Buffy was out patrolling with Spike the next night, but something felt off. She sensed a familiar person nearby, turning just in time to catch a stake that almost pierced her heart. She glanced up at her assailant, placing a calming hand on her growling mate.
“Did you seriously try to stake me?”
Xander backed away at the murderous look on her face. “Giles said you killed someone, I didn’t have a choice.”
Buffy threw the stake to the ground. “Did he? And did he tell you exactly who I killed? That I killed the guy who was sharing a body with Glory and saved the world, did he mention that?”
Xander shook his head. “I may have left before he could get to that part. I don’t know what’s going on with you anymore. You’re a vampire now; all you do is hang out with Spike while continuing to ignore us. For all I knew you were evil, a soul didn’t make much of a difference with Angel and Captain Peroxide doesn’t even have one. He could have had you kill people for him.”
“You bloody stupid git! If I was going to turn the Slayer into a killer, you would have been the first one I’d have sent her after.”
“You see, Buffy? He just said he would have let you kill me, what was I supposed to do?”
She clenched her fists at her side, trying to keep her temper in check. “You could have just talked to me. Newsflash, Xander, I’m not the one who has been avoiding you guys. You can’t even stand to be near me. If you would have given me a chance, you would have seen that I’m not all that different. I still hang with my mom and Dawn, I go shopping, I slay annoying pests in the same places I always did. The only thing I don’t have now is a heartbeat, but I guess that makes all the difference. You can deliver Giles a little message since I have no intention of popping by the Magic Box any time soon. Spike and I are claimed now, which means that if you kill him, you kill me, too. But I guess you just proved that you could care less about my life, I still think Giles would have a problem with what you tried to do.”
Xander shook his head. “I still care; I didn’t think the stake actually would have gotten you. I just wanted to get your attention.”
“There are other ways of doing that. You can go now.”
“Buffy…” he started, but was cut off by his now vamped out former friend.
“Get away from me, Xander. I’m starting to get hungry.”
He took off that time without looking back once.
Spike took his distraught mate in his arms, seeing that she reverted back to her human mien. “He’s a bloody idiot, love. If you want, I can beat him up for you. It’ll give me a hell of a headache, but would still be more than worth it.”
She laughed. “Thanks, but it’s probably not a good idea. Now I wonder if Giles will turn on me even more after he finds out we’re claimed, but I’m not worrying about that. If it wasn’t for my mom and Dawn, I would have you take me far away from this town.”
“We could take them with us.”
Buffy gave that some thought, shaking her head. “Their lives are here, I could never ask that of them. Besides, we have forever. They unfortunately won’t always be here, neither will my so-called friends. They’ll all move on, get married, possibly have kids, and then they’ll die. Maybe it’s a good thing we’re not in each other’s lives anymore; at least I won’t have to be there for it. But I have to be here for Dawn right now, I want to see her grow up into a beautiful woman.”
He kissed the top of her head, nodding after a moment. “We can do whatever you want.”
“Have you thought more about looking for an apartment?” she asked to change the subject.
“I have, and I think I know of the perfect one. It’s actually an apartment building owned by demons, but they’re peaceful. I know a bloke who lives there. It’s only a few blocks from your house; we can look at it tomorrow if you want.”
“That sounds good; I’m so ready to head back to your crypt now. My mom isn’t expecting me tonight.”
Spike liked the sound of that; he suddenly wanted to be elsewhere. He felt a chill just being in that cemetery, it was a feeling he hadn’t known for a while and just couldn’t shake the notion that they were being watched, but figured it was just the boy’s presence earlier that made him feel on edge.
* * * * *
“Okay, this place is totally awesome. How did I never know there was a demon building not far from my house?”
Spike shrugged. “There was no point in telling you. I know you used to live in this whole black and white world, I didn’t think you would have cared that there were peaceful demons in Sunnydale.”
She felt offended at that. “I would have cared. I don’t slay everything just because it looks evil. Oh God, do you think I might have slayed something harmless?”
He shook his head. “That’s another reason why I didn’t mention it. If something comes after you, you kill it. I don’t want you getting careless thinking that demons can be harmless.”
“Well, I definitely want this one. When can we move in?”
Spike laughed at her excitement. “As soon as I sign the lease, it’s still treated like any human establishment.”
“What about money for rent?” Buffy wondered. “I can’t believe I never thought of that, neither of us have paying jobs.”
“I have money, it’ll do for now.”
She raised her eyebrows in suspicion. “And just where did you get money?”
He rolled his eyes. “I haven’t lived over a hundred years on nothing, it adds up.”
Buffy crossed her arms over her chest. “If that’s the case, why were you always trying to con money out of us?”
Spike shrugged. “It was fun; I had to do something to cure the boredom this chip caused.”
Buffy decided to let it go, things were different now. “Fine, I have to get home. I promised Mom I would stop by for dinner; it’s nice to know that not much has changed where my family is concerned.”
He smiled. “You do that; I’ll just take care of everything here and meet up with you later.”
She gave him a quick kiss on the lips, then headed out of their soon to be apartment.
* * * * *
Buffy did a quick patrol on her way home, but the cemetery seemed to be more dead than usual. A soft humming sound had her stopping in her tracks, wondering where the song was coming from. Before she even knew what happened, a tazer struck her on the side and caused her to hit the ground. Her vision was blurred, but she could make out the form of a dark figure before everything went black.
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