; the whatever that made him who he was, just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t right. It had to be a fair fight. She couldn’t just give her life over to him like that. Where was the satisfaction in that?

When he reached Rupert’s door, he kicked at it with his boot. Buffy stirred and opened her eyes to smile at him, which caused an unwanted shiver of pleasure to crawl up his spine.

In a slur of words, she told him, “I knew you couldn’t do it.” She was fading out again, but before she went under, she said it again, “I love you.”

Panic from the unknown began to set it. Spike kicked at the door again. “Rupert! Open this door. Now!”

“Dear, Lord!” Giles said from behind Spike.

He whirled around and practically threw Buffy into his arms. “There’s something wrong with your slayer,” Spike growled. “Fix her!”

Giles backed up, struggling to keep a good hold on his charge. “You bit her.”

Spike let out a snort. “Yeah, that’s what vampires do.” He glared at the man, glad to see the fear in his eyes. “You’ve got twenty-four hours to fix her, so we can have a fair fight. I’ll be back then.”

He needed to get away from Buffy and her watcher. It was all too strange and confusing. Spike took off at a good run, leaving the weirdness behind him.

Chapter #3 - 3. Love is in the Air
In Harm’s Way
Chapter Three: Love is in the Air

Spike stomped his way into the lair and went straight for the bedroom. He half groaned, half growled at Harmony when he saw her sitting at the desk with her head down. She looked up at him with sad eyes.

“Look, I don’t need your shite right now, ok?” Spike sat at the edge of the bed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I just came from fighting with the Slayer.”

Knocking the chair over, Harmony jumped up and flew at Spike. She landed in his lap while throwing her arms around his neck. “I knew it would work! She’s dead, right?” She pulled back and searched his face with bright eyes. When he just glared at her, she jumped off him and grabbed the spell book from under the bed. “Now that the Slayer is out of the way, you can stop obsessing and we can take that trip to France. Like a honeymoon!“ She paused and gave him an evil smirk. “Did she tell you that she loved you?”

In a flash, Spike was up, gripping both her wrists.

“Ow!” she said.

“What do you know about this?” The book fell to the ground as he shook her.

Spike picked it up and glared at her. “What is this?”

Backing up, she told him, “I did a spell to make her fall in love with the first vampire she saw.”

He roared out, “You stupid, stupid bint! You’ve messed everything up!”

“She’s not dead?” Harmony asked, getting a little angry herself. “I made it easy for you to kill her and she’s still alive?”

Spike turned away from Harmony and began pacing as he talked to himself. “No wonder she was acting crazy and saying she loved me.”

Harmony got in front of him. “The spell worked, but you didn’t kill her. What’s wrong with you?”

“You messed everything up. I wanted to get her in a fair fight.”

“She was in my way!” Harmony told him. “Buffy is all you ever think about,” she said in disgust. “Slayer this; Slayer that. I hate it.”

“Undo the spell,” he told her with a cold voice.

“No. Go kill her, like you should have done in the first place!”

He shoved the book at her and backed her into the wall. “I’m telling you, put it right. Fix it!”

Relaxing against the wall, Harmony let out a hysterical giggle. “No wonder Drusilla left you. The way you act, you would think you were the one in love with Buffy and not the other way around.”

Spike grabbed the chair and smashed it against the wall beside her. How dare she say such a thing. In the back of his mind, he recalled the things Dru had said to him before he left. She’d fallen short of accusing him of the same thing, but had said that he was surrounded by Buffy and her light.

White-hot anger overtook him and without thinking, he plunged the wooden chair leg into Harmony’s chest.

“You did it again,” she said, right before she turned to dust.

He picked up the book and leafed through it. From the looks of the intricate spells, there was no way that Harmony could have done it by herself. It was time to round up the minions. If he could find the vamp or vamps that helped Harmony perform the spell, he could get them to reverse it.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Despite being crowded with a bunch of young people, Giles’ condominium was silent. Buffy took up the big couch, as she lay unconscious on it, covered with a blanket. Xander and Oz sat on the floor, poring over books, while Willow knelt by Buffy with a juice box and oatmeal cookies.

“When will she wake up?” Willow whispered. “It’s been too long.”

Standing by the fireplace, Giles gazed at Buffy with concern. “She’s lost a lot of blood, but with her slayer healing, she should be coming around soon.”

Xander slapped a book shut and said, “I’m still not getting why Spike would bring her to you and walk away?”

“He just threw her at me and said she needed to be fixed. It makes no sense to me either,” Giles said.

Buffy groaned and brought her hand to her head.

“Oh, Buffy,” Willow said. “Here, have some juice. It will make you feel better.”

Buffy sat up but flopped her head back against the couch. “Spike.”

“It’s OK, Buff,” Xander told her as he sat down next to her. “You’re safe.”

“Where’s Spike? I have to find him.”

Buffy tried to stand up, but Giles was there, gently urging her back down.

From his spot on the floor, Oz said, “You can kill him later. You need to rest.”

“Yeah, Buffy. You need to get your strength up. Drink this,” Willow said, shoving the juice box at her.

She felt a little better after having some juice, but with everybody staring at her, she was a little bit uncomfortable. To stall for time, she grabbed a cookie from Willow and chewed slowly. How could they think that she’d want to kill Spike? She loved him. She had to make them see that.

“Don’t hurt Spike,” she told them.

“What?” Xander yelped, leaping to his feet. “He almost killed you. Of course we’re going to kill him.”

“No. You can’t,” she said. “I--I’m in love with him.”

Xander clutched his heart and hung his mouth open as he sat back down.

“Um,” was all Oz could say.

“What are you talking about?” Willow asked playfully, hoping that she was just joking. “You haven’t even seen him in a long time. You’re dating Parker and Spike hates you.”

Buffy stood up on shaky legs. “That’s where you’re wrong. He could have killed me, but he didn’t. He has the gem and he’s invincible now, yet I’m alive.” With eyes shining and a sweet smile on her face, she said to her friends, “He loves me, too.”

Giles, Xander and Willow all started talking and moving at once. Buffy couldn’t understand a word they were saying, but the odd look Oz was giving her was the worst. Why did they all have to get upset about something so amazing?

The door was kicked open and Spike barged in, glaring at everyone.

“The barrier!” Xander said while staring at Giles with accusing eyes. “You’ve invited him in before.”

“It’s the gem. Barriers don’t work,” Giles sighed.

Oz calmly grabbed weapons and tossed them to the others. With trembling hands, Xander held his crossbow and readied it, while Giles wielded a sword. Buffy ignored Oz’s offer of a weapon and just stood where she was, smiling at Spike.

“That’s right. With this gem, all your little protective measures are gone.” Spike held out the now battered book. “I know what the problem is, but you’re going to have to fix it.”

Giles stretched out as far as he could and grabbed the book. A couple of papers dropped out of it and floated to the floor.

“Sorry about that. Had a little trouble with the minions. Stupid wankers. I thought maybe one of them helped Harmony put the spell on the Slayer, but none of them would own up to it. Even when I hit them over the head with the book.”

“Spell?” Willow asked as she edged over to Giles and took the book from him.

“Yeah, the love spell,” Spike said in disgust. “The twenty-four hours still stands. You’ve got until tomorrow afternoon to figure out how to reverse it. I’m coming back either way and killing the lot of you.”

Xander aimed the crossbow and let a shot off. The thin bolt hit its intended target and went right into Spike.

“Xander! No!” Buffy yelled as she wrenched the crossbow away from him.

Spike looked down and watched with the rest of them as he tugged the bolt out and the hole in his chest closed up. “This one,” he said with a snarl, pointing at Xander as he stepped closer to the terrified boy. “I think I’ll kill him right now.”

Xander whined, as Spike got ready to twist his head and break his neck.

Buffy calmly put her hand on Spike’s arm. “You’re not going to hurt him.”

“Why ever not?” Spike snarled at her.

“Because these are my friends and you won’t hurt them. I know it.” She smiled, as she looked him in the eyes. “Let him go. For me.”

Spike pushed Xander away, and with a growl, began jumping up and down, not knowing what else to do.

Before any of them could stop her, Buffy wrapped her arms around Spike and squeezed tightly. “Thank you so much--wow, you smell so good.”

He pushed her away from him and with his hands in the air and a face screwed up in disgust he said, “This is bug-shagging crazy! Fix it!” He turned and ran out the door.

Xander sat on the floor and gingerly touched his neck. “I’m alive,” he said in wonder.

“See, guys. I told you he loves me,” Buffy said with a far off look.

Giles cleaned his glasses.

Oz smiled down at Xander. Then he chuckled. “Did you see the look on Spike’s face? Buffy’s really got him spooked.”

“This is not good,” Willow told them, shaking her head and sitting down next to Xander. “All the pages are loose and out of order.”

“Man,” Xander said, looking at the mess in Willow’s lap. “And they didn’t even number the pages back then.”

“This is going to take all night,” Giles stated.

Walking towards the door, Buffy said, “I’ll go search for Spike.”

“Oh, no you don’t,” her watcher said, grabbing her arm. “You’re staying right here.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike slowed down when got to the college campus. As late as it was, there wasn’t much activity and he enjoyed a cigarette as he strolled slowly along a path.

He knew it was just a spell, but the Slayer trying to get close to him and giving him compliments just threw him for a loop. Talk about smelling nice. She’d smelled like cinnamon and brown sugar.

He was passing a couple of college students who were sitting at a dark lunch table and drinking from red plastic cups, when he overhead, “What was her name again?”

“Buffy,” a familiar voice said.

As the group of boys laughed, Spike went behind a tree, curious to hear what Parker would have to say about the Slayer.

“Dumb name, I know, but she was pretty,” Parker said through his laughter.

“Oh, yeah. I’d hit that,” another guy said. “Was she good?”

“Yep,” Parker said with a pop. “Girl has stamina like no other I’ve had.” He let out a short laugh. “But the girl is so thick, she couldn’t take a hint. She really thought I was going to call her. I’m almost positive if I called her up right now, she’d spread her legs for me again.”

“Woo hoo!” The group whooped.

“Well, it’s getting late,” one of them said. “Got an early class tomorrow, so I think I’ll turn in.”

Spike was seething with anger as the others all got up as well. He was mad at Parker for saying the things he’d said about the Slayer, but he was twice as mad at himself for being angry with Parker.

“Since Parker is the only one who got laid this week, I think he should clean up this mess.”

The others agreed whole-heartedly, and Parker good naturedly shooed them away.

“Hey,” Spike said after he was sure the others were far enough away. He told himself he was doing this because he hadn‘t fed in a long while, but he was just kidding himself. With the gem on, he had no need to feed. “Remember me?”

“Oh, yeah,” Parker said pleasantly as he stacked cups. “Buffy’s friend from the party. You know, this isn’t a Goth club. It’s a college campus. It’s probably best if you were moving on.”

Spike chuckled. “I plan to do that, after I have me a little midnight snack.” He vamped out and was on Parker’s neck before he could scream.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy was so bored. They’d been going over the book all night. They had all but a couple of the pages together now for the love spell. There were pages spread out on every flat surface in the room. Giles had said an hour ago that they were close. Xander and Oz had been ready to leave to get ingredients, but now they where slumped over each other, fast asleep. Giles was nodding off in the easy chair with a book on reversal spells open in his lap.

She couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. A spell. How stupid. She knew in her heart that what she felt was real. She had sat and listened to them all try to talk sense into her, but they were the ones that were crazy. Why wouldn’t they let her go to him? He wouldn’t hurt her. This afternoon had been proof of that.

What wasn’t there to love about Spike? Well, she guessed there were a few things. The fact that he ate people was a big one. She shrugged. He could stop; for her, he would. He had really nice eyes. They seemed to see everything. He wasn’t all that tall, but since she was short, Spike was perfect for her. She wouldn’t have to stretch and hurt her neck to kiss him. Oh, she longed to kiss him. The thought of him kissing Harmony or doing other things with her was driving her crazy. She had to go to him and make him see how right they were for each other.

Finally, Giles closed his eyes and relaxed. Buffy glanced over at Willow, who was still wide awake.

“Willow,” Buffy whispered. “I’m just going to go outside for a minute and get some fresh air.”

“What?” Willow said without looking up from her notes. “Oh, yeah. Ok.”

Once she was outside, she took off running until she was sure she was far enough away, where they couldn’t catch up. As she caught her breath, she tried to think of where Spike’s hideout might be.

“Hey, Slayer!” a guy with an English accent called out from across the street.

She narrowed her eyes at the vampire and started to cross the road.

“Stay where you are and I’ll tell you where to find Spike.”

“Why should I believe you?”

“Because Spike is an idiot and I want him dusted,” the British vamp said. “He’s kicked us all out to fend for ourselves.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Bryan had given her perfect directions and she was glad now that she hadn’t gone after him with a stake. It was more because she couldn’t wait to see Spike than out of any mercy. She’d made her way through the tunnels of the lair and found Spike’s bedroom.

Buffy had her stake out and was prepared to help Harmony meet a dusty end, but she was pleasantly surprised to find him alone. Her happy meter went up a couple of notches when she saw that not only was he alone, but he was also shirtless. All those wonderful muscles out in the open.

He whirled around when he heard her sigh. Pointing at the stake in her hand, he said, “I see the spell’s been reversed and you’ve come ready to do battle.”

In a fit of frustration, she threw the stake across the room. “Why is everyone so focused on that spell? Even if it’s reversed, it’s not going to change how I feel about you.”

His evil grin faded. “Then what are you doing here?”

“The sunrise.”


“While I was stuck at Giles’ place, I was thinking about you,” she told him shyly while looking down. Buffy gazed at him again. “When was the last time you saw a sunrise?”
Spike frowned at her and shook his head. “It‘s like I stepped over into the soddin‘ Twilight Zone.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

Running his hand through his hair, he said, “Um. Well over 120 years.”

“Well, then,” Buffy said with an out stretched hand. “If we hurry, we can make it up to the Midridge lookout. I‘ve heard that‘s the best place to see the sun coming up.”

“No way. This has got to be some kind of trick.”

“Come on! I’m in love with you. This is not some stupid trick. I just want to share this experience with you.” She kept her hand out and motioned for him to come. “It’s not like you’ve got anything better to do, right?”

He took a step forward, and then paused, mumbling to himself. He took another step towards her, eyeing her outstretched hand as if it still held a stake. “All right. I’ll go. But there’s no bleedin’ way I’m holding your hand.”

Chapter #4 - 4. Sunrise Date
A/N: A big thanks for all those who have taken the time to review this story. Thank you so much for reading and letting me know. I dedicate this chapter to the reviewers. : )

In Harm’s Way
Chapter Four: Sunrise Date

Spike shielded his head with an arm as pebbles rained down on him, and again, he wondered what the hell had possessed him to agree to this outing. He glanced up again and tilted his head slightly at Buffy’s nicely rounded backside. Well, it wasn’t all bad. She’d insisted that they climb up to the ridge, because they wouldn’t get there in time if they walked up the winding road.

Once they’d made it to the top of the ridge, they found a grassy spot and sat with their legs dangling off the edge. He gave up trying to put some distance between them because she scooted over every time he did. Spike was just glad that she was being quiet at this point, even if she did keep staring at him with those adoring eyes of hers.

Gazing out over the city - still covered in darkness and littered with tiny yellow lights, he said, “So how long before things start to lighten up?”

She shrugged, following his gaze out over the city. “I’m not sure really. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a sunrise, too. After a long day at school and then hours on patrol, I’m usually tucked in bed by this time.”

The life of slayer was really hard; something he’d never really thought about before. He was just thinking that she had a nice profile, when she pointed at the small hills on the other side of town.

“Look, it’s getting light over there.”

“This is crazy--you know that don’t you?” he told her as he watched the sky above the hills slowly turning purple.

“I don’t know. I would say it’s pretty amazing. You haven’t seen a sunrise in over a hundred years and because of a magical piece of metal around one finger, you can see one now.”

“Was talking about me and you sitting here together, not trying to kill each other, and the fact that you think you’re in love with me,” he said dryly.

Buffy leaned back on her hands and watched him with half closed eyes. “Maybe it is crazy that I’m in love with you, but this didn’t happen over night, you know.”

“Hmpt. I’d say that this is exactly the definition of overnight. Think really hard, Slayer. When can you remember first having feelings for me? I’m gonna guess it was earlier this afternoon right after I punched you on the UC Sunnydale campus.”

When she snorted and then giggled, his stomach tightened pleasurably.

“Wrong. I can tell you the exact moment this all started for me.”

Buffy’s direct stare unnerved him. He had a feeling he wasn’t ready for her next words. “This should be good,” he said with a frown.

“The alley at the Bronze. That’s where it started.”

“What! You mean the night we first saw each other?” He remembered that night well. She had been too young for his tastes, but even then, he’d been drawn to her.

“When you came into the light all clapping your hands and big swagger, you know what my first thought was?”

He shook his head.

“Oh, my God. He’s hot.” She smiled at him and he wanted to look away but couldn’t. “And then…then you spoke, and I just about died when I heard your accent.”

“Oh, sod off; you’re making this stuff up.”

“Nope. And as long as it’s confession time, I might as well tell you-”

He held up his hand and shook his head. “No more. I don’t want to hear another word.”

“Shut up. I’m talking.”

She was glaring at him now and that somehow soothed his nerves. Here was familiar territory.

Then she said, “Last year, when you came back to Sunnydale- I won’t say that I was in love with you, because you know all the angst I was going through with Angel. But, I will tell you this. I hated Drusilla and wanted to be her at the same time.”

Spike stood up and brushed at his coat. “Ok, this conversation has officially ventured into the insane.”

“Sit down. The sun is about to come up.”

He eyed her with suspicion, but complied; only he put more distance between them.

“Like I was saying. Drusilla. I envied her because she had someone who would do anything to be with her and who would forgive her for anything. After you left, there were times I’d lie in bed at night and think about you and wish that Angel was more like you.”

He knew she was staring at him, but he couldn’t look her in the eye. Swallowing past the poncy lump in his throat, he looked out over the city instead. The spot just above the hill was growing pink now. He didn’t want to think about Drusilla. Spike tried to tell himself that he didn’t want to be sitting next to the reason why Dru had left him, but he had to admit that just this little bit of time in Buffy’s presence without fighting with her was doing strange things to him.

“I can’t believe I just told you all of that.”

He stole a glance at her and thought the slight flush of color on her cheeks made her look adorable. Angry about where his thoughts were taking him, he slapped his hands on his legs and prepared to stand up again, but Buffy’s words stopped him.

In a hushed tone, she said, “Oh, look, Spike. Isn’t that just beautiful?”

The sky had lightened with the sun that was just peeking over the hill and causing the sky to go pink and orange. She sucked in a breath and let it out slowly. He took a quick look at the Gem of Amara on his finger and did his best to let the age-old panic pass before giving himself over to the awesome sight before him.

They sat together, side by side, in silence and watched until the sun had cleared the hill. When he stood up, she followed and they quietly went back the way they had come. Spike didn’t protest when he realized that she was walking him home.

When they arrived at the entrance, he whirled around and faced her with a frown. “This little…um.”

“Date?” she offered.

“No, this little outing changes nothing.” Spike got in her face to intimidate her, but Buffy just smiled at him. With a snarl, he said, “Later this afternoon, I’m coming to find you and I will kill you. You and your stupid friends.”

Her eyes moved back and forth as if she was trying to take in his face all at once. “Have you ever kissed a slayer before?” she asked boldly.

He reared back. “What?” he said, knocking her hand away when she tried to place it on his shoulder.

“I’m just saying, not many couples get to say that their first date happened during a very romantic sunrise. A date like this should end with a kiss.”

He gestured with his hand, pointing at each of them. “You. Me. We are not a bloody couple!”

“Ok.” She shrugged, but made no move to leave.

“Go back to your watcher and pray that he figures out how to reverse that spell. Though it won’t make a bit of difference. You’re going to die either way.”

She folded her arms and gave him a smug smile. “If you keep saying that, you think maybe you’ll be able to convince yourself?”

“Shut your gob--go away.”

“Gee, you don’t have to get testy.”

“I said…go away.”


“What will it take,” he asked through gritted teeth, “to get you to leave me the hell alone?” He was suddenly feeling the desperate need to get away from her and the sunshine. He’d feel more like himself if could just get underground, in the dark, where he belonged. It occurred to him that he could just leave her standing there, but his chivalrous nature would not allow it.

“You want me to go home?”

He threw his hands up. “She gets it!”

“Kiss me and I’ll go.”

Buffy said the last bit quickly as she pushed herself on him. He backed up with her still advancing until he hit the dirt wall behind him. She pressed against him and slipped her hands into his coat.

Her warm and delectable little body was mashed up against his while he turned his head and kept his hands up and out to the sides. Her naturally sweet and musky scent was mixed with the smell of brown sugar and it all was driving him mad.

Spike grabbed her hips with the intent to push her away, but she moaned and wiggled those hips against him. “I know you’re dying to find out what it’s like to kiss a slayer.”

He changed tactics and pushed at her shoulders until he had her at arms length. “You daft bint! I just told you I’m going to kill you and you still come at me with those--oh the hell with it!”

Mush. His brain was mush. He spun them around, threw her against the wall, and smashed his lips to hers. He kind of hoped the moan that escaped her was due to his rough treatment of her. She wanted a damn kiss; he’d give her one.

Spike’s knees nearly gave out when her tongue darted around, begging entrance into his mouth. Of their own free will, his lips parted and his tongue met hers in a hungry duel. Buffy moaned again as her hand snaked between their bodies to cup the bulge in his jeans. His eyes flipped open and he tightened his hold on her even as he told himself how wrong this was.

When Buffy untangled herself from him, acute disappointment set in. But, panic quickly took over when she grabbed his hand and yanked him inside the lair. She was running now, and as he followed, the cool air helped him to see reason.

All the lit candles in the room had burned out, but she somehow found the room. She stood by him as he lit one of the candles, placed it on a ledge and turned to her.

“You should probably go,” he told her.

“Don’t start that again.”

“No, really. You got your soddin' kiss; now leave me to cool off.”

He sucked in a deep breath as she caressed the bulge in his jeans again. “I know you don’t really want me to leave.” He decided that just sticking her lower lip out in a pout gave her a better thrall than any Dru had ever had. She grabbed his hand and placed it over the bare area above her breast. “See how hot I am for you?”

“Grraah!” His battle cry echoed off the walls as he threw her onto the bed.

“Oomph,” she grunted when he landed on top and knocked the wind out of her.

“You’re hot for me, are you?” When she nodded, he said, “This won’t be like getting poked by that ponce, Parker. I promise you that.”

She stared at him as a smile spread over her face, then a little giggle escaped, and finally she tossed her head back and forth, laughing with abandon.

With his hands on the bed on either side of her, he propped himself up and stared at her in confusion. “Have you gone completely ‘round the bend?”

“No. Oh, God.” She giggled again. “It’s just that I almost broke Parker and…and…I…,” She burst out into laughter again.

“I can imagine that he wasn’t able to keep up with the likes of you. I bet you have muscles that could crush a mere mortal.”

“Maybe I do,” she told him as she blushed and looked away. Then she stared at him boldly and said, “If you want to find out for yourself, you’d better do more than just lie on top of me.”

He couldn’t stop the smile from taking over his face. “You saucy little wench.”

The shock to his system when she smiled back at him brought him to his senses. “Let’s get one thing straight here. I’m evil; I’m taking advantage of you, and I plan to ravish you thoroughly.”

She slapped at his chest before attempting to tug his duster off. “Fair enough. But, would you stop with the talking and get on with the ravishing? Or I’m going to start to think that you’re all talk.”

“All talk!” He glared at her as he shrugged out of the coat and tossed it aside. “I’ll show you.” Spike gripped the low neckline of her shirt with both hands and ripped it open, getting impossibly harder when he saw the black lace bra underneath.

She slapped his hands away when he went to rip that off too. Fumbling with the clasp in front, she undid it and slowly pulled the two parts away, revealing two pert handfuls of delectable breasts with rosy, hard nipples.

Spike stayed stock still as Buffy kept her eyes lowered and bit her lip while fumbling with his belt. He tore his gaze away from her flushed face, nearly passing out; he was so turned on by the sight of her undoing his pants.

After they were completely undressed, she crossed her arms over her chest and shivered-asking timidly if they could go under the covers. Spike marveled at how fast she could go from hot, tempting vixen to shy innocent girl and back. Both sides of the coin drove him mad with desire and he hurried to get them under the sheets.

As she writhed beneath his talented fingers, a thought occurred to him. “Are you a screamer?”

Buffy stop moving and looked at him. “A what?”

“You know, when you… Do you scream?”

“I…a…I don’t know.”

Making an educated guess, Spike concluded that her previous inept lovers had not gotten her off. He grinned. Maybe she wasn’t going to live much longer, but he was going to give her something to remember and take with her to the grave.

“I guess we’re gonna find out together then, pet.”

He slipped on top of her and nudged her thighs apart with a knee. She was most definitely ready for him, so he wasted no more time, plunging into her with one firm push.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A couple of hours later, Spike stared at the dirt ceiling above him and sighed. He knew that if it weren’t for the Gem of Amara, he’d feel as spent as the burnt out candle that went dark a long time ago. He looked over at Buffy’s sleeping form and shook his head in wonder.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Chosen One, was lying fast asleep in the lair of the Slayer of Slayers. It didn’t get any stranger than this. Least now they knew for a fact that she was a screamer. His grin faded as he thought about the fact that she was a study in contradictions, because she was a whisperer, too.

The last time, right before she’d fallen asleep, she’d clutched him tightly and whispered in his ear the one thing that he’d never heard from Drusilla in all their years together. She’d simply whispered, “I love you, Spike.”

For her it’s just a bloody spell, he thought. Spike looked over at her and swallowed at the lump in his throat. What’s your excuse, mate?

Chapter #5 - 4.5 Missing Smut from Ch.4
a/n: A big thanks to Tanit for the quick beta on this. I got a few comments asking for more of the "details" / Smut that was missing where I "fade to black" towards the end of chapter four. I had written this part, but had cut it out for length. Since there is interest, I bring you the deleted scene. (and you didn't even have to buy the DVD!) I've included a few paragraphs before and after the deleted scene from the previous chapter, just to give reference as to where this scene goes.

4.5 Missing Scene:

After they were completely undressed, she crossed her arms over her chest and shivered-asking timidly if they could go under the covers. Spike marveled at how fast she could go from hot, tempting vixen to shy innocent girl and back. Both sides of the coin drove him mad with desire and he hurried to get them under the sheets.

As she writhed beneath his talented fingers, a thought occurred to him. "Are you a screamer?"

Buffy stop moving and looked at him. "A what?"

"You know, when you… Do you scream?"

"I…a…I don't know."

Making an educated guess, Spike concluded that her previous inept lovers had not gotten her off. He grinned. Maybe she wasn't going to live much longer, but he was going to give her something to remember and take with her to the grave.

"I guess we're gonna find out together then, pet."

He slipped on top of her and nudged her thighs apart with a knee. She was most definitely ready for him, so he wasted no more time, plunging into her with one firm push.

==Deleted scene==(unbeta'd)

Her barely audible gasp caused something to stir inside of him. Buried inside her, he kept still. He hadn't felt this excited in a very long time. He just needed a second to get control. Buffy was having none of it. She slapped his backside and rotated her hips. Control was not in the cards for him. Roughly grabbing her hips, he adjusted her, so she was at a better angle. He withdrew completely and slammed back into her. Her little grunt spurred him on and he slammed into her over and over. He could tell by the muffled noises she was making that she was holding back.

"Let go, Buffy. Shout it out. I wanna hear you."

"Faster," she demanded.

He doubled his efforts. Her moans got louder and louder. The headboard banged up against the dirt wall with a dull thud. He loved how she responded to him. Her hands were everywhere. She moved beneath him, keeping up with his pace; her power emanated throughout her body, reaching out to him.

Buffy's eyes were closed. He'd never seen anything more beautiful that the slayer in the midst of pleasure. When he slowed his movements, her eyes fluttered open and he could see into her soul. Lines of poetry formed on his lips. To keep from sounding like a ponce, he leaned in and kissed her.

She urged him to move with her hips, as she wrapped her arms around him, holding him to her with a vice-like grip. Slowly, he pumped in and out of her as their tongues danced. She whined into his mouth as her walls tightened around him and he knew she was close. He varied the angle and gradually quickened his pace. She broke off the kiss so she could breathe and he gave attention to a perky nipple. She went into a frenzied bit of bucking and moaning as he licked, sucked and nibbled on one and then the other.

"Oh…Spike!" she cried out, her whole body tensing up.

He closed his eyes and pushed into her with all the effort he could. She did have a vice-like grip that proved that every muscle on the Slayer was extra strong. The thought and the feel of how strong she was drove him into a frenzy. He lifted her legs so she could wrap them around his neck. Then he lifted her hips off the bed and plowed into her.

He echoed her scream and whispered, "Buffy," right before letting her legs down and collapsing on her.

Automatically, he attempted to pull apart from her, doing as he'd been trained by Drusilla.

"Stay," Buffy whispered. "Please."

He relaxed in her arms and really didn't know what to do with himself. Not only was she the enemy, but she was treating him better that anyone had. If this was what it was liked to be loved… He closed his eyes, and shut out the creeping bit of despair that tried to overtake him. Drusilla would often touch his arm or place a loving hand on his cheek, but in the bedroom, she liked pain.

He attempted to move to Buffy's side, but she kept him on top of her. "Don't leave me yet." Then she kissed him on the forehead.

Attempting to lighten the mood, Spike asked, "So. What do you think? Am I all talk?"

When Buffy giggled, he grimaced as her walls tightened painfully around him. Staying on top of her, he slowly pulled out.

"That was…amazing." She blushed, but said quietly, "Can we do that again?"

"I'm not through with you, yet. You haven't screamed nearly enough." Spike moved down her body, kissing and nibbling as he went.

"Where are you going?"

"I need about five minutes, but we can get you going right now."

He'd never heard the Slayer squeal in delight before, so he jumped when she let one out as his tongue touched her clit.

"That's--Oh, my, God. Too sensitive. I don't think--"

"What? The Slayer can't handled a little tongue action? I know you can," he drawled suggestively before he flicked her again.

He held her hips still, but she arched her back and squealed again. He expertly drew out the experience for her, bringing her to the edge and pulling her back again, many times, before he applied just the right amount of pressure. She bucked wildly and screamed out.

Before she had a chance to relax her body, he lifted her up and flipped her over. "Hold on to the headboard."

Spike took a moment to admire her shapely arse, gently caressing each cheek. Then, he slapped one side, leaving a nice pink splotch. She didn't protest, so he slapped the other. Then he blew on each mark before moving his fingers over them with a feather light touch.

"Oh, wow. What are you doing to me, Spike?" she asked in wonder.

He spread her cheeks and watched in tantalizing fascination as he slowly pushed his way into her again. He leaned over her back, nipped her ear, then said, "I'm giving it to you good, Buffy. That's what."

"Ghaaa," she moaned.

"Oh. The Slayer likes a bit of dirty talk, does she?"

He talked dirty to her, telling her all the things he was going to do to her, using every foul word he could think of. She got slicker with each new thing he said and moved back on him faster and faster. Buffy came first and he followed soon after.

They collapsed on the bed together, and she curled up next to him, trapping his arm around her neck. He absently ran his fingers through her hair. "I like that," she told him in a sleepy voice.

He continued to stroke her hair and watched the lone candle that he'd lit earlier, fizzle out. The last bit of light was gone, but the flame from the candle was still burned as an impression in his eyes. He still saw the light.

Closing his eyes, he rested, thinking that she'd fallen asleep. But soon, he felt her fingers slowly moving over his chest. It felt so good to be touched with a loving hand. Spike kept his eyes closed, hoping that she'd think he was asleep and continue with what she was doing.

She did.

Pulling the sheets back, she ran her hands down his stomach and touched his thighs. She lightly caressed his growing erection, then ran her hands back up to his chest. "Could you love me, Spike?"

He kept his eyes closed. He didn't want to answer her question. He knew what he should do. Shove her out of bed, tell her to get dressed, and kick her out. Let her feel used and rejected. He was evil; she was the enemy. But he couldn't do it.

"Love me." Her hands roamed over his stomach again. She didn't beg. Buffy didn't sound desperate or sad. She just simply said, "Love me."

A soft, low noise escaped his lips as he pulled her on top of him. Placing his hand at the back of her neck, Spike brought her closer for a kiss. Soft, gentle and in complete contrast to what they'd done to each other the last hour. Feeling like he could kiss her forever, he also felt a pang of sadness when she moved to lay beside him. She kissed him again. They clung to each other, caressing one another.

He felt wonderfully drunk, yet he hadn't had a drop in hours.

She was soft, warm, and inviting. Rolling on top of her, he used a knee to spread her legs. Then, he entered her. They slowly rocked to their own rhythm. The only noise in the room coming from the sound their bodies made as they came together and went apart, and her labored breathing.

Buffy came first. It wasn't a mind boggling orgasm. If he hadn't felt her tighten around him, Spike wouldn't have even known. A tear escaped from her eye and as it dropped to the pillow, he found his own release. And like her, he let the pleasure quietly wash over him before he stilled on top of her.

With heavy lidded eyes, she pulled her head up and kissed the side of his mouth. In a barely audible whisper, she told him, "I love you, Spike."

Her eyes fully closed before her head hit the pillow again. Buffy's even breathing lulled him into his own slumber as he rolled off her and stretched out beside her.

==Deleted Scene==End
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A couple of hours later, Spike stared at the dirt ceiling above him and sighed. He knew that if it weren't for the Gem of Amara, he'd feel as spent as the burnt out candle that went dark a long time ago. He looked over at Buffy's sleeping form and shook his head in wonder.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Chosen One, was lying fast asleep in the lair of the Slayer of Slayers. It didn't get any stranger than this. Least now they knew for a fact that she was a screamer. His grin faded as he thought about the fact that she was a study in contradictions, because she was a whisperer, too.

The last time, right before she'd fallen asleep, she'd clutched him tightly and whispered in his ear the one thing that he'd never heard from Drusilla in all their years together. She'd simply whispered, "I love you, Spike."

For her it's just a bloody spell, he thought. Spike looked over at her and swallowed at the lump in his throat. What's your excuse, mate?
Chapter #6 - 5. Wrong
In Harm’s Way
Chapter Five: Wrong

“Yes!” Xander exclaimed as the last candle in the circle went out.

Getting up from her kneeling position, Willow gingerly stepped out of the circle. “I think that did it. It’s a shame that Buffy isn’t here to make sure the reversal spell worked,” she said, beginning the job of packing all the materials into the box that Oz held out for her. “I’m so worried about her.”

“She’s a big girl with super powers. I think she can handle herself,” Oz told her softly.

Giles glanced at his watch one more time. “It’s half past ten now. If we don’t hear from her soon, I’m going to have to call Joyce and see if she knows where Buffy is.”

Xander stretched and yawned. “I‘m going to go home, take a hot shower and then crawl into bed.”

“No,” Giles said quickly, “you can’t go. None of us are safe until we neutralize Spike.”

The teens stopped what they were doing and exchanged glances. Xander asked, “What should we do?”

“We need to hole up somewhere Spike won’t be able to find us. That will buy us some time, until we can come up with a plan. We need to find Buffy first.” Another thing occurred to him. “I think we’d better call Joyce now. She got a visit from Spike the last time he was in town. I don’t think she’s safe, either.”

Willow raised a hand, “I’ll do it.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy slowly came to. Everything was sore, but in a good way. She stopped in mid-stretch and gasped as she remembered why she felt so wonderfully sated and sore. Slowly, she turned her head and stared in horror at the vampire in a dead sleep next to her. She closed her eyes in a pathetic effort to shut out the truth of what she’d done.

Oh, my God! I had sex with Spike.

She eased out of the bed and felt around for her clothes. Finding her pants on the floor by the end of the bed, she slipped them on. There was no time to find her underwear. Her bra was tangled up in the blankets and it took some doing to get it loose. Then she began looking for her shirt and blushed as she remembered how excited she’d gotten when Spike had torn it off her. Her fingers came into contact with cotton material. It was Spike’s black t-shirt. It would have to do. She collected her boots and figured she could put them on when she was far away from the lair.

Then as quietly as she could, she leaned over Spike, feeling for his hand. She breathed a sigh of relief when the ring slipped easily off his finger. Buffy wasted no time getting out of there. With her boots in one hand, she ran through the maze of passages while shoving the Gem of Amara into her pocket.

The blinding light of early afternoon greeted her on the outside. Starting at a run, she had to stop and hop around when she stepped on a rock. Buffy sat in the grass and quickly slipped into her boots. The dorm rooms were only a minute away and she needed to get there before anyone saw her, but she sat on the grass and stared off at nothing in particular.

She longed for the days when she was ignorant of vampires and spells. A groan escaped her lips as she recalled the things that she’d said to Spike on Midridge Point. Things, that until the spell, she would hardly admit to herself.

As she got up, she told herself, “I’m not in love with Spike.”

Then she took off running again, as if the devil himself was after her, until she got to her door. Once inside she locked it and was relieved to find Willow not there. Amy was awake in her cage, looking out at Buffy with both front paws gripping the bars.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Buffy told the rat as she grabbed her pellets and filled the dish. “I’d do anything to change places with you right about now.” Tears threatened to spill over. “I’m a slut. Two guys in less than a week.”

She couldn’t take the little beady eyes accusing her, so she turned away and flopped onto her bed. The blinking red light from the answering machine got her attention. She sat up straight and stared at it. Three messages were waiting. For two days straight, she’d begged the universe for messages and now, she snorted, here were some when she really didn’t want to hear from anyone. At the rate her luck was holding out, one of them would be from Parker, wanting to get together again.

She quickly pushed the button and sat back on her bed to listen.

“Buffy?” Giles said. “Where have you gone? Call me right away. It’s too dangerous for you to be out there while you’re under a love spell. What if Spike finds you?”

A beep sounded, then Willows voice filled the room, “We need you, Buffy. Please come to Giles’ place. I’m going to do the spell, but I won’t know if it works unless you are here.”

Another beep, followed by her mom’s concerned voice. “Buffy, this is Mom. I just got done speaking with Willow. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not going to go into hiding from Spike. I have to go to work. When you get this message, call me, please. I’m at the Gallery now.”

Sighing as she swung her legs over the edge of the bed, she picked up the phone and dialed.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Where has she been?” Xander asked, before Giles could even put the phone back.

“She was out looking for Spike. She sounded very tired, but she says we can all go back to school and work. She has the Gem of Amara.”

“That’s great!” Willow said. “She’s not hurt is she?”

“She didn’t mention any injuries.”

“How did she get it?” Xander asked.

Giles walked around the room, picking up books. “When I asked, she just told me that she didn’t want to talk about it.” He lined a few books up on a shelf. “What we need to do now is figure out what we are going to do with that Gem. It’s too dangerous to just leave lying around.”

Oz handed Willow her purse and held the door open for her. Before leaving she said, “I can’t remember the last time we had to pull an all-nighter like that. I’m exhausted; I’m going to go back to my room and sleep for a few hours. What time should we meet back here?”

“Six o’clock sound all right?” Giles said.

They all agreed to be back then before parting ways.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy shuffled slowly down the hall with a heavy load of books in her arms. At the time, the idea of going to her afternoon classes had seemed like a good one. She’d been very tired, but the room had been too quiet and there was no way she could’ve stayed there with her thoughts. A good lecture was what she’d needed. The problem was, all her professors were boring, and she’d ended up falling asleep at her seat, dreaming of platinum blond hair and piercing blue eyes.

She stopped and stomped a foot. Get out of my head!

The blinds were closed and soft music filled the room. Buffy was so glad Willow was asleep. She changed into her sweat pants and a t-shirt before slipping under the covers. After tossing and turning for ten minutes, she gave up. This was ridiculous. She needed her sleep, but she just couldn’t stop thinking about it. She’d never look at a sunrise the same again.

So what if it had been the best sex of her life? She’d only had two partners before this morning. First times are never incredible, according to the magazine articles she’d read. Parker was a selfish bastard. It totally shook her to the core to find out that Spike was not selfish in the bedroom.

He was evil; therefore, he should not have been concerned about her pleasure. She’d thrown herself at him. She could feel the hot blush that stained her cheeks at that thought. He’d actually tried to talk her out of it, but once Spike decided he was going to go for it, he really got into it. She smiled as she thought about how he’d said he was evil and he was going to take advantage of her and ravage her. She should really hate him for it, but she knew a little secret about him.

Some of what everyone saw of Spike was all bluster and talk. Sure, he was dangerous and evil. He murdered innocent people. She had to remember that, but there was a very giving side to him as well.

Sitting up quickly, she shook her head and gave her cheek a little slap. What was she doing, thinking nice thoughts about Spike? Not only had that spell made her fall in love with an evil demon, it had made her insane as well. Spike was not a nice vampire. She lay back down, willing herself to go back to sleep. If she had to guess, she’d say that Spike was probably in his lair right now, gloating over having done a slayer.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~


The last of Harmony’s ceramic unicorns smashed against the walls of the cave. Sharp little pieces flew everywhere, joining the others all over the floor.

“Stupid bitch!

He needed a drink. That’s what he needed. Tearing up the cave had done nothing to make him feel any better. Spike stared at his ringless finger again and berated himself for being such a fool. What kind of vampire was he? He got up to pace, booted feet crunching over glass and ceramic shards. Dumb as he was, he’d fallen asleep in the Slayer’s arms. The bloody Slayer of all people!

With wild eyes, he searched the room for something else to destroy. The gaudy tapestries were in shreds, the desk was in pieces, the mattress had been ripped open, stuffing and springs poking through, and junk littered the floor.

If only he had that ring. He’d go out into the daylight and hunt her down. Problem was, he didn’t know if he’d kill her right away or kiss her senseless first.

“Grrrrrrrrahhhhh!” he yelled out again. “Wrong, wrong, wrong!”

He should have just killed her yesterday, even if she’d refused to fight back. But no, he had to go and shag her instead. He glanced around, taking in the mess that his fury had produced. With all the minions gone, the place seemed bleak and too quiet. Now that he’d destroyed the room, he was going to need another place to sleep. He grabbed his coat and in one swift move put it on.

Spike was halfway to the lair’s entrance when he realized that he’d forgotten something. He stomped back into the room and yanked the bed frame away from the wall. A pair of black lace panties sat on the floor. He grabbed them, brought them to his face, then shoved them into his coat pocket, before going to pace near the entrance of the lair.

It would be a couple of hours until the sun went down. He had plenty of time to think about this morning. A grin spread over his face as he thought about it. At least he had one hell of a memory to think back on, and it wouldn’t be long before he’d have the Gem of Amara back on his finger.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

When Giles’s door finally opened, Spike stepped behind a bush to observe. He knew they wouldn’t tell him where it was if he just asked. Xander and Oz came out together and closed the door behind them. He started to relax, but perked up as he heard their conversation.

“I wish I was going to L.A. with you tomorrow,” Xander told Oz.

Oz shrugged, “Devon set the gig up, so who knows what kind of place we’ll be playing.”

As they moved out of his line of vision, he smirked. So that’s where the Gem was going. The grin turned into a scowl. I should have guessed, she’d give it Angel.

He warred within himself. Should he follow the wolf? Or should he wait until Buffy left? More than likely, Buffy would be keeping the ring with her until the last minute, since she was the strongest one out of the bunch to protect it.

Buffy and Willow came out together.

“I’ll walk you home, but then I’ve got to see my mom. She has one of my old Halloween costumes and I’m thinking it will work for this year, if she can let out a few hems.”

Willow stopped walking and gave Buffy a sad look. “Buffy, stop. You keep changing the subject. Why don‘t you want to tell me about it?”

“Nothing happened!” Buffy squeaked out. “Just like I said in there, I found him while I was under the spell. When the reversal spell went into effect, I caught him off guard and took the ring off his finger. Then I ran into the sunlight where he couldn’t come after me.”

Buffy was obviously uncomfortable under the weight of Willow’s stare. “I know you. There’s something you aren’t telling me.”

The Slayer linked her arm with Willow’s and said, “So, what are you wearing for Halloween?”

Once they were out of sight, Spike came out into the open. “Yeah, nothing happened?” he said sarcastically. “It’s not like I’m going to be bragging to all my demon friends either.”

Sticking around Sunnydale was not a good idea. He needed to get far, far away from the Slayer. If he left now, he’d have plenty of time to get to L.A. and look up a vamp he knew. Marcus was great at torture and Angelus would appreciate his methods. If he had to make an effort to get the Gem back, he might as well enjoy himself.

Chapter #7 - 6. Threshold

a/n: Much of the dialog in this chapter is taken from Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, Wild at Heart and Pangs. Thank you Mabel Marsters, Tanit and Slaymesoftly for all the beta work you've done for me. A big thank you to whom ever it was that nominated this story at Spuff Awards and Fang Fetish Awards. Getting those notices in my inbox really made my day! And got my muse jumping!
In Harm’s Way
Chapter Six: Threshold

With the Sex Pistols blaring out of the speakers and the windows open, Spike drove down the highway, seething. If it weren’t for the fact that he’d gotten the chance to torture Angel, the whole trip would have been a huge waste. He’d spent days following Angel at a distance, watching for any sign that he might have the ring in his possession. When his patience ran out, he called in the vampire torture expert.

Marcus had pulled out all the stops, but Angel swore he had no idea what Spike was talking about. Spike had believed him almost right away. If Angel had the ring, he would gloat about it and get great satisfaction from knowing that he knew where it was while Spike did not. Even so, he played it as if he didn’t believe, letting Marcus at him long enough to make a point.

After a while, the game started to bore Spike, as he wasn’t really into torture and mind games the way Angelus was. Before paying Marcus for his services, he got the crazy vampire to help him get Angel underground and tie him securely to a set of sturdy pipes. Spike knew it wouldn’t hold Angel for long, but would give him just enough time to get out of L.A. and get to the Slayer before Angel could sound the alarm.

Now, after being gone for almost a week, he was on his way back to Sunnydale. Back to the Slayer. Fifteen minutes more and he’d be on campus searching for her. He slapped the wheel in frustration as he thought about her. When he got his hands on--He slapped the wheel again as images of the places his hands had been on that delectable body haunted him. Focusing on the Gem, he shook himself out of fantasy mode and back to planning. He would hunt her down, drag her back to the lair, tie her up and…

“Bloody hell!” he yelled out the window. It was so damn maddening. He had to get the Slayer out of his head. She didn’t belong there. He couldn’t deny that he wanted her under him again, or on top for that matter, but he never wanted her in his head.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy stepped out of Stevenson Hall and into the night. Standing still, she took a deep breath and did her best to relax. It was a wonderful feeling to be alone for a change. She was so hoping the vamps would be out in full force tonight. She needed to kill a few somethings.

Giles wouldn’t leave the Gem of Amara subject alone. He insisted that he wanted to know where it was. She refused to say, feeling that they were all safer not knowing where she had it hidden.

Buffy was no good at telling lies, and remembering the facts of the story she’d told them about how she got the Gem was starting to stress her out. It was better if she wasn’t around Giles too much. The others would continue to accept her version, but Giles was too sharp not to catch on that her little story was off.

Halloween was supposed to have been her night off. But, no! Mini demons and haunted houses coming alive ruined all that. She’d been depressed before she’d even gone to the party. Parker had been declared a missing person, and then, right before they’d left to go to the party, the news broke that his corpse had been found, drained of every drop of blood in his body.

Add to that the fact that she was the fifth wheel - the only one of her group without a date - and the night just kept getting worse. Willow had Oz, Xander had that weird Anya chick, and what did Buffy have? One boyfriend who ran when the going got tough, another boy who used her and ended up dead,…and Spike.

She stopped and glanced around at her surroundings. She hadn’t gone that far, but her thoughts had been so distracting that a vamp could have come up on her and knocked her out before she knew what was happening.

Why couldn’t a vampire or demon come her way right about now? Buffy needed that distraction very badly. With much effort on her part, she’d done her best to not think about Spike, and it had backfired on her in a big way. Getting drunk and turning into Cave Buffy was not something she wanted to repeat. The good thing was, she hadn’t thought about him at all while under the influence.

If she didn’t find something to kill, and soon, Buffy was going to be tempted to find some more of that magical beer. She spun around and glared at a set of bushes where her senses were telling her that there was a vampire. When, wearing a huge grin, he stepped out, she pretended to be paralyzed with fear.

At one time, the young-looking vampire had probably been a student at the school. Now he was just a demon, about to meet a dusty end. Hearing voices near by, she realized that they were too close to civilization, so she took off running, hoping to lure him into a more secluded area.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike caught a whiff of her scent almost immediately after stepping onto campus. He’d found her just as she was running away from another vampire and followed at a distance. When they stopped, he found a higher vantage point, where he could observe her without calling attention to himself.

He sneered at her, but had to admit that Buffy looked incredible with her hair pulled back from her face and a short leather jacket on that allowed him a great view of her jean-clad arse.

“Thanks for the relocate,” she was saying in that annoyingly superior tone she liked to use. “I perform better without an audience.”

Then she went into warrior mode before the vamp knew what hit him, kicking and punching with no move wasted. And as always, she had to talk. “You were thinking, what, a little helpless coed before bed? You know very well, you eat this late…”

With a fast little jab, she buried the stake in his heart. “You’re gonna get heartburn.”

Spike rolled his eyes as the vamp clutched his chest and burst into dust.

“That’s it?” Buffy told the falling ash, and then gazed up at the sky as if asking some unknown power of the universe. “That’s all I get?”

He understood her disappointment all too well. There was nothing like a good, long fight to make you feel alive. Over too soon, and it was such a let down.

She said, “One lame-ass vamp with no appreciation for my painstakingly thought-out puns. I don’t think the forces of darkness are even trying. I mean, you could make a little effort here, you know?” She started to walk off. “Give me something to work with.”

Spike sneered again as he watched the Slayer’s little arse wiggle enticingly away from him. “Watch your mouth, little girl. You should know better than to tempt the fates that way. Cause the Big Bad is back, and it’s time, it’s--”

Excruciating pain came at him from behind, wrapping around him like a blanket. He had just a second to take notice of the bluish light surrounding him and then he was out.

Men in dark uniforms dragged him away.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A few nights later, Buffy sat alone on a park bench, in the middle of the deserted campus grounds. Waiting. For the one vampire in the all the word that she never wanted to face again.

Earlier in the night, she’d been at a party talking to Riley when Xander had come rushing into the frat house and said there was important business. They’d rushed over to Giles’ condo so she could get a full report. It turned out that Angel had called to warn them that Spike was still on the hunt for the Gem of Amara. Buffy choked back a laugh as she remembered the story Giles had related of Spike’s kidnapping Angel and keeping him prisoner for days. She cleared her throat. It wasn’t funny; but oh, it was. The thought of Angel being strung up and stuck with some crazy vampire should have made her feel bad for him, but it just didn’t.

In addition, the thought of Spike driving all over the place looking for the Gem, when she had it safely tucked away in a place he’d never think to look, was pretty funny.

On the way to tell her about Angel’s phone call, Xander had spotted Spike cutting through the campus grounds. For once, her friend had been wise and had run to tell her instead of trying something stupid.

Because she hadn’t seen or heard from him since she’d run off with the Gem of Amara, she’d been sure that Spike had just left town. Her rational side had been very relieved, but her not-so-rational self had been feeling kind of let down. What she expected, she didn’t know, but she hadn’t expected him to just take off.

She thought about Xander’s snide remarks about Riley being Teutonic. She’d come back with the intelligent observation that he was a doof, not Teutonic. But if Xander ever found out she had a secret thing for a hot vampire that she’d had a one night stand with, he’d flip his lid and be begging for her to date a guy like Riley.

When Riley had appeared in front of her bench a little while ago, it had taken all her willpower to keep from decking him or shooting him with the flare gun that Xander had insisted she carry. What a pompous ass Riley had been. Maybe that’s the way they grew them in Iowa. Male chauvinist pig that he was, she knew it was wrong to judge a whole state by one resident. As soon as he’d walked her to the dorms and moved out of sight, she’d walked right back to her bench. To wait for Spike.

Knowing that he was out there thrilled her in a way that shamed her as well. Buffy scanned the area, cloaked in shadows, in front of her. She wasn’t sure what would happen when she saw Spike again. Would she have to stake him?

Buffy jumped up and sprinted towards her dorm room when she heard the piercing scream and realized that it sounded an awful lot like Willow. Poor Willow was going through enough already with Oz leaving her. If anyone was hurting her friend, they were going to have to deal with Buffy.

She could see the white, powdery smoke before she turned the corner of the darkened hallway. At first, she was stunned motionless. Men, who were obviously the commandos that they were looking for, were fighting something, but she couldn’t make out who or what. Once Buffy caught sight of a bright sweater and red hair, she went into warrior mode to protect her friend.

She shot her flare gun off, figuring a split second later, that it probably wasn’t a good idea. The flare ricocheted off the walls, sending sparks and lowering the visibility even more.

She kicked at anything that moved, but the commandos kept coming. It was dark and their faces were covered. They were strong. Almost too strong to be human. But then again, her demon warning bells weren’t going off either. Her hesitation at seeing a head of white hair fly by got her a punch to the stomach. One of the other commandos grabbed Spike and threw him against the wall.

Two of the commandos seemed to be struggling with each other as she fought another, knocking him unconscious. They were uncomfortably close to Willow.

“She could have been turned. We have to contain her,“ one of them said as he raised the butt of his gun to hit her friend. The other shook his head in protest and grabbed his arm to stop him. Buffy reacted immediately, knocking the one with the gun out while kicking the other one away.

She half pushed, half rolled Willow into their room, then slammed the door on her. She kicked at the commando coming at her before reaching out and grabbing at Spike when he tried to run past her.

He gripped her arms above the elbows and growled low in her ear, “A little busy, Slayer. Gonna have to do this another time.” Spike pushed her away and ran in the direction of the stairs.

The two commandos still conscious attempted to go after him. Buffy didn’t have time to think about her actions, she just starting punching, forcing them back and away from the stairs. The others were rousing and as they stumbled together, the tallest one waved them on; they ran down the hall and out of sight.

The smoke in the hallway was just starting to clear and the heads of her fellow students poked out of rooms, staring at her in shock.

She picked up the punctured fire extinguisher. “Stupid fraternity boys,” she said loudly. “What a dumb idea for a prank.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

They’d had a few peaceful days before Thanksgiving. None of them had seen, nor heard from Spike. There had been very little demon activity at all, until this Indian ghost trouble had started up.

Buffy was starting to feel the stress. She continued to stir the mixture in her bowl while hiding in the kitchen. Her little plan for Thanksgiving was not going as well as she’d hoped. Giles and Willow continued to fight about the Shumash Indians, while Anya tended to a disease ridden Xander who was horizontal on Giles’ couch. Buffy stuck her lower lip out and frowned. He was going to be too sick to eat the meal she was cooking.

Setting the bowl down gently so as not to spill any, Buffy marched into the living room and opened her mouth to begin a lecture on how they all had to get along, when there was a knock on the door. Frowning, she stomped over to the door and flung it open. Giles caught it before it could do any damage.

The sunny courtyard appeared to be empty; then, out of nowhere came a blanket covered Spike. They both jumped back.

“Help me,” Spike pleaded.

He looked awful. His skin was pasty white, his lips cracked and dry, but, with the sun behind him, his eyes were a brilliant blue. She had to clear that thought before she could act.

“Go away,” she told him firmly, ever mindful that her watcher was right behind her.

The indirect sunlight was affecting him pretty badly as smoke started to rise from his back. “Come on. I’m parboiling out here.”

Buffy grabbed the stake that Giles handed her. “Want me to help make it quicker?” She spoke the words expected of a hardened warrior, but she knew her eyes betrayed her very real concern and she was grateful that she had her back to the others.

“I showed you mercy when you were helpless. Invite me in.”

Giles said, “No. It’s fairly unlikely.”

“Oh, damn it! Look, I’m safe. I can’t bite anyone. Didn’t Willow tell you?”

All eyes were on Willow. “Well, I sort of left that part out.” Spike glared at her, so she added, “You said you were gonna kill me, then Buffy.”

All eyes were back to Spike. “Yes, bad, but let’s skip that part and get to the part where I couldn’t bite you.”

“It’s true. He had trouble performing,” Willow said.

“Yeah, well, it looks like they’ve done me for good. Um…” he trailed off as he gingerly rubbed the back of his head.

A feeling of dread settled in the pit of her stomach. “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that Spike had a little trip to the vet, and now he doesn’t chase the other puppies anymore. I can’t bite anything. I can’t even hit people.”

It was quiet in the apartment as Buffy stood there staring at him. If he really couldn’t bite or hurt humans, they could let him in. He looked so lost, and he had shown her mercy when she was helpless under that love spell. If she let him in, would he tell the others about their one night stand?

“I’ve got information,” he said in desperation. “About the soldier boys you were fighting. Got the inside scoop. Come on, what have you got to be afraid of?”

As Giles invited him in, Buffy thought that she had a whole lot to be afraid of.

Chapter #8 - 7. Tied Up
a/n: Some of the dialog was taken from the episode, Pangs
Betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly

In Harm’s Way
Chapter Seven: Tied Up

As Buffy wrapped the last rope around Spike, she kept her eyes on the others. Xander had his eyes closed, while Anya was in the kitchen cooking for her. Willow and Giles were at the far side of the table, restarting their discussion on the Indians.

She looked down to find Spike’s eyes on her. If she was going to have a chance to say something to him, it was now. Buffy bent down so that they were eye to eye. “Listen to me,” she whispered. “Not one word about what happened, or I’ll stake you where you sit.”

Despite his dilapidated condition, he smirked at her and lowered his eyes towards her chest before staring at her face again. “What’s this then? Not sharing with the group?”

“Shh!” she told him with a smack to his thigh. “I mean it.”

He leaned his head back, taking stock of where everyone was before whispering, “You like having me all tied up, don’t you?”

Buffy looked away and went behind him. He was being so impossible about this, but what did she expect? Stupid vampire. She yanked on the last knot.

“Bloody hell, woman! You’re cutting off my circulation.”

“You don’t have any circulation.”

“I guess you would know,” was his snide comeback. “It pinches.”

“Get used to it. I have more important things to worry about,” she said as she put some needed distance between their bodies.

“I came to you, looking for help and this is how I’m treated. You can’t deny that I treated you better, when you came for me.” He raised an eyebrow at her and smirked, until she pulled her hand back to hit him. Spike cringed and said quickly, “I’ve got useful information, and I feel like I’m being mistreated.”

“So, tell me everything you know.”

“I’m too hungry to remember everything.”

She lightly smacked him on the top of the head and said, “Then sit.”

Anya asked a question about the food, and Buffy went to deal with that. She felt like screaming when Willow started going on about the injustices that the Indians had to endure. Willow was her friend, but she really was being a pain right now. She tried to placate her, but truthfully, she agreed with Giles. It wasn’t fair that her happy Thanksgiving was being ruined.

Buffy just wanted one normal holiday, but Xander was laid up on the couch, an ex-demon was helping her cook, Giles and Willow were arguing and Spike... Leave it to him to attempt to bring reason to the arguments by making massacre sound logical enough to get Xander agreeing with him.

She needed to separate Willow and Giles, so that she could get some cooking done. After much discussion, Willow left with Anya and Xander to go warn the dean about the Indian, who they were sure would be after him, as he was the leader of the school.

The table was beginning to look festive as she added the plates. Things had been peaceful until Spike started complaining about being hungry. He went on and on about vampires wasting away, with Giles listening in fascination. It would not do to have the two of them talking politely to one another. Soon the conversation would end up getting to the gem. Her level of panic rose at the thought. She didn’t want to think about Spike and magical rings.

When he continue to complain about being hungry, she mentioned that gravy had blood in it, and he could wait and eat when everyone else did.

“You want me to gag you? ‘Cause I’m not listening to you whine all through dinner. We’re going to have a nice, quiet, civilized--”

Arrows came shooting into the room, landing securely in the wood of the staircase.

“Hey! Watch the heart,” Spike yelled, frowning at the Indian in the window above as one pierced his torso.

Buffy and Giles dove behind the couch. She watched as another arrow hit Spike. Giles yelled out for her when she left the safety of the couch and tackled the helpless vampire. They went down with a thud. When the phone rang, Buffy rolled her eyes. Someone had really bad timing.

“Ow, Slayer!”

“Shut up,” she said, pulling his chair behind the couch. Giles hung up the phone and ignored Buffy’s question about who it was. Once Giles explained where the weapons were, Buffy jumped in harm’s way again to grab the chest. She yelled out in pain when an arrow hit her arm.

“Buffy!” Giles and Spike exclaimed together. Giles gave Spike a curious look, but had no time to ponder why Spike would be concerned about his charge as she struggled to get behind the couch again. Giles went in to action, removing the arrow and wrapping the wound. Then, together, they pulled the weapons chest into the now crowded spot behind the couch.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

This whole bloody day had been pure torture and Spike was thinking that maybe he should have taken his chances with the Initiative. What kind of people were Buffy and her gang? After a crazy fight with a bunch of mystical Indians--one of which had turned into a bear--they’d all sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner. His stomach still growled as he thought about it.

They’d given him a little gravy, but it had done nothing to quiet his hunger. Now, they sat around, watching Giles’ sorry excuse for a television set. Of course, they’d left him tied to his blasted chair off to the side where he couldn’t see it.

Buffy and Willow got up and sat on the stairs near enough to him that he could hear their conversation.

Willow said, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you that Angel was in town. He asked me not to and said it was for your own good.”

Spike rolled his eyes when Buffy shrugged and said sadly, “It’s okay. I guess he didn’t want to see me.”

“What about Riley?” Willow asked in that annoyingly peppy way of hers.

“Riley’s okay. Has some weird views about women, but he has pretty eyes.”

Willow nudged her. “I think he likes you a lot. Do you think there could be something there?”

Again, the Slayer shrugged. “Maybe.”

Spike wished he could turn them off somehow. Stupid girls. Whoever this Riley is, he was probably just as bad as Parker.

Giles stood up and stretched. “Well, young people, I’m worn out and ready to retire.”

“What should we do with him?” Buffy asked, pointing at Spike.

Giles frowned. “We can’t let him go, that’s for sure.” He glanced around as if he could pull an idea from somewhere. “We’ll have to tie him up in my bathtub, I think.”

“What! No, you won’t. Let me go.”

Giles disappeared upstairs and Spike glared at Buffy. “This is the way you treat someone who comes to you for help?”

She looked away to hide the guilt and regret in her eyes?

Xander stood, saying, “No. This is the way we treat evil vampires who have information we need.”

“Tell us what we want to know and we might let you go,” Giles said as he descended the stairs with a set of heavy metal chains in his hands.

Spike raised a brow. “You keep those in your bedroom?”

They all stared at Giles as he stuttered and avoided their eyes. “Well--yes--I--I store them there for safe keeping.”

Looking away with a knowing smile, Spike had to suck in a breath when he met Buffy’s smiling eyes. It reminded him of a how she had gazed at him a few nights ago. Now was not the time to get aroused, when he could do nothing to cover the evidence.

Buffy’s smile faded. “Xander, why don’t you take Willow back to the dorms before you go home? I’ll stay and help Giles get Spike in the tub. There’s no need for you two to stick around.”

It was humiliating to be bound to a chair and carried into a bathroom by two humans. Giles readied the chains, while Buffy slowly untied the ropes around Spike. He stared at her, but she avoided his eyes as she leaned across him to grab the ropes.

With as much dignity as he could muster, Spike stepped into the bathtub and held his hands out for Buffy to chain him up. He despised the helpless feeling that had taken him over when he realized he couldn’t feed, couldn’t kill. There was no point fighting them. He needed their help.

They were quiet as they worked to secure the chains, and he didn’t feel like talking or insulting them much either. He could not believe that he’d been reduced to this. He looked down at his shackled hands and sighed.

Giles excused himself, leaving Buffy alone with Spike. At first, she just knelt by the tub and stared at him.

“What did they do to you, Spike?” she asked softly.

He shrugged. “Take a gander at the back of my head.”

She got up, went behind him and gently felt around the back of his head until he gasped with the pain. Gingerly, she lifted a bit of hair and let out her own gasp.

“There‘s something in there; I can feel it. Every time I try to sink my teeth into someone, I get zapped with electricity and my head feels like it‘s gonna explode.

“Is the tub comfortable enough?” Buffy asked as she stood beside the tub, biting her lip.

He glared at her, not believing she had the audacity to ask such a question. “Sure, I’m having a lovely time, pet. Almost as much fun as being pounced on by my enemy and having a right good shag in my own soft bed.”

“Be quiet.“ She glanced behind her before going to the door and gently shutting it. “Don’t talk like that. He might hear you.”

“What are you so worried about? You were under a spell. He’s not going to blame you or hate you for what happened.”

Buffy folded her arms across her chest. “You’re right, but it’s humiliating. You took advantage of me.”

“Whoa! I think someone lost some memories with that reversal spell. I seemed to recall a very amorous slayer jumping my bones. It would take a better man than me to turn that body down.” He gave her an appreciative look as she continued to glare at him. “Besides we both had a fantastic time, if the noises you were making were any indication.”

Her cheeks flushed pink. “You’re a pig, Spike,” she said, turning away to grab the doorknob.

“Speaking of pigs, can I at least get some pig’s blood?”

With a weary sigh she said, “It’s a national holiday. The stores are closed. I’ll bring some tomorrow when I come by.”

“While you’re at it, why don’t you bring the Gem of Amara with you?”

Keeping her back turned to him, she opened the door and said, “You know that’s not going to happen.” She shut the door softly behind her.

More A/N: Please review :) Yes, I'm begging. Just to let everyone know, I'm currently writing chapter fourteen and no end in sight. So two bits of good news if you like the story. I'm way ahead, so updates should come very regular and this is gonna be good and long. I promise not to extend the story so long that it becomes tedious reading. I hate to drag things out. If you like to get updates on my progress, I discuss my writing at my livejournal. A link can be found in my profile. Thanks for reading!

Chapter #9 - 8. Thay Had Guns!
A/N: A little more twisting of canon and then I go off on my own direction. Betas: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, Slaymesoftly.

In Harm’s Way

Chapter Eight: They Had Guns!

The chair was too stiff, the writing space too small , and the music Buffy had put on was too loud. She threw her pencil down and stood up. Stretching, she bemoaned the fact that she had homework at all.

As Buffy turned off the radio, she asked herself, again, why she was trying to do the whole college thing. Oh, right. Normal girl stuff. Buffy sat down and , picking up her pencil, she attempted to concentrate on her math. The numbers blurred and swam before her.

Who was she kidding?

Normal girls didn’t kill vampires. They didn’t have love spells put on them. Twice! Buffy set the pencil down again before resting her head in her palm. This last spell was worst than the first. This time, she’d been messed with by a friend. Willow didn’t mean to do it, but it still irked her. And this time, Spike was under the spell, too. They had been planning a wedding.

Her fingers found their way to her lips as she thought back to those kisses. If they’d found a way to be alone, she just knew that they’d have been at it like bunnies again. She had to admit, he was a great kisser. Oh, and the way he looked at her. She swallowed and closed her eyes. Spike’s face was before her, his blue eyes wide and shining bright with adoration.

The sigh she let out filled the room , as she wondered why a man couldn’t look at her like that without being under a spell.

Sitting up and grabbing her pencil again, she frowned. There was Riley. The supposed ly normal guy who turned out to be a commando. Her life couldn’t get weirder. She was angry that he hadn’t told her right away, but she knew that was hypocritical of her. After the whole thing with the gentlemen, they’d talked. Somehow, she’d found the strength to tell him that it wouldn’t work between them. It had been easier to do than she had thought would be possible.

She’d told Riley she’d keep his secret, but she didn’t know how long she could actually do it. What they’d done to Spike was just wrong. It was good that he couldn’t kill anymore, but he couldn’t even defend himself now.

Every thought she’d had lately kept bringing her back to Spike. It was pathetic. She needed to get a life. She stood up suddenly and glanced around the room, looking for something to do that would take her mind off the vampire. The one who now occupied her dreams as well as her nightmares.

Willow walked in just as Buffy was starting to put away the clean clothes piled neatly on her bed. After talking about the earthquake from earlier, Willow invited her to go a party. Buffy could do that. Loud music, people she didn’t know, free flowing alcohol. All things that could get her mind off Spike.

“I’ll try to make it, but first I have to go see Giles.”

“Hey, maybe you could invite Riley,” Willow said with a raised eyebrow and big eyes.

“Um, well, we’ve decided to back off from each other for a while.”

“Buffy! What happened?”

Buffy grabbed a sweater and opened the door. She was so glad she had an appointment with Giles right now.

“Nothing, really. There just wasn’t enough sparkage.” She shrugged. “No big deal. I’ve gotta go. See you later.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Later that night, Buffy tried to ignore him, she really did. There were more important things to deal with than her growing fixation with the walking dead blond, who was now sitting in the chair behind the couch, looking almost…depressed.

Giles. Giles needed her right now. Whoever those demons were that beat him up, she was just grateful that he was still alive. He looked awful. She glanced at Spike again, but quickly focused on Giles as he started speaking. The fact that Giles thought it was the end of the world, again, should have been enough to make her forget Spike.

The instant Spike finally looked at her, she knew it, felt the hairs on her arms and neck stand up. There was electricity in the air. Even the God-awful Hawaiian shirt couldn’t detract from his charms.

“Hellmouth,” Giles said cryptically. “They’re going to try to open the hellmouth.”

Buffy was jarred into awareness, now. She shared a look of dread with Willow and then Xander. “It looks like we’re going back to high school.”

The walk over ended up being one of the longest in her life. Willow insisted on asking about Riley, and Spike dragged his feet behind them. He didn’t need to be a part of this. He couldn’t fight, and the thought of something happening to him didn’t sit well with her. She shouldn’t care, but when Willow mentioned how depressed he was and that they had him basically on suicide watch, she'd decided not to argue with them.

Buffy let Willow and Xander walk ahead, then grabbed Spike’s arm to stop him from walking. It alarmed her that he didn’t react at all to her touching him. A snarky, snide or grumpy remark would have been better than his silence.

“What’s going on with you?”

“Nothing. That’s what.” He yanked his arm away. “Can’t eat, can’t kill, can’t fight. I’m useless.”

She rolled her eyes at him. “You’ll have to forgive me if I’m not all with the sympathy over the fact that you can’t kill.”

“I didn’t ask you for it, so sod off.”

Standing where she was, she watched him walk off to catch up with the others. “Ugh! That’s what I get for trying to be nice.”

~ * ~ * ~ * * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

After they‘d saved the world from self sacrificing demons--a task made more difficult because of a misguided attempt by Spike to help out when he realized he could beat up demons-- the gang stood outside on the dead lawn of the high school and watched Riley run off in the opposite direction. Buffy had been grateful for his last minute help, but was glad to see him go. The tension had been palpable in the high school. Riley was going to be harder to shake than she’d first thought. The good thing was, she didn’t have to keep Riley’s identity a secret anymore. She was glad for that.

“So, your new boy is one of the commandos, eh?” Spike said with a frown.

“He’s not my 'new boy',” Buffy said shortly.

Spike shrugged indifferently and looked away from her. “Well, I’ll be off, then.”

Xander grabbed his arm. “Oh, no you don’t, pal. That’s my shirt you’re wearing and I want it back.”

Glaring at the boy, Spike said, “You’ll get your clothes back once I can change out of them.”

“I’m sorry, Spike, but you’re going to have to come back to Giles‘ with us,” Buffy told him.

With a scowl on his face, Spike said, “Now that I know I can fight demons, I can get by, on my own. I don’t need you.”

Anger rose up in Buffy as it often did when she argued with Spike. “Why do you have to be so difficult? Don’t answer that,” she said with a hand up. “Riley saw you. What if it clicks in his mind that you are their escapee? You can’t fight humans.” She folded her arms across her chest.

Spike got in her face and snarled. “You may have thought you were in love with me at one time, because of a spell, you may have been my fiancé at one time, but you don’t own me, and I don’t answer to you.”

Willow and Xander looked on in confusion as the two super beings fought with words.

“Why do you have to bring all that up? I’m just saying, if Riley figures out who you are, they ’re going to come after you.”

“I’ll take my chances.”

Buffy fought the urge to go after him as he raced off down the street. Instead, she led the way back to Giles’ condo. As they walked in silence, Buffy tried to ignore the little voice in her head that was asking her why she cared what happened to Spike. She didn’t want to know why. She just knew that she did.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike went directly to his car that was still covered with old tarps and behind an old abandoned house. Reaching under the front bumper, he pulled the spare key out of its hiding place. In record time, he had on a pair of jeans and a black t-shirt that he kept in the trunk for emergencies.

For a while, he sat in the backseat, nursing a bottle of Jim Beam and trying to decide what to do next. One thing he knew for sure, he had to get away from the Slayer. The things that he was feeling for her were unnatural, and Spike knew that if he could just get away from her, the residual feelings from spells and the memories of a morning of hot sex would fade away.

He reached back, gingerly touching the small incision at the back of his head. Spike knew that the first order of business was finding a way to get the chip out. He’d never seen one himself, but he knew that demon doctors existed. In any town, the place to go to find out anything about the demon world was the local demon bar.

He started up the Desoto and headed for Willy’s. Spike felt better, now that he had a plan. Find a doctor, get his coat back from Xander’s , and go have some surgery done. When all was right in the world, he’d come back to find the Gem.

An hour later, Spike entered Xander’s basement apartment. It was good that the place was empty. He tossed the dirty clothes into the hamper, grabbed his coat and was just on his way out, when Xander’s voice floated down from the level above as he opened the basement door.

“I don’t have time right now, mom. I’m in a hurry,” Xander said before shutting the door and running down the steps.

Spike leaned against the door that led to the outside and watched as Xander began frantically going through his stuff. He dumped out boxes, then started tossing clothes out of his dresser.

“I move out and you tear the place up?” Spike said.

Xander jumped up and grabbed his chest. Frowning, he said, “I don’t have time for you now. The Initiative took Buffy and Giles, and I have to get them out of there.” Xander found the fatigues he was looking for and began getting undressed.

Standing up straight, Spike stared at Xander with an open mouth. He envisioned Buffy being taking from one of those cold cells, being strapped to a gurney and then taken off to be experimented on.

“What the hell happened?” Spike asked him as he watched Xander struggle into his pants.

If looks could kill, Spike would be dust in the wind about now. “Buffy was right, like she usually is. Riley figured out who you were and went back to tell his soldier buddies. They stormed into Giles’ place and demanded to know where you were.” Xander pulled the shirt over his head. “Of course, we didn’t know where you were, but they wouldn’t believe us. When Giles asked them to leave, they grabbed Buffy.”

“Buffy wouldn’t let those wankers manhandle her.” Spike was certain of that.

“They had guns, Spike.”

“So what are you going to do?” Spike waved a hand at Xander. “Play soldier boy and try to single-handedly get her out? Cuz, I don’t think that’s going to work.”

“Willow is going to do a glamour spell, to make me look like one of the soldiers. I’m just wearing this so if the spell fades, I’ll still blend in a little.” Xander grabbed a bag and brushed past Spike. “I don’t have time to talk about it. Willow is waiting for me at Giles’, looking for the right spell to use.”

Spike followed him out. “It’s not going to work.”

“We have to try,” Xander told him and turned to look at him. “Look what they did to you. I’m not complaining, but they’re not exactly ethical people. They know she’s a slayer. What are they going to do to her?”

Dread settled in the pit of his stomach like bad blood. Xander was right, but those two bumbling kids were not going to be able to get Buffy out of there. With clenched fists, he watched Xander run off in the direction of Giles’ condo.

It shouldn’t matter what happened to her, but it did. Just thinking about how creepy the Initiative’s underground operations were had the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. He wouldn’t wish that place on his worst enemy. Or his best , for that matter. And Buffy was the best.

Would they operate on her? Cut her open and try to rewire her, too? Without thinking further, he ran after Xander, his boots slapping the pavement. He could see Xander up ahead, but Spike didn’t call out to him.

He wasn’t sure what he could do, but he was going to have to come up with something. He tried to tell himself that he was doing this because Buffy was the only one who knew where the Gem of Amara was, but it was getting harder and harder to fool himself.

Now was not the time to think about feelings, but actions. He caught up to Xander as he came to Giles’ door. “I’m going to help you get her out of there.”

“Go away, Spike. You can’t even fight them. They’re human,” Xander told him as he pushed the door open.

Following him in, he opened his mouth to argue, but stopped short when he noticed Riley standing by the couch, talking with Willow. A rush of fear flowed through him, but at the same time, his vision was clouded with red hot anger.

Riley drew his gun as Spike charged him. The gun went flying as Spike’s fist slammed into Riley’s jaw. Willow grabbed the gun and stood over the fallen soldier and the fallen vampire, taking turns pointing it at them as they both held their heads and writhed in pain.

“There will be no violence,” Willow said, her voice trembling almost as much as her hand. “Is that clear?”

Xander calmly walked up to Willow and gently pried the gun from her fingers, keeping it trained on the men still down on the floor. “Get up, but stay away from each other.”

They glared as they stood, pointing at one another. In unison, they asked, “What’s he doing here?”

Chapter #10 - 9. The Truth

In Harm’s Way
Chapter Nine: The Truth

Spike stepped out of Riley’s room, dressed in fatigues and glaring at Xander who was trying not to laugh. The worst part was the stupid beret he had to wear to conceal his hair. As plans went, he grudgingly had to agree that it was a good one, even if he did look stupid.

Once it was established that Riley had slipped away from the Initiative to find Willow and see what they could do to get Buffy and Giles released, Spike had backed off. He still hated the wanker, but they needed him right now and he had to put feelings aside.

It took a bit more convincing to get Riley to stand down, though. Spike had to walk a fine line as he muttered out an explanation for why he wanted to help rescue Buffy. He made a brief mention of the Gem, and gave the excuse that he was the only one who should be allowed to kill or maim Buffy. The three of the humans gave him identical baffled looks, and he had to admit that the excuse sounded lame, even to him.

Spike had quickly moved the subject along to coming up with a plan. It wasn’t foolproof, but he was confident that it would work. Getting them all out alive was another story, which he didn’t care about. As long as he could get Buffy out alive, it didn’t matter what happened to the others.

Willow was holding a book with photographs of high ranking officials and chanting over Riley. The glamour would make him look like the Initiative's commanding general, who was normally based at the Pentagon. Riley could use his own voice activation clearance to get them in. Once they had reached the main computer hub, Xander and Spike would create a diversion.

With a swipe of his security card and the push of two buttons, Riley could open every cell and locked door in the facility. With the soldiers occupied by escaping and enraged demons, they would locate Buffy and Giles and get them out of there as fast as they could.

As they watched, Willow finished her chanting and waved a smelly, burning stick near Riley’s head. When she was done, the face of Colonel Jared Holbrook was staring back at them.

“Let’s roll,” Riley said, in a voice not his own.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy struggled fruitlessly against the restraints holding her down on the cold steel reclining chair. It was no use, but she had to try. They’d separated her from Giles and brought her to this white room with the chair in the middle. She scowled at the mirror in front of her. There were probably men on the other side, laughing at her attempts to free herself.

She couldn’t help but imagine the fear that Spike must have experienced. He had been all alone with no one on the outside who would help him. She knew that Willow and Xander were frantically trying to come up with a way to get her out, and she took comfort in that.

The waiting was doing more to drive her mad than the restraints or the mirrored wall. They’d kept her like this for more than a half an hour now. When they’d first arrived, Buffy and Giles were kept in handcuffs made to withstand the strength of demons, but had been allowed to sit together on a couch in an office. Three guards, with guns drawn, hovered over them. Two men in white lab coats had then come in with more soldiers, and again, they asked where Hostile Seventeen was.

She wondered why Spike was so important to them, but she dared not ask. Instead, she let Giles do the talking. He told them the same thing he’d said at the condo. They had no idea where Spike was.

Buffy was shocked beyond belief when her Psychology professor walked in and the soldiers saluted. Dr. Walsh attempted to intimidate Buffy and Giles into talking, but when they still insisted that they did not know where Spike was, and they refused to answer any questions about slayers and watchers, the woman ordered them separated. She’d glared at them while going on about always having to do things the hard way.

The doors swung open, jarring Buffy out of her musing. She tensed up and gripped the arms of the chair. A man, pushing a rattling, metal cart before him, entered the room. Another man in a white lab coat entered, followed by Dr. Walsh.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to do this the hard way, but you leave me no choice.”

Buffy kept her eye on the man loading a hypodermic needle. “What are you going to do to me?”

Maggie took the syringe from the man and tapped it. “This is new experimental truth serum. It’s very strong and very effective.”

“I’m telling you, I have no idea where Spike went.”

Buffy gritted her teeth as the needle punctured her arm. The injection began to burn and she closed her eyes to the pain. When she opened them again, she glared at Dr. Walsh, who just folded her arms and waited with a smug look on her face. The man behind her pulled out a stop watch.

“Now,” he said to Dr. Walsh. “It’s ready.”

“Thank you,” she said as she turned to the two men. “You may both leave now.” Then she turned cold eyes on Buffy, waiting until she heard the door click shut before asking, “Who are you?”

“Buffy Anne Summers.”

“What are you?”

“The Chosen One. The Vampire Slayer.”

Dr. Walsh lifted a lock of Buffy’s hair. “Who made you?”

“I don’t know.”

“How did they make you?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you really very strong?”


“How strong?”

“I could crush you with my bare hands.” Buffy was angry with herself for talking. She’d told herself that she wasn’t going answer any of Maggie’s questions, but the answers just came out.

“So, you kill vampires?”

“Yes. And all sorts of demons.”

“And yet, you harbor one of them and protect it. Why?”

“I…I have feelings for him.” She groaned as she let that slip out.

Dr. Walsh glared at her. “You what? Have feelings for a monster? An animal?”

“He’s not a monster all the time. Spike has feelings. He’s…he’s different.”

“That’s ridiculous. You’re projecting human emotions on a creature who has none.”

Buffy glared at Maggie. “You haven’t actually spent time with the vampires you’ve been experimenting on, have you?”

“I’ll admit, they’re usually not awake when I see them.”

“Thought so,” Buffy said smugly.

“So, do you make it a habit of getting romantically involved with vampires?”

Buffy closed her eyes and let out a growl of frustration, before saying, “No.” She'd only had one vampire boyfriend and that did not make a habit.

The narrowed eyes and look of unbelief from Professor Walsh made the Slayer's blood run cold. It was worse than being in her class. “There is something you aren't telling me. Have you been romantically involved with a vampire before?”

“Yes!” Buffy yelled, angry with herself. “But, he had a soul.”

“Does Hostile Seventeen have a soul?”

Buffy sighed. “No.”

“So you have feelings for a soulless monster?

Shaking her head no and glaring at the smug doctor, Buffy answered, “Yes. I don't want to talk about it. Can you ask me something else? Anything else!”

Dr. Walsh wrote something down on a notepad before asking, “Where is Hostile Seventeen, now?”

“I told you. I don’t know. He ran off earlier tonight, and he didn’t say where he was going.” She glared at Dr. Walsh. “Why is it so important that you know where Spike is?”

Dr. Walsh pulled out a walkie-talkie. “Miss Summers does not know where Hostile Seventeen is. Are you getting anything out of Mr. Giles?”

“No, ma’am. He says he doesn’t know where it is either.”

“Put him in a regular cell and prepare 314 for combat in room twenty-five.”

“Yes, ma’am,” came the reply from the walkie-talkie.

Maggie turned to Buffy and slapped a set of handcuffs on one wrist. “Hostile Seventeen was chosen by my staff for an experiment because he was the strongest vampire they’d come across. Not just in body, but in spirit and intelligence as well. He’s walking around with a very expense prototype in his head. We can’t just let him go.”

“You plan to put those in other vampires?” Buffy asked incredulously.

“Oh, yes. But we’ve found that only the strongest ones are worth the effort. The next step in the experiment has turned most of the vampires to dust or maimed them.”

She stared at Dr. Walsh in horror as the woman grabbed her arm and released it from the chair restraints and put the handcuff on her other wrist. “What do you do to them?”

“They go through a reconditioning of the mind, and then we set them loose on the other demons that we’ve caught. So far, none of them have passed the tests.”

“That’s just wrong.”

As she led Buffy out of the room, Dr. Walsh shrugged. “Maybe. Maybe not. The government is always looking for new weapons to surprise the enemy with. I happen to think it’s a great idea.” Dr. Walsh continued to talk as they walked down the hall. “It’s a pity that there aren’t more like you. The military could really use your skills.”

“Where are you taking me?”

“To meet my pet project. The crowning achievement of my career. The thing that will set me apart from the others and make me famous.” She swiped her card on the lock for door twenty-five and stepped in. The room was similar to the one she had been in, only the mirrored wall was situated higher on the wall and there was no chair in the middle of the room. Just a concrete floor and white walls.

“I had hoped to test Hostile Seventeen against 314, but as soon as Riley told me about you, I began playing with the idea of having you go up against him instead. Let’s see how strong you really are.“ Dr. Walsh pulled her walkie-talkie out, once more. “Let in 314.”

A futuristic door went up. A large, grotesque creature stomped in. Buffy had seen a lot of creepy looking things in her time as a slayer, but the creature in front of her now was tops. He was a twisted mass of human, demon and metal. She was so intent on the creature that she didn’t realize that Dr. Walsh was undoing her restraints until after she was done.

“Hello, Mother,” the creature said in a monotone voice.

“Buffy, this is Adam. He's an optimized combination of man, machine and demon. We've taken the most useful parts from demons and grafted them to him. Adam, show her your Polgara skewer.”

Obediently, the monster held out his left arm, and a thin bone-like sword with a sharp pointy tip popped out of his arm, extending past his hand.

“Adam, this is Buffy. She’s strong,” Maggie stated as she went to the door, swiped her card and opened it. “I want to see how strong she is. Kill her.” The door went shut before Buffy could get to it.

She turned to face Adam. Buffy was sure she could take him. She’d come up against some pretty strong foes and walked away the victor. It was just very unsettling to hear someone not of the demon variety ordering her execution.

As he lumbered towards her, Buffy began coming up with a strategy. He was slow; she was fast. If she kept moving and attacked with her legs with quick jabs, she could avoid the Polgara demon arm and skewer.

“You look human,” Adam remarked.

He reached out for her with his human arm and tried to grab her. She ducked and kicked at his stomach. When Adam didn’t budge or show any signs of having felt her kick, she started to worry.

Dr. Walsh’s voice came from the ceiling. “She is human, but she’s special somehow. Attack without mercy, Adam. I want to see what she‘s made of.”

The distraction of Dr. Walsh enabled Adam to get in a good punch. Panic set in when she hit the wall and slid to the ground. Her cheekbone felt like it was broken and she struggled to keep herself from fainting. Getting up quickly, Buffy shook off the pain and charged at him.

While Buffy struggled to stay alive in room twenty-five, Xander and Spike fell in behind Riley, in the form of Colonel Holbrook. They moved swiftly down the steps and onto the large platform surrounding the pit. Spike stroked the gun at his side, forcing himself to get past the fear that was gripping him as he took in the sight below him. The shining silver area was brimming with activity as men in white coats worked on various species of demons strapped to tables.

He wasn’t down there now, but because of what they’d done to him, he couldn’t even retaliate. Spike desperately wanted to aim the gun and take out every one of those bastards down there, but his head began to ache just thinking about it. He’d have to save the bullets for the demons that might attempt to harm Buffy as they got her out of there.

Riley took charge, barking orders. Soldiers and scientist alike jumped at his commands. Once they were near the platform’s main computer terminal, Riley turned to them. “Now!”

Xander grabbed his gun and pointed towards a hallway, shouting, “Demon escaping!” He ran towards the hall and a group of soldiers fell in behind him. Someone at the terminal started up the alarm. Red and yellow lights flashed all over as a siren blasted the warning.

In room twenty-five, Buffy flew back for the sixth time, but this time, she heard something snap. Her wrist was now on fire with excruciating pain, and Adam was still coming at her as the alarms sounded. The lights flickered and she took the opportunity to stand while Adam looked around in confusion. She kicked him again, but it was like hitting a brick wall. The only thing she accomplished was to get his attention back on her.

In the hub, Spike watched as all but one attendant left the computer terminal. He leaned down near the woman, pointing at one of the monitors as Xander yelled, “There are four HST’s down here. I need back up, now!”

“Look! There!” Spike said in as close to a Southern accent as he could muster. “I saw them.”

As the attendant typed on her keyboard, Riley quickly swiped his card and pushed a couple of buttons. A high pitched whine came over the speakers, warning them all that every door and cell had been opened.

“What's going on here?” Riley questioned with authority. “Contain this mess, now!”

“I’m trying, sir,” the attendant said in a panic. “Somehow, all the doors have been opened at once. I--I’ve never seen this before, but I think I can close them.”

Adam was coming at Buffy with his Polgara skewer out and ready to land a killing jab, when the door she was leaning on suddenly popped open. Holding her injured wrist, she scrambled to get off the floor and raced down the hall, trying to remember the way they had come. She turned back to see Adam came out of the room; his eyes blazing with blood lust. Maggie opened a door and shouted Adam‘s name. He turned on her quickly, accidentally gutting her with his Polgara skewer.

Dr. Walsh fell to the ground with a shocked look frozen on her face. Buffy felt sick to her stomach, but now Adam was glaring at her again. She ran and pushed open the nearest door, hoping that it was the one leading to the large central area. She forced the heavy door closed with her shoulder.

The sirens stopped as security doors clicked shut all over, but the red and yellow lights continued to flash. There was chaos in the pit and on the platform, as soldiers fought escaping demons. Adam pounded on the security door and glared at her through the small square window.

“Buffy!” Giles called out to her.

Her watcher was too far away from her. She could do nothing but watch in horror as a large grey demon slammed an elbow into Giles’ head. She yelled out to him as he slumped to the ground.

Xander came running out of a hallway, clutching his gun and looking terrified as two ugly, squid faced demons chased him. She made her way to Giles as quickly as she could, but with her injured wrist, she couldn’t pick him up.

A soldier rushed up to her, trying to grab at her arm. She slapped him away until he said, “Come on, Slayer. No time to lose.”

She turned and gawked at Spike, but snapped out of it as a demon rushed up behind him. She called out a warning and watched as Spike turned to fire his weapon, before turning back to her. “Let’s get you out of here,” he told her.

“Giles. I’m not leaving without him.”

Spike growled, but reached down and roughly threw Giles over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. She followed Spike into a hallway where a group of demons rushed at them. They quickly hid in an office, slamming the door behind them. None too gently, Spike placed Giles on the desk and held his gun at the ready.

“Your hand,” he asked when he finally glanced at her. “What happened?”

“I think it’s broken.”

Their eyes met and she could swear she saw concern in them.

Spike asked, “Can you fight?”

“With one hand tied behind my back,” she told him, placing her injured arm behind her.

Spike smirked at her.

It was just too strange to be fighting side by side with him.

“What are you doing here, Spike?”

Keeping his eye on the door and his gun at the ready, Spike said, “What does it look like, Slayer? I’m saving your arse.”

“I get that, but why?” She shivered when he stared at her hotly. Was that anger or something else that she saw in his eyes?

“You have something I want, and if you’re dead, you can’t tell me where it is.”

“That’s all? Because I have the Gem of Amara?” Buffy had no idea why she was pressing him like she was. What did it matter why he was there?

He let the gun hang at his side and advanced on her. Spike didn’t touch her but was just a mere inch away. “What do you want me to say? Huh?” Their noses were touching now as he leaned his head forward. “That I couldn’t stand the thought of you being tortured like they tortured me? That you’re in my blood now after one amazing morning of blissful shagging?”

Putting her good hand on his chest, she didn’t push him away, but glared at him. Her heart sped up as his eyes dropped to her lips. With a will of its own, her tongue poked out and moistened her bottom lip. She was thinking that he was dangerously good looking, when he slapped her hand off his chest, leaned in, and smashed his lips to hers.

Unable to think straight, she kissed him back, not caring that the side of his gun was pressing painfully into her ribs. Only when she attempted to reach up to him with her injured arm, did she snap out of it. With her good hand she pushed him away.

Spike looked just as shocked by what had happened as she was. As he brought his hand to his lips, he asked, “What the hell have you done to me?”

Giles groaned behind him, and Buffy gave the vampire one last glance before rushing around him to help Giles stand up. “What happened?” the bewildered man asked, gently rubbing his temple.

“A demon knocked you out, and we got you to safety,” Buffy said.

Spike whirled around and readied his gun, his eyes fixed on the door handle as it slowly turned. Xander poked his head in.

“There you are. Hurry. Riley has a golf cart like thing waiting for us.”

Buffy helped Giles with her good arm as they hurried out of the office. They sped away with Giles up front next to Riley, who did not look like Riley--but Xander insisted that it was, and Spike confirmed it. She sat squashed between Xander and Spike in the back. They both had their guns out, but the chaos had died down some and they were not challenged as they drove out of the facility. Spike tossed his gun once they were clear and grabbed Buffy’s upper arm to steady her as they went over bumps.

Xander leaned forward and glared at Spike as he grabbed her good arm. “I’ve got her, Spike. Get your hands off her.”

Chapter #11 - 10: House Mates
I really enjoy working with all my betas. Three great people: Mabel Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly.

In Harm’s Way

Chapter Ten: House Mates

The battle weary group filed into the watcher’s condo with Spike taking up the rear. He hadn’t wanted to come back with them, but his choice had been taken from him when he stood by Xander’s car arguing with Buffy and a group of Commandos had come rushing out of nearby bushes. He’d jumped in and they sped off. Only after they were on their way did he realize that the soldiers were chasing a couple of escaped demons and hadn’t even noticed him.

“Buffy!” Joyce exclaimed, rushing to her daughter. “What happened to you?”

“Mom? What are you doing here?”

Joyce examined Buffy’s wrist as she talked. “I went by your dorm to drop off a letter from your dad, but you weren’t there, so I figured that you’d probably be here.” She frowned at Giles. “Willow let me in and said that you were on a mission, so I decided to wait for you.” Joyce settled her gaze on Spike and slowly stalked over to him with her finger pointed. “Did you hurt my daughter?”

Spike smiled. “Gee, Joyce. Even without the axe, you are one hell of a scary woman when you’re on the warpath.” He scratched at the back of his head.

“No, Mom. He didn’t hurt me.”

“Actually,” Xander said grudgingly, “Spike helped us get her out of the Initiative building.”

Spike was so busy glaring at Xander for revealing that he had helped them that he almost missed the warm look that Joyce gave him. “Well, thank you, Spike.”

“Um, yeah…well.”

In the corner, Willow chanted softly over Riley until the glamour slowly faded away. They spoke quietly to each other until they realized that everyone was looking their way. Riley cleared his throat and asked Giles if he could use the phone.

“Buffy, let me look at your wrist,” her mother demanded. “Look at that! It’s very swollen.”

“I might have broken it.”

Joyce took charge, ordering Spike to get some ice, Giles to get a clean towel and Xander to clear some books off the couch so they could sit down. After much assurance from Buffy that she would heal very quickly and that she wasn’t in much pain, Joyce packed her wrist with ice.

Buffy tried to get her mom to leave, but she insisted on being there and knowing what was going on. Spike sat on the stairs, as far away from the group as he could get, listening to Buffy describe what had happened to her. This Adam creature seemed formidable, but he would shed no tears from learning of the evil scientist’s death. He’d have a party, more like.

While he was on hold on the phone, Riley went on and on about how he couldn’t believe that his mentor was actually evil.

It alarmed Spike to know that Buffy wasn’t sure she could take Adam down. Xander piped in, telling her not to worry. That the next time she had to face him, they’d all be there as back up. Rolling his eyes, Spike got up and lit a smoke. Like any of them could help her. They were a liability, not help.

When the conversation came around to him and his chip, he stood behind the couch. Buffy told them what Dr. Walsh had said. Spike glared at Riley when he agreed with Buffy that the Initiative would not give up on looking for Spike.

“If you don’t want to let them get Spike, you’d better hide him. Here is not a good place; they’ll be back,” Riley told them and then excused himself, stretching the phone cord as far as he could and talked quietly to the person on the other end of the line.

It was on the tip of Spike’s tongue to tell them all to shove it up their arses, and that he’d take care of himself, but he noticed Buffy wincing with pain when she moved her ice-packed wrist. The thought of Adam getting hold of her and doing more damage or possibly even killing her, was enough to keep him around. He could fight this Adam demon thing; he was sure of it. It might be part human, but it was part demon as well.

“Spike can stay with me,” Joyce said cheerfully.

Protests went up all around, but Joyce raised a hand to quiet them. “No one would think to look for him there. He can stay in the basement. It’s the least I can do to thank him for getting Buffy out of that awful place.”

When she smiled at him, Spike didn’t feel the need to put up his usual defensive walls. She reminded him of his own mum, and he couldn’t resist her kindness. “Thank you, Joyce.”

“Then I’m staying there, too,” Buffy said to her mom. “There’s no way I’m letting you stay alone with him.”

“I wouldn’t hurt your mother,” Spike said indignantly.

“Actually,” Giles said calmly, “it’s probably a good idea for you and Willow to both stay clear of your dorm room until we know what the Initiative plans to do about our escape.”

“Willow can stay with Anya and me,” Xander offered.

“Anya is living with you now?” Willow asked incredulously. “You just started dating a few weeks ago. Isn’t that kind of soon?”

As Xander stammered, Buffy said to Giles, “What about you? You aren’t safe staying here, then.”

“I’ll stay at a hotel,” Giles said.

“Nonsense.” Joyce stood. “There’s plenty of room at my house. You can stay in the guest room.”

As Giles stuttered a thank you and climbed the stairs to get his things, Riley hung up the phone. “It won’t be necessary for Buffy and Giles to hide out. The Initiative is now in complete disarray, and they are waiting for the real Col. Holbrook to arrive and put things in order.” He grabbed his jacket from the coat rack. “I still don’t think Spike should show his face around town much. That prototype in his head is something the government isn’t going to let go of easily.”

“What about you?” Willow asked Riley. “Are you going to be okay with them?”

Riley looked down. “They know that someone impersonated Col. Holbrook, but they don’t know it was me. I should be safe enough. I just need to take some time to deal with all this.”

Giles opened the door for him. “We are grateful that you came to our aid. We could really use your help on the inside again, if the need arises.”

Giles and Riley shook hands and Riley agreed to call him the next day and let him know if he had any new information.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The car ride over to Revello Drive was tense but quiet. With the exception of Joyce, none of the others thought it was a good idea to have Spike go home with her. That was motivation enough for Spike to put aside his pride at having to hide and to agree to hole up in the basement of the Slayer’s house.

After Joyce had set up a cot for him in the basement, Buffy had stood on the steps, glaring at him. The pompous girl had the nerve to order him to “stay” like a dog, warning him not to come out until she got back with the overnight items she needed from her dorm room and with some blood for him.

Spike stayed in the basement for a half an hour, getting himself situated; and then he trudged up the stairs, having no real reason to do so other than to show the Slayer that he didn’t take orders from anyone. Joyce was in the kitchen washing dishes by hand. He made enough noise to alert the woman to his presence.

She glanced over her shoulder quickly, but went right back to her sudsy water. “So, I guess you and your girlfriend have broken up for good this time?”


“That girl-what was her name? It started with a ‘D’”

“Drusilla. Yeah, she left me for someone else, again. I’m through with her.”

“Good for you. She didn’t sound like a nice girl. You deserve better.”

He smiled fondly at her, thinking that she wouldn’t be so kind to him if she knew that he’d had her daughter in his lair not too long ago. He approached the sink, grabbed a dishtowel, and picked up a glass.

“You don’t have to do that.”

Shrugging, he said, “Figure I should earn my keep if I’m going to be staying for a few days.”

Joyce paused from her work and smiled at Spike, then she handed him the next glass. “I don’t know why Buffy is so worried about you being here. The last time you stopped by, we had a nice chat and you tried to protect me from that awful vampire, Angel. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that you are supposed to be a bad guy or even that you are a vampire.”

“Hey! I am a bad guy. I’m very dangerous. I just happen to like you; and I have a bloody chip in my head now. I couldn‘t bite you if I wanted to.”

“Well, you didn’t bite me last year when we visited together, and you didn’t have a chip then.”

“True. But don’t go spreading that around. I’ve a got a reputation to maintain,” Spike told her seriously.

He would never have guessed that a middle-aged woman like Joyce would have such a cute giggle. “If your friends could see you now, doing dishes, I think your big bad reputation would be shot.”

First, he glared at her, which only caused her to graduate from a giggle to a full on hearty laugh. But then he smiled, and soon he was chuckling along with her as she handed him a plate.

The back door fell open and the Slayer stepped just inside the kitchen, frowning at them over two full bags of groceries.

“Oh, hi, Buffy,” Joyce said cheerfully. She wiped her hands on Spike’s dishtowel and took the bags from her. “I’m so glad for twenty-four hour grocery stores. Did you remember the roast beef?”

Buffy folded her arms, glaring at Spike, but addressing her mother, “Yes, I remembered. Put half of the blood in the freezer so it keeps fresh.” She put the keys on the hook next to the door and glared at Spike some more.

“What?” he asked defiantly.

“Didn’t I tell you to stay in the basement until I got back?”

“Maybe you did.”

“Next time, do what you’re told!“ Buffy ground the words out, letting her impatience show.

“If your mum wants me to stay in the basement, I will,” was his calm reply, ever mindful of the older woman.

Joyce shut the refrigerator and with a glare only her mother could give a slayer, she said, “Spike is a guest in my home. One that I have invited here. I expect you to treat him with respect.”

Behind Joyce, Spike sneered smugly, just loving the fact that he got to see Buffy taken down a peg or two by her own mother.

“Mom!” Buffy whined. “He’s not cousin Spike come to visit from out of town. He’s a vampire!”

“Don’t get smart with me, young lady. If you don’t like it that he’s here, you can go back to your dorm room.”

With a huff, Buffy turned and walked out the back door.

After rolling his eyes heavenward and exchanging a look with Joyce, Spike ran after her.


“Go back into the house, Spike, before someone sees you,” she said in a deflated tone.

“You don’t have to go on my account. I’ll leave if you want me to.”

“I’m not going,” she snapped peevishly. “I’m getting my bags from the car. Now go back inside like I told you to.”

With his back to her, he grinned. He should have known that he wouldn’t be able to get rid of her that easily.

Joyce was pouring blood into a mug for him. “I’m not sure how long to heat this up?”

“I’ll do it. Thank you.”

“Well, I’m off to bed. I have an early shipment from Greece arriving at the gallery tomorrow.”

“Um, Joyce?” Spike asked hesitantly. He continued when she stopped. “I’m sort of a night owl. Would you mind if I watched some TV?”

“Oh, sure. Do me a favor, though, and keep the volume down.”

He smiled, pointing to one of his ears. “Enhanced hearing. I’ll keep it down.”

“See you tomorrow, then.”


~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Carrying a duffle bag and her backpack, Buffy followed Spike into the living room. “What are you doing?” she asked, clearly annoyed with him.

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m watching TV. Wanna join me?” He raised an eyebrow and patted the spot beside him.

She dropped her bag and gestured with her hands as she spoke. “Look, you, I’m sick and tired of getting my head messed with. First it was a love spell, then an engagement spell, followed by a damn truth serum, and then you kissed me. Stop playing with me.” She picked up her bag. “Let’s get one thing clear. I hate you; you hate me. I’m not sitting on the couch with you and I’m NOT happy that you are staying in my mother’s home.” When he opened his mouth, she hurried on with her speech. “And don’t ever try to kiss me again, or I will stake you. Chip or no chip.”

He leapt to his feet, coming around and blocking her path to the stairs. “Stay where you are. I listened to you blather on about all your woes, now you listen to me.” He took a deep breath, keeping his fisted hands at his sides. If he hadn’t had the stupid chip in his head, he’d have hit her by now. “I was just as much of a victim of those bloody spells as you were. More so with the first one, because I had to endure your sappy attentions. Now I’m stuck with a blasted chip in my head, and I can’t even do what comes natural. So you tell me. Whose head has been messed with more?”

She stuttered, but couldn’t come up with anything intelligent to say.

“What’s more, I didn’t ask you to come and live under the same roof. As I recall, neither did your mother. So who’s playing head games with whom?”

“I’m here to make sure you don’t hurt my mother. And, I’m not just talking about physically.” She put her hand up to silence the argument he was about to let loose. “Let’s just agree to keep our distance from each other.”

“Kind of hard to do with you living upstairs and me in the basement.”

Buffy sighed, saying softly, “Just--don’t get in my personal space. Don’t touch me. Don’t smile at me suggestively. That kind of stuff.”

With a smirk, he said, “What? Are my manly charms too much for you to resist?”

She swung the duffle bag at him with her good hand and brushed past him. “You see? This is what I’m talking about.” Pausing on the bottom stair, she said with narrowed eyes, “Why don’t you just leave town? Better yet, leave the country. Go far away where the Initiative can’t find you.”

Now Spike was flustered. He didn’t want think about why he was staying. He glanced at her wrist, still wrapped in the ace bandage, and swallowed. If he left now, who was strong enough to make sure she didn’t get killed? His eyes widened as an excuse came to him.

“The Initiative. I need to find a way to get them to take this chip out of my head. Can’t do that, if I run away. Moreover, I know you have the Gem of Amara hidden away somewhere in town. I’m not leaving Sunnydale until I find it.”

“I’m through talking with you,” she said, stomping up the steps and out of sight.

Spike was glad. He didn’t want to spend any more time in her company either. Or, so he tried to tell himself. As he flipped through the channels, he did his best not to think about what the Slayer was doing up in her room. Was she getting undressed? Had she worn that sexy little black bra today? He slipped his hand into the inner pocket of his duster, ran his fingers over the lace material of the matching knickers, and sighed.

He got up again and paced in front of the phone by the desk. Pulling out a small notebook from his duster, he sat in the chair and dialed. He talked with one person and got a phone number for someone else, then dialed the new number and waited on hold for five minutes until the doctor could speak with him.

The call ended up making him feel more down than he already was. An icy cold fear had gripped his dead heart when the doctor said he was certain that Spike would end up being paralyzed from the neck down for at least six months if the doctor performed surgery to remove the chip. Of course, he couldn’t say for sure, without having Spike come to the office.

He was just sitting down to watch TV again when the phone rang. He sat where he was, not knowing if he should pick it up or let it ring. Buffy ran down the stairs, wearing a chaste set of pajamas..

“Hello,” she said breathlessly with a small frown on her face. “Riley, you do know that it‘s almost one o‘clock in the morning, don‘t you?” As she listened, she slowly pulled the chair out from the desk and sat down. Holding the phone between her head and shoulder, she fidgeted with her messy ponytail, then unbuttoned and buttoned the top button on her shirt. “Thanks for letting me know.” A pause. “Yes, I’ll be careful.” Another pause. “No. I’ll call him later at a decent hour. There’s nothing we can do right now, and we all need some sleep.”

After she ended the call, Spike watched her get up and flop down in the chair across from him.

“Well?” he asked her.

“That was Riley,” she said with a weary sigh.

He felt like growling. There was no one in the world who could try his patience like the Slayer could. “I know that. What did the ponce want?”

“He just found out that Adam was an unauthorized, secret experiment that Dr. Walsh and another doctor were working on. No one else knew about it.”


“This should cheer you up.” She sat up straight, frowning at him. “Adam is designed to be an ultimate fighter. It’s programmed to carry out its last orders at all costs and will only cease when the person who gave the order says so.”

“Sounds like something the U.S. Government would want to use. Why should this make me happy?”

“Because, the last order Dr. Walsh gave Adam before he accidentally killed her was for him to kill me.”

Chapter #12 - 11. Staying In
In Harm’s Way

Chapter Eleven: Staying In

Buffy placed her wrist back on the ice pack on the arm of the couch and scowled at it. She wouldn’t have full use for another day at least. As soon as she’d gotten up, she’d called Giles and told him about Riley’s phone call. He went into full watcher mode, handing out orders.

She couldn’t go to classes, and he didn’t want her leaving the house until they could come up with some kind of plan to locate and be rid of Adam. Giles did not want her to go after Adam until her wrist was fully healed, but she felt truly useless sitting in front of the TV like a couch potato.

With her good hand, she used the remote and changed the channel again. The soap operas were all over now. She’d read somewhere that people liked to watch soaps because it made them realize that their lives weren’t so bad. Well, after spending a day watching stories about characters that she didn’t care about fight and cheat and lie to each other, she concluded that anything the writers came up with on those stupid shows had nothing on her life.

If her mom would just spring for cable, there might be something interesting to watch. Now, almost every channel aired a courtroom show. How stupid were those shows? And boring, too.

Spike hadn’t surfaced yet. On one hand, she didn’t want to see him. On the other, she was so bored that she’d be happy to fight with him. She’d been worried last night that he would tell her mom about their accidental one night stand that when she’d come home from the grocery story and saw them laughing and having a grand old time in the kitchen together, she just about lost it. She didn’t want them talking, and the last place she wanted Spike to be hanging out was the kitchen.

As soon as she could, she was going to have a talk with her mom about not trusting vampires. Joyce had always hated Angel, yet she made hot chocolate for Spike and invited him to live with them.

“Coming up next on the Maury Povich show. Who’s the Daddy? Destiny says she knows for sure who the father is, but Little J is absolutely sure that he’s not the father. He claims that Destiny has had multiple affairs, and he refuses to pay child support until he knows for sure. Is Little J the daddy, or is this man, or this man? Stayed tuned. The show will start after this word from our sponsors.”

Buffy could not believe that people actually watched this stuff. Placing the remote on the couch, she got up to get a snack. She stalled just inside the kitchen, and watched Spike. He had the fridge and freezer doors opened and was distractedly reaching in the freezer with one had while holding up a paperback book with the other. Her heart nearly stopped when she saw him grab a box of frozen peas and push them to the side.

With a couple of quick steps, she was at the fridge. “What are you looking for? Let me get it.”

Spike looked up from his book. “What do you think I’m looking for? Bon Bons? Blood.”

“Well, if you’d put that book down long enough, you’d find it right--what are you reading?” she asked him with a giggle, snatching the book from his hands.

“Hey! Give it here.”

Buffy closed the book and held it up. “Johanna Lindsey? Warrior’s Woman?" she asked incredulously. “You read romance novels?”

He slammed the freezer shut and set about fixing his blood. “No. I don’t usually read romance novels. After you went up to bed, I got bored with the telly, so I looked around for something to read, and that was the only thing your mum had lying around.” Spike pushed the button on the microwave and then grabbed the book back from her. “It’s pretty good really. An Amazon-like woman from the future, space travel, and a fierce warrior who is supposed to be the enemy. They shag a lot though.”

Buffy looked away, finding a spot on the counter to stare at, feeling suddenly uncomfortable. Was he insinuating something?

The introductory music for Maury started, to Buffy’s great relief. “Well, my show’s on,” she said, abruptly turning and going back to her spot on the couch.

The ice from her pack was beginning to melt, but she placed her bandaged covered wrist on it anyway. She snatched the remote off the couch as Spike came and sat down on the other end.

“First up today,” Maury told the audience, “we have Keisha. Keisha is the mother of six-month-old Darius and is married to Walter. She’s here today to tell Walter that he might not be the father of Darius.”

Behind the guest, a picture of Walter and Darius came up on the big screen TV.

“Let’s bring him out.”

Spike stared at her from his end of the couch with a raised brow as the crowd went wild for Walter. “You mock my choice of reading material then sit down to watch this?”

“It’s either this or court room shows. And let’s not get in to a TV watching contest. Giles says you watch Passions.”

He waved his hand at her. “Passions is great. There’s this witch, Tabitha and her living doll, Timmy. They go about town thinking up ways to spread evil and cause mischief.”

“Yeah, I know. I watched your stupid show earlier. Witches aren’t really like that. I bet Willow hates that show.”

Spike scoffed. “Live as long as I have and you’ll meet some pretty devious witches.” He leaned to the side as if he was conspiring with her. “Say, can you tell me what happened today?”

“The same old thing that happens on every soap opera every day. Nothing exciting. Someone named Teresa went around doing stupid things to get this guy Ethan’s attention.”

“That one’s pathetic,” Spike said. “Can’t take a hint.”

“Yeah, but Ethan seems to be stringing her along, so I can understand why she’s obsessed with him. He tells her he’s in love with Gwen, but his eyes say something different. He obviously has some feelings for her. He’s not bad looking either.”

They focused on the TV, once Maury came back from a commercial. Buffy stole glances at Spike every now and then, not really believing that they were sitting on the couch together in her living room, companionably watching a “who’s the daddy” episode of Maury together. Strange things certainly happened on the Hellmouth, but she was sure that they were starting up a whole new category of strange.

The crowd went wild. Walter jumped up and down in relieved glee when he was told that with 99.8 percent accuracy that he was…not…the father. Spike put his empty mug down on the coffee table and said, “I knew he wasn’t the father. It's plain as day, that bird gives it up to any bloke that comes along.”

“Don’t any of these people believe in using protection?” Buffy asked, shaking her head.

“We didn’t,” Spike said, matter-of-factly.

The companionable feeling in the room suddenly dropped into an icy silence. The TV continued on with Maury promising to bring Destiny on next, before going to commercials, but Buffy’s world pretty much came to a halt. While she was awake, she’d been doing a decent job forgetting about her spell-induced seduction of the vampire next to her. Now, he was throwing it in her face again.

She snapped, “Vampires can’t have children. There was no need.”

“True,” said Spike, obviously enjoying her discomfort. “What about with Parker?”

Suddenly, her wrist began to hurt. “It’s none of your business what I did or did not do with Parker.”

“OK, but if you feel the need to go on Maury in the near future, don‘t involve me.”

Spike ducked when she threw a cushion at him, but was up when she cried out in pain. “Is it your wrist?” he asked, kneeling by the couch‘s arm.

He seemed so genuine in his concern for her well-being that it freaked her out. In a split second, she convinced herself that he was only acting because he wanted the Gem of Amara. If he had that now, he wouldn’t be so nice to her. He’d be trying to kill her and her friends. She glared at him. “Don’t pretend like you care. And, it’s none of your business, but Parker did use protection.”

Spike stood up, an indulgent smile on his lips. “I’ll go get you some more ice.”

Jumping up, she winced, but tried to ignore the pain. “I’ll get it! I don’t need your help.” She felt a pang of regret at his hurt expression, but she wanted him as far away from that freezer as possible.

Buffy was just walking back to the living room with a new ice pack when Spike called out to her.

“I think you’re going to want to see this.”

He raised the volume.

The “breaking news” bar scrolled across the bottom of the screen. A woman was crying hysterically as she was guided into a car by a police officer.

The camera panned back to the on scene reporter who asked a teenage witness to tell the public, in his own words, what he had seen.

“Alan was the one who found him. I only got a quick look before we ran back to call the cops.” The boy stopped, choking up. “It was awful, man. It was like a monster had ripped the kid open. There was blood everywhere.”

“Thank you, David. Did you know the boy?”

“He was my neighbor and a good kid. He was only six years old. I can’t talk anymore, man.” The teen went out of the camera’s view.

The reporter wiped at her own eyes and said, “This is a very sad situation here. The police say that it wasn’t an animal that did this. The child’s organs had been systematically removed and placed to the side. This is the work of a deranged person and they warn us all to be cautious, especially if you live near the UC Sunnydale Campus.”

“Oh, God!” Buffy exclaimed. “Adam. He killed that little boy. While I’ve been sitting here hiding like a coward, he’s been out there, killing innocent people!”

“You couldn’t know he would do that. Riley told you that his goal was to kill you, as he had been ordered to do.”

Of course, Spike could rationalize this. He was evil. He killed all the time. But for her, knowing that the little boy would still be alive if she’d gone after Adam right away, weighed heavily on her heart. “I’ve got to call Giles.”

Spike disappeared into the basement when she made her call. By the time she hung up with Giles, he was back again. She noticed his bare feet right away. He held the duster, wrapping it tightly around him.

“So, what did the watcher have to say?”

“Um…” It was hard to concentrate. Buffy bit her lip. She was willing to bet that he had nothing on underneath the coat. Trying to squelch the grin that was creeping up on her, she looked away. Visions of Spike flashing her flooded her mind, causing her to think that she was really depraved. Her grin faded, traitorously thinking that she wouldn’t mind another look at his toned and perfect body.

Spike frowned at her. “Well, if it’s some top secret thing that you won’t share, all you have to do is say so.”

He moved past her and began to climb the stairs. “Oh, yeah. I hope you don’t mind, but I’m washing my clothes. I thought I’d take a shower while I wait for them. Which one is the bathroom?”

“Um… I’ll get you a towel and show you.” Buffy took the stairs two at a time to get ahead of him and put some distance between them.

She handed him a fluffy yellow towel and pointed at the bathroom door. Spike stared at her with a curious tilt to his head.

“You all right, Slayer?”

“Yeah. I’m just going to go…” She turned and pointed to her room, but didn’t move.

Inwardly, she berated herself for drooling over the thought of naked, wet Spike. She felt like groaning when he smirked wickedly at her.

“You want to join me?”

Without thinking her response through, she said, “I can’t. Giles and the others will be here in twenty minutes.” Shaking her head, she quickly added, “I mean, no! And don’t ask me things like that.”

Spike shrugged and closed the door part way. “I could use some help washing my back is all. And, I’m not opposed to a repeat of what happened a couple of weeks ago. I'm always up for a good bit of rough and tumble… but, then, you know that already.”

It was a good thing he slammed the door when he did. She cursed him loudly and had to restrain herself from kicking the door down and beating the crap out of him when he chuckled at her through the door. The sound of the shower running sent her scurrying to her room.

Flopping onto the bed, Buffy rested her head on the pillow with eyes closed. Try as she might, she could not ignore the sound of the running water. She imagined him hanging up his coat on the hook, slipping into the shower, and running soapy hands over his flesh. She gave a quick glance at her door. She’d locked it when she came in. Had Spike locked the bathroom door?

Don’t think that way! Forcing herself to think of a neutral non-hot vampire subject, she leapt up and zipped down the stairs to make snacks for her friends.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Tilting his head up, Spike let the water fall over his head and rinse the shampoo out. It was wishful thinking, but he hoped the green apple smell would wash out, too. He thought it could be worse. He could come out of the shower smelling like roses instead. Giving up on trying to reach his back with soapy hands, he stood under the water and daydreamed.

It was obvious now that Buffy’s little speech a couple of weeks ago up on that ridge was the truth. The way she ogled him and forgot herself when he teased her about joining him in the shower told him that she did have the hots for him. Too bad she was so uptight that she couldn’t let herself go. That love spell could come in handy about now.

He was feeling lonely all by himself. He closed his eyes, let his hands slide down his stomach, and pictured what it would be like if Buffy entered the bathroom naked. She’d be shy and hesitant, but he’d open the shower door and help her in. Then he’d show her what showering with him could be like. He’d soap her all up before enveloping her in his arms and massaging her back and arse. Getting one leg between her feet, he’d rub his leg on her more sensitive parts and guide her soapy hand to his.

Wrapping his own hand around his hard and slick member, he continued to think about her.

He’d make sure she was satisfied before turning her and positioning her over the edge of the tub. Then he’d enter her from behind while the warm water beat down on his back. The sounds Buffy made when she came were etched in his mind. He’d make sure to hear them again, but not until he drove her wild by going excruciatingly slow so that she’d have to take matters into her own hands and move with him to quicken the pace while touching herself. He’d make her beg for more, before he would pound into her until she cried out in pleasure.

Spike leaned against the shower wall, panting heavily while the spasms racked his lower body. Then he stood under the stream of water and washed himself off. Perhaps one day, he could tempt her into a shower in reality. Until then, he’d have to make do with his fantasies. Ones that he knew by heart and had been having long before they ever tumbled into bed together, but they’d gotten more real and intense since that morning.

The best he could find in the way of hair products was a purple can of Aussie Mousse. Again with the pretty smelling stuff. Spike liberally coated his wet moussed hair with Aussie Hair Spray, before grabbing his coat. Briefly, he thought of walking down the stairs with his coat on his arm, but the chance that Joyce might be home or the Scoobies having already arrived encouraged him to be a good boy and cover up.

Chapter #13 - 12. No Deal
In Harm’s Way

Chapter Twelve: No Deal

Spike didn’t have to wait long for his clothes; they’d somehow managed to find their way into the dryer. He looked up at the ceiling and smiled, imagining Buffy coming down to the basement and doing that small task for the likes of him.

By the time Spike emerged from the basement, smelling like Aussie hair products and spring fresh dryer sheets, the Scoobies had all congregated in Buffy’s living room. They had the lights on, the room having gone dim with the setting sun.

Spike's gaze went from the relaxed but bored ex-vengeance demon, sitting on the couch next to Xander, to the others who were tense, their faces drawn with worry as Giles slowly paced the room, going on about something.

Spike almost turned around and went back into the basement. The watcher was so boring when he started blathering like that. However, he caught some of the words and was drawn in. Everyone, except Buffy, ignored him as he sat on the arm of the chair where she was sitting. He nearly toppled off the edge of the chair when she gave him a quick glance, blushed and quickly looked away, focusing on Giles.

“So,” she said, “Adam has a computer in him and he was made to soak up information and learn?”

“Yes,” Willow said. “Riley was there when they interrogated Dr. Angleman, who was the other Doctor working with Professor Walsh.” Willow stared at Buffy with worried expression. “You have to be careful, Buffy. Riley says this thing was built to be indestructible.”

“Trust me, I know. He didn’t even flinch when I kicked him at full strength, and he threw me around like a rag doll.”

Spike followed her movement with his eyes when she absently rubbed at her bandaged wrist.

“I have to do something now. One little boy is dead already. I can’t let him hurt anyone else.”

“How is your wrist?” Xander asked.

Buffy shrugged. “It’s not completely healed, but I don’t have the luxury of time to wait for it.”

It was on the tip of Spike’s tongue to protest, but he thought better of it. These people weren’t going to listen to him and they would question his motives for trying to keep the Slayer out of harm’s way.

The phone rang and as Buffy got up to answer it, the others began discussing what could be done. Spike kept his eyes on Buffy listened intently to the person on the line. He stood when their eyes met, hers filled with fear. He’d seen that look before. During the first Halloween when she thought she was helpless, he’d fed off that fear and reveled in it. Now, he gripped the back of the chair to stop himself from going to her.

Out of the corner of his eye, Spike could see Giles glaring at him. He didn’t give a rat’s arse what that wanker thought of him, but he broke eye contact with Buffy to glare back at him.

“Giles,” Buffy said with a wave of her hand, “it’s Riley. Riley, tell Giles what you’ve just told me.”

She handed the phone to him and began unwrapping her wrist. Xander and Willow stood up together.

Buffy said to them, “I need one of you to get to my mom’s gallery as fast as you can and keep her from coming home.”

With wide eyes, Willow asked, “Why, Buffy?”

“Adam is on his way here, and if I‘m going to defeat him, I can‘t be worried about her getting hurt.”

Anya got up from the couch and with a little shiver of fear, held her hand out to Xander. “Give me the keys to the car. I’ll need directions, but if that creature is on its way here, I want to be far away. I’ll stay with Buffy’s mom.”

Giles hung up the phone and joined them again. “Adam broke into the college offices and downloaded all of Buffy’s information from their computers. He’s already damaged the dorm room, looking for you. Riley thinks there is a chance that Adam is now on his way here. The Initiative has begun mobilizing units to search for him.”

“Willow, please call my mom and ask her to wait for Anya to get there.”

When Buffy opened the weapons chest in the corner, Spike came up beside her and grabbed a sturdy axe.

“Give me that,” Xander narrowed his eyes as he snatched the axe. “What do you think you’re doing?”

Spike yanked it back out of his hands. “What does it look like I’m doing, you git? I’m arming myself.”

While Xander rummaged in the box for something for himself, Spike turned to Buffy. “I’m as strong, if not stronger than you are, but you say that Adam is stronger?”

“You are not stronger than me,” she said peevishly, with her good hand on her hip.

“Focus here, Slayer.”

“Yes, he’s very strong. A lot stronger than you or me.”

Spike turned his back on her and walked into the kitchen. A small yellow light cast a weak glow over the stove, but he didn’t bother to turn on the bigger lights.

He paced.

If what she said was true, their fighting back was probably fruitless. Especially with a slayer who was not at full strength. They had to find a way to fight Adam with the same level of strength that would be coming at them.

Adam was indestructible.

“That’s it!” Spike shouted and walked back to the living room. “Slayer! Can I talk to you alone for a minute?”

“We’ve no time for your games, Spike,” Giles said absently as he polished a sword.

“Come here,” Spike said with a jerky hand motion, trying to convey how serious he was with his eyes.

She stared at him with her head tilted, glanced around at the others who were busy preparing, and walked towards him. Xander stopped what he was doing and followed them into the kitchen.

“This does not concern you, boy,” Spike said with a growl. “Go back to the other room.”

Xander leaned against the wall and folded his arms across his wide chest. “I’m not leaving you alone with Buffy.”

When the Slayer rolled her eyes heavenward, Spike had the sudden urge to kiss her. Buffy turned to her friend and pointed behind him. “Go.”

Once Xander was out of the room, he took her by the elbow and guided her to the farthest wall away from the living room.

He started to speak, but stopped, then tried again, only to get tripped up on his words. Instead, he looked away, setting his axe on the counter.

Buffy set her sword down next his weapon and focused on him again with narrowed eyes. “Spike, I don’t have all night. There’s a big freak of a monster on its way over here to kill me.”

“I know,” he said, frustrated with himself. “Look, I want to strike a bargain with you. We’ve done it before and saved the world, haven’t we?”

“Yes.” She drew out the word in her impatience. “What kind of bargain?

“I’ll kill Adam for you, but you’ve got to do one thing for me first.”

“I don’t need you to fight my battle for me.”

She gasped when he roughly grabbed her wrist. “Oh, really?” he said and winced as his head started to ache. “Seems that you might.”

Gingerly holding her wrist, she asked him, “What do you want me to do?”

“The gem. Give me the Gem of Amara.”

Buffy backed away from him, with a murderous gleam in her eye. “That’s never gonna happen, so you can just forget it.” She turned and walked away, adding, “You’re wasting my time.”

Spike rushed around her and blocked her way. “Hear me out.” He held her by her shoulders and they stared at each other in silence, locked in an uncomfortable connection.

“Buffy!” Giles called from the other room.

“Just a minute, Giles,” she yelled back, knocking Spike’s hands away, but not trying to go around him.

“With the gem, I’d be more indestructible than Adam. He could toss me around and I’d just get right back up. No broken bones for me.”


“So, you’re just going to let that thing kill you?”

“Why do you care? You’ve been trying to kill me for years. I’d think you’d be glad if I was dead.”

He sputtered. “Yeah, but…” He let out a breath and threw his hands up. He could stand there and try to come up with lies, or he could tell her the truth. “Look. I don’t want you dead. Not anymore.”

“What?” There was fear in her eyes again. This time, it wasn’t for her life, but it was just as real. There was something between them, and it might have been brought on by spells, but they weren’t under one now. He didn’t want to say it and she didn’t want to hear it. She'd asked why he cared, though.

Then, he chickened out. “Just get me that Gem. I promise to help you defeat Adam.”

“And then what?” she asked. “I’d have you to deal with, and I’d be defending myself and the people I care about against an indestructible you.” He glared at her, but said nothing. “You say you don’t want me dead, but you’re evil. You…you’re probably just saying that so I give you the gem.” She pointed at him. “That’s it! Isn’t it?” She latched on to that possibility like a pit bull.

“You are so infuriating!”

“And then, after you have the gem, no one could stop you from killing. You could go on a feeding frenzy and there’d be nothing I could do about it as bodies started pilling up.”

“I don’t need to feed when I have the Gem on my finger,” he told her matter of factly.

She scowled him, saying in a low voice, “Now I know you are lying.”

Spike shook his head. “I’d have no reason to lie about something like that. It’s the truth. The minute I put that ring on my finger, I felt comfortably full and the feeling didn’t go away until I woke up without it on.”

“Ha! You drained Parker.” When his eyes got big at being caught, she continued, “Yeah, I knew it was you. I don’t know why you did it, but I knew it. You had the ring then.”

Spike glanced around nervously, hoping no one was eavesdropping. “I didn’t kill Parker for a feed. I came across him and his mates talking about you. The things he was saying brassed me off.”

In a sad but determined tone, she told him, “And that’s exactly why I can’t let you get your hands on that Gem. You are evil and whether you need to feed or not, you will still kill.”

She started to walk away again, but his words stopped her.

“I don’t know how you did it, Buffy. But somehow, you’ve gotten under my skin. I don’t like it, but there’s not much I can do about it. I don’t want you dead, and I’m willing to do anything in my power to make sure you stay alive.”

She turned to look at him with eyes wide and mouth parted in shock.

“Buffy!” Willow screeched. “Adam’s coming down the block. Right now!”

She picked up her sword and headed for the front door. He grabbed his axe and ran after her.

Not caring that the others were watching, he gripped her arm and swung her to face him. “The gem.”

“No,” she said, opening the front door.


Her stern face softened for a split second and then her frown was back. “I don’t trust you, but if you want to help, then fight with us. If you don’t, stay out of my way.”

As she marched down the walk, the others brushed past him, giving him a curious look. He sniffed defiantly and sneered at them all, before running to catch up with them.

Spike had a very bad feeling about this. He asked himself what he was doing. Just three weeks ago, he was planning the Slayer’s death and now he was guarding the rear of her little posse and doing what he could to help save her life.

He got a glimpse of the monster they were going to fight. He was large and grotesque. Adam lumbered towards them with his murderous eyes on the Slayer. Yet, Buffy marched towards him without hesitation.

Spike gripped his axe tighter and felt the wave of anticipation that always took hold before a good fight. He’d come up against Buffy enough times to know that she was feeling the same thing. It was one of the reason he respected her as much as he did. She liked a good fight as much as Spike did. It was like they were carved from the same stone.

He didn’t know much, but he did know that he was well and truly buggered.

Chapter #14 - 13. Peas
a/n: Betas: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly. Three great ladies who help me tremendously. Thank you!
And thank you to all who have reviewed so far. It really means a lot to me.
This chapter runs a little long compared to most of my chapters. I almost broke it in to two small ones, but changed my mind.
Enjoy and let me know what you think. :)

In Harm’s Way

Chapter Thirteen: Peas

Adam’s clear voice rang out across the dark street as he lumbered towards them. “Buffy Anne Summers. The Vampire Slayer. I must engage in combat with you and determine how strong you are. Then I must kill you and report back to Mother.”

Buffy stopped walking. Her friends, her watcher, and her…Spike fanned out behind her. Adam’s demon green skin looked ashen grey in the pale light of the moon. A slight breeze ruffled his hair and broke the silence of the night as the leaves on the large trees lining the street on both sides rustled above them.

“Sorry to break the bad news to you, but you killed your mother. You have no one to report to now.”

Adam paused, tilting his head as he tried to process what she'd said, but then continued to make his way down the street. “I must kill you.”

She‘d almost forgotten how big he was. It would have been better if she‘d told them all to stay in the house. “Don’t put yourselves in danger,” she told the group behind her, without taking her eyes off Adam, ”unless you really think I’m in trouble. Until then, all of you stay back.”

Buffy sliced her sword through the air, preparing for battle. Using her injured hand, she waved the group behind her to get out of the way.

“I’m looking for a good protection spell, Buffy,” Willow told her as she stepped on to the sidewalk, holding a large book open and frantically flipping through the pages. Xander stepped onto the curb on the other side, pointing a crossbow at Adam. Giles and Spike stood side by side, with weapons at the ready, refusing to budge from their position behind her.

“Let’s do this already.” Buffy fell into her habit of trying to psychologically mess with her opponent.

Adam didn't seem to even register her taunts and posturing, and did not answer her back. He picked up his pace, letting his Polgara skewer drop. With a quick jab, she plunged her sword into his side. He halted, glanced down, and then looked up at her with cold indifference.

Buffy backed up and yanked the sword free . It surprised her when he didn’t even flinch. This was not good. Her instincts were telling her to run, but she knew it wouldn‘t accomplish anything. This thing was going to keep coming after her, and it was very possible that more people would get hurt. She steeled herself to the task at hand. Adam must be stopped.

She spun around and kicked him. Like all the times she’d kicked him while fighting in the Initiative building, he didn’t budge. With calculated precision, Adam landed a punch up and across Buffy's jaw, sending her flying back into Giles and knocking him down with her.

Giles should not have been there. She got up quickly, and scowled at Giles, still sprawled on the pavement. “I thought I told you to move back.” Her eyes fell on Spike, who was glaring at Adam as he stepped forward. “Both of you; get out of my way,” Buffy ordered as she picked up the sword with her injured hand, ignoring the pain.

She watched Spike help Giles up, before turning her attention back to Adam. As she charged forward, thrusting the sword and delivering a couple of quick kicks at Adam's midsection, she didn’t have time to dwell on how weird a sight that was.

All of a sudden, she was up in the air, her sword flying in one direction, while she flew in the other, landing with a bone jarring thud on her neighbor’s grassy lawn. Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, Buffy now knew what they meant by never knowing what hit you. It had happened so fast.

Spike let out a piercing war cry as he embedded his axe in Adam’s shoulder. The grotesque creature kicked Spike away and sneered at the axe, before yanking it out and throwing it at him. She breathed a sigh of relief when Spike, using his amazing reflexes, ducked. The axe landed in the street with a clank.

Adam snarled, “Must kill Buffy.” Their eyes met, and she was more fearful of the cold, dead calm she saw there, than she had ever been of any angry, hateful demon.

Her boots slipped on the damp grass as she scrambled to get up, using her one good hand. He hadn’t even made it to the curb before Xander shouted, “Hey, Frankenstein! Over here.”

The monster halted, turned slowly, and glared at Xander on the other side of the street. When her friend aimed the crossbow at Adam and pulled the trigger, Buffy shot to her feet and got out of the way. The bolt pinged off Adam’s metal side and landed a few feet away. Adam began a slow march towards Xander who fumbled with a new bolt with shaky hands.

Buffy jumped on Adam’s back like an angry cat and tried her hardest to twist his neck, her injured wrist protesting the use. His head wouldn’t budge. Adam tried to shake her off, but she held on as the monster continued across the street towards Xander.

Behind them, Buffy could hear Willow mumbling and whimpering as she tried to recite a spell. If there was any time that Willow needed to come through with a great spell, it was now. She tried not to think of all the possible ways Willow could mess one up. She had to think positive. Positive thoughts.

Buffy was flying again only this time she landed in the middle of the street. She could not believe how strong Adam was. He’d thrown her off as if she was a pesky fly! Giles attempted to come to Xander’s rescue and was punched in the face for his efforts. He went down, but miraculously, he was able to stumble away.

As Buffy got up, Spike stomped by her with his axe now in hand. She wrenched it from him. “Help Giles.”

Adam punched Xander, who had gotten one more shot off with the crossbow, but it had done nothing to slow the monster down. Xander went up into the air, already unconscious, and landed on the hood of a parked car. Horrified at the thought that Xander might be dead, Buffy charged Adam with her axe raised.

She buried the weapon into Adam’s lower back. He arched as he spun around, trying desperately to remove the axe, and while he was distracted by that, she kicked him in the knee. He forgot the axe and came at her again. “Must kill the Slayer.”

She watched as Spike went around and behind Adam at a wide angle. She was thinking that Spike was going to check on Xander, which didn’t make any sense, because Spike was evil and couldn‘t care about her friend. Instead, Spike yelled out, “Hey, you stupid piece of scrap metal! Wanna piece of this?”

As Adam turned, Buffy yanked the axe out of his back and kicked him in the back of the knee. He stumbled, faltered and then righted himself, turning around and grabbing the axe just as she was arching it towards him. He twisted the axe, and she had no choice but to let go when her arm began to burn with pain.

Her back hurt, she could feel the swelling of her eye, and the Slayer was certain that it wouldn’t be long until the swelling got so bad that she wouldn’t be able to see out of it. But, she couldn’t give up.

She ducked as he swung the axe at her. Then, she swiftly turned to the side and kicked at the Polgara skewer as he jabbed at her.

Giles yelled, “Now!”

Spike rushed Adam from behind, punching in rapid succession then kicking, coming at the monster with all he had. Giles came from the side with his sword raised. Buffy felt the first stirrings of confidence in a long while. If they all came at him at the same time, this just might work.

Willow continued to chant, her voice growing louder. Then she faltered. “No. No! That’s not it! Stink.” And then she went back to flipping through the pages.

Adam kicked Buffy, landing a blow to her jaw. She stumbled back and watched in horror as Adam grabbed the tip of Giles’ sword with his bare hand and didn’t even flinch as it sliced his bloodless hand open. Spike might as well have not been behind Adam, as his punches and kicks did nothing to stop the monster. Adam threw the sword down and stared at Giles with impassive eyes.

Her mouth had quickly flooded with the awful metallic taste of her own blood. The feeling in the pit of her stomach that always came over Buffy when she knew she was helpless to stop something came over her now. She watched in horror, even as she went forward ready to kick the monster away, as Adam swung his arm, slamming it across Giles’ stomach. Her watcher went flying across the road, landing on the sidewalk directly across the street from the car where Xander still lay, unmoving.

“Giles!” she yelled out.

One of his legs was in a weird position and he didn’t stir. She turned back to Adam in time to see Spike get pierced in the stomach with the skewer. He yelled out in pain but pushed himself away from the skewer and stumbled back. Spike had taken many hits to the head, and red welts and deep purple bruises covered his face.

As Adam turned back to her, she futilely tried again to land a blow to his head with her fist, then backed up and ran at him, leaping into the air, kicking him in rapid succession with both feet before landing firmly. Now, she was running on pure adrenaline and was able to use her injured hand to land a one two punch to his midsection.. She did not feel the pain.

She was doing well until she got a look at her friends. Xander was still knocked out on one side of the street. Giles was either dead or unconscious on the other side and…and Spike was doubled over in pain behind Adam. It was too much for her. She needed to be on the top of her game, but her anger and grief had taken over.

She couldn't get away fast enough, and Adam sliced her jeans open with the Polgara skewer, jabbing it in to her thigh. She yelled out in pain, but had no time to dwell on it as Adam picked her up with one hand and threw her. She heard Spike scream her name and then everything went dark.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike screamed, “Buffy!” as she flew through the air and hit a tree trunk. Her body fell to the ground just a few feet away from Giles. She was out cold, and it was now left to him to get rid of this freak of a monster. Forgetting the pain in his side where the skewer had pierced him, he let out an enraged howl and charged.

Giles had come to and was trying to drag himself to Buffy. Willow moaned and whimpered off to the side, frozen in place, not knowing who to go to.

Adam easily tossed Spike aside and he landed in the street near Giles and Buffy.

“I can’t move. I think my leg is broken,” Giles told him with a grimace.. “Buffy’s losing a lot of blood from her thigh. I think she tore an artery.”

Spike glanced over his shoulder to see Adam lumbering their way. He quickly shed his jacket and winced as he whipped his t-shirt off. The smell of slayer blood in the air was heady and sickening at the same time. This was his slayer that was dying and he felt sick to his stomach. “Use this to staunch the flow of blood.”

Buffy groaned as Giles quickly pressed the t-shirt, with all his strength, onto her thigh wound and did his best to elevate her injured leg. She slowly opened her eyes, which got suddenly wider when she saw Adam coming their way. Spike’s unbeating heart clenched when she turned those beautiful green eyes on him.

“It’s…It’s…gah…in the peas,” she stuttered through her pain.

“Hey!” Xander yelled weakly, from the other side of the street. Spike glanced behind him just in time to see the crossbow hit Adam on the back. Changing directions, Adam marched towards Xander, who was barely holding himself up in a crouching position.

“What’s this about peas?” Giles asked.

Buffy took a few short breaths, closed her eyes and then opened them to stare directly at Spike. “The freezer. It’s in the peas. Get…it,” she said weakly as she faded into unconsciousness once more.

Spike exchanged confused looks with Giles while shrugging back into his coat. “Peas?” Giles asked. “Why does she want you to get peas from the freezer?”

With eyes wide with hope, Spike stood up. He knew! He just knew she was talking about the Gem of Amara. That would explain why she was acting so strange in the kitchen earlier in the day, when he went to get his blood out of the freezer!

He let out a soft laugh and Giles frowned at him.

“No time to explain, old man. Just keep our Slayer alive.”

Adam was moving closer to Xander, who was now on the dark porch of a neighbor’s house. Spike’s attention was drawn to the end of the street. Three commandos were running with guns in hand.

“There he is!” one yelled. “Adam!”

Spike turned and with strength that he didn’t know he had left, he ran and tackled a whimpering Willow. He tossed her over his shoulder, her book flying onto the street, and ran the best he could, ignoring the burning pain in his side. Willow didn’t help as she pounded on his back.

“Everybody, take cover,” a commando ordered. And then shots rang out, ricocheting off cars and trees.

Spike dumped Willow, non-too-gently, on the floor of Buffy's living room and threw the phone at her. “Call 911.” When Willow just stared at the phone, he added, “Buffy is losing a lot of blood. If she doesn’t get to the hospital soon, she will die!”

That snapped Willow out of her shock. He left her there punching in the numbers with trembling fingers.

Gunshots continued to go off outside.

He raced to the kitchen and yanked the freezer door open. Spike honed in on the microwavable box of peas and grabbed it. Bringing it to the counter, he realized, upon closer inspection, that it was a fake. A contraption used for just this purpose, to hide valuables where a thief would not think to look. He made a note to himself to always check the freezers of any houses he ever ransacked.

He shook the plastic box and could hear the ring. After fumbling with the thing, he got it open and quickly shoved the ring on his finger.

The feeling was amazing!

All over and all at once, his wounds began to heal. The warmth he’d felt before tingled over his body, taking over the flesh and making him feel alive again. He pulled his coat to the side and caressed the bare flesh on his side. Now, it was perfectly healed up. At first, he gently touched his face, but when he felt no bruising pain, he laughed and roughly slapped himself.

Tilting his head, he listened as the gun shots died down to nothing, like a fully popped bag of microwave popcorn. As Spike raced to the front door, he told himself that he could celebrate later.

Willow was still on the phone. “The…the ambulance is on it way.” Her fear and stress rolled off her in waves. “Where are you going?”

He smirked at her. “There’s a Frankenstein out there that needs to be put back into parts, and I’m just the vamp for the job.” He held up his hand for her, flashing the ring and whirled around to the door.

The receiver dropped to the floor and she followed after him. He was just down the steps when he realized that she planned to go with him. “Go back inside, Red. The Slayer will not be happy if something happened to you, too.”


“Go!” he roared and morphed into his demon form.

She meeped and ran, slamming the door behind her. Spike cracked his neck and smiled wickedly. It felt good to be back in form.

He came up behind Adam, just as he was breaking the neck of one of the soldiers. The other two were dead, lying in a heap not too far behind this one.

“Come on then, you stinkin’ piece of rubbish,” Spike taunted with a cocky brow raised. “Are you up for a real fight?”

Adam glanced over at Giles and Buffy and then glared back at him. “That’s right. Over here.” Spike backed up, hoping Adam would follow. Spike wanted to be far enough away from Buffy, just in case he or Adam ended up on the ground. He didn’t want to take the chance that they might land on her and hurt her any more than she already was. “You’re going to have to go through me first, if you want to kill the Slayer.”

Adam stopped and with a look of confusion, asked, “Why do you protect the Slayer? You are a vampire.”

From one side of the street, Giles stared at him with the same expression of confused curiosity as Adam. On the other side of the street, Xander glared at Spike from behind a bush.

Spike sniffed. “That doesn’t concern you, you pile of rotting flesh.”

Adam let his Polgara skewer out again, turning towards Giles and the still unconscious Slayer. With a yell, Spike charged at him. Adam whipped around and Spike grabbed the skewer, broke it off with a snap, and plunged it into one of Adam’s eyes.

As the monster pawed at his eye, Spike gripped him by the metal plate on his chest, yanking him down the street and away from Buffy. His white chest gleamed in the moonlight in stark contrast to his black leather coat. By the time Spike had them on the other side of Buffy’s house, but still in the middle of the street, Adam had the skewer out and had stabbed the vampire in the neck.

Spike winced, but easily pulled it out and grinned at Adam. “That tickled.” Then he spun around, his duster swirling out around him and landing a fierce kick to Adam's thigh. Adam got in several good hits, but Spike just kept getting back up and going at him.

They continued to trade blows with fists and boots, but the vampire was getting frustrated. Nothing he did even put a dent in the metal or wore down the monster. Adam was starting to growl with his own frustration, as nothing seemed to work to get the vampire to back down. With full force, Adam hauled back with both fists and punched Spike in the gut .

Spike when flying back, but he sprang up in an instant. “That’s it!” Spike growled at Adam. “This is over, now!”

At a full run, Spike charged the monster and with a scream of anger, he punched Adam in the gut. So hard was the force of his fist that it went right through the monster’s demon tough skin. Spike’s knuckles hit something smooth and hard.

As Adam looked down in shock, Spike pulled his hand back just enough to open it and get it around the small cylinder shaped object. He yanked it out and stared in disgust at the clear plastic container with glowing green fluid inside.

Just as Adam clutched his stomach and fell to the ground, another set of three commandos rounded a corned and came down the block.

Spike tossed the cylinder to the ground where it cracked, leaking fluid onto the asphalt. He held his arms out in mock welcome. Coming off a good hard kill was like ambrosia to Spike. He was ready for more, and commandos were just the thing he’d liked to kill right now.

Xander had just made his way over to Buffy and Giles. Spike watched the commandos get closer. He didn’t want Buffy to be shot by a stray bullet. He had to get those wankers far away from her.

He could hear the ambulance sirens, and then it was turning down the street. The headlights shone on the backs of the commandos, making their black forms stand out in the night.

If the paramedics saw those guns, they wouldn’t get out of their vehicle to help Buffy.

“Hey, soldier boys!” Spike yelled. “Hostile Seventeen, right here.”

They ran towards him even faster, and he took off running, laughing with glee.

When he was down a block and into the back alley of a set of houses, he stopped and waited for them to catch up.

“Took you long enough,” he told them when they stopped and aimed their guns at him. One of them walked in an arc, moving to his left side. Spike slowly took a step toward the two standing together. One of them shot a tranquilizer dart at him. He laughed, pulled it out and kept walking towards them.

With fear in their eyes, they started shooting at him. Without any pain, he felt each bullet pierce his skin. His coat was going to be a bitch to repair. When he was close enough, he grabbed both of the guns, yanked them away and tossed them to the side.

Before the two stunned soldiers could react, Spike slammed their heads together and they crumpled to the ground.

The soldier to the left continued to shoot at him. Spike turn to him with a scowl. “Watch the coat!” he ordered peevishly.

As soon as Spike began walking towards him, the soldier threw his gun down and ran away down the alley and disappeared between two houses.

“Heh, heh,” Spike chuckled lightly. Then, he laughed with abandon before it turned into a victory shout that rang out into the siren-filled air. Police, fire engines and Initiative vehicles now joined the ambulance near Buffy’s house. He turned the corner just as an ambulance sped off.

His smile quickly faded into a concerned frown.

The Slayer. Buffy. Was she going to be okay?

Chapter #15 - 14. Surgery
In Harm’s Way
Chapter Fourteen: Surgery

He ran.

Spike ran at full speed, all the way to Sunnydale Memorial Hospital. One of the many perks he was discovering about his gem, was that he was a bit faster and didn’t get winded at all. He stopped just to the side of the ER entrance and put his right hand on his chest. As warm as he felt, he was almost surprised to not have a heart beat.

After he was sure that none of the Scoobies were in the waiting area, he casually sauntered over to the front desk and gave the young receptionist his most charming of smiles.

“’Lo there, love. Can you help a bloke out?”

She shuffled some papers and blushed. “What can I do for you, sir?”

“I need to suss out what happened to my friend. A girl with--”

“I’ll handle this, Lorraine,” an older woman said as she pushed the pretty girl out of her seat. “Take these files to Dr. Kaufman.” Then the woman turned cold eyes on him. “Are you a relative?”

He glared at her. “No.”

“What is the patient’s name?”

He leaned an elbow on the counter and stared at the woman while trying to keep his eye on the waiting room. “Buffy Summers. Was just brought in a few minutes ago.”

With practiced precision, the receptionist tapped away on her computer. “I can tell you that she was admitted.”

“And?” Spike prompted, as he scanned the room, making sure the Scoobies had not entered.

“That’s it. I can’t tell you anything more. Please wait for a family member to show up. They can pass on more information.”

He stood tall and glared at the woman, attempting to intimidate her.

She glared back. “This hospital has a strict policy about dress code. You’ll need to put on a shirt.”

Doing his best to fight down his building anger and the accompanying urge to take advantage of his new-found freedom to indulge it, knowing that he could tear the place apart and kill every one of the people in the waiting room, he opened his coat wider and said, “I’d a kept my shirt on, but then your patient would mostly likely be dead, seeing as how it was used to put pressure on her bleeding wound.” He wanted to vamp out and scare the hell out of the unpleasant woman, but Buffy was more important.

She stuttered, “Well--then--keep your coat wrapped around you.”

He nodded, but didn't even make a show of trying to comply with her order as he moved away from the desk. Casually, he edged his way towards the large swinging doors off to the side, putting him out of view of the receptionists and the main entrance.

He watched as one patient and then another was called through those doors. The waiting room was crowded with semi-sick people and their companions. If he was feeling peckish at all, it would be easy pickins, but he had no desire to feed.

Suddenly, he heard frantic, familiar voices at the desk.

“Is my daughter okay? Buffy Summers.”

“And Xander Harris,” Anya said, almost in hysterics.

Then he heard Red. “And Rupert Giles. Where is he?”

The receptionist’s voice boomed out into the room as she told them all to calm down. As all eyes in the waiting room went to the group of women being scolded, Spike took that opportunity to slip through the double doors.

On the other side of the doors, it was a different world completely. People in hospital scrubs moved to and fro at a quick pace, all too busy to be concerned with Spike. He casually strolled further into the treatment area of the ER, and then paused to lie in wait in a deserted hallway.

He had to find out if Buffy was okay. He paused and asked himself when it was that he’d started to think of the slayer of his kind as Buffy. She may have come at him like a freight train with her seduction, and his body may have come on board right away, but these feelings for her had just crept up on him. She’d slithered in past his defenses.

Spike knew blood, and Buffy's wound had been severe. Although, when he’d left her to get the gem, her heartbeat had still been strong, and the watcher had applied pressure right away. He assured himself that they had to have gotten her here in time.

An orderly came around the corner and Spike seized his opportunity. He grabbed the young man by the arm and shoved him against the wall, a hand over his mouth.

Spike closed his eyes for a second to let the thrill of seeing the fear in the man’s wide eyes sink in. The rush, the power--was not why he was here.

“I’m not going to hurt you, mate. I just want a little information, and you’re going to give it to me, yeah?”

Spike eased the pressure of his hand, but did not remove it, when the orderly nodded.

“You had a patient come in a little while ago. Pretty blonde girl. She’d been beaten up and has a thigh wound. She was bleeding all over the place. Do you know who I’m talking about?”

When the terrified orderly nodded, Spike removed his hand from his mouth. “I need to know how she’s doing and where she is in this labyrinth.”

“She…she’s in sur…surgery to repair an artery. Up in the O.R. I took her there myself.”

Spike relaxed. She was still alive. “Take me to her.”

“I…I can take you to the surgery waiting room,” the man offered.

Spike smashed the orderly into the wall. “Show me which operating room she’s in. I’m not going to interfere, I just need to see her.”

As he followed the orderly through a maze of corridors, Spike thought about Buffy. She had to survive. Science had come a long way since his day. As the elevator doors closed on them, Spike felt a pang of something inside. Was it guilt? Couldn’t be. And yet, here he was, injury free and the healthiest vamp on earth while the Slayer lay on a table somewhere with doctors attempting to stitch a major artery back together.

He stared at the ring in fascination and wondered if it only worked on vamps. The idea struck him so fast, that he didn’t think it through. He grabbed the orderly’s hand, vamped out and bit into his thumb.

While the orderly yelped and stared at his bloody wound, Spike went back to human form.

“What did you do that for?” cried the man, backing away and cowering in the corner of the elevator. The doors opened, and Spike yanked him out with him.

“No time to explain. Here, put this on for a minute.”

Hesitantly, Spike pulled the ring off his finger, and then quickly shoved it on to the man’s hand, staring intently at the bleeding thumb.

Nothing happened.

Cursing the fact that the ring only seemed to work on vampires, Spike yanked it off and quickly shoved it back onto his own hand.

“I’m bleeding,” the man complained.

“You’re in a bloody hospital, mate. Get a band aid--after you show me where Buffy is,” Spike said, grabbing the man’s upper arm and glaring at him.

“She’s there,” the orderly said, pointing to a set of double doors. “Operating room three.”

Spike scowled at the man and threatened, “You haven't seen me, yeah? If security comes up here looking for me, you'll have more worries than just a tiny cut on your thumb.”

Already forgetting the orderly, he shoved the doors open and searched wildly for room three. He peeked through a small window, but could only see an empty room with another door a few feet away. He pushed his way in and passed the sinks and green gowns, caps and booties.

Through the window in the other door, he could see them; doctors and nurses, all surrounding his Slayer. He couldn’t see her face, but he knew it was Buffy, lying on the table in the midst of blankets and gauze. His heart clenched with fear, even as his hands fisted. They’d better help her pull through or he’d tear each one of them limb from limb. The surgeon moved and he got a good glimpse of her thigh. They still had her open, but the team working on her seemed to know what they were doing.

After a few minutes, he was satisfied that they were doing all they could for her. He turned and went out of the room. Moving down the corridors, he found the surgery waiting room. Joyce’s tear-filled face nearly broke his heart. He stayed hidden, but desperately wanted to comfort the woman. Or, maybe, he wanted to be comforted by her. Willow held one of Joyce’s hands, while Anya patted her shoulder on the other side. Spike was surprised to see Xander next to Anya, his head wrapped in gauze and his eyes bloodshot. The watcher was not there.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It seemed like he’d been pacing the hall for days, not hours. His nerves were shot. If one more hospital worker asked him if he wanted to sit in the waiting room, he was going to bite them. So far, Spike had managed to stay hidden from the group in the small waiting room and he wanted it to stay that way.

He almost revealed himself when a team, consisting of a doctor and two nurses with somber faces, entered the waiting room. There was quiet talking and then loud sobs filled the air.

Thinking that the woman he loved was dead, he ripped a fire extinguisher off the wall and threw it to the side. Fortunately, on his way to wreak damage on the doctor, he bumped into a distraught woman who had also been in the waiting room, but was not there for Buffy. She continued to sob as she fled down the hall, but the waiting room was cloaked in anxious silence and his rage vanished as quickly as it had appeared.

Spike had to take a walk after that. Not too far, but he turned a corner and leaned against the wall. With eyes squeezed shut, he repeated to himself, She’s not dead. She’s not dead. She’s not dead. , until he started to believe it.

Then it dawned on him, and another type of panic set in. The Slayer of Slayers was in love with the Slayer! He glanced down at the ring and frowned. The gem was in his possession. He had the advantage -- hell, the whole world was now his for the taking. He could storm in there and kill all the Scoobies, but instead he was practically reduced to praying for the Slayer's life to a God that, if he existed, would never hear his pleas. With a groan, he slumped against the wall.

Soft footsteps filled the hall, and as he peeked around the corner, a doctor and a nurse entered the waiting room. With stealth, he edged his way to the door and listened. This doctor spoke louder than the last one in the room had.

“Your daughter is very strong. The surgery went off without a hitch, and her vital signs are better than average for someone in her condition.”

There were sobs, but they were ones of relief from Joyce. The elation he felt at hearing that she was going to be okay overwhelmed Spike. He grabbed hold of the door frame to keep from sagging to the ground.

“When can I see her?” Joyce asked.

“She's in recovery now, but will be moved to an ICU room in about twenty minutes. As soon as we get her settled, you can go in for about five minutes. Just you, Mrs. Summers -- and she won't be awake.”

Spike moved down the hall and towards the surgical rooms. He was certain that the recovery room couldn't be too far, and he quickly located the one Buffy was in. She was attended by a nurse who did not leave her side, so he hid and followed as she was wheeled into her ICU room a few minutes later. As soon as they left her alone, he slipped inside the dimly lit room, but hesitated by the door.

The odor of the sterile environment, the sound of the machines softly beeping, and the sight of her lying so still on the bed would stay with him for days to come. Due to her Slayer healing, the bruises and swelling to her face were not as bad as he’d expected, but the tubes on her arm and the wires sticking out of her gown put a knot in his stomach that had nothing to do with hunger.

He approached the bed, swallowing past the lump in his throat, and gently placed his hand over hers. What would she do, if she woke up and saw him standing over her? Moreover, what the hell was he going to do with himself now?

She was pale, her bruises were still there, as were the smaller cuts; but the worst were her lips. They were dry and cracked and not their usual healthy dark pink. Still, ponce that he was, he had the overwhelming desire to lean down and plant a feather-light kiss on those lips and see her magically wake up.

Fairy tales. Get a grip, mate. The villain doesn't get the girl, not even in one of the Grimm Brothers’ original versions.

Buffy would not welcome his attentions, he was certain of that. He let his hand lightly run up her arm. There was something there between them. Without a doubt, she was as attracted to him as he was to her, but he couldn't see her admitting it to herself.

He'd make her see.


The things she'd said the other night about him going far away came to mind. But earlier that night, she'd kissed him back, passionately. That was his crumb. They weren't under any spell then. The fact that he had saved her life, and the lives of her useless friends had to count for something. He hoped.

He stared down at her, noting the slow and even way her chest rose and fell. If she'd just trusted him enough to let him have the gem earlier, she wouldn't be lying there, almost dead. Spike wanted to be angry with her, but he couldn't blame her, really, for not believing him when he said he'd help her defeat Adam. And in the end, she had trusted him. He held her hand again and gave it a light squeeze.

Now, how to get the Slayer to see that he could behave himself? For her, he could. He would. There was no question in his mind. With the ring, he didn't need to feed and it was just a matter of self control to keep from murdering the humans who pissed him off. That old receptionist was still alive and kicking; the orderly, too.

“Sir,” the nurse said quietly, “you can't be in here.”

Slowly, he released Buffy's hand and ran his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, pet. I know. Just had to see for myself that she was okay.” He tore his gaze away from his love and smiled at the nurse. “She's going to be okay, yeah?”

“Please, step into the hall.”

Spike let her guide him with her hand on his back until they were just outside the door, but stopped and once more asked the nurse about Buffy's condition.

“She's very healthy and the doctor is confident that she'll make a full recovery.”

Spike let out a deep sigh of relief. “Glad to hear it.”

“Spike?” Joyce asked when she came around a corner and saw him at Buffy's door. She paused then took a step back, putting a hand to her throat.

The nurse pointed towards Buffy's room. “I'll just go in and take care of the patient. Mrs. Summers, if you could just give me a minute, then you can come in.”

When the nurse closed the door, Joyce took a step back, as if to turn around, but then she halted and gave Spike a confused look. “They told me to be careful, because you have some sort of magical thing that makes you indestructible?”

Spike smiled at her. “You never have to take care around me, Joyce. I thought we already had this discussion.”

“But Mr. Giles and Xander were sure...”

He frowned and waved a hand. “Those gits wouldn't know what's what if it slapped them on the arse.”

She smiled softly at him. “I knew they were wrong.” Joyce took a step closer. “Willow says you saved them and killed the bad guy.”

“I guess I did,” Spike said with a shrug. “You daughter did it, really, when she told me where she had the gem hidden.” He held his hand out for her to show her the gem.

She took his hand and ran a finger over the ring. “This little thing makes you indestructible?” Joyce asked him, eyes full of disbelief.

“Crazy, right. I--”

“I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't killed that monster.”

Joyce charged at him and hugged him tight. He didn't know what to do with his arms, but eventually he wrapped them around her and squeezed her back.

“'s okay.”

She backed away, but kept her hands on his shoulders.

“Buffy would have bled to death on the street, if not for you.”

“I'm glad she's okay.” He took a step back and wrapped his duster tighter around his bare torso. “The nurse says she's going to make a full recovery.”

“Yes, and it will happen much quicker than the doctors think because she's special.”

Spike nodded. “That she is.”

The nurse opened the door wide for Joyce. “You can come in now. But, only you and just for five minutes.” She gave Spike a warning look before heading towards the nurses station.

Joyce smiled apologetically.

“No worries. I have to go now. Take care of her,” Spike said while gazing into the room.

“You aren't going to hurt anyone, are you?”

“What? No. I've got things I have to take care of, but I'll be back. Tell Buffy...tell her not to worry about me. I promise not her I won't do anything to make her feel sorry for letting me have the ring.” He paused and tilted his head at Joyce. “Did you know she had it hidden in a box of fake peas in the freezer?”

Joyce let out a short laugh and covered her mouth, while shaking her head. “No, but that was a pretty safe place. I detest peas and would never have touched them.”

“Smart girl, she is,” Spike said, then waved at her.

He turned a corner, looking for an empty office with a phone, but stopped short and then doubled back the way he’d come when he saw Giles hobbling down the corridor with a nervous nurse by his side, arguing with her that he wouldn't go back to his room until he saw Buffy for himself. His right leg was covered in a cast from his ankle to the top of his thigh, and he managed, albeit poorly, to make slow progress down the hall on sturdy crutches.

Ducking into the first open office he could find, Spike gently shut the door and locked it. He pulled a slip of paper from his coat pocket, got comfortable in a big leather chair, and picked up the phone. It took a few tries, because he had to dial '9' for an outside line, but he finally got hold of his own doctor.

He assured the demon that he was well aware of the risks and was willing to have the surgery done. He was told they'd be ready for him in the afternoon, and he immediately began making plans. He'd have to clean the black paint off the Desoto's windows and get himself a few new shirts, since he'd lost the only three that he owned. Then, he'd hightail it to L.A. and get the blasted chip removed.


Chapter #16 - 15. Not Possible?
Much thanks to my betas: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, & Slaymesoftly.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Fifteen: Not Possible?

Buffy slowly opened her eyes. Her head swam, making her feel nauseous. At first, the figure to her left was just a pastel blur, but by the time the unfamiliar woman turned to face Buffy, she could see clearly that she was in a hospital.

“There you are,” the pretty nurse said pleasantly. “We were beginning to get worried.”

“What? I mean...” Buffy tried to sit up, but her head hurt too much.

“Don't strain yourself.” The nurse pushed a button, raised the head of the bed up and fluffed the pillows for her. “Your mom just stepped out to get something to eat. She'll be so happy to see you awake.”

Buffy glanced around with glazed eyes. The dim, small room was filled with machines. She jumped when the band around her arm began to tighten.

“It's okay. That's just the blood pressure machine.”

“What happened?”

“You don't remember? I guess it was kind of traumatic.” The nurse gently tapped her arm. “I'm Carly, by the way. I'll be your ICU nurse for another couple of hours. I was here when they first brought you in yesterday morning. You look much better today.”

Subconsciously, Buffy brought her IV free hand to her face.

“The bruises are almost all gone now,” Nurse Carly said in wonder. “It's amazing. You don't look like you were just attacked by a gang.”

Buffy's eyes widened as the memory of what happened with Adam came rushing back.

“It's okay. All your friends are okay. You'll be able to visit with them once you are moved to a regular room.” Carly brought over a cup with a straw. “Just take a few small sips.”

Buffy complied, the ice cold water a slight shock to her system. When she could speak, she asked, “Why am I in ICU?”

“The artery in your leg was severed and had to be surgically repaired. You are a very lucky girl to have such quick thinking friends. You lost a lot of blood, but the surgeons were able to repair your artery, and the good thing is that your baby wasn't harmed at all.”

“What?” Buffy gasped, keeping her mouth open in shock.

“You didn't know?” the nurse asked. “When we got the results back from your blood tests, the doctor instructed all of us to not mention it to your family, because they didn't ask about a baby, and it wasn't our place to say anything.”

“A...a baby?” Buffy shook her head, suddenly feeling even more tired. “There is no baby. Not possible.”

The nurse smiled. “There's no way that you and that boyfriend of yours don'” She snickered.


“Yeah, the blond in the leather.”

“Oh, God! Spike!” Buffy tried to pull her tubes out, but the nurse was there, gently pushing her back into the pillow. Spike had the gem and he was running around Sunnydale. She had to stop him.

“Don't worry. Your mom said that he told her he'd be back soon.” When Buffy just stared at her with a look of horror on her face, the nurse continued, “You should have seen him. He slipped in here, right after you were brought from surgery. He could have gotten into a lot of trouble. For such a dangerous looking guy, he was very sweet. When I came in, he was holding your hand.”

Buffy glanced at her hand and then frowned at the nurse. “He was here?”

“Yes. He's your boyfriend, right?”


“That's a shame.” Carly sighed as she wrote something down on a clipboard. “I was thinking that the baby would be one beautiful child.”

The mention of a baby had Buffy's mind whirling again, but at the same time, she felt so tired that she fought to keep her eyes open. “There can't be a baby.”

“Oh, but there is. You can't be far along. I'm guessing that’s why you didn't know, but the blood tests they took while prepping you for surgery don't lie.”

Buffy sighed in relief. “They must have gotten my results mixed with another patient.”

“No. You are pregnant. They've got you on pentazocine instead of morphine, because pentazocine is not known to cause birth defects. But, you might hallucinate or have wild dreams.”

As the nurse went on about being careful when getting x-rays and to make sure they covered her abdomen with a lead shield, Buffy's mind was going wild with the possibilities. Parker had used a condom and spermicide gel. That had to have worked. Her eyes got heavy and she let them close. Buffy knew it was possible, and that no type of protection was 100 percent. He was dead. Spike had killed the father of her baby. Her baby...

A studio audience was suddenly before her. They cheered and waved their arms as she came out on to a brightly lit stage. Maury Povich smiled encouragingly and shook her hand before motioning towards the seat next to him. The lights were so bright, she could barely make out the sea of faces swimming before her, but she could hear their jeers and cheers.

“This is Buffy. She's here today to prove to her ex, Parker, once and for all that he is the father of her baby.” Maury motioned to the big screen behind her, and she turned to see a huge picture of a tiny infant with large light blue eyes, in a car seat, covered in a big yellow blanket.

As the audience oohed and ahhed, Buffy had to admit the baby was adorable.

“Let's bring out Parker,” Maury said.

When Parker came out, the audience booed him and he waved them off. He glared at Buffy while shaking Maury's hand and plopped himself down a couple of chairs away. Parker looked deathly pale, but he was moving around as if he was alive, which shocked Buffy. She was so stunned, she couldn't talk.

“There is no way that kid is mine,” Parker told Maury. “It doesn't even look like me.” As a whole the audience scoffed. “Look at that light hair and look at me. Mine is pitch black.”

“The eyes, they're blue!” a member of the audience yelled, and everyone clapped in agreement.

“I think the audience has a point,” Maury said, folding his arms across his chest and leaning back with a smug smile. “Mom here has green eyes.”

Parker's eyes widened. “They're light blue!” he argued. “Everyone in my family has brown eyes or dark blue ones, but never light blue like that.”

Maury held up a large manila envelope. “Well, I have the results right here, so we'll know soon enough. But, before we reveal the results, we have one more guest we want to bring out.”

“I knew it!” Parker yelled with a wave of a fist. “She had to be sleeping around.”

Maury pointed to the same area where Parker had come out and they watched as Spike came stumbling out.

“Watch it, mate!” Spike growled to some unseen person behind the stage.

The audience went wild with cheer, standing up and whooping. Spike stood tall and put a hand up to shield his eyes. He frowned and then directed his gaze to Buffy. Their eyes met. Then, he stalked over to her.

Maury held his hand out in greeting, but Spike held up two fingers and sneered at him. The irate vampire sat next to Buffy. “Didn't I tell you not to involve me in this?”

Buffy sank lower in her seat.

“This is Spike,” Maury told the camera. “He insists that there is no way that he could be the father, but he agreed to take a DNA test, because he is absolutely sure he can't father children.”

“You've got that right, you git.”

Parker leaned forward, directing his words to Buffy, but pointing at Spike. “You slept with this guy?” he asked incredulously.

The audience cheered, hoping for a fight.

“That's right, you bloody wanker. Shall we ask her who the better lover is?”

Parker sank back in his chair as the audience cheered. Buffy was so mortified, she couldn't see straight.

Spike continued, “And you'd better do right by the Slayer and help her take care of your spawn, or I'll bite you! Again.”

Maury frowned at Spike, but opened one of the folders. “Let's find out if Parker is the father of that beautiful baby, right now.” He made a show of reading the results and then glanced up. “Parker. By an accuracy of 99.99 percent, the tests show that you are...not the father.”

Buffy watched in horrified shock as Parker jumped up and danced across the stage to the cheers and boos of the out of control audience. Parker spun around and bowed dramatically before taking the stairs two at a time and leaving the stage.

“Now, in the case of Spike,” Maury said, as he opened a second envelope.

Buffy couldn't even look Spike in the eye.

He leaned in and said in a tone that almost sounded like he felt betrayed, “You shagged someone else?”

She turned to look at him and began to slowly shake her head. Maury's voice got warbly and slowed. “Spike, the test results show with 99.89 percent accuracy... that you... are ...the father...”

“Buffy? Buffy, honey, wake up.”

Her mom's face swam before her as she gasped, coming out of the dream...nightmare. “Mom?”

“You were shaking your head. Are you feeling pain?”

“No. I feel weird, but I'm not in any pain.”

Her mom looked so relieved. Buffy relaxed into her pillow and tried to forget about the dream. There couldn't be a baby and even if there was, it couldn't be Spike's.

“Spike!” Buffy said with concern. He was still out there with the gem, and she had to find a way to stop him.

Joyce put her hand over Buffy's. “He told me to tell you not to worry about him.” Joyce got a far off look and smiled, confusing Buffy even more than she already was. “It was kind of sweet actually. He was concerned that you would get stressed, but he promised not to do anything to make you sorry for letting him get the ring.”

“He didn't try to hurt anyone did he?” She wouldn't be able to live with herself if her split second decision to trust Spike to save her and her friends resulted in the death of others.

“No, and I don't understand why Mr. Giles was so concerned. Spike was the one who saved you all, wasn't he?”

“I don't know.” She tried to think about that night, but her last memory was of how terrified she had been to see Adam coming their way, knowing that Xander might be dead, her watcher was injured and that Willow was still so vulnerable. The last thing she remembered was the grave look of concern on Spike's face as he took his shirt off to put on her wound and then telling him where she had the Gem of Amara hidden. “I told him where the ring was, but I passed out after that.”

“Willow says Spike ran with her back to the house. She called 911 while he got the ring. Then Willow watched from the window as he went out and killed that monster and then lured a bunch of soldiers away from the scene so the ambulance could come in.”

“Oh, good,” Nurse Carly said. “I'll go tell the doctor that you're awake again.”

When the nurse was gone, Joyce put a hand to her face, eyes wide with concern. “You don't think she heard me, do you?”

“No, she'd only just walked in,” Buffy said. She was tired already.

Carly came back with a doctor right behind her. The nurse quietly asked Joyce to leave so that the doctor could examine Buffy.

“I'm Dr. Nester,” the short, dark-skinned man said while consulting her chart. “How do you feel this afternoon?”

“Tired.” She frowned as she took in the room again. She hated hospitals, and she needed to go find Spike and get that ring back again. “When can I go home?”

The doctor chuckled. “Even though your recovery is progressing much faster than any of us would have projected, you’re not ready to go just yet. “ He pulled the covers back from her legs. “I'm just going to have a look at the incision site on your thigh to determine how well it's healing.”

Buffy held her breath as he pulled back bandages.

Dr. Nester slowly took his hand from the bandages and tilted his head, staring at her and scratching his head. “I can't believe how fast you’re healing. Anyone who looked at your stitches would think that you had surgery last week, not just two nights ago.”

She shrugged, looking sheepish. “I've always been a fast healer.”

The doctor covered her wound back up and replaced the blankets. “Well, normally, I'd say it's too early to move you, but since things are going so well, I'm going to have them move you to a regular room today. It might take an hour or two before it happens.”

“How long do I have to be there?” she asked, hopeful that it wouldn't be long.

“I'm going to estimate two days, but we'll reevaluate that tomorrow afternoon.” He wrote something down on a pad and handed it to the nurse, who stood at the foot of the bed. “Did you want to make an appointment with an obstetrician? You could probably be seen before you leave the hospital.”

Buffy stretched to look behind the doctor, hoping her mom hadn’t heard him. “About that...none of my family knows. I'm not even sure that I am pregnant. Can we do another test, to be sure?”

“Well, we are positive that you are; but sure, I can order another test.”

“How soon?”

The doctor looked at Carly. “Have them get right on it.” When the nurse left to do his bidding, he said to Buffy, “I'll see you again tomorrow.”

By the time Buffy was settled in a new room, she was feeling a lot better. There was another bed in the room, but it was empty. Her mom had finally left to go home and get some sleep. It took a lot of prodding from Buffy to get her to leave, but Joyce had looked so exhausted.

Her wrist felt better. She flexed her arm and then rubbed the sore spot where the IV had been earlier. Bored, she used the remote to flip through the channels, but eventually gave up and kept it on a news program. Even with cable, there was nothing on at five o'clock but news.

Her heart skipped a beat when a good looking young man entered the room. She was sure he was there with her pregnancy test results, and looked at him expectantly.

“Hi there. I'm Troy. I'll be your nurse for this shift.” He pouted playfully when she looked crestfallen. “Hey, you could at least pretend like you’re happy I'm your nurse.” He got closer and whispered, “Not all my patients are as pretty as you. The old lady in the next room was overjoyed to see me, but I won't be turning my back on her. I think she tried to pinch my butt when I left just a minute ago.”

Buffy laughed softly. “I'm sorry, it's not you. I was just waiting for some test results to come. It's nice to meet you, Troy.”

He had dark hair and blue eyes, which reminded her of Parker. She looked down at her hands as he moved about the room.

“Well, I'm off to see my next patient. If you need anything, don't hesitate to push the call button. I'll be back in a couple of minutes to bring your dinner.” He looked at her chart. “Looks like it's mostly fluids for you tonight.”

Carly came into the room as Troy was leaving. “Hi, Buffy. I'm just getting ready to go home, but I noticed that your test results came back, so I thought I'd bring you the news.”

Buffy motioned for Carly to come over. “What does it say?”

“It's positive, just like the other test. You are very definitely pregnant. Congratulations.”

Bringing her hand to her stomach, Buffy tried to smile through her dread. “Thank you.”

After Carly left, Buffy said to the empty room, “Oh, God, what am I going to do now?”

Chapter #17 - 16. Visiting Hours
A/N: Betas: Mabel_Marsters, Xanit, & Slaymesoftly.

For those of you who don't know, I had a small fire at my home last Sunday night. I had to stay with relatives until the house was safe to move back into. This is why this update is so late in being posted. I'm sorry :) My mom has dial up and I could not connect with my laptop. I'm so glad to be home. Thank you all for the wonderful reviews I have gotten so far for this story. It means a lot to me.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Sixteen: Visiting Hours

Troy was just taking her dinner tray away when Willow, Xander, and Anya filed into the room.

“Hey, Buff,” Xander said with a goofy smile and a raised brow at the retreating form of her nurse. “How do you like the service here?”

Buffy's heart soared at the sight of them. All were alive and well, except for the extra large beige band-aid on Xander's forehead. Anya hung back, obviously feeling uncomfortable.

“It's not too bad, except I'm on an all liquid diet until tomorrow morning. There was Jell-o, though.”

“Oh, was it lime?” Willow asked, gingerly sitting on the edge of the bed and placing Buffy's duffel bag on the floor.

“Orange.” Buffy smiled politely and waved at Anya, who sat on the other bed and bounced.

“Not bad, Xander,” the ex-demon said. “One of these would come in handy in your basement for when we play doctor.”

“Ahn! What did we talk about?” Xander patiently told his girlfriend.

“Oh, was that inappropriate? Because I was going to suggest that Buffy should invite that cute nurse to play doctor when we leave.”

Buffy and Willow smiled at each other as Xander ushered Anya out of the room with the excuse of finding something to eat from the vending machine.

“Bring me back something chocolate,” Buffy called out.

Willow's smile faded. “Are you really OK?”

“I'm fine. I want out of this place, like yesterday, but I'm fine.”

The redhead breathed a sigh of relief and pulled the duffel bag onto the chair next to the bed. “I brought you some of your stuff, including your make-up.” She opened the bag and started pulling things out. “And, see. Your yummy sushi pajamas.”

“Quick! Shut the door and help me put them on before Xander gets back.” To be in her own clothes, instead of the awful white and blue hospital gown, was like a little bit of heaven.

Once she was settled back on the bed, Willow said, “Your mom told me that she saw Spike here, the night you were admitted.”

“That's what she told me, too. I didn't see him.” Buffy glanced at the TV, not wanting to look her friend in the eye. “One of the nurses thought he was my boyfriend because she caught him in my room holding my hand.”

“What?” Willow said, her eyes wide in shock.

Buffy shrugged. “That's what she says.”

Buffy let the silence hang for a minute while Willow absorbed that bit of information. She desperately wanted to tell Willow about the baby. Without even thinking about it, she placed her hands over her abdomen. She should be able to tell her best friend.

She'd just found the courage to tell her when Willow said, “Giles thinks that we’re safe from Spike until you get better, because Spike wants to take you down in a fair fight.”

Something in Willow's tone was off. “And you don't think that's the case?”

“I don't know what to think.” Willow glanced at the closed door and then back at Buffy, whispering quickly, “What's going on between you two?”

“Nothing!” Buffy said with a shake of her head.

“Oh, really?”

Buffy nodded her head.

“Then why did I find this between your mattress and box spring at the dorms?” Willow pulled a neatly folded black t-shirt out of the bag. “And why does it smell like leather and Spike?”

Buffy squeaked and snatched the shirt from her, quickly shoving it under the sheets. “Were you snooping through my stuff?” she asked her friend with as much indignation as she could muster, hoping to distract Willow, so she wouldn't have to come up with an answer.

“No. You know I would never do that.” Willow frowned. “When Adam came by our dorm room, he tore it up. Your mattress was hanging off to the side, and I saw the shirt when I was putting the room back together. You still haven't answered my question.”

Buffy looked away and fiddled with the remote for the TV.

“Buffy, talk to me. Why do you have Spike's shirt? Because, right now, my imagination is going wild with the possibilities, especially after you told me that he was in your ICU room, holding your hand.”

“I don't know why he was in my room.” She opened her mouth to tell Willow what happened that night.

“And the shirt?”

With a sigh of resignation, she told her. “I've had that since the morning you reversed that love spell.”


Buffy groaned. “This is so embarrassing. My shirt got destroyed and I had to wear his home.” Willow looked on with her mouth formed into a small 'O' and eyes wide. Buffy glanced behind Willow to make sure the door was still closed, then whispered, “While I was under the spell, I slept with Spike.”

“Oh, my, goddess!” Willow stood up and stared at Buffy incredulously. “He took advantage of you while you thought you were in love with him--that creepy...vampire!”

Buffy put her hands over her eyes and groaned. “It's worse than that. As Spike puts it, I jumped his bones and wouldn't take no for an answer.” She knew she was blushing and kept her hands over her face, peeking out through her fingers at her stunned friend.

“So that's why he went all hero guy on us and saved you from Adam.” Willow sat down and grinned as if she'd solved a great mystery.

“I'm not getting it.”

Ignoring Buffy, Willow continued to talk to herself. “And now, his 'Buffy wouldn't like it if you got hurt' and 'grrr, go back in the house'--it all makes sense.”

“What are you talking about?” Buffy asked, getting a little peeved at her mumbling friend.

Willow snapped out of it and asked, “Oh, did you guys—I mean—when you both thought you were engaged to each other?”

“What? No!” Buffy exclaimed when she caught on to what Willow was trying to ask. “To be honest though, if we'd had a chance to be alone...”

“Oh, wow.”

“We were under a spell—that you made,” Buffy reminded her.

“How do you feel about him now?” Willow asked softly.

Buffy bit her lip and looked the other way.

“Oh, my, goddess! You like him, don't you?”

“No! I mean, I don't know. It's--”

“I mean, I don't blame you,” Willow interjected, staring at Buffy with sly, knowing eyes. “He's kind of sexy, and he does smell pretty good.”

Buffy knew she was caught when, on pure instinct, she glared at Willow and said, “How would you know how good he smells?”

“The time he tried to bite me,” Willow said quickly. “Remember, when he found out he couldn't hurt humans?”

“See, this is the problem. He's evil. I can't have feelings for someone who's tried to kill my friends.”

“Well, to be fair, he did try to make me feel good about myself and said some really nice things to me.”

Buffy raised a brow at her.

“OK. You're right. He's evil and there is no good there,” Willow said with a straight face, that was slowly replaced with a small grin. “But, you have to admit, he's damn good looking.”

They both giggled and Willow asked, “Was he—did he—I mean, did he hurt you? You know, when you guys…?”

“What? No, he didn't hurt me.” Well, we were kind of rough with each other.

“Why are you smiling like that? Wait! You liked it!” Willow lowered her voice and smiled like she'd just heard the latest celebrity gossip before anyone else had. “You had sex with Spike and you liked it.”

“No more.” Buffy shook her head. “Have mercy on the sick person here. And, no one else hears about this, OK?” When Willow nodded her head in agreement, Buffy added, “Promise me, right now, you won't tell anybody about this.”

Willow crossed her heart and zipped her lips.

Buffy smiled at her silly friend, but then she remembered her other news and groaned. “Willow, I have something even more wigsome to tell you.”

“ What could be more shocking than that?”

“Oh, you have no idea—but you have to promise that no one else hears about this until I'm ready to talk about it.”

“I promise. Now spill!”

Buffy adjusted her covers and grimaced. “I just found out, when I woke up after surgery, that I'm--”
She shook her head, not able to actually say the words. It still wasn't real to her.

“You're what? You know you can tell me anything.”

“I'm pregnant.”

Willow shot to her feet, again. “You're what? A baby? Really?”

Buffy nodded. “I don't know what to do. What with the father being dead and all.”

Willow let a small snort out. “Buffy, I know you aren't research girl, but you do know vampires can't make babies, right?”

Thinking about her crazy dream from earlier, she frowned and told Willow, “Of course I know that. I...I was talking about Parker. He's the dead one.”

Sinking back into her chair, Willow stared at Buffy with pity, making Buffy really uncomfortable. “Didn't you guys use protection?”

After Buffy went into great detail about how careful they had been, Willow added a light pat on Buffy's arm to her sad look. “What are you going to do?”

“I don't know. But, please, you promised. Don't tell anyone. I'm not ready for the others to know.”

“I'm so glad you told me. You shouldn't have to go through this alone.”

Their conversation was cut off when Xander and Anya came back with chocolate bars. Xander tried to hand one to Buffy, but Willow snatched it away.

“Your doctor said only liquids until tomorrow, right?”

Stomach growling, Buffy glared at Willow. “Give me the Snickers Bar.”

“Buffy, you have to take care of yourself now.” Willow stared at her with one eyebrow raised then directed her gaze to Buffy's stomach.

“Ok. Ok.”

“Thatta girl,” Willow said cheerfully. “I'll put it in this drawer, and you can have it tomorrow after your doctor says it's OK to eat solids.”

They each took turns giving her a hug, even Anya. They left, promising to come back tomorrow, Willow adding that she'd bring Buffy her assignments and books, so that she wouldn't get behind in her classes.

Buffy watched some TV and after getting a set of pills from Troy, she took a long nap. She woke up when her mom and Giles came in. Giles held her hand for a brief moment after he sat in the chair next to her. “I'm so glad you're OK.”

Soon, the talk got around to what happened that night, and Giles gave her a play-by-play of how Spike had defeated Adam. “If I hadn't seen him with my own eyes, fighting on our behalf, I would never have believed it.”

“It's a miracle that we came away from that without even more injuries,” Buffy said.

Joyce said, “All thanks to Spike.”

Giles advised Buffy to act like she was weaker than she really was if Spike showed up looking for a fight. He promised to keep doing research and see if there was any way to defeat a vampire wearing the Gem, but he couldn't promise anything, because all the literature that he'd seen so far listed the Gem as a mere legend.

Trying not to think about Spike, or the fact that she had an even bigger secret, she changed the subject and asked about Giles' leg.

They stayed for about an hour, and Troy shooed them out when visiting hours were over. He took her vitals and watched as she swallowed all three of the pills in the little paper cup that he handed her. He apologized in advance for all the times he would be waking her up during the night and then left her alone.

She desperately wanted to be asleep already. Being in a hospital was one of her least favorite things. Buffy kept expecting something bad to happen -- an invisible demon to start killing off the patients or something -- and it put her on edge. She tried to focus on other things, but that just brought her back to Spike and babies.

Where was Spike? She didn't want to think about what he could be doing. He'd told her mom that she shouldn't worry about him, but she couldn't help it. She was alive and Adam was now a thing of the past, but what of all those innocent people out there in Spike's path? Buffy felt exhausted just thinking about how she was going to have to track him down and deal with him.

The look on Spike's face that night in the kitchen, when she’d turned down his bargain and he'd said that she was under his skin. Buffy squeezed her eyes shut, trying to force the memory away. It would be so much easier if he was just her enemy again.

The medication began to kick in and she drifted off into a fitful sleep.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A few hours later, Spike was on the highway, getting closer to Sunnydale. All in all, he'd had a pretty good day. He'd gotten the black paint off his windows and had enjoyed a peaceful drive to L.A. Even the infamous morning rush hour traffic couldn't dampen his mood.

He'd been too early for his doctor's appointment, so he’d casually strolled through a Wal-mart near by. He nicked a few black t-shirts and a gray button down shirt, stuffing them in his battered coat. On his way out, he saw a display of sickeningly cheerful looking stuffed bears. They were a rainbow of colors with little designs on their stomachs. On impulse, he'd grabbed a hot pink one with a heart shaped padlock on its stomach and stood in line to buy it, knowing that the Slayer would not appreciate it if she found out he'd nicked it.

The leather goods store had been his next stop. He shelled out a lot of money for the repairs and left his beloved coat with a man who promised he could fix it. Spike hoped he was telling the truth. He'd had it repaired in the early eighties once at that very shop, but it hadn't been as damaged then. No amount of money would get the coat fixed by the time he would be ready to go back to Sunnydale, so he'd left instructions for it to be sent to Joyce's house when it was done. They assured him that he should have it in a couple of days.

With a little time yet to kill before his appointment with the surgeon, he carried a large sack into a run down pawn shop and came out a half hour later, much richer. Harmony wasn't that bright of a bulb, but she had good taste in jewelry. The things she'd swiped from the crypt where he'd found his ring were worth a hefty sum.

He’d then stopped at a liquor store and attempted to drink himself some courage, but the alcohol had no effect on him. For the first time, he found himself cursing the Gem and its healing properties that would not allow him to get sloshed. Even knowing that he would come out fine, the thought of going under the knife was making him nervous.

In spite of his fears, the chipectomy was quick and painless. He made sure to take the ring off before the surgeon started the procedure, but kept it clutched in his closed fist, giving instructions to the surgical team to slip it on his finger if he woke up paralyzed. As soon as he came out of the magically induced sleep, he slipped the Gem of Amara back on and was as good, if not better, than new.

Now, he was on his way back home with the blasted chip in his pocket, instead of his head. He'd thought up all kinds of ways to return the little torture device. His favorite idea was finding the new git in charge and shoving it up his nose until it was smashed into his gray matter.

He glanced at the Care Bear sitting on the passenger seat. He'd read the tag while sitting in the waiting room, nearly getting into a fight with a Hedlipod Demon when he’d made fun of Spike for holding a pink bear. Out of all the bloody bears, he had to grab one called Secret Bear, which came with a heart shaped lock on his stomach. It didn't even occur to him how weird it was that he'd bought the Slayer a stuffed bear. The fact that he had a secret, because he was in love with her, was all he could think about.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It was two a.m. when he finally entered the hospital. He casually strolled along the corridors until he got to Buffy's room. Just as he put his hand on the door handle, the nurse whispered, “Excuse me, sir, but you can't go in there. Mr. Cooper won't be able to have family visit for another couple of hours.”

“Who the bloody hell is Mr. Cooper? Where is Buffy Summers?”

After getting things sorted out, he found where they'd moved her and slipped past the nurses’ station and into the room, closing the door softly behind him. The good thing about coming after visiting hours: he didn't have to worry about bumping into her meddling friends.

He could see well in the dark room that was illuminated only by a muted TV set high in the corner. Spike walked by the empty bed and then stood over her peaceful, sleeping form. If he was inclined, he could lean down, sink his fangs into her neck and finish the job he'd started over three weeks ago. He was not inclined.

Instead, he placed Secret Bear on the pillow next to her head and watched her sleep, admiring her beautiful, full eyelashes. Smiling when he saw the makeup bag on the nightstand, he picked up a tube of mascara. Figures, she'd be worried about her looks and put her face together before going to bed. Could he hope that she had been expecting him? Probably not. If she was, she'd have a stake clutched in her hand not a—what was that?

Gently, he pulled the cover back and grinned. His t-shirt? That couldn't be the one Giles used to put pressure on her wound. Where had it come from?

When the door clicked open, Spike quickly covered Buffy's hand back up and turned to face the intruder. The man who entered was wearing a loose, maroon-colored pants set similar to a nurse’s uniform, but different enough that Spike concluded that he just had bad taste in clothes. Guessing that the young bloke had got the wrong room, Spike whispered, trying not to wake Buffy. “Sorry, mate. I think you've got the wrong room. Might want to ask at the nurses’ station.”

Troy stopped just a few feet away from Spike. “You can't be here. Come back during visiting hours.” He went past the vampire and reached out to wake Buffy.

Spike jumped at the young man and grabbed his wrist, quickly twisting his arm behind his back. “Stay away from the girl. If you wake her, I'll make you pay.”

“Hey! Hey! Ow!” Troy said and Spike tightened his hold on him, dragging him further away from Buffy's bed.

She stirred and sat up. “Spike?”

He let go and rushed over to her when she tried to get out of bed. “Don't. You'll hurt yourself.”

“I'm calling security,” Troy said from the door.

Buffy called out, “Troy! Wait.” Then she glared at Spike. “What are you—just sit down.”

“That wanker was trying to wake you up.”

“He's my nurse; it's his job.”

The nurse flipped on the light and Spike narrowed his eye, guessing now why she'd worn makeup to bed.

“What kind of pansy gets a job as a nurse?” Spike sneered.

“That's it; out!” Troy said.

Spike stood up, flexing his hands into fists. “Make me.” How easy it would be to get to the nurse and snap his neck.

Troy glared at Spike. “I don't have to. That's what security gets paid to do.” He turned on his heels and took several steps towards the door.

Buffy sighed and said, “Troy, wait. Please. Come back here.”

Spike sneered, “No. Let him go. Let's see if his security team could get rid of the likes of me.”

“Spike. You're not helping,” the Slayer said out of the side of her mouth, even as Troy came back to her bedside.

It took a bit of pleading, but Buffy finally convinced Troy to let Spike stay just long enough for her to talk to him. Spike thought it was a good sign that she wasn't kicking him out. The vampire watched with barely concealed jealousy as Troy checked her blood pressure and temperature. Then the nurse gave her some pills. They both smiled at her as she groaned before swallowing them, one by one.

Troy hesitated by Buffy's bedside when he was finished. “Are you sure you want me to leave you alone with this guy?”

Spike made a short, jerky move as if to get up and he smiled with great satisfaction when Troy jumped back in fear.

“It's OK, really,” Buffy told him calmly while absently hugging the bear. “I need to talk to him, but as soon as I'm done, I'll make him go.”

Troy gave Spike one last glare before backing up. “Well, then, I'll see you when I have my next shift. I'm going home now.”

The nurse walked out, but left the door wide open. Spike got up, glad for something to do, and gently closed it. He leaned against the door and their eyes met. She looked just as uncomfortable as he felt. He didn't know what to say. Should he come out right away and declare his feelings for her? Feelings that were too raw and strange yet to him.

How does a vampire go about telling his arch enemy that he is in love with her, anyway?

Chapter #18 - 17. Gift Giving
A/N: As always, I'm very grateful to my betas for their help. Mable Marsters, Tanit and Slaymesoftly.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Seventeen: Gift Giving

Buffy eyed Spike, standing just inside her closed hospital room door. He didn't seem his usual cocky self. Still, she had no idea if he'd come to kill her or...something else. She held the t-shirt under the covers and shoved it further down, hoping he hadn't seen it; and tried to shake the remnants of the most recent nightmare of being on the Maury Povich show from her head. Every time, the results were the same. There was no way this vampire could be the father. It was physically impossible and he was a killer.

“If you've come looking for a good, fair fight before you attempt to kill me again, you're in for a little bit of a wait.” She leaned back and clutched the bear to her, knowing that it wasn't exactly protection again a big bad vampire with a magical ring of indestructibility on his finger.

She flinched when he took a step forward, looking angry, but relaxed when he stopped and ran a hand through his hair. “Would I bring you a stuffed bear if I was coming to try to kill you?”

Holding the hot pink Care Bear out to inspect it, she asked, “You brought this?”

With long strides, Spike came back to her side and sat in the chair again. “Who did you think brought it, Nurse Night-n-Gay?”

With a shocked expression and a snicker, Buffy said, “Spike! That's not nice. Wait. Look who I’m talking to. I'm not saying he's gay, but even if he was, what's the big deal?”

“I'm just saying,” Spike said, picking up her makeup bag, “all that time making yourself up? It's pretty much wasted on that one.”

Blushing, she snatched the bag from him. “I didn't put my makeup on for him. I just wanted to feel more like, well, me.”

“You don't need makeup to be you,” he said casually, obviously not thinking before he spoke. “You look great without it.”

They both found other things to stare at. Buffy opened the little card-like tag attached to the bear's ear to read it. “Secret Bear?”

Shrugging, Spike said, “I was in L.A. waiting for my own surgery appointment. I went shopping; I needed more t-shirts. Saw the display of bears and thought maybe you'd be lonely at night and need a friend.”


“Yeah,” he said proudly, searching his jean pocket. “Got the bleedin' chip out.”

Peeking inside the little gold box that he snapped open for her, she marveled at how small the chip was, but then she remembered what the chip had stopped him from doing. She stared at him in alarm as he put it away.

“What?” he asked. “You thought I was going to keep that bloody thing in my head?”

“No...I mean...” She kept her gaze on the bear. “If you don't have a chip, I'll have to dust you, if you start killing people.”

With a sarcastic snort, he said, “That little declaration has me wantin' to go out and find a bloody human to bite.” When she glared at him, he smiled at her. “I'd love to dance with you again, but we both know that with this gem on, I'd be the victor.”

Buffy rolled her eyes and propped the bear beside her, wedging it against the guardrail. “I got the ring away from you before.”

He narrowed his eyes at her. “Planning to shag me again, are you?”

With a flourish of frustration, she flung her blankets back and scooted until her legs dangled over the side of the bed. “If you're not here to kill me, then make yourself useful and hand me those crutches behind you.”

“Should you be getting out of bed?” he asked, even as he jumped to do her bidding.

“The doctor said I could use the crutches to get myself to the...” She glanced in the direction of the other door in the room.

“The loo?” he asked as he grabbed her elbow and helped her situate the crutches. “Funny thing, but one of the effects of the Gem, it seems that I have a working digestive system again. I've had to get to know the loo after so long. The invention's come a long way since my time.”

He had been walking alongside her as she hobbled to the door and stopped when she did. She swayed a little, but stared at him as she leaned on her good leg.

“Huh? You have to use the bathroom now?”

“Crazy, innit? Tried to get pissed before my surgery. Didn't get the least bit drunk, but by the time I got to the Surgery, I had to use the loo.” He smiled back at her amused look. “Imagine that. No bleedin' heart beat, but I have bodily functions like a soddin' human.”

She shook her head slightly and continued her slow progress to the 'loo', thinking about vampires having to go the bathroom. An image came to mind of Spike standing before Giles and her friends, going on about being the big bad, telling them all that he was going to kill them, and then excusing himself to use the restroom.

She giggled.


“Nothing. I'll try not to be in here too long, you know, just in case you need to...”

When she came out, Spike was standing by her bed with his t-shirt unfolded, holding it up and staring at her with a raised brow. “Seems you didn't need the bear after all, seeing as you were cuddled up with one of my t-shirts. This can't be the one I gave Giles to stop your bleeding.”

She could feel the hot blush on her cheeks. “That—Willow brought it.”

“And where did Willow get it from? I don't recall taking my shirt off for her,” he said, putting the shirt down and rushing to her to help keep her steady on the crutches.

Once she was settled, she tossed the shirt to him. “Take it back. I wore it the day I took the Gem from you, since you destroyed my shirt.”

“Well, then, it's only fair that you keep it.” Spike tossed it back to her. With a wicked grin, he said, “Besides, I kept a little souvenir myself.” He brought his hand out from behind him, swinging the black lace panties on his thumb. “You've got your trophy from that morning and I've got mine.”

“Oh my God!” she exclaimed, not believing that he'd been walking around with those in his back pocket all this time. “I want those back.”


Buffy glared at the smug looking vampire as he sat down and pocketed one half of a very expensive Victoria’s Secret set. “You. Are. A. Pig.”

As much as she despised him at the moment, the deep chuckle he emitted caused her insides to flutter.

“Yeah, I am. But judging by how excited you got, I can tell that you like my particular brand of oink.”

She let a sigh escape her lips and then gazed at him, her stomach fluttering when his smirk faded and he gazed back at her. “I don't know why you saved us, but I want to thank you.” Buffy broke eye contact with him and concentrated on adjusting her blankets. “Giles and Willow both told me the same story and while they didn't come right out and say it, it's very clear that if you hadn't stepped in, none of us would be alive right now.” When he was silent beside her, she glanced up at him again.

Spike blinked slowly and for once, he was speechless. But he wasn’t for long. “We struck a bargain, didn't we? You gave me the Gem; I gave you a dead Adam.”

She didn't know what to think of that. If it was just a bargain, what was he doing here now? None of it made any sense. Spike had made it clear that he wasn't sticking around to kill her, even going as far as getting her a stuffed bear, of all things. “Thank you for the stuffed animal,” she said softly.

“Uh, yeah. Like I said, impulse buy.”

“But, Secret Bear?” she asked him.

He shrugged.

“Are you trying to tell me that you have a secret, Spike?”
He gazed at her and she watched in fascination as his Adam's apple rose and fell with a swallow.

“I don't know, Slayer, maybe we both do?”

The expectant look he gave Buffy unnerved her. If he thought she was going to say anything to that, he was wrong. She frowned slightly and looked away.

Spike inhaled and let it out with what sounded suspiciously like a sigh. “Don't sick people, coming off surgery, need a lot of sleep?”

Grateful for something to do, she lowered the head of the bed with the remote. “Yes. I am very tired. Would you turn off the light for me?”

Buffy turned the TV on, but kept the volume low. The lights went out, and Spike sank back into the bedside chair.

“You don't mind if I sit a spell, do you?”

Actually, she was kind of glad he wanted to stay. She hated hospitals. It felt strange, but she knew that she'd sleep better with him there. “No, but—don't do anything evil while I'm asleep. And, don't assault my nurses.”

When he grunted a reply, she lifted her head to see over the guardrail. Spike had his arms folded across his chest, his beautifully angled face bathed and shadowed by the glow of the TV.

“Here,” she offered, holding out the remote. “Just don't push that red button or a nurse will be in here, and you'll get kicked out.”

“I'd like to see them try.”


“Right. Don't push the red button. Got it.”

Even with her eyes closed, she could see the light flicker as he channel surfed. Telling herself that she shouldn't feel so safe with an evil soulless vampire in her room, she gingerly turned to her side, leaving her back to him. Willow's question from earlier rang in her mind. “What's going on between you two?” She'd adamantly answered with a definite nothing, but she knew it then and she doubly knew it now. There was something going on between them. Buffy wasn't ready to put a name to it yet.

She couldn't go through this again. Another vampire? And this one without a soul. Could he really feel anything for her? Angelus despised her. Angel insisted it was the soul that made it possible for him to love her. Mentally, she shook her head. The pain, the disapproval, and the disappointment from her friends and family - she didn't want that. And she didn't just have herself to think about now. A baby. Her responsibility. It was going to be her job to keep it safe and give it as normal a life as possible.

But at the same time, the vampire sitting beside her and the pull she felt towards him were too big to be ignored.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The five o'clock morning news show wrapped up and went to a commercial. Spike hit the mute button and checked on the sleeping Slayer, still buried under the white blankets. She'd been so knackered that she'd slept through the nurse's last two check ups. When the lady in her forties had come in, he expected to have to put up a fight about being able to stay, but she'd whispered an order for him to sit back down. He'd thanked her and she'd made a remark about being at the job so long, that she realized the importance to the recovery process of having a loved one by a patient's side, and because there was no one in the next bed, she'd bend the rules this time.

It was too early for the nurse to be back again. When the door opened, he stood up. Riley slipped in and closed the door.

“Not a word,” Spike whispered the warning. “Understand? She's sleeping.”

With longing, Riley glanced at Buffy before turning a frown on Spike. Whispering, he said bitterly, “Figures I'd find you here.”

The bed whirred as Buffy raised the head of it. “Spike?”

“Yeah, love. You've got company. Want me to get rid of 'im?”

“Buffy, can I talk to you alone, please?” Riley asked as he boldly walked up to her bed.

“Of course. Spike?”

He couldn't believe the audacity. The Slayer looked at him with a gaze that brooked no argument. Spike stood firmly in place and glared at Riley. In two steps, he could have the git in a choke hold and with one crank of his hand, he could snap Soldier Boy's neck.

“Just—come back in a few minutes,” Buffy said, sounding tired.

He bumped Riley as he passed him, and he would have added a great big shove, but the big oaf would have ended up falling on Buffy's wound. Spike sauntered to the door and made a show of closing it behind him, but he kept the handle turned down and waited a few seconds. Then he quietly pushed the door slightly ajar and leaned close to eavesdrop.

Spike rolled his eyes as Riley talked in a soft voice, telling Buffy how glad he was that she was safe. He felt like growling when she invited the git to sit in his chair. Riley declined, saying he couldn't stay long.

Then there was silence. Spike tortured himself with images of Riley and Buffy holding hands and passing looks of longing between them.

Riley broke the silence. “How could you let him in your hospital room?”

“He saved my life.”

“But he's an evil demon. You do remember that, don't you?”

“Yes, but I also remember that he helped you and the others get Giles and me out of the Initiative. You do remember that the supposed good guys held me captive after you told them I was harboring their fugitive.”

“I swear, Buffy, I had no idea they would do that to you. I just wanted Hostile Seventeen to be recaptured.”

“Spike,” Buffy ground out. “His name is Spike.”

“You know, two of my soldiers have concussions and a third is in the infirmary talking insane nonsense about Spike taking bullets, taser guns, and tranquilizers darts like he was invincible?” Buffy was silent, so Riley said, “I don't know what Spike did to them, but that chip couldn't have malfunctioned.”

It was quiet again and Spike really wished he could see Buffy's face.

“And, this. This I can't believe,” Riley was saying.

“What's that?” Buffy asked, sounding wary.

Her tone of voice concerned Spike. What did he show her? He was very close to opening the door and kicking the soldier out, even though he knew that Buffy could handle a mere human.

“We've been going through Professor Walsh's records and found this,” Riley said, almost as if he was accusing Buffy of some crime.

There was a clicking sound, and Spike jumped when he heard Dr. Walsh's voice in the room, but relaxed when he realized it was just a recording.

“So, you kill vampires?”

“Yes. And all sorts of demons.”

“And yet, you harbor one of them and protect it. Why?”

“I…I have feelings for him.”

“You what? Have feelings for a monster? An animal?”

“He’s not a monster all the time. Spike has feelings. He’s…he’s different.”

“That’s ridiculous. You’re projecting human emotions on a creature who has none.”

“You haven’t actually spent time with the vampires you’ve been experimenting on, have you?”

“I’ll admit, they’re usually not awake when I see them.”

“Thought so.”

“So, do you make it a habit of getting romantically involved with vampires?”

Buffy made a noise that sounded like a growl. “No.”

A pause:

“There is something you aren't telling me. Have you been romantically involved with a vampire before?”

“Yes! But, he had a soul.”

“Does Hostile Seventeen have a soul?”


“So you have feelings for a soulless monster?"

“Yes. I don't want to talk about it. Can you ask me something else? Anything else!”

"Turn it off!" Buffy insisted. "She injected me with a truth serum."

"I know. That's what concerns me the most, because I know you were telling the truth." There was a pause. "And to think, I had this big crush on you and was making a fool of myself, trying to date you, while you've had the hots for a demon."

The tone of Buffy's voice was very familiar to Spike and he smirked, knowing that the indignation and anger was directed at Riley. "Look. I never asked for your attention and--"

"Hey, it's all right. After hearing this tape, I'm over it. Really."

"I want that tape."

"It's just a copy; the Initiative has the original."

Buffy groaned.

"I wouldn't worry about it too much. The Initiative is top secret and I doubt that tape will ever go public. At least not in your lifetime."

"So, is that why you came here? To shove that tape in my face, because I already know what I said."

"No, I came to say goodbye. The government has decided to close the Initiative down in this town. We’re moving headquarters to Cleveland, so my college career at UC Sunnydale is over."

As Riley continued to talk, Spike moved away from the door with a huge grin on his face. He knew it! Maybe she wasn't in love with him yet, but Buffy had feelings for him. He could work with that. It was the crumb that he was positive could sustain him for a very long time.

Riley came out of the room, frowned at Spike and turned his back on him, walking down the corridor. Spike sneered at his retreating form and said, quietly, "Bloke should know better than to turn his back on a deadly, powerful vampire."

The thrill of the hunt took over as he stalked his prey down the hallways and out into the early morning light. He took a moment to glance around, still in awe with the world awash in light. He quickly caught up to Riley, walking just a few feet behind him. The soldier's body language changed. His shoulders tightened and he slowed his pace. Yeah, the ponce knew someone was behind him. Riley turned right, between two buildings, walked a few steps and then turned on Spike. The snarl Riley emmitted was impressive, but Spike drew the line at having his t-shirt grabbed. Even so, the vampire let his body relax when he was slammed against the wall, knowing that he could take control of the situation at any moment.

"Why are you following me?" Riley demanded, giving Spike a little shake.

Keeping his eyes on Riley's angry countenance, Spike bit his lip and chuckled. It felt great to know he could fight back. He could break the ponce’s arm in one quick move if he wanted to. The power, the knowledge, and the element of surprise were intoxicating.

His smirk morphed into a scowl along with his vamp face. With an ease that belied their respective sizes, Spike lifted Riley off the ground and reversed their positions, slamming the idiot's head against the wall. "I've got a little parting gift for the Initiative and you're just the bloke to deliver it for me."

"Your...your chip. It's not firing," Riley stated with a grimace.

"Noticed that, did you?" Spike flashed him a sharp-fanged smile and released his hold on the man.

Instantly, Riley tried to run, which made Spike very happy, because it gave him another reason to toss the bugger against the wall. "You don't want to go without your present, do you?" Spike handed him the gold box and waited while Riley opened it.

"The chip! How?"

"Just make sure you let your mates know that the chip is out. They want it so bad; there it is. And your soldiers were not going crazy. You'd do well to remember and pass on this bit of information," he growled out as he shoved him against the wall again. "I'm invincible now. Stakes, holy water…" he looked up, "The sun. All have no affect on me."

Riley's eyes widened as he looked up as it finally occurred to him that Spike was out in the daytime.

"My God!"

"He can't help you. The only reason why you are still alive and kicking is so you can take that chip back to your mates. But know this, any one of you bloody soldiers tries to come after me or the Slayer again, you will end up dead. I'd kill any of you in a heartbeat." His face morphed back and he smiled at Riley. "As a matter of fact, I would love to kill you all. Just give me a reason."

Without taking his wary eyes off of Spike, Riley put the box in his pocket.

"What are you waiting for, you git? Run!"

Riley jumped and tried to take off, but Spike grabbed him by his shirt.

"Wait. Before you go, can you tell me where the nearest market is?" Spike said with a straight face. "I need to buy some grapes."
Chapter #19 - 18. Nurseries & Biology
Betas: mabel_marsters, tanit, & slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Eighteen: Nurseries & Biology

Buffy had just popped a juicy green grape into her mouth when Giles entered her hospital room, hobbling on his crutches. This time, he came alone. She eyed the clock and smiled as she chewed. Visiting hours has just begun and ever the rule keeper, Giles had come in at nine o'clock on the dot.

With a frown on his face, he paused at the foot of her bed, holding a bag of grapes. “It appears that you've already had a visit from an Englishman.”

She swallowed the grape. “Yes, but I don't have any red ones yet, thank you. Sit down.” She didn't like the way was he was looking at her or the awkward silence.

He placed the bag of grapes next to the half eaten bag already on the end table. “So, when did Spike leave, and do you know what he's planning?”

Giles sat down and stared at her, expectantly.

“Um...” Buffy had no idea what to say. He didn't even sound surprised that Spike had been there. “He left an hour ago. I'm not sure where he went.” She paused and then said, “How did you know it was Spike that brought the grapes?”

“It's an English tradition to bring grapes when visiting the sick in hospital. How many other Englishmen do you know?” Giles took his time pulling a green grape from a cluster and chewed it slowly. His intent stare, as if he could read her mind, began to wear on her nerves.

“So, where's Mom? I know you didn't drive here on your own.”

“Joyce dropped me off and went to find a parking space. She should be here shortly, and I'd like to discuss Spike before she arrives. She seems to have developed a fondness for him.”

“Well, he did save all of our lives.”

“That is what I wanted to talk to you about. Do you think that he's just waiting for you to get better before he attacks, or is there something else going on?”

“I...I'm not sure. I mean, he hasn't said that he plans to kill us all, but that's been his plan for years.” Buffy shrugged and kept her eyes on her hands.

“Well, he's brought you grapes, so that either indicates that he wishes you good health so he can kill you in a fair fight, or he really wishes you well.”

Staring down at her hands, she shrugged again. If she looked him in the eyes, she knew she'd feel even guiltier for the way she was feeling about Spike and for the fact that she was keeping her current condition as an expectant mother a secret from him.

“You know what I think?” Giles leaned back in his chair. “I think Spike has been taken with you, ever since Willow's spell.”

Buffy looked at him then. “You think he's still under a spell?”

The glasses came off and as he wiped them, he said, “Well, no, I...I don't think he's under a spell. I believe he is simply besotted with you. At least that's the feeling I got from his actions the other night.”

“He did bring me this,” Buffy said, holding the Care Bear up. “Spike said it was an impulse buy, but since when do vampires ever have the impulse to buy me stuffed animals?”

With his glasses firmly in place, Giles inspected the bear, and then gave it back to her.

“I believe this little turn of events can be used to our advantage. If you haven't caused too much damage already by turning him away, that is?”

She shook her head. “What do you think we should do?”

“Well...” Giles reached for his glasses again, but quickly put his hands in his lap before he could take them off. “I think it would be best if...if you encourage his attentions.”

Buffy sat up straight in her bed. “What?”

“It worked before,” he quickly told her. “When you were under the love spell, his guard was down and you were able to get the ring.”

If she had to pretend to have feelings for Spike again, she just knew she wouldn't be able to control herself. She was having a hard enough of a time keeping down real ones. There was no way she could do it. Her plan was to distance herself, not cozy up with him. She had a baby to think of now. She could not let herself fall for another vampire. That was no life for a child.

“Spike got the chip out,” she said. “He told me that with the ring on, he doesn't need to feed.”

Giles paused while he thought about that new development. “That does pose a problem, but with the ring he is unstakeable. What's to stop him from killing just for the sake of it?” He interrupted her stuttering come back and said, “Once you have the ring, you can stake him before he has the chance to kill again.”

“I'm not sure,” she said, looking down again, “if I could stake him now. He has helped us.”

“I know how difficult it was for you the last time you were forced into such a position. Yes, Spike has helped us a few times in the recent past, but with or without that ring, he poses a threat to us and the human population at large. It is your duty as the Chosen One to protect everyone.”

Their conversation was cut short when her mother and Dr. Nester entered the room together.

Joyce smiled at Buffy and said cheerfully, “Look who I found in the hallway.”

“How are you feeling today, Buffy?” the doctor asked while opening her chart.

“I feel really good, and I'm kind of going crazy just sitting here. When can I go home?”

“Slow down. You are recovering from major surgery. I'll need to keep you for another day, at least,” the doctor said, amused that his patient was anxious to leave.

“But, I feel great,” Buffy complained. “I want to sleep in my own bed.”

“Everyone is always in a hurry to get out of here,” the doctor quipped. “But it's unheard of for a patient who's gone through what you have to leave so quickly.”

Buffy started to argue, but Joyce stepped in front of the doctor and ran her hand across Buffy's forehead and through her hair. “I'd feel better if you stayed here like the doctor wants.”

As the three adults stared down at her, she felt more like a child than a college aged student. She wanted to pout, or just get up and hobble out of there, but she knew they'd all disapprove. Instead, she leaned back and sighed dejectedly, folding her arms across her chest. “Fine. I'll stay and be bored to tears.”

Once the doctor left, Giles smiled at Buffy as Joyce went around to the other side of the bed and squeezed her hand.

“I love you, honey.”

“I know, Mom.”

“You might be the Slayer, but you are also my baby. No matter how strong you are and how fast you heal, I worry about you. That will never change.”

Buffy smiled at her mom and squeezed her hand back. She wondered if she'd feel such strong emotions for her own child. Thinking about the baby and staring at her own mother, a pang of sadness hit her. She desperately wanted to tell her mom about her condition, but she felt ashamed. A baby should be a happy thing and here she was, not married and too young to be doing this. Her mom would probably be a little shocked, but then she'd eventually be excited about it. Yet, Buffy wasn't ready to accept it or be happy about it. So, she kept quiet.

Before they left, Giles quietly reminded Buffy of what he wanted her to do regarding Spike. She so didn't want to think about Spike and was grateful when the nurse came in with her pills. She gulped them down, hoping that they would take effect very quickly.

She fitfully dreamed about the same thing she'd dreamed about for the past couple nights: going on the Maury Povich show. Things were always a little different, but one thing remained the same; Spike was always revealed to be the father of her baby. Each time she had the dream, there was less and less of Parker, but this time he didn't feature in the dream at all.

Buffy woke up abruptly, as the nurse brought in her lunch. She tried to be polite, but the place was getting on her nerves. Just as she would get to sleep, they woke her up to check vitals or bring her disgusting, poor excuses for meals. She waited until the nurse left and then pulled the cover off her plate.

“Ugh,” she said. “Processed turkey and lumpy mashed potatoes.”

As she ate the bland food, she watched the clock on the wall next to the TV and asked herself why time seemed to slow down when she wanted it to speed up. Then she tried to occupy her mind by thinking about what everyone else might be doing at that moment. Giles would be sitting in his chair in his living room with a dusty old book. Her mom was at the gallery, working. Xander was probably outside hammering away at some wood somewhere. Willow was probably just starting her last class of the day.

Where would Spike be? He could go out in the daytime now; he could be anywhere. Did he need to sleep? A vision of his naked, sleeping form, the day she'd slept with him came to mind and she coughed, trying to erase the erotic memory. She grabbed the remote and raised the volume. It might be soap opera hour, but anything would be better that her thoughts.

No matter what she did, Buffy still saw Spike, and the question of why she kept dreaming about Maury telling her that Spike was her child's father plagued her. She'd never heard of a vampire fathering a child, but Spike's whole physiology had changed once he put that ring on. She tried to tell herself that it was too far fetched an idea to even be considered, yet she was getting that feeling in her gut. The one she got when she was on the verge of solving a big mystery.

Buffy's nurse, Cathy, breezed in and cheerfully announced that it was doctor's orders that she take a brief walk. With the way her thoughts were going, she was very grateful for the interruption. Wearing a fluffy blue robe and hospital issue skid-free socks, she leaned on one crutch and walked beside her nurse.

“Doesn't it feel good to get moving again?” the nurse asked.

“Actually, it does,” Buffy said with a smile. It was nice to be in an upright position after so long in a bed, even if then nurse wanted her to go at a snail’s pace.

Her smile faded when she saw the directional signs in the hall pointing to the Birthing Center.

“Is it very far to the baby section?”

The nurse gave her a knowing smile. “Of course you'd want to see the nursery. Come on, let's go that way. It's not far at all.”

Once they stopped in front of the glass enclosed nursery, Buffy glanced around and frowned. “Where are all the babies?”

“Nowadays, most of the babies room in with their moms. Oh! Here comes one now.”

A nurse pushed a cart with a clear plastic top by them. Inside was a wailing, wiggling bundle in a blue blanket. “He's not very happy, is he?” Buffy remarked to Cathy.

“I guess not.”

They both turned when they heard an ear piercing scream come from one of the rooms. Buffy immediately raised her crutch as a weapon. It sounded as if someone was getting torn apart by a demon.

Her nurse put her hand on Buffy's shoulder. “Someone's just giving birth, I'm sure.”

Buffy was sure she'd said it to be a comfort, but she put her hand to her abdomen and looked at the nurse with wide eyes.

“Oh, sorry. It's probably not as bad as it sounds.”

A happy, yet tired looking man took their attention away from the far off room, where the screaming had died down. He carefully pushed a cart with a baby in a pink blanket down the hall. He stopped when he got to them.

“Isn't she beautiful?” he asked them with tears in his eyes. “We waited years to have a baby and now she's here.”

“Aw, she's sweet,” the nurse crooned. “Giving mom a break?”

“Yes. My wife is sleeping, so I thought I'd take Bridget here for a walk,” he said, beaming at them.

Buffy's vision blurred with unshed tears. She wouldn't have a husband to help her out, or even a happy dad to smile down and be proud of her child. Unless, a small voice inside her whispered. Suddenly she felt like lying down again. She was quiet on the way back and was glad that the nurse kept quiet, too.

Willow was waiting by her bedside and Buffy did her best to smile and put on a cheerful facade. Once she was in her bed again, Willow pulled out a stack of books and folders and Buffy let out a groan.

“Now, now.” Willow scolded. “You don't want to get behind, do you?”

“I've never been caught up. There is always something to keep me behind.”

Willow pulled her tray up and set the books down. “I brought my homework, too. We can study together.”

With a pout, Buffy gently pushed the tray to the side. “I'm just not in the mood to do school work.”

With an indulgent smile, Willow put her books back in to her bag and asked, “Well, what do you feel like doing? TV? Or, do you have a deck of cards?”

Thinking of the nursery and how depressing her trip there had been, Buffy told her friend, “What I want to do is get far away from this place. I want to eat my mom's cooking and sleep in my own bed.”

“I know how much you hate this place, but you won't have to be here much longer, right?”

The Slayer shrugged and fought back tears. “I don't know. The doctor says that I can go home tomorrow, maybe.” She hated that she was being so emotional, but she couldn't seem to stop it. At least she wasn't actually crying.

“Buffy?” Willow said, standing up and placing a hand on her arm. “What's wrong?”

“Nothing. It's stupid.”

“Tell me.”

“It's just...I went for a walk before you got here and ended up at the nursery.” Buffy caught a tear and wiped it away before it could fall. “There was this dad there. He showed us his baby and he was so proud. My baby will never have that. I don't know how I'm going to do this alone.”

“You aren't alone. You have me, and your mom, and even Giles. I know that all of us will be here for you and help you.”

Buffy sighed. “I know. But, I just don't feel ready for this.” Her hand went to her abdomen again. “How am I going to patrol when I'm seven months pregnant?”

“You won't have to,” Willow said with a smile. “We can take turns helping you. I'm getting really good with the magic.”

One of the things she loved about Willow was her cheerful out look and positive spirit. Buffy needed that kind of support and friendship, but right now, Willow just sounded naïve. “Do you realize that I'm going to have to get a babysitter, just to patrol? And—what if something happens to me? No, not what if, but when? What happens to my baby, when I'm gone?”

“Don't talk like that.”

“Thinking of the future makes my head hurt, but I have to deal with the now as well,” Buffy said. She abruptly changed the subject. “Giles wants me to lead Spike along, because he thinks Spike has a thing for me.”


“I know. I know. And it doesn't help that I keep having these strange dreams about him,” Buffy complained.

Willow was silent for a time after Buffy told her about her dreams where Spike was always revealed to be the baby's father. Then she stared at Buffy in alarm. “Aren't the dreams that you have over and over again, Slayer dreams?”

“That's usually true. But, it can't be with this dream. Spike is not the father.” Buffy was glad to have been able to talk about the dreams, but now that Willow was thinking along the same lines she was, she wanted to forget it all and move on to other subjects. “I could use another candy bar or something that actually tastes good.”

Snapping out of her thoughts, Willow perked up. “Should I make a trip to the vending machine?”

With a grin, Buffy nodded.

After Willow got back with her junk food, she stayed for a little while longer. She managed to convince Buffy to open her books and make an effort at school work. They were interrupted once by the phone ringing. Xander called to say hello and find out when she was going to be able to go home, but he couldn't talk for long as he was getting ready to take Anya to a movie.

They took a break from the books to talk about Anya. Willow didn't like her, but Buffy detected a tad of jealousy there. Buffy had only spent small amounts of time in her company. “I reserve the right to not have an opinion until I've spent more time with her.”

“Get crackin’ on those books there, missy,” Willow ordered.

Buffy went back to reading the biology text book. She skimmed through the chapter on mammals, looking for the answers to the questions at the end of it that were due the next day. The tedious work of reading textbooks was one of the reasons that school bored her. She was action girl. Yet, here she sat, reading the same material that she'd read in junior high, then high school, and now college. Only the book was a little bigger, which meant more time reading. How did any of this apply to her life? Where was the chapter on vampires and demons?

“What do you think?” Buffy said, causing Willow to put her pen down. “Would you classify a vampire as a mammal? They have a four chambered heart. Doesn't work though.”

“Um, I'm going to say, dead mammals,” Willow offered. “They are cold blooded, though.”

“Well, except for Spike,” Buffy quipped.

“Why do you say that?”

“With the Gem of Amara on, not only is he warm to the touch—like human temperature—but he also has normal live human bodily functions.” Buffy smiled at Willow who was staring at her like she'd lost her mind. “I'm not kidding. When he was here early this morning, he had to use the bathroom.”

Willow got out a notebook and started scribbling away.

“What are you doing?” Buffy asked her, the tight feeling coming back to her chest.

“I'm writing this down, so I can do some research. A thought just struck me—I...I could be wrong, but I'm afraid I'm on to something. Just, I don't want to say anything until I know for sure. I might swing by Giles' before I go back to the dorms and see if he's found any more information about the Gem.”

Without looking up from her notebook, Willow said, “So, Spike was here earlier, was he?”

Buffy gave Willow the condensed version of Spike's strange visit, then Willow said, “Did you even think to ask him what he was doing here?”

She shrugged. “He didn't offer an explanation and he wasn't making any effort to kill me. It was kind of awkward. Besides, I slept through most of it.”

“I can't believe you fell asleep with Spike, the vampire who has tried to kill you many times, sitting in this chair, next to your bed.”

“He's not the vampire that showed up to kill me a couple of years ago. I think being chipped did something to him. Besides, he fought on our side, and he shows up here, invincible, but bringing me gifts instead of trying to kill me. Was kind of easy to let my guard down.”

Willow stayed for a little while longer and convinced Buffy to do some of her work. She left the hospital with two completed assignments and a promise from Buffy that she would work on some more.

Chapter #20 - 19. Saying It!
Betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit, & Slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Nineteen: Saying It!

Spike took long strides down the hallway, rounded a corner and ran smack dab into nurse Troy.

“You again!” Troy exclaimed, involuntarily backing up.

“'S right. Won't be long. Need to see Buffy,” he said in as neutral a tone as he possible could, trying to be diplomatic.

“What's wrong with coming during regular visiting hours?”

“Had things to do.” Spike shoved the nurse out of his way and took two steps before Troy was back in his path.

“It's almost midnight. You can't be here.”

Bored with Troy's persistence, Spike stared at him for a beat, then said, “I can see why you work the graveyard shift. Your people skills are sadly lacking.” Once more, he pushed Troy to the side and continued on his way.

“If you don't leave now,” Troy said as he grabbed Spike by the arm, “I'll--”

The nurse suddenly found himself tossed against the wall. “You'll what, tough guy?”

“I'll...I'll call security.” The nurse leaned against the wall for support.

“See. Here's the thing. I, too, am sadly lacking in people skills. You could call security and I'd leave, because I'm trying to impress a lady and causing a scene just wouldn't do.”

Troy stood taller and smiled smugly.

“But then I'd have to find you after your shift ended and rearrange your face; maybe break a few fingers, and—I don't know—I could come up with all sorts of ways to make you wish that you'd hadn't messed with me.” Spike turned his back on the stunned nurse and casually strolled into Buffy's room.

Dressed in a long flowing skirt and a sweater, Buffy stood near her bed, looking up at the TV. She jumped when he spoke. “I wasn't expecting to find you in your street clothes. Shouldn't you be sleeping right now?”

There was a brief flash of sparkle in her eyes and a hint of smile before she frowned. “What are you doing here, Spike?”

“Just came by to see how my favorite slayer was doing,” he told her with a shrug as he sat on the edge of the empty bed. “Would you rather I was out on the street causing mayhem and death?”

The horrified look on her face and the shake of her head made him groan. “Way to go, Casanova. Remind her that you're evil. That's the way to a girl's heart.” Upset with himself, he grumbled, “Why aren't you in bed like a good little patient?”

“I've had enough of this place.”

He folded his arms across his chest and raised an eyebrow at her.

“They won't let me sleep, the food sucks, and I just hate it here,” she said, sounding like a spoiled little girl.

“So, the doctors are letting you go, then?”

She sighed. “No. My doctor wants to see me tomorrow afternoon before he decides if I can go home or not.”

“Don't you think you ought to listen to the doctor?” Spike could not believe he was being the voice of reason.

“Every time the nurse comes to check my vitals, it's always the same, 'no temperature, normal blood pressure, and here take these pills'. I don't feel any pain in my leg and really, the stitches should come out already.”

Feeling better about her condition, he smiled at her, “So, what? Do you have an escape plan?”

“Nope,” she said, grabbing her duffel bag with one arm and carrying her crutch with the other. “This isn't a prison. I'm going to walk out.”

He took the bag from her, eying the hot pink paw sticking out of the open zipper. “And you planned to walk all the way home?”

“I'm going to call a cab from a pay phone, once I get out of here.” She left the crutch just inside her room and walked out.

“I've got my car. I'm still staying at your mom's. Might as well give you a lift home.”

Buffy groaned when Troy came rushing up. “Where are you going?” he asked incredulously, casting a wary eye at Spike.

“I'm sorry, Troy, but I can't stay here another minute. I'll go insane if I do.”

“ haven't been released,” he flustered. “There are papers to sign. There's a do and don't list for when you get home.”

Spike followed Buffy as she started walking away and said, “You know, it might be good to have that list.”

She stopped and without looking back, said, “If you hurry, Troy, I'll wait for it.”

It amused Spike to see the guy scramble to the nurses' station, complain to the other nurse at the desk and come rushing back with the home instructions.

“Here. Oh, and it's strict hospital policy that patients do not leave the hospital under their own power. You'll need to wait for a wheelchair.”

Spike glanced over at the nurses' station and noticed that the other nurse was talking on the phone as she watched them.

“No need for a bleeding wheelchair, you poof,” Spike said, all business like. He set the bag down and scooped the Slayer up like a bride being carried over the threshold on her wedding night.

“Put me down!” Buffy ordered.

He fought to keep a good grip on the struggling Slayer and bend down to pick up the duffel bag at the same time. “She's not walking out on her own power now, is she?”

With Buffy hitting his shoulder and Troy gawking at them, Spike trudged down the hall. He whispered in her ear, “Quit your bloody wriggling, Slayer. If you split open your stitches, it's right back into that bed for you.”

She relaxed in his arms, “This is just ridiculous. I can walk fine.”

“Saw the other nurse making a phone call. Just thought you'd want to leave before they called security or got a doctor here.” He picked up his pace, now that Buffy was behaving. “Besides, I kind of like the feel of you in my arms. It's been a while.”

She kept quiet, but their eyes met briefly. He found the slight flush of her cheeks very endearing, and if they weren't in such a hurry, he would have stopped to kiss her. He would have gladly continued to carry her once they were out the doors, but she immediately started to struggle. Of course, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to hold her tight and really get his hands on Buffy, so he fought her for few seconds before gently putting her down. Spike couldn't help but grin while she adjusted her clothing and glared at him.

“Stop grinning at me like a fool,” she said peevishly. “Point me to your car. I want to go home.”

He narrowed his eyes, latching on to her arm in a tight grip. “I think you are forgetting who you are talking to, Slayer.”

“Yeah, well, I'm too tired to care. Put me out of my misery now and kill me, or take me home so I can get some real sleep.” After yanking her arm free, she turned in a slow circle. “Now, where is your car?”

God, he loved her feistiness. Even if she was basically saying she had a death wish. It would be nice if she feared him just a little, though. “Over there.” He pointed and she quickly led the way, not even limping.

Buffy rested her head against the car seat with her eyes closed as Spike drove along the mostly deserted streets. He read the after care instructions that Troy had given Buffy and kept one eye on the road at the same time. It was pretty simple. She couldn't submerge the wound until the stitches were out. This gave Spike all kinds of visions involving sponge baths and naked, wet Buffy, but he continued reading. She was encouraged to take small walks, but no running, no climbing stairs or hills.

“It says here to take all the medicine that your doctor prescribed, but you don't have a prescription yet, do you?”

Buffy opened her eyes and snatched the paper from him. “Are you trying to kill me before I get home? Keep your eyes on the road.”

They were surprised to see the lights on when they pulled up to the curb. Before they could get out of the Desoto, Joyce was running up to them, with her own keys in hand. “I just got a call from the hospital, Buffy. What's going on?”

“I wanted to come home,” Buffy said. She shut the car door and walked up the path to the house.

Joyce focused her displeasure on Spike. “How could you let her leave?”

“Don't blame me. I was coming by for a visit and found her planning an escape.” When Joyce still glared at him, he added, “Have you ever tried to talk her out of doing something once she has her mind set?”

Joyce and Spike shared a smile.

Buffy sighed, “I'm tired. Can we talk about this in the house, please?”

Spike caught up to her, took the papers from her, putting them in his coat pocket, and scooped her up again. This time she smacked at him, but he ignored her and said, “The instructions say no climbing stairs.”

Once inside, he kept going up the stairs and gently deposited the spitting mad slayer on her bed. Being the stubborn bint that she was, Spike wasn't surprised when she got right up. He shook his head. He could feel her angry stare directed at him, even as he turned his back to her and left the room.

Joyce stood by Buffy's door and he handed her the paperwork. “Aftercare instructions. Better that you have them.”

“Thanks for bringing her home, Spike.”

As always, he couldn't help but be polite to Joyce. With a slight smile, he nodded and entered the guest room, next door. When they'd talked earlier in the day, Joyce had invited him to stay until he could find his own place. She also insisted that the one who had saved her daughter should have the guest room and not the “dingy” basement. Truth be told, he felt more comfortable in the basement, but after getting to know Joyce, he was willing to do anything to make her happy.

Spike sat on the edge of the too soft bed and grinned when the muted voices next door went up in volume. Either Mom was scolding the Slayer for leaving the hospital without the doctor’s approval, or the Slayer just found out that he was sleeping in the next room. Knowing the Summers women, it was probably both.

His plans for the night were shot. He'd expected to spend his time sitting up next to a sleeping slayer and watching TV. There was no TV in his room, but he did have his headphones and walkman. He lay back and listened to the Ramones, trying not to think about the Slayer getting ready to go to sleep in the next room.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

A heavy object landed on his stomach, effectively yanking him out of a deep sleep. Spike sat up, noting the sunlight streaming through the window and Buffy with her arms folded across her chest, standing just a few feet away.

“This isn't going to work,” she said.

The brass candle stick landed beside the bed with a thump as he turned the blankets back and sat on the edge, not caring that he was naked. Disappointed, but not surprised that she averted her eyes, he took the opportunity to quickly glance at his hand to make sure that the Gem was still snuggly set on his finger.

“I don't think your mum would like it too much if she knew you barged into her guest’s room while he was naked,” Spike said with a grin. He reached for his jeans and slipped them on.

“Yeah? Well, she's already left for the gallery. And I want you gone before she gets home.”

“Do you, really?” he asked, slipping his shirt on. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

“Of course I do. You can't live in my mom's house. What are you playing at?”

After he had his boots on, he stood up with head tilted and said, “Playing? Your mother invited me to stay and I accepted.”


Her folded arms and stony expression did not fool him. She could act anyway she wanted, but it was clear Buffy had a thing for him. “Perhaps,” he said, taking a step closer to her, “I just want to be near you.”

Buffy shook her head and backed out of the room, with Spike following into the hall. She turned away from him and with a stiff back, she said, “I thought you'd be in Brazil right now, looking for Drusilla.”

“Why didn't I think of that?” He threw his hands up. “Go find my insane-ex-girlfriend and show off my invincibility.” He warmed up to his faux plan. “She'll take me back and we could scour the country, leaving a path of death and destruction in our wake.” He patted his pockets. “Where are my keys?” Then he stopped and frowned at Buffy, not believing that she would bring Drusilla up.

“I'm not saying that's what I want you to do, but I'm asking why you haven't done that?” she said, facing him again.

“I've had enough of Drusilla. She cheated on me one too many times. When it comes to matters of love, I'll admit, I don't have a lot of pride, but a Chaos demon? Have you seen those things?” He shuddered. “Besides, it's not Drusilla that I'm in love with.”

His pointed stare had her turning her back on him again.

“You don't know what you're saying. You don't have a soul. How could you possibly feel real love?”

He shrugged. “I don't give a damn about a bloody, mystical piece of intangible nothingness that I'm supposedly missing. I know love, and I know when I'm feeling it.” When she turned back and just stared at him, unconvinced by his words, he continued, “Drusilla saw this coming, you know.” He nodded firmly when Buffy rolled her eyes at him. “Yes, she did. Last time I saw her, she went on about seeing you surrounding me and such.”

“I...I...this is just not--”

“Not what? You can't help who you fall in love with, now can you? When there's an attraction, there just is.”

Buffy was doing her best to close herself off, but Spike would have none of it. He grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her close, letting his unneeded breath fall on her cheek. “Tell me you don't feel it.”

She trembled slightly, her body temperature rising and the sweet scent of her arousal filled the air, but she pushed away from him, shaking her head. “You’re evil. I can't do this.”

Spike glanced around, trying to come up with the right words to convince her that they could work. He never imagined declaring his love for her in a hallway. “Come back into my room and let's talk.”

With lips pursed, she stared at him. If she was considering it, her closed off expression didn't give it away. Without a word, she turned and went into her room.

His frustrated growl filled the hall as he went after her, putting his boot in the door's path before she could close it.

“Get out,” she ordered dispassionately, when he forced his way in and shut the door.

Trying to get a grip on the anger boiling up inside him, he took a calming breath. She couldn't make it easy on him, could she? “Not until you hear me out.” He mustered up all the patience he could and stood where he was, waiting until she was ready to look him in the eye.

The Slayer came at him with both palms out and pushed on his chest. “Get out!”

In a flash, Spike clasped his hands behind Buffy's neck, affectively trapping her to him. She was startled just enough that he was able to bend slightly at his knees and hold her head to keep her from looking away. She had incredibly expressive eyes. Right now they flashed with indignation and a hint of fear, but at least he had her undivided attention.

“I. Am. In love. With you.”
Chapter #21 - 20. Moods
Betas: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, Slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty: Moods

“I. Am. In love. With you.”

With all the force of a desperate slayer, she shoved at him and he stumbled back, but Spike's eyes never left her face as she said, “You have no idea what you're talking about. This is absolutely crazy. You've hated me for years and now all of a sudden, you're in love with me?”

The stubborn glint in his eyes was too much for her and she looked away. God, she just wanted to crawl back under her covers and go to sleep. She didn't need this right now. It was hard enough as it was to ignore the feelings she was beginning to have for him, without Spike coming out in the open with the things that he thought he felt for her.

When he started to chuckle, her head snapped up and she glared at him.

“Hate? I have never hated you.” He ran a hand through his hair as he paced the room before stopping in front of her again.

She hadn't expected that from him. He'd never hated her? She made a pfft like sound and crossed her arms over her chest.

“No, really. From our first confrontation in the school, I knew I liked you.” He grinned at the memory of that night and she couldn't help but grin as well. “Oh, you were young then, but you had the courage of a seasoned pro. You didn't miss a beat when I started with the verbal jabs, and when you threw down your weapon.” Spike's eyes rolled back for a moment as if he was in the throes of ecstasy. “That was the moment I knew I wanted our dance to last a very long time. That is why I let you and your mother live that night.”

“What?” she argued, getting into the memory. “You ran off like a scared rat that night.”

“Before your mother came along, I had you and you know it.” He shook his head when she started to protest. “Ah, ah, don't deny it. And did you honestly think that I was afraid of a middle-aged woman who couldn't even use the right side of an axe and a very young slayer who I had been getting the best of?”

He was smiling at her fondly now and it kind of wigged her out, but at the same time she had butterflies in her stomach and her flesh tingled with goose bumps. She'd seen him with that look on his face before when he'd looked at Drusilla, but never directed at her.

He shook his head. “No, Slayer, I have never hated you. Even when you foiled my every plan and made my life a living hell; even when you put me in a wheelchair and I lost Drusilla.”

“Hey! None of that was my fault.”

“Oh, it was all your fault, and I wanted you dead for it; but I didn't hate you. I had too much respect for you to hate you.”

“What?” She couldn't believe her ears. Sure, his attitude had changed recently, but in the beginning, she really had thought he hated her.

“I've wanted you dead and I've passionately disliked you, but if given the choice, I would rather be fighting you than anyone else.” He shrugged. “I think I've proven that I don't want you dead anymore.” He took a step towards her and lowered his eyelids in that sexy way of his. “I still feel passionately about you, but if given the choice now, I'd rather be shagging you than anyone else.”

“Go!” she yelled with a finger pointed towards her door. She'd almost been pulled in by his little speech, but as usual, he put his foot in his mouth. Buffy was grateful this time. His crude words were enough to remind her of what he was. And right now, she desperately needed that reminder, because her heart was shouting at her to give in and jump into his arms.

“You can kick me out of your room, but that doesn't change the fact that I love you. I'm not giving up that easy.”

She sighed, remembering Giles' instructions to keep stringing Spike along for the good of all humanity. She couldn't do that. It was wrong. Even with all that he was and had done in the past, she had some respect for him as well. As gently as she could, she said, “I could never love you, Spike, because of what you are.” Then she sighed and to herself as much as to him, she said, “Whatever you think you feel, you need to get over it.”

“I can be good,” he said, his stare direct and unflinching.

He thought he could, but she knew it was near impossible. With the Gem of Amara on his finger and the chip out of his head, he could turn on them all at any moment. . She shook her head.

Losing what little patience he possessed, Spike growled, “Do you know how many people I’ve come across since you told me where this ring was? Hmm?” With an agitated wave of his hand, he continued, “Hospital personnel, shop clerks, your friends—oh! And the commandos, including your boy, Riley.”

She hadn't thought about that, but it didn't mean that he would be able to continue that way. “So, you've refrained from doing any violence the last couple of days after a century of killing. Should I give you a medal?”

“Hey!” was his indignant reply. “I've fought on your side for weeks with that sodding chip in my head. How easily she forgets.”

Buffy snorted at that. “Oh, right. You fought with the good guys, not for money, not to get in your “spot” of violence, but out of the goodness of your dead heart. And that's why, the first chance you got, you went rushing to a doctor who could take it out.”

“First chance!” He began to pace again, mumbling under his breath. Then, he turned and pointed a finger at her. “I’m not going to argue with you. You and me, we're the action sort. I’ll prove to you by my actions that I can control myself.” Grabbing the doorknob behind him, he kept his gaze steady with hers as he swung the door open and took a step out.

Halfway into her sigh of relief, he was in front of her again. “I know in my blood that we're meant for each other.”

With a shiver and half closed eyes, she shrugged, trying to shake off the attraction that was causing her heart to race. “Since you’re on stolen blood...”

“Action,” Spike said, more to himself. Then, he gripped her shoulders, pulled her closer and pressed his soft lips to hers.

Buffy could feel the passion coming off him in hot waves, and his lips tasted so good. She groaned and leaned into him, but as his arms went around her, she pushed him away. “Is that,” she said, breathlessly, “what you call control?”

The vampire smirked as he left the room and stopped just outside the door. He did the head tilt thing that had made her knees weak when they had been engaged. “I'll control my natural urges to harm the humans, but I never said anything about controlling my urges when it comes to you. Even I don't have that much restraint.”

With a raised brow and a wave, he spun and walked towards the stairs. Buffy licked her still tingling lips and flopped onto her bed. Below her, she heard the front door shut firmly, then she heard the high pitched screech of brakes and a car door shut. It sounded more like someone had arrived. She went to the window and saw Spike sign a slip of paper for the FedEx driver. The man drove away as Spike tore open his package, pulled out his duster and swung it around, slipping it on. Buffy heard the Desoto roar to life as she moved back to the bed and sat down. She didn't think she'd ever get used to the idea of Spike running around in the daylight, but off he went with a squeal of his tires, leaving Buffy to wonder where he could possibly be going.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike had no idea where he was going. He'd pulled off a grand exit after a great, action packed kiss, but now what to do? It's not like he'd spent gobs of time out in the sun. He turned right at the end of Revello Drive, and now feeling foolish for leaving as he had, he turned down the next street with the plan of driving around the block and going back to the house.

Knowing that Buffy would think he was stupid for pulling up right away, he drove slowly. A big red ball bounced across the street in front of him, and he slammed on the brakes as a little dark haired girl followed. With his wheels smoking, he hit the steering wheel and cursed. It wouldn't do to kill one of them, just after he'd vowed to prove to his lady love that he could control himself. Still, the little girl was frozen to the spot, inches from his bumper. He knew that he hadn't hit her, but now he felt like taking her over his knee for being so careless.

He got out of the car and frowned at her. “What are you doing in the middle of the street running after a ball like that? Didn't your mum ever tell you to look both ways?”

Her big brown eyes filled with tears and her lower lip trembled as she shook her head. “My mommy went to heaven.”

With a roll of his eyes, he said under his breath, “Probably got run over.” And louder, he said, “Well, get your ball and get back on the sidewalk where you belong.”

She jumped to obey and stood on the edge of the curb, watching as he drove slowly past her. Spike took one more disapproving look at the girl, but then realized that she was alone. What bleedin' adult would let a little child wander out alone? The demons were all underground at this time, but he watched the telly. Every day, some small child was gone missing; snatched from their yards or schools, never to be seen again. Children had more to fear from the adults of their own kind than vampires and demons, because children weren't usually out alone at night to be taken by creatures that owned the dark.

He pulled the car over to the curb and crossed the street, thinking that Buffy would like it that he'd done a good deed. The girl smiled at him and he frowned back. “Where are your parents? Who's supposed to be watching you?”

“You talk funny, mister.”

“What's your name?”


“That's a mouthful, Anabella, is. How old are you, poppet?”

“I'm fife.” She held up five skinny fingers.

The small pink bike near the steps of the house behind the girl gave away where she lived. “Come with me.”

She followed with quick steps to catch up to him. Spike rang the doorbell. He waited. Then he knocked, or rather pounded on the closed door.

Then, he felt quick tugs on his coat. “Mister, aren't you hot in that coat? My grandma says you'll catch cold ifins you wear a coat when it's hot.”

The door swung open and a plump, gray haired lady gasped, holding a hand to her breast.

“Granna, this man almost rannded me over,” Anabella said in excitement.

Grandma's fright at seeing a dangerous looking stranger at her door turned to outrage. She glared at him but said, “Bella, get inside. Now!”

“She ran after a ball and right in front of my car. It's a good thing I was going so slow. Would've hit her otherwise.”

Grandma stepped back and moved the door until it was almost closed. Spike felt a deep satisfaction that she feared him. How easy it would be to overpower the woman by pushing on the door, then step over the threshold.

He shook his head to rid himself of such thoughts. “You might want to watch her a little more closely. Not only could she have been hit by a car, but if I was the bad sort, I could have easily swooped her up and made off with her, and no one would have been the wiser.”

The door opened a bit further. “She wasn't supposed to be out there. Thank you for bringing her to me. Anabella must have slipped out while I was upstairs. I've just been busy packing up my son's house for him. ”

“Oh, yeah. I saw the for rent sign in the window.”

Anabella pushed her way by her grandma and held an Oreo cookie up to him. “Wanna a snack? It's snack time.”

He flashed the little one a smile and bent down so that he was eye level. “No thank you, poppet. But listen, you little sprite, no more running in the street, yeah?”

Grandma smiled down at them while Anabella stared at him, contemplating her answer. “Okay, mister, but you still talk funny.”

“Bella! That's rude,” Grandma scolded.

But Spike just chuckled and ruffled her hair before straightening up. He nodded at the woman and took a step back. “I've got to go. Stay safe.”

“Wait, young man! You wouldn't know of anyone who is looking for a place to rent, do you?”

He started to shake his head, but stopped. Buffy wasn't too happy with him staying at her mom's, and really, he didn't fancy staying in that bright guest room under the watchful eye of Mrs. Summers while he courted her daughter. “Does this place have a basement?” Buffy's house was just on the next block over and she had a basement. If this place had one, it just might work.

“Why, yes, it does. My son had it finished with a bathroom, bedroom and a play room.”

Spike drove away from the house on Mantova Street in high spirits. Anabella and her dad were moving in with Grandma Carol who lived four houses down. The house would be ready to move into in a couple of days. It came fully furnished. When he mentioned that he was looking for a place, Carol hesitated, until he mentioned that he could pay six months rent in advance. Her eyes had lit up then and she grabbed one of her son's business cards to give to him. She just warned that they didn't want loud parties, drugs, or pets.

She suggested that he wear something different when he came to meet with her son, because it was his house and he had the final say. He bit back an insulting reply to that and just nodded, knowing that she was probably right. At least he had something to do now. Sunnydale's tiny indoor mall was just a few minutes away.

The mall was just opening and the place was almost empty, which suited him fine. If he wasn't eating them, he'd just as soon see as little of the human population as possible. He strolled into Bloomingdale's because it was the closest department store from where he parked and found the men's department. Right away, a female clerk pounced on him.

“Can I help you?”

Spike raised an eyebrow at the snooty little woman. It was obvious that she didn't think he could be helped but was sent over to babysit him and make sure he didn't lift any of the merchandise.

“I'm looking for something to wear to a meeting with a potential landlord,” he told her as he absentmindedly ran his hands over some ugly print shirts. “Gotta look a bit respectable.”
“We have some nice suits over there.”

With a grimace at the thought of putting one of those namby pamby suits on, he said, “Not that respectable.” He marched over to a rack and held up a light blue, button down shirt. “What do you think of this?”

“That will work. Perhaps a new pair of shoes to go with it?” she suggested, hoping to add to her sales commission.

There was no way he was going wear anything but his boots. He passed the jewelry counter and did a double take when he saw the glass baubles prominently displayed there. It was official. Everything came back in style at some time or another. He chose a large ring that would match the size of the other chunky rings that the Slayer seemed to favor.

The last thing he purchased was a pair of sunglasses. Standing just outside the mall, he donned them and smiled. That was much better. He'd forgotten how sensitive his blue eyes were to sunlight.

The house appeared to be empty, but Spike knew better. Buffy was there. He could feel her, smell her, hear her heartbeat. He shut the door loud enough to shake the wall, announcing his presence and stomped up the stairs. Buffy opened the door just as he passed it. She looked sexy with her hair out of place and sleepy eyes.

He smiled at her. “Hi, honey, I'm home.”

She eyed him with a scowl marring her beautiful face. “I think the whole neighborhood knows you’re home. Could you be any louder?”

He shrugged, then his face lit up. He shoved the garment bag with his new shirt at her. “Here. Hold this for sec.” He began patting the pockets of his coat until he found what he was looking for: a small box wrapped in metallic blue paper and topped with a now crumpled bow. “For you.”

In one swift move, he took the shirt from her and shoved the box into her hand. Spike was a bundle of nerves as she stood there gazing at the box. He felt like a teenager again.

“Aren't you going to open it?” he asked.

“No,” she answered with a shake of head, holding the box out to him. “I don't want anything from you.”

“Aren't you the least bit curious as to what Ole Spike would get for you at Bloomingdale's?”

“Let me guess. A box of black widows?”

“That's the kind of gift Drusilla would have loved.” He smiled fondly as he thought about the bizarre things that made the dark vampire squeal with delight. He straightened up and wiped the smile off his face when he realized Buffy was glaring at him now. Was that jealousy? “I can tell you that Drusilla hated what's in that box, because they never worked for her.”

The flicker of curiosity brightened the Slayer's eyes. Gingerly, she unwrapped it and let the paper fall to the floor. The clerk had put the ring in a fancy velvet box. It creaked as she opened it and then she stared at him in confusion. “What is it?”

He grabbed the ring from the box and held it out for her. “It's called a mood ring. The colors change according to your moods. Trinkets like this were quite the rage a few years back, but you were probably too young to remember.”

“Spike, why are you buying me presents? You know this was settled this morning.”

His coat rose and fell with his shrug. “Help me out here, Slayer. I bought it more for me than you.” He pulled out a small laminated card. “This here is the guide to the colors and moods. If you wear the ring, I'll know what kind of mood you’re in and can proceed accordingly.”

The velvet box came flying at him and with expert timing, he caught it. He loved it when she got violent and couldn't help but smile as she slipped the ring on her finger. She had to try three fingers and it eventually ended up on her index finger.

“I'm going to wear it, because I think it's cool, but don't--” She glanced up at him and cut off her words, staring at him with a little smile.

He looked behind him and then back at her. “What?”

“Nothing. It's just...your whole face changes when you smile like that. You know, not a smirk, but a real smile. I noticed it when we were under Willow's spell. Makes your eyes...” She stared at her hand.

He looked at the ring, too and was fascinated as the green color turned to a deep amber. “Hmm,” he said, consulting his little card. “Amber: Nervous. Mixed emotions.”

The door to Buffy's room slammed shut and he found himself standing in the hallway alone. Likes my smile, does she? Well there's some progress. Got a the box thrown at me, but she kept the ring. He hummed a little ditty as he opened his own bedroom door and slipped inside.

Chapter #22 - 21. Off & On's
Beta's: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, & Slaymesoftly.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-One: Off & Ons

Spike had successfully avoided Willow and Xander the night before when they came by for a visit, and Buffy had successfully avoided him during the day by using the same tactic of hiding in her bedroom. The house was quiet, because her mom was working late at the gallery. She could hear Spike moving around his room and wondered what he might be up to. When she heard his door shut, she waited until she was sure he was downstairs before leaving her room, telling herself that she wasn't seeking his company; that she was only hungry.

She was careful going down the stairs, even though she felt great, and was very aware of the mood ring on her right hand. It would be best if she just threw it away, but Buffy liked it and she thought it was sweet that he bought it for her. She'd never tell him that though. Spike could say what he wanted about her moods, but she was sure that mood rings did not work the way people claimed. It was a blue-green color now and she thought it was pretty.

Spike's voice drifted up to her from the kitchen and she quickened her pace.

“May I speak to Eric Young, please?”

Spike leaned on the wall in the kitchen, holding the phone to his ear. He looked different in his light blue collared shirt. He still looked dangerous, but with a softer edge, and he didn't look as pale in the sunlit room as he did when just wearing black.

“Eric? Oh, good, you're home. Are we still on for tonight?”

The cordial tone he was using just didn't sound right on him. Buffy passed him on the way to the fridge and they stared at each other. She tore her gaze away and grabbed a water bottle and an apple.

“Great, I'm just a block over. I can be there in fifteen minutes. Yes. I've been renting a room from...” He smiled at Buffy. “Uh, friends. OK. See you soon.”

“Who was that?” Buffy asked, setting her apple on the counter and opening her water.

The way he was staring at her, with unconcealed lust, made her knees weak. In a low and sultry voice he said, “You look great. Planning on going out?”

The sun was going down, but the kitchen was still warm and feeling warmer by the second. She took a drink and put the water bottle down. “I've got a meeting at Giles' later and then we're going to the Bronze.” With a mouthful of apple, she said, “You didn't answer my question.”

“I've got a meeting, too. I might rent a house on the next street over.”

She paused with the apple almost to her mouth and stared at Spike. He seemed pleased with himself, but for some reason she felt disappointed. It wasn't like she was going to be staying at her mom's house much longer and really, she should be glad that he wasn't going to be bothering her mom.

“I met the family quite by accident and when I found out their place had a basement, I let them know I was interested.”

“Oh. And you are going over to their house, right now?” She couldn't just let him get close to people. What if he hurt them? “I'm going with you.”

It was a ridiculously short ride to the Young's house. Spike hadn't argued with her and he'd even gone upstairs and grabbed her purse for her when he got his coat, which he carefully laid out on the back seat to wear later. He agreed to take her to Giles' place after he had completed his business.

All the Craftsman style homes in this older neighborhood looked alike with small variations. This one was painted a hunter green with white trim and had a white porch with a swing. The small lawn was neatly kept and flowers bloomed in perfectly square sections against the porch. The bright red for rent sign still sat in the front window, reminding Buffy why they were here. She was extremely curious to know how Spike had met these people.

A man in his late thirties opened the door. “You must be Spike. I've heard a lot about you. Come in. I'm Eric.”

She watched in fascination as Spike shook hands with the man, realizing that with the ring on, Spike was warm enough to pass for a human.

“And, is this your girlfriend?” Eric smiled at Buffy.

“This is Buffy. I'd like her to be my girlfriend, but she's too good for the likes of me.”

Buffy glared at the stupid vampire and sat far away from him on the couch when Eric offered them a seat. Before any of them could speak, a blue streak came flying into the room in the form of a small child with long dark hair. She landed in Spike's lap.

“Spike! Are you going to sleep in my room?”

Buffy‘s jaw dropped as she watched Spike ruffle the child’s hair and then gently place her beside him on the sofa.

“No, poppet. I probably won't.”

The little girl put two fingers in her mouth and stared at Buffy. “Daddy. Who's that?”

“That is Spike's friend. Buffy, this is my daughter, Anabella. And Bella, don't pester Spike.”

“'S alright. She's a cutie.”

Anabella got off the couch and stood in front of Buffy. Her big brown eyes never left Buffy's face. “Do you talk funny, too?”

She smiled at the little girl. “No. But you're right, Spike does talk funny.”

“Hey! I'll tell you, Eric, females are always ganging up on me,” Spike said with a mock sigh.

“Bella!” her grandmother called out as she came around the corner. “There you are. Now don't bother your daddy; he's got things to discuss with Spike.” The woman gave Spike a little wave and a smile. “It's nice to see you again. Bella, it's time for your bath. Come along.”

Eric watched the pair go up the stairs and then turned to Spike. “I want to thank you for saving Bella yesterday. I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost her, too.” The man got misty eyed. “I lost her mother to cancer a year and a half ago. We should have moved in with my mom then, but I was advised not to change anything in Bella's life until after she got used to her mom being gone. Since I got my promotion, I've been away quite a bit and Bella spends more time at her grandma's. We thought it was time to rent this place out.”

Buffy's heart went out to the man. “I'm so sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you. We’re doing much better now. We have each other and my mom.” Eric thanked Spike again for saving his daughter and Buffy couldn't fathom how or why Spike would do such a thing.

As Spike and Eric went over details about renting the house, Buffy thought of the little girl upstairs and absentmindedly covered her abdomen with her hands. Soon, she'd have a little one of her own. With her calling, it was very possible that her mom would have to take care of her baby for her. She watched Eric talk and smile, his hands waving around as he gestured, and thought that Anabella was lucky to have such a good dad. Her baby wouldn't be so lucky. Even if Parker was alive, she doubted the jerk would have stepped up and been a man. And she didn't even want to think about the possibility of Spike being the father.

She stood up when they did and was just as shocked as Eric when Spike pulled out a wad of money and handed it to him. “Here is the full six months in advance. I agree to cover the cost of any repairs needed on the home while I'm in residence and if I move before the six months are up, the remaining rent is yours to keep.''

Eric quickly shook his hand. “You've got a deal, but are you sure you don't want to take a look around first?”

They took a quick tour that started with the large basement. It was nothing like her own dreary basement. There was a bathroom, a small bedroom and an open area that was done in pinks and purples for Anabella's toys. Back upstairs, they quickly went through the kitchen and dining room and then up to the second level. Eric explained that the only room that would not be furnished was Anabella's. They were going to make her new room look as much like her old one as possible. They ended the tour outside with the detached two-car garage, which Spike got excited about and led to a long conversation with Eric about vintage cars.

When they were leaving, Spike rushed to Buffy's side and opened the car door for her. Before Spike even got his key into the ignition, Buffy started with the questions. “So, how did you save the little girl?”

“I didn't do that much. Just slammed on my brakes when she ran out in front of my car. Then I brought her to her grandmum.” His smiled as he pulled the car away from the curb and drove off. “The little imp had sneaked out to play while her grandma was busy packing their belongings.”

Buffy had to remind herself that he was a coldblooded killer. He could look as touched and sweet about one little girl as he wanted, but how many others like her had Spike killed over the years? Gazing out the window, she had a more sobering thought. How many young girls were still at risk because he wore that ring, and what was she going to do about it? No matter what he said to her, no matter the gifts he showered her with and no matter how faint worthy his kisses were, she had a job to do.

“Not that I don't think it isn't adorable, but why the pouty face?” he asked her.

“Nothing. I just—you know I can’t let you go around with that ring on, and if you take it off, it's even worse.”

“You have no choice, because the Gem is not coming off.”

She slammed her head against the seat back in frustration and stared out the window again.

“I don't see what all the fuss is about. You don't want me at your mum's, so I'm moving out, I've given you my word that I wouldn't go about offing humans, and I'm staying close so you can keep an eye on me. That last bit, I like the best.”

“I don't want to have to keep an eye on you.”

He shrugged good-naturedly. “That's all right. As long as you let me keep an eye on you. And a couple of hands. Oh, the things I want to do to you with my hands—lips, too.” Spike reached over and put his hand on her bare knee, giving it a light squeeze.

“That's it! Stop the car.” Buffy tossed his hand away from her and scooted closer to the door, slapping at the handle and the window.

Spike swerved and righted the car. “Are you daft?”

“Stop the car or I'll jump out while it's moving.”

He pulled over and frowned as she jumped out. “I thought you wanted to go Giles' apartment?”

“I do, but I'll take my chances walking the rest of the way, since you can't seem to keep your hands to yourself.” Staring straight ahead, she began walking at a brisk pace down the sidewalk lined with big trees. The sun had gone down and she wished that she'd remembered to bring a sweater with her.

He reached over and shut the passenger door, rolled the window down, and then put the car in drive. The car rolled along at a snail's pace, keeping time with her.

“I'm not leaving you out here alone. You're not a hundred percent yet. What if you run into a demon?”

“That's funny, because I just jumped out of the car to get away from a demon.”

She wished he'd just go away. The stitches on her thigh were starting to itch and burn from her exertion and she really wanted to slow down. But he kept with her for the two blocks it took to get to Giles.

Before she could disappear into the courtyard, he called out her name. With a groan, Buffy faced him and wished that she hadn't. The sad little boy face was just too much. “Go away!” she yelled at him, and ran down the walkway, out of his sight. Hearing the squeal of his tires as he peeled away, she hesitated, then knocked on the door.

“Hey, everyone, it's the Buffster,” Xander said when he opened the door. “So good to see you out and about. Come here.”

She leaned into Xander when he hugged her, but caught Anya's jealous glare and straightened up.

“Hi, everyone.”

“You're late,” Giles said, with a smile. “Must mean things are back to normal.”

With a wave of her hand and a frown, she told them, “Yeah, well, I had to babysit a vampire.”

Giles looked up from the book on his lap. “Was I right? Have you been doing as I suggested?”

Xander looked from Giles to Buffy. “Right about what?”

Buffy ignored the question and addressed Giles. “Um, yeah. You were right, but I just can' know?”

All eyes were on her now and she desperately wanted to go back home and crawl into bed. Giles' intense stare, searching out her innermost thoughts, made her very uncomfortable. Willow stood by the kitchen and gazed at her sympathetically, but then her countenance changed. She motioned for Buffy to follow her and she excused herself to get a drink in the kitchen.

“What?” Buffy whispered while opening the fridge.

“How are you doing? Have you been feeling sick?” Willow asked, touching her shoulder.

“I think it's too early for that.” Buffy shrugged.

“Well, take this.” Willow handed her a bottle of pills. “I made these for you just in case.”

Buffy slipped the small bottle into her pocket and popped open her can of Diet Coke before going to the couch and gingerly sitting down. “So, what's the sitch?”

Giles closed his book, put it aside and stood up. “We have a problem and I think it's only going to get worse.” Everyone sat up straighter and he let his words sink in with a pause. “Word's got round that the Slayer was in hospital and that The Initiative is pulling up stakes. Demon activity is up and as much as I despised the military interference, I miss the back up.”

“Well, I'll just have to start patrolling tonight.” Buffy stood up, reading to go.

“No. You need another night to heal. I don't want to put you out in the field too soon,” Giles said. “Tonight, we need to come up with a group plan, so that when you do go back to patrolling we can be of more help. We're going to have to set a strong presence out there to get the message out. The Initiative might be gone, but this is still a Hellmouth guarded by a strong and capable Slayer with a lot of back up.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It was dark, but early yet and Willy's was damn near empty. Spike had come in a few times since he'd been kicked out by angry demons after they found out that he was helping the Slayer by killing other demons. Unless he went in the back for a poker game, his nights at the bar had always ended the same way: with him flat on his arse sporting a few purple bruises.

Tonight however, he sauntered right in the front door and glared at the few demons who growled at him on the way to the bar. He grabbed a stool and took a seat, snapping his fingers to get Willy's attention.

“Look, Spike, I don't feel like cleaning up a mess tonight. There's no poker game scheduled, so you know, scram.”

He threw a twenty dollar bill on the glossy bar. “Just give me a bottle of Bourbon and a clean glass.”

Willy grudgingly took the twenty and put it in the cash register before slapping a glass and bottle down in front of the cranky vampire.

“Hey, Spike, “ a flesh colored, wrinkled demon said as he took the stool next to him. “Long time no see. Too bad there isn't a game tonight. I could stand to win some cash.”

“Hi, Clem,” Spike greeted half-heartedly. “Willy, another glass, please.” He liked Clem, but he talked too much and right now, Spike just wanted to wallow in his frustration with a stiff drink. If he could get Clem busy nursing a drink, he might just stay quiet.

“Thanks, Spike.” Clem poured for them both. “So, how's unlife been treating you?”

“Not so bad, really. Everything is perfect, except for one thing.” Spike downed the liquor in his glass and slapped it on the table for Clem to refill.

“Girl trouble, huh.”


The amber liquid smelled good, tasted good and burned perfectly going down, but he remembered that he couldn't get drunk with the Gem on his finger. After taking a moment to glance around, he slipped it off his finger, stood up and shoved it deep in the front pocket of his jeans.

“You okay?” Clem asked, watching with head cocked slightly.

“Yeah,” Spike said, shivering as the familiar cold settled in and spread to his bones.

Spike slapped another twenty on the bar and Willy snatched it up. “Give me a tall glass of fresh O neg at body temp.”

Willy nodded and went out of sight. He came back with Spike's order, carefully setting it down.

“Still not drinking straight from the source?” Clem asked.

“Nope. I swear, Clem, I'll always be love's bitch.”

“Yeah, I've got women trouble, myself. My old lady has kicked me out. Says I watch too much TV and spend too much time here, losing all our money.”

Spike chuckled wryly. “You do.”

Clem shrugged and went quiet, then sighed.

“I've got room at my place, if you need a place to stay.”

“Really!” Clem said, perking up.

Spike wished he hadn't said anything, but Clem was one of those congenial demons that you couldn't help but like. “Yeah. I'm moving in tomorrow night.” Finding a pen, he wrote the address down on a napkin, saying, “You can have the furnished master bedroom. I'm staying in the basement.”

“Makes sense. You wouldn't want the light to dust you,” Clem said, and then proceeded to grill Spike about the neighborhood, wanting to know where the nearest sewer entrance was and how quiet the neighbors were.

When the low ambiance music changed to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Spike turned to see who was at the jukebox. A Polistaz demon started moving around the pool table near the machine with all four arms waving about. Spike went back to his drink, and then rolled his eyes at Clem. He reached into his duster and tossed a couple of quarters on the bar.

“Do me a favor. Go over there and choose a couple of songs that won't make me puke. You know, something hard, something edgy.”

“Sure thing, Spike.”

Clem passed an ugly brown demon with a face that resembled old tree bark, wearing faded blue jeans and a silver studded leather jacket. He glared at Clem and then turned his attention back to Spike saying, “What are you doing here?”

“What does it look like I'm doing, you ugly wanker? I'm having a drink.”

Hearing Spike's loud reply, Willy rushed over, with a towel over his shoulder. “Hey, look, guys, if...if,” he stuttered at they both glared at him. “If you're going, take it outside.”

They both glared at the bartender and then back at each other.

“You don't belong here, Spike. This is a demon bar, not a traitor's bar.”

Turning back to his drink, Spike grinned. It would be great to get out some of his frustration with a long drawn out fight. He knew without a doubt that the Squaloc demon wouldn't let this go and he looked forward to it. The Lisa Lisa song wound down and Quiet Riot's Cum on Feel the Noize blasted into the air. “What the hell, Clem, I said edgy not--”

A gnarly fist landed on Spike's jaw, causing him to fly off the stool. He jumped up, gingerly holding his jaw and relishing the pain radiated from it. The Gem was great, but much could be said about a fair fight and the motivation a good sucker punch could do for a man's anger. He smirked, knowing that the crazy glint in his not yet amber eyes would freak the Squaloc out, just a bit. Enough to have him take a step back.

“So that's how you want to play this?” Spike asked him, vamping out.

“If you mess this place up again,” Willy stated, “you'll pay for it.”

A growl turned into a shout as Spike charged the demon with his fists flying, landing two good punches. The demon flew back, falling on a rickety table, busting it up into splinters. Spike glanced around and noticed that the place was more populated than when he first arrived. With his hands out, wiggling his fingers in invitation, he smiled at the growing crowd of various demons as Quiet Riot sang about getting wild. “Come on! Anyone else want to have a go?” He was wired and wanted more violence, but as six snarling demons stepped forward and the Squaloc demon got up and came at him, he realized that once again, he'd opened his big mouth without assessing the situation. “Bugger.”

He shrugged and flew at the group, snarling and throwing punches, most of which landed solidly on demon flesh. Spike held his own against the group, until the Squaloc demon got hold of him from behind. It was all over then. He kept his eyes on them, memorizing each one of them as they beat his face in and kicked his shins, knees and even his ribs.

For the umpteenth time since he'd gotten that chip in his head and started “working” with the Slayer, Spike found him self tossed out of a Sunnydale demon bar. He hurt all over like a bitch, but this time, he didn't feel sorry for himself. Pulling himself close to a wall, he grabbed the edge of the window sill and yanked himself up. In order to lessen the pain, he shuffled along the wall, hunched over, until he turned the corner and was in the alley.

Spike winced as he dug into his jeans pocket and slipped the Gem on. “Okay, baby, do your magic.” And it did. It was amazing how quickly things began to heal and it caused him to slip out of game face. He leaned against the wall with a huge grin on his face and was just getting ready to push away and come out of the alley when he heard the music get louder as the door to the bar opened.

“Man,” a male voice said, “I can't believe Willy won't let us smoke in there.”

Another voice said, “I know. California law? We're fucking demons for Pete's sake. We break laws all the time, we don't follow them.”

It was quiet as they lit up, and Spike stood taller, getting ready to leave the alley, when one of them said, “So what do you think about that Government group leaving?”

“I'm so glad things can go back to normal around here, and it will be even better when someone finally offs that stupid slayer.”

“Oh, I know. Heard she just got out of the hospital. Here's hoping she starts patrolling before she's really better. She'll be easy pickin's then.”

“Yeah, cuz when she's gone, the demons will own this town!”

With a snarl echoing down the alley, Spike came around the corner and faced the two vampires. They didn't even have time to react to seeing Spike before he'd plunged a stake into one and then other. Spike put the stake away, cracked his neck and sniffed.

“Took care of that mess. Now, it's time to clean up the bar.”

He quietly slipped in. A few of the patrons saw him and pointed him out to their buddies. The Squaloc demon was standing at the bar, giving Clem a hard time, so Spike stomped over there, ignoring the stares and insults from the others. A demon that he recognized as the one who broke his rib when his hands had been held behind his back stood in his path to the bar. Spike tossed him aside like an empty beer bottle.

“I'm so glad to see you,” Clem told the vampire.

The Squaloc didn't talk, but threw a punch, which Spike was expecting. He ducked and turned, kicking his leg up and landing a booted foot into the demon's fleshy side. It yelled out in pain and called for his friends to step in.

He watched Willy as the cowardly human wisely ducked down under the bar and then Spike turned just in time to see a mob of multicolored demons coming at him. With a gleeful yell, he jumped into the lot of them and demons went flying in every direction. Oh, he had a noble purpose. He had to keep his girl safe from the demon population, even if it meant killing every violent demon in town, but that didn't mean he couldn't enjoy every last minute of death and destruction that he wrought on the wankers.

Spike paused for a minute, when he got his hands around the neck of a demon whom he remembered punching him in the gut earlier. The fear in the demon's eyes did not deter him from his purpose. He told him, “I do love a good fight.” Then, Spike snapped his neck, tossed him to the side and looked wildly around for the next demon he could grab. He could go all night.

Chapter #23 - 22. Breaking Xander
A huge thanks to Mabel_Marsters, who went over this chapter twice for me and to Slaymesoftly who really has a talent for explaining grammar rules and for pushing me to make it better.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-Two: Breaking Xander

Buffy felt self-conscious with Willow sitting on the bed in the dorm room, watching her put things away. Earlier in the morning, her mom had urged her to stay at the house but she needed to get back to her normal routine, although she didn't like all the packing and unpacking of stuff. Buffy wished she'd taken Willow up on the offer of help, but she hadn't wanted her best friend to treat her like an invalid.

“I still don't get why Spike was following us last night,” Willow said. “I mean, he had to know that we'd notice.”

With her back to Willow, Buffy shrugged and hung up another sweater. The first one to notice Spike driving slowly behind them had been Xander, right after they had left the Bronze to walk home. Buffy asked them all to ignore Spike, but he stayed with them as Willow and Buffy waved goodbye to Xander and Anya. Then Buffy had walked Willow to the dorms. Only then had Spike called out to her.

“Why does Spike do any of the things he does?” Buffy said softly.

“Good point.”

Buffy flopped onto her bed and stared at Willow. She had planned to tell her friend that Spike had basically declared his love for her. She'd meant to do it last night, but the Bronze was loud and Xander and Anya barely left their side.

She sighed and said, “I know why he was following us.” Buffy sat up and swung her legs back and forth, hitting the frame of the bed. “The other day, he told me...he—Spike thinks he's in love with me.”

“Wait. Spike says he thinks he's in love with you?”

Buffy groaned. “No. He is sure that he is, but I think he's just gone crazy. There's no way that he could love me or anyone else.”

“I don't know, Buffy, he seemed very much in love with Drusilla.”

“Anyways, that’s why Spike followed us.” She got up and busied herself with organizing her desk. Willow made sense, but Buffy was just too scared to let herself believe it.

“Did you ask him why he was following you?” Willow asked.

“No. After he called me over to his car and offered to drive me home, he didn't say a word to me, but I know he's stalking me. I mean, he didn't even come in the house last night. He just smoked cigarette after cigarette under the tree by my bedroom window. Which totally weirds me out, you know.”

Willow braved a smile. “Actually, I think it's kind of sweet.”

Standing up, Buffy pointed a finger at Willow. “Yeah, you think it's sweet now, but just wait until he starts killing off our pets and leaving dead people in his wake. It won't be so sweet then.”

The smile left Willow's face and she quietly said, “Spike is nothing like Angel.”

“Come on,” Buffy said, grabbing her book bag, “We'll be late, if we don't hurry.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike didn't know why he felt nervous as he knocked on Giles' door. It wasn't like he was Buffy's father or anything; he was just her poor excuse for a watcher. But Buffy cared about the man and what he thought; if she'd listen to anyone, it would be him.

Giles called out, saying the door was open. Spike tried the handle and sure enough, it was unlocked.

“You really should keep your door locked, Rupert. This is a hellmouth, you know.” It amused Spike to watch Giles' attempt to get out of his chair. “Sit down, old man. What were you going to do, swing your cast covered leg at me and hope to knock me out?”

“Do shut up,” Giles said as he sank back into his chair.

Spike grunted a reply and headed straight for the kitchen. “You want something to drink?”

“Scotch, please.”

Spike reached for a glass, found the Scotch tucked away in its “hiding place”, and opened the bottle.

Giles said, “Bring the whole bottle.”

After he handed Giles the glass and bottle, Spike sat down on the couch, not waiting for an invitation as he knew none would be forthcoming.

The watcher eyed him warily and said, “I have never known you to not steal my alcohol. Where is your glass?”

“Had my fill of drinking last night, thank you,” Spike said with a tiny smile curving his lips. He'd had a right good time last night, but now he needed to get serious. He cleared his throat. “So, I'm here to talk about the Slayer.”

Giles swallowed the Scotch he'd just sipped and put the glass down. “I'm not going to discuss Buffy with you.”

“Okay. Fair enough. Just tell me that you plan to keep Buffy away from the cemeteries and off patrol duty until she's fully recovered, and I'll get out of your way and leave you to whatever boring activities watchers do all day.”

“Now why would I tell you that?” Giles’ eyes shifted to his empty glass on the end table. “So you can know her schedule and find just the right time to kill her?”

“What?” Spike asked, leaning forward and resting his elbows on his legs. “Didn't the Slayer tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

Spike leaned back and watched Giles carefully. “I don't want her dead. I'm in love with her.”

There was just a hint of surprise in Giles' expression, but he busied himself by pouring himself another glass.

“Well...what I mean to say is--no, she didn't tell me.” Then he took a sip, watching Spike over his glass. “That would explain why you've against your nature.”

Spike got up and went behind the couch, leaning against it. He had expected protests, threats or even the 'vampires can't love' spiel, but Giles sat quietly, sipping his Scotch. Letting out a sigh, Spike remembered his reason for calling on the watcher in the first place and said, “Last night, I heard a bunch of demons talking down at Willy's Place. They were all excited that The Initiative had left town and that the Slayer was out of commission. They're all gunning for her, because they know that she's just had surgery and not at the top of her game. If you care about her at all, you'll tell her to take a few more nights off.”

Giles took a moment to watch Spike then said, “Buffy assures me that she's fully recovered. While I appreciate your concern, I have already anticipated such a reaction from the demons, we have a plan in place, and she has every intention of patrolling tonight. I have complete confidence in her.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Clem arrived just after dark, pulling up in his little red Volkswagen Bug which was stuffed to the roof with his belongings and groceries. When Clem asked if the stuff he’d bought was good enough, Spike had shrugged and said it was fine. He wasn't going to eat any of it, so it didn't matter to him. As an afterthought, he asked Clem to remember to get Oreo cookies the next time he went out. Anabella loved those.

The little girl had come running down the sidewalk when she saw his car pull up and handed him the keys to the house as her grandmother watched from the porch of their home. She'd asked if he had any Oreos then.

Spike locked the door to his new residence behind him, leaving Clem humming in the kitchen as he stocked the refrigerator. It was a nice long walk to UC Sunnydale where he planned to wait for Buffy to start her patrol. He arrived just in time to watch her leave the dorms, walk briskly off campus and straight to Giles' house. He smoked two cigarettes and had time to carve Buffy's name into the tree he was standing by, before Buffy came out, followed by Xander who carried a large black weapons bag.

“That's back up?” Spike grumbled under his breath.

Trying not to set off the Slayer's radar-like senses for vampires, he followed at a distance and kept to the shadows. Unfortunately, this also prevented him from hearing their conversation. Every so often, their laughter reached his sensitive ears and Spike felt the need to go snap a certain overgrown boy's neck.

When Anya ran up and joined the party, Spike rolled his eyes. It was bad enough that Buffy would have to watch out for herself and Xander, but now she had to watch out for an ex-demon with no powers as well?

As they entered the first cemetery, Xander handed Anya a stake. They shuffled close behind Buffy, and Spike wondered how she could focus at all with the noise they were making. To her credit, she shushed them once and sighed heavily when it did no good. Spike wasn't surprised when they left the graveyard without any conflict. Any demons would have been warned of their presence long before they could be seen, and because it was an older cemetery, it was unlikely that fledges would be springing up out of the ground.

By the time they got to the next cemetery, the smoky orange moon was covered by thick black clouds. The dim glow of energy saving lights did little to illuminate the rows upon rows of headstones. A slight breeze had picked up and Spike was mesmerized by Buffy's beautiful hair blowing in the wind. He was so preoccupied with thoughts of running his fingers through it that he didn't see the two vampires take off, running away from the little group, until they were almost past the gates and down the street. The others were so engrossed in conversation that they missed them as well. He thought about going after them, but decided it was best to stay close to Buffy.

The fledgling that the vampires had been waiting for made an appearance and Spike sat this one out. He knew Buffy could take care of it with one hand tied behind her back and hopping on her one good leg. Sure enough, she didn't even wait for it to clear the ground before she plunged the stake with precision, getting a clean kill.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It was almost midnight when her little posse finally made their way to Oak Hills. Being the newest cemetery, it was larger and more spread out than the others, giving Buffy the most trouble. The majority of burials in Sunnydale now happened here, so she always saved this one for last. Tonight, there was an air of eerie calm about the place.

They paused near the middle in a cluster of marble tombstones where Buffy could have a fairly good view. Anya sat on one, swinging her legs cheerfully as she continued talking, seemly unaffected by the atmosphere now that they'd been out a while. Buffy tuned her out and surveyed the situation. To her left was a loose grouping of five crypts that she tried to keep her eye on. Any number of demons could be hiding in that section, though her senses weren't picking anything up. To the right was the more empty section, waiting for the years to pass before it would take bodies into its dirt, but three large trees grew there and that's where he was.

Buffy had no idea how long he had been following, and she hadn't been sure that he'd entered the cemetery with them. Except for his bright hair, he was hard to spot, but he had made the mistake of moving while she was looking in his direction.

Anya said, “So, I told him that we could afford it. I mean, I'm working, too and we couldn't pass that apartment up. Could we Xander?”

“Well...let's just hope it doesn't rain anytime soon and that I can keep up with the overtime,” Xander said.

Buffy's senses told her that there were demons nearby and that they were coming closer. She was on full alert, scanning the area now.

Anya said, “Hey, I've got an idea. We could have a housewarming and get lots of gifts.”

Xander sighed. “It's an apartment, not a—oh my God!”

Buffy just assumed that he'd seen the large group of demons coming into view from behind the crypts. Her mind reeled with what to do next. There were at least six large and diverse demons plus three angry looking vampires.

“He's going to do it. Spike is finally going to kill us!” Xander screeched.

In utter disbelief, Buffy scowled at Xander and saw Spike running towards them at full speed. Even in her panic over how she was going to keep her friends safe, she felt acute disappointment that Spike had done this to her. But then, she saw the stake in his hand as he ran right by them and she felt stupid for thinking he would do that to her.

“Get the swords,” she told Xander before going after Spike.

She couldn't remember the last time she'd seen so many different demons together, outside of a bar. Spike's leather coat billowed out behind him as he reached the group that was now fanned out. Being careful not to expose her midsection, Buffy jumped right into the fray with Spike.

She'd never seen him so fierce, ever. Usually, he swaggered as he fought, delivering as many insults as punches. Tonight, the only sounds he made were guttural and feral growls as he ripped and tore the demons to shreds. It was very distracting, but Buffy pulled herself together and dusted two of the vamps in quick order.

“Buffy!” Xander called out in a panic.

She turned to see him being tossed through the air; he landed with a whoosh on the soft grass.

“Buffy! Spike!” Anya shrieked in anger and tossed her a sword, then flung the second one to Spike.

The demons were without large weapons and one by one they were disposed of until Buffy was left facing the last one. “Is that fringe on the edges of his face?” she asked Spike.

“Yeah, love. “e's got the ugly grey dangly stuff all over his body. It's enough to make you glad you’re human, innit?”

“I'll say,” Xander piped in from behind them.

While backing away from the snickering group, the demon said, “I thought you just got out of the hospital?”

“Yep. I'm feeling very well. Thanks for asking.”

Buffy raised her sword, but Spike reached out and grabbed the handle of it.

“Not this one,” Spike said. In a flash of speed he grabbed the demon by the throat. “This one's going to go back and tell his mates how not weak the Slayer is and how incredibly strong the traitor Spike is. Who just happens to be on the Slayer's side.”

The demon fell to the grass with Spike's shove and scrambled to get up and away. In her anger, Buffy let him go and turned to Spike, who was glancing around like he had no idea what to do with himself now.

“Why the hell did you do that?” she asked, her elation over Spike’s having rushed in to help her dampened by her disappointment at not being able to kill the last demon.

“Word needs to get out that you're stronger than ever and that you have back up. Dead demons tell no tales.”

She threw her hands up. “Dead demons: that's pretty much my job description. I don't let them run off with their tails between their legs.” She paused. “Well, except maybe you, because, you know, you do that so well.”

“Excuse me?” Spike said with indignation. “I save your arse—again—and yet, I still get insulted?”

Buffy couldn't believe where her thoughts were taking her, but he looked so cute when he was affronted. Then she realized what he was implying. With a frown she said, “We didn't need your help. I could have taken them all.”

“Yeah. What with the bumbling duo to back you up. And, what was with that great technique of fighting with hunched shoulders?”

This caused Buffy to pause and think back. Her mind had been on protecting the baby. Had her form been that bad? No. This is what Spike did and she wasn't going to be sucked into his psychological bull. “Just shut up!” she yelled a little too loudly.

“Why is she provoking an unslayable vampire?” Anya asked Xander in a loud whisper as she clung to him.

Buffy glared at Spike while she gathered the swords. “Let's go, guys. I doubt there will be any more action tonight.”

“Hah!” Anya said, tapping Xander on the chest. “There'll be some action. Just not on the battle field, right, tiger?”

Buffy fell behind Anya and Xander, still trying to fit the swords into the weapons bag.

“Did she just call Xander, ‘tiger’?” Spike said with amusement as he came up beside her and steadied the bag for her.

Startled that he was at her side, she jumped a little and forced the involuntary smile off her face. “Go away.”

“Nope. The entire demon population of Sunnydale is gunning for you. I'll see you safely home.”

She stopped and glared at him. Anya and Xander were ahead of them but they stopped and waited patiently as well. “You can't be serious.” When Spike nodded at her, she said, “The demon population is always gunning for me.”

“Maybe so, but they think you’re weak and that’s why they ganged up on you tonight. You need protection and I'm the only one strong enough to give it.” She swung the bag at him and he chuckled when he caught it. “So, I'll carry your bag for you, then?”

“Ah!” Buffy shouted in frustration. He could be so annoying. First he comes in and fights beside her and then he lets one of the demons go. She wanted him far away from her where he couldn't affect her so much.

They argued about Spike’s walking with them all the way to Xander's house. Buffy thought her friends were traitors for walking faster ahead of them, but she was too caught up in her argument with Spike to say anything to them.

“Oh, good, we're here,” Anya said with a bright, fake smile as they entered the backyard where the steps led to the basement door. “Can we go in now? I'm tired of their arguing. They fight like an old married couple.”

“You go in. I'll catch up in a second,” Xander told Anya, patting her on the shoulder. He turned to Spike. “I'm not really getting why you are all with the helpfulness, but thanks—OK,” he suddenly blurted out as he backed down the small set of steps. “It's sorta coming to me, and I'd rather go back to thinking that ring made you lose your vampire marbles.”

Buffy watched Xander shake his head, mumbling incoherent babble that included the words vampires and love, and then he disappeared into his house. She jumped into action when the door slammed, grabbing the weapons bag from Spike. “Look what you did.”

“What I did? I was just standing here.”

“You broke Xander.”

Spike grabbed the bag back. “That one was broken long before I came to town.”

Buffy followed him out of the yard, remaining silent as they walked towards the University. She was feeling just as horrified as Xander had looked once he figured out that Spike had a thing for her. His big eyes, his hands flailing in the air. Spike saying he was already broken. She snickered. There was no point attempting to stop the giggles that followed and the confused look on Spike's face only made it worse.

“What?” Spike asked, smiling at her.

Pausing, she took a deep breath and exhaled. “Nothing.” And then she started all over again. It was so absurd. An evil vampire, in love with a slayer who secretly had the hots for said vampire.

“Well then,” Spike said plainly, “I wish you’d stop, because you have no idea how magnificent you look when you're laughing like that.

She stopped laughing and wiped at her eyes, picking up her pace again.

“I mean,” Spike said, “I'm trying to be good. I really am. But, you make it damn near impossible when you laugh, because all I want to do is grab you and kiss you senseless.”

Oh, God, she wanted him to kiss her. She sobered up and walked faster on the cement sidewalk.

“Don't talk like that.”

She tried to keep walking, but he got in front of her. “You're in my blood, Slayer. I can't stop thinking about you. No matter what I do, I can't get you out of here.” He pointed to his head. “Or here.” He slapped both hands over his heart. “I close my eyes and I see you beneath me, challenging me to take you. I go to sleep and dream of sunrises and light; about making love to you.”

Mesmerized by his eyes, Buffy stood still as he came closer. He looked so sincere that her fingers ached to reach out and touch him the way she had that morning -- without reservations. He didn't touch her, but leaned in and whispered in her ear. “Tell me you don't remember moving together under the sheets as if we were one person.”

His unique scent, his breath on her neck, his way with words. Her surroundings faded away, time seemed to stop, and she trembled with need. She did remember that morning and how much she liked it when he held her.

“It could be like that all the time, you know.” Spike barely brushed his lips on her jaw, close to her ear. “If you'd let me—you don't know how desperate I am to wrap my arms around you and show you how good it could be again.”

Buffy turned her head and captured Spike's lips with her own. They let out identical moans when he finally had her firmly in his arms. Their tongues met and her knees went weak. He moved backwards, pulling her with him until his back touched the lamppost at the street corner. She knew it was wrong, but it felt so right. She moved her mouth over his, matching Spike's desperately hungry passion.

Chapter #24 - 23. Yes!
Betas: Mabel Masters and Slaymesoftly.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-three: Yes!

He had to be dreaming. The Slayer did not have her hot little hands moving across his back and under his t-shirt. She wasn't pressing up against him, trying to get closer. If it weren't for the solid lamppost behind him, he knew they'd be on the ground. Partly because he was shocked that she was kissing him and partly because at the rate they were going, getting horizontal was the logical next step.

Buffy kissed him with passionate abandon and he marveled at how small she really was in his arms. Though he had one hand tangled up in the hair at the base of her neck and the other around her waist, he let her control everything. For one, he loved the amazing feeling of giving up control to her and for another thing, he was afraid if he showed her just how much passion he felt for her, that she'd take off running.

She leaned back, still holding on, and just stared at him, her chest heaving as she tried to catch her breath.

He ran a finger over her bottom lip. “God, you look incredible with kiss-swollen lips.”

Buffy copied his movements and ran her finger over his lips; closing her eyes partway, she whispered, “You look incredible, too.”

Sucking the tip of her finger into his mouth, he ran his tongue over it before she had a chance to take her hand away.

“Kiss me again, Buffy.”

She shook her head slightly, but stayed in his arms.


“Don't think; just feel.”

Spike desperately wanted her to go back to feeling. He helped her along by running his hands slowly down her sides. Taking it as a good sign when she closed her eyes, he cupped her backside and pressed her closer. Buffy's eyes fluttered open and his knees nearly buckled from the raw emotion in them.

As she moved in to kiss him, he almost held her off. He wanted to savor the look on her face. Freeze it that way. But then she was kissing him again, and Spike, tightening his embrace, decided that he liked that just as much.

The look of pure desire that she'd given him would be etched in his brain forever. He kissed her back with fervor and made a small sound in his throat in protest when she pulled away.

“I need to breathe—I need to go.”

“OK,” he told her with a deep sigh. She wasn't looking at him now, and she began walking towards the college.

He saw the bag sitting on the ground and moved quickly, grabbing it and catching up to her.

“I'm a big girl,” she said softly. “I can get home on my own.”


He continued to walk beside her, but they were both silent. The streets were empty and he was glad for an uneventful trip to the dorms. They stopped in front of the glass doors of the building, and she gently took the bag from him.

“I'm sorry, Spike. I shouldn't have kissed you.”

“I'm not sorry.” He touched her shoulder to get her to look at him. “Are you going to continue to deny that there is something between us?”

Buffy shook her head and shoved her free hand into her pocket. “There's just... I'm confused. I can't do this right now. There are things that I can't change; things that are more important than how I feel or what I might want.” She bit her lip and gazed at him. “And I don't know what I want.”

He wanted to argue with her, but it was obvious that she was struggling with her emotions.

“I don't know what is going on, but I want to help. What can I do?” Spike asked.

“Give me some space.”

“OK, I won't press you for more, but I can't let you patrol alone and I won't stop coming around.”

He held the door open for her; she stepped inside and turned to stare at him saying, “One more thing.”


“Tell me—promise me that you won't hurt anyone.”

“I haven't yet, have I?”

She sighed and asked, “When I saw you running towards us at the cemetery, you know what my first thought was?”


“It lasted only a second, but I thought that you had set up those demons to come after me. I mean, I know you could just kill me on your own, but that was my first thought when I saw the demons and then you.”

He ran a hand through his hair, willing himself not to get angry. How could she possibly think that? All he'd been doing the last week was make sure she was safe. Unsuccessfully keeping the hurt of out his voice, he told her, “I'm in love with you. I've been doing everything in my power to keep you out of harm's way.”

“I know, but this is just so strange. I want to trust you. Just--we have so much history.” Buffy took a deep breath and quickly said, “Tell me you won't hurt anyone and I'll believe it.”

“I won't hurt anyone.”

“Thank you.” She visibly relaxed.

“Could I kiss you goodnight?” Spike asked.

“You said you wouldn't push,” Buffy said, backing into the building.

“Sorry, right. I didn't grab you and steal a kiss, did I?”

“No. You didn't do that.” She smiled at him, shaking her head. “Look, I have to go. I've got a test in the morning, so I need some sleep.”

He nodded and with a small wave, he said, “Goodnight then.”

Spike jogged away with Buffy watching him from the other side of the glass doors. Once he was sure he was out of sight, he stopped for a moment and raised both fists in the air. “Yes!” he told the sky. Then, he ran back to his new house.

Clem was sitting on the sofa, watching My Three Sons on the TVLand channel. “Hey there, Spike. You look positively cheerful.”

“Thanks, mate. That's because things are really looking up.”

He sat with Clem for a bit and told him how the girl of his dreams was finally noticing him and in a good way now.

“You're good, Spike.” Clem took a drink of his Mountain Dew and stared at the vampire in awe. “I never thought the Slayer would go for you.”

“The Slayer. How did you know?”

“Come on. She's all you talk about on poker night. How you want to kill her and how she drives you crazy. The drunker you are, the looser your tongue gets.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

She seriously despised the alarm clock. Buffy slapped at it, even as she sat up. Willow's bed was still empty and made up. There had been a message from Willow on the machine when she'd come in last night, letting Buffy know that she was staying late, doing research with Giles.

The bathroom was crowded with girls, so she brushed her teeth while waiting for a free shower. She watched the other girls laughing and talking about a frat party that everyone was going to. They all seemed so happy and carefree. She wished she could be like that. But she had responsibilities and things were only going to get more difficult.

She stepped into the shower, pulled the curtain over and disrobed, dropping the clothes into her bag just outside the cubicle on the floor. Buffy let the warm water fall on her as she thought about the dream she'd been having right before she woke up. There had been no talk show stage, no talk show host; just her and Spike at a kitchen table, looking at a piece of paper. Everything happened in slow motion. He'd leapt to his feet, knocking the chair over, and with wide, misty eyes said, “I'm going to be a father?” His smile was exactly like the one he'd gotten when she'd put the mood ring on the other day.

She leaned against the stall and closed her eyes as she worked shampoo into her hair. Did she want Spike to be the father? Is that why she was having these crazy dreams?

Maybe that was it. She remembered kissing him last night and she couldn't even bring herself to be embarrassed. All she could think about was how amazing it felt to be in his arms. Safe, wanted, loved. But, that didn't mean he could be a father. Perhaps it was just wishful thinking that the Gem would make him able to have children on top of being able to walk safely in sunlight, have warm skin and other things.

Buffy rinsed her hair out and was just soaping herself up when she heard a commotion in the bathroom.

“Have you seen Buffy?” Willow asked someone. “Buffy!”

Peeking out, she saw her friend wildly looking around.

“She was here a minute ago,” a girl said, going around Willow to the exit.

“Willow? What's wrong?”

“I've got to talk to you. In the room. Hurry up.”

She turned off the shower, wrapped one towel on her head and one around her body. Then she grabbed her bag and walked quickly back to the room.

“It wasn't that urgent,” Willow said with a smile. “You could have gotten dressed first.” She was sitting on her bed with an old book opened.

Buffy didn't want to talk shop. Old books and Willow meant spells or research for Giles. She didn't want to discuss either. She had to get in a little study time before her English test. “What was so important that you had to drag me out of the bathroom?”

Willow sat up and settled the book in her lap. “OK. So last night, after you and Xander left, we hit the books. Remember the shipment of books Giles was telling us about, that he'd gotten from the Watcher's Council?”

“Vaguely, yeah,” Buffy said, opening the closet. “Should I wear this?” she asked Willow, holding up a wispy green top and long brown skirt.

“Sure. I like that shirt. Anyways, so there was a pile of about twenty books and I knew it was going to be a long night. There were yellow sticky notes from the Council research department in a few of the books, pointing out stuff of interest, so we started with those.”

Buffy sat down across from Willow to put her boots on. “Learn anything interesting from those books?”

“Nope. All of them had just small snippets of information about how the Gem of Amara was thought to be only a legend and that no one had ever seen it. But,” Willow said excitedly, “there were four books in the pile with no sticky notes. We spent the rest of the night reading those all the way through.” Willow got up and sat next to Buffy on her bed, putting the book on their laps. “This is the last book that I picked up. It's so old that it's handwritten, not printed and it's full of short blocks of information that I think haven't been read in ages. After I read it, I slipped it into my book bag. Giles doesn't know about it yet.”

Buffy looked closely at the small yet meticulous writing and asked, “Why not?”

“It says here that a vampire named Amara was rumored to have had a child.” Willow stared pointedly.

“Let me see that. Where?” Buffy said, quickly scanning the words.

“It's in old English. Kind of hard to read, but it says that a powerful seer was in love with Amara and that he did some sort of magic, so that she could walk in the sun with him. According to this, the last time anyone saw the seer, he was getting on a ship that was headed for parts unknown with a small child and no Amara.”

“It...Does it mention a ring?”

Willow shook her head. “This is in the unconfirmed section of the book, but her name was Amara, she supposedly could go out in daylight, and she was rumored to be able to have children.” She closed the book and stood up. “Buffy, she could have children.”

Buffy stood up with one hand on her stomach. “My dreams.”

“Could be telling you the truth. Think about it. If he has a working digestive system and has to use the bathroom, what else might be in working order?”

The thought was mind blowing, but she'd been mulling it about in her brain for a while now. Spike a father? Wow. Leave it to her to not only get pregnant, but also get pregnant by a vampire.

“There's no way to say for sure. Parker could be the father,” Buffy said, grabbing her book bag.

“I doubt it,” Willow said sympathetically. “You used protection and I'm guessing that, given his reputation here, he was very careful. None of his other conquests are pregnant.”

Buffy glared at Willow.

“Oh, sorry, Buffy. I didn't mean it to sound like that.”

“It's, OK.”

“Would it be such a bad thing if Spike was the father?” Willow asked. “I'm mean, at least he's still around and—he says he loves you, right?”

“I kissed him last night,” Buffy said quickly.

“You did!” Willow stood before Buffy. “Tell me all about it.”

“Later, OK? I've got a class in thirty minutes and there's a test. I need to go get something to eat in the cafeteria and study.”

“I can't believe you,” Willow teased with a big toothy smile. “You tell me about kissage and then leave me hanging without the details.”

Buffy hugged her.

“I'm sorry, but I do have to go. I'll see you at lunch, OK?” Buffy left with a wave, but came right back. “Oh and please, let’s keep all of this to ourselves.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

The doorbell rang as Spike cleared the basement stairs. It was past six and he was just about ready to find Buffy and see what time she planned to go on patrol. Clem came down the stairs and pointed at the door.

Spike said, “Just stay in your room until I call you.”

He waited until he heard Clem's door shut before going to the door. The bell rang again and he opened it. Grandma Carol and little Anabella stood together with the little one holding a big Tupperware bowl.

“Hi, Spike,” she said. “I brought you something.”

“Evening, Poppet. What do we have here?” he asked, taking the offered bowl.

“Brownies. I made them. Grandma helped.”

Carol smiled at Spike. “Are you settling in good?”

“Yes, thank you.” He bit into one of the brownies. “Mmm, that is good. Come in.”

He stepped aside.

“Thank you, Spike, but we have to get ready to take Anabella's daddy to the airport.”

“He has a bery important meeting,” Anabella said, eying the bowl.

“Well, here,” Spike said. “Take a brownie before you go.”

“No, thank you. Granna says I can't have anymore. I've got to save room for dinner with my daddy.”

“Good girl,” Carol told her and then said to Spike, “She's had three already. Well, welcome to the neighborhood.”

“Thank you.”

Anabella ran circles around her grandmother and giggled as they walked down the street. Spike closed the door and called out to Clem. He came running down the stairs.

“Who was that?”

“The landlord. Want a brownie?”

“Oh, yum!” Clem took two and sat at the kitchen table. “There's a poker game tonight. You in?”

“Uh, no. Got things to do.” He took his coat from the hall closet, put it on and came back to the kitchen for the bowl of brownies. “If you win, don't bring the bloody kittens back to the house. Exchange them right away. We've a no pets policy.”

Once outside, he put his sunglasses on, lit a cigarette, and inhaled deeply. It was getting dark later and he enjoyed a leisurely stroll down the street bathed in the light of the sunset peaking through the trees. Almost to the end of the block, he noticed an elderly lady struggling to drag a trashcan up her driveway. He walked past, but stopped and grumbled to himself. “I'm becoming a bleeding humanitarian.”

Spike went back and had the lady hold his bowl while he brought all her cans from the curb to the side of the house and told himself to remember that Friday was trash day for his street.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike balanced the plastic bowl in one hand and knocked softly on Buffy's door. Willow opened it, looked startled and then said hello.

“'S Buffy here?”

Willow opened the door further. “She's in the bathroom. Come in.”

He cursed himself for being so impatient and not waiting outside like the day before. “Want a brownie?”

“See, now that's the way to Buffy's heart. Bring her chocolate.”

He took the lid off and held the bowl out. With his head tilted, he asked, “What do you mean?”

“I know that you’re in love with Buffy. She told me,” Willow said brightly. Pulling out Buffy's desk chair, she said, “Have a seat. She should be back in a minute.”

She took one of the brownies from the offered bowl and sat on her bed, chewing slowly as she stared at him. When the door opened, the redhead stood up. “Buffy. Spike's here.” She raised both brows and smiled. “And he's brought chocolate.”

He gave Willow a quizzical look and then stood, offering the bowl to Buffy. “Anabella made them.”

Buffy put her makeup bag away and took the bowl. “Anabella can bake? Isn't she five?” Not waiting for an answer, she turned to Willow, “Anabella is Spike's new neighbor. She actually lived in the house that Spike is renting, but now she lives down the street with her grandma. She's really cute.”

Willow smiled at Spike. “Aw, how sweet. She baked for you.”

“Yes, well, her grandmum helped. They brought them over to welcome me to the neighborhood.”

Watching Buffy take a bite, Spike practically drooled. Her lips were luscious and juicy and very tempting and oh, how he wished he was a brownie.

“Mmm, these are very good. I haven't eaten since lunch and that just hits the spot.”

“Buffy,” Willow scolded. “You can't just have a brownie for dinner. You've got to start eating right.”

He watched Buffy give Willow a death glare and frowned in confusion when Willow straightened her shoulders and nodded.

“Oh, right,” Willow said, then stood next to Spike and pointed at Buffy. “Look at her. She's so skinny. Don't you think she should eat better?”

As old as Spike was and having lived with an unstable female for years on end, he knew a damned if you do and damned if you don't question when he heard one.

“I think the Slayer is perfectly proportioned just as she is. She's small, yet curvy, but I am under the impression that all humans need to eat food and a lot of it. At least three times a day.”

“Thank you, Spike,” Buffy said, walking towards her bed. “I am kind of hungry.”

“It's early yet, and there's plenty of places to stop on the way to the cemeteries,” he suggested. “You want to get a bite to eat?”

“You don't have to patrol with me. I've got it covered,” Buffy said, grabbing the weapons bag from under her bed.

“Maybe so, but I think I'll just tag along if you don't mind.”

Buffy shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

“But you'll get a bite to eat first,” Spike suggested, winking at Willow.

“Yes, but there’ll be no biting for you,” Buffy countered.

“Gave that up, didn't I?” he said grudgingly. Even though he didn't need to feed, he kind of missed the violence and the hunt. Willow went to sit at her desk, and deciding that it would be best to keep her on his good side, Spike asked, “Don't you need to eat, too? Want to come along?”

Willow yanked her full book bag onto the desk. “That's so nice of you to offer, Spike, but you guys go ahead.”

Buffy handed Spike the weapons bag and put her jacket on. “She does this every Friday. Gets all her homework done. She's sick like that.”

“Hey, I just want to get it all out of the way so I can enjoy my weekend,” Willow said with a pout. “It doesn't make me a nerd.”

“I used to do the same thing, when I was at University,” Spike offered.

“You went to college?” Buffy asked.

“Don't look so bleedin' surprised. But, yes, I did.”

“Wow,” Willow said. “I'm impressed.”

“I'll see you later tonight, then,” Buffy told Willow. “Don't study too hard.”

“I won't. Don't have much. Plus, I'm going to the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Party.”

As they walked down the hall, Spike said, “Red's got a full evening planned.”

“Yeah, well she's all about the whole college experience this year.”

“What about you?”

“Don't have time for all that.” Buffy shrugged. “The demons aren't going to take a few years off while I party and get my degree.”

“That they won't. So, where do you want to eat?”

Chapter #25 - 24. Appearances
a/n: Thanks to all who have reviewed. You make my day!
Betas: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-Four: Appearances

Buffy leaned against the crypt and sighed. Spike was having the time of his life. She'd endured it quietly, because he was fun to watch and because most of the demons and vampires they'd run into had called Spike out by name. They all seemed to be gunning for him. For two nights now, Spike had shown up at her dorm room, made sure she got something to eat and then pretty much taken over her patrol.

He wasn't being arrogant about it. He didn't boast about killing more baddies than she did. He just quietly took over. She'd been feeling kind of tired lately, so it was easier to let it go than to fight with him about it.

The vampire Spike was currently fighting had just figured out that he was going to lose. He zipped past her with Spike in hot pursuit. Spike took a flying leap and tackled the vamp to the ground before shoving a stake into its heart. He landed in the dust below him, stood up, dusted himself off and grinned at her.

A small part of her was frustrated with him, not because he was hogging all the fight action, but for another reason entirely. Leave it to Spike to finally do something she asked of him when she kinda, sorta didn't want him to. He hadn't tried to kiss her and he barely made suggestive remarks. At the time when she'd asked him to back off, she'd meant it, but after spending the weekend patrolling with him and seeing this nice, attentive side, she was ready for more. She just couldn't bring herself to let him know that she was interested in more, because really, she shouldn't want more from him. Things would be much simpler if he wasn't a vampire without a soul.

He swaggered over to her and smirked. “Don't know why they keep sending such Nancy boys out to do the job.”

“That's the third one who called you out tonight. What did you do to piss them all off?”

“Um, I might have taken on a whole bar full of demons the other night. Killed most of them. Plus the fact that I announced that I was now officially on your side.” He shrugged.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Well, let me get the next one, will you?”

“Itching for a fight?” Spike said, leaning against the crypt next to her, letting their shoulders touch. He stared at her and said, “How's your leg?”

“It's perfectly fine. I'm getting the stitches out tomorrow.” She scratched the wound through her red leather pants.

“So, you're up for sparring then? I promise to go easy on you.”

“Easy! Come on.”

Buffy pushed him off balance. Spike landed on the concrete, but jumped up right away and Buffy came at him, slicing her hands in karate moves as fast as she could. He in turn deflected every jab and kick with arms and legs that moved with fluid, confident motions. He was backing up and they ended up out in the open grass.

“Show me what you got,” Spike taunted, eyes blazing with excitement.

She saw his right hand coming and ducked, turning and swinging her leg out. He hopped over it as if she was a jump rope and then tackled her to the ground. Using both her legs, she shoved at him and he went flying through the air. She kicked her legs out, pushed with her hands and arched her back, launching herself into a standing position with her hands at the ready.

The grin on his face annoyed her. He came at her half heartedly and yet, he was still able to deflect her blows. Even as she felt the anger in her grow, she was getting aroused by all the violence. When she flashed him a brilliant smile, he was caught off guard and she nailed him in the nose with her fist.

Spike went down and she pounced on top of him, straddling him at the waist and pulling out her stake. “Gotcha.”

The deep timbre of his chuckle shook his torso and Buffy put the stake down, trying to get up. She shouldn't be on him like she was. It turned her on way too much.

“What's your hurry?” Spike raised his knees to her back and gripped her waist, holding her down. “And, I love these pants. Did you wear them for me?”

“No,” she said, struggling to get up. “I didn't.”

“So, we agree that you can’t defeat me?” Spike said.

She laughed and leaned back against his knees. “What are you talking about? I had you. I could have staked you.”

Disappointment came over her when he let go of her waist and crossed his arms behind his head. “I cannot be defeated,” was his smug reply.

Buffy smiled and said in her best imitation of Giles. “Ah, but you forget. A slayer must always be resourceful. She must use her wit as well as her strength.” She rested her hands on his stomach. “She must be quick to take in her surroundings and use every thing within reach to her full advantage.”

Wiggling her fingers, she tested how sensitive he was. He jumped and bucked under her. “Hey, stop that.”

It was as she thought. She remembered how sensitive he was to her touch that morning in his lair. Buffy dug in with gusto and tickled him everywhere she could. At first, he just laughed and went into defense mode, trying to slap her hands away, but then he went on the offensive, tickling her back.

Between her shrieks, their laughter, and their hands flying all over the place, they didn't sense the group, now advancing on them.

“Well, well,” a vampire, in human face said. “If it isn't the Slayer and her neutered pet vampire.”

Buffy grabbed her stake, jumped up and pulled Spike to his feet. She pouted and said, “There's only five of them. That's not much of a challenge, is it, pet?”

“Somehow, pet just doesn't sound as good when you say it; but you're right, love, this is just too easy,” Spike replied, affecting a look of boredom.

He signaled with his eyes and they attacked. The vampires barely had a chance to morph into vamp faces before they were all engaged in battle. They'd already dusted two vamps when one of the three left got in a good punch, knocking Buffy to the ground. Spike was struggling with two of them and Buffy watched in horror as the one who knocked her down grabbed her stake and charged at Spike's back. She yelled a warning, but it was too late.

He drove the stake in and Spike tensed up. Buffy jumped into action, running to him and yanking the stake out.

“Thanks, love,” he said with a wicked grin.

The vampires stood watching in shock as the wound closed.

“How the hell did you do that?” one of them asked Spike.

“It's my little secret.”

Buffy swung the stake and stabbed the nearest vampire. The other two watched as their friend turned to dust. Then one of them pointed at Spike. “Ooh, I know how you did it. That ring.” His eyes got wider. “The Gem of Amara.”

The other one turned to his friend and said, “That thing doesn't even exist.”

“No,” the other one said backing up. “It does. Remember Bryan? He said they were looking for it.”

“Yeah, but that guy was all talk and--” Buffy staked him before he could finish his statement.

Spike took off running after the last one and Buffy caught up to him. As they ran together, he told her, “We can't let him get away. If anyone knows that the Gem is real and that I have it, every vampire in the universe will be after me, and we'll never have any peace.” Then he surged forward.

Catching up to the fleeing vampire, Spike grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around. Without slowing her momentum, Buffy raised her stake and drove it home. As he disappeared, Buffy fell into Spike's arms.

They stayed frozen like that for a few seconds. Buffy suddenly wanted to lay her head on his shoulder, but being that she was the one who'd asked him to back off, she didn't think it would be fair to do so.

He raised an eyebrow and cocked his head. “We make quite a team, don't you think?”


When he was staring at her like he was, she found it hard to put together a coherent sentence. Spike gently set her away from him.

“When you look at me like that, it's very hard for me to act the gentlemen.”

She had to look away or she knew she'd go back into his arms. Scanning the area around them, she said, “I think we're done for the night.”

“Come on then, I'll walk you home.”

They fell into step. Every occasional brush of their hands made Buffy acutely aware of how they weren't actually holding hands, which drove her nuts, because no matter how right it would seem to hold hands with him, she knew that it was very wrong to want to.

They stepped onto the college campus and Spike stopped. She turned to watch him scratch behind his ear. “Um, do you think, maybe, you'd like to get a drink?”

“Are you asking me out?”

He shrugged. “Guess so. You didn't get to have fun at all this weekend.”

It was late, she couldn't drink now anyway, and really, she just wanted to go lie down; but she didn't want to be mean. He seemed nervous.

“Actually, I have a big day planned for tomorrow and I really should turn in. Besides,” she said quickly when he looked crestfallen, “I did have a good time this weekend. know, with the patrolling.” They started walking again. “Usually, I patrol alone, but like you said, we make a good team.”

They reached her building, and he rushed ahead to open the door for her. She didn't think she'd ever get used to that. He said, “So, should I pick you up here same time tomorrow night?”

“Actually, I have to meet with the gang at Giles' before patrolling. Why don' t you meet me there? Around seven.”

With a nod, he turned to leave.

“Spike,” she called out impulsively, waving him back.

“Yeah?” he asked, now standing in front of her.

“Um...” Buffy leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek. “See you tomorrow.” Then she turned and took the stairs two at a time.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike stood in front of the watcher's door and raised a fist to knock, but for a third time, he put his hand down and turned away in time to see Xander and Anya walk up holding hands. They stopped when they saw him.

“Spike,” Xander said warily, “What are you doing here?”

“S'posed to meet the Slayer, but I think I'm a little early.”

Anya stepped forward with a smile, edged past him and opened the door. “Well, Giles is here, I'm sure. You might as well wait inside.”

Xander followed her lead, but poked his head back outside when Spike did not. “You coming in or what?”

By the time Buffy arrived with Willow, Spike was ready to tear his hair out. Giles kept glancing at him warily from his perch in the easy chair, and all three of them were very quiet. Spike had been sitting on the stairs and stood up when she entered. She was like light floating in, wearing a white and yellow spring dress, her hair piled high on her head.

“Hey, Spike,” Willow greeted, then turned to Buffy and nudged her. “See, I told ya he'd show up.”

“Now that everyone is here, let's get to work, shall we?” Giles said. “Come have a look at this, Buffy.”

He held out a newspaper for her to read.

She read it to herself and passed it to Willow who read out loud, “Husband and wife found mutilated in their bedroom last night. They are survived by nine year old twin boys who say they witnessed a big man, with ugly red skin and black pimples, attack their parents.”

“You think it's a demon?” Xander asked.

“Yes, and we can't wait for Buffy to accidentally bump into it on patrol. This is the second murder this week with the same M.O. We need to find out what kind of demon this is, where it would be likely to be found and how to kill it,” Giles told the group.

“So, it's a research night then?” Willow asked a little too excitedly.

Buffy let out a low groan and glanced away when Spike smiled at her. It was a good sign that she'd rather be out with him than in with the books.

“I hope this doesn't take all night, because we had plans,” Anya said as she helped Xander clear the dinning room table.

Willow followed Giles' directions and began pulling books off his shelves and handed them to Buffy to bring to the table. When they had all the books needed, Giles asked Spike, “Does that demon sound familiar? Do you know what we're looking for?”

Spike shook his head, wishing that he did know, because then he and Buffy could take off. “It doesn't ring a bell.”

Buffy sat down at the table with her back to the corner and waved Spike over. “You might as well have a seat and grab a book. The faster we find this thing, the quicker I can go out and kill it.”

Something was very off about this little group. He glanced around at them, all going about their business as if it was a normal thing to have an unchipped vampire in their midst.

Xander caught his eye. “Sit down, Spike. You're making me nervous.”

He walked around the table and sat next to Buffy, finally having a happy thought as their thighs touched. A demonology book was dropped into front of him and he dutifully opened it up and started turning pages.

It was blissfully quiet for another fifteen minutes, but then Xander spoke up. “What I want to know is why do demons have to be so butt ugly.”

Anya and Spike both glared at him, but it was Anya who said, “I wasn't always ugly. I could look like a human when I wanted to and so can vampires.” She leaned forward and smiled at Xander. “Besides, no matter how my face looked, I always had great cleavage.”

Xander's eyes were automatically drawn to said cleavage and Spike grinned, looking back down at his book. Beside him, Buffy sighed and Spike's grin widened. Action girl was bored stiff with the research. She glanced at him and smiled shyly then went back to her book. Every so often, he would look up and catch her staring, but she would quickly look down again, or he'd be caught doing the same by her.

He let one hand fall to his lap, under the table, and inched it towards Buffy. She jerked slightly when he inched her dress up and squeezed her bare knee. He glanced up, but no one seemed to be aware of what was going on under the tablecloth. He could see Giles just behind Xander, sitting in his chair with his head down, concentrating on his book.

Buffy pressed her leg against his, then she causally dropped her hand down and covered his. She gripped his hand, slowly lifting it and putting in on own his leg. In a quick motion, Spike slid his hand from under hers and pressed her hand to his knee. Emboldened by the fact that she didn't try to pull her hand free, he nudged it further up his thigh.

Buffy turned a page with her free hand and he watched her face as her lip twitched just the tiniest bit. She then gave his thigh a squeeze. It was exquisite torture to have her touching him when he could do nothing to take it further. He slid her hand a little further up his thigh and again, she gave him a small squeeze. A few more times and her pinky was just shy of touching him in just the right place. Spike thought he was going to explode, right there.

Suddenly, Willow stood up next to him and stretched. Buffy snatched her hand back. “It's getting hot in here. Can I open this window, Giles?” the redhead asked, already sliding it open.

A slight breeze filtered in through the lace curtains. Buffy exchanged a sheepish glance with Spike, but he gave her a little smile and she smiled back. Everyone shifted and then went back to turning pages. The next twenty minutes passed with only a few comments back and forth about demons that might fit their profile.

Then Anya closed her book. “I'm getting hungry.”

“Me, too,” Willow said. “I could go for a cheeseburger.”

“Oh, and some chili cheese fries,” Buffy said, standing up.

“Yeah,” Willow said. “Let's go.”

Anya held up a set of keys. “I've got Xander's car. I'll drive.”

“Get me the works,” Xander said, not looking up from his book.

“I'll take a fish sandwich,” Giles said, putting one book down and grabbing another.

“Got it,” Buffy said and walked out behind Willow and Anya.

Spike really didn't want to get stuck in the awkward silence with the guys again so he got up and followed them out. They didn't seem to notice him until they went to get in the car. Buffy stopped him.

“Um, we've got this. Why don't you go back in and help with the research?”

“I'm not really up to sitting around with those two.”

Anya and Willow sat in the car watching them. Buffy sighed and said, “Well, have a cigarette break then.”

“Hurry back,” he grumbled while taking his lighter out.

As they sped away, he lit his fag and languidly strolled back up the walkway. He leaned on the wall between the door and the window and took a long drag, holding the smoke in and closing his eyes, before slowly releasing it.

“Well,” Xander's voice drifted out the open window. “It looks like Buffy took your suggestion.”

“Yes, it appears that she has.”

“Has she talked to you about it? Cuz, I really didn't think she would do it.”

“We haven't talked about it since she was in hospital, but I knew that she'd see reason. We must have the ring back.”

Spike straightened his shoulders and inched closer to the window.

“I know, but isn't there some other way to do it? I mean, he's not hurting anyone and he's actually helping her without even asking for money.”

“If there was another way, believe me, I'd be for it. Buffy got the ring from him the last time by catching him off guard and slipping it off his hand. She has to be a little more careful this time around, because he might be expecting it. She has to get a little closer to him. And like you said last night, he is obviously attracted to her. This is the perfect time for her to get close to him and get that ring.”

“It just doesn't feel right,” Xander said.

“Buffy has to do what she must. She has a calling that she can't ignore. People's lives depend on it. That ring has fallen into the wrong hands. We must get it from him and destroy it. It's the only way.”

It was all a lie? The looks, the kiss on the cheek last night? Leaning his head against the wall, he squeezed his eyes shut and tried to block out the hurt and pain. Spike crushed the cigarette in his bare hand and let it fall.

Giles and Xander continued talking, having no idea that he was on the other side of the open window; their pleasant conversation, grating on his nerves. Suddenly, the devastation turned to anger. At them all. He was seeing red, but he restrained himself and walked away. He slowly paced the sidewalk, waiting for Buffy to return. He was going to kill her. No! First, he'd drag her away, take her to his basement, tie her up and torture her a little. Or maybe a lot.

The car pulled up and he steadied himself, not wanting to give away how upset he was. Willow got out first and handed him a bag.

“Carry this for me?” she asked sweetly.

Buffy got out and smiled as if she was really happy to see him. He had to give it her; she knew how to put on a good act. She had a spot of chili on the edge of her lip and despite how angry he was, he felt the urge to kiss it off for her. Instead, he wiped it gently away. Anya and Willow walked ahead of them and Buffy held out her half eaten carton of chili smothered fries. “You want one before I eat them all?”

He couldn't bring himself to talk, so he shook his head and stamped down a growl as he crossed the threshold and entered the apartment. He kept up the appearance of calm, but on the inside, he was raging. He wanted to tear the place up and make them all bleed, but when he looked at Buffy, he couldn't do it. No matter what she had been planning, he loved her. That wasn't going to change.

“I found it!” Xander exclaimed. “It's called a Mokstelka Demon. It says here that its sticky red skin is marked with small black indentions. It lives underground, can see very well in the dark, has very sharp claws, and needs to feed on human flesh for two months every five years.”

Buffy shrugged and asked Spike, “Are you up for a trip to the sewers?”

“Yeah,” he told her. He desperately needed to kill something. “We'll need swords.”

Chapter #26 - 25. No Act
Betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-Five: No Act

The sewers were slimy and the stench was overpowering. Buffy imagined that it was worse for Spike with his heightened senses, but he didn't complain. In fact, during the walk over, he had been quiet, frowning and mumbling under his breath. She could only guess that he was angry at the Mokstelka demon for ruining their plans to patrol together.

Once they were down in the sewers, he took over, hunting the demon down like a bloodhound. They'd trudged through the large round pipes for half an hour and the fumes were starting to make her feel nauseated. When she started to complain, he put a finger to her lips and scowled at her, shaking his head.

They rounded a corner and there it was, sitting down, almost asleep. It leapt to its feet, ready to fight, but it was no match for two super beings with weapons. Buffy got in a few good swings, but Spike kept pushing her out of the way. He toyed with the demon for a few minutes and then ran it through the stomach with his sword. Buffy yelled, “Duck!” and swung her sword, chopping off its head.

This demon didn’t melt into a pile of sticky goo like some did. She was glad they were underground, so she wouldn't have to bury it. Buffy was caught off guard by the angry look Spike gave her and backed up. He yanked his sword out and to her amazement, he went postal on the demon's body, taking turns hacking at it and then stabbing it. His grunts, yells and curses echoed across the pipes and back.

“Spike!” she yelled over the noise he was making. “Spike! Stop it!”

He ignored her and continued his assault, so she used the flat of her sword and smacked his side with it.

His sword clattered to the ground and he turned towards her. “That's just brilliant.”

The closer he came, the more nervous she got. There was something wrong with him; something had really pissed him off. She racked her brain for what she could've possibly done but nothing came to mind.

“Go ahead, Buffy. Run me through. I suggest the heart.” With hands outstretched, he stopped at a sword's length. “You've already done it figuratively; might as well do it literally.”

She frowned at him and dropped the sword. “What the hell are you talking about? What have I done?” She screwed her face up in distaste as a foul odor hit her.

Spike shook a finger at her. “Now that's an honest face. First one I've seen since I put this ring on.”

With a shake of her head, she said, “I don't understand what's gotten in to you.”

“You! That's what.” He turned away from her, but swung back, pointing to his chest. “You are in me. No matter how much of a fool I look, no matter what you really feel for me, I'm bloody-fucking in love with you.”

Buffy's stomach rolled as the smells intensified around her. She pushed past him. “I need to get some fresh air before I throw up.”

He followed her out, carrying both swords. They ended up in a culvert next to a residential street, and Buffy climbed the dirt hill, stopping only once she was on the street. She hunched over and breathed deep.

“Are you OK?” he asked.

Spike put his hand on Buffy's back just as she was starting to feel better. She straightened up and shoved him away.

“Get away from me,” she ground out. She couldn't believe he had the nerve to yell at her and act crazy, then get all gentle with concern.

It was his fault that she was feeling sick, she just knew it. She rarely got sick, having seen and smelled some of the most disgusting things this world had to offer. It had to be the baby. She'd been waiting for the morning sickness. The doctor she spoke to earlier in the afternoon thought she should be getting it soon. Never mind that it was ten o'clock at night or that the sick feeling was already fading.

She glared back at him as he stood a few feet away, scowling at her with narrowed eyes. Then, she turned her back on him and walked down the street. She already had her bearings and knew that if she just kept going east, she'd go through Main Street and eventually get to her dorm.

Buffy was just going through an alley near Main Street when he ran up to her, dropped the weapons and grabbed her by the arms. “So that's it? Hm?”

“Let go of me.”

“What? The jig’s up so you're not even going to give me the time of day? You think you can get rid of me that easy?” He shook her shoulders to emphasize his point. “I don't think so.”

“Gah, Spike. What's wrong with you?” She shoved him away again. “What happened to earlier tonight when you were all with the handsies under the table and all the suggestive looks?”

He closed his eyes and she could swear that he was counting to ten. When he opened them, she was mesmerized by the smoldering lust there. His hands went to her waist and he held her just a little too tightly.

“I want you. I'll always want you, no matter what.” He pressed her against the brick wall and stared her down. “Are you actually trying to say you want me, too?”

She gazed down between them where his jeans were pressed to her dress. Her heart was pounding like it wanted out of her chest and his rough treatment only added to the excitement. Maybe she'd go to hell for wanting him, but she did.

Her eyelids fluttered as she gazed into his intense blue eyes and all she could manage was a whispered, “Yes.”

He continued to hold her gaze for a few seconds and her heart sank when she saw a flicker of uncertainty in his eyes, but then Spike grabbed her head and kissed her. A searing, bruising, angry kiss that she welcomed as she kissed him back. He seemed to be one step ahead of her and she gasped for breath as he turned his attention to her neck, kissing and sucking, using his tongue.

Buffy arched her back and lifted one leg, snaking it between his coat and his thigh, wrapping it around him and trying to pull him closer. Her fevered mind didn't think they were nearly close enough and she was soon frustrated that she couldn't fix it.

Spike paused and stared at her with lust glazed eyes. “That's my bite mark, from when I tried to kill you.”


She could see the two puncture wound scars clearly in her mind. She spent a few minutes every day looking at it. Whether it had been intentional or not, he'd covered Angel's scar with his own. When she thought back to how Angel had bitten her, it made her blood run cold. She'd given him permission, but the brutality of that moment would never be erased from her mind. When Spike had bitten her, he'd meant to kill her, yet she went warm all over when she remembered it. He'd cleanly bitten into her and at the time, she had thought she was in love with him, so it hadn't hurt as much. She marveled that he hadn't killed her.

Spike went back to placing kisses on her neck, and when he licked the scar, they both trembled. He moved up and kissed her on the lips again. She let out a soft moan when he cupped one of her breasts. Willow had teased her when she'd taken forever to get dressed tonight, because she’d known that it was all for Spike. The dress did not require a bra, and Buffy was so sensitive that it felt as if there was no material between them at all.

It wasn't enough for her to just touch his skin under his shirt. She reached for his belt and tugged on it, trying to get it undone. Spike froze and glanced around.

“I should take you right here in this dirty alley,” he snarled, then sighed and loosened his grip. “But that's not how I want it.”

Spike smoothed her hair down and gave her some breathing room. She was disappointed yet relieved that they'd stopped. He walked her home without saying a word, opened the door for her and handed over the swords. He didn't kiss her or mention anything about seeing her the next day. He didn't so much as give her a nod, but turned his back to her and walked out of sight.

Going up the stairs, she dragged the swords behind her and mulled over Spike's strange behavior. He'd been so good at Giles', but once they left he’d seemed angry even when he brought up the fact that he loved her. He seemed almost resentful about it.

Willow looked up from the book she was reading as she sat up in bed. “Hey, girl. Did you find the demon?”

“Yep. It was found and destroyed,” she said, leaning the swords on the wall by the door. “I'll be back. I need to clean up.” She grabbed her toiletry bag and towels and rushed out.

After Buffy came back from taking a shower, Willow put her book down, swung her legs over the bed and waited for Buffy to slip into her blankets before asking, “Did you tell him?”

“About the baby? No. It just wasn't the right time. I will tell him, soon.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

It was a nice, bright afternoon and Spike was just beginning to enjoy his time on the porch swing with Anabella when he caught sight of Buffy walking up the street.

Earlier, he'd been moping around the house, trying to come to terms with the fact that Buffy was willing to go so far, just to get the Gem of Amara off his finger, when Carol had knocked on the door and asked if he could keep an eye on Anabella for a few minutes. The neighbor she usually asked was gone for the day and she had to drive an elderly neighbor to a last minute doctor's appointment and help her get into the office. Because the neighbor had a ride home, Carol promised to be back in twenty minutes. He agreed to keep an eye on Anabella outside after they got a snack, because Carol didn't know Spike enough to have Anabella in the house alone with him.

They'd gone straight to the kitchen and put together a little snack tray with Oreo cookies, milk and vanilla ice cream. Now, Anabella continued to babble until Buffy climbed the porch steps, her long black skirt flowing in the breeze. The little girl hopped down and grabbed her hand. “Hey, Buffy. You wanna swing with us? We have cookies and ice cream and milk.”

As Anabella pulled her over to the swing, Spike locked eyes with Buffy. Was there a hint of sadness there? Or was he just imagining it? Buffy smiled down at Anabella.

“How can I say no if there's ice cream involved?”

Buffy hesitated, but then sat down next to him and took the offered bowl . Everything in him screamed at him to hit her. He couldn't understand how she could live with herself. But, since she apparently thought of him as nothing but a soulless demon with no real capacity to feel, maybe he could.

“You can have Spike's because he's full.” Anabella hopped back up, staring at Buffy as she ate an Oreo cookie. “My mommy was pretty like you.”

“I bet she was,” Buffy said, softly.

“Daddy gave me a picture in a pretty silver frame. I keep it by my bed.”

“Hey, Poppet? Why don't you show Buffy how you can ride that bike of yours with only one training wheel now?”

“Oh, OK!” Anabella said and jumped off the swing. She ran and picked up her bike from the lawn, placed it on the sidewalk, and said, “Watch this, Buffy!”

“She is so cute,” Buffy told Spike, not taking her eyes off the girl. “How on earth did she end up on your porch, eating cookies and ice cream with you?”

“Her grandmother asked me to watch her while she helps a friend get to the doctor's. She should be back any minute.”

Buffy stared at him now with an opened mouth. “Spike the vampire is babysitting a little girl? How is it that they possibly trust you with her?”

“First, they have no idea that I'm a vampire. Second, I brought the little girl home when she was wandering the street, and third, Carol says that Anabella rarely takes a liking to strangers and almost never smiles for them.”

“She smiles for me, too,” Buffy stated.

“Yeah, she does.”

Buffy clapped as Anabella rode by the house on her small pink bike. “Good job!” She turned to Spike and asked, “Did you ever want kids when you were human?”

He watched her closely, trying to figure out why she'd ask such a question, but she kept her eyes on Anabella. “I always thought I'd have children. Didn't spend much time around them, but before I was turned, I was thinking about finding a wife and carrying on the family name. After I was turned, I haven't thought much about it. 'S not good to dwell on things that can never happen.”

“Oh, no!” Buffy said, jumping up.

Anabella was going too fast and the bike wobbled precariously. The bike tipped over and the little girl began to cry. Spike beat Buffy to her, picked her up and brought her to the porch. It was a foreign feeling to have a small child cling to him, crying and searching for comfort from him, but he told himself that it wasn't much different from taking care of Dru after Prague.

“There, there, Poppet. It's just a scrape.” He gave her a light hug and sat down on the swing with Anabella in his lap. “Tell me where it hurts.”

Buffy knelt down by them and inspected the scrape on the little girl's knee. Then Anabella pointed to her one hand and then the next. Her hands weren't bleeding but the scrape on her knee was.

“I've scraped my hands like that before,” Buffy told her. “That really hurts. And when I would scrape my knee, it always felt better after my mom would kiss it and put a band aid on it.”

Anabella buried her head in Spike's chest. “'S alright, love. You want me to kiss it better?” He felt her nod. “Fine then, let's clean it up, and then I'll give it a magical kiss and it will feel like new.”

He didn't like the look that Buffy was giving him. He wasn't a sweet guy; he was an evil vampire, but he just couldn't let the little one suffer. He frowned at Buffy and said, “I remember seeing a first aid box on top of the refrigerator.”

She disappeared into the house. It seemed like it was taking her forever just to bring out a first aid kit, and he was just about go in with Anabella when she finally came out.

“Took you long enough.”

“Don't get cranky with me, mister. I just met your roommate.” Buffy handed Anabella a stuffed bunny. “This is from Clem.”

Anabella clutched the bunny to her and smiled. “Clem has a skin condition. He can't go outside.”

Eyes wide in alarm, she stared at Spike then back at the little girl. “You've met him?”

“No. He's too scared to let anyone see him, but he said ‘hi’ from the stairs.”

Buffy relaxed on her knees and opened an antiseptic wipe. “Well, he was watching you ride your bike from his bedroom and saw you fall. He asked me to give you the bunny and to tell you that he thinks you're getting better with the one training wheel.” She glanced up at Spike again and said, “This might sting a little.”

Spike watched her gently place the antiseptic pad on the wounded knee and was prepared when Anabella jumped. After her hands were also cleaned, she showed them to Spike. “Kiss them.”

With a little smile, he brought one palm and then the other to his lips. She giggled.

“And my knee.”

He kissed her knee and then Buffy carefully placed a large band aid over it.

“Granna!” Anabella yelled when she saw Carol's car drive by.

She hopped off Spike's lap, jumped down the steps and got her bike.

“I'll be right back,” Spike said and caught up to Anabella.

After he explained what happened with the bike accident, Carol shrugged. “Looks like you took good care of her. Besides, I'm very sure that won't be her last boo-boo.”

He watched them go into their house and then walked back to his own. Buffy sat in the swing, slowly going back and forth and staring at him as he climbed the steps. If he hadn't overheard Giles and Xander he'd have been in a state of euphoria right now. She looked stunning, sitting on his porch and staring at him with eyes that said they liked what they saw.

Knowing it was only an act, his stomach cramped and it was as if his intestines were being tied in knots.

Spike cleared his throat and opened the front door. “You want to come inside and tell me why you're here?”

“I don't want to give Clem a heart attack. He nearly fainted when I came into the kitchen to get the first aid kit.”

“He'll be fine. He's harmless, so no slaying allowed. It's tough for him because he doesn't have the heart of a demon and his own species pretty much will have nothing to do with him. Except his girlfriend, who just kicked him out because he gambles too much.”

“Really?” she asked, sounding amused yet interested.

“Yes. We've been poker buddies for a while now, but you have to watch him. The folds in his skin are perfect hiding places for extra cards.”

“I'll keep that in mind,” she said with a roll of her eyes, “next time I play poker with demons.”

She followed him into the kitchen, but Clem was not there.

“He's probably hiding in his room.” Spike put his hand behind his neck and watched her. She seemed at ease, sitting in his kitchen as if it was a daily occurrence. “You want something to drink? Clem is great about keeping things stocked up.”

She nodded, then held the glass for him while he poured cherry Kool-Aid. Buffy took a drink and smiled. “Tell Clem that the Slayer thinks he makes great Kool-Aid.”

“So, what brings you by on this beautiful afternoon?” He leaned an elbow on the white-tiled counter and wondered what excuse she'd come up with.

Buffy wouldn't look him in the eye, but played with the rim of her glass. “There's...I have something...” She shook her head and glanced up. “What happened last night?”

There was nothing he could say that she'd want to hear. He shrugged. “We hunted down a demon, we got rid of it, then I kissed you in an alley and took you home.”

The glass clicked against the counter when she put it down. She walked towards him and hesitantly reached out, touching his arm. “What's wrong?”

Oh, she was out to seduce him. There was no doubt in his mind. Spike looked her up and down and chuckled. “How long did it take you to get ready to come here?”

“I don't know,” she said, frowning as she scanned his face.

She blinked when he raised his hand and ran a finger across her cheekbone. “Did you think about me when you lined your eyes with black kohl?” He ran his finger down to her glossy lips. “And did you plan on kissing me when you put this strawberry scented gloss on?”

She let out a shuddering breath and closed her eyes, but she didn't answer.

His hand drifted to her shoulder. “And what about this red top? Hmm?” The tiny thing pushed up her pert little breasts. He blinked before saying, “Did you imagine that I'd take this off sometime tonight?”

“No,” she said, but leaned into him, pressing against his erection and he stifled a moan, resting his head against the cabinet behind him. “I came here to tell you something, but you are right in a way.” She rested both palms on his chest, and then put her hands around his waist at the small of his back. “I...I can't stop thinking about you and--”

Needing to shut her up, Spike kissed her, because it was too much for him. He wanted it to be true, and knowing that it wasn't caused an ache deep in his bones. She moaned into his mouth, kissing him back with gusto and he hated her for it.

Even so, he maneuvered her towards the basement door and opened it, telling himself that it was only fair that he should take what he could get; what she was offering. They stumbled down the stairs, groping each other, shedding clothes, but never breaking the kiss.

Spike guided her into the bedroom and flipped the track lighting on. They kept their eyes on each other as they kicked their shoes off. She'd managed to unbuckle his belt, so it took just a second to shed his jeans and then they were naked, rubbing together.

He wanted to take his time and savor the moment, but they were both too revved up to slow down. They fell on the bed and he moved to cover her with his body. Buffy writhed beneath him, making soft little noises, and he felt he might go insane if he didn't take her right at that moment.

Spike raised his head and gazed at her, her green eyes flashed with arousal, spurring him on. “I need to be inside you. Now.”

“Please,” Buffy whispered, grabbing his waist to pull him closer.

He wasn't surprised to find her slick and ready. Moaning with the intense pleasure, he pushed into her, and Buffy raised her hips up, meeting him halfway. She continued to move underneath him with each of his thrusts, pushing him to go faster.

Soon, Buffy's head was hitting the headboard, so he stopped, kicked the bed cover down and off the bed, then grabbed her hips and yanked her further down. She stared at him with glazed eyes, chest rising and falling as she caught her breath and raised her arms up in invitation. He settled back into place and quickly brought them back to the pace they'd been at before.

When she pulled his head down and kissed him, he slowed his rhythm, but soon, he was slamming into her harder than before. With each powerful thrust, she cried out. He knew she was close when her walls constricted around him, so he continued with the punishing rhythm and held off until she screamed out in ecstasy and then quieted down with a whimpering moan. He continued to pump in and out of her, letting himself go until he was completely spent.

He relaxed on top of her and closed his eyes while she caressed his back. Buffy ran her fingertips over his flesh then used her nails to lightly scratch paths up and down. It became too intimate for him; more so than when he was making love to her, and he couldn't take it, knowing it was all a lie. Spike rolled off, but she followed him, cuddling up to his side, resting her arm across his stomach.

“I can't believe we just did that,” she said in amazement. “I mean, I know we've done it before, but this time, I wasn't under a spell. I really wanted to be with you.”

Spike closed his eyes and let the sadness wash over him. She was still acting. But she had to; he still had the ring.
Chapter #27 - 26. Messed Up
A/N: Betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit and the ever patient Slaymesoftly. :)
This story is now complete in rough draft with thirty chapters and an epilogue. I'm hoping to be able to update twice a week until it's all up. Thanks for reading and to all who have taken the time to review.

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-Six: Messed Up

They'd been in the basement for hours. Spike had kept up a grueling pace, making love to Buffy again and again, trying to commit it all to memory. She hadn’t said much. She’d made lots of little noises, letting him know when she was feeling pleasure, but after her declaration about wanting to be there with him, she hadn’t said a word.

When he’d exhausted them both, he gathered Buffy to his chest and curled up behind her, letting his body relax. He wanted her to think that he'd let his guard down, that he was falling asleep. After staying perfectly still for twenty minutes, with his hand over her waist, waiting for her to take the ring off his finger, he realized that she had been the one to fall asleep.

Spike rolled onto his back and stared at the brightly lit ceiling. It was a little anticlimactic for him. He'd planned to get indignant and make a fool out of her when she tried. He'd had visions of throwing her out of the house, half naked, and showering her with insults. With his eyes squeezed shut, he willed himself to calm down.

His plans always fell through.

Easing out of bed, he kept an eye on her, but she continued to breathe deeply in an exhausted sleep. He found all his clothes and once he was dressed, he stood by the bed, gazing at her. The sheet was bunched up and barely covered her waist; her shiny, tan legs wonderfully exposed. He wondered when she ever had time to get that much color into her skin. One hand hung over the edge of the bed, and he smiled when he saw the mood ring. He'd guessed wrong on her size and she had it on her index finger.

He wondered if she'd stood over him, watching him sleep, before she'd taken the Gem of Amara off his finger that first time. With a frown on his face, he crept closer to her. Probably not. The spell had worn off and she probably had felt nothing but hate for him, knowing that he'd taken advantage of her.

The parallel of this moment was not lost on him. Only, he couldn't bring himself to truly hate her.

Maybe she'd had second thoughts about taking the ring. It hadn't seemed like acting when she'd clung to him and kissed him passionately. He knew that she was attracted to him, and perhaps, just maybe, she was starting to fall for him, too.

He glanced away and ran a hand through his hair.


He stared at her again.

There was no way that she felt anything real for him. Not if she could plot to take the Gem from him, knowing that it would stop him from going out into the sun with her and cause him to have to feed again.

Her fingers twitched and his eye was drawn to the dark blue color of the mood ring. Kneeling down, he carefully worked the ring off and then shoved it on to his own pinkie.

Buffy began to stir.

“Spike?” She sat up and raised the sheet to cover her chest. “What are you doing?”

Anger welled up inside him because he knew that any second, she'd be scowling at him. Once she realized that she'd lost the opportunity to take the ring, she'd also know that she'd have to seduce him again.

Well, he was through.

She watched as he slowly pulled the Gem of Amara off his finger. She smoothed her hair back and stared at him with a shocked expression.


“Here.” He tossed the ring at her, but she hadn't been ready for it and it hit the sheet, landing on the edge of the bed beside her elbow.

“Spike!” She grabbed the ring and stood up, the sheet forgotten. “Put it--”

“Quiet.” He held up his hand.

The mood ring slowly turned to a dull grey color as his body lost heat.. That quick, he felt cold and detached and already, he was hungry. He glared at her, hating himself for being such a slave to love that he would give her everything.

“You've earned it,” he growled. “Shagged like a pro, you did. I'd tip you with a couple of twenties, but I left my wallet in my coat upstairs.”

She gazed at him with stunned, watery eyes. “I...I.”

“Save it.” He went to the door and without looking at her, he said, “I'm going out for a walk. You'd better be gone when I get back.”

Spike slammed the bedroom door. He ran up the stairs, ignoring her cries to come back. He passed Clem in the living room watching TV.

“Hey, Spike. I didn't even know you were still here.”

“Clem,” he said, barely acknowledging the demon as he took his coat from the closet.

Spike put his coat on then opened the front door. Taking a step onto the porch, he inhaled. It was just dark enough that he could go out without smoldering. This is what he deserved, this is where he belonged. In the dark. He could exist without the ring, and he was going to prove it to Buffy.

He loved her.

He needed time, but once he could pull himself together and no longer felt such overwhelming rage when she was near, he knew that he'd want her again. If he could do good without the ring, then maybe she would see that he wasn't all bad. Maybe she'd want to be with him.

Clem called out to him before he could shut the door. “Next time you see the Slayer, tell her that I think she's not a bad creature. I mean, she didn't slay me on first sight.”

“Yeah. I'll do that.”

Spike slammed the door and went on his way.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Willow was at her desk, typing furiously on her laptop when Buffy entered their room. Still in shock from Spike's strange behavior, Buffy slowly lowered herself to sit on her bed. Willow stopped typing and turned with exuberance, with a big smile on her face, which quickly changed to a concerned frown when she got a good look at Buffy

“What happened?” Willow asked, coming to sit beside her.

Buffy could only shake her head and look down. She closed her eyes and all she could see was the hurt yet angry look on Spike's face as he threw the ring at her. She covered her mouth as a sob escaped.

“Oh, God!” Willow said, placing her arm around the distraught Slayer. “Did he take it badly? About the baby? You told him, right?”

Buffy shook her head and wipes at her eyes. “No. I went there to tell him, but then--”

Buffy sobbed and let Willow hug her. When she calmed down a little, she said, “I should have listened to myself this time and not let another vampire in.” She looked at Willow, pleading with her eyes. “Tell me. What is wrong with me? Why do they hate me after?”

“There's nothing wrong with you. Tell me what happened.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Spike was on his fourth glass of warm, not-so-fresh blood. He sat in the booth and sipped it, glaring at the demons in Willy's Bar. When he'd entered, they'd all given him a wide berth, having heard or witnessed his awesome fighting skills over the past few days. No one wanted to challenge him. Maybe after he'd had a few more shots of whiskey, he'd stir up a bit of trouble.

Some idiot had started the jukebox up. Tammy Wynette crooned out “Stand By Your Man” and he felt sick to his stomach. He poured another shot and picked up his cigarette from the dirty ashtray. The smoke felt good, burning in his lungs.

He felt like such a ponce. A loser of the highest order, drowning his sorrows in whiskey and blood. The old Spike -- the Spike he’d been before the Slayer tainted him just like Dru had warned -- he would be in the midst of some crowd about now. Near the movie theater was always a great place just after a film let out. Tons of people milling about in the dark.

Spike shook his head. No. He wouldn't do it. He put the glass of blood to his mouth and downed the last of its contents. He was almost full and that would have to do. No snacking on humans if he wanted to prove to Buffy that he could change.

He was determined. He'd follow her on patrol and maybe even patrol on his own. He'd crossed over and he was going to do everything in his power to stay on Buffy's side. The thought occurred to him that he should go to see her. Apologize for his awful behavior. Tell her that he loved her anyway. Even if she did lie to him and use him.

Maybe she'd keep the ring and give it to him when they needed his help to kill another baddie like Adam. He'd do it, if that's what she wanted. Hell, all she'd had to do was ask and he'd have handed over the ring. It was her job to make sure that a vampire didn't run about with ultimate power. He couldn't fault her for doing her duty.

He slammed his hand down on the table. Yes, he could. He had told her that he loved her, dammit. She should trust him.

They needed to have it out. Talk about it.

Spike stood up, threw more bills on the table and stomped out of Willy's, going in the direction of the dorms.

He cut through town, but stopped when he saw that the cinema was letting out. Too much temptation. If he wanted to keep from doing evil, he'd have to steer clear of vulnerable, stupid humans who walked about Sunnydale at night.

Doubling back with the intent of going around the main street, he found an alley to cut through. He was familiar with the area. He was near the back entrance of the magic shop, where he'd had a great time fighting with Angel and Buffy. He remembered the hope and excitement he'd felt when he'd left that little place, certain that he would get Drusilla back.

He turned the corner and stopped short at the sight in front of him. A female vampire was feeding on a man in a business suit who was struggling frantically. Spike shrugged and kept going, but then he saw Buffy's stern face in his mind.

She would save the man.

Spike stopped a few feet away from them, hesitated, but then made up his mind. He pulled a stake from his coat and drove it into her back. As her ashes fell to the ground, the man slumped to the ground. Spike glanced around, feeling put out. He'd saved the man, but he didn't want to help him up.

Grudgingly, he held his hand out. The man sluggishly reached out, but fainted before he could grab Spike's hand.

“Bloody hell,” Spike muttered, getting his arms under the man’s armpits and hefting him up.

He felt for a pulse to confirm what he was hearing and cursed when he could barely feel a slow beat. The man would die if he didn't get to a hospital -- and soon. It wasn't that far. With a growl, he half carried and half dragged the man down the alley, slowing when he heard voices.

“Thank you, Mr. Bogardty,” Giles, of all people, was saying. “I'll get in touch with you after I consult with the bank about a loan.”

There was a solid thunk of a car door, and then Spike heard the car driving off. Spike breathed a sigh of relief and held the man recklessly, dragging him along. The man flopped forward, his bloody neck brushing against Spike's cheek. He was glad that the hospital was only just down the street. The smell of the blood was starting to get him.

Growling in frustration, he picked the guy up and ran towards the hospital.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Buffy had just curled up under the covers, her still damp hair after her shower, when the pounding started at the door. Willow jumped up from her desk and ran to open it. Giles stumbled into the room, barely keeping himself upright, panting and out of breath.

“Spike.” He took a deep breath and let it out, leaning heavily on his crutch. “He's feeding again.”

Her heart stopped. This wasn't happening. It was like Angel all over again. Only this time, there was no curse; no soul to be lost. And just like the last time, she agonized over the fact that she'd have to be the one to kill him. Only this time, the vampire wasn't just one that she'd fallen in love with, he was also the father of her unborn baby.

She squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath.

Willow pulled out her chair for Giles and asked, “What happened?”

As Giles spoke, Buffy sprang into action, getting dressed in a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans.

“You might recall that I have been thinking about taking over ownership of the Magic Box.”

The girls both nodded.

“I was just leaving the shop with the owner when I saw Spike dragging a man out of the nearby alley. I'm fairly certain that he was dead.” With a pained expression, he stared at Buffy and said softly, “There was blood on both the victim’s neck and Spike's face. There is no doubt as to what had happened.”

Buffy sat on her bed and put her hand between her breast, where the Gem of Amara lay hidden beneath her clothes, hanging from a chain around her neck. She exchanged a look of dread with Willow and then looked at Giles.

“I have the Gem of Amara.”

Giles took a deep breath and relaxed. “I'm so glad. I don't think he saw me, but I couldn't run after him and even if I could have, I despaired as to what to do to stop him with the ring in hand.”

“I know what I have to do.” Buffy pulled out her weapons bag and grabbed two stakes, stashing one in her back pocket and grasping the other. “I'll be back.”

She couldn't look at them, especially Willow with her large sympathetic eyes. She left the room, striding with purpose down the hall.

“Buffy!” Willow called out. “Wait.”

Willow pulled her into a hug, but Buffy gently pushed away. “It's all right,” she told Willow, even as her eyes began to water.

Willow whispered, “But the baby. It won't have a father.”

“If I hadn't come back here, having my own pity party—if I had gone after Spike right away—that man might be still alive.” She wiped a tear away. “How many more people will he hurt or kill before I can get to him?”

More determined than she had been when she first left her room, Buffy turned and walked away. Over her shoulder, she told Willow, “Stay here with Giles.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Go ahead and have a seat, Mr. Harris. We'll call you back when your father is ready to leave.” The E.R. Receptionist was firm yet polite.

Xander sat in the waiting room, picked up a magazine and sighed. He flipped through the pages, not really seeing the print or color photos before him. When his mother had called and asked him to go to hospital to get his dad, he'd been scared at first. And after she told him that he'd crashed the car, he knew that one of his worst fears had been realized. Xander's mom knew it, too, though she didn't say so over the phone.

It could be worse. His dad could have killed someone or even died himself. His mom had assured him that it was only a broken knee and a bruised head and that he'd crashed into a tree and not into another car.

He'd been touched when Anya had offered to go with him, but he was ashamed of his dad. One of the big reasons that Xander had agreed to move into the apartment, even though the rent was a little too steep for them, was to get away from his father's steadily worsening drinking problem.

A commotion at the entrance and the gasps of those around him got his attention. Xander dropped the magazine and rose to his feet.

“This man needs help, right now!” Spike yelled.

The vampire was carrying a man in a suit, and Xander resisted the urge to rub his eyes to make sure he wasn't seeing things.

“He's lost a lot of blood.”

Hospital personnel rushed into the lobby with a gurney and relieved Spike of his burden. A nurse came out with a clipboard.

“Do you know him?” she asked Spike.

“Uh, no. Saw him lying on the ground near Main Street. He was unconscious and when I saw the blood on his neck, I knew he was in serious trouble, so I brought him here.”

The man was already being wheeled into the back. She quickly scribbled something down and then looked up, shaking her head. “That's the second one like that tonight.”

“I imagine you see that pretty often,” Spike said dryly.

Xander had made his way closer and when Spike turned to leave, the vampire jumped in surprise.

“What happened, Spike?”

Spike glared, sidestepped him, and walked towards the exit.

“Wait, sir!” the nurse called out. “The police will want to get a statement from you.”

He waved her off. “Sod the police. I'm not waiting around for them.”

Xander stood where he was and watched Spike exit the building. When his brain could function, he rushed to the receptionist's desk and told them that he'd be right back. Then, he rushed out into the night and scanned the area. He spotted Spike striding down the road and ran to catch up with him.

He was out of breath from the short run and he made a mental note to himself to stop eating so much junk food and start working out. “Spike. Wait. What happened back there?”

The vampire stopped and faced him. “Saw the bloke being attacked by a vampire. I staked it and brought him in. End of story.”

“That is unbelievable, yet strangely, I believe it.”

“Don't much care what you think, Harris. You lot whored the Slayer out and got the Gem of Amara back; you can all go to hell for all I care. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a slayer to find.”

“You're in luck, 'cause here she is now.” He pointed behind Spike who then turned to face her.

“Xander!” Buffy said, her eyes wide with concern. “Quick. Get away from him.”

And before he knew what hit him, Buffy was there, shoving him away. He stumbled back and groaned when he ended up on his ass on the sidewalk.

“What's gotten into you, Slayer? Turning on all your friends now?” Spike asked venomously.

Xander struggled to get up and muttered under his breath, “Here we go again.” Those two were always at each other's throats, and yet it was obvious that there was chemistry between them. He hated the idea, but Buffy and Spike were awfully close to becoming a couple.

“Don't play dumb with me, Spike. Giles saw you kill that guy in the alley.” Buffy looked down, took a shuddering breath and then looked up again, casting Spike a steely glare.

“What?” Xander said, not believing that he was about to defend a vampire against accusations of murder.

Spike put his hand up. “Shut up. Let's hear what Miss High-n-Mighty has to say.”

“I can't let you kill people, Spike. I...I don't know why you gave me the Gem of Amara, but it doesn't matter. have a duty to protect innocent people.”

Buffy shook the stake that she raised up, and Xander lifted his hands up in alarm. If she dusted Spike because of what she thought had happened, she'd never forgive herself when she later learned the truth. And as much as he disliked the vampire, he had saved the man and brought him in for medical treatment.

“Wait,” he said.

“Stay out of this,” Spike growled. “Come on, Slayer. Gonna stake me, are you?”

Xander watched in fascination as Spike held his hands out like some sort of Jesus statue, glaring at Buffy and holding his ground as she advanced. She hesitated, and Xander couldn't help but feel sorry for her as a tear rolled down her cheek.

She plunged the stake down towards Spike's heart, and Xander yelled, “No!”

Chapter #28 - 27. Mr. Crankypire
betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Mr. Crankypire

When Spike caught her wrist, Xander thought he had to be seeing things, but it looked as if the vampire was trying to bring the stake towards him, and Buffy looked as if she was trying to pull it away. But that wouldn't make sense. The stake inched closer and closer to Spike's heart.

The only indication that there was a struggle going on was that both their hands trembled as they stood locked, seemingly frozen in place with the point of the stake just touching Spike’s shirt. Xander shivered at the anguished look that passed between the two super beings. Buffy released the stake; it clattered dully against the concrete and rolled off the curb.

“Oh God,” she whispered.

The vampire released her wrist, replaced the expression of pain and exertion with one of indifference, and ran off. Xander stared after him, stunned.

Buffy let out a sob and Xander snapped out of it, rushing to her side. He caught her in his arms and let her cry on his shoulder, feeling like he wanted to cry himself. Buffy tried to speak, but she couldn't get enough breath to do it.

He rubbed her back.

“It's OK,” he soothed.

Buffy stood back and with a shaky voice said, “No, it's not. I couldn't...couldn't do it. He's already killed one man and now, every person he kills will be my fault. I came so close, but I couldn't...” She shook her head.

“I'm glad you didn't, Buffy,” Xander said softly and then cocked his head, deep in thought. “Although, if you did, he probably would have just popped back on earth a few days later.”

Buffy frowned at him.

“No, seriously. I mean, Hell spit out Angel and he was guilty, but Spike isn’t. He didn't kill that guy, Buffy.”

Her eyes widened and she grabbed his sleeve. “What do you mean? Giles saw him.”

“I don't know what Giles thinks he saw, but Spike just brought a man into the E.R.. Spike told me that another vampire was feeding on him and that he dusted it. Then he carried the man to the hospital.”


“Yeah. I was in the waiting room, waiting to take my dad home when Spike came in. He told me what happened and really, why would he lie? Also, if he'd taken a bite out of the guy, do you think he would have brought him to the hospital afterwards?”

“Excuse me,” a uniformed cop said, “Are you Xander Harris?”

“Yes.” An icy cold dread came over Xander.

“Your father is going to be fine, but I'm afraid you won't be able to take him home. He's under arrest for DUI.”

“Oh, Xander,” Buffy said, putting her arm around him.

“It's OK, Buff. You've got more important things to deal with. I've got to go see my mom. You should go find Spike.”

Buffy ran in the direction that Spike had gone, but she couldn't find him. Her first thought was to go to his house, but remembering that Giles and Willow would be waiting for her back at the dorm, she reluctantly turned towards the University, her mind racing as fast as her legs were. Unchipped and without the ring to curb his hunger, Spike had saved a man and taken him to the hospital?

None of it made sense. He'd been cruel to her, treating her like a prostitute and running out on her, yet when they'd struggled over that stake a few minutes ago, he'd stared at her as if he was the wounded party. Like she had been the one to hurt him.

Feeling a little winded, she paused outside her door, leaning against it. She closed her eyes and pictured Spike's face right before he ran off. God, why couldn't she fall in love with a normal person and not a soulless vampire with a split personality? She needed to find him and figure out what was going on in that insane mind of his.

Buffy took a deep breath and opened the door, thinking about what she should say, but the room was empty. She grabbed a note off her neatly made bed.


We decided that it would be safer to wait at my place. Willow is going to do a disinvite spell to keep Spike from getting in. Meet us there,


She crumpled the paper and tossed it near her wastebasket. Giles' place was on the way to Spike's house, so she'd stop by quickly and let them know what was going on, but then she had to find Spike. She didn't have a clue what she was going to say to him. It wasn't like she could apologize for coming at him with a stake. She’d thought he'd killed someone, she had a job to do, and even so, she hadn’t been able to go through with it.

Willow and Giles both stood when she opened the door. With sympathetic eyes, Willow rushed to her. “Are you OK?”

Buffy was glad that she'd told Willow everything. It was nice to know someone understood what she was going through. “I'm OK, but I couldn't do it.”

“Buffy, you have a job to do. By letting him live, you are condemning people to die,” Giles said.

She shook her head. “You're wrong. He didn't kill that guy. Xander saw Spike carry him to the emergency room. He saved that man's life.”

Giles eased back into his chair and rubbed his chin. “Why would he do a thing like that?”

“Because he's in love with Buffy, that's why,” Willow said, rolling her eyes at Giles.

Buffy glared at her friend as she sat down on the couch, and then she watched Giles as he absorbed this information. He had the nerve to look offended. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, the smell of old books and scotch making her feel ill. Giles had been the one who first pointed out that Spike had feelings for her. She supposed that Giles didn't know Spike the way she had come to know him, but if he started going on about how vampires couldn't feel real love, she'd throw one of his books at him.

“I know that he's in love with her. It''s certainly obvious.” Buffy's eyes snapped to Giles who glanced away and continued, “That doesn't explain why he would go against his true nature and forgo the very necessary act of feeding.”

Willow touched her arm. “You need to find him, Buffy. He has to know how you feel and you need to tell him about...”

Buffy stood up. Willow was right. If he could stop himself from killing and he could save the life of some stranger, how much more could he change if he knew that she was in love with him and that she was carrying his child? If she could just figure out what had made him so angry, then she could fix it.

“Wait, Buffy,” Giles called out before she could get the door open. “You can't possibly have feelings for him.”

With one hand on the door, she glared at him. “You are my watcher, but you can't tell me how I feel.”

Off went the glasses. “The other night, when you both were here, I thought you had changed your mind about getting close to Spike. You have the Gem. I had no idea that you--”

“I don't have time to discuss this. I have to find him,” Buffy said.

“But how did you get the Gem of Amara, then, if you weren't leading him on?”

She shrugged, trying not to think about what they'd done before he threw the ring at her. “He just gave it to me.”

The door opened, hitting Buffy. She rubbed her shoulder as Xander glanced around widely and gestured when he saw her. “Oh, good. I'm glad I caught you.”

“I thought you were going to your mom's,” Buffy said.

“I did. She's at the police station right now.”

Willow leapt to her feet. “Is everything OK?”

He waved her off, “Yeah. She had to bail my dad out of jail, but, Buffy, there's something that I think you should know.”


“Something that Spike said. I think he thought that you were pretending to be in love with him to get the Gem.” He paused, leaned in and whispered, “You didn't sleep with him, did you?”

Coughing, she tried to cover her reaction, but Xander's big eyes told her that she wasn't successful. She didn't need this right now. She had to find Spike,. When caught her arm as she brushed past him she shrugged out of his grip, and he followed her outside.

“Listen, Buffy. I'm not judging you. But, you have to know, he thinks it was all just to get the Gem back.”

Buffy stopped. “What did he say?”

Xander shook his head. “I don't want to repeat it, but I'm just telling you, if you really feel something for him—and I think you do—you need to find him and tell him. Because right now, he thinks it was all a lie just to get the Gem. He thinks we all planned this. I thought that's what was going on, too, until tonight.”

“Oh, God.” It was starting to make sense now. His anger, his hateful words when she woke up and the cold, pain-filled eyes when she tried to stake him. “I've got to go.”

“Wait. I'll go with you,” Xander said. When she shook her head, he added, “I have my car and we can get around a lot faster with it.”

“Come on, then. I want to try his house first.”

Xander rolled up to the curb and put the car in park. “There's a light on.”

Buffy didn't respond as she got out, not waiting for Xander, who ran to catch up. She knocked and they looked at each other as they heard noise coming from inside. Suddenly the door flew open.

“Come inside quick,” Clem said, hiding from street view. “The lady across the street is what Spike calls a nosy bint. I don't want to be seen.”

Xander was the last one in and Buffy's lip curved at Xander's confused expression. “Xander, this is Clem, Spike's roommate. Clem, this my friend Xander.”

Clem gave Xander a short and friendly wave and went back to his seat. “Help yourself to what's in the kitchen. Spike's friends are my friends. Especially slayers who let me live.”

“Is Spike here?” Buffy asked, glancing around nervously.

“You mean Mr. Crankypire?” Clem asked, putting his bowl of popcorn back in his lap.

Xander snorted. “I'm going to have to file that nickname away.”

Buffy slapped him on the shoulder. “Yes, I mean him. Did he come home yet?”

“Yep. He came in all growly and tense, grabbed a few things from the basement, told me he'd be gone for a while and then took off in that old jalopy of his.”

The two friends shared a look of alarm, but it was Xander who asked, “Did he say were he was going?”

“Nope, Spike is a vamp of few words. Great roommate though. He's rarely ever home.”

She smiled at Clem. Spike was right; he was easy to like. “If he comes back, can you tell him that I need to talk to him, right away?”

“Sure thing, Slayer.”

Xander pointed at the TV. “Is that Have Gun - Will Travel?”

“Yep. It's the baseball episode.”

“Oh, I love this one.” Xander grabbed a handful of popcorn and sat down next to Clem. “We don't have cable in my new apartment yet.”

“Xander,” Buffy said, crossing her arms.

“What—oh yeah!” He got up and opened the door for her. “Sorry.”

“Hey. Stop by any time, if you want to watch cable. Spike's paying for it,” Clem said with a twinkle in his eye.”

When they were back in the car, Xander said, “That Clem is a pretty good guy.”

Three hours later, Xander pulled up to the university and let out a dejected slayer. “I'm sorry we couldn't find him. We'll try again tomorrow.”

Buffy took her time going up the sidewalk. They'd tried every place that they could think of. They knew that he'd been to Willy's earlier in the night, but no one had seen him since. The cemeteries yielded a few vampires that she dutifully staked, but none were platinum blond. Xander had to do the quick sewer search while she stood at the entrance, because she was afraid she might throw up if she did it.

Xander had been good the whole time. He didn't ask her too many questions and didn't argue or try to tell her that she was insane for falling in love with Spike. Now, he watched her as she went to her building, the car idling, waiting for her to get safely inside. She smiled when she thought about it. If anyone needed protection, it was him.

She was brought out of her musing when Willow came racing down the path towards her. “Buffy! Xander! Wait!”

Xander turned the car off and got out, running to meet them.

“What is it?” Buffy asked, hopefully. “Have you heard from Spike?”

Willow took a deep breath and said, “No, but I just got a call from Giles. He hasn't contacted us, but we know where he is and we need to get there quick.”

“What--” Xander began to ask.

“No time for talking. How much gas do you have?” Willow said as she opened the passenger door and ushered Buffy in.

Xander stared at her in confusion, but answered, “About a fourth of a tank.”

“That's not good enough. Swing by the gas station.”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“It's a great evening at Angel Investigations, Cordelia Chase speaking. How can we help you?”

Cordelia leaned over the desk and wrote that down. That was it. The perfect phone greeting. Angel Investigations being a new business, she'd had a lot of time on her hands and she'd spent the last hour working on an official greeting. Now that she had it, she wanted to get it down on paper. It was almost midnight so she'd have to wait until tomorrow to type out a memo for Angel and Wesley.

She didn't mind the late hours; they made perfect sense with the business that they were in and the boss that they had. Plus, it gave her plenty of time during the day to schedule auditions. Cordy was certain that she'd make it big some day. Until then, it was kind of nice to work with Angel. At least it was a steady income and she could actually eat three meals a day again.

She leaned down to pick up her purse, but sat back up when she heard the outside door open. Gripping the desk, she stifled a screech when she saw who it was. Spike, the evil, scary vampire stood just inside the doors, swaying a little.

“Well, if it isn't the perky cheerleader,” he slurred.

Keeping her eyes on him, Cordy fumbled with one hand to open the desk drawer and get one of the stakes hidden there, but then she stood and backed up. A stake was useless, she remembered. Giles had called the other day to warn Angel that Spike had the Gem of Amara. According to Giles and Angel, the ring made the wearer invincible.

If he was wearing it, that is. Hopeful, she scanned his hands. Sure enough, the one he had splayed over his chest now had a big, ugly grey ring on its pinkie.

Jeez, if they were going to make a magical ring, you'd think they'd make it a little more attractive.

Spike stumbled to the desk and leaning down, he slapped both hands on it. Cordy jumped and let out a bloodcurdling scream.

Spike covered his ears and said, “Oh, shut your bloody gob, you stupid bint. I'm here to see the great big poof.”

Cordy's scream died out just as the elevator hummed to life behind her. She tried not to hyperventilate. Help was on the way.

“Is that him now?” Spike asked, his attention on something at the desk. He smirked, and then giggled as he picked up a business card. “Angel Investigations?” He brought the card a little closer to his face. “What the hell is this supposed to be?”

Cordy frowned and said through her teeth, “It's an angel.”

He tossed the card over his shoulder. “Speaking of Angel, if that elevator doesn't bring him up soon, he might end up missing a receptionist. I'm feeling quite peckish at the moment.”

“Stay away from me!”

The doors opened and Wesley came to stand beside her, then stepped in front of her. She pushed him to the side so she could see, but clung to his shoulder. She was so glad to see Angel, too. He'd know what to do.

“What are you doing here, Spike?”

“Be careful, Angel,” Wesley said. “He's wearing the ring.”

“I've come here to see you, you stupid git.” Spike stumbled back and put his hand on the wall to steady himself.

“Wes, get her out of here,” Angel ordered, never taking his eyes off Spike.

He didn't have to say it twice. Wesley tripped over himself and her to get out of there, dragging Cordelia with him. But she wanted to see what would happen, and they couldn't just leave Angel alone to fight with Spike while the crazy vampire was wearing the Gem of Amara. Her boss would be dusted for sure and then who'd give her a paycheck? Wesley certainly couldn't do the demon hunting by himself.

She yanked her arm from Wesley and motioned for him to stay behind the wall. Cordy was disappointed that she couldn't see them from her hiding place, but she could hear them.

“Are you drunk, Spike?”

“I'm very, very drunk, but I think I need more. Got anything strong in that dungeon of yours?”

“Why are you here, Spike?”

“I want to--”

Something crashed to the floor.

“Oops,” Spike said with an amused and slurred tone. “Sorry 'bout that. I'm here to talk about the Shlayer. I figure you're the only one who would understand my pain.”

Chapter #29 - 28. Never Doubt It
Betas: Mabel Marsters, Tanit & Slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Never Doubt It

Angel had never considered his elevator to be small, until now. Spike was leaning against the corner, arms folded across his chest and his head down, but his presence overpowered the space. When they reached his rooms, Angel pulled open the gate and grudgingly allowed Spike to step out.

Angel expected Spike to make some comment about how dreary or boring his place was, but he just walked slowly to the small kitchen table, pulled out a chair and slumped down into it.

When he’d first seen Spike in his lobby, Angel had been sure that he was there to fight to the death. And with that ring on his finger, Angel knew that he would lose. As far as he was concerned, that was the only way Spike could ever win a fight against him.

He eyed the ring and frowned. It sure was ugly and it Angel sat in the chair across from Spike and continued to watch him, knowing that it wouldn't be long before he would be babbling away.

Before he'd closed the elevator door, he’d seen Cordy peeking around the corner; she'd motioned at the phone, silently asking if she should call Buffy. He'd nodded just slightly, knowing that if he could keep Spike occupied long enough, Buffy would arrive in a few hours and they could decide together on a plan of action. If they had to fight him, it would be best to have the two of them fighting together.

He didn't want to antagonize the drunk and invincible vampire. As always, Angel was thinking quickly, and he knew that the best chance he had of getting the ring off Spike's finger was to relax and act non-threatening.

“Do you have anything strong to drink?” Spike finally said, still looking down.

“Yes, but I don't think you need it.”

“Oh, I need it,” Spike said dryly, fixing Angel with a steady gaze. He couldn't hold it long though and slumped back in to the seat. The dim lights that Angel had installed cast shadows on the bleached blond's angular face.

“Are you ready to tell me why you’re here?”

“Didn't plan on stopping.” Spike scratched behind an ear and gazed past Angel's shoulder. “Had to get out of Sunnydale before I killed them all, so I took off and somehow ended up coming this way. When my stash of liquor was gone, I stopped off at a demon bar and had a few more. Bought a couple of bottles for the road, too.”

Spike paused and glared at Angel.

“I was just driving along the freeway when I saw the sign saying twenty miles to Los Angeles.” Spike shrugged. “If anyone knows what it's like to be in love with the wrong girl, it'd be you.” He chuckled softly, and then laughed hysterically. “Same crazy bint, too.”

Angel had actually tuned him out until Spike had started to laugh. Was Spike saying that he was in love with his Buffy?

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Spike stood up, swayed a little and then took a step back, tipping the chair over.

“I'm talking about the Slayer. Buffy— pain in the arse—Summers.”

Angel shot to his feet, vamping out and throwing the table to the side. A growl reverberated from deep within his chest.

“Don't you even think about touching Buffy.”

Spike chuckled, staring at Angel without blinking.

“I had a feeling you might react this way. If you staked me, you'd be doing me a favor, putting me out of my misery.”

Angel desperately wished he could stake him. “If you weren't wearing that ring, you'd already be a pile of dust.”

Spike raised the hand with the mood ring to his face, his eyes crossing, then he burst out laughing, again. “I' glad...” he giggled, “...that I came here.” He doubled over in laughter and then stood up straight. “I needed this.”

Angel was not amused.

“What did you do to Buffy?”

Ignoring the question, Spike began to pace as he said, “I understand now why you were so brassed off when you lost your soul. She gets under your skin, doesn't she?”

Angel tried to calm down, forcing his face to turn back to human. Spike was very good at getting him riled up and he had picked the perfect subject to do it with. Spike could not be in love with Buffy. And he knew for damned sure that Buffy felt nothing for Spike. Nothing.

“I mean, when you got all crazy, wanting to torture her and her friends before ending the world, I was thinking that being shackled with a soul for so long 's what made you go daft.” He shook his head. “Now, I know from experience that it was Buffy and Buffy alone that pushed you around the bend and over the edge. Though I don't understand why you kept saying she wasn't worth a second go, because I also know from experience that that was a lie.”

Angel growled as he stalked slowly towards Spike.

“She was worth a second and a third go, and if you don't kill me first, I plan to go back for more,” Spike said, smugly.

Angel's insides burned with rage. All that he could focus on was that Spike had touched Buffy. He'd touched her more than once. He gripped Spike around the neck and growled again as Spike just smiled at him, holding up the ring for Angel to see.

“Don't...ergh...make me,” Spike forced out through his constricted throat, “kill you.”

Angel let him go, but picked up a chair and threw it at Spike, who ducked and laughed as the chair hit the wall, knocking a picture down. The glass cover of the frame shattered as it hit the floor. Spike grabbed the chair, set it right, and then put the table back. He motioned for Angel to have a seat as well.

Angel glared at him from across the table and wished that Cordy hadn't called Buffy or Giles. He didn't want Buffy near Spike now.

“Did you rape her?” he asked Spike, even though he knew the answer. He was grasping for any possible explanation for Buffy to not have wanted to be intimate with Spike. He rubbed his temple and glared at Spike.

“No. No, rape is more your thing, isn't it, Angelus? I like my women willing.”

“She's NOT your woman!” Angel slammed a fist on the table. God, he wanted to kill him.

“You’re right,” Spike said sadly. “She's not mine. I thought that maybe she was for a little while, but she was just doing her job. Giles prostituted her out to get the Gem of Amara back. The bastard.”

“Buffy wouldn't do that.” Horrified at the thought of his saintly Buffy doing something so awful, Angel closed his eyes, but quickly opened them as a vision of Buffy in streetwalker clothes filled his mind.

“So, you think she actually had feelings for me, then?” Spike asked with a bit of hope.

Angel sputtered. “No. Absolutely not.”

“I rest my case then.” Spike drummed his fingers on the table. “Get us a drink, will you? I'm parched and I'm starting to sober up.”

“I need a drink now, too,” Angel groused.

He got up and found a bottle of whiskey and a couple of shot glasses. Spike yanked the bottle from him before he could set it down and poured for them both. In tandem they glared at each other and downed their shots. Angel poured next and they downed another shot.

Spike jammed the glass down and tilted his head as he stared at Angel. “I get why you hated what happened between you and Buffy, when you lost your soul. You never were one for love.” He snickered. “You tried to beat my love for Drusilla out of me every chance you got, back in the day. But, what I don't get is why you didn't stick around once you got your soul back.” Spike looked down at his glass. “If I had a soul, maybe Buffy would want me.”

“It was because of my soul that I didn't stick around,” Angel answered plainly. “I loved her enough to let her go and have a normal life.”

Angel poured them both another shot.

“Normal? She's the bloody Slayer, you asshole. There's nothing normal about her.”

They glared at each other, downing their shots. Angel didn't know why he was trying to explain things to Spike. He didn't have a soul; he wouldn't understand.

“With the curse, I couldn't chance it. I didn't want to hurt her again.”

“That's a lame excuse. If I had a jumpy soul, I'd tear this planet up looking for a way or a bit of mojo to make sure it stayed put. Then, I'd go back and spend the rest of my existence shagging the woman I loved.” Angel growled, as Spike continued, “But no, you had to run away with your tail between your legs and go brood here in Los Angeles, and to do what? Play detective?”

“Shut up, Spike.” Angel looked down at his empty glass, then filled it again.

Spike shrugged and said, “I guess I should be glad that you didn't love her enough to do that. Because it gave me a chance.”

That was the last straw. Angel stood up and threw the glass across the room, where it smashed against the elevator gate. “She could never love you, Spike,” he snarled.

“I know,” Spike said with a dramatic sigh. “But I've got to try.”

“Give it up. I left her so she could have something real with a normal man and you are not it.”

Spike drank another shot and glared at him. “Yeah, your little plan worked like a charm. She went out and shagged the first bloke that looked at her sideways. Then he threw her out like yesterday's newspaper and straight into my waiting arms.” He shrugged when Angel glared at him and took another shot of whiskey. “Wasn't planning on falling in love with her. Was going to kill her, but fate stepped in and...”

“And?” Angel growled.

Spike sat up straight and grabbed the whiskey bottle, forgoing the glass, and raised the bottle to his mouth. He took several deep swallows, then smirked at Angel.

“And, the rest is none of your bleedin' business. I don't kiss and tell.”

Up in the lobby, Cordy sat at her desk, nervously tapping her fingers on the phone. Wesley sat on the edge of the desk, polishing a sword. They both jumped when more glass shattered below. They shared a look of concern when they heard their boss yelling again.

They'd debated whether to go and help Angel or not. Cordy wanted to go down there, more because she was curious about what they were yelling about than due to any desire to help. Spike had mentioned the Slayer, but when she'd spoken with Giles, he assured her that Buffy was alive and well, so Spike hadn't killed her.

The two vampires had been downstairs for a couple of hours now and yet, from the angry shouts and the crash of things being thrown against walls, it was clear that they were both still alive. Cordelia ran her fingers over the axe lying next to the phone. Wes had been given plenty of time to come up with a game plan and she had to admit, it was a pretty good one. If Spike came up wanting to snack on them, they were both going to aim for his hand. They weren't sure what would happen if they chopped off the hand with the ring, but they were betting that he'd become vulnerable again.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“We should be there in ten minutes,” Xander said.

They'd talked on and off during the long ride down, but they were all quiet now. Willow sat in the back with her eyes closed. Buffy gazed out the window of the passenger seat, trying to appear calm, but her friends knew better. She'd asked Xander to go faster a few times and he was going ninety miles an hour now, but they were coming up on traffic and he would soon have to slow down.

She was afraid that they wouldn't get there in time; that Spike would do something stupid and get himself staked. She couldn’t understand why Spike would go and see Angel. They hated each other.

She reached into her shirt and pulled the Gem of Amara out and rubbed her finger over the green jewel just as Xander took the freeway exit. Xander glanced over and then quickly focused on the road ahead.

“So, you're going to give it back to him?” he asked.

“Yes. It's his and he's proven that he can use it wisely.”

“So far, yeah, but what happens if you guys have a fight and he decides he doesn't want to play happy vampire anymore?”

“I'd say that's already happened. But he didn't take off with the Gem. He gave it to me, even though he was really pissed off.”

It was so hard for her. She couldn't place Spike in the evil or good category. He just was Spike. And she loved him. She couldn't even put a finger on the moment that she knew. So much had happened, and she had been fighting it, but when he walked away from her at the hospital with that stricken look on his face, it hit her like a punch from a Fyral demon.

There was no way that she could have hurt him so badly, if he didn't feel something very deep for her. And then she thought about how hurt she'd been when he'd walked out on her, leaving her naked in more ways than one. If she wasn't in love with him, she wouldn't have gone back to the dorm and sobbed in Willow's arms, would she?

Willow scooted up and poked her head between the front seats, asking, “Can I see the ring?”

“Sure,” Buffy said, pulling the chain over her head.

“It's heavy.” Willow turned the ring over a few times. “I'm guessing that the magic is in this green stone and that it has been reset in new gold.” She tried the ring on, but it was too big for any of her fingers. “Either that or Amara was one huge female vampire.”

For the first time since Spike had walked out on her, Buffy smiled. She could not believe how supportive her friends were being. Even though Willow had dated a werewolf and Xander was now dating an ex-demon, she’d always felt like they were holding her to a different set of rules. To be fair, Willow had been very supportive about Angel, but Xander had never accepted it.

“Thank you, guys, for coming along with me,” she said softly.

“So, you're really in love with him?” Xander said.

“Leave her alone, Xander. You've asked the question five times now.”

“It's OK. I get it. I can hardly believe it myself, but I am,” Buffy said with a sigh. She only hoped that he would believe them when they explained that she wasn't trying to get the Gem away from him. She wiped a tear before it could fall. All that time they were together in his basement, he'd thought that she was putting on an act just to get the ring.

“Well, I think you’re insane,” Xander said, “but, I can understand the attraction.”

The girls stared at him in shock.

“What?” Xander asked. “He's strong, he's dangerous and he's good looking. Just your type, right?”

Buffy smiled again. “You think Spike is good looking?”

Willow laughed and sat back.

“Well...what I meant is that girls think he is—and if you ever repeat that to Spike, I'll never buy doughnuts for the meetings again. His head is big enough already.”

“And he'd never let you live that down,” Willow said.

They parked across the street from Angel's building, but they didn't make a move to get out.

“So, what are you going to do?” Xander asked.

Buffy stared at the building, her heart pounding with fear. What if he told her to go away?

“Here, Buffy,” Willow said from behind.

She let the Gem of Amara swing on the chain. Buffy took it and put it around her neck again, tucking it back under her shirt. She touched her hair and wished now that she'd taken time to make herself look nice. All she'd cared about was getting here.

“You look great. Let's go.” Xander got out and waited for the girls.

“Do you think he'll listen to me?” Buffy asked Willow.

“Of course he will. He's hurt right now, but he loves you. And if he doesn't listen, I'll make him.”

Buffy laughed softly. “No one can resist your resolve face.”

They got out, braved crossing the busy street, and stopped at the door. She braced herself, knowing that Spike was probably on the other side, and then opened the door, her friends following her inside.

Wesley jumped off the desk. Cordelia stood up and ran to Buffy.

“I'm so glad you're here. They've been yelling at each other and breaking things for hours,” Cordelia said.

“Where is he?”

Cordelia ignored her and smiled at Xander and Willow. “Wow! You brought the whole gang with you. Hi, Xander.”

“Hey, Cordy. How's L.A. treating you?”

“I'm doing really well. I've got lots of auditions lined up.”

Wesley stepped in. “It's good to see you again, Buffy. I've come up with a plan that I think should work. We're going severe the hand with the Gem of Amara on it. That should render it vulnerable again.”

“You think that he has the Gem?” Willow asked, frowning in confusion.

“He does have it,” Cordelia said with certainty. “And it's really ugly. It's a sort of grey color.”

Buffy let a hysterical giggle escape. “That's not the Gem of Amara. That's a mood ring.”

“What?” Cordy said. “We thought--”

Glass shattered and everybody jumped. Cordy rolled her eyes.

“They've been doing that for a couple of hours. Come on. They're down below.” Wesley said, rushing to call the elevator.

“Angel thinks Spike is wearing the Gem of Amara,” Cordelia said. “That is the only reason Spike is still alive.”

“No one touches Spike!” Buffy snapped. “Is that understood?”

“But, Buff, what if he tries to kill them?” Xander asked as they all squeezed into the elevator together.

“I'll take care of Spike,” Buffy said.

They pulled the gate open and slowly filed out. The room was very dim and from the looks of it, some of the light bulbs had been smashed. The table was over turned, art work was tilted or lying on the floor and glass was shattered all over.

Spike and Angel were just a few feet apart, facing the crowd of people now in the room. Angel scowled at them all, but Spike let his face go blank of emotion. They both swayed precariously.

“What is going on here?” Buffy asked.

She had planned to take Spike by the hand, drag him off somewhere private, and explain to him how wrong his assumptions had been; but now, she could only stare at them, too stunned at the sight before her to move.

“I'm glad you're here, Buffy,” Angel said through clenched teeth, his words slightly slurred. “Help me hold him down and get that ring off his finger so I can stake him.”

Spike chuckled and held on to a counter top. Buffy tried not to smile, but she couldn't help it. She wondered how much of a blast Spike had had waving the mood ring around in Angel's face. Spike continued to smile, but Buffy glared at Angel.

“No one is staking Spike.” Her heart was aching as she stared at Spike, who suddenly frowned. She really wanted to just run to him and jump into his arms, but she was sure that he'd reject her, and she got mad all over again. “I can't believe you just took off like that. I thought you were different, but you're just like the rest.”

“You're one to talk—and what are you even doing here? Wait! Let me guess; you're here to give the love of your life the Gem of Amara,” he growled.

“Maybe I am,” she answered back.

“Oh, no you won't,” Spike yelled.

“What is going on?” Angel shouted.

Wesley stepped up next to Buffy with his sword in hand. “Spike is not wearing the Gem of Amara.”

Angel turned murderous yellow eyes on Spike, who involuntarily took a step to the side, but smirked at the older vampire.

“Yeah, you ponce. All this time, you could have staked me. Well, you could've bloody well tried. Might've beat you.” Spike shrugged.

Angel took a step towards Spike, but Buffy ran over and pushed him away.

“Stop this!” Buffy said.

“What am I missing?” Cordy asked Willow.

“A whole lot,” Xander answered.

Buffy glared at Angel. “Don't come near him.”

“Oh, God, Buffy,” Angel said. “Please tell me you don't have feelings for that...that idiot.”

Ignoring Angel, Buffy turned to look at Spike. “Can we go somewhere private and talk?”

Spike shook his head. “I know you don’t love me, I know that you did what you did because it's your calling, and right now I have nothing to say to you.”

“Well, I have plenty to say to you.”

Spike shook his head and walked past her, heading for the elevator. She'd never been so frustrated in her life. The group parted, giving him plenty of room to get by.

Stamping her foot, she called after him, “Spike. Despite what you think I've done, do you still love me?”

He faced her, his gorgeous blue eyes boring into her. “If this is your idea of torture, it's working.”

“Just answer her question,” Xander said.

Spike glanced around the room and Buffy wished that they were alone. Then he was staring at her again and the rest of the world faded away.

“Yes. You drive me crazy; you've done something sodding low, but I am still in love with you.”

The blood was rushing in her head, drowning out most of the noise around, but she vaguely heard Cordelia say something. Her eyes never left Spike, though. He looked so broken. So hurt. Her voice caught in her throat and she had to clear it before she could whisper, “I love you, back.”

The room went silent and still for two seconds, then Angel shouted a protest behind her while Cordelia made a comment about Buffy and vampires. Spike didn't move. If he didn't believe her, she'd have to hit him over the head with something. She'd come all this way and she was determined to make him see that she meant it.

“I didn't sleep with you to get the Gem away from you.”

Spike shook his head. “This has to be another trick.”

“Oh, God, please let it be a trick,” Angel whined.

“It's not. But I'm really mad at you,” Buffy said, moving closer to Spike. “You thought I was coming on to you just to get the Gem, but you didn't ask me about it. Instead, you went ahead and slept with me.”

Spike gave her a wary look, but she could tell that he was coming around.

“She's telling the truth,” Xander said. “She never agreed to Giles' plan, we just thought she did—not that I'm happy about the idea of you two being together, but I'm just saying, Buffy would never do something like that.”

“Yeah,” Willow added. “Shame on you for thinking she would.” Willow came to stand next to Buffy and put her palm on her back, giving her a little shove. “Tell him your other news.”

Buffy frowned at Willow and said through her teeth, “Not now. With all these people around.”

“Tell me what?” Spike asked.

“I'll tell you later. Right now, I just want you to tell me that you believe me.”

Her heart soared when she saw the hope shining in his eyes.

“You weren't just leading me on to get the Gem? You really mean it? ”

Unable to talk, she nodded.

He rushed up and wrapped his arms around her, squeezing her tightly, then pulled back and smiled at her. “I'm not dreaming, right? I'm still very drunk, so if this is some strange hallucination...”

“You’re not dreaming,” she said, her eyes wet with unshed tears. “I love you, Spike.”

He hugged her again and she caught Willow's eyes. Her friend was waving at her, mouthing the words, “Tell him.”

When Spike pulled away and just stared at her in awe, she said, “That other news, it's pretty big.”

“Tell me,” Spike encouraged.

Buffy glanced around at their attentive audience and furrowed her brow. Her eyes fell on Willow's encouraging expression and then stared at Spike. She grabbed his hand and pulled him towards the bedroom.

“Hey!” Angel protested. You can't go in there.”

Buffy rolled her eyes and kept going, stopping only when they were out of sight. She took a deep breath as she turned to gaze atSpike. Before she could say anything, he swept her into his arms again and kissed her. He was such a good kisser; she let herself go, clinging to him, letting him lead her. When they parted, she was breathless. She grabbed his head and looked deep into his warm eyes.

She needed a little assurance before she told him her life-altering news. “Tell me that you love me.”

She watched his Adam’s apple move as he closed his eyes and wondered how he could be so sexy just doing something so simple. He took his hands from her waist and brushed the hair back from her face before holding her chin so she that couldn't look away.

“Never doubt it. I love you.”

“And I love you,” she told him, holding Spike's gaze until he put his trembling arms around her.

As soon as he let go, he asked, “Now, what was it that you had to tell me?”

Taking another deep breath, she pointed to the bed. “Have a seat.”

“That's never a good sign,” Spike said with a furrowed brow, but he did as he was told.

She sat down next to him and held his hand. She'd played this scene over in her mind a million times since she’d admitted to herself that he was the father, but his reaction was something she was never sure of.

“OK. Just listen, cuz I promise I have a point.” He squeezed her hand in encouragement and she continued, “Willow was doing research about the Gem of Amara and she came across something very interesting. Forever ago, there was this vampire named Amara who was in love with some powerful magical guy. He was in love with her too, and he made her a magical ring so that she could go out in the daylight with him.”

“So that's where the Gem comes from?”

“Yes, but there's more. According to this book that Willow read, there was a rumor that Amara was able to have children.”

Spike smiled at her. “And?”

“And I am pretty sure the rumor is true and that it works on female and male vampires.”

She let her words hang in the air, but he just gave her a blank stare.

“Spike, I'm—oh, God, this is crazy, but I'm pregnant.” He let go of her hand and stood up, so she hurriedly said, “And I'm pretty sure that you're the father. I know you are,” she added at his disbelieving expression. “You are the father of my baby. Our baby.”

Out in the kitchen, the rest of the gang were waiting quietly, straining to hear the conversation in the other room, but though they could tell the two of them were talking, they couldn't make out any of the actual words. Except for Angel who only heard a word here and there.

But they all heard Spike's excited exclamation. “Bloody hell! I'm going to be a father?”

“What?” Angel and Xander shrieked.

Cordelia turned to Wesley. “Can vampires even do that?”

Chapter #30 - 29. What Would Buffy Do?
Betas: Mable Marsters, Tanit and Slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Twenty-Nine: What What Buffy Do?

There were advantages to having an older car. The newer models had those blasted consoles in the middle, but his beloved Desoto had one very long seat; perfect for snuggling while driving. Even though he had the radio off, he was in road trip heaven. The windows were down, a nice bit of fresh air flowed through the car, and he had an arm around Buffy. Better than that, she was resting her hand on his knee and was leaning against him, staring out the window at the road ahead of them with a ghost of a smile on her face.

In all his century-plus existence, he hadn't experienced anything that topped this night. He glanced at Buffy and quickly kissed the top of her head. She was in love with him. She'd searched for him and got her friends to drive her to Los Angeles because she was worried about him and couldn't wait to tell him how she felt. It had been a long two days, thinking that she'd only been paying attention to him for the Gem, and he was never so glad to be wrong in his life. He looked down at her now and unable to help himself, he kissed the top of her head, again.

“Are you comfortable, luv?”

“Uh-huh,” was her sleepy reply.

He smiled and concentrated on the road again. He had to be careful now that he had precious cargo inside.
There had been quite a bit of chaos when the others learned that Buffy was pregnant. Wesley had grilled Willow about the book that mentioned Amara the Vampire, while Xander had been skeptical. Spike could tell that he was mostly hurt that Buffy had told Willow, but not him. Angel had taken out a broom and started cleaning up the mess, which caused Cordelia to stop with her catty remarks and rush to help him.

Spike could see the future there. Little Miss Cheerleader had the beginnings of a crush on the broody one. He hoped that she'd make a play for him soon. Anything to keep him occupied and out of Buffy's business. Angel refused to even look at any of them, but concentrated on his housekeeping, so the party quickly moved upstairs, with Cordy staying behind to comfort him.

They’d left soon after. Willow had Wesley's phone number in her pocket and she'd promised to fax him the pages from the book so that he could see them for himself. Buffy had encouraged Willow and Xander to go ahead and start the trip back without them after she saw the condition of the inside of Spike's car. He didn't feel any shame about the empty bottles or the mess. He'd been miserable and the last thing he'd cared about was how tidy his car was, but Buffy wanted to stop somewhere and clean it out.

As late as it was, the highway was nearly empty and he took his time, actually going the speed limit and savoring these quiet moments with her. Once they got to Sunnydale, there would be things that had to be done. Joyce and Giles did not know about the baby yet; he cringed, thinking about how that would go.

He still wasn't sure what to make of it all. Could the Gem really allow him to father children? He grinned. It did seem likely, but he wanted to see the book that Willow had. Spike wasn't ready to really think about what it meant that a baby was on the way, so he focused instead on the amazing fact that Buffy could feel any kind of love for him.

It was nearing five-thirty in the morning when they drove into Sunnydale. Buffy sat up and rubbed her eyes.

“Where should I take you?” he asked, hoping that she'd say his place.

“Can we go to Midridge Lookout?”

He smiled at her. “I'd love to take you there, love, but with the windows not blacked out, it wouldn't be safe for me. The sun will be coming up soon and I'll need to take cover.”

“Not if you're wearing this,” she said, pulling the chain out from under her shirt.

He tingled with anticipation, seeing the Gem dangling on that chain.

“Really?” he asked.


He navigated the winding road and found a turnabout to park the car in. They walked a short distance until they arrived at their spot, just as the sky behind the hills on the other side of town was turning purple. His inner warning bells went off, telling him to get underground .

“I'm starting to get nervous, pet,” he said as he eyed the ring still hanging from the chain between her breasts.


She quickly took off the chain and undid the clasp, then took his hand and slipped the Gem of Amara back on his finger. He closed his eyes and let the warmth wash over him, then he showed her the mood ring and together, they watched it go from dark grey to bluish green .

“I think that belongs to me,” Buffy said.

“Right. Here.”

Spike took the mood ring off and slipped it on for her. Staring at their entwined hands, he smiled, then glanced up and met her soft, affectionate eyes. He leaned in for a kiss; she tilted her head up, closing her eyes. There was nothing better in the world than having her relaxed and pliant in his arms. His heart soared, knowing there wasn't an ounce of resistance in her. He took his time, gently moving his lips over hers and softly caressing her body.

Hooking her fingers in the belt loops of his jeans , she rested her head on his shoulder and sighed as he continued to run his hands over her back. After another contented sigh, she said, “This is amazing. I never thought...”

“I know, pet. If someone told me, six months ago, when I was still in South America, that I'd be here with you, I would have never believed it.”

Buffy straightened and gazed at him with haunted eyes.

“I almost staked you.”

“It's what you do,” he said with a shrug. “You thought I killed a man.”

“But you didn't,” she said in awe. “I mean, I've seen you stake other vampires and kill tons of demons, but I never thought you'd ever save a human life.”

Brushing a stray lock of her hair behind her ear, he said, “I didn't do it out of the goodness of my heart. In fact, I was on my way to find you when I saw them in that alley. I passed them by, but then I thought 'what would Buffy do ?' and I went back and staked the vampire.”

She laughed softly and said, “I'm not Jesus.”

“No, but you're a goddess to me; and maybe I don't have a soul, but I'd do anything for the woman I love. I hope that's enough, because I couldn't care less about humans.”

“It is enough.” She smiled at him. “Should I get you a WWBD bracelet?”

“I'd wear it,” he said in all seriousness.

“But I'm not so sure that you don't care for all humans. Look at how good you are with Anabella.”

Buffy put her hand on her stomach and he covered her hand. Her stomach was still perfectly flat and toned, since she was only three months along. It just didn't seem real, but it was exciting at the same time.

“I'm making you a promise right now. Even if it turns out that the sprog is not mine, I'll care for it and protect it with my life.”

“I know you will,” Buffy said softly. “But, I'm very sure that it's yours. I've had slayer dreams about it. Some of them are crazy, involving the Maury Povich show.”

With a chuckle, he said, “That's one show you'll never get me to go on.”

“See, that proves they are slayer dreams, because every time I have one, they have to shove you out on stage.”

“I'm going to be a father,” Spike said with a touch of wonder in his voice. “You're going to be a mother.”

“It's hard to believe.”

He nodded.

When Buffy giggled, he asked, “What's so funny?”

“My ICU nurse thought that you were my boyfriend and when she told me I was pregnant, she said that the baby would be beautiful.”

“It will be,” he said, puffing up with pride. “With a combination of both our good looks and strength, plus my incredible charm, our child will be very popular.”

With a laugh, she told him, “That's a long way away. Let's get through having the baby before we start thinking about it going off to school.”

“Fair enough.”

With the sky turning pink, they faced the hills hand in hand and watched. After a few minutes, he let go and rested an arm around her shoulders. She put her arm around his waist and pulled him closer. Once the sun had cleared the hill, they turned to face each other and he kissed her again.

“The last time we saw a sunrise together, we conceived this baby,” Buffy said, gazing into his eyes.

She kissed him while pulling his shirt from his pants, getting her hands under it to touch him. The kiss turned urgent with need until he broke it off, but cupped one of her breasts, rubbing her nipple through the material of her shirt.

“Well, we can't break tradition,” Spike stated. “Too bad my lair is torn up.”

“The back seat of your car is very large and it looks comfy,” she said hopefully.

He let go of her and frowned. “I will not shag the mother of my unborn child in the back seat of a car .”

“It could be fun.” Buffy shrugged.

“You need to be in a soft bed, cherished and made love to.”

“I'm pregnant, not sick . I won't break.”

“Maybe not, but I'm going to take care of you and make sure that you are treated like a queen.” The smile that she gave him as she caressed his cheek had him wanting to make love to her right away. “Come back to my house with me.”


“We'll get you something to eat – something healthy -- and then I'm going to make love to you and hold you while you sleep.”

“That sounds perfect.”

He took her hand in his and guided them back to the car. Once they were on the road again, he said, “And later, we'll call your mother and invite her over for dinner so we can tell her together.”

“I have no idea how she's going to take this,” Buffy said, looking over at him with her hand pressed against her forehead.

“Well, we'll just have to make sure there are no weapons within reach. Especially axes .”

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

“Spike!” Buffy called out, entering the house.

She'd felt like such a slacker, staying in bed instead of going to her afternoon classes, but she’d forced herself to leave Spike to go back to her dorm room to get a change of clothes. Her mom would be arriving in a few minutes and she wanted to look nice. She took a deep whiff and sighed. The house smelled divine.

When they told Clem their good news and that her mother would be over for dinner, he offered to cook the meal for them. He told Buffy that he could cook anything and that all she had to do was put a menu together and he'd get it done.

Spike agreed with her that they should go all out with this dinner and make her mom's favorite Greek dishes. They were going to start out with spanakopita for an appetizer, then kleftiko for the main course and end with baklava.

“I thought I heard you,” Spike said, coming from the kitchen. He rushed to her and swept her up into a hug that ended with a swift but passionate kiss. “I've missed you.”

“I've only been gone for an hour.”

She stepped back and gave him a thorough looking over. His duster was gone and he was wearing the blue shirt again.

“Do I pass inspection?”

“Of course. My mother likes you already. I don't think you needed to dress to impress.”

Nervously pulling on his left ear, he said, “We'll have to see how much she likes me after we tell her that I've been shagging you and that I've got you up the duff .”

Buffy hit him on the shoulder.

“Don't say it like that!”

“I'll let you do the talking,” Spike said.


“Cluck, cluck.”

She stopped giggling when Clem came into the living room.

“Well, everything's ready and keeping warm in the oven. You'll just have to dish it all out.”

Buffy smiled fondly at the demon and gave him a quick hug. “I'm so sorry that you can't eat with us tonight.”

“We figure one shock at a time might be best,” Spike added.

“Hey, no problem. Besides, now that I was able to wrestle my computer away from my ex, I've got to go catch up with my internet friends. I plan to spend the night in my room, chatting.” He smiled at them. “I'm just going to make me a plate of that kleftiko and grab a couple of brewskies and then I'll be out of your way for the rest of the night.”

The doorbell rang, just as Clem disappeared upstairs. Buffy and Spike stared at each other for a brief moment before he went to answer the door.

“Good evening, Joyce. I'm so glad you could come.”

“Thank you for inviting me. I've come straight from the gallery. You won't believe the day I've had, but I'm looking forward to spending time with my daughter.” She paused, smiled and asked, “Is that lamb I smell?”

“Hi, Mom.” She gave her a hug. “And yes, were having kleftiko.”

Joyce narrowed her eyes and looked at Buffy sideways. “My favorite dish? Why?”

Buffy stammered. They'd planned to tell her during dessert.

“It's ready now, if you're hungry,” Spike said, guiding Joyce to the dining room.

Buffy mouthed a thank you to Spike and rushed off to the kitchen.

Joyce sat down in the chair that Spike pulled out for her and took in her surroundings. “This is a very nice home, Spike.”

“Thank you. I'm starting to get really attached to it. I have a six month agreement, but I'm hoping they'll sell to me.”

“That would mean that we'd be permanent neighbors. Do vampires usually live in houses ?”

“No,” Buffy answered for him as she set the appetizers on the table. “Most vampires live underground, but Spike has the Gem of Amara and he functions like a human, so it's only right that he should live in an actual home.”

They moved on to the main course and Spike asked Joyce about her work.

“It's been a little crazy over there. I have a new employee who is not working out well, and I don't know what to do with her.”

As her mother continued talking about the gallery, Buffy watched Spike. Their eyes met and they shared a brief smile, but he quickly went back to being attentive to her mom. Soon her mom wound down about work.

“This lamb is just perfect. Did you cook it, Spike?”

“Oh, um, no. My housemate did.”

“A roommate? How come he's not joining us tonight?”

“He had a prior engagement.”

“Is he Greek?”

Spike chuckled. “No, he just spends a lot of time watching the Food Network and loves to cook.”

“Well, thank him for me, please.”

Spike took a deep breath and stood. “I'll go get coffee and dessert.”

Buffy watched him go and then glanced down at her plate. She tried to think of a topic to start with her mom, but her brain wouldn't function. Even her palms were starting to sweat and that never happened.

“So, how's school?”

“It's good. It looks like I'm going to pass all my courses, even though I missed a lot of lectures.”

“That's great. And have you been dating?”

Spike walked in, raised an eyebrow at Buffy, gently set the desserts down and quickly left again .

Joyce watched him go and then fixed Buffy with a knowing stare. “Or are you and Spike exclusive?”

“Um. We're exclusive, but how did you know?”

“Let me think,” she started, but was interrupted when Spike came back with the coffee. After he poured for her, she continued. “Spike invites me to have dinner with him and you, but the last time we talked about him, you were furious with me for inviting him to stay at my house. And there's the fact that the two of you can’t keep your eyes off each other.”

Spike cleared his throat. “And how do you feel about this?”

“Would it matter how I felt?” Joyce fixed him with a stern look.

Buffy cringed, but Spike stared back at her without flinching and said, “I'm very much in love with your daughter, and while I desperately want you to be OK with that, I won't let anyone stand in the way of us being together.”

Buffy relaxed when her mother smiled at him and said, “Now that's exactly the answer I wanted to hear. Buffy is a very stubborn girl. She could never respect a pushover, and quite frankly, she'd bulldoze over one.”


“Honey, you know it's true,” Joyce said, patting her hand. “I think Spike is a good match for you.” Then she glared at him again. “But if I hear that you are treating her badly, you'll have me to answer to.”

“Yes, Mum.”

Buffy took a deep breath and, refusing to look at Spike for fear that she'd chicken out, she said, “There's something else I have to tell you.”

“What?” Joyce said through a mouthful of baklava.

“I'm pregnant .”

Joyce coughed and reached for her coffee. “Say that again?”

“I'm going to have a baby. And I know it seems impossible, but Spike is the father.”

Her mother's eyes got even wider and she turned her head to look at Spike. “How could you?”

“No, Mom. I...I... Trust me, it's my fault. And normally, vampires can't father children, but we didn't know that when he wears that ring, he can.”

Joyce put her fork down and brought both hands to her chest. Buffy held her breath. Joyce shook her head slightly.

“I don't understand.”

“It's a long story, but Buffy is not at fault,” Spike said, scowling at Buffy. “Even though I didn't know I could father children, I still should have kept my hands to myself.”

Despite the tense situation, Buffy snorted and said, “You were very reluctant and I practically forced you.”

“What!” Joyce glared at Buffy now.

“Don't listen to her, Joyce. She was under a love spell and couldn't help herself.”

“Are you under a spell now?” Joyce asked, alarmed.

Buffy shook her head.

“I'm sorry if this is a disappointment , Mom.”

The older woman held up her hand to silence them both, but she didn't look at them. An agonizing sixty seconds passed and then Joyce stood up, a smile lighting up her face.

“There's going to be a baby? I'm going to be a grandma? ”

They stood together and nodded. They both came to her when she motioned for them and they all shared a hug. When they parted, Joyce asked, “What are you going to do about school?”

“The baby is due at the end of August, so I'll be able to finish this year out. Spike and I talked about it, and I'm going to take the first semester of next year off and go back in January.”

Spike was just as relieved as Buffy was that Joyce was taking the news so well.

“I plan to support Buffy through all of this and be there for them both.”

“I can't tell you how glad I am to hear that, Spike,” Joyce said, giving him another hug.

Chapter #31 - 30. Always
Betas: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly

In Harm's Way

Chapter Thirty: Always

Buffy let go of Spike's hand before she entered Giles' condo. With much trepidation she'd agreed to let Spike be the one to tell Giles the news that they were together and about the baby. She knew Spike was going to enjoy it way too much and that he'd probably say some majorly dumb things, but she was more nervous about telling Giles than she had been about telling her mom.

It was easier to let Spike do it.

Surprised to see Xander sitting on a dining room chair with Anya in his lap and Willow sitting on the couch, she half-heartedly waved at them. Xander and Willow already knew the news, and by the goofy smile on Anya's face, Buffy could tell that Xander had told her. Buffy frowned. There was no reason for them to be present and she really didn't want them to witness the whole thing.

There were greetings all around and then Willow waved them over to sit with her. She had the book about Amara in her lap. Giles sat in his chair, looking very angry.

“You got a smaller cast,” Buffy said, trying to lighten his mood.

Giles stood up, ignoring Buffy, and glared at Spike.

“Now that we're all here, shall we get this meeting started? And I must say, I don't appreciate being called to a meeting in my own home by a vampire.”

Turning to Spike with her mouth slightly open, Buffy said, “You called a Scooby meeting for this?”

Spike nodded and got to his feet, but Giles spoke up before the vampire could talk.

“I see that you got the ring back. Is that what this meeting is about? Because if you've come here with demands, you are sorely mistaken to think we will just stand by and allow you free rein.”

“Do you want the book now?” Willow asked Spike.

“Not yet.” The vampire fixed his gaze on Giles. “I have a few demands first. I suggest you sit down.”

When Giles continued to stand, Spike raised a brow at Buffy and smirked, turning his gaze on Giles. Anya shifted in Xander's lap and watched with avid curiosity.

“Demand the first. Buffy will be taking a long vacation from her duties until, say, the end of September.”

Buffy made a noise of protest, but he wouldn't look at her.

“What!” Giles said. “You expect me to let this hellmouth go to the demons because you say so?”

“Actually, G-man, I think that might be a good idea,” Xander said. “Though you do have a point about leaving the hellmouth unprotected.” He looked at Spike. “Someone has to do it.”

“Buffy doesn't need anyone to take her place. She is the Slayer.” Giles was frowning in confusion now.

“Which leads me to demand the second. I'm taking over this town for the time being and you are going to sit back and stay quiet about it.”

“I will not!”

“Suit yourself, if you want to be difficult, but you are looking at Sunnydale's newest demon slayer and you'd better stay out of my way.”

Xander laughed. “Spike the Vampire Slayer. That sounds strange, but since you've already started with the saving of humans, I guess it works.”

“Demon slayer,” Spike growled.

“Spike, I can't let you do my job,” Buffy said when she got over her shock. “I can do it. I'll just have to be more careful.”

Willow set the book in Buffy's lap. “I think you'd better tell Giles your news now, before his head explodes.”

“Yes, do,” Giles said, trying to contain his anger.

“Let me do the honors. I've been looking forward to this all day.” Spike took the book from Buffy, grinning and looking very pleased with himself.

Buffy wanted to talk about the patrolling some more, but she leaned back on the couch and gave up for now. Later, when they were alone, she'd talk some sense into him. At least get him to see that they could work together, because while she agreed that the baby's safety was the top priority, she couldn't see herself sitting out for that long.

“Break it to him gently,” she pleaded with Spike and bit her lip.

He tilted his head at her, his eyes sparkling with mischief. “Evil, remember? Gotta let me have my fun.”

Spike turned to Giles. “You may want to sit down now.”

“Seriously,” Xander added. “You are not going to believe this.”

“Get on with it.” Giles scowled at them all, but he slowly went back to his seat.

“OK, here's the thing. Buffy and I are a couple.” Giles eyes got big, but Spike hurried on. “She hasn't been faking it, and from what Buffy has told me, you know this already. But there's more. Buffy is pregnant and I am the father.”

Giles stammered and stuttered then fixed Buffy with an angry glare. “This is a very poor idea of a practical joke and I am not amused.”

“I am,” Anya said, standing up to stretch.

“They’re not joking, Giles,” Willow said cheerfully, jumping up from her spot on the couch, taking the book from Spike and going to the watcher. “Let me show you something.”

She opened the book and quickly showed him the passage.

“Even if he could father children,” Giles argued, “he would have had to—with Buffy.”

Buffy couldn't stand the look of disappointment on Giles' face. No matter how difficult he had been the last few weeks, he was more than just a watcher to her. He was family.

“That's right, Rupert. Now you're getting it.”

“Buffy, tell me this is all some kind of sick joke.”

She shook her head, trying to hold back tears. “It's the truth. I'm in love with Spike, and I'm going to have his baby.”

“This is better than anything on Passions,” Anya said with excitement.

“Ahn, not now.”

“What?” she asked Xander, but he just shook his head at her.

“Just because this book says that a vampire was rumored to have had children, doesn't make it so,” Giles said, grasping at straws.

As Willow sat back down, she said, “Well, I faxed the pages to Wesley and he agrees with my conclusions.”

“You've spoken to Wesley about this?” Giles asked. “Am I the last person to find out?”

“Pretty much,” Spike answered.

“I only told my mother last night,” Buffy offered, feeling bad for her watcher. “And Xander and the gang in L.A. found out by accident when they overheard Spike's reaction to the news.”

“I wish you'd all leave now,” Giles said, sounding very tired. “I'm going to need some time to think about this.”

“What is there to think about?” Spike growled. “Nothing you can do will change it.”

“There is the Council to think about, and I need to consult my books on what the procedure is when a slayer gets pregnant. It's happened before—though I'm sure this is the first case where a vampire was involved.”

“We can leave now?” Anya asked hopefully. “It is Friday and that's date night. Before Spike called, we had plans to go to the Bronze.”

“Go ahead,” Giles said, absently turning the pages of the book in his lap.

Xander's keys jingled as he walked. He turned back before he opened the door. “Willow, are you still coming with us?”

The witch leapt to her feet. “Yes! In all the excitement, I forgot that I'm meeting someone there tonight.”

“You have a date?” Buffy asked, and when Willow nodded with a small smile, she followed up. “With who?”

“Why don't you guys come along and find out?”

Buffy was torn. She thought she should stay and talk to Giles and get him to understand how she could love Spike. She glanced at Spike with a silent question, asking him what he wanted to do.

“Anya's right. It is date night. The Bronze could be fun as long as you don't make me dance to that shite they play there.”

Giles looked up from his book and glared at them both. “Please, go.”

Spike held his hand out and helped Buffy up from the couch. She glanced back at her watcher as they went through the door and stopped.

“Can you wait for me in the car? I need to talk to Giles alone for a minute.”

Spike nodded and ran a hand over her hair. “Sure, love. Don't take too long.”

She noticed Willow, Xander and Anya standing together a little ways off.

“You guys go on ahead. Spike and I will catch up in a few minutes.”

Buffy went back inside and gently closed the door. Her heart sank when Giles wouldn't even look up from the book. Sitting back down on the couch, she waited patiently for him to acknowledge her. When he finally did, she took a deep breath and said, “I know it's going to take some time for this news to settle in, but I want you to know, I didn't set out to fall in love with another vampire and certainly not Spike.”

“That doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would,” Giles told her while he cleaned his glasses and set them back on his face. “I've known it for a while now, but hadn't wanted to face up to it. But a baby?”

She tried her best to explain to him how that came about, without going into too many details. After she finished, Giles sighed and rested his head against the chair. With his eyes closed, he said, “This is just so unexpected. I need a little time.” He stared at her again. “The plain fact of the matter is that you are an adult and you can do as you please. It’s just difficult for me because you aren’t just another slayer for me to guide and watch over. Over the years, I've come to admire you and care for you like a daughter. I want more for you. I want you to be happy.”

“I am,” she told him firmly. “I'm terrified about being a mother and I'm going to need a lot of help with that, but I'm truly happy with Spike.”

“I just don't see how that could be possible.”

“Spike is different. He may not have a soul, but he marches to a different beat. I've known that from the first time I saw him with Drusilla, but with the spells and other things, I've gotten to know the real him. The part of him that he hides below the surface of the monster. I'm not excusing what he's done in the past, but I'm a killer too. I kill demons all the time. He used to kill to eat; I kill to protect the innocent.”

Buffy paused and watched Giles. He was listening intently and she appreciated that fact that he respected her enough to care what she said. She just didn't know if she could get across how she felt.

“He's good to me. I mean, I'm a little frustrated with how overprotective he's being about the baby, but look at how he’s willing to take over my patrols.”

“True, that was a surprise. And he really did save that man's life. I inquired over at the hospital and the man is already at home, having made a full recovery.”

“See. He did that for me; that's gotta be something in his favor. Not only is he not feeding on them, but he's willing to save them from other demons.”

“There is that, but I'm going to reserve my judgment for the time being. You mean too much to me to just let things be. However, I won't stand in your way.”

“Thank you, Giles.”

Buffy got up and leaned over to give him a quick hug. Knowing that such things made him uncomfortable, she didn't kiss him on the cheek like she wanted to.

“He's waiting for me in the car.”

“Right. I'll give you a call when I know what's to be done about the Council of Watchers and about the patrolling. I don't know if I quite like the idea of leaving the fate of humanity in the hands of a soulless demon.”

She smiled. “Spike is stubborn. He's going to patrol no matter what you say.”

“I'm sure he will,” Giles said dryly. “But we may have other options and if there are some, I'll be looking to employ them.”

The Bronze was in full Friday night swing with a live band and wall-to-wall people. Spike gripped Buffy's hand so that they wouldn't get separated and searched for her friends. Even though he’d agreed to come, he didn't want to be here, making nice with her friends. They'd been surprisingly accepting of him, and he didn't think they were bad people, but he just wasn't the sociable kind. He would rather be alone with Buffy.

He was glad that he had the Gem of Amara. Without it, the heartbeats and blood-filled vessels around him would have been difficult to resist. He knew he had enough self-control to refrain from even the smallest of snacks, but he would’ve been even more on edge than he was now.

“There they are,” Buffy said over the noise, pointing to a table in the corner, where Xander was standing up and waving them over.

“Hey guys, we saved you a seat,” he told them when they walked up.

“Thanks,” Buffy said.

Spike sat down beside her and noticed that Willow kept staring in the direction of the entrance.

“Your new boy not here yet?” he asked.

“No. But he should be soon.”

“You want something to drink?” he said, leaning into Buffy. “Orange juice, club soda, a bottle of water?”

“Orange juice, please,” she told him with a smile.

With the lot of them staring at him, he stood up and reached in his pocket.

“How about the rest of you? I'm buying.”

They all smiled at him and gave him orders. He started towards the bar, mumbling to himself about being a ponce. Xander caught up to him.

“I'll help carry the drinks back.”

Spike just nodded and kept going. They gave their order and while they waited, Xander kept glancing at him.



“Either tell me what’s going on in that bird brain of yours or stop gawking at me like an idiot.”

“I'm just wondering how you can afford to rent a house and pay for all our drinks when you don't have a job.”

“This Gem wasn't the only treasure that we took out of that crypt. I've got enough to live on for all of Buffy's lifetime.”

“Wow. I guess you'll be buying us lots of rounds in the years to come, and you've just become my new best friend.”

Spike glared at Xander as the boy slapped him on the back.

“I've got a best friend. And she's having my baby.”

“Man, that's gotta be weird for you. You have to be the oldest dad in the world.”

Spike shrugged.

“As soon as I told Anya about the baby, she started going on about wanting to have one, too, but I'm definitely not ready for that responsibility. Plus, I don't have unlimited access to cash like you do.”

“Well, if you ever had kids, Anya would be the oldest woman to have a baby.”


Their drinks were set down and Spike paid the man, which was another thing that he'd have to get used to. Normally he took what he wanted.

They were just setting the drinks on the table when Willow stood up.

“I'll be right back. He's here,” she said, barely containing her excitement.

Spike watched the group all strain to see who it was, and he couldn't help but turn and look. The crowd was too thick, though, and they all lost sight of her.

“Did she tell you who it was?” Xander asked Buffy.

“No. But to be fair to Willow, I haven't been around much,” Buffy answered, reaching for Spike's hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. “But the last couple of times that I've been at the dorm, when she's been there, she's been on the phone with someone.”

Spike felt like groaning when Willow walked up with her date. He'd just gotten away from a watcher and didn't want to spend his evening with another one. Wesley could call himself an ex-watcher and a demon hunter now, but there was no way to eradicate that watcher training from him. The way he walked, the goofy grin and the God-awful clothes screamed Watcher.

“Wesley?” Spike heard Xander whisper to Anya.

Anya smiled at her boyfriend and shrugged. “I don't know who he is, but he's kind of cute.”

Greetings happened all around, and Wesley offered to buy everyone a drink.

“No thanks,” Xander said. “Spike's buying tonight.”

Wes sat down.

“In that case, I'll have a Dos Equis.”

Spike glared at Xander but got up and went to the bar. He came back with the beer and another orange juice for Buffy. The band announced that they were taking a break and the disc jockey came out to take over. When the music started, Anya stood up and pulled on Xander.

“I want to dance.”

“Oh,” Wesley said, smiling at the group. “I love dancing. Come on, Willow, let's go out there and show them how it's done.”

Willow shared an amused look with Buffy and stood up. “OK, but I'm not that good. I just kind of move around.”

Buffy watched her friends step onto the dance floor and then smiled at Spike.

“Do you want to dance?” he asked her. “I'm pretty much useless when it comes to dancing to fast songs, but I'll stand on the dance floor and ogle you while you dance.”

She rolled her eyes, but stood up. “Come on.”

When they got on to the dance floor, Buffy laughed and pointed at Wesley.

“You can't be any worse than that.”

The man had cleared a space with his odd, jerky movements and even Willow couldn't help but laugh. He seemed oblivious to the people around him and was having a great time.

Buffy started dancing, hoping that Spike would join her, but he just fixed her with a hot look and watched. It was amazing to her how just a look from him could turn her on. She made a game of teasing him, moving her hips and bending low to give him a clear view down her top. The look on his face encouraged her to keep it up until the song ended.

A slow song came on next. Spike grabbed her to him and pressed against her. They moved together, forgetting that they were on the dance floor with twenty other couples. Spike stopped moving and leaned in to give her a feather-soft kiss, but she wanted more. She couldn't look at his smoldering blue eyes a second longer or she'd make a fool out of herself by dragging Spike out of the building. She rested her head on his shoulder and relaxed in his tight embrace.

When the song ended, he asked, “Are you ready to go home?”

“Oh, yeah.” She looked around for her friends who were already making their way back to the table. “Let's say goodbye first.”

When she told her friends that she was leaving, Willow jumped up and asked her to go to the bathroom with her. Spike was not happy about having to wait. When he pouted, his lower lip jutting out slightly, she almost told Willow no, but she knew that Willow wanted to talk about Wesley and she couldn't pass up hearing the four-one-one on that.

As they walked away with Anya coming along, Xander said, “What is it about girls and going to the bathroom in numbers?”

The bathroom was crowded but they managed to find a little corner to squeeze into.

“So, Wesley, huh?” Buffy said.

“We've been talking on the phone about Amara and we just seemed to click,” Willow said.

“I think he's hot,” Anya said.

“Thank you, Anya. I agree,” Willow said, smiling at the ex-demon.

“But a long distance relationship?” Buffy asked.

“I don't know what's stranger,” Willow said, sarcastically, “dating a vampire or a normal guy who lives two and a half hours away.”

Anya laughed. “She's got you there.”

“I know. You're both right.” Buffy smiled at them. “I'm happy for you, Willow. Wes is a nice guy. A little dorky and he can't dance worth a hill of beans, but my guy won't dance at all to fast songs, so--”

“Xander dances,” Anya said, proud of her boyfriend.

“Yes, he does. And he does it well.” Buffy told her. “Spike is probably getting impatient, so I guess I'll see you guys later.”

“Why are you guys leaving so early?” Willow said.

“I hear that pregnant women need more org--”

“Time to go!” Buffy said, cutting Anya off and turning to leave, she said over her shoulder, “Have fun you guys. I know I will.”

Buffy was still smiling when she got back to the table and said her goodbyes to the guys. Spike opened the door for her and followed her out. He grabbed her arms and gave her a hard kiss.

“God, it's been too long since I kissed you.”

“You kissed me on the dance floor.”

“That was a kiss you could give a sister. But this is a real kiss.”

He wrapped his arms around her and soon, she was panting for want of air and from being so aroused. It was amazing what he could do with that tongue of his. Her thoughts drifted to the other things he could do with his tongue.

“Let's go,” she ordered firmly, grabbing his hand and pulling him quickly to the car. “Drive fast.”

“Nope. This vampire goes the speed limit now. With your slayer toughness, you could survive an accident, but I'm not so sure about the baby.”

“Well, stop talking and drive then. I want to go home and get into bed. Don't you?”


Spike backed the car up and then drove down the road. Snuggled up against him as she was, Buffy could see the speedometer. She smiled at him and squeezed his knee to let him know that she didn't think any less of him for going five miles over the speed limit.

_The End_

Epilogue to follow in a few days.

Chapter #32 - Epilogue
Betas: Mabel_Marsters, Tanit, and Slaymesoftly. Thank you so much, ladies, for all your help, hard word and encouragement.

A/N: I'm sad, yet feeling accomplished to be posting the epilogue. I really enjoyed writing this story. To all who have reviewed: Thank you very much for taking the time to read and leave your thoughts. It means the world to me! I've had so much fun getting to know you through your reviews.

In Harm's Way


Buffy had always liked Christmastime, but this had to be the best one she'd ever had. Her living room was filled with the people she cared about and a huge Christmas tree that took up one corner. Spike had insisted it would fit. She smiled as she thought about the work that it had taken to get the thing through the door. Then, he had to saw off the top before they could even stand it up. It looked beautiful now, decorated festively with colored lights and shiny red ornaments.

She watched Spike from across the room, sitting in an armchair with their four-month-old son in his lap. He sighed and patiently held the baby up in a sitting position so he could see the goings on. Spike was so good with him and while she could tell that he really wanted everyone out of his house, he was also happy to show off his son.

Billy was such a good baby. Although, he was a little concerned with all the people in the room, his big blue eyes were wide, trying to take it all in. He'd had a nap while they ate, but he was wide-awake now. Spike caught her eye and smiled as he ruffled Billy's thick blond curls.

No one doubted who his father was now. Spike's hair was naturally curly, and while it was light brown in color when he didn't bleach it, he’d told Buffy that he had been a towhead when he was a small child. Plus, there was no mistaking those high cheekbones, even with the chubby bit of baby fat padding them.

It made her heart swell with joy to see how proud Spike was of their little guy. Before they knew the sex of the baby, he’d talked of wanting a little girl and she'd asked about carrying on his name with a boy. He'd shrugged and said he didn't have one to pass on now and that the baby would have to have her last name. He argued that girls were sweeter and that he seemed to get along with them better than males.

But Spike had had nothing to worry about; Billy adored his daddy and was just as happy in his arms as hers. She'd insisted on calling him William, so that he would have one of his father’s names. Spike had first said no to that. He had been flattered that she wanted to do it and said that it didn't matter to him, but one word from Joyce about how cute Billy Summers sounded and he’d agreed.

Her mom was in the kitchen with Anya, doing the clean up. Clem had cooked the meal, so Joyce thought it was only right that she help to clean up. Clem sat on a dining room chair next to his girlfriend who hadn't been too sure about coming, but once she realized that they weren't demon-haters, she had relaxed. Spike had been so relieved when they'd gotten back together two months before Billy was born. He would never have kicked Clem out, but now that he had a family, he wanted them to have the house to themselves.

To fit enough chairs in the room for the gift exchange, they’d had to take the coffee table out. Spike had told Buffy to spare no expense when it came to getting presents for everyone and she'd had a blast doing the shopping while Spike stayed home with Billy. The room was now clean and all the gifts put away in rooms or in cars, except for a few toys scattered around for Billy.

He'd been passed around the room all day. Even Giles had held him, which he did rarely, because he was so worried that he drop him or make him cry. Out of all her friends, Buffy was sure that Billy liked Wesley the best. He took Billy from Spike again and sat back down next to Willow, where the demon hunter started in right away making goofy faces and silly sounds.

Joyce came up behind Buffy and hugged her.

“Isn't that the most beautiful sound in the world?” she told Buffy, as the room fell silent to listen to Billy's hearty giggles.

“Yes, it is.”

When the doorbell rang, Buffy excused herself to get it. Little Anabella and her dad were at the door.

“Hi,” she said. “Merry Christmas.”

“I have a pwsent for Billy.”

“I hope we’re not a bother, but she couldn't wait any longer to give it to him,” said Eric.

“Just a minute,” Buffy said, hoping that she wasn't appearing to be rude.

She closed the door and let Clem know that they had clueless visitors. Clem grabbed Rita's hand and took her down to the basement. Buffy went back to the door and let Eric and Anabella in. Eric stared at her for a minute, and Buffy quickly apologized for shutting the door on them. As they entered the room, they exchanged pleasant greetings all around. Then, Buffy took Billy from Wesley and sat down on the smaller couch near Spike, so that Anabella could bring her present over.

“Can you help him unwrap it?” Spike asked her.

The little girl’s eyes lit up as she tore the paper off. “It's Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. He bounces.”

Billy swatted at the box while Spike worked to get it open.

“He likes it!” Anabella said with a giggle.

“Look under the tree, Poppet. I think you'll find something there for you.”

Joyce offered Eric a drink, but he turned it down, saying that they couldn't stay for too long. He'd left his mom and her new boyfriend alone and he joked that they needed a chaperon. Anabella squealed with delight when she opened her gift.

“Look, Daddy! A doll that looks like me,” she said in awe, a big smile on her face.

Buffy was relieved that she liked it. She'd gone to Carol and asked for a few good pictures and had sent away to an internet company that made special dolls that looked like the girl they were made for. They stayed and visited for a little while longer, but Anabella was eager to go home and play with her new toy.

After the neighbors left, Clem and Rita came up and said their goodbyes, Clem promising to come by next Tuesday for the poker night that Spike hosted in their basement every other week. Xander, Anya, Giles and Wesley were part of the usual group of players. Anya couldn't pass up the opportunity to win money and she really took to the game of poker. Willow and Buffy were in charge of watching Billy and keeping the refreshments coming. It gave them a chance catch up since Buffy was no longer going to school and Willow spent her weekends in L.A.

Buffy walked out with Willow and Wesley next. They had to get an early start, because they were driving back to L.A. where Willow had plans to stay for the rest of the Christmas break. At first, Buffy had no idea how they were going to make their relationship work, but they were both organized and inventive people, and she had to admit, they made a cute couple.

And a little later, when Billy fell asleep in Joyce's arms, Anya and Xander left as well. Buffy stood at the door and waved as they got into their car. Anya continued to ask Xander for a baby, but Xander kept putting her off. He'd taken Willow and Buffy off to the side earlier in the day and showed them an engagement ring. Xander was planning to propose to Anya at midnight on New Year's Eve. Buffy thought that it was a great idea, even if Anya was a little strange. She'd kind of grown on them and she really was a part of the group. Being as happy as she was, Buffy was so glad that Xander was happy, too.

The last to leave was Giles. He shook Spike's hand and thanked him for hosting a lovely Christmas, then admonished them both not to forget about patrolling.

Over the last summer, when Spike had done most of the patrolling, Giles had grudgingly admitted that he'd done a great job and that he could be trusted. Little by little, Spike started consulting with Giles and soon it was like old times at the Scooby meetings. The whole gang did research together and everyone was involved with planning strategy when a new big bad came on the scene.

Giles started calling them the Slayers. Plural. Which really bugged Spike. Giles would grin and she knew he felt great satisfaction that he was able to bug Spike just a little bit, given the fact that Spike was so good at bugging the watcher.

“The demons don't take a holiday for Christmas,” he told them as he left.

They went up the stairs to get changed and passed Joyce coming down.

“Billy will be asleep for quite some time. He's worn out,” she told them. “I'll go down and watch some Christmas specials.”

Joyce was the usual babysitter for when they patrolled. She had a nursery set up at her house and most of the time, she watched him there. When they were done with keeping Sunnydale safe, they'd let themselves in and take Billy back to their place, but they'd decided to have Joyce stay over tonight, because she was spending the day with them already.

“Thanks, Mom. We're going to get changed into patrol clothes.”

As soon as she closed the door to their room, Spike took Buffy into his arms and kissed her.

“I've wanted to do that for hours,” he told her, guiding her to the bed and unbuttoning her blouse. “We have time before we have to leave, don't we?”

“I believe we have a few minutes.”

It never got old for them. Every night was an exciting adventure, but usually they did battle in the cemeteries, working up a load of sexual tension, then they'd come home and get Billy set up in his room. They'd shower together and then end up in bed.

“We're deviating from the schedule here,” Buffy said playfully as she helped him out of his new jeans.

“I know, love,” he whispered in her ear with a deep, lust-filled voice. “It's Christmas and we are allowed to have dessert first, aren't we?”

The demons had been out in full force and they didn't make it back to the house until three in the morning. Joyce was sitting up on the couch with a wide-awake Billy in her lap.

“I think the day’s activities have put his schedule out of whack,” she told them, handing the baby to Spike. “I just fed him eight ounces of formula and changed him, but I don't think he's going to sleep any time soon.”

“I'm sorry he kept you awake,” Spike told her, smiling and rubbing noses with the baby.

“It was no big deal. I don't have to work tomorrow so I can sleep in. Besides, I didn't get enough time with him today with so many others wanting to hold him.”

Billy waved his arms in excitement and babbled; he was so happy to see his dad.

“Come on, son; let's give your grandmum a break.”

Buffy followed Spike up the stairs and waved at Billy who smiled back at her from over Spike's shoulder. They stopped at Billy's bedroom, but changed their minds and decided to let him sleep with them. They each took turns watching him while the other one showered and then they climbed into bed with Billy between them.

They gazed at each other over Billy's head and smiled when he squealed for no apparent reason.

“You know, Billy, you have the prettiest mom in the whole world and you’re going to have a hard time finding a lady of your own who is as amazing as your mother.”

“Stop,” Buffy told him.

“She's modest, too. Now your old dad, he isn't so modest. Stick with me kid and I'll teach you all there is to know about women,” Spike told him while smirking at Buffy.

She sat up and kissed both her men goodnight and then turned over. Slayers didn't need much sleep, but indestructible vampires needed less. That had come in handy for late-night feedings and Spike had never complained about having to get up to get Billy. She smiled as she thought about how many diapers Spike had changed.

One day, not too long ago, he'd been changing Billy and even with his super reflexes he couldn't dodge out of the way fast enough when the baby peed. She'd barely been able to take over because she'd been laughing so hard. He'd glared at her and told her that the night he drove into Sunnydale, he’d been the Big Bad, intent on wreaking havoc, and he couldn't understand how he had ended up changing diapers instead. He chalked it up to something that would never change. He'd always be love's bitch.

“I love you,” she told him, snuggling into her pillow.

He reached over the baby and rubbed her back.

“I love you, too, pet.”

-The End-