“Buffy!” Riley hurried toward me as Willow and I left the classroom after Professor Walsh’s lecture. I sighed internally, wondering if he would become all stalkery now that we’d broken up. Not that I naturally assume that all guys are out to get me, but really? Riley of the dopey smiles, country origins, and secret identity? I wouldn’t have put it past him. Though now that I thought about it, maybe I should have expected tights and a cover job at the Daily Planet instead. “I need to speak to you about… that thing,” he said, glancing at Willow.
“It’s okay. I know.” Willow assured him.
“You told her about the Initiative?” Riley demanded. “Another civilian?”
“I’m a witch.” Willow folded her arms and gave Riley a reproving look. “If you’re attacking supernatural creatures, how can I know that I’m not next?”
“A witch,” Riley echoed, dazed. “You’re a witch. That’s…”
“Riley,” I prodded gently. “You wanted to talk to me?”
“Right.” He blinked. “Uh…Walsh wants to meet your sister. The Slayer. Maybe bring her into the operation.” Oh. Okay. Not stalking me. Just dragging my sister into the military. I wasn’t sure if that was better or not.
I considered sending him Kennedy, too. But I still had some compassion for the guy. “I’ll pass along the message.”
“See, the trick is to look really helpless.” Spike circled me once, his eyes sweeping over my form. “And wear something much more revealing. You’ve got to look like you want to get laid.”
I frowned and pulled a little black number from my closet. “How about this?”
His eyes lingered on it. “I’d bite you.”
“You tried to bite me when I was in a jacket and pants,” I pointed out.
“Leather pants,” he corrected. “A greater man would have succumbed, too.”
I threw the dress at him playfully, draping it over his head. It was three days after Riley had approached me, and we were in my dorm, preparing to patrol together. Of course, my idea of hunting vampires was very different from Dawn’s. We’d skip the cemeteries and go to the Bronze. And I was going to be bait.
Really, I was pretty sure that this was all a diabolical plot for Spike to see me in my skimpiest. And he hadn’t been dispelling the notion yet. Apparently, “friends” meant that we just danced around our attraction and flirted a lot.
But I wasn’t complaining.
“Go ahead, try it on,” Spike urged.
I gave him a look.
“What?” he asked with a very false laugh. “Like I want to see you naked!”
I smirked and shoved him out of the room, grabbing the dress as I shut the door.
“Having fun?” Willow asked innocently from her vantage point at her desk. “You two seem kind of cozy.”
I shrugged, remembering the vampire with enhanced hearing on the other side of the door. “No comment.”
Willow mimed falling breathlessly into Spike’s arms. I swatted at her before opening the door, tugging the dress down just a little as I did. It was probably a lost cause. But hey, I looked really hot!
Spike gaped at me. “That… that’s…that’ll do,” he said finally.
“You think so?” I asked sweetly.
He reached out to take my arm. “We’d better get going.”
We set out for the Bronze together, chatting about Giles’s new situation. “I swear, he’s going to quit if he has to spend any more time with that girl,” I laughed. “Dawn says that Giles has called the Council of Watchers three times, begging them to send Kennedy a Watcher. And it’s only been four days!”
“It’s worse,” Spike added conspiratorially. “I went over there to harass Rupes last night, and I heard her blathering on and on about his plans for the night.”
“What do you mean?” I asked curiously.
“Seems like the Watcher was planning on shagging his bird all night. Two Point Oh didn’t like the idea of him having a personal life outside of her.”
“Shagging his…Gross, Spike!” I shuddered at the thought of the librarian and Miss Calendar together.
Spike snickered. “As deplorable as the mental image is, I’ve got to give the Watcher some credit for getting a bird like the gypsy.”
“Gypsy?” I wondered.
“Yeah, the teacher.” Spike shrugged. “Killed a clan of them with Darla and Dru back after Angelus was cursed. Not any faces I’d soon forget, not with the power they had.”
“So you think Miss Calendar’s a gypsy?” I asked skeptically. “And from the clan who souled Angel?”
Spike nodded. “I asked her about it. She asked me not to tell the Watcher.”
“Wait, so she’s here to…what? Spy on Angel?” I frowned. As irritating as Giles could be, if he was being led on by a woman with other motivations…
“And she’s genuinely into the sod, for reasons I can’t fathom,” Spike reassured me. “I like the lady. She’s got spirit. And she was the only one who would give me blood. Rupes can forgive a little duplicity for a woman like that.”
“Oh.” We walked along in silence for a bit.
“Dawn’s working with the Initiative,” I said suddenly. “Catching and tagging demons.”
“Oh?” Spike’s face was expressionless. “Government funded Slayer. Can’t say I’m surprised.”
“She’s going to try to throw them off your scent. I think she’s finally accepted that you’re not going anywhere.”
“That’s good.” Spike stopped at the entrance to the Bronze. “Right there. The guy with the gray jacket.”
“Already?” I assessed the guy calculatingly. “He doesn’t look like a vamp. His outfit is totally outdated, though.”
Spike grinned. “Go ahead. Knock him dead.”
“Undead,” I corrected primly, sliding over to the guy. “Hi! I’m Buffy!”
“Steve.” The vampire was staring straight down my top, what little of it there was. I felt like calling, “I’m up here!” but I didn’t bother. After all, in a few minutes he’d be dust.
“Wanna dance?” I held out my hand coyly.
He cupped my ass with his hands, leering as he pulled me along clumsily.
It was a strangely liberating experience. Sure, I was dancing with a guy so repulsive that I wouldn’t have gone near him if he weren’t a vamp. But moving sinuously, seductively, in ways I never would have done before…It was freeing. Exhilarating. I was practically having sex on the dance floor. And I was completely in control.
I turned to catch sight of Spike, leaning against the wall as he watched. A tingle went through my skin as I saw the lust evident in his hooded eyes. He caught my glance and curled his tongue in front of his teeth in a leer.
And after that, it was Spike’s neck I was nuzzling, Spike’s body under my roving hands and Spike’s jeans I had begun to unbutton. “Wanna get out of here?” I asked breathlessly. Steve nodded, pulling me out to the back alley.
He leaned down toward my neck, and I kneed him in the groin, making him howl in pain. “I think we’re moving a little too quickly,” I said innocently.
Spike grabbed the vampire and threw him up against the wall. “No one gets fresh with my girl!” he roared, vamping out.
“Hey, man, I didn’t know that she was yours,” Steve said, holding up a hand. “She was practically fucking me right there. I couldn’t-“ He exploded into a shower of dust as Spike ripped off his head.
“Amateur,” Spike said disgustedly, wiping off his hands.
I grinned. “That was fun. Let’s do it again.”
We cleaned out the Bronze in only an hour, dusting twelve guys and one girl who didn’t seem to mind that I was female. Possessive Spike was fun to mess with, I discovered. And even more fun was watching him try to conceal the scowl that broke out on his face when I danced with the first twelve vamps. Of course, he didn’t even try to hide his leer when the female and I had danced together.
“So are all vampires bisexual?” I wondered from where I sat at a table with him.
Spike gave me a sidelong glance. “Is that your way of asking if Angelus and I ever got it on?”
I smacked him. “That’s just disturbing!” I squinted at him. “Wait. Did you?”
Spike smirked. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“God, you totally did.” I was momentarily lost in the picture of Angel and Spike entwined, pale skin and chiseled chests against each other… Angel might have had a creepy personality, but he definitely wasn’t bad-looking, and combined with Spike the Sex God…
“You’re drooling, pet,” Spike said conversationally.
I flushed. “I am not!”
“It’s not really bisexuality,” Spike continued as though we hadn’t segued. “S’more like we appreciate beauty. And it doesn’t matter to us whether it’s male or female beauty. Not like humans, who pick a gender and stick with it. Or like Will, switch back and forth. We just don’t discriminate.”
“What like Will?” I frowned. “Will likes the boys. She was totally in love with Xander for most of her life, till they actually dated. And she dates guys all the time. She hooked up with someone just a few weeks ago. Why is everyone convinced that she’s gay? First Kennedy, now you…”
“I’m not saying that she’s gay.” Spike speared a spicy buffalo wing from his plate and bit into it. “But she and Tara definitely have something brewing between them. Tara, she’s completely gay. Didn’t even blink twice when she saw my hot bod.”
“As if that would turn anyone on,” I teased, but my brow creased at the thought of it. “Willow would have told me about something like this.”
“Maybe,” Spike swigged a glass of beer. “Maybe not. If you suddenly realized that you were having lusty feelings for another bird, would you tell her immediately?”
I considered. “Not right away. I mean, what if she totally freaked and started acting weird around me? What if she thought that I was attracted to her and…” Oh. I blinked. “I see your point.”
“I say, let it sit for a while,” Spike advised. “If something’s going on between her and the quiet witch, she needs time to figure out what exactly it is. She’ll tell you when she feels comfortable doing it.”
“I guess,” I sighed, mulling it over. A thought suddenly occurred to me. “You don’t think she’s attracted to me, do you?”
“Oh, Buffy,” Spike gasped dramatically in a high-pitched voice. “You can turn a straight woman gay, you can.”
“Shut up,” I said, poking him.
“Hold me! Kiss me!” he squeaked.
I rolled my eyes. “And you’re supposed to be the old one here.”
He grinned. “We vampires, we’re just kids at heart.”
“Kids who like to brutally maim and kill humans without a second thought,” I added.
He pouted. “We just wanna have fun.”
I patted him on the head affectionately, letting my fingers run through his hair. It was surprisingly soft under all that gel. “Ever wonder what would happen if you were? Still able to maim and kill again, I mean?”
Spike was silent for a bit, and when he spoke again, it was very carefully. “I’d like to say that I would have fallen for your charms and we’d still be having fun here together, but…”
“But it’s not true,” I finished sadly. At least he was being honest with me. “I’d be dead. Maybe Dawn, too. You and Drusilla would be…”
“You wouldn’t have been dead, exactly,” Spike said uncomfortably.
“I wanted to turn you,” Spike murmured. “I don’t know why. I don’t usually turn people, not unless it’s into minions. But there was something I saw that…”
“I’m not sure whether to be flattered or afraid,” I said lightly. Actually, I was kind of flattered. To think that Spike had felt a connection to me before we’d even known each other meant a lot to me.
Not that I would’ve chosen to become an evil killer or anything.
Spike met my eyes seriously. “Dru knew. That I’d thought about making a Childe. She begged me not to go out that night, when the Initiative took me. Kept screaming about knick-knacks and sunshine and how she’d lose me to the child.” He laughed almost bitterly. “But I went out anyway. And now, for my troubles, I’ve got a chip in my head and a wayward Sire.”
I tensed at that. If this was going to be a moan-about-Dru session, I wasn’t sticking around for it. “I need another drink,” I ground out.
“Buffy…” Spike took my arm as I rose, stopping me from making my escape. “Wait.” He paused until I sat back down. “I can’t say that I’m glad about the chip. But I don’t regret what’s happened since, and what’s come from it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” His fingers traced patterns on my wrist. “Anything.”
Not even Dru? I wondered silently. But I didn’t ask him. Maybe I wasn’t ready for the answer.
Spike escorted me back home much later that night, and I curled up in bed, dreaming of Spike. I didn’t know then what was coming.
How could I have known?
How could I have known that Professor Walsh had decided that my sister wasn’t compatible with their operation and needed to be disposed of? That she had sent Dawn into a no-win situation with a faulty weapon and expected her to die there? That she was only saved when Angel came barreling through the sewers, helping her fight off the demons that attacked them?
How could I have known what would happen next? That Dawn and Angel would finally consummate their relationship that night? That during that night, Angel would experience a moment of perfect happiness and his soul would be wrenched from his body? That Angelus would rise again?
I couldn’t have known.
So that night I slept peacefully, unaware of the horrors that were to come.
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