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Initiative Dreams by slaymesoftly
Chapters 1 - 8

              By Slaymesoftly

Chapter One

“I hate you!” she growled, swinging her sword toward the neck of the nearest gibbering demon.

“I hate you more!” replied the vampire beside her as he took out two more of the multi-toothed creatures attacking them.

“This is your fault, Mr. I-know-just-how-to-sneak-in,” she grunted as she decapitated two more demons.

“Hey, I’m not the one who said we could handle it ourselves, remember?”  In a high pitched voice he quoted, “No, Giles, we won’t need back-up. Spike and I won’t have any problems...” He stopped talking as four of the diminutive, but fierce demons attacked at once and he got very busy keeping them at bay.  He could feel the Slayer behind him and knew from her rapid heartbeat and breathing that she was as hard pressed as he was.

“Shut up and fight,” she managed to gasp as the horde of small, deadly creatures kept pouring out of the back of the cave.

They continued cutting them down until there was a wall of bodies beginning to build up around them and they were being pushed closer and closer together, leaving less room to swing their swords.

Spike hadn’t survived for over 120 years without learning how to cut his losses, and he began sneaking looks at their surroundings to find an escape route. Between demon killings, he noticed a ledge in front of what appeared to be a tunnel and decided it was reachable if they used the pile of bodies they’d amassed as a take-off point.

“Slayer, switch!” As he said it, he and Buffy spun around and continued fighting with no break in their defense.

“Do you see that tunnel up there?” he asked.

Buffy glanced up and saw what he was talking about. “I see it. Do you think we can get there from here?”

“We’d bloody well better be able to – I don’t see us running out of ugly  little biters any time soon, do you?”

“No, I guess not.  How do you want to do this?”

“On a count of three, from the top of the demon pile,” he instructed.  Both fighters jumped agilely to the top of the wall of bodies, then as Spike counted, “One, two, three!” they leaped upward to the ledge above their heads.  Just as Buffy  pushed off, the body she was using as a springboard shifted just enough to throw off her jump and instead of landing on the ledge with Spike, she found herself hitting the wall and sliding down toward the snapping jaws below. Before she had time to worry about her situation, she felt a strong hand catch her wrist and she was yanked up, none-too-gently, landing on top of Spike as he tumbled backwards.

“You can thank me later, luv,” he leered at her, “we really don’t have time for this now.”
Buffy glared at him and jumped to her feet, refusing to admit to herself that it had felt kind of nice, lying on that lean muscular body.  “Ugh! Spike. You are such a pig!”

“Yeah, that’s why you love me, “ he said, springing easily to his feet and pulling her toward the tunnel.  “Let’s go, Slayer, before they figure out what we did.”

They took off running with supernatural speed until they could see the way out of the cave system.  Since Spike didn’t need to breathe, he wasn’t panting, but he was tiring, and Buffy was clearly out of breath.  They stopped and sat at the entrance, backs against a wall.

“I hate running away!” she said angrily as soon as she got her breath back.  “I just hate it!”

“Know you do, Slayer, but what’s the first rule of bein’ a successful slayer?”

“Stake all annoying, direction-challenged vampires?” she suggested.

“After that one,” he growled. “And I am not direction-challenged.  They worked some mojo in there to confuse me.”

Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed.  Spike continued to look at her expectantly, waiting for her answer.

“What?” she demanded.

            “Waiting for that first rule, Slayer,” he said mildly.

“Stay alive,” she mumbled.

“What was that, Slayer?  Not sure I heard you.”

“Stay alive! ,” she growled at him. “But I hate running!”

“But you live to fight another day, don’t you? And isn’t that your job? To be there to get the bad guys?”

“Thank you very much, Giles, Jr.” she snarked at him. “Then why are you still walking around annoying us?”

“Cause you’d miss me if I was gone, and you know it.” He grinned at her. “You’d have to go out looking for strange vampires to fight with.”

She smiled back at him in spite of herself. “You’re about as strange as they come, Spike. No need to go looking.”

“Ha, bloody, ha, Slayer.”

They rested in companionable silence for awhile, until Buffy sat up abruptly to say,  “I guess we’d better get going. Go back and tell Giles we’re going to need a plan B.”

“What’s your hurry, Slayer? I was just getting comfortable.” He looked at her curiously.

“Nothing, I just – I’m hungry.  Fighting makes me hungry,” she said quickly, grateful that he had never heard Faith’s  “Slaying makes me hungry and horny” spiel.

He just looked at her with a curious smile on his face. “That all you want, Slayer? Food?”  he asked.  He could tell from her flustered but puzzled expression that she didn’t know he could smell her arousal.

“Of course, food.  What else would I be hungry for?”  She regretted the question as soon as the words left her mouth and braced herself for a lewd reply from him.

To her surprise, instead of making a piggy remark of some sort, he just looked at her quietly until she blushed and turned away from his too-perceptive eyes.

“Nothing, Slayer,” he sighed. “Nothing at all.  Let’s go then.”

He stood up and held out his hand to her.  She gazed up at him with wide eyes, but took the proffered hand and let him pull her to her feet.  They stood for a second, both remembering Willow’s spell from the previous month.  Today was the first time they had been alone together since their “engagement” and, aside from their brief togetherness while they were escaping, it was the first time they had touched since the spell.

As she stood facing Spike, their hands still linked, Buffy found herself remembering the kissing, hand-holding and caressing that had occupied them the whole time they'd thought they were getting married.

Spike looked back at the Slayer and tried to tell himself he wasn’t feeling what his body told him he was.  Slayer, Slayer!  he reminded himself.  Death in tight pants!  Nothing he said to himself seemed to make a difference. It was taking every ounce of self-control he had not to pull her to him and begin babbling in her ear things he never wanted to say aloud and that he knew she didn’t want to hear from him.

Buffy was staring at his mouth and remembering what a good kisser he’d seemed to be when they were under the spell.  She wondered if she thought that because of the spell or if he really was that good a kisser.  Without conscious thought, she found herself leaning toward him, face tilted up toward his mouth.  Which, she noticed with alarm, was getting closer and closer to hers.

A sudden clatter behind them in the cave interrupted the moment and they jumped apart, turning to face the back of the tunnel, swords raised.  A tense minute passed, than a fat raccoon waddled out and past them, barely deigning to glance at the two super-powered beings blocking his cave.  Buffy and Spike relaxed and shared a soft laugh at their own expense. A laugh, followed by an uncomfortable silence as each remembered what they were doing before they were startled out of it.

“We’d better get going,Spike,” Buffy said quickly. “It’s going to be dawn soon.  You need to get back to Giles’ before the sun comes up.”

There was no way to argue with her – he could feel the tingling that told him the sun was approaching, and he reluctantly followed her out and down the trail to where they’d left Giles’ car.

As Spike drove quickly back to Giles’ apartment, Buffy studied his profile and finally asked, “Spike, why are you helping me with this stuff?”

“Because these are the wankers who put this soddin’ chip in my head – and they’re the ones who can take it out.” he replied.  “Not to mention, I saw a few of my poker buddies in there.  Perfectly harmless demons being kept like lab rats.”

“Well, since the chip prevents you from hunting anyone, I kinda doubt they’re going to want to take it out.  Especially if it means you can try to break your friends out.  And since when do vampires and demons have friends, anyway?”

He didn’t answer her right away, just shot a speculative look in her direction.

“You know, Slayer,” he said quietly, “what you and your watcher don’t know about demons and vampires could fill a library.”

They rode the rest of the way in silence and were soon sitting in Giles’ living room waiting for him to wake up so they could tell him what happened on their fact finding venture.


“So, you’re saying the cave entrance to the Initiative base is protected by both magic and demons?” Giles was trying to clear his head enough to understand Buffy’s report on their mission.  Which wasn’t easy, with Spike interrupting every few minutes to add something or to correct her version of events.  Giles listened to their arguing about who was the most at fault for their failure as long as he could and then finally roared out, “Silence! Both of you!”

The angry, loud tone from the usually mild-mannered watcher shocked them both into a momentary cease fire.

“Whoa, Watcher! Didn’t know you had that in you,” Spike snarked.

“You have no idea what’s in me, Spike.  And I suggest you not do anything to find out.”  The cold stare and menacing tone were pure Ripper and Spike and Buffy both stared at Giles in amazement.

“Uh, Giles, you haven’t been eating band candy  again, have you?” Buffy asked suspiciously.

“Band candy?” Spike repeated.

“Tell you later,” she whispered, poking him into silence.

“No, I have not been eating magical candy.  I have, however, been awakened before dawn by two people who seem to have failed at a simple little fact-finding mission and can’t stop arguing with each other long enough to tell me what happened.”

Buffy was temporarily silenced, and even the vampire looked suitably abashed for a moment.  Before they could recover and begin telling their own versions of the tale, Giles held up a hand and said, “Let me see if I have this correct.”  Turning to Spike he said, “You say the caves were ‘mojo’d’ to keep shifting so that you couldn’t find the way in?  That would be the way that you assured me you knew, which was my only reason for allowing you to go along with Buffy?”

“Well, yeah.  Every time I could see the way in, a wall would move and I couldn’t see it anymore.  It just wasn’t where I knew it should be.  I tried to get close enough to see if the new walls were just illusions, but then the little biters started coming out and we couldn’t get close enough to feel it.  Wasn’t my fault,” he finished defiantly.

“And you...” Giles turned to Buffy. “Even with Spike’s help, you weren’t able to dispatch small, noisy creatures that, by your description, stand no higher than your waist? Does that about cover it?”

“There were lots of them,” Buffy protested.  “Lots and Lots! They just kept coming. We killed a whole bunch,” she said brightly. “Didn’t’ we, Spike?”

“Huh? Oh yeah! Hundreds probably.  Maybe thousands!”

At Giles and Buffy’s eye rolls, he finished by mumbling, “Well, we left a four foot high wall of bodies, anyway.  Little wankers wouldn’t quit comin’.”  He thought for a minute, then said, “You know, Watcher, there was something unnatural about those critters.”

“Well, duh! Demons!” Buffy rolled her eyes at him.

              “I know demons,” he growled in her direction.  “There was something... off... about those guys.  Something not quite right.  Like they’d been – I dunno, manufactured or somethin’.”

Buffy and Giles exchanged glances.  The watcher cleaned his glasses and sighed as he placed them back on his face. “All the more reason to find out what’s going on in there.  If they’re manufacturing demons— ”

“Why would you make demons?” Buffy wondered aloud.

“I’ve told the both of you, over and over – they’re doing all kinds of experiments on demons in there.  This soddin’ chip is one of their experiments – who knows what else they might be doin’ in there?

“Spike,” Giles pointed out, “that chip is the only reason Buffy hasn’t staked you yet.  I wouldn’t be so unappreciative of it if I were you.”  Giles was turning away as he said this and missed the thoughtful look Spike sent toward the Slayer and her responding flush.

“Yeah, guess that’s so....” he said with an unreadable look on his face as he turned away and sat down on the couch.  “’s alright if I crash here, Watcher?  It’s too light out to get back to the whelp’s.”

“I suppose so,” he grumbled. “But keep your hands off my good Scotch!”  The last sounded somewhat like the Ripper again.

“Fine, just me and the telly,” Spike said as he sprawled on the couch and flicked the TV on.

Buffy hesitated a minute, then said, “Giles, I have an early afternoon class. Can I catch a couple hours sleep here before I go? If I go all the way back to the dorm....”

“Of course, Buffy.   That would be fine. You may use my bed. I’m just going to shower and go do some research at the library.  Perhaps Willow has had some success hacking into their computer system and can find a way in for us.  In the meantime, you two should get some rest in case we have to try again tonight.”

“We?” Buffy asked indignantly.

“Yes, we. Apparently having someone along who can counteract magic could be useful....”  He glanced at Spike, who snorted and studied the toes of his boots. “...and more hands wielding swords might make it a little easier to clear a path through the little demon guards.” He then glared at Buffy who pushed out her lower lip, but didn’t argue.

She went upstairs and suddenly realized that she was actually very tired; she crawled into Giles’ bed, barely remembering to take her shoes off before she closed her eyes and fell soundly asleep.  Downstairs, Spike watched TV in a desultory fashion for awhile, but the rising sun soon had him yawning and he gave up the fight, putting a pillow over his head and going to sleep also.

Chapter Two

               Several hours later, Buffy began to toss and moan in the bed.  She was dreaming that she was trapped in a cage at the Initiative.  Nothing she did had any effect on the the walls enclosing her and when she tried to fight her way out, blinding pain behind her eyes caused her to fall to the ground.  Desperately she searched for an escape path, as she watched demon after demon being led off by soldiers with grim faces and stun guns.  She could hear the occasional screams coming from behind the door at the end of the hall.  Every once in a while, a demon would be returned to his cage – some walking slowly, some being carried.  Some never came back. At one point, Buffy saw a Flexit demon, a relatively harmless breed, carried back missing the long tail he’d had when he left. A cauterized stump was all that was left of what had been an important part of Flexit anatomy.  Buffy cringed and whimpered in her sleep.

                    Downstairs, Spike was imagining prowling through the damp sewer-like tunnels, holding a strange weapon.  Suddenly he was attacked by two very ugly demons with claw-tipped hands and venomous fangs.  Quickly he fired the weapon, only to find it didn’t work.  Anger at what was clearly a betrayal of some sort surged through his body and he growled in his sleep as he took on the demons in hand-to-hand combat.

                     In Buffy’s dream, she tricked one of the lab people into relaxing around her enough that she could push them aside with only a minor headache and sprint toward an exit.  After throwing another vampire into a group of soldiers – was that Riley? – she escaped into the tunnels and ran as fast as her supernatural speed would allow.  When she was sure there was no immediate pursuit going on, she slowed and finally stopped to rest and get her bearings.

                   Spike, meanwhile, had defeated the two demons that were obviously sent to kill him and was searching for a way out of the tunnels that did not include returning to the initiative headquarters.  As he prowled the tunnels, he picked up a familiar scent and followed it till he could see a small blonde girl, standing rigidly and staring in his direction.

               “Spike?” Buffy asked in surprise. “What are you doing here?”

                “Avoiding people who are trying to kill me,” he said.  “What are you doing here?”

                    “Uh, the same, I guess. Do you know where we are?”

“Not exactly, but I can smell fresh air. I think if we follow the outside smells we should be able to get out of here eventually.”

“We?” she asked incredulously, “What we?”

“Oh, you like it so much down here, you were planning to stay?” he sneered at her.  “Don’t you think we’d stand a better chance against any nasty surprises if there are two of us? Plus, I can see in the dark better than you can.

“I suppose so.  Just stay in front of me so I can watch you.” she ordered.

Spike stretched his neck and gritted his teeth, but complied.  “Bossy bitch,” he muttered.

“I heard that.”

“You were meant to!”

They followed the scent of fresh air until they came to a bend in the tunnel and heard voices approaching. Spike sniffed and growled, “Soldier boys, dead ahead. Do we fight ‘em or dodge ‘em?” 

He looked at Buffy to see what she wanted to do. Buffy was overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness as she remembered the severe pain she felt every time she tried to defend herself.  That helpless feeling was crushing to someone used to being a powerful warrior and she looked at Spike with a new understanding.

“Uh – hide?  I’m not sure I can fight and we know you can’t fight humans,” she gulped.  In spite of what Buffy said about not being able to fight, now that she was with Spike, she felt more like herself and didn’t really think the pain was still there.  But she wasn’t willing to chance it.

“Oh, yeah, right.  OK, let’s duck in here.  At least these wankers can’t smell.”

He pulled her into a small notch in the cave wall.  The notch bent just enough that they could shrink back around the corner and be completely invisible to anyone going by.  Of course that required them to stand pressed up against each other as they pulled back against the wall as far as possible.

Spike put his arms around Buffy, pulling her back against his chest as he tried to flatten them both against the wall.  Her hair was at his chin and he couldn’t stop himself from breathing in her fragrance.  Her firm bottom was pressed up against him and it wasn’t long before he felt the inevitable reaction taking place in his pants.  Buffy stiffened, and started to pull away, but just then the patrol came around the bend and she had to remain silent and still while they strolled by, chattering among themselves.  She hated to admit it, but she was actually enjoying the feeling of Spike’s strong arms around her waist and his breath and why is he bothering to breathe? against her temple sent chills down her spine.  She felt his erection pushing against her bottom, but couldn’t bring herself to pull away even after the soldiers were gone.

For much longer than was necessary, the two enemies stayed pressed together, vampire obviously inhaling the Slayer’s scent; Slayer trying to pretend she wasn’t responding to his nearness.

In Giles’ bedroom, the dreaming Buffy was breathing harder and pushing her body into the mattress – totally lost in her dream in which she was standing in a cave plastered against a vampire’s hard body and quite happy to be there.

Downstairs, the bulge in Spike’s pants and his moaning indicated his dream was taking the same erotic turn as Buffy’s.

In the dream cave, Spike and Buffy were breathing hard as Buffy rubbed her butt cheeks against Spike’s erection, causing him to moan in his sleep.  Meanwhile, his dream hand was reaching into her pants and cupping her while his thumb rubbed on her clit until she spasmed against the mattress, climaxing with a small shriek.

Downstairs, Spike awoke to find he’d ejaculated in his jeans.

Both slayer and vampire remained where they were for several minutes, allowing their breathing to come back to normal – or, in Spike’s case, abnormal, since there really was no reason for him to breathe; trying to come to terms with the dream each thought was weird but solitary.

By the time Buffy had collected herself and banished the dream from her mind as much as possible, Spike had cleaned up and was getting himself some blood in the kitchen.  Buffy came downstairs hesitantly, then scolded herself for her hesitation.

What’s the matter with me? It was just a dream and he doesn’t know anything about it. Chin up, Buffy.

However, the minute she walked into the room and their eyes met, each of them froze in place.  Spike broke the uncomfortable silence first.

“Hey, Slayer. Glad to see you’re up – bad guys won’t wait you know....”  His voice trailed off as she continued to stare at him.

“Uh, Slayer? Earth to Buffy?  Hello?”

Buffy looked at him with dawning comprehension.  “Spike,” she said slowly, “What was it like – where – when you got your chip?”

He growled and turned away.  “Told you lot already – cage, drugged blood, lots of vamps and demons in cages.  Got out, got lucky, got away.  Why?”

“Because I– I think I dreamed I was you ‘” Buffy went on to describe in great detail her dream, right up to the point where they heard the soldiers coming.  As she talked, Spike was staring at her in amazement.  When she was finished, she waited for him to comment.  After opening and closing his mouth several times, he finally said, “That’s exactly what it was like – except for the whole meeting you in the caves, that is.”

Buffy sank down on the couch. “Well, that’s just... weird.  This is one for Giles, I guess.”

“Oh, it’s weird all right.  It’s even weirder than you know, luv.” 

In response to her quizzical look, he went on to describe his dream, also stopping at the point where they heard the soldiers coming. I’ll be dust for sure, if I tell her the whole thing. As he talked, he was moving into the living room and he ended his recitation by sitting on the other end of the couch.

“So, we both had dreams about the Initiative caves, but I was you and you were me?  How is that even possible?  And we had the dreams at the same time.”

Buffy suddenly remembered where her dream had gone from there and a panicky look crossed her face.

“What’s wrong, Slayer?” Spike asked. He felt a sudden rush as he remembered how his dream had ended.  Surely she hadn’t....

“Wrong? Oh, nothing. Nothing’s wrong.  All’s right here! Yep, just waiting for Giles to come home and tell us how we managed to have switching dreams at the same time, that’s all.”  Buffy was practically babbling in her eagerness to avoid discussing any other parts of the dream.
“So,” he asked with a speculative look, “we met up in the caves? And then what did we do?”  He tried to read her face, but she turned away from his probing bad word choice! Bad Buffy!  look and just mumbled, “Well, we, we found the way out and we.... got out. That’s all.”

“How did we get out, luv? I mean, just to see if we dreamed it the same way.” He felt a little twitch in his pants at the thought that she had dreamed to the same conclusion he did.  “Can you describe the way out?”

He could see the flush rising up her face and hear her heart pounding as she tried to look casual and said, “Oh, you know, we walked and then there was an opening and we were out.  No biggie.  Your dream ending was probably very different from mine.”

“If that’s what you really dreamed, then mine was very different.  But I’m guessing from the look on your face, our dreams had exactly the same ending. Lucky us!  Look at me, Slayer.” he demanded.  “Look at me and tell me that’s the truth.”

“Why don’t you believe me?” she squeaked.

“The look on your face, luv.  Think – deer – headlights”

He waited for a minute then continued, “Come on, we were having the same dream right up until we had to hide from the soldiers.  You want me to believe yours all of a sudden took a different turn?”  He smirked at her, but his eyes were more hopeful than leering.

“Well, mine would take a different turn! My mind doesn’t dwell on sex like yours does!”

As soon as she stopped speaking and saw the triumphant look on Spike’s face, she realized her mistake.

“I knew it!” he crowed.  “I knew it.  You did have the same dream! Tell me, Slayer, was it good for you?  Oh, wait, I was there – yes ,  it was.”  He was practically dancing with glee.

“You are such a pig, Spike,” Buffy said in disgust.  “Get over yourself. It was just a dream.”

Her obvious disgust at having to acknowledge their dream tryst, put a damper on his delight and he stopped strutting around and sat down again.

“So, now what, Slayer?  What do you think it means?”

“I don’t know – but we are so not telling Giles the whole dream!” she said firmly.

“No problem, luv.  I’ve got no desire to be staked.  Should we get our stories straight then?”

“We dreamed we were each other, the Initiative was involved, we met up on the way out, got out safely, end of story.  And,” she added, “I’ll be the one to tell it!”

“Bossy bitch,” he grumbled, then froze when he remembered saying the same thing in the dream.

“I heard tha—” One look at Buffy’s stricken face told him she remembered the exact same words.

“Buffy, the Watcher has to know this – it’s just too....”

“Spike?”  Buffy’s look was almost pleading.

Instead of trying to make her more agitated, he reached his hand to her cheek and said, “Hey, easy, Slayer.  I’m just sayin’ he needs to know as much as we can tell him without gettin’ me dusted or spoilin’ your little goody-two-shoes image.”  He sat back abruptly and finished, “Won’t be me that tells him what a hot little number you are.”

The abrupt change from almost sweet! Spike to snarky Spike left Buffy dumbstruck.  Feeling more comfortable with snarky Spike, she settled for “Fine!” as her less than sparkling comeback and went to the kitchen to find something to eat.

As she was reaching to open the refrigerator, she sensed his presence behind her and whirled around to find herself trapped between Spike and the fridge.  He had one hand on either side of her head and was leaning in toward her.

“What are you doing?” she asked, much less coldly than she intended.

Why haven’t I ever noticed how blue his eyes are?  They’re so pretty... bad Buffy! Bad, Bad!

“Testing a theory, luv,” he replied as he leaned in and gently brushed her lips with his.

“Okay, so not gonna happen!” she insisted.  “Just back off, fangface, before your chip fires.” While her words were cold, her body was suffused with warmth and her legs were trembling.

“That’s just it.  I don’t think it will,” he said, sliding his hands down her shoulders and pulling her to him.

“Spike! No, don’t, you can’t... chip?... chip?”

“Not trying to hurt you, luv,” he breathed in her ear. His lips traveled from her ear to her mouth, leaving light, butterfly kisses along her jaw line.  Her slayer instincts were screaming about having a vamp’s mouth so close to her neck, but instead of pushing him away, Buffy found herself sliding her arms around his waist and tilting her head up for his kiss.  She couldn’t believe that someone – something!, her mind was shrieking – with such a hard body could have such soft lips.  The kiss was soft and gentle, full of tenderness and longing and Buffy could not believe Spike was capable of putting so much into a kiss.

Then he changed the tenor of the kiss – running his tongue around her lips and teeth until she parted them and let him in.  As their tongues met, touched, withdrew, touched again, then plunged together in a contest of who could taste the most first, the rest of the world disappeared and suddenly there was nothing but two bodies straining against each other.  Their mouths stayed together until Buffy had to stop to breathe and every time she did, Spike would nuzzle her neck and whisper endearments to her until she pushed her face against his head, demanding his lips again.

The vampire wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against him so tightly she would have been crushed if she was a normal girl.  But this was the Slayer and she clutched him back with a grip that would have broken ribs in a human man.

Her body felt like it was on fire – this need to feel his body next to hers, to feel him was like nothing she had ever experienced before.  Not with Angel, not with Parker or Riley. She whimpered with need as she pressed closer and tried to climb up his body.

The vampire could not believe the heat radiating off the soft, but strong body in his arms.  He wanted to bury himself in that heat and stay there until he melted.  The feel of her, the scent of her arousal, the passion he could feel radiating from her was like nothing he had ever felt before.

Buffy was pressing her body up against him as hard as she could, but it soon wasn’t enough for either of them and she found herself climbing up his body and locking her legs around his hips.  His aching erection was now pressed up against her warm, wet crotch and he groaned in her ear.

“Want you, Slayer, my pet, my luv.  I need you, want you, please....”

He pushed her up against the refrigerator, grinding against her as hard as he could.  Buffy was almost fainting from the sensations in her lower body.  Her breath was coming in little pants and whimpers as she pushed back against him, rubbing herself against his bulging jeans.  Her panting became faster and more urgent as she continued grinding against him and he was encouraging her verbally, “Yes, love, that’s it, sweetheart. Ride me, Slayer. Come for me, Buffy. Come for me now!”  as he pushed back against her.  With a growl that ended in a roar, he lost control and spent in his pants while Buffy shuddered and bit into his shoulder as she came at the same time.

As she recovered from the spectacular orgasm and realized where she was and what had happened, Buffy kept her face buried in Spike’s shoulder in embarrassment.

Ohmygod - I can never look him in the eye again! Where is a hole in the floor when you need it?

Although she allowed her legs to slide down his body until her feet were on the floor, they would not hold her up and she clung to his neck.  They stood together for several minutes – his arms still around her helping to support her weak-kneed body, his face in her hair.

Finally, he reluctantly pushed her away saying softly, “Let me go, love.  I need to go clean up before the Watcher gets home.”

Buffy slowly released her hold but kept her eyes resolutely focused on floor tiles.

Spike grinned at her flaming face and miserable expression, then felt sorry for her. Sorry for her? What the bloody hell is wrong with me?   He gently tipped her chin up.  “Come on, love, You can’t be any more embarrassed about this than I am.  Going off in my pants like a sixteen-year-old,” he grumbled.  “Twice in the same day for the same skinny little chit,” he added with a smile.

Buffy smiled back weakly, but her eyes were full of unshed tears.

“What is wrong with us?” she asked desperately.  “What just happened here?”

“Nothin’ wrong with us, pet. I think we’re bleedin’ amazing.”

She swatted at him halfheartedly, but there was a small smile on her lips as she turned away.  “Go do what you have to do,” she said.  “I don’t want anyone to guess what happened here.  Least of all Giles!”

               By the time the watcher returned, they were sitting on opposite sides of the room – neither one actually watching the TV that was on.  Giles looked from one somber face to the other and rubbed the bridge of his nose.

               “All right, then.  What’s going on here?”

                “Going on? Nothing going on here!” Buffy said shrilly. “What do you mean, going on?”

            “Nope, nothing. Not a bloody thing,” Spike agreed.

             “I see,” Giles said, raising his eyebrows.  “So the panicked looks on both your faces are because... what?  Passions was canceled?”

“It was?  Bloody hell! When?”  Spike looked genuinely horrorstruck.

“He didn’t mean it.  Shut up, Spike.”

“You shut up! He shouldn’t say it if it isn’t true!”

“Both of you shut up until you’re ready to tell me what’s going on, “ Giles glared them both into silence.

Buffy and Spike exchanged looks, then she took a deep breath and began, “Look, Giles, this is really weird - and it might not have anything to do with anything, but.....”

“But?” he waited.

She went on to tell him about her dream – leaving out where she and Spike hid and what had happened while they were there.

“Ok, interesting, but to be expected, really.  You just got out of those caves. Is that it?”

Buffy looked at Spike again, sending him a silent plea with her eyes before she said, “Spike fell asleep too.  He... he needs to tell you his dream.”

Spike gawked at her in astonishment that she was trusting him to keep his mouth shut about the erotic component of the dream.  When he recovered, he quickly rattled off his dream for the Watcher, matching Buffy almost word for word when he got to the parts where they were together.

“And, that’s pretty much it, Watcher.  I was her and she was me; then we were us and we even dreamed the same conversation.  What do you think?”  Spike looked at Giles in anticipation.

Shaking his head, Giles said, “I’d hardly call ‘Bossy Bitch’ and ‘I heard you,’ a conversation, but I guess it’s what passes for one between you two.”  He was busy taking off his glasses and polishing them as he thought about his answer, so he missed the guilty looks Buffy and Spike exchanged.

“So, is that it, then?  You basically had the same dream at the same time, and now you want to know what it means?”

“Yup.”  “Yes,” they said simultaneously.

“Anything else I should know?” he asked, suddenly shooting them a suspicious look.  It was obvious from their frozen expressions that there was more to it, but each shook his or her head emphatically, so he sighed and resigned himself to his suspicions.

“Well, in Buffy’s case, it could be brought on by hearing your story and her imagination filling in the blanks.  Or a Slayer dream of some sort.  But, Spike, I don’t know how to explain what you dreamed.  But then, I don’t know much about vampire dreams. Perhaps they’re like Slayer dreams? Warning of the future?”

              Spike growled and shook his head, “Only seer I ever knew was Dru.  And she was like that before she was turned.”

“Well, one more thing we need to research, I guess.” he said, stretching.  “We’ll start on it tonight when everyone is here.”

Shooting Spike an unfathomable look, Buffy stood up and said, “I’ve got to get to class. Thanks for letting me crash here, Giles.  I’ll see you later.”  She didn’t say “Good-bye” to Spike, but glanced at him again as she went out the door.  He smirked and blew her a kiss, causing her to redden and slam the door behind her much harder than she intended.

Giles jumped at the sound of his door banging closed and turned to look thoughtfully at the vampire on his couch.

“I know there’s more to this than you’ve told me,” he said tightly.  “And I will find out what it is.”

Spike just looked back at him with no expression and said, “Not from me, you won’t,” and turned back to the TV.

“You should tell me, you know.  It might be important or helpful.”

“Not mine to tell, Watcher,” he said softly and continued to stare at the television set.

Giles shook his head in frustration, but dropped the subject for the time being.

Chapter Three

At that night’s Scoobie meeting, it was determined that they would make a joint attempt to get in.  Willow would be along to counteract the magic and Giles and Xander as back up against the “soddin’ little buggers” as Spike referred to the small demons.

“Okay, now explain to us again how the walls moved?” Xander snarked at Spike as they proceeded, unconfused and unchallenged from the natural caves into the man made tunnels leading into the Initiative’s underground base.

“Sod off, Harris. It was somewhere around here when things started going all wonky.”

Buffy, who was right beside Spike and in front of the other Scoobies, held up her hand and hissed, “Shh – there’s something up ahead.”

Spike raised his head and sniffed and listened.   “Don’t hear any heartbeats, Slayer.   I do smell demon – but it isn’t alive.”

As the group slowly approached the area, they could make out several bodies lying on the floor.  Giles lifted his lantern to get a better look, and the group gasped collectively.  Spike went immediately into game face and made a sound that had everyone except Buffy cringing away from him in fear.

“Oh, dear God,” Giles said softly.

Willow looked like she was fighting tears and Xander was rendered speechless by the sight in front of them.

Lying on the floor of the tunnel were the bodies of numerous demons, large and small.  All had been mutilated in some way – one was missing both arms, one had it’s horns gouged out of its head, one appeared to have been skinned completely. All were missing some body part or other.

“I’ve seen this!”  Buffy said.  “My dream!  They were taking demons away and bringing them back with parts missing.  Some never came back.”  She shook her head remembering how it had made her feel in the dream to see the creatures in such pain.

A sound from Spike caused everyone to look at him where he was kneeling by a floppy-eared demon with incredibly wrinkled skin.  There were bloody holes all around the demon’s skull where something had been cut out of its head.

“Spike? What is it? Do you know him?” Buffy moved closer to him and leaned over the body. 

“It’s Clem’s brother,” he snarled.  “Never hurt a soul in his life – except maybe the odd kitten.”

“I’m sorry,” she said softly, briefly touching his shoulder with a sympathetic hand. “Why do you suppose they cut into his head?”

He flashed a startled glance at her and relaxed back into his human face. 

“They cut out his tentacles.  You rarely see them because these demons are so easy going and peaceful, but they have poisonous tentacles that they can extend if they need to.”  His voice was flat, but she could feel the trembling in his body that meant he was struggling to control himself.  “Clem will be crushed.  And his mother will be devastated.  What kind of wanker does something like this?  This puts Angelus to shame – not that he is above torturin’ demons if he hasn’t got anthing else.” 

He cast a look up at Buffy who frowned at the mention of Angel’s evil demon, but just shrugged and said, “No, someone would have told us if he lost his soul again.  And why would he spend time torturing demons when we....”

“Doesn’t care who or what he tortures, pet.  You ought to know that by now.”

“It isn’t Angel,” she said firmly.  “There’s something else going on here.”

“Didn’t say it was, pet. Just sayin’ it’s as bad as anything he ever did.”

Giles lowered the lantern so that they were no longer looking at the remains of what had once been living creatures, and said, “I have to agree with Buffy.  I don’t think Angelus did this.  It’s too focused on specific body parts and he wouldn’t bother to hide the bodies.  This is someone or something else and we need to find out what it is.”

“Uh, excuse me?,” Xander interrupted, “But aren’t these demons?  And don’t we kill demons ourselves?”

Spike turned eyes of blue ice toward the dark haired carpenter.  “Most of these demons are harmless or so peaceful as to be below the Slayer’s radar.  All their weapons are defensive, you stupid git.”

Giles spoke up before Spike could follow up his obvious irritation with Xander with something headache-producing and asked him, “ So what is missing from each of these... creatures, Spike?”

“Near as I can see, they’re all missin’ their fighting tools.  Claws, poison darts, whatever.  That’s what seems to be gone.”

“What about this one.  The one with no skin?” Buffy asked with a shiver.

“Don’t know, Slayer.  Hard to tell what it – he – was without his skin.  But I’m guessing that skin must be worth somethin’.  Maybe it glows in the dark or something like that.”

The group of humans stood together, trying very hard not to look at the mutilated flesh near them.  Spike and Buffy stood off to one side – both looking and listening to avoid any surprises from whatever did this.

Buffy wondered out loud, “What kind of being would do this?”

Spike stared at her incredulously.  “What kind of being?  Don’t you remember anything from your dream?”

Buffy’s face paled as she remembered watching the soldiers and the lab techs in their white coats dragging the demons off behind the door at the end of the hall.  She remembered the brief glimpse she’d had of Riley in a group of soldiers as she was escaping. 

“What’s the matter, Slayer?  Cat got your tongue? No, I guess that would be a job for the soldier boys, wouldn’t it?”  he said roughly and turned his back on her.

Buffy looked at Giles and said,  “We should get out of here.  I think I have another way to look into this.  Let’s leave before we have to fight our way out again.”

“Suits me,” Xander said.  “I don’t want to meet the guys that did this.”

“I’m afraid we already have,” Buffy said under her breath. 


“So then,” the watcher said, taking off his glasses, “ your new plan is to get someone to take you into that place where they are apparently carving up demons for what purpose we don’t know?  And how do you propose to do this?”

“Well, I think...” She glanced at Spike briefly, “If I was actually reliving Spike’s time in there, I think I know someone who works there.”

Everyone looked at her in amazement.  “You do?”  “Who is it?”  “What makes you think so”  the questions flew around the room as the Scoobies tried to think who they knew that might be involved in the Initiative.

“Uh, it’s Riley,” Buffy said, looking at Willow.

“Riley?  Graduate assistant to Prof. Walsh, Riley?”  Willow shook her head.  “What makes you think so?”

“Well,” she began, “when I was dreaming I was Spike....” She paused to glare at Xander who was visible shuddering.  “When I was dreaming I was Spike,” she continued, “I was sure I saw Riley with a group of soldiers in uniform.  And, I’m not sure, but I think some of the other soldiers were those guys he hangs out with at the fraternity house.

“I’m pretty sure I can get him to take me in there.  We’ve gotten pretty... close, and....” She stopped at the sound of a growl from Spike’s direction. 

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” Xander asked, looking back and forth between the two sworn enemies.   Buffy’s look could only be called panicky as she stared at the obviously angry vampire.

Spike realized everyone was staring at him, wondering what was causing him to flash in and out of vamp face.  Not wanting to upset Buffy, or find himself staked by an irate watcher or jealous male friend, he pushed his demon back down and said,
“Just thinkin’ about those wankers and what they’re doin’ in there, that’s all.  Didn’t mean to interupt the Slayer’s discussion of how to use her boyfriend to get in.”

Buffy flinched a little at his tone when he said “boyfriend”, but was grateful that he had covered so well.  She was pretty sure she knew why he reacted as he did, but decided to ignore the conflicting feelings it was inspiring in her.

“Anyway, as I was saying,  I’m pretty sure I can get Riley to take me in there.  I’ll just tell him I know he’s part of those commando-types we’ve been seeing, and we’ll take it from there.”


Buffy sat back and looked at the dumbstruck man in front of her.

“So, that’s it,” she said confidently. “I know you’re part of some commando group, I know you’re targeting vampires and demons, and I want to know what it’s all about.”

Riley just gaped at her for a full minute.  Finally he gave himself a shake and said, “And you know all this because...?”

“I’m the Slayer, Riley.”

“The what?” He looked at her with a complete lack of comprehension.

“Slayer, the. Look it up.  I live here on the hellmouth for a reason – everything that happens to and with the demons in the world is my business.  They are my responsibility.”

“Buffy, I don’t know what you’re talking about; but I do know that dealing with subterrestrials is much too dangerous for a small woman to even consider....” He was cut off by Buffy’s irritated slap on the table.

“You’re right, Riley.  You don’t know what I’m talking about.  And you need to find out before you say anything else stupid.  Give me your hand,” she demanded.

“What? Why – what are you – ow!” he yelped as she squeezed his hand not quite enough to break the bones, but enough to get his attention.  “How did you....”

“I did it because I can, Riley.  Do you need to see more?”

“Ok, so you can squeeze hard enough to hurt.  I just wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.”

“Riley, do you remember the other night?  When I hugged you and it hurt?” She looked into his eyes, willing him to understand what she was saying.

“Come on, Buffy.  I wasn’t serious.  You know—”

“Put your arm on the table, Riley.  Now, please.” She glared at him like someone at the end of her patience.

“Okay, why?” he grinned at her. “Are we going to arm wrestle now?”  His chuckle was cut off by her terse, “Yes, we are.”

“All right, Buff. This is getting silly.  I’m not going to wrestle you.  I don’t know what’s going on here, but you need to settle down.”

Buffy grabbed his arm, placed it in the correct position with her opposite hand gripping his and said, “Anytime you’re ready, soldier.”

He sighed and shook his head, then went to push her hand down to the table.  When it didn’t budge, he frowned slightly and applied a little more pressure.  To his astonishment, nothing happened.  Buffy just sat across from him with her arm upright on the table, not appearing to be putting forth any effort.  With a grunt, he called upon his drug-enhanced strength and attacked her arm with real effort.  Buffy’s face changed, and she was obviously working much harder to keep her arm up now that he was applying all his strength, but she also obviously wasn’t having any trouble keeping it there.  Then, to add insult to injury, she gradually began to force his hand back toward the table. 

“Buffy, “ he heard someone say, and looked up to see Xander.  “What the hell are you doing?”

With a guilty look, she slammed Riley’s hand down onto the table and let go.

“Nothing,” she mumbled.  “He just wouldn’t listen to me. I had to make him believe.”

“Well, I think you got his attention now,” Xander laughed as he saw the stricken look on the big man’s face.  “Welcome to the Buffyverse, Riley.” He added with a smile.

Buffy stood up and looked at the large, gawking man.  Her expression softened, and she reached a hand toward his face gently.  “I’m sorry, Riley.  I had to get your attention.  I AM the Slayer.  Go look it up and we’ll talk again tonight.  Okay?” she asked anxiously.

“Yeah, sure, Okay.  See you tonight,” he mumbled, still staring back and forth from the small girl to his aching hand.


When they met that night at the Bronze, Riley had several of his buddies with him and Buffy could tell from the looks she was getting that he had told them about her.  He approached her and kissed her cheek carefully, before he introduced her to his friends.  “Buffy, I’d like you to meet my men.” She shot him a startled look.

“I’ve met Forest and Graham before, Riley,” she said.  “We met at the fraternity party, remember?”

“Yes, but you were meeting grad students – and they were meeting a pretty freshman.  I’m going to try again.  Buffy, this is Special Agent Forrest, Special Agent Graham, and Sargent John Stevens.”  He tuned to the smiling men behind him and continued, “And, guys, this is Buffy Summers, The Vampire Slayer.”

“We thought you were a legend,” Forrest said admiringly as he shook her hand,  “Hard to believe we're actually meeting you.”

“A  legend, huh?  I kinda like that.... Oh, you meant as in, not real, didn’t you?” She blushed and ducked her head.

“Well both.” He smiled at her.  “We’ve been reading up on the Chosen One all day.  It’s pretty amazing stuff.”

Buffy blushed again, prettily, then said, “Well, it’s not like I did anything to earn it.  You just sort of get—”

“Chosen,”  said a warm voice behind her.  She whirled and gasped when she saw Xander, Anya, Willow, Tara and an almost unrecognizable Spike.  The blond vampire was wearing kahki pants and a blue button down shirt that matched his eyes.  He looked very human, and incredibly gorgeous.

Okay, SO not having that kind of thought about Spike! And what the hell is he doing here?  Is he crazy? All right, know that answer, nevermind.  But what is he thinking?

She was surprised to find herself worried about him and whether or not the soldiers would recognize him as a vampire.

To her, his trademark smirk and obvious amusement at her shocked expression was a dead giveaway, but Riley and the soldiers seemed to take him in stride and accept him as one of the Scoobies.  He shook hands with the soldiers, aplogizing for his chilly hand by explaining he’d been holding a cold beer in it.  Riley looked at him a little more closely than the others, perhaps remembering he’d seen him with them at the hellmouth, but he eventually relaxed and appeared to accept him at face value.  Their handshake, however, seemed to go on a little longer than necessary and Buffy got very nervous as she realized they were having a “who can squeeze hardest” contest.

She knew from her arm wrestling with Riley that he was stronger than the average human man and, while he had accepted that Buffy was supernaturally stronger than he was, she doubted that he would be thrilled to find out Spike was too.  Buffy tried frantically to signal Spike with her eyes, but he was busy meeting Riley’s grim gaze as they continued to try to crush each other’s hands.  She looked at Willow and Xander for help and found that fortunately Willow had also picked up on the antagonism.  Since she was standing the closest to Spike, she put her hand on his arm and squeezed gently.  The pressure was enough to get him to look up and when he saw Buffy’s frantic expression, he realized what he was doing.

“Ow!” he said reluctantly as he allowed his hand to relax.  “You’ve got quite a grip there, Capt’n.”  He pulled his hand away and pretended to be rubbing it .

“It’s Lieutenant,” Riley said, staring specutively at Spike.  “And so do you.”

“Yeah, well, I work out a bit.  Not as much as you guys, I guess, though.”  Now that the macho pissing was out of the way, his survival instincts kicked in and he retreated behind the larger Xander and tried to appear inconspicuous.  Buffy let out the breath she hadn’t even realized she was holding, and turned to Riley saying brightly, “Well, now that you’ve met all my friends and I’ve met yours, we can all....

We can all what, Buffy?  Think! What can you all do together?

Xander, oddly enough, was the one to jump in and save the day.  “We promised the girls a lot of drinking and dancing tonight, so I think we’ll just get right to it,” he said as he herding Spike, Anya, Willow and Tara away.  “Nice to meet you guys.”

“Can you join us for awhile, Buffy?” Riley asked.  “We’d really like to ask you some questions.”

“Sure,” she said, throwing a glance over her shoulder at her retreating friends, “I have some things I’d like to ask you about too.”

Well into the evening, Buffy excused herself from the table to go to the restroom. On the way there, she caught a glimpse of Spike flirting with the waitresses at the bar and felt a pang of something she didn’t care to identify.  She almost growled as she saw one of them leaning forward to give him a good look down her cleavage – a look she could see he was taking full advantage of.

Skanky ho!  she thought viciously. Just his type!

Just as she turned away, she saw him look up as though he sensed her.  He threw her a wink, then picked up what she was sure was going to turn out to be a free beer and ambled back to the table where the other Scoobies waited for him.

OTHER Scoobies?  He’s not one of them/us.  Is he?.

She spun away and flounced into the restroom, refusing to think about what was so disturbing about watching Spike charming free drinks out of obviously besotted women.

Stupid girls! If he didn’t have that chip, he’d be having you for dinner.  Ohmygod? Do you suppose that’s how he got his food? By flirting with women and then eating them? Eeew!

She refused to think about what else he might have done with his victims before he drained them.

She stared at her flushed face in the mirror and gave herself a stern talking to. “Okay, Buffy,  Here’s the deal.  Spike is an evil, bloodsuckiing fiend, with whom you are sharing a mysterious, but temporary bond of some sort.  His comings and goings, and who he comes and goes with, are not important unless they pertain to you and/or the Initiative.  You will not waste any time thinking about him, or him and other women, or how his eyes match that shirt, or.... Gagh!”

She splashed some cold water on her face, dried it off, and ordered herself to go back out and enjoy the evening with her new boyfriend and his friends.  Her resolve lasted long enough to get through the door of the restroom and run right into the well-muscled chest of the vampire in question.

Instead of recoiling in disgust as she knew she should, she stayed there for a few seconds, just breathing in his scent and resting her forehead on his chest.  He had instinctively grabbed her arms when she ran into him and his hands stayed there, his thumbs rubbing soft circles on her biceps.

“You all right, Slayer?” he asked with a tilt of his head.  “Thought I’d better check on you. You were in there so long.”

“I’m fine, Spike,” she said, pulling reluctantly away from him.  “I was just... thinking.”

He touched her chin gently and tipped it up to force her to look at him.  “Anything I should know about?” he asked.  “Just in case we were thinking the same thing....”

“Since I wasn’t thinking about looking down the barmaid’s blouse, I kind of doubt we were thinking about the same thing,” she snapped, pulling away from him. She wanted to kick herself for allowing the hurt tone she knew he could hear in her voice.

He stepped back in surprise.  “The whelp’s runnin’ out of money,” he said slowly.  “I was just flirtin’ my way into a free beer.  What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing!  Nothing’s wrong with me. I already told you that.  So, if you came to check up on me, you can go now.  I’m fine.  I’m going back to my boyfriend now. And you can just go back to... whatever.”  She pushed past him and didn’t notice the sudden flecks of gold in his eyes when she called Riley her boyfriend, or the way his shoulders slumped as she left the hallway and headed for the table full of soldiers.

What the hell is wrong with ME?  Was I just making excuses to her for spending time with those silly bints at the bar? I’m William, the fuckin’ Bloody.  I don’t make excuses to anybody!  And definitely not to the Slayer!

With a snarl in her direction, he stomped back to the table and slammed into his chair.  When he realized his obvious anger was scaring Willow and Tara, he forced himself to relax and smile at them.  “Sorry, ladies. Musta forgot to keep my happy face on.” 

“It’s okay, Spike,” Tara said with a small smile and a slight stammer, “ We know you won’t hurt us.” 

“Speak for yourself,” Xander mumbled, as Spike looked torn between indignation and satisfaction.


By the end of the evening, Buffy had got Riley and his men to agree that she should be given a tour of the Initiative’s complex so that she could see what they did there to hold down Sunnydales demon population.

Riley walked her back to her dorm, and obviously was hoping to be invited up, but Buffy, pleading exhaustion, lied and said Willow would be in the room.  He settled for a make out session outside the door and Buffy tried to be an enthusiastic participant and not compare his dry, hard kisses to the bone melting ones she had shared with Spike.  Even standing on her toes, she got a sore neck from tipping her face up to reach his, and she got no pleasure from being pressed to his body; it just felt like she was being smothered.  She tried to surpress traitorous thoughts about how perfectly she and Spike seemed to fit together when they kissed. 

After agreeing to meet her the next day and take her on a tour of the Initiative base, he reluctantly kissed her good night and left.  Buffy sighed and turned to go into the dorm, then froze when her Slayer senses told her she was being watched.  She whirled around, searching the area with her eyes for vampires.  Just as she decided she must have imaging it and turned to go inside, something bright caught her eye and she saw Spike’s platinum head step out of the shadows.  He just stared at her, his eyes flashing gold, then suddenly threw his cigarette down and flowed across the lawn with vampiric speed. 

His voice and face were calm and impassive, but she could feel his body trembling as he pulled her to him and said, “Thought you might want a real kiss goodnight.” 

He reached for her mouth and she started to lean into him, then stiffened and asked, “Have you been spying on me?  How long were you standing there?”

“Long enough to know that wanker wasn’t turnin’ you on the way he wanted to,” he growled.  “Don’t know why you didn’t just tell him to shove off, Slayer.”

Buffy pushed him away and said indignantly, “ First place, vampire,” she said with heavy emphasis, “I don’t appreciate being spied on!  Expecially not when I’m with my boyfriend.  And you have no idea whether he was turning me on or not – as if it was any of your business anyway!”

He just looked at her thoughtfully for a moment,  “Guess ole’ Angelus didn’t teach you much, did he?”  He smiled at her puzzled expression and tapped his nose and his ears.  “Vampire senses, love.  I can hear your heartbeat – and I can smell you. You couldn’t hide arousal from me if you wanted to.”

Buffy just stared for a second, then felt herself blush all over as she said, “Eeeew!  That’s – that’s disgusting! “  She moved away from him and when he reached for her, gritted out between her teeth.  “Get away from me, Spike.  Just get  away.”

“Slayer, Buffy... don’t... please, luv.   Don’t push me away.  I just want....”

Buffy looked at him coldly.  “You have no right to want anything from me.  And I don’t want anything from you.  Stay away from me, “ she added as she turned and ran into the building.

He punched his fist through the door as it closed behind her, relishing the pain in his hand.  “You’re lying, Slayer.  Lying to yourself, and lying to me. I know you’re lying and I’m going prove it to you.”  He stalked off into the night, cradling his sore hand and snarling to himself.  He paid no heed to the students who screamed and ran away when he passed them on the campus.

  She can’t do this to me.  I know she wants me.  She doesn’t want that overgrown stuffed toy.  I’m going to rip his head off.  I’ll gut him and feed him his own entrails.  I’ll skin him like that poor demon we found in the caves....

As Spike continued ranting to himself, he remembered that he was incapable of following through on any of those threats, and his anger changed to melacholy.

  Bloody hell, can’t fight for her, and now she’s pissed at me and disgusted with herself.  I was definitely not planning to go home alone tonight.  Guess it’s going to be just me and the whiskey again.

Chapter Four

“She’s where?”  The vampire’s response to being told of Buffy’s visit to the Initiative was somewhere between a shriek and a snarl.  “You let her go? Alone?”

The watcher looked at the irate vampire in surprise and with a glint of anger. “We need to know what’s going on and she is the only one who can get in.  And,” he added pointedly, “her boyfriend’s with her. So she’s not alone.”

He watched in interest as Spike struggled to keep his demon in check at the mention of Riley.  After a minute of watching Spike’s eyes go back and forth between blue and gold and his forehead go from smooth to wrinkled and back again, he reluctantly added, “ Well, perhaps he’s not exactly her boyfriend yet, but he’s our best shot at finding out what’s going on in there. And I don’t think he will allow Buffy to be hurt....”

“Have you completely forgotten my dream?” Spike asked in a quietier tone. “She was set up by someone in there.  Sent out with a bogus weapon....”

Giles sighed, “I haven’t forgotten. But we still don’t know if the dreams mean anything or if it’s just a coincidence that you had similar dreams about the same place.  After all, you had both just come back from there, and....” 

He was interrupted by Spike’s “I’m going after her,” as he pulled on his duster.

“I really don’t think that’s necessary, Spike, You’ll just...” He was speaking to a closing door as the vampire shot out of the house, blanket over his head.

Muttering to himself about impulsive and stubborn people, he wasn’t sure if he was referring to Spike or Buffy.  He had, actually, tried to discourage his Slayer from going into the Initiative complex by herself.  He didn’t really trust Riley and his commando friends and he did suspect that the dreams Spike and Buffy had were prophetic in one way or another.  What he hadn’t figured out was why the two seemed to have a connection that would promote mutual dreaming. And, if truth were told, while he had his suspiciouns about what they weren’t telling him, he was secretly relieved not to have his suspicions confirmed. 

It was not lost on him that Willow’s spell had only required them to be married. It had not included anything about their being in love.  And yet, that was how it manifested itself.  Both slayer and vampire had been happily and thoroughly in love.  They fought as publicly and loudly as they ever had, but while under the spell the fights were followed by just as public and loud making up – and making out.  He still shuddered to remember the loud kissing sounds from the big chair in which they spent most of their time together.

He groaned at the thought of his slayer becoming involved with another vampire. Even a neutered one.


Outside, Spike had dropped into the nearest manhole and was making his way through the sewers toward the campus and the Initiative’s underground complex. Growling under his breath, he ran as quickly as he could, remaining vamped out so as to be able to see well,  dodging the odd shaft of sunlight that shot down through sewer grates and holes in the covers.  He slowed down as he approached the part of the sewers that went under the campus.

  If my dream was at all accurate, she should be around here somewhere, fightin’ with those demons.

He used all his vampiric senses to try to find her.  He listened carefully, sniffed the air and tried to sense her as he often could if she was close enough.  Suddenly he picked up the sound of fighting and raced in that direction.  He arrived just in time to see Buffy kill the last of the two demons with which she had just finished fighting.  He wasn’t terribly surprised to see that they looked just like the ones in his dream; nor that there was an unused weapon of some sort lying in the water. 

“You all right, luv?” he asked as he came into the small room where the fight had taken place.  Buffy glanced at him sharply, then put her finger to her lips and shook her head.  Motioning him to move into the corner, she picked up a headset with a small camera attached and turned it so that it was focused on her face.  She spoke directly into the camera and told Professor Walsh in no uncertain terms that she had made a big mistake thinking she could get rid of a Slayer that easily .  Spike had to grin as she growled out her determination to see that Maggie Walsh had the opportunity to find out exactly what a Slayer was.

When Buffy had crushed the camera under her foot and thrown the useless gun on top of it, he stepped out the the corner and approached her tentatively.  “You alright, Slayer?” he repeated his earlier question. 

“Yes, I’m fine.  No thanks to Professor Walsh.  I’m going to beat that bitch to a bloody pulp!  She set me up!”

“Just like in my dream?” He quirked an eyebrow at her.

“Pretty much,” she admitted.  “Sent me out to collect two ‘harmless’ demons, with a broken gun to use in case an emergency came up.  Turns out the emergency was the two demons sent to kill me.”  She was still angry and paced back and forth jumping over the water in the middle of the tunnel.  “What are they, Spike? Do you know?”

The vampire walked over to the dead demons and looked at them intently. “Can’t say I recognize them, Slayer.  They almost look like they are made up of parts from a couple different kinds of ....” His voice trailed off as the sight of dismembered demon bodies came back to him.  “Bloody Hell!”

Buffy gasped as she remembered at the same time.  “Oh my god!” she said softly.  “They are creating demons!”

They stared at each other in dismay.  Buffy shivered and said, “We need to go tell Giles about this.” 

Just then, Spike held up his hand to quiet her and listened intently.  “Soldiers coming, luv.  Let’s get out of here.”  He grabbed her hand and yanked her toward the tunnel he had come in through.  He expected her to pull away as soon as they were on their way, but she left her hand in his until they came to a narrow passage where there was no room for more than one person at a time.  “After you, Slayer,” he said, gesturing to her to preceed him.  “No, Spike, you go first. You can see better,” she replied.

“Bossy bitch,” he smiled at her.

“I heard that,” she smiled back.

Suddenly the pursuing soldiers were forgotten as they moved toward each other. 

“Spike, what are you doing here?” 

“Came looking for you, didn’t I?  Was afraid this was going to happen when the Watcher told me where you were. “ 

Afraid?  Was I afraid for the Slayer? Argh!

“How did you know where to find me?”
And why did you want to?

“Can feel you, luv.  Soon as I get close enough.  Then I heard you beating up on those demons and just followed my ears.”

“Oh” she said quietly.  Then, “I... I’m sorry about last night.  That I was so cranky. You didn’t deserve that.”

“I prob’ly did, you know.  You were right.  I had no business following you and Capt’n Cardboard like that.  Just lucky for me I didn’t see anything I really Really, really!  didn’t want to.”  He smiled softly and tucked a piece of hair back off her face.

“Like what?” she asked, then mentally kicked herself.

He just looked at her for a minute then shrugged.  “I dunno, like him following you upstairs or something, I guess.  Watching him kissin’ on you was hard enough.”

“Says the man who spent half the night staring at a barmaid’s boobs” she growled at him. 

Do I sound jealous?  I am soooo not jealous!

“Rather see yours,” he said softly, running his fingers lightly down the front of her shirt. 

Buffy felt her heart start beating faster and groaned as she remembered what he’d said about not being able to hide things like that from him.  She grabbed his hand and squeezed it softly.

“Some other time, maybe,” she said firmly, Did I just say that out loud?  peering up at him through her lashes.  “Right now we need to get out of here.”

“Gonna hold you to that, luv,” he breathed in her ear, sending shivers down her spine and making her forget momentarily that they were standing in a sewer that was about to be full of commandos looking for her.  Shaking off her temporary inability to move, she pushed him into the narrow tunnel and followed him out of the complex.  As soon as they reached the municiple sewers, Spike grabbed her hand again and they raced toward Giles’ apartment as quickly as they could.

When they reached the manhole nearest the apartment, Spike stopped and said, “Hold on, pet.  I need to find my blanket.  It’s still daylight up there.”  He looked around until he located the ratty old blanket he had dropped on his way in and picked it up.  “Alright, I’m good to go.” he said lifting it over his head.

Buffy started to climb up the ladder to the manhole cover when she felt his touch on her arm.   She turned around to find herself only inches away from his face.  They  looked into each other’s eyes for a full minute without either one having any idea what he or she was looking for there.  Then with a groan, Spike surrendered to his body’s demands, pulling her toward him and capturing her mouth with his as he did so. 

  OK, this is bad. Very bad.  I’m kissing Spike again and we know where that went last time.  Time to stop, Buffy.  Stop... stop... kissing... Spike....

“Spike”, she murmured  aloud as she completely lost her train of thought.  The kisses were as deep and exciting as before, but with an element of tenderness that both astonished and moved her. 

  Damn, what’s wrong with me?  I should have my hand up her shirt by now, and instead here I am just playing kissy-face like a teenager.

He was lost in the sensations she was creating in his undead body.  Her scent, the silky feel of her skin, the softness of her lips.   He loved the way her body could feel so feminine and soft and yet so strong at the same time. 

Buffy finally broke the kiss and just stood with her forehead resting against his chin.  She knew that what they were doing was wrong, but somehow it felt more right than anything else she’d ever done.

Spike held her lightly in his arms, inhaling  her herbal-scented hair and resting his lips on the silky crown of her head.  “Ah, Slayer,” he breathed out, “What have you done to me?”

Buffy just shook her head gently and moaned.  “This is sooo wrong.  You’re an evil, soulless vampire and I’m the Slayer.  I can’t do this.   I won’t do this!” she said more firmly as she straightened up and pulled back from him slightly.  Which turned out not to be a good idea, as it meant she was looking into a pair of incredibly blue and desperate eyes.

“Don’t say that, love.  You think I don’t know this is wrong?  I’ve gone from wanting to kill you to wanting... just wanting.”  He ran his knuckles softly down her cheek.  “Don’t push me away, Buffy.  Please.”

She started at the sound of her name on his lips.  She couldn’t remember when, if ever, he had called her anything but Slayer  or pet, or love, or... not going to go there.   Hearing her name in his deep voice sent a shiver through her and she clutched her arms across her chest and struggled to ignore the way it made her feel. 

“We, we can’t do this right now, Spike.” she said, dropping her gaze.  “We have to get to Giles and tell him what happened.  And figure out how we’re going to get back in there and stop this.  Whatever ‘this’ is,” she finished. 

“All right, love. You’re right.  We need to find out what else those wankers are doing.  But this isn’t over.  Not by a long shot.” he growled at her and tipped her chin up to meet his eyes, forcing her to acknowledge what she was seeing there.

“It is over, Spike.  It has to be.” she whispered as she turned away from his hurt look.  Even as her words were spoken and she turned away from him, she was unconsciously leaning back into him.  His arms were on either side of her, holding onto the ladder, but he didn’t touch her – just allowed her to lean into his chest for a second.

He planted a soft kiss on the top of her head, then tapped her lightly on her butt and said, “You keep telling yourself that, pet.” as he urged her up the ladder.

Chapter Five

The thunderous look on Giles’ face as Buffy told him about being sent out into the tunnels by Dr. Walsh was exceeded only by the long string of curses – many of them British expressions that she was completely at a loss to interpret – that he uttered as he paced the floor.

While Buffy stared at him in bemusement, Spike grinned appreciatively at the colorful language and applauded briefly when the Watcher stopped for air.

“I knew there was something wrong with that over-educated bitch!”  Giles finished. 

“Wow,” Buffy said softly.  “I guess it doesn’t always take band candy to bring out the Ripper, does it?”

Giles looked embarrassed and cleared his throat while he polished his glasses.  “Yes, Well then.  Back to making our plans....” He tried to ignore the grinning vampire and the giggles coming from his Slayer.

“Spike,” she asked between giggles.  “Can you translate all that and tell me what it means?”

“Why sure, pet.  He was—”  The vampire’s intended explanation of the terms Buffy was unfamilar with was interrupted by a glare from the Watcher and a warning, “Spike....”

“Uh, um, why no, Slayer.  I haven’t a clue.  Must have been Latin or somethin’” he said as he moved away from her and back to the chair.

Soon a still-angry Slayer was pacing around Giles’ apartment muttering about Maggie Walsh and what she was going to do to her.  Spike sat quietly in the corner, watching her rant with admiration.  Everytime the door opened to let another Scoobie in, the vampire straightened and tensed until he recognized the new arrival.  His behavior was not lost on Giles, who thought he was behaving like a two legged guard dog.

I guess there are worse things for her to have than a vampire bodyguard, he thought wearily.  Although how Spike is going to protect her from humans, I can’t imagine.

After all the Scoobies had gathered to hear what had happened, there was much arguing about what they could or should do about the Initiative.   All agreed that even though the complex was being run by humans and apparently the government, the fact that they were using demons and vampires for something – and the fact that they had tried to kill Buffy – made it Scooby business for sure.

Xander was very disappointed in Riley and kept insisting that he wouldn’t have had anything to do with trying to hurt Buffy.  Spike just kept calling him a soddin’ wanker and insisting he should be killed immediately.  Willow and Tara tried to be the voices of reason and come up with suggestions for safer ways to learn more about the secret organization.

Eventually it was agreed that the immediate need was for pizza, and the call was made to the nearest place that was still willing to deliver pizzas after dark in Sunnydale.

While the Scoobies were listening to Buffy’s story of how Professor Walsh had appeared to welcome her to the Initiative, but then sent her out to be killed, there was a knock on the door.  A glance around room indicated that anyone who was likely to be at a Scooby strategy session was already there.  As Giles went to answer the door, he realized that Spike was right behind him. 

“What do you think you’re doing?” he asked him coldly.

The vampire looked startled, then glanced down at the floor.  “I’m just... uh.... Bloody hell, Watcher – we don’t know what’s out there!” he finished, glaring at Giles defiantly.

“Well, we know it’s probably human, don’t we?” the Watcher said mildly and held the vampire’s eyes.

“And carrying pizza!” Xander chimed in happily.

With a snarl and a curse, Spike turned away and stalked back to his place in the corner. 

Giles answered the door and asked the delivery person to step in while he went to get his wallet.  The tall, skinny man’s eyes lit up when he spotted the blond vampire and he called out, “Hey, Spike!  Long time no see. What’s up man?”

While everyone else stared from Spike to the delivery boy in surprise, Buffy realized that her Slayer senses were itching and she walked up to the nervous-looking man looking at him intently.

“You – you’re a demon!” she exclaimed.  The man retreated to the doorway and cowered away from her. 

“Uh, no, no I’m not, Slayer.  I’m, I’m uh, just a pizza delivery guy.”  He looked around frantically and started edging toward the outside.

“Oh?  A pizza delivery guy who just happens to know I’m the Slayer?” she inquired with a glare as she stalked toward him.

Spike walked up and held Buffy’s arm gently.  “Easy, Slayer.  This is Jake.  He is perfectly harmless and he is a genuine pizza delivery man.  Who else do you think would be safe delivering pizzas in this town after dark but a demon?”

Buffy blinked for a minute, then said, somewhat shamefacedly, “I never thought about it.  I guess I just....” She glanced apologetically at Jake and mumbled, “Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.”

“Oh, no problem, Slayer.” he said eagerly.  “I’m just really – pleased – to meet you.”

“Likewise, I’m sure,” she said wryly.  “So, Jake, aren’t you worried about those guys going around snatching up demons?”

He looked at her with surprise, than said, “Well, yeah.  But I don’t really look like a demon, you know, so I don’t think....”

He was interrupted by another knock on the door.  Giles rolled his eyes and went to open it again, handing Jake his money as he did.

To everyone’s amazement, Riley was standing on the other side of the door, dressed in his commando uniform.  Jake’s eyes got big and he looked at Spike in terror.  “Spike!  We need to....”

“It’s okay, Jake,” Buffy told him quietly.  “You can just take your money and go.  And thanks for the delivery.”  She sureptitiously pushed Spike away from the door and he took the hint, heading in the direction of the couch and Willow andTara.

Jake edged his way past Riley and took off for his car as soon as he was around the large soldier.  Riley ignored him completely, looking at Buffy with open-mouthed surprise.  Suddenly he swooped her up, hugging her tightly and muttering over and over, “You’re alive, you’re alive!”

He continued to hug her, holding her to him so that her feet were completely off the ground.  “I was so worried.”  His brows knit for a minute as he tried to reconcile Buffy’s obvious good health with his mentor’s assurances that she had been killed by a demon attack.  Meanwhile, Xander and Giles were staring coldly at Riley who had finally noticed Buffy’s lack of enthusiasm for his embrace and put her back down. 

“And why would you be surprised to find her alive, Riley?” Giles asked in a deceptively mild tone of voice.  “Is there a reason why she wouldn’t be?”

The soldier looked back and forth between Buffy and Giles, then said, “Well, Maggie – Professor Walsh – said that Buffy insisted on going into the tunnels alone to capture some escaped demons and that she saw them kill her.  I was coming over here to find out if you knew about it yet and....”  He stopped as he saw the way they were looking at him.  “What?” he asked.  “Why are you all looking at me like that?  And why does Professor Walsh think you’re dead, Buffy?”

“Because she tried to kill me today,” Buffy said dryly as she turned away from him.

“Oh no, that’s not possible.” he insisted. “You’ve misunderstood somehow.  She was thrilled to meet you – she was excited at the thought of having a Slayer to study and—”  His speech was interrupted by a commotion on the couch where Willow and Tara had thrown themselves on a vamped out Spike and were trying to hold him down as he tried to get to Riley, snarling about “lab rats” and “a girl, not a bloody science experiment.”

Meanwhile, Giles having anticipated Spike’s reaction, had put himself between the vampire and the human couple and shoved Spike back onto the couch. There was nothing he could do to mask the growl coming from the vampire’s throat, though and Riley’s gaze went to the man in the corner.  Although Spike was not wearing his duster, he was back in his customary black jeans, tight T shirt and red silk shirt.  Riley’s eyes grew big as he recognized the vampire for what he was.

Buffy walked over to him quickly and touched the ridges on his face.  “Spike, please?” she said quietly. “I don’t want him to take you back.” At the touch of her hand, his face relaxed back into its human form and he sank back onto the couch, still growling.  She smiled at him and had to resist the urge to pat him on the head like an obedient dog.

She dropped her hand quickly as she heard footsteps and turned to see Riley striding toward the couch.

“That’s Hostile Seventeen!” he shouted, shoving Buffy behind him. “I knew he looked familiar!” He looked from Spike to Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies.  “What is he doing here?” he asked angrily.  “We’ve been searching for him since he escaped.  Why have you been hiding a hostile from us?” Buffy snorted and pushed Riley out of her way.

“You’ve met him twice,” she said with an eye roll.  “How you guys catch any vampires is beyond me.  You don’t even recognize one when you shake hands with it – him!” she amended quickly.

“Well, I hardly expect to find my girlfriend” – wince from Buffy, snarl from Spike – “hanging out with them at night clubs,” he mumbled.   “And why are you hanging out with it?” he asked in a more belligerant tone.  “Why is the Slayer protecting a vampire? What is Hostile Seventeen doing here?”

That was the end of Buffy’s attempt at patience.  She whirled on the big man and began yelling at him, punctuating each complaint with a poke at his chest – each one of which knocked him back further and further toward the door.

“In the first place – he isn’t a ‘hostile’, he’s a vampire.  MY job, remember? I decide what happens to him – not some obscure government agency.  In the second place, you’ve crippled him…”  Giles and Xander exchanged surprised looks at her choice of words, while Spike flinched as though he’d been struck.  “…so he may be ‘hostile’ but he sure as hell isn’t dangerous anymore. And lastly, your boss just tried to kill me – and then obviously lied to you about it – so where do you get off complaining about anything I’ve done?”

Riley gawked at her.  He’d never seen Buffy in Slayer mode and he found that he was shrinking away from her as she advanced on him, pushing him toward the door.

“But, but, Buffy...” he began.  “You can’t... you don’t mean... Buffy, please. Can we talk about this?”  His eyes were pleading and as Buffy got control of her temper and the girl replaced the Slayer.  She stopped her relentless pushing and took a deep breath.

“What can we possibly have to talk about, Riley?” she said tonelessly.  “You took me in there, and they tried to kill me.  What else is there to say?”

“It’s got to be a misunderstanding, Buffy.  I’m sure Professor Walsh wasn’t trying to kill you.  Maybe she was testing your slayer powers or something.  I know she’s eager to know more about you.”

“Oh, she’s going to know more about me.  You can count on that,” Buffy said grimly.”

“Buffy, I don’t understand.  Can you tell me what it’s doing here?  I really don’t get why that creature is here.”

“His name,” Buffy said firmly, “is Spike.  And he’s here because your chip left him unable to feed or defend himself.”

“But... but, why haven’t you staked him?” Riley asked with a bewildered look on his face.  “He’s a vampire!”

“He’s also not dangerous right now, “ Buffy replied, ignoring Spike’s indignant  “Hey!”

          “I don’t kill harmless things” I hope, she though guiltily, remembering the butchered demons she had seen in the tunnels and Spike’s insistance that they were all as harmless and peaceloving as Jake and Clem.  ”And, he’s... helping us, right now.” she added, hoping that sounded more positive than it came out .

“He doesn’t look harmless to me,” Riley said, meeting Spike’s icy glare with one of his own.  “He looks like he wants to kill somebody.”

“Got that right, pillock,” Spike muttered, but with Buffy’s anxious eyes on him he kept his voice low enough that only Giles and Willow heard him.  Giles gave him a hard look and Willow put her hand gently on his arm, then quickly moved it when Spike looked at her with astonishment.  “Isn’t anyone afraid of me anymore?” he groaned under his breath and growled when Willow giggled at him.

Reluctantly turning his face away from the vampire, Riley looked at Buffy and pleaded, “I don’t know what went on this afternoon, but I’m sure it was all a misunderstanding of some sort.  Can we....”

“Your boss tried to have me killed,” Buffy said coldly.  “I understand that pretty well!”

“That – that can’t be right, Buffy!  She was thrilled to meet you.  She can’t wait to learn more about you....”  He stopped talking as he took in the look on Buffy’s face.  He had never seen her actually be the Slayer before tonight, and he felt a chill go down his spine at the change in his girlfriend.  Fortunately, the look didn’t last long, and his Buffy was once again looking at him.

“Riley, I know what happened to me.  The only question I have right now is – did you know it was going to happen?”

He gaped at her.  “Oh my god, Buffy!  You can’t think... I would never.... You have to believe me!”

The anguish and horror on his face was so real, Buffy relaxed her stance and sighed.  “I believe you, Riley.  But you have to believe me.  She did try to have me killed.  I barely got out of there.  If it hadn’t been for Spike’s—” She stopped as Riley shot a suspicious look at the smirking vampire.  Giving Spike a glare which made him look down at his boots intently, she said, “Well, nevermind.  The point is, I don’t think she wants me around.”

“Buffy, please.  What can I do to make this right between us?  I don’t know what Maggie’s thinking was, but I knew nothing about it.  I thought she was just taking you on a tour of the facility.”  Riley looked at her contritely.

Buffy met his eyes steadily for a minute, then looked at Giles and the other Scoobies.  They exchanged looks, then Xander shrugged and said,  “We might as well hear what he has to say, Buffy.  Maybe he can fill in some of the blanks.”

Buffy carefully avoided looking at Spike as she grudgingly said, “Okay, Riley. Come in and sit down.  We have some questions for you.”

He hesitantly approached the middle of the room and looked for a place to sit.  Giles pulled a chair out from the table and pointedly deposited it in front of Riley.  The rest of the gang seated themselves around the room, leaving Spike alone on the couch.  Buffy hesitated a second, then walked over and seated herself primly  beside the vampire.  She took care to be far enough way that she wasn’t touching him, although she could feel his presence near her without even glancing over her shoulder.

“What do you want to know?” Riley asked tiredly.  “Bear in mind that this is supposed to be a secret operation – no civilians involved.”

“We don’t exactly consider ourselves ‘civilians’ when it comes to fighting vampires and demons,” Giles said with just a trace of Ripper in his voice.  “The Council of Watchers and their Chosen Ones have been fighting the forces of evil for thousands of years.  I’m guessing we know more about it than you do.”

“Well, that may be true.  But with our weapons and technology, we think we’ve taken it to a new level.   For instance, Hostile Seventeen, there.” He gestured toward Spike. “That electronic chip in his brain  prevents him from attacking humans; thereby rendering him harmless, but still potentially useful.”

“Harmless? Useful?  You’d bloody well take that back, you wanker!”

Spike lunged toward Riley, then recoiled and threw himself on the couch holding his head and moaning.  Riley looked quite pleased with himself and said, “There, you see? He can’t hurt me – no matter how much he wants to.  We’ve effectively neutered him.  He can no longer feed on humans.”

Spike can’t kill. That’s a good thing, right?  But he can’t defend himselve either. How can that be good?  But if he could, he might kill us.  Well, maybe not me. But Xander, Giles... this is making my head hurt.

To avoid thinking any more about Spike, Buffy asked, “What about the other demons?  The ones you’re torturing and maiming....and killing?”

Riley gave a start of surprise.  “How did you know about...?” He looked suspiciously at Spike, then back at Buffy. 

To everyone’s surprise, Tara, who was normally very quiet, spoke up and said, “We’ve seen the results of your work.  How are you any better than they are?”

Spike gave the witch a small smile as she blushed and ducked her head.  It was totally out of character for her to speak out like that in a Scoobie meeting and was an indication of how bothered she was by what they had seen in the caves.  Everyone stared at her in amazement for a second, then looked back at Riley and waited for his answer. 

“Well,” he fumbled, “I mean, they’re just sub-terrestrials, aren’t they?  No better than animals.  And if we can find uses for them....”  He stopped when he saw the horrified/hostile expressions on everyone’s face.  “What is wrong with you people? If I’m to believe what you say, you kill them all the time.”

Buffy winced slightly, then said, “I kill them.  When I catch them and they are clearly dangerous.  I don’t cut off body parts for my amusement.  Nor do I try to construct new demons from the parts!”  She paused and tried to push down the nagging question of whether or not she had ever killed a harmless demon like the pizza delivery guy.  “Why would you want to construct more demons anyway?”

Riley looked uncomfortable for a minute, then grudgingly replied, “I’m not really in on the whole experimental thing, but I know the plan is to make... creatures... that can be used in combat situations.”

“Demons as weapons!  Oh my god!” Willow burst out.

“Where do Spike and his chip fit in?” Buffy inquired quietly.

Riley took a quick glance at the vampire who was giving him his iciest stare. His blue eyes were flecked with yellow, but he remained in human face and just looked at the commando flatly.  “Yeah, Capt’m America, where do I fit in?”

“The chip is an experiment to see if we can render vampires harmless to humans.  If we can, then we can work on controling them and they could be very useful.  They can go where we can’t; they’re capable of passing for human; there could be lots of advantages to having a squad of tamed vampires.”  He finished quickly, edging away from the steady snarls coming from the end of the couch.

Buffy stretched out her hand and touched Spike’s leg in warning as he looked as though he was going to leap up and try to tear Riley apart.  “Don’t,” she said softly.  “Let it go”.

“Let it go?” he sputtered.  “Bloody hell, Slayer, did you hear what he said?  I’m nobody’s lab rat!  And I’m not all that tame, either!” he blustered, but he didn’t move off the couch or make any attempt to touch Riley. He had, however, moved much closer to Buffy and was glaring over her shoulder at the larger man who glared back and leaned forward.

Using one hand to keep Spike behind her, and the other to keep Riley at a distance, Buffy looked to Giles for help.  Coming up behind Riley, he touched the other man on the shoulder and suggested he might want to leave and allow them to digest what he’s had to say.

When Riley stood up, so did Spike and Buffy; the vampire still behind her glaring at the commando. 

“Buffy,” Riley began, “I need to take him back with me.  That’s an expensive piece of government equipment in his head.  We need to either have him, or to have our chip back to use on some other vampire.  One that doesn’t have the Slayer’s protection,” he added angrily.

“You can’t have Spike,” Buffy said flatly, ignoring the vampire’s “Yes! Let  them take it out and put it in someone else!”

“Shut up, Spike,” she threw over her shoulder as she glared at Riley.  “And what would you do with Spike, if you took it out?”

Riley looked at her in astonishment,  “Well, we’d terminate him, of course!  We couldn’t turn a killer loose again! Surely you agree with that, Buffy?”

Buffy’s blood ran suddenly cold as she realized that that was exactly what she would be expected to do.  Suddenly the idea of staking Spike was not as appealing as it had been a few months ago.

“Well you can’t have him,” she muttered.  When she saw her friends and watcher staring at her with curiousity she added,  “Not until I know more about what’s going on in there and why that bitch wants me dead!  I – I might need his help,” she finished lamely.

Riley was looking at Buffy anxiously.  “I know this whole misunderstanding has to be a mistake.  Please, Buffy, can we just talk somewhere... else,” he concluded looking around at the hostile faces in the room. He decided to leave the subject of the chipped vampire to another time.  At least now they knew where he was.

Buffy held up her hand to forstall the objections she could tell Spike and Giles were going to raise.  Giles swallowed the rest of his, “Buffy, I don’t know that it’s wise to...” but Spike continued to growl softly.

“All right, Riley.” she agreed.  “But someplace public and well lit – and away from your buddies.  Maybe Willy’s,” she teased.  Everyone laughed except Riley who asked, “Willys?  The demon bar?” in a tone that suggested she’d lost her mind.  Rolling her eyes at his lack of humor, she added more seriously, “Or, we could go to the coffee shop – I promise no arm wrestling this time.”

  Riley glared at Xander’s snicker and the young man smiled at him apologetically and shrugged.

The large soldier and the small slayer left the apartment, assuring Giles that they would continue their talk in a public place and that Buffy would be back within an hour.

Chapter Six

earlier that day

Maggie Walsh was angry.  First, that the stupid little coed had gotten away from the assassins she sent after her – she refused to believe that the demons were dead -  and second, that the little hussy had the nerve to threaten her.   To soothe her mind, she let herself into the secret part of the lab and stood admiring her soon-to-be awakened “son”.

“Adam,” she said with pride.  “The ultimate soldier.  My finest achievement.”

Lying on a table was a large creature that looked like a combination between a very muscular man and a robot.   Not immediately visible were the many enhancements concealed in and around his body – both mechanical and those things “borrowed” from the demons that had been collected.  Maggie looked at him lovingly again and whispered, “Soon, my son.  Soon.”

She headed back to the floor in time to see one of the squads sent out after the Slayer come in carrying the very dead bodies of her assassin demons.  They set the bodies down on the floor and put the gun and smashed camera right next to them.  Maggie glared at the bodies and ruined equipment in surprise.  “She did this?  That skinny little girl?”  She waved them away, telling them to dispose of the bodies.

I need to rethink my strategy toward that girl.  I need to know more about her – and there’s only one way to do that.....

Mind made up, she strode to her office and called for her elite squad. 
When Special Agent Finn and his men arrived in her office, she studied them carefully before speaking.  “Riley,” she said quietly, “I have a special assignment for you.  Please go back to your quarters and wait for me there.”  He looked at her in surpise, but saluted and with a “Yes, ma’am,” left the room and went where he was instructed.
When he was gone, she turned to the others and said, “Special Agent Forrest, you are in charge now.  I want you to bring in that Slayer person.  We need to know more about her.”

Forrest stared at her.  “But... but, Professor Walsh!  She’s the Slayer! She’s on our side.  And besides, she’s Riley’s....” His voice trailed off as he realized why he had been promoted.

“She has destroyed two of our prototypes.  For no reason.  Obviously she is not on our side!  We need to study her – find out what her capabilities are and if we can put them to use.”

“How, “  Forrest cleared his throat.  “How do you want us to do this?” he asked carefully.

“By whatever means necessary,” she stated flatly.  “I want her alive – anything else is up to you.”


            Buffy’s watcher and her friends, including the vampire, settled down to watch TV and argue over the wisdom of letting Buffy go off with the man who led her into the Initiative in the first place.  Xander was sure Riley would never hurt Buffy – Spike was equally sure his entrails should be dangling from the shower rod.  When Giles got tired of the arguing, he snapped out, “If either one of you thinks she would have not gone just because we didn’t think she should, speak now!”  Xander and Spike exchanged a look and they both shrugged and turned toward the TV to the great relief of everyone else in the room.

Spike tried to maintain his interest in the program, but after several minutes he got up and put on his duster.

“Where are going?” Xander demanded.

“I’m gonna watch her back,” he growled.  “I don’t trust that wanker any further than I could throw his overstuffed body!”

“Uh, Spike, you’re a vampire.  Couldn’t you throw him pretty far?”  Anya asked curiously.

“Not the point, demon-girl.” he rolled his eyes.  “It’s just an expression.  And anyway, I probably couldn’t. Not with this soddin’ chip in my head.”

Giles followed Spike to the door.  “Spike,” he warned.  “You know she’s not going to be happy about being followed....”  Spike winced as he remembered how angry she had been at his watching her with Riley before.

It’s not the same thing,  he assured himself.  She could be in danger this time. I’m just watchin’ her back.

“They won’t know I’m there, Watcher.  Trust me.”

“You’re not exactly inconspicuous, you know,” Giles pointed out, gesturing to the long black coat, red shirt and blinding platinumhair.  “You tend to stand out in a crowd.”

The vampire just looked at his fellow Englishman, then shook his head.

  “Watcher, I’ve spent over a hundred and twenty years as a vampire.  Do you really think I can’t be invisible if I want to be?” As he spoke, he became preternaturally still and almost seemed to blend into the woodwork around the door.  Giles gave a start of surprise, then studied the vampire hard.

“Maybe we’ve underestimated you,” he allowed.

“Maybe you have,” Spike agreed as he slipped out the door.  “Think about it, Watcher,” he tossed backover his shoulder as he literally disappeared into the night.

Giles closed the door and shook his head as he turned back to the rest of the Scoobies. “I’m not sure whether I find that reassuring or terrible frightening,” he muttered to himself.


True to his word, Spike remained hidden in the shadows, completely unnoticed by the people around him as he stood and watched Buffy and Riley having an ocassionally very animated conversation across the street.

“Riley,” she sighed finally, “we’re just never going to agree on this.  I don’t trust your boss, I don’t think you actually know everything that’s going on in there, and I am not going back in with you.”

“I’m not supposed to know everything, Buffy.  I’m a soldier.  I just do what I’m told.  But it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be safe with me.”

“I wasn’t last time,” she reminded him.

He looked down at the table and nodded his head.  “All right,” he agreed reluctantly.  “I’ll try to get an explanation for what happened to you.  I’m sure there is one.  I just need to find out what it is.  Come on, I’ll walk you to the dorm,” he offered.

“No, that’s okay.  I’m going back to Giles’ – and I’m going to be in a hurry.  You go back to – wherever.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

He leaned down and gave her a tentative kiss, frowning at her lack of enthusiasm and participation.  “Buffy, you know how I feel about you.  Don’t let this come between us.  Please.”

“Sorry, Riley,” she smiled at him ruefully.   “Fighting for my life when I think I’m among friends makes me cranky.”

“Only when you’re among friends?” he smiled back.

“Well, yeah.  The rest of the time it’s either boring or fun – depending on who I’m fighting and why.  But it doesn’t make me mad.  Unless I get demon goo on my good clothes, of course,  Then....”

He shook his head at her and said ruefully,  “I’ve got a lot to learn about you, don’t I?”

“That you do, mate.” Spike said under his breath as he saw them part after another quick kiss.  “That you do.”

Chapter Seven

As Buffy moved off toward Gile’s apartment, she felt the familiar tingle that told her there was a vampire around.  She turned around and scanned the area, but didn’t see anything unusual.  “Almost feels like Spike,” she mused, “but he wouldn’t have....”

Her thought was interrupted by the abrupt arrival of Forrest and several other commandos.  Before she could ask what they wanted, the commando looked at her sadly and said,  “Sorry, Buffy”.  As he did, she was hit from behind with a tazer and went down in a twitching heap.   The soldiers reached for her to take her away, but they were bowled over by a snarling, snapping vampire who was roaring with anger and screaming in pain at the same time as his chip fired repeatedly.
Buffy struggled to sit up, but she was quickly hit with a second taser shot which left her unconscious.  Leaving his men to deal with the vampire, Forrest and Graham picked up the Slayer’s inert body and sprinted away with it toward the fraternity house.  The remaining men, seeing that the vampire was not moving and had blood streaming from his nose, ran after them, leaving Spike on the ground.

As Spike gradually regained consciousness and remembered what had happened, he groaned and ran toward Giles’ apartment, holding his head with both hands.
Giles leaped up at the sound of frantic pounding on his door and opened it to find a semi-erect Spike, bleeding from this nose and ears. He caught the vampire as he fell in the door and supported his weight until he got him to the couch.  Willow and Tara came over and began fussing over him, trying to clean up the blood and offering aspirin and healing spells.

Spike brushed them aside with a grateful look and struggled to sit up. 

“Buffy,” he gasped.  “They took Buffy.”

“Who? Who took Buffy?  Riley?”  Giles was in full Ripper mode as he grabbed Spike by the collar and shook him.

“No, not the wanker.  His buddies.  They hit her with a tazer, carried her off somewhere.”

“Where were you big guy?” Xander demanded.  “Thought you were watching her back?”

“I tried,” he snarled,  “There were too many of the bloody wankers for me to take out before the chip took me out.”  For a minute it looked like the vampire was going to cry and Xander felt mildly ashamed for baiting him.  Especially when he saw the looks Anya, Willow and Tara were giving him.

“You’re sure they were commandos?” Giles asked.

“I’m sure. They were even wearin’ their soldier stuff.”

“Well,” Giles said tiredly,  “I guess we’re making another trip into the caves tonight.  After I make a phone call,” he added.  He went into his bedroom and placed a long distance call to England.  “I don’t care what time it is! “ they heard him yelling into the phone.  “Get him to the phone, now!”

When Giles had come out of the bedroom, looking somewhat mollified, they gathered up the equipment they thought they might need and headed for the car.  In spite of the obvious pain he was in, the vampire preceeded them out the door saying, “I’ll meet you there,” as he disappeared into the night.

“Anybody else thinking I wouldn’t want to be one of those guys if Spike gets his chip out?” Xander asked conversationally.

“I wouldn’t want to be anybody, if Spike got his chip out,” said Anya.  “He seems to be very dangerous.”

“He certainly is, or at least he used to be,” said Willow slowly.  “but I’m not sure I think he would hurt any of us anymore.  Do you think so, Giles?”

“I don’t know, Willow.  I don’t think it would be safe to assume he wouldn’t.  He is still a vampire, you know. There’s no reason to think he wouldn’t start feeding again as soon as he could. “

At least, I don’t THINK there’s a reason.  Is there? 

When they reached the path leading into the caves, Spike was already waiting  for them, looking somewhat recovered from his headache.  They marched grimly into the caves, not sure what they would find and remembering the dismembered bodies they found the first time.

The closer they got to the Initiative tunnels, the closer together they stayed and the quieter they were.    When they came to a large opening that seemed to go into the ventilation system, Xander suggested they try that means of looking around. Ten minutes of prowling along the large vents and dodging the ocassional fan, led them into the labratory section of the complex and they found themselves looking down from various grilled openings into the different rooms.  They agreed to split up, with the girls going in one direction and Spike, Giles and Xander each taking a different vantage point into the lab area.

As they approached the area overlooking the cages, Spike went into game face and began growling under his breath.  From their lofty viewpoints in the vents, they were able to see down into the lab. At the sight of Buffy’s unconscious body on a slab, it took both Giles and Xander to prevent Spike from leaping through the grill and giving them all away. Although both her Watcher and her friend were fighting the same urge to leap into the room and rescue her, they were able to control their urges better than the impulsive vampire.

Finally, Giles wrestled him back against the wall and looked him straight in the eye as he said in a low whisper,  “I want them just as much as you do – and I don’t want them touching her either.  But we can’t help her if we get caught.  You’ve got to stay in control.  Can you do that?”  He forced the vampire to meet his eyes and after a few seconds Spike’s face relaxed into his human visage and he slumped loosely against the wall.

Remembering what he’d told Giles about underestimating him, he forced his demon down and nodded his head.

“Sorry, Watcher,” he said, half-smiling at Giles’ surprised expression, “You’re right.  I need to use my brain, not my demon right now.”

“Brain? Spike?  Should those words be used in the same sentence?” Xander snarked quietly.  Matching glares from the watcher and the vampire, caused him to stop before he said anything else. 

“Well,” Xander started the whispered discussion, “how do we go about getting her out?”

Giles cleared his throat and said, “The phone call I made was to the council.  Through their contacts they should be getting someone in the US government working on this and sending someone here to find out what’s going on down there.  In the meantime, I guess she’s safe enough....”  A hiss from Xander interupted him and they all peered down into the lab in time to see a technician slice Buffy’s arm with a surgical scalpel.

“Professor Walsh wants us to time how long it takes for this cut to close,” one of them spoke to the other as he jotted the time down onto a clipboard.  “I guess that’s the last test for now.  Let’s put her away before she wakes up.”  They lifted Buffy’s unconscious body up and carried her out to one of the plastic fronted cages.  The cage they put her in was different from the ones containing the demons only in that it had an actual metal cot bolted to the floor and toilet facilities.

“Do you think we should give her some privacy?” the first technician asked, gesturing at the toilet and at Buffy who was clad only in a paper hospital gown that had ridden up her thighs.

  “Nah”, replied the other one.  “Good-looking as she is, according to Maggie she’s just as much a demon as they are.  She probably doesn’t have any shame either.”  With that, they slid the transparent panel closed and went back to the lab.

Xander was so angry he was shaking and swearing he would tear them apart.  To his surprise, neither Giles nor Spike were ranting like he was and he was about to whisper harshly at them for not caring about Buffy when he saw their faces. 

Spike was still wearing his human face, but there was nothing human-looking about it.  It was as cold and still as any corpse, and his normally blue eyes were pure gray ice.  The only sign that he was even aware of what was going on was the way his eyes would ocassionally flash gold.

  For the first time since Spike was chipped Xander found himself afraid of the vampire and he instinctively moved further away from him.  A slight movement caught his eye and he saw that Spike had squeezed the handle of the axe he was holding so hard he had crushed the wood to sawdust.  The vampire caught the axe head in his hand as it started to fall to the floor of the vent and slowly bent to lay it down gently by the wall.   Xander decided that exhibition of quiet strength, speed, and will, coupled with controlled rage, was the most frightening thing he had seen from the vampire in the two years since he had come in to their lives.

Giles was not as capable of perfect stillness as Spike was, but his face had the same cold, focused expression.   His breathing was deep and regular and Xander realized he was seeing some sort of transformation taking place.  The mild mannered, scholarly man he was used to was nowhere visible.  In his place was a cold, angry sorcerer whose eyes had darkened with magic.  Suddenly the man they thought of as a fusty old librarian looked more than capable of being a match for Spike or anyone else. 

While Xander was digesting what he was seeing and trying to decide if he should move away from both men, the girls came back whispering that they had found both Riley’s room and Maggie Walsh’s private office.  They shrank back in fear at the sight of Spike and Giles, although after a moment, Willow couldn’t resist getting closer to Giles and reveling in the feeling of power coming off his body.  When the girls saw Buffy’s semi-nude and bleeding body below them, they understood immediately what was going on.

“Guys?” Willow suggested.  “Shouldn’t we decide how we’re going to get her out of there?  You can work on looking scary later.”

“Although, you’re doing a wonderful job of it....” the former vengance demon began, than stopped at a look from Xander.  “Well, I’m just saying – they look really scary, but there’s nobody here to see them but us.”

Giles looked at Spike and said, “What can you tell me about the cages? How do they work? Can we open them?”

“The witches – or you –“ he added, looking at the Watcher’s eyes, “might be able to mojo them open, but I’m guessing they’re warded against that pretty well.  Our best bet is to get somebody to open them. “ He turned to the girls and asked, “Can you take Harris to Finn’s room?” 

They nodded their heads and the vampire looked at Xander.  “Do you think you can stop admiring the soldier boy long enough to get him here?  He should know how to open the cage.”

Xander nodded his head quickly, “Yeah, not feeling all that patriotic at the moment.  I’ll get him here,” he said grimly.  He left, following Anya through the ventilation pipe.

Giles looked at Willow and Tara, “Take me to Maggie Walsh,” he said coldly and turned to go.  He stopped to look at Spike. “You won’t do anything stupid while I’m gone, will you?” he asked sternly.  The vampire met his gaze and said flatly, “Nothin’ stupider than what you’re gonna do, Ripper.”

“Right then, I’m off.”  He slipped off through the ventilation system leaving the vampire staring down into the cage where Buffy was beginning to moan and wake up.

Chapter Eight

Spike wanted nothing more than to leap down through the ceiling and hold her as she woke up, but he knew that even if he could get in, he would just be trapped like she was and no help to her.  The frustration of knowing he couldn’t fight back against the humans holding her captive was making him physically sick and he struggled to hold his demon in check.
Got to stay strong for her and not go off half-cocked and bollix this up. Plenty of time later to find a way to make them pay.

As the Slayer woke up, she clutched the paper robe around her body and stared at her bleeding arm.  The wound was beginning to close, but it was still oozing and she frowned at the precise cut, wondering how and where she got it.  As her memory came back of what happened to her and she realized where she was, her confusion was replaced by fury.  She flew at the plastic front of the cage, pounding on it with her fists and kicking it, although she knew from Spike’s recounting of his time in there that she wasn’t likely to have an effect on it.
The sound of her cursing and banging brought the techinicians back in and they looked at the tiny woman in wonder.  “Uh, I guess we’re ready for the next test?” the quieter one said. 

“Looks like,” said the other with a speculative grin.  “Let’s see if she can keep that robe around her while she fights another demon.” he said as he quickly punched in a code and took the demon from the cage across from her at tazer point.

Holding tazers out in front of them to keep her at bay, they quickly keyed her door open just far enough to shove the demon in with her, then stood back to watch what happened.

To their disappointment,  the demon cowered in the corner begging the Slayer not to kill him, while she ignored him completely and continued her assault on the door.  Eventually the two technicians got bored and went back into the lab, snickering at the look of fury on Buffy’s face.  “Not so all-powerful now, is she?” one snarked as he waved at her on his way out.

Oh, I’m am so going to feed them their testicles!  Right after I get through breaking every bone in Riley’s body.

Buffy stoped her futile beating on the door and began to take stock of her surroundings.  When she noticed the demon cowering in the corner, she growled at him to stop whining and get out of her way.  He scurried obediently to a different corner and Buffy proceeded to examine every inch of the room looking for a weak spot or an exit.  She didn’t really expect to find one, based on both Spike’s story and her dreams, but she made the effort anyway.

Suddenly she felt the familiar tingle that told her there was a vampire near.  A particular vampire,  she realized, only mildly surprised that she could tell Spike apart from the rest of Sunnydale’s vampire population.  Frantically she scanned the other cages to see if he had been re-captured, but didn’t see him.

She stopped, trying to relax and just feel him.  As she did, her eyes were drawn to the small air vent in the ceiling.  “Spike?” she barely breathed.  “Are you there?”

“Yes, love. I’m here. We’re working on gettin’ you out.”  He tried to keep the frustration and anger out of his voice and project confidence for her.

Buffy grabbed the bed and ripped it out of the floor so that she could put it under the vent.  She stood on it and reached up toward the grill.  She could just barely touch the slots, just enough for her fingertips to meet his.  In the process, her robe gaped open showing her wearing nothing but her lacy underpants.  His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her and he was sure his heart had started beating for a second.

They remained still for several seconds, just touching their fingertips and looking into each other’s eyes.  Buffy couldn’t believe how much calmer she felt just knowing he was nearby.  He explained that Xander had gone to get Riley and couldn’t help grinning as she gave a growl that would have done credit to a vampire.  Suddenly he cocked his head to listen and  said quickly, “Uh, Slayer?  Buffy?  As much as I’m enjoying the view – I’m not really interested in sharing it.  You need to get down, love.”

Buffy glanced at her open robe and the two men coming out of the lab and blushed all over.  With a last look up at Spike, she grabbed the robe and pulled it around herself as she jumped off the bed.  The two technicians looked at the cowering demon in disappointment, then did a double take as they saw where the bed was.

“Uh, wasn’t that bolted to the floor?”  one of them began just as Buffy picked the bed up and threw it at them.  It bounced harmlessly off the plexiglass, but caused both men to leap back in fear.  Enjoying their sudden lack of confidence, Buffy proceeded to take the bed apart and fling pieces of metal at the door, cursing colorfully the whole time.  When she ran out of pieces of bed and American swear words she started on the toilet and sink and British vulgarities that she hadn’t even known she knew until they started coming out of her mouth.

Meanwhile, Giles had found Maggie Walsh’s private lab and office and was peering down at her as she stroked the arm of the monstrous creature on the table.

  “Oh, Adam,” she whispered.  “If you were only ready to go – we’d take that Slayer and put her away forever.” 

As she turned her back, the Frankenstein looking monster on the table lifted his head and called, “Mother?”

Maggie whirled around in astonishment.  “Adam?  You...you’re....” The rest of her thought was abruptly cut off as the creature extended a bayonet like device from his arm and stabbed her through the heart.   Her eyes filled with tears even as they glazed over and she fell to the floor.
Giles recoiled from the vent as though they could be seen – which they quickly realized they could be, as Adam lifted his other arm and fired an energy weapon of some sort at them.  He quickly scrambled back, pushing the two witches behind him.  Muttering something in Latin, he threw up a shield that deflected the next bolt of energy and told them to run.  All three took off back the way they had come wondering what new evil had just been released on the world.

Xander, meanwhile, was going “Psst” as loudly as he could at Riley who was lying on his bed looking very unhappy.  As the noise penetrated his self-imposed funk, he looked around to find the source of the noise.  “Riley,” Xander exclaimed, “Up here!”  He pushed on the vent opening and dropped down into the room.  Looking up, he told Anya to go back to the others and meet him there.

Riley stared at him in bewilderment.  “How did you get in here?  This place is impenetrable!”

“Uh, yeah, right.  Whatever.  Listen, you need to help us get Buffy out.”

“What? Buffy’s not here.  She—”

“She is here.  She’s here; she’s caged up like one of the demons and your boss is running tests on her.  They’ve already sliced open her arm to see how long she’ll bleed.”  Xander stopped and looked at the other man.  Riley looked like he was going to be sick.

“Oh my god.  I didn’t want to believe it.”   He shook himself and asked urgently, “Where is she?”

“I told you. She’s in a cage.  Probably royally pissed off by now if she’s awake.  We need to get there and open those cages so she can get out.  And, I need to borrow some soldier clothers,” he added. “I don’t exactly blend.”

As Xander pulled on some of Riley’s military clothing he explained what had happened after Riley left Buffy.  At the mention of Spikes’ name, the other man’s head snapped up and he stared at Xander.

“You came in here on his say-so?  He’s a vampire. He’s probably lying about everything.”

Xander shook his head,  “Not exactly a card-carrying member of the Spike fan club here, Riley, but I know what I saw.  He didn’t make any of it up.  For whatever reason (and please, God, let the reason not be what I’m afraid it is), he’s on our side in this little adventure and I’m guessing we’re lucky to have him.  I suspect if it weren’t for that chip, this place would be floating in commando and lab tech blood right about now.”

Riley shuddered at the thought of an angry master vampire loose in the facility, but took comfort in the knowledge that Spike couldn’t kill without frying his brain.  At least we did one thing right, he consoled himself.

Grabbing weapons for himself and Xander, he rushed out the door and led the way toward the lab area.

Buffy had run out of things to dismantle and throw at the cage door and had taken to banging on it with a large piece of the bed.  She was delighted to see that it was actually beginning to bend under the steady rain of blows and she could tell from the expressions on the faces of the techs that they had never seen that before.

Riley and Xander slid to a stop when they got to the lab area and saw the terrified techs edging toward the alarm button.  Riley gawked at the cage in which a half-naked Buffy was whacking on a supposedly impregnable door with a large piece of steel.  The interior of the cell was a mass of twisted metal and torn up bedding and porcelin.  “Oh yeah, she’s pissed,” Xander whistled as he watched her steady assault on the plexiglass.

Coming out of the daze produced by seeing his little Buffy in the process of breaking down a door that had defeated demons twice her size, Riley ran to the techs and knocked their hands away from the alarm button.  While he turned to the control panel and started pushing buttons, Xander walked up to the tech that had sliced Buffy’s arm with the scalple and buried his fist in the man’s face.  Then he turned to the other one and punched him in the stomach.  He would have continued taking out his anger on them, but he was distracted by the sounds behind him.  He turned around to see that Riley had opened all the cages and the hall was rapidly filing with irate and/or panicky demons.

Many of the demons just began running blindly, looking for an exit, but most of them focused on the five humans and headed for them with obvious revenge on their minds.  Buffy leaped in front of Xander and Riley, trying vainly to maintain modesty and still keep the angry demons from tearing the humans apart.   Even using one hand to hold her gown closed, she was tearing a path through the demons as she worked out her own fury.

With a “Bloody hell, that looks like too much fun,” Spike dropped his duster on the floor, pushed open a vent ,and dropped down with a swoosh.  He was pulling his shirt off as he dropped through the ceiling and he tossed it to Buffy who quickly pulled it on leaving the paper hospital gown on the floor.  While she was putting on his shirt, he turned to face the advancing demons with an expression of glee on his face. 

The demons that had been advancing on Xander and the technicians were suddenly facing a Slayer with a lot of built up anger and a master vampire who had been prevented from taking his fury out on the beings that caused it.  Many of them were angry enough themselves to charge the two warriors, but once the others saw what happened to those foolish creatures, they all started looking for exits and ran in the other direction.

Riley and Xander ran up to Buffy and the larger man tried to hug her.  She easily side-stepped his attempted embrace and glared at him.  “Don’t even think about touching me!” she snarled as she moved back toward Spike.

“Buffy, please!  I’m sorry.  I had no idea.  I can’t believe they did this.  At least let me take you to my room and get you some clothes....” His voice trailed off as he watched the vampire put a proprietary arm around her and heard him say, “My shirt’ll do her just fine till we get out of here.  You keep your distance or I’ll tear your heart out – even if it does make my head explode.”

They were prevented from taking the potential confrontation any further by the simultaneous arrival of the rest of the Scoobies at the opening in the ceiling and by the arrival of Adam at the far end of the hall. 

“Quickly! Up here!” Giles shouted as he joined hands with Willow and Tara to throw up a barrier between Adam and the spot where Buffy, and the three men were standing.

Xander and Riley whirled around and gawked at the Frankenstein monster facing them.  As Adam raised his arms and sent projectiles toward them, they both fired the guns they had brought with them.  Everyone shuddered when Adam laughed at the bullets bouncing off  his chest.  He narrowed his eyes and turned his gaze toward the ceiling.  “That pitiful curtain of magic won’t stop me,” he snarled at them as he sent an energy bolt in the direction of the opening.  He grimaced as it bounced off and turned his attention back to the small group facing him.

“Time to go,” Spike commented as, without thinking, he grabbed Xander’s legs and threw him toward the hole where the grill had been.  As soon as he saw the boy’s kicking legs disappear into the ventilation system, he turned to Buffy and said, “Now you, Slayer.”

“No, Spike,” she said stubbornly, “I am tired of running from this place.  We can take him together—”

“No, you can’t!” Giles roared with a trace of real fear in his voice.  “We need to get out of here.  And we need to do it now.  I don’t know how long we can keep this barrier up.”

“Your turn, pet,” Spike said as he ignored her protests and picked her up to toss to the ceiling.  Giles and Xander grabbed her wrists and pulled her up into the vent.  Instead of leaving, she peered down and asked, “Are you coming?”

Spike and Riley were facing each other.  They both turned to look at the monster at the other end of the hall.

“What is that thing?” Spike demanded.

“I don’t know.  I’ve never seen it before.”  At  Spike’s skeptical look and raised eyebrown, he insisted.  “I swear!  I don’t know what it is.”

“Spike! Riley!” Buffy ordered them.  “Come on!”

“You go, Slayer.  Maybe we can slow this thing down.”  He nodded to Riley and they started toward the hulking creature at the end of the hall.

“No!” she screamed and started trying to drop back into the room.  Spike could see Giles and Xander hanging on to her arms, but he knew they couldn’t hold her for long.

“Bloody Hell!” he growled.  “Let’s go, soldier boy.”  He held out his cupped hands for Riley to place a foot in.

The other man stared at him, thunderstruck.  “What are you doing?” he managed to get out.

“Not doing it for you, asshole.  Doing it for her.  Now get your overgrown arse up there!” 

Shaking his head in disbelief, Riley stepped onto the proffered hands and was tossed toward the ceiling where Buffy grabbed one arm and Xander the other.  As they pulled him through the hole, Buffy was already leaning back down and calling to Spike.   “Come on!  Now, you idiot!”

The vampire bent his knees and easily sprang up to the hole.  Just as he got there, the magical barrier that had been holding Adam at bay began to break down and a bolt of energy shot from the monster’s arm and hit Spike.  His body spasmed and he fell face forward on the floor of the vent.  When he didn’t move immediately, Buffy turned him over and gasped as she saw blood pouring out of his eyes, ears and nose. 

“Come on, Buffy, we have to get out of here,”  Riley tried to pull her away. 

“I’m not leaving without Spike!” she said firmly as she lifted his dead weight onto her shoulder like a sack of flour. 

“Buffy....” Giles started as he shooed the scoobies toward the tunnels,  “I’m not sure there’s anything there to....”

He stopped when he saw the look on his Slayer’s face.  “Right, then.  We take Spike with us.”  He turned and pushed them ahead of him.  “Keep going, I’m going to try to leave some surprises to slow down pursuit.”

They ran as hard as they could.  Giles and the two young witches kept throwing up magical barricades that didn’t actually stop Adam, but slowed him down enough that they outdistanced him.   Gradually the bolts of energy fell further and further behind.  When they reached the tunnels and jumped down out of the ventilation system, they paused for breath and Xander offered to help carry Spike, but Buffy refused, just shouldering his body again and trudging toward the cave entrance.