1 (chapters 1-10)
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.
-Me & Bobby McGee by Kris Kristofferson
Excitement coursed through every inch of Spike's body as he watched the run down motel. If his information was right, at least five Watchers were staying there. He'd never met a Watcher, but what he knew of them made him suspect that they were mostly a cowardly lot, and they wouldn't have come anywhere near Sunnydale if they didn't have the Slayer with them.
The Slayer. The words made his mouth water with anticipation. Within minutes he could be facing off against his third Slayer. Some young girl who would be strong, fast, and deadly. Inside one of those motel rooms the perfect killer was waiting for him, and when they meet it would be kill or be killed. He had every intention of being the killer, of draining her dry of her powerful blood, but it wouldn't have been half as fun if he didn't know that there was a real risk that he would be dust before the sun came up.
The wait was nearly killing him, patience was not one of his virtues, but still he waited till his minions had made sure of which rooms to attack. Personally Spike would have been more than happy to massacre the entire motel, but the Master didn't want to tip his hand yet. Unlike Spike the Master was patient. He fully intended to rule the entire world, and if it took him centuries to do so, so be it. In the mean time, he didn't want the other vampire clans or demons to know how ambitious he was. A major slaughter outside of Sunnydale would draw undue attention.
Spike didn't care about that, in fact he really wasn't all that fond of the Master's new world order. As far as Spike could tell, the Master thought that if vampires were freed from having to kill on a nightly basis, they would develop some sort of high vampire culture. It seemed like a bunch of rubbish to Spike. Killing was what being a vampire was all about. What other culture did they need?
On the other hand, the Master's big plans were sure to attract the attention of the Council. They would send the Slayer to stop the Master, and Spike would be there to stop her. That was a big plus in Spike's book. In the last century, he'd only been able to track down two Slayers. Usually by the time he'd heard about a Slayer and made it to the part of the world she was in, something else had gotten there first and already offed the girl.
Not to mention sooner or later the rest of the demon world would figure out just what the Master was up to and they would have a hell of a fight on their hands. Spike knew that was the only reason the Master kept him around. As much as Spike tried to play nice, it was plain for anyone to see how discontent Spike was. Especially since the Master not only forbade him from wantonly killing, but the Master was enamored with Dru as well, and as the head of the clan had exercised his rights and took her to his bed as often as he pleased.
What was worse, Dru was currently quite found of the Master's attention. She'd been devastated when she'd felt her Sire's death and it was her need for family that had brought the couple to the Master. He was more then delighted to welcome them, since he'd lost his favorite fledglings in an uprising by the humans of Sunnydale. The irony was that the uprising had been lead by Angelus, who evidently had gotten a soul and gone all remorseful.
Tonight would be different though. When Spike killed his third Slayer, not only would he achieve a legendary status among vampires–he'd never heard of another vampire that had killed three Slayers–but the Master would have to give him whatever he wanted, and that was Dru.
Not that he would need Dru given to him. Dru had become incredibly amorous the last two times he killed a Slayer, he was sure this time would be no different. Hopefully that would cause her to be bored with the Master, and they would be able to move on.
Finally the minion returned with the information on which rooms the Watchers were in. Spike assigned each of the minions to a different room. One vampire for each Watcher, and he would take the room with the Slayer.
Eagerly they all moved forward. The vampires he'd chosen to come with him where all vampires like himself. Vampires who missed the hunt and the kill, who thought that the Master's factory blood was little better than raiding a blood bank. They were kindred spirits, and each of them was looking forward to a fresh kill as much as Spike was.
Almost simultaneously they kicked in the doors to the motel rooms, and charged inside. Luckily the Watchers weren't staying in a private residence so no invitation was needed.
As soon as the door was open, Spike realized he'd been wrong. There was no Slayer here. The woman had to be a Watcher. She was probably in her late twenties, too old to be a Slayer. Besides her reflexes were too slow. She froze for a moment before making a desperate grab for a cross that was inside the suitcase on the floor.
She grabbed the cross, but Spike batted it out of her hand, getting only the slightest of burns on the back of his hand. Then he grabbed her by the throat and forced her against the wall. She may not be a Slayer, but she was still a fresh kill.
"William the Bloody!" she gasped.
"You've heard of me?" he grinned.
"I-I-I wrote my dissertation on you," she managed to say as she gasped for breath.
Intrigued Spike loosened his grip on her throat just enough to let her get enough air to talk. He gave her his most charming smile, and pressed his body against hers.
"And just what did your research say I'd do to you?" he whispered seductively in her ear.
His free hand reached up to stroke her breast through the fabric of her tweed suit. He was rewarded with the scent of her fear increasing, but below that just the hint of arousal. He wished he had time to play with her, that the Master hadn't been so clear on the fact that they were to kill and get out. No playing with their food. Still Spike couldn't help but have a little fun. He kissed her neck, and licked the throbbing artery he found there. Again she trembled, but he could tell it was as much with excitement as fear. It was a real shame that he had to kill her so quickly, the Watcher obviously had a little kink that would be fun to explore.
From the room to his left Spike could hear screams as one of his minions killed one of the Watchers. The female Watcher stiffened in his grip; she heard it too. However, it actually seemed to give her a little courage.
"It doesn't matter if you kill us. We'll get to her. You can't keep her forever."
"Hmmm?" Spike looked her in the eye, wondering what she was talking about.
"The Slayer. If she doesn't free herself, we will get to her, no matter how many of us you kill."
He could hear the others finishing up, as much as he wanted to question the woman more, the Master's orders had been clear and he knew that none of his minions were really loyal to him. They would use any opportunity to curry favor with the Master and to diminish Spike's status.
So he sunk his fangs into her neck.
The hot blood flowed down his throat straight to his cock. He pressed himself and the Watcher against the wall, moaning with pleasure. It hadn't even been two months since his last fresh kill, and yet it seemed like an eternity. For the first time since he had come to the Master's court Spike felt alive again.
He let her lifeless body fall to the floor, and licked the blood from his lips.
"Don't worry pet," he told her corpse. "If the Master really does have your Slayer, I won't let him keep her."
The Watcher's words ate at him on the drive back to the factory. He started to review everything the Master had said to him since he and Dru had arrived on the Hellmouth.
There had always been a certain smugness in the Master's voice whenever the topic of the Slayer had come up. He'd always thought that it was the older vampire assuming that the younger didn't really understand the danger posed by a Slayer.
The more he thought about it, the less sense that made. After all everyone knew he'd killed two Slayers. True, until he'd killed the second slayer, many demons and vampires had assumed the first one had been luck, but not after New York. No, the Master knew Spike to be a capable and experienced fighter. That couldn't be it.
And the other made only too much sense. Everything he knew about how the Master worked and planned told Spike that if he could the Master would imprison the Slayer in a second. Killing her would only result in the calling of another Slayer, but imprisoning her meant that the Master could follow his plans without serious interference for decades.
As Spike walked through the halls of the Master's blood factory, he kept coming to the same obvious conclusion. She was here, somewhere. The Slayer was here, and the Master had been lying to him this whole time.
Spike felt foolish that this hadn't occurred to him before, but the fresh blood had cleared his head. As he looked around the Master's domain he saw nothing but softness. Vampires that had forgotten their true nature. The place sickened him.
He entered the Master's throne room and knelt before the Master.
"Well my boy how did it go?" the Master asked as he motioned for Spike to rise.
"The Watchers are all dead Master. There was no trouble. It all went smoothly Although one thing worries me."
"What is that?"
"There was no sign of the Slayer. Perhaps this was only a distraction to keep us from her real location."
"An interesting theory my boy. But I'm sure it was simply a reconnaissance mission. The Council probably doesn't want to risk their precious Slayer until they are sure of our strength. It was likely nothing more than a test of our defenses. Remember, the Council is nothing more than a group of fanatics, eager to throw their brief lives away in the war on good and evil. Still, if you think extra patrols are necessary. . ."
'Me thinks the Master doth protest too much,' Spike thought. But instead he said, "Yes, Master. I'm sure you are right. You must know the Council better than me."
The Master nodded, and gestured to let Spike know that he was free to leave if he wanted to. Spike bowed and left the Master's presence. If he'd had doubts before, he was sure now that the Master was hiding the Slayer.
Spike returned to his rooms, thinking over where the Master might be keeping the missing Slayer. The obvious answer was that she was somewhere in the factory. The upper levels of the factory were cages for the humans waiting to be processed.
Spike had only been up there once when he and Dru had first arrived and been given the grand tour by the Master. He remembered there being an old beat up door. The Master told him that the rooms beyond that was empty space waiting to be converted into more holding cells.
It was a long shot, but the most likely place Spike could think of to keep the Slayer was there. Besides, if he went up there and was wrong he couldn't imagine any reason he'd get in trouble.
Even so he waited until the sun had risen so that the other vampires who lived in the warrens below the factory would be asleep. He fought the natural drowsiness that came with the sunrise, and left his subterranean room for the upper levels of the factory.
As he entered the cages the minion on guard duty rose to challenge him. "Sir. There's no sampling, sir."
"Yeah, I know. Just like the smell of fear. Don't mind if I just look around a bit? Promise not to snack."
The guard shrugged and let Spike pass.
Once he was out of sight of the guard, Spike hurried through the rows of cages ignoring the frightened humans as much as was possible. He was surprised that his lie to the guard had worked. The place was full of the smell of fear all right, but it was almost overcome by the smell of human waste. It only took a quick glance to see that there was no working plumbing in the cells. Spike was even more disgusted at the bottled blood the Master provided them all with, knowing that it came from such filthy creatures. He'd rather drink pig's blood. At least pigs were clean.
He made his way past the cages to the old beat up door he remembered. It was still there, and no sign that anyone was planning any sort of construction project. Spike reached for the handle, and found that the door was locked.
"Now why would a door to nothing be locked?" he smiled and said to himself, taking it as a good sign.
He tried to break the lock on the door and was surprised when he found the lock was too strong for him. The Master was defiantly hiding something. For a moment Spike doubted what he was doing. What if it wasn't the Slayer? Spike could think of a number of things the Master might want to hide from his minions, most of which Spike could care less about. If something other than the Slayer was behind the door he could find himself in no end of trouble for snooping and he wouldn't have accomplished anything either.
Before Spike had the chance to further consider what he was doing the door was opened from the other side and he found himself staring at the barrel of a shot gun held by a vampire.
"Uh, Sir? You're not supposed to be here. I'm sorry the Master left strict orders."
Spike smiled at the minion. The fact that the minion had a gun told Spike that he was there to guard against humans, not vampires. Spike was once again sure that the Slayer was the treasure behind the door.
"Of course, I understand. Loyalties to the Master and all that. Must have made a wrong turn."
The vampire lowered the gun. The moment he did so, Spike grabbed the barrel and shoved the butt into the vampire's chest. After that it was easy to wrestle the shot gun out of the guard's grasp. A second hard blow with the butt to the guard's head and Spike was able to step over the unconscious body.
Spike looked around the small room. There was one other door. It was a sturdy looking metal door. At the base of the door was a smaller sliding panel.
The only furniture in the little guard room was a desk and a chair. Dirty magazines where lying out on the desk next to a small black and white TV. Spike peered at the screen. It was obviously hooked up to a surveillance camera and it showed a room that was mostly bare except for a small cot, a sink, and a toilet. As Spike watched, the figure of a girl did push ups in the middle of the room.
Spike was momentarily frustrated as he watched her. She was little more than a blur on the screen. He wanted to see her, but he wasn't quite ready to open the door and be rushed by a Slayer. Then he noticed how the door appeared on the screen. There he could see the other side of the same door he was looking at, but in front of it was another set of bars.
Smiling he pulled the body of the guard into the room, and searched him until he found the keys. Hesitating only for a moment Spike shoved the key into the lock, opened the heavy steel door, and really saw the Slayer for the first time.
She'd tucked her long blond matted hair into the back of her grey tank-top to keep it out of her face, but as she looked up the front strands came loose and framed her face. She jumped to her feet and Spike could see that she was a very small thing, but he had no doubt she was powerful.
'She might be powerful then the other slayers I've killed,' he thought as he noticed the well defined muscles on her bare arms. It occurred to him than that the cell was empty of anything other than the most basic necessities. All the time she'd been in there she'd had nothing to do but exercise and train.
His eyes flickered across her hands, and he saw the rough calluses on her knuckles. Out of the corner of his eye he could see blood, and minor dents in the door he'd opened. He could almost imagine this young girl, calmly, patiently beating at the door, with controlled measured punches. Unwilling to give in or give up. He had no idea whether that was lunacy or not.
He looked at her face and noticed that she had a wicked looking scar that cut across her mouth. What really drew his attention however, were her eyes. Wild, dangerous hazel eyes. They were the eyes of a predator and for several moments her gaze held him rooted to his spot.
Those eyes called to him with a promise of danger and death. Never before had Spike been less sure of whether he could kill an opponent, and never before had he wanted the dance quite as badly.
But then he thought of Dru, his Dark Princess. He couldn't take the chance that he would have to leave her behind.
He broke away from the wild green depths of the Slayer's eyes, turned, and started to walk away.
Her voice was so quiet, he almost didn't hear her.
"Huh?" he turned back to her.
"Say something. Anything. Please?" she repeated, only this time there was a little more strength in her voice, as if she'd found it again after putting it away for a long time.
He saw it then. The metal tray on the floor near the door, which still had the trace, remains of something food-like on it. He understood that for however long she'd been in that cell, she'd been completely alone. Her captors slid open the panel on the front of the first door to slide her food in and out, but no one talked to her. They left her, alone with nothing and no one but herself.
Those hazel eyes were wild with desperation and the first hints of madness. Who knew how much longer she could stand it alone in that tiny cell before she cracked completely.
'And then she'll be free,' Spike thought. Nothing would be able to touch her then, not once she'd gone completely around the bend. At least, that is what he thought, judging by his experiences with Dru's madness. He looked at her through the bars of her cage, and for a moment it seemed that he was the one in the cage and she was the one who was free.
The months of doing the Master's bidding, of begging for scraps of affection from Dru, of restraining his demon and avoiding the violence his whole being craved. All of it pulled him down as if they were weights wrapped around his body. And in front of him, stood this magnificent creature, wild and free.
"Do you want to get out of here?" he asked her without thinking.
"Yeah," was all she said.
As soon as the door to her cell was open the Slayer sprinted out of the room. By the time Spike caught up with her (after giving the unconscious guard a sturdy whack to the head for good measure) she was pummeling the first guard senseless.
For a moment all Spike could do was watch the beautiful violence unfold before him. There was no special grace to it. Nothing but pure brutality as the Slayer took out unknown months of frustration and imprisonment on the hapless vampire.
He walked slowly but loudly behind her, not wanting to startle her, until he could see that she'd pretty much pulverized the vampires head. Spike was tempted to wait and see if she could actually dust the guy by smashing his head in, but the need to leave before anyone knew she had escaped overcame his demon's baser instincts.
"Don't think he's going to follow us, pet," he told her softly, carefully reaching out to place a hand on her shoulder.
She looked at him as if she'd forgotten he existed. Then she nodded. Her eyes looked past him to the rows of cages with the frightened humans inside.
"Suppose you have some heroic need to help them?" he asked.
He hadn't thought of that. Of course he hadn't really been thinking when he'd let loose a Slayer who, even if she wasn't strictly insane, obviously had some issues to work through. Still, rescuing the humans wasn't an entirely bad idea. Although it would definitely destroy their chance for a stealthy get away, the chaos and confusion might be enough to cover their tracks.
Spike pulled the keys off the battered body of the guard and began to unlock the cages on one side. As he did so, the Slayer began to simply break the locks on the other side with her bare hands. Unlike her cell, these cages had been made to hold only normal humans. For a moment Spike wanted to follow her lead and toss the keys, just to show her how strong he was. He thought better of it however, knowing that if she caught him doing it, it would only make him look insecure.
At first none of the humans moved, unsure of what was happening. Then one person ran. As soon as the first person moved they flooded toward the doors, before he and the Slayer could finish freeing the last of them.
'It's going to be chaos all right,' Spike thought.
Once the last of the cages was opened Spike dashed for the stairs to the lower level pushing past the escaping humans. He made it to the stairwell and looked down. The prisoners were making a real mess of their rescue. They had madly rushed down the stairs toward the welcoming green light that promised "Exit."
Unfortunately the vampires had chained shut the old fire exit. The first people to reach the door had been crushed by those behind them. Luckily, for Spike at least, those who had made it down the stairs were so tightly packed around the door that there was a great deal of space clear on the floor opposite it.
Knowing it would take too long to fight through the mob, and that any moment his undead brethren would show up, Spike opted for the quick way down and leapt over the railing, his leather duster billowing behind him.
He hit the ground just as a vampire rushed into the crowded stairwell.
"Spike wha-" he didn't let the vampire finish. Instead he whipped the shot gun around and smacked the vampire in the head, momentarily stunning him.
Behind him he heard another thump and for a moment he worried that he'd lead the way for some sort of suicidal lemming leap off the stairs. It was only the Slayer however, who'd followed his lead.
"This way," he instructed her.
"There's no way out that door," he snapped impatiently. They needed to get a move on before too many vampires were awake.
Reluctantly she followed him. Spike became apprehensive that it was too late, because in the direction they needed to go, half a dozen vampires were rushing towards them. Spike dashed straight towards them. As they closed in on them he raised the shot gun and fired, making a neat little hole in the lead vampire who stumbled back into the others, causing them to trip over each other.
What he had thought was inspired strategy to even the odds, ended up slowing them down. The hallway was narrow enough that the tangle of vampires on the ground blocked the way forward. The ceiling was too low for him to jump over the pile of bodies so he was forced to scramble over the undead obstruction. One of the vampires grabbed his leg, but the Slayer kicked that vampire in the head, and he let go of Spike.
Ahead of them another vampire mob was approaching. This time he and the Slayer simply barreled through them. Punching and shoving their way through the cluster.
Luckily once they were past this second group there was a side hallway that would take them to the parking garage. Behind them they could hear shouts and screams, but ahead of them was another "Exit" door, and this one Spike knew was open.
As they entered the underground parking lot Spike made a beeline for his DeSoto.
"Get in!" he yelled at the Slayer.
She obeyed, even if she did look skeptically at his baby.
As soon as they were in, Spike threw the car into gear and sped out of the lot into the nearly deserted streets of Sunnydale.
"Where are we going?" the Slayer asked slowly, still testing out her voice.
"L.A. Big enough we can get lost there."
She thought over that for a moment and then suddenly blurted out, "You're a vampire."
"Never said I wasn't."
"No, I mean why did you free me?"
Spike waited to answer her as he pulled onto I-5 and the DeSoto was swallowed by the early morning traffic. Now that they were away from the cages, and the mass of terrified humans, Spike could really smell the Slayer for the first time and he took a moment to learn her scent.
After the overwhelming crush of fear and bodily functions that had been the prisoners, her scent was refreshing. She smelled raw, no hint of soaps or deodorants, but she was clean. She smelled slightly of sweat but that only served to reinforce Spike's notion of her as a wild thing. He also noted that there was no hint of fear in her scent.
"What? You don't think I did it out of the evilness of my heart?" he asked.
"Well, actually I did. You know about the Master's plan?"
"Big factory, sucks blood out of victims. Seems kind of lazy to me."
"Bloody right it's lazy. Not just that, it goes against the natural order. Vampires hunt, vampires kill, vampires feed. That's the way it's meant to be. None of this canned blood crap."
"So what? You want me to slay the Master for you so that you can go back to killing?" the tone of her voice made it very clear that she had no intention of helping him in such a plan.
"What? No. If I was going to go after the Master I'd do it myself thank you very much. Don't need the help of a Slayer. Look I didn't have an actual plan. I only just found out last night that he was holding you."
"Still not seeing why you care."
"Look, I don't run from slayers. I'm not just any vampire, you know?" Unconsciously he puffed out his chest and straightened his shoulders. "I'm Spike. William the-"
"The Bloody?" she finished for him. "You've got to be kidding me," she said with disbelief.
"You've heard of me?"
"My Watcher warned me of Spike, sure. Vampire of the Aurelian clan, killed two Slayers. You expect me to believe you're him?"
He couldn't believe her. He'd saved her–seriously fucking up his own unlife in the process–and she didn't even believe that he was him.
"I am too, you bloody bint!" he snapped at her.
"Sorry," she said, as if she thought he was taking the whole thing too personally. "I just thought you'd be taller."
"Like you're one to talk," Spike muttered under his breath.
There was silence for just a beat or two, when the Slayer suddenly demanded "Say something!"
Startled Spike glanced over at her. The tough as nails demeanor she'd slowly been regaining since he'd freed her had melted. Now she was running her fingers through her long matted hair, trying to untangle it, and looking hopefully at him like a child asking for a treat.
"I don't know. Anything, I just don't like. . . I don't like for it to be quiet."
Spike nodded, then realized she wanted him to vocalize, "Yeah, okay. Umm. . . bollocks, I don't know what to say." He glanced around the car hoping a topic would present itself to him. His eyes alighted on the stereo. "You like the Sex Pistols?"
He flipped on the tape deck. The sudden burst of sound startled the Slayer, but then she relaxed back into her seat comforted by the sound.
Spike had hoped that the music would keep him from having to talk to her non-stop. Instead he found that the Slayer was vastly ignorant when it came to music, so he set out to educate her properly figuring that the drive to L.A. should be just long enough for a brief introduction.
Spike parked in the most out of the way corner of the underground parking lot that he could find. As he got out of the car he popped the trunk. This was not the first time he'd had to make a quick getaway, and he always kept two emergency bags in the trunk; one for him and one for Dru.
He paused for a moment, looking at the two bags. What the fuck was he going to do about Dru? Even if he could get to her, there would be no telling what she would think about him freeing the Slayer. At least he knew she was safe. The Master took family very seriously. Dru might receive a beating for not keeping her Childe in line, but the Master wouldn't hurt her seriously.
He slung his bag over his shoulder leaving the other one behind. Even if he thought Dru's things would have fit the tiny Slayer, there was no way he would let her touch anything that belonged to his Dark Princess.
"This way," he absently told the Slayer as he led her away from the car.
They'd barely gotten five feet from the car when Spike suddenly smelled slayer blood. He spun around, half expecting to see an attacker and the Slayer fighting for her life. Instead she almost bumped into him. Seeing his reaction the Slayer instantly started to look for some sign of danger.
"What is it?" she hissed.
"I was about to ask you that. You're bleeding."
"Huh? Oh yeah, I cut my foot on something."
Puzzled, Spike looked down and realized for the first time that the Slayer didn't have any shoes.
"Bollocks!" he cursed.
"What's the big deal? It's just a scratch you know. Doesn't even hurt. Shouldn't we be moving? There is a plan right?"
"Yes," he replied impatiently. "There is a plan. And it involves a trip through the sewers. Not to mention, vampires and lots of other nasties track by scent. Rather not be leaving a trail of slayer blood behind."
While he was speaking, he'd dropped the bag to the ground, knelt down, and started to rummage through it until he found some bandages.
"Lift your foot. You can lean on my shoulder if you need to."
She snorted and lifted her foot as delicately as if she were a ballet dancer. She stood there, perfectly balanced and making a great show of the fact that she was not leaning on the evil vampire.
He grabbed her foot a little roughly, hoping she'd topple over, and bandaged her foot.
"Think you can make it the next three meters without sustaining any more injuries?" he asked her derisively.
She just glared at him and put her foot down gracefully.
When they got to the man hole cover Spike climbed down first. When the Slayer reached almost to the bottom he plucked her off the ladder into his arms.
"Hey!" she protested indignantly. "What do you think you're doing?"
'Does she have to make everything into a bloody battle?' Spike asked himself, ignoring the fact that they were mortal enemies.
"Sewer. Barefoot. Remember?" he told her.
"I'm not some girl, you know. I can handle a little slime."
"Funny," he said pointedly looking down the front of her tank top. "You look like a girl to me."
She blushed bright red, and quickly crossed her arms over her chest to hide her cleavage from him.
After chuckling for a moment at her reaction he explained, "Don't want you to get an infection."
"Didn't know you cared," she replied sarcastically.
"I don't, except that blood poisoning ruins the taste."
Before she could protest any more he headed into the sewers. They were soon enveloped in blackness. He automatically slipped into his game face and moved quickly and surely through the gloom.
As if on cue the Slayer blurted out, "Say-"
"Something," he finished for her. "Yeah, I know. Right then. . . so um. . . when you're not fighting for puppy dogs and Christmas, what do you do?"
"What do you mean what do I do? I'm the Slayer."
"Yeah, but you can't slay all the time. After all most of the beasties don't come out until it's night time."
She relaxed in his arms, uncrossing her own, to put one around his neck and resting the other on his chest as she leaned her cheek against him.
"I train and study."
"And. . . "
"Look, what do you and your mates do?"
"Friends, kitten, friends," he explained.
"I know what mates means," she said in such a way that he imagined she was rolling her eyes at him. "I'm not stupid. I'm the Slayer. I don't have time for friends. I have a sacred duty."
"Sounds rather dull, well except for all the fighting. I suppose you do get a lot of quality violence in, though."
"Quality violence? What is that supposed to-"
"Here we are," he interrupted. "Feel in front of you. There's a ladder there."
She quickly found the rung of the ladder, and climbed up, pushing the sewer grate up above her head. He followed behind her. They came up under an overhang designed to keep the sun off of cars. The overhang was attached to a cruddy looking motel. He quickly got them a room, hoping for a chance to relax and figure out what the hell he was doing.
"So this is the plan?" the Slayer asked as she looked around the motel room he'd procured for them.
"For now," he said wearily, sitting on one of the beds.
It was almost afternoon, and Spike had been up since the sun went down the day before. All he wanted to do was get some sleep.
Unfortunately, he had an impatient Slayer on his hands. She was pacing around the room and generally being jittery. Suddenly, Spike had a great need to get away from her. This whole thing was madness. Looking over her ragged appearance, her matted hair, her dirty gray clothing, and her bare feet he thought of the perfect excuse.
"Look, we'll find a proper place once the sun goes down. Until then, I suppose you need some things. So I'll be back." He hurried toward the door.
She grabbed him by the arm, brining him up short.
"Wait. You can't go. It's too quiet."
Exasperated he tried to pull his arm out of her grasp, but the more he pulled the tighter she gripped his arm.
"Look, turn on the telly. That should keep you plenty entertained."
Her voice took on a special quality as if she was quoting someone else as she said, "Television is for people who have no purpose in life, and haven't the intelligence to read."
He just stared at her a moment as if a second head had sprung out of her chest. Then he smirked. "Scared Slayer?"
Her face fell, she let go of his arm, and sat down on the edge of one of the beds. "Yes. You should go."
She wasn't supposed to admit she was scarred, even though they both knew she was. She was supposed to defiantly claim she wasn't and that she didn't care if he stayed or went.
"You're right. I'm scared." Then she adopted that other voice which struck Spike as vaguely British, "A Slayer must face her fears. She cannot allow fear to make her decisions if she wishes to survive. So go. I'll be fine."
"Right well. . . " he started for the door. "Um. . . what's your shoe size?"
"Right, bye. Back soon," he promised, as he quickly left the room.
Spike hurried back to the motel, partly because he was afraid the Slayer would be gone, and partly because he was recovering from the horror that was shopping. Normally, he broke into places at night and stole what he needed. He'd never known the hellish masses of bargain shoppers that existed. Not to mention the overwhelming and arbitrary choices he found at the Mega-mart.
Luckily, he thought he'd gotten the Slayer everything she would need, at least for the time being. A change of clothes, toiletries, some chips, and chocolate ice cream to subdue her incase she'd gone completely crazy while he was out.
He was feeling rather proud of himself, when he realized that he'd forgotten to get her socks. Oh, well. There was no way he was going back to the Mega-mart. Ever.
As he approached the motel with his haul he opened his senses–as much as he could without vamping–to check for any signs that they had been followed. There weren't any, although he guessed roughly half the rooms were rented by people having nooners.
As he got near their room he could hear the TV playing. Right as he got to the door the TV went off and he could hear scurrying. When he opened the door he found the Slayer sitting cross-legged on one of the beds with her back to the TV. Her eyes were closed and her hands rested on her knees as if she was meditating.
"So what's on?" he asked her as he put the bags down.
"The telley. Anything good on?"
"How would I know?" she asked primly.
"Come on, pet, I know you were watching. I could hear it before I came in. Vampire, remember?"
"I wasn't watching. I was listening," she insisted.
Spike snorted. "That's a pretty piece of equivocation. Sure you're not a bad guy?"
"Oo, equivocation. Kind of a big word for you isn't it, SPIKE?"
"You know, just for that, I'm not letting you have any ice cream after all. Gonna eat it all by myself."
He pulled the pint of ice cream and the plastic spoons out of the bag to prove there really was ice cream. The Slayer only shrugged. Not the reaction he'd expected, considering she'd been locked up for months, eating food most likely chosen not for taste, but to keep her alive as long as possible.
"You don't want any?" he asked, trying not to sound hurt. It's not like he had been under any obligation to be nice to her and buy her anything, much less ice cream.
"I don't eat ice cream. It's not good for you," she stated matter of factly.
He slammed the ice cream down on the bedside table. "Do you ever have any fun?" he asked exasperated.
"I'm the Sl-"
"Slayer. I know." He considered her for a minute; then he ripped open the package of plastic spoons and scooped out a spoonful of chocolate ice cream. "Eat!" he ordered standing in front of her holding it before her face.
She laughed. "You're kidding, right? What is this, some weird kind of torture?"
"Scared?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow at her.
"Please. You really think that's going to work? I'm not scared, I just don't eat sweets."
"Well, obviously you are scared." Before she could protest he continued, "What harm can one bite of ice cream do to you? None, unless you're afraid that you've been missing out on something so good that you won't have the will power to keep from eating more." He lowered his voice to add strength to his dare. "Are you really that weak willed Slayer?"
She glared at him for a minute. Then she leaned forward without breaking eye contact with him, and her lips encircled the treat. He looked down at her hazel eyes as she slowly drew her mouth back across the spoon.
The blood rushed in the direction of his cock as he suddenly found himself imagining the Slayer in a non-violent way.
She worked the ice cream in her mouth for just a minute before swallowing it down. A tiny bit of chocolate ran down one side of her mouth, and her pink tongue darted out to lick it up.
"Good isn't it?" he asked her, his voice a little huskier than he intended.
'She's the Slayer,' he reminded himself, as his mind refused to let go of images of her on her knees sucking his cock. 'She'd probably bite it off.'
But it was no use. The more he told himself that he should not be thinking of the Slayer as a potential fuck, the more he kept coming up with reasons like, how it would prove just how evil he was if he could corrupt someone as good and pure as the Slayer.
"It's good, okay. I admit it. Are you happy now?"
He sat down on the bed across from hers, and gave her his best pout. "It's just. . . I bought it special for you," he sulked.
"Well. . ." she eyed the ice cream, "I guess it would be impolite for me to turn it down."
He almost had to cover his mouth to hide his smirk. It was a small victory and Spike doubted the road to hell was paved with chocolate ice cream. But, since he had no idea what he was going to do now, spending his time trying to pull the Slayer off the straight and narrow seemed like as good an idea as any.
She took the spoon from him and took another bite of the ice cream.
Spike grabbed another spoon and started to get himself some when the Slayer protested, "Hey!"
"What?" he asked.
"You're a vampire," she mumbled through a spoonful of ice cream.
"Didn't we already cover that?"
"Vampires don't eat people food."
"They do if they feel like it–or if ungrateful slayers won't share the ice cream."
With that, he grabbed the pint from her and spun around so he was sitting with his back to her. He wrapped one arm protectively around the ice cream as he hunched over and started to shovel it into his mouth.
"Hey! I thought you bought that for me!" the Slayer whined.
He could feel the mattress shift under him as she leapt from her bed to his, and tried to reach over his shoulder with her spoon.
As he tried to shrug her off he told her, "You can't eat it all."
"Can too," she insisted over a mouth full of chocolate.
"It's bad for you. You'll make yourself sick."
"Argh!" the Slayer yelled in frustration as she shoved him off the bed. "I know it's bad for you!"
Spike couldn't help but laugh at the upside down, angry slayer sitting on his bed wielding a plastic spoon like a stake. Admittedly driving her crazy was probably not the smartest idea, but he did get a certain evil glee from it.
As he righted himself, he tossed her the carton, "Here I'm going to bed."
He tossed his spoon in the waste bin, threw his duster over a chair, and pulled off his shirt. He dropped the shirt to the floor and looked up to see the Slayer, who now sat holding the ice cream out to him with a sad puppy dog look.
"You can have the ice cream," she said apologetically.
He sat next to her, "Look kitten, I'm right knackered. I need to get some sleep before the sun goes down."
"But what am I supposed to do while you're sleeping?"
"Other than finish the ice cream. . ." He stopped unlacing his boots to look her over. "Don't take this the wrong way Slayer, but you really need a shower, not to mention to do something about this," he tried to muss her tangled hair, but it was a lost cause, "which will probably take you till sunset anyway."
She stuck out her bottom lip at him and he was suddenly tempted to bite it. Instead he nodded towards the bags. "Don't you want to see what I got you?"
She sighed and got up to rummage through the bags, making her lack of enthusiasm obvious.
He stood up as well and began to undo his jeans.
The Slayer held up the bag of chips. "I don't eat these eith-" she stopped when she looked up to see him with his jeans around his ankles. She blushed and looked down into the bags trying to busy herself with something.
He couldn't help but chuckle. He would have teased her about it, but he was too tired to start another confrontation. He slipped under the covers, and was just about to go to sleep when something occurred to him.
"Hey you're a good guy, right?"
"Yeah," she looked up slowly, until she was sure he was safely beneath the covers.
"Well, I rescued you, so no staking me while I sleep. Got it?"
"Yeah, okay. No biting me either. Promise?"
"Promise," he replied. It never even occurred to him to cross his fingers.
It was the combination of the world shaking and the pressure that was being exerted on his chest that woke up Spike.
"What the. . ?" he asked as his eyes opened.
Above him was a strange girl. She was the one pushing rather roughly on his chest, and causing the bed to bounce up and down.
It took him a moment to remember who she was and where he was.
"Sun's down," the Slayer announced a little too cheerfully. "Time to get up."
She was obviously in little girl mode. Spike wondered if her personality switches from tough-no-nonsense-Slayer to five-year-old, were a result of her imprisonment, or if she'd just always been crazy.
Still, she had cleaned up rather well. Her matted hair had been brushed out and now seemed to glow. She'd braided it back, and looking at the length of the thick braid, he wondered just how long her hair was.
She was also wearing the clothes he'd picked out for her, and he was glad to see he'd guessed her sizes correctly. The red cotton blouse that tied in front was just a little too small for her, as he'd planned, and drew attention directly to her breasts. It also revealed her flat stomach above the waistband of the black jeans he'd selected.
Under the cuff of the jeans, he could see the black leather boots he'd gotten her. They'd taken most of the cash he'd had, but he figured she needed something other than heels or flip-flops. The army like boots had thick rubber soles which he figured were perfect for slaying.
She was sporting black eye liner, which told Spike she'd rummaged through his stuff. That was a potential problem. He didn't have anything to hide specifically, but he didn't want her to know how much money he had, or rather didn't have. He'd used most of his emergency stash buying stuff for her. He wasn't worried about getting more money; he was worried about her asking questions about where the money had come from.
As he started to get out of bed, she quickly scrambled off and turned her back to him, but not before he could see her start to blush.
"So what's the plan?" she asked as he hurried to get dressed.
"Give me a moment, will you, kitten?" he asked. Not that he needed time to think. He did have a plan, an immediate one anyway. He just needed to find a way to distract her for a bit.
Once he was dressed he turned and asked her, "You got all your stuff together?"
"Yep. I put it in your bag. Well, except for my old clothes. I threw them away, couldn't find anything to burn them with."
Spike smiled as the distraction he needed presented itself. Then he dug into his pocket and tossed her his lighter. She looked startled.
"Go on, in the parking lot, or somewhere. Have some fun while I see about the room bill."
"But I was kidding I. . ."
"It'll be good for you. Give you closure, or some such."
She hesitated for a moment weighing the lighter in her hand, and then dug the grey clothes she'd been living in for who knows how long out of the trash and ran outside.
Spike grabbed his bag, and headed for the front desk. There was a middle-aged woman sitting there now, not the young man who'd been there when they'd checked in. Spike took it as a good sign that the next shift change wouldn't be for a while.
"Can I help you?" the woman asked, bored.
"Just needed some change for the soda machine," he said holding out a twenty.
She nodded, not really paying any attention. The moment she had the drawer of the register open Spike leaned across the counter. He vamped and sunk his fangs into her neck, covering her mouth with his hand, and lifting her feet off the floor.
Normally she would have been too old to be on his menu, but he figured with the Slayer so close he'd have to take what he could get for a while, and the woman's blood was still superior to the factory blood he'd been living on.
Once her heart had stopped beating, he moved swiftly behind the counter and stashed her body. Luckily she was a small woman, but even if she hadn't been, Spike knew that bodies fit in much smaller places than most people supposed. If only you didn't mind breaking a bone or two.
Then he grabbed the cash out of the register stashing some in his pockets and some in the bag. He shut the drawer and went outside to find the Slayer.
She was off to one side, a look of intense concentration on her face as she tried to make the lighter work. She was holding the lighter between both of her hands, trying to work the wheel with her thumb in front of it, instead of to the side.
"Give it here." He held out his hand for it.
She gave him the lighter. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it, taking a minute to enjoy the nicotine rush. He just stood there and smoked until he was sure the Slayer was nice and annoyed. Then he dropped the cigarette into the pile of clothes.
"Like this," he demonstrated for her how to use the lighter then handed it back to her.
It took her two more tries, but she got a flame going. Then she bent down and lit the edge of a pant leg. They watched for a moment to make sure the fire caught, then Spike grabbed the Slayer's arm and pulled her away.
She pulled against him. "I want to stay and watch," she protested.
He laughed, "Quite the fire bug, aren't you? Sorry, kitten. Lighting fires is illegal. Wouldn't do to be caught by the cops."
'Cause you won't let me kill them,' he added to himself. Although fun as it might be, Spike didn't want to attract that kind of attention right now. Nothing too flashy that would make it to the news, and possibly the Master's ears.
Once she stopped resisting Spike took off at a quick pace, away from the motel, murder, and arson. As soon as he started to run, the Slayer took off after him, laughing.
She quickly outpaced him. Spike hadn't been running as fast as he could, preferring not to draw too much attention. He realized that was out of the question. The Slayer was running at full tilt. It was obvious by her laughter that she was simply enjoying the freedom of running. He doubted anything he could say would slow her down, so instead he increased his speed and tried to catch her.
He couldn't, however. She was quickly outpacing him. She looked over her shoulder, yelled, "Slow poke!" then turned down a side street.
"Fuck!" he cursed under his breath, thinking she was trying to get away from him.
The more he thought about it, the more he wondered why she hadn't left before now. After all, she looked presentable again. She could have simply disappeared into the human world while he slept, but she hadn't.
He continued to run after her, following her by scent as she wove in and out of the alleyways of L.A. Just when he thought he'd never catch up to her, he found her sitting on a bench at a bus stop kicking her feet.
She was breathing heavy, but she smiled at him. "What took you so long?" she teased.
He just looked at her like she was nuts, making sure not to breathe or look tired in any way.
"You're completely daft, you know that right?"
Her smile faded. "I'm sorry, I just. . . it was fun wasn't it?"
"We really have to improve your fun standards, pet. But yeah. Suppose it was."
She beamed at him. "So what's the plan?"
"First off, we look for a nest. Then-"
"What? You think I'm following you into some condemned building to get snacked on by your buddy's?"
"Okay, right. First off, when I kill you it'll be just you and me. I killed two other Slayers without any help, and I won't need any to kill you.
"Secondly, we're not looking for other vampires to help us, don't need the help, wouldn't trust them anyway. We're looking for a nest to kill them and take over their lair, got it?"
"So, now all we have to do is find a nest, and hopefully quickly. Get them all at once before they've fed and are fully up and about."
The Slayer smiled, "So I get to slay?"
He grinned; her enthusiasm for a good kill was contagious. "That you do, kitten. Just got to find you something to kill first."
"Oh, that's no problem. There're five vampires over there."
Spike looked to where she was pointing. They were in a fairly run down neighborhood. The sort where the residents didn't have enough clout to do anything about the old boarded up house that sat at the end of the block. Spike had to admit that the place did look promising. If there weren't other vampires there, they might just take over the place anyway.
"How can you know?" he asked her.
She sighed as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, "I'm the Slayer. I can sense vampires. There are six in the immediate area. You're one, and there are five over there."
He considered her answer for a minute. For the first time, it occurred to him how little he knew about slayers. It made him a little nervous to wonder what other abilities she might possess that he knew nothing about. Despite his reputation for being reckless, Spike did believe in certain axioms of battle. 'Know thy enemy' was the first among these.
"Right then, let's go," he told her.
As they got nearer to the house, Spike became sure that she was right. First of all, the two-story house wasn't really in as bad a shape as it had first appeared. The boarded up windows made it look run down, when in fact it was in rather good repair. A clever group of vampires may well have boarded up the windows to keep out both sunlight and the curious.
They approached the raised porch quietly. Below the floor of the porch was a wooden lattice work. The Slayer quickly moved there and broke off two of the thin white sticks of wood. There was no avoiding the loud cracking-noise that it made, but neither of them was going to face a group of vampires without weapons if they had any choice.
She threw him one of the make shift stakes and he hid it behind his back just as a vampire opened the front door. The Slayer was crouched below the level of the porch and the vampire only saw Spike.
"Hello, mate," Spike greeted the other undead.
Cautiously, the vampire moved down the stairs, his eyes never leaving Spike.
"What are you do-?!"
The vampire never finished his question. He was halfway down the stairs when the Slayer sprang forward and plunged her stake into his back.
When the cloud of dust cleared, Spike found himself staring into a pair of smiling green eyes. But only for a moment. Before Spike could move or say anything, the Slayer turned and ran into the house, her stake held high.
"I know they usually have wooden handles, but are vampires really that allergic to brooms?" the Slayer asked.
Spike had to agree. The nest in the abandoned house was an incredible mess. The quintet they had dusted must have been the laziest vampires in existence. The floors were littered with junk that no one had ever picked up.
Still, it had running water and even electricity. Spike had even found a couple beers in the fridge. Also, since the vampires had never bothered to clean out the stuff belonging to the original human inhabitants, there was a small amount of canned food the Slayer could eat.
When they had first discovered the food, the Slayer had immediately started opening cans to find what she could, and would, eat. Evidently, she hadn't found the chips and ice cream he'd bought her very filling.
She was convinced that there were no other vampires about, so she had gone about making her supper while he'd done the last of the exploring.
Upstairs there were two bedrooms. Spike decided that the Slayer would be staying in the one that had pink wallpaper and unicorns. At least the vampires had drawn fangs in blood on the unicorns. Still, he couldn't believe that they'd been so lazy, they hadn't eventually painted over the pink.
The house had one final amenity. In the basement someone had installed some heavy chains, and the smell told Spike that the vampires had often kept victims there.
The place didn't have sewer access, but for once Spike was glad of that. It meant they didn't have to worry about the Master finding them and sending minions to attack them during the day.
He returned to find her eating what looked like beans in the dining room. He lit a cigarette and leaned against the door frame separating the kitchen and the dining room.
There was silence for a bit as she ate and he smoked. He was relieved that she no longer demanded noise at all times.
"What's your name?" he asked suddenly. For the first time it occurred to him, not just that she had a name, but that he didn't know it.
"Buffy," she mumbled with a mouthful of beans.
"What was that?"
She swallowed. "Buffy."
"That's my name."
"Buffy. . . the vampire. . . slayer?" He managed to choke out over his laughter. He dropped his cigarette to the floor and stomped it out, afraid that he might set himself on fire as he began to double over with laughter.
"What's wrong with my name, SPIKE?!"
"Doesn't exactly strike fear into the hearts of demons."
"My mother gave me that name," she insisted angrily.
However, her anger was completely lost on Spike.
"Oh, is that so? Was your mother sadistic or just daft?"
He heard her chair crash to the floor. Before he knew what had happened, he found himself knocked through the door into the island in the kitchen, blood streaming down from his nose.
"My mother loved me!" she shouted over and over like some sort of mantra.
"Bloody hell!" he yelled, dodging out of the way of her fist just in time.
For a moment, Spike was worried. After all he'd watched her stake four vampires earlier that night without breaking a sweat. After staking the first one outside, she'd rushed indoors and staked another before he was even through the door. She'd taken out two more, while he'd only gotten one of them.
During that fight she had been a well trained warrior. Every move carefully chosen. But now she was fighting with blind rage. Her swings were wild, if powerful. She was more like a small child throwing a tantrum than a skilled fighter. The fact that she was still yelling about her mother also reinforced the notion that she wasn't currently playing with a full deck.
He was easily able to dodge or block her blows. Taking a moment to consider the situation, Spike grabbed a frying pan that was hanging from a hook above the island and slammed it against her face with all his strength.
It was enough to stun her for a second, long enough for him to curl his fingers around her throat, lift her off her feet, slam her against the wall, and silence her ranting. Blood began to trickle down the side of her face, where he had cut her with the frying pan.
Her fingers clawed at his hand, as he squeezed her throat. Her nails drew blood. She tried to kick him, but she couldn't get the leverage to put any strength behind her kicks.
Her struggles became weaker but there was no fear. He could neither smell it on her, nor see it in her eyes. She fought because it was what she was trained to do, because it wasn't in her nature not to, but there was also acceptance in her eyes and a look of peace.
Her struggles became weaker and her heartbeat, which had been frantic, began to slow down. He measured the thumping of her heart and released her just before she passed into unconsciousness.
She fell to the ground coughing violently as her body sought to draw in the air that it had been denied. He didn't give her time to recover however. Instead, he grabbed her by the wrist and began to drag her roughly toward the basement door.
As he stopped to kick the door in she managed to scramble to her feet, but she was still in no shape to offer more than a token struggle as he pulled her down into the darkness.
She managed to keep her feet as he forced her down the stairs, though she bumped him more than once. Then he spun her around, so her back was against the wall. She hadn't been down here yet, and since he hadn't turned on the lights she could see nothing, all the while his golden eyes allowing him to see just fine.
Before she knew what was going on, he snapped one of the manacles around her wrist. When she felt the cool metal encircle her wrist and heard the clasp, she began to struggle against the bonds.
Even so, he could see and she couldn't. It was no trouble to maneuver the other shackle around her free wrist. He backed away from her, intending to leave her there to cool down.
As soon as he moved away she screamed, "No! Don't leave me."
She was sobbing and her voice sounded scratchy and ragged. The air was suddenly perfumed with the aroma of her terror. The scent mingled with that of her blood and called to him. He turned back to her and stroked the side of her face. When he touched her, she calmed a little, although her heart was still pounding in her chest.
"Please?" she begged. "Don't leave me here. I'll be good. I'll be good. I'll be good," she repeated over and over.
"Shhh," he whispered in her ear and she quieted immediately.
Then, he tilted his head to lick the blood from her face. Her sweet blood was flavored with fear. He moaned as he tasted it, sandwiching her body between the wall and his. He was hard with the combined elixirs of blood and terror and he pressed his erection into her stomach.
To his surprise she didn't pull away from his tongue, his body, or his cock. Instead, she seemed to lean into him and relax a little. He realized then it was the loneliness she feared. She couldn't see him, and unless he spoke, she couldn't hear him. But if she could feel him, she wasn't alone, and she didn't have to be scared.
"I could do anything I want to you. Kill you, torture you, fuck you. Does that scare you, kitten?" he asked in a seductive voice.
"No," her voice was still harsh from the tears and being choked.
He licked away the salty tears that had run down her face when she thought he was going to leave.
"But if I leave you. . ."
"Noooo," she moaned.
"Hush," he ordered, and once again, she obeyed immediately. "You're lucky, you know? That it's me, not my grand-sire. He would have left you alone. Except he wouldn't have really left. He'd stand, just out of reach, where you couldn't see or hear him. But so close that he could feel your breathing. You know what he'd do then?"
She shook her head.
"He'd jerk off to your fear. Get off on your going mad."
He hadn't really been planning the words, they'd just come. But they brought an odd thought to his mind. For the first time, he wondered what Drusilla had been like before Angelus had made her mad. He loved her madness, had never questioned it. But now, he wondered if his Dark Princess had been like this frightened girl at one time.
He wasn't Angelus however, and he had no interest in seeing how far he could push the Slayer's sanity before it snapped.
"Will you behave if I let you go?" he asked.
"Yes. I'll do anything," she promised desperately.
He chuckled and his hand reached up to stroke her nipple through the fabric of her clothing. "I may just take you up on that."
He was delighted with the feel of her breast in his hand. It was strange to think that any part of the Slayer could be so soft and yielding.
To his surprise she didn't pull away, or make a sound of disgust. But her nipple hardened beneath his thumb.
"Does this bother you?" he asked.
"It's. . . strange," she said with no hint of shame or embarrassment.
Confused by her answer, he pulled back from her and undid the manacles. Then he put his arm around her waist and guided her up the stairs.
As they emerged from the darkness of the basement, he noticed the color in her face. He had cleaned the blood off, but the left side of her face, where he had hit her with the frying pan, had begun to swell and she had a bit of a black eye.
The skin around her throat was an angry red. A bruise was forming; and around one side of her neck, he could see the outlines of his fingers on her skin.
"Your throat hurt?" he asked.
"Right. Let's go then." He headed out of the house.
Confused, she followed.
The night air was cool and brisk. Spike had to admit that it was nice to be outside, away from the confines of the Master's factory, motel rooms, or the strange house they had found.
Spike sniffed at the air, and found the scent he was looking for. He led her away from their new lair. They passed a small corner grocery, but it was already closed so Spike led her past that to a Doublemeat Palace. The place made his skin crawl, but it was the only thing open.
It wasn't very busy. Only a couple of tables had people sitting at them, and there wasn't a line. No one paid them much mind.
Hoping that the fluorescent lights didn't make him look too dead, Spike strode up to the counter.
"Yeah, a cone of chocolate ice cream," he ordered.
The Slayer perked up a bit at that. She'd been following him like a kicked dog.
"Uh, sir. We don't have ice cream." Spike was about to point to the picture, above the guy, of an ice cream cone, when the scrawny guy behind the counter continued. "We have frozen yogurt."
He didn't notice Buffy's face fall at that.
"Fine. Whatever." Spike actually wanted to slug the guy, but he had no idea which of the strange devices behind him contained the frozen yogurt, so he resisted the temptation.
They got the yogurt and sat down in a booth near the door.
"Didn't mean to say something bad about your mother," was all Spike gave her by way of an explanation.
She nodded and licked her yogurt. She was looking down at the cone and wouldn't meet his eyes. He leaned back in his seat and lit a cigarette.
"That make your throat feel better?" he asked.
Again she nodded, still not looking at him.
"Is something wrong, pet? Your ice cream not good?"
"It's not ice cream. It's yogurt."
"Don't you start," he said exasperated. "Does that really matter?"
She bit her lip, considering her answer. "Yogurt is good for you."
He laughed. "It's not re-"
"Excuse me sir," interrupted a very rude voice. Spike looked up to see a rather chubby Doublemeat employee standing over him. "You can't smoke in here."
"Do I look like I take orders from a guy with a cow on his hat?" Spike asked, he turned his attention back to the Slayer to make it clear that, as far as he was concerned, the discussion was over.
"It's illegal. I'll call the police if you don't leave," the employee insisted.
Spike still didn't look at him. Instead he asked the Slayer, "If I killed cow boy here, would you try and stop me?"
She looked up at him startled, meeting his eyes for the first time since the fight.
"You can't threaten me," the employee squeaked and tried to move away but Spike grabbed his arm and held him in place all the while keeping eye contact with the Slayer.
"Yes." Her voice was still a little raspy, but it was also sure and deadly.
He smiled, seeing the life come back into her. "Why?"
"Because you can't just kill innocent people. It's wrong."
The employee was becoming increasingly nervous as he continued to squirm and tug on Spike's grip. He didn't understand why he wasn't able to break free from Spike's grasp, or even cause Spike's arm to move.
He chuckled, "How do you know he's innocent?" Before she could protest, he continued. "Have you looked in the mirror, kitten? Do you have any idea what you look like at this moment? What do you think she looks like," Spike looked at his captive's nametag, which identified him as the manager. "Matt?"
"I. . . um, She looks really pretty?" Matt sputtered.
"Like your women beat up, do you Matt?" Spike teased his victim.
A couple on the other side of the joint stood up and hurried out the door. Everyone else was making a great show of not watching what was going on.
"No!" Matt protested. "That is. . ."
"Shut up, Matt." Spike managed to make the man's name an insult. "Take a look, kitten."
He gestured to the window, where her reflection could be seen. As her fingers went up to trace the outlines of her black eye, Spike took another drag on his cigarette, and blew the smoke directly into Matt's face. Matt was looking a little pale as he looked into the window seeing Buffy and himself but no Spike.
"Now, I ask you," Spike turned back to Buffy. "If a bloke comes in here, looking the way I do, with a girl, looking the way you do, a person might leap to the conclusion that he had done that to her. That maybe this fellow was beating his girlfriend or wife.
"Now we both know what happened, but that's not the point. The point is that Matt here has threatened to call the police on me, not because I'm an abusive bastard. Not because I've beaten, killed, and raped who knows how many women, but because I'm smoking. So I ask you again, is Matt worth saving? Is he worth risking your life for?"
"You don't understand. . ." she searched for the words to explain to him why he was wrong.
Spike let go of Matt. "If you call the cops now, I'll use you as a human shield, and get you shot. If you call them once we leave, I'll come back and snap your neck," he told him calmly, but leaving no room for argument.
The manager stumbled backwards, nodding. Spike hoped fear would keep the fellow from calling the cops. He knew his appearance was distinctive enough, even if the man only remembered his hair and coat, and that might help the Master to track them down.
"How long have you been the Slayer?" he asked her.
"Since I was fifteen, almost three years now."
"So for three years you've risked your life, night after night. Not to mention all the time you spent in the Master's prison. And you did it for Matt the Manager. Not for some innocent sweet little thing. Is it worth it? Are these people, who don't give a shit about anyone but themselves, really worth giving up your life for?"
"You're evil. You have no soul. You don't get it."
He laughed. It wasn't like he was really trying to convince her. Just sow some doubt, make her wonder if maybe she should be a little more selfish.
"Well, you're right on all three points, although I'd work on your rhetoric. You want more ice. . . yogurt?"
"No." They got up to leave. "Were you really going to kill him?"
Spike was glad to get back outside, away from the smell of the Doublemeat Palace.
"Don't know. Wouldn't have bit him. Couldn't get through all that fat to a vein."
"Why didn't you kill me?" she asked. There was no hint of anger in her voice. Just curiosity.
"Wasn't ready to."
"No, the real reason. I want to know."
He studied her for a moment, wondering if she could deal with the real answer.
"Because you didn't care if you lived or died."
"I care," she whispered, but she thought about it as they walked back to their temporary home.
On the way back, Spike pointed out the market to her, and gave her twenty dollars so she could buy herself some food when they opened the next day.
When they got back, the Slayer was still deep in thought, so Spike turned on the television. He was disappointed to find out that the vampires had been too lazy to steal cable, so all they had were the broadcast channels.
She sat next to him on the couch, but she didn't say anything. He doubted she was really watching the telly either. She seemed lost in thought and he wondered whether she was thinking about whether being the slayer was worth it, or about if she really did want to live.
Eventually, she fell asleep. He lifted her up off the couch and carried her up the stairs to the room with the vampire-unicorns.
He laid her on the bed and unlaced her boots, slipping them off her feet. Her feet were a little red, and he could see blisters beginning to form. They would have to get her some socks.
Then he sat down next to her on the edge of the bed, and undid the knot that held her shirt closed. Underneath was the red lace bra he'd bought her, which did nothing to hide her breasts from his hungry eyes.
He licked his lips as the cool air caused her nipples to harden beneath the red spider-web flowers. He reached out his left hand, and carefully cupped her breast. She sighed and shifted in her sleep, pushing her breast more firmly into his hand.
He had to fight the temptation to fondle her breast, to circle her nipple with his thumb, or to suck it into his mouth.
Instead he unzipped the fly of his jeans, and began to stroke his cock. He held himself still so his movements wouldn't wake her. Only his right hand moved as it rubbed his aching erection.
His eyes were glued to her sleeping form. Once again, he had her completely at his mercy. He could do anything he wanted to her. He thought about quickly unzipping her jeans, and thrusting himself into her. He could do it before she was completely awake, and she would be helpless then. Strong as she was, he would have her pinned down, and he could plunge in and out of her. Her struggles would only make it better for him, as would her crying. Then, he would sink his fangs into her neck and kill her.
Or maybe he wouldn't kill her. Maybe he'd just take enough to weaken her. He would spend the entire night fucking her anyway it suited him. Maybe she'd beg him to kill her, but he wouldn't. He would keep her for as long as she pleased him.
He came with a shudder, biting his lip to keep from crying out. He took his hand from her breast and zipped himself back up. Then he pulled the blanket over her, kissed her on the forehead, and left.
Spike pulled the pillow over his head. Vampire hearing could sometimes be a real curse. Sometime in the late afternoon the Slayer had started thumping and bumping around the house. She'd been doing whatever it was she was up to for quite some time too.
Finally, Spike couldn't take it anymore. He threw on his jeans and stormed downstairs.
"What the bloody hell-" he stopped his rant half way down the stairs.
He looked around the living room. It was clean. All the junk had been picked up off the floor, and there was no sign of dust. A smudged Slayer came out of the kitchen, sponge in hand. There was no sign of the bruises she'd had the night before. She'd found some old clothes and was wearing some gray sweats and a t-shirt that was now covered with dirt and grease.
"Something wrong?" she asked.
"You cleaned?" Spike was confused.
Sure he'd agreed the place was a mess, but he'd never thought of cleaning it. Minions cleaned. Evidently, Slayers did as well.
"Am cleaning," she corrected, and went back into the kitchen.
He figured as long as she was cleaning, he wasn't going to get any sleep. On the other hand, having the place cleaned might be worth it. He decided he was awake enough anyway that he couldn't get back to sleep, and it was only a little while till the sun would be up. So he went and took a shower.
Afterwards, he turned on the television and ignored the fact that the Slayer was still cleaning. He'd never cleaned in his life and he wasn't going to start now. Although, he was surprised that the Slayer never even asked him to help.
It started to bug him. Everything he knew about human nature told him that a teenage girl should not be cleaning a house of her own will. At least not without insisting that he help. Unable to take it anymore he stormed into the kitchen to confront her.
The Slayer was lying half-in half-out of the oven, cleaning it. The kitchen was actually sparkling.
"Careful there, Gretel," he commented.
"Huh?" she pulled her head out of the oven. "My name is Buffy, remember?"
"I know that. I meant, in case a witch pushes you in."
She gave him a blank look. "Why would a witch push me in an oven?"
"To eat you."
She looked at him as if was crazy.
"You know. . . Hansel and Gretel?" his voice taking on a slightly exasperated tone.
Still no sign that she knew what he was talking about. "Trail of bread-crumbs, house made of gingerbread. IT'S A BLOODY CHILDREN'S STORY," he ended up yelling.
"Sounds dumb. Witches don't eat people."
Spike jumped up and sat on the island.
"Didn't your mo- anyone ever read stories to you when you were a kid?" He didn't want to specifically bring up her mother since that had proven to be a sensitive subject.
"Why would Ms. Post read stories to me? I can read, you know."
"Ms. Post?" he asked.
"I meant your parents."
"Oh, I don't remember," she said a little sadly.
"Ah, didn't know they died. Still your Wa-"
"They're not dead!" she yelled.
Spike got ready to hop off the island, thinking that maybe he should have armed himself with another frying pan.
"When I was four years old, my parents gave me to my Watcher," she started to explain. She was using the voice that sounded like she was quoting someone. Ms. Post's voice, Spike now assumed. "They knew how important my duty as a Slayer was to the world. They understood that the sooner I began my training the better a Slayer I would be, and that I couldn't afford any distractions from my sacred duty. They were very proud of me."
Something about the Slayer's well-rehearsed explanation didn't sound right to Spike. But, he saw no point in arguing with her about it.
"So your whole life, all you've done is train to be the Slayer?"
"And that's why you've never eaten ice cream, or watched TV?"
She nodded again.
"Well, now I know why your sense of fun is so fucked up. You probably enjoy scrubbing the kitchen, don't you?"
"I don't enjoy it. But Ms. Post always says housekeeping is good exercise."
"I just bet she does. Right, then. We're going out, so get yourself cleaned up and dressed," he told her.
"But I'm not done cleaning the stove," she insisted. "A job left unfinished is a job that might as well not have been started."
"Look, Ms. Post, not here." He hauled her to her feet. "I am. And I say go clean yourself up." He slapped her lightly on the ass to get her moving.
She glared at him, but put down her sponge and headed in the direction of the bathroom.
When she came back downstairs she'd showered, but she was wearing an ugly olive drab polo shirt that was too big for her, along with the jeans he'd bought her.
"Thought I told you to get dressed?" he asked annoyed at the delay.
"I am dressed," she replied, confused.
"In that? I'm not being seen with you in that. What happened to the top I bought you?"
She sighed as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Red is bright. Makes you more visible. Plus, bright colors attract vampires."
"And you're what, the urban commando? Wouldn't attracting vampires make things easier for you anyway?"
He was a little offended at the idea that vampires blindly chased down people in bright colors, as if they were bulls in a ring.
"I don't wear red. I only wear subdued colors, so as not to draw attention to myself. The Slayer should pass through the world unnoticed, letting no one know of her existence," she said in the Ms. Post voice.
Spike was completely stumped.
"Where'd you get that rag anyway?" he finally asked.
"In your room. There's a bunch of old clothes in the closet and drawers."
"Right. Fine. We'll find something we both agree on then."
That turned out to be harder than he'd thought. The old clothes she'd mentioned had obviously belonged to the humans who'd once owned the house. The husband had boring taste that spoke of a life of conformity. If the guy had owned at least a dark button down shirt, it would have been a start, but Spike wasn't that lucky.
The closet didn't yield any better results. Holding up one of the dresses quickly told Spike that, although the lady of the house had been the same height as the Slayer, she'd been twice as big. Not to mention he didn't think much of her taste either.
Something at the back of the closet caught his eye. He pulled out a clear plastic garment bag that contained a wedding dress. It had a big three-layered, lace hoop skirt. The delicate bodice had been embroidered with clear shiny beads. It was made to be worn off the shoulder, and he imagined that it showed off a nice amount of cleavage.
It was the size of the bodice that caught Spike's eye. It was much smaller than the other clothes, and as Spike held it up in front of the Slayer, his suspicion was confirmed. The dress was her size.
"I am NOT wearing that," the Slayer stated firmly.
"Of course you're not. You think I'm traipsing around with you, letting everyone think we're newly weds?"
At first, he was surprised that there was no sign of longing in her eyes. No trace that, although she wouldn't wear the dress, she wished to have one like it someday. But then he remembered that she'd been raised to think of only one future–not marrying and having children, but fighting demons.
It made her a sort of alien creature. She really wasn't a girl, at least not any sort he was familiar with. He couldn't really imagine a girl who'd never once dreamed of her wedding day or imagined her prince charming.
"Point is," he continued, throwing the dress across the bed. "Once upon a time, the Missus was your size. She may have kept some other old stuff."
He grunted in triumph when he found a cardboard box at the bottom of the closet. He opened the box and found that it did contain old clothes that would fit the Slayer. Unfortunately, it was also a collection of the worst of the 70s. Paisley was far worse than what she was wearing now.
Determined, he continued to dig through it until he finally found something. Now if he could only find a way to get her to wear it. . . He turned to look up at her and found her sitting on the bed, staring a little sadly at the dress.
"Something wrong?" he asked her.
"I'd forgotten," she said quietly.
"It was at a wedding." She looked at him and seeing that he wasn't following her, she explained, "Ms. Post. She came and got me at a wedding."
They were both silent for several minutes. The Slayer lost in long forgotten memories and Spike filing away the information, trying to fit it together with the other things he already knew about the Slayer.
The silence began to get uncomfortable for Spike. He was a little too close to a touchy-feely moment with the Slayer for his liking.
"Right, well," he interrupted the quiet. "I found this for you to wear. I take it you do wear black."
"Black's fine," she agreed. "It has no sleeves," she said as she examined the article of clothing he handed her.
He fought to keep from smiling. It had been a long shot, but she obviously didn't recognize it for what it was. "Do you really need sleeves?" he asked.
"I guess not. Turn around," she told him.
Spike was more than willing to do so, not believing his luck. The top he had handed her wasn't a top at all; it was a black bustier. It wasn't decorated, just solid black fabric between the delicate boning. And there was no lace around the cups so it didn't scream "underwear," at least not if you didn't know what it was; and, he guessed that the Slayer's no-nonsense training had not included lingerie.
"How are you supposed to hook these things?" he heard the Slayer complain.
"Want some help, pet? I promise not to look."
Her back was to him, as he turned around, and she was holding the two sides of the bustier together since she'd only managed to hook the top most clasp.
She was beautiful. Her braid was over her shoulder, exposing the pale skin of her back and the curve of her shoulder blades. But it was her bare neck that had him most entranced. He wanted to lick and bite his way down that neck to her naked shoulders.
He stepped in toward her and began to fasten the hooks. He didn't peer over her shoulder to see if her breasts were visible while the bustier was loose, but not because he was a gentleman. Rather he was enjoying being teased by her. When he was ready he would take her, force her. Until then he could be patient.
When she turned around he decided it was well worth the wait. Her thick roped braid drew his eyes down to where her creamy white breasts peaked out from the black fabric, begging him to bury his face in her cleavage. Her bare shoulders made her look vulnerable, while the well-defined muscles on her arms hinted at her true strength.
She placed her hands on her waist and adjusted it. "It fits funny."
"It's perfect," he said, fighting to keep the lust out of his voice.
That's when he noticed that despite the plain clothes she'd picked out for herself earlier, she had once again put on eyeliner.
"If you're not a girl, how come you wear make up?" he asked.
"If you're a guy, how come you have make up?" she retorted.
He shrugged, "A little eyeliner brings out my eyes, or so I'm told. Can't put it on myself, no reflection. Dru usually does it for me."
He felt a momentary pang of guilt when he remembered that he should be thinking of a way to get Dru from the Master, and not playing dress up with the Slayer.
"My Sire. And don't try to change the subject." He wasn't comfortable talking about Dru with her. It had occurred to him that if worse came to worse he could trade the Slayer for Drusilla. "So what's with the make up?" He stroked a finger down the side of her ear, where he'd noticed a small line of scars. "Used to have your ears pierced too."
She looked down at her hands for a minute. Then she went and got the eyeliner. "Do you want me to put it on you?" she asked.
They sat on the bed facing each other and she leaned forward to begin tracing his eyes.
"We used to go to this rare bookstore, Ms. Post and I. The shop owner could find lots of rare volumes for her. He had a son, named Jason. Look up," she told him so she could line the tops of his eyes. "He was a couple years older than me, and really nice. We used to talk.
"I'd been called just a couple months earlier. There was this powerful vampire couple. I killed the male, but the female, Isabella was her name, got away." She finished with the eyeliner, and stared at the brush, nervously playing with it.
"One night, Jason knocked on my door. I almost. . . I almost invited him in. Even before I was the Slayer I knew better. She'd turned him, to get to me. He said all sorts of mean things. Told me I was a kid that my scar made him sick. How beautiful Isabella was and that she was a real woman and I was just a kid. All sorts of stuff like that.
"He was just a fledgling though. So I beat him up, until he told me where Isabella lived. I staked him, then I found her and killed her too."
She looked up at him, tears glittering in her eyes. "He was right, you know. She really was pretty, and I'm. . ." she looked down again at her hands. "She wore makeup like this, and she had all these earrings on one ear. After I staked her, I found her make up and her earrings. I started wearing them. Ms. Post didn't like it at first; she'd pull out the earrings and scrub my face. But after I kept re-piercing them every night she gave up. She told me if a demon ever ripped my ears off, not to come crying to her."
He put his hand under her chin, and lifted her face. Then he ran his thumb along the scar that crossed her lips.
"Vampires are evil. They lie, kitten. You're beautiful."
She blushed a little and smiled. "So does that mean you're lying?"
Without thinking, he leaned forward to kiss her. Before his lips could brush hers, she pulled back, a look of alarm on her face.
To disguise, from himself and her, the disturbing fact that he'd almost kissed the Slayer he quickly spoke, "So, um. You want to get your ears pierced again? I bet we can find a tattoo parlor that's still open. Get you some new earrings."
"Yeah, okay," was all she said.
She looked just as glad as he was to get off the bed and out of the room.
Spike had his arms crossed and had to dig his fingers into his arms to keep from growling at the guy who was piercing the Slayer's ears.
The Kid, as Spike thought of him, was a rather nice looking man with floppy brown hair, a goatee, several tattoos on his arms, and wore a Metallica t-shirt and ripped jeans. He was also practically drooling down the Slayer's front.
Spike couldn't believe the nerve of The Kid who seemed not to care that he was hitting on the girl in front of her older brother, as Spike had claimed he was. In fact, The Kid had even made a big deal about how he shouldn't be piercing her ears without proof that she was eighteen, but he'd make an exception since she had her brother with her to vouch for her.
Spike knew better, he knew The Kid was just hoping to get her away from him so that he could take advantage of her. The Kid even had the nerve to suggest that Buffy should think of getting something other than her ears pierced. Spike quickly put an end to that, conveniently forgetting that he'd made a similar suggestion before they'd arrived.
"There, that wasn't so bad, now was it?" The Kid said.
Spike wanted to hit him. Hadn't he noticed that his Slayer had never once flinched when the gun shot the metal through her ears? Three piercing in her right ear, and one in the left, and never once did she so much as blink. But The Kid couldn't see that she wasn't some girl, she was a warrior. Only Spike knew that.
The Kid had finished giving her instructions on how to care for her ears, and they moved to the counter to ring up the purchases. As The Kid continued to try and flirt with her, Spike pulled out his pack of cigarettes, pulled one out, and purposely set the pack down on the counter.
He put the cigarette in his mouth when The Kid noticed him. "I'm sorry, man. There's no smoking."
The Slayer tensed, but Spike only smiled, put the cigarette behind his ear and shrugged. She relaxed, then her eyes noticed a calendar sitting on the counter.
"Is it really February?" she asked.
"Yeah. February 19th," The Kid replied.
"That mean something, kitten?" Spike asked.
"My birthday was a month ago," she told him. "I guess I really am eighteen."
"Well, Happy Birthday, kitten." Spike smiled sadly at her, knowing where it was she must have spent her last birthday.
"Isn't she your sister, man?" The Kid asked.
Spike ignored him. "How about a tattoo for your birthday?" he suggested.
She looked at him like he was crazy. "Please. Have you seen these things?" She turned to gesture at the walls which were covered in potential tattoos for people to chose from. "I mean they're all naked women, and snakes, and skulls. Or naked women sitting on a skull holding a snake."
"There's lots of roses and hearts," he pointed out.
"They're red," she stated firmly.
He sighed. She really was a stubborn thing.
The Kid walked over to her with a book, "We have a bunch of goth tattoos," he suggested.
But she wasn't paying attention to him, something had caught her eye.
"What is it, pet?" Spike asked. "See something you like?"
"It's not. . ." she moved closer to the wall. "It's just, I had a dress like that, when I was a little girl."
Spike looked where she was pointing. It was a small tattoo. A little blond fairy dressed in a pink ballerina's outfit. The fairy had a little wand with a star at the end, and delicate wings.
"My dad. He used to call me his fairy princess."
"Do you want it?" Spike asked her.
"No. . ." she said without any conviction.
Spike moved behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders as he whispered in her ear, "I bet you dad would be glad to know you remember. Bet he'd like for you to have something to remind you of him."
"I don't know. . ."
"A lot of women," The Kid broke in, "get that sort of tattoo right above their breast. It w-"
"NO!" Spike said firmly. There was no way he was letting anyone anywhere near her breasts. "It would look nice on your shoulder. You could cover it up then, if you ever want to."
"You think?" she asked.
"Okay," she agreed nervously.
The Kid quickly led her to a booth and prepared the needles. He tried to keep Spike out, but Buffy said that it was alright if he was there.
It wasn't that Spike was that interested in the procedure, it was that he didn't trust The Kid. Spike was sure that he was up to no good, and intended to molest her the moment he had her alone. So he stood guard over the Slayer as she got her tattoo.
When it was done The Kid put a bandage over it, and gave her instructions on how to take care of it. Spike paid and hurried her out of the parlor.
"So what do you want to do for your birthday, kitten?" he asked her once they left.
"It's not really my birthday."
"I know, but I'm guessing you didn't get cake. Do you want cake? What kind do you like?"
"I've never had cake."
"Right, I forgot. You know, I'm starting to wonder if there was any point in my rescuing you? We're going to find you cake. Maybe go out to a club or something."
Spike patted down his pockets, pretending to look for the cigarettes he had left in the tattoo parlor.
"Damn," he said. "Left my smokes back at the shop. Wait here, I'll be right back."
"It's okay, I can come with you," Buffy told him.
"Nah, it'll just take a minute, be right back. Think about what sort of cake you want."
With that he headed back down the street toward the tattoo parlor. As soon as he turned the corner and was out of the Slayer's sight he took off at full speed. He didn't want this to take too long.
He reentered the shop, a little bell ringing above the door as he did so.
"Can I help. .? Oh it's you again. Something wrong?" The Kid asked.
"Forgot my smokes." He picked up the package and lit a cigarette.
"Hey, I told you man, no smoking in here."
"Sorry about that," Spike said.
He took the cigarette out of his mouth, walked over to the The Kid, and put the cigarette out in his eye. The Kid fell to the ground screaming in pain.
"That's for looking at my girl," Spike said as he hauled him up by the back of his shirt and threw him across the counter. Then his fangs tore painfully into The Kids throat, ripping it open. Blood poured from the wound down his throat.
It was a quicker death than Spike would have liked to have given him, but he didn't have time for niceties like torture.
He dragged the body into the back, and washed the blood from his face. Then he turned out the lights in the shop, turned the sign around from open to closed, and left.
He ran back till he was almost to the street where he'd left the Slayer, then he pulled out the cigarette that had been behind his ear the whole time, lit it, and strolled casually down the street.
The Slayer was nowhere to be seen, but a few feet from where he'd left her, a cop car was parked.
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