Inside the van, Buffy remained quiet – doing her best to appear too frightened and weak to struggle. She sneered mentally at the stupidity of the minions who had not realized that she had no bite marks on her. The vampire holding her licked her lips and leaned in hesitantly as though unable to resist the warm blood pounding so close. A sharp “Lucy!” from the driver made her retreat with a growl and a longing look at her captive’s neck, and Buffy slipped the stake back into her sleeve.
When the van rolled to a stop, the driver jumped out and ran around to open the back door. To her surprise, there was no sign of either her fellow food gatherer or their prize for the evening. She put her head into the dark interior, giving a surprised gurgle when she was grabbed by the throat and yanked all the way inside. She barely had time to register that the only thing in the van was the girl they had thought so harmless, before her dust was joining Lucy’s.
Buffy peered out cautiously, noting that they seemed to be parked some distance from the building into which were going a steady stream of hungry-looking vampires. Periodically, another door would open and vamps would come out, looking much less hungry, if a bit disgruntled. Suddenly one of the vamps acting as a doorman began walking towards the van, frowning as no one got out or approached the building.
“Lucy? John? Where are you? What did you find? Was there really a rogue vamp trying to keep food for himself?”
He stuck his head into the open back of the van and found Buffy crouching just inside the door.
“Hi!” She gave a little wave. “Rogue vamp, huh? I think Spike’ll like that.”
“Who the hell are you?”
“Oh. I’m Buffy.”
Sudden recognition crossed his face as he remembered overhearing the story with which Willow and Alex had returned from Winterset.
“The word you’re looking for is ‘Slayer’,” Buffy agreed cheerfully, as she plunged her stake into his heart. She looked around for Spike, sure that she’d felt his familiar signature among all the others filling the atmosphere around her. She spotted him in the line shuffling into the building and settled back against the wall of the van to watch. She partially closed the doors so as to be less easily observed herself as she watched Spike disappear into the building.
Her patience with waiting lasted only until she noticed that there were ground-level windows along the back of the building and that there did not appear to be any guards.
I guess if you’re the bad guys and everybody else is food, you don’t need much in the way of guards. You’d think they might be just a little bit worried about me, though... Feeling somewhat annoyed that the Master hadn’t appeared to take her presence in the neighboring city very seriously, she slipped out of the van and, keeping other vehicles between herself and the line of hungry vampires, she made her way to the end of the parking lot. She was just getting ready to sprint for the wall of the building when she heard a commotion from the exit door.
Snarling and snapping, an angry vampire was being forcibly removed from the building. In spite of his shouted protests that he was hungry and entitled to eat, he was forced into the open area in front of the parking lot. Standing behind the bouncers was a smug-looking vamp Xander, arms folded and face twisted in disgust.
“You know the rules – you either bring in a contribution to the food bank, or you bring something to pay with. You can’t just walk in here and demand blood. You have to pay for it.”
Snarling and muttering under his breath, the ejected vamp stumbled across the parking lot and into one of the cars. He opened the door, got in and raced the engine before screaming out of the parking area – hitting two other vampires on the way out.
Buffy crouched behind the last car, watching from underneath the bumper as Alex/Xander spoke to the vamps that had thrown the other one out.
“He’s going to be trouble. I don’t see any reason why he needs to be around anymore. Handle it.”
She could see Alex swell with pride as the respect they had for the Master was reflected in their behavior towards him.
“What do we know about the pick-up from downtown? Are they back yet?”
They all looked around the parking lot, frowning. “The van’s back. I guess they already took her inside. If there really was a human girl on the street. Coulda just been somebody getting hungry for fresh blood and hallucinating.”
“I guess. Okay, guys. Get back inside, I’m going to take a look around.”
They nodded and went into the building leaving Alex/Xander sniffing the air and staring around suspiciously. He narrowed his eyes at the van Buffy had arrived in and began walking towards it just as Buffy made her break for the back of the building. He spun around, not quite sure if he had caught movement behind him or not. When he didn’t see anything, he shrugged and walked towards his original destination, looking inside and taking deep sniffs of the interior.
Buffy, meanwhile, had made her way to the first window and scraped away some of the dirt and paint that covered it. She looked down into a cavernous area that must have once been used for manufacturing whatever the factory had produced. She felt her blood run cold when she saw the aged vampire that was sitting on a throne-like chair at the end of the room.
It’s him! The Master. Just like the other Buffy said – he isn’t trapped and he is setting himself up to rule this world. Starting with this city.
Fighting the urge to run away from the vampire whose thrall she could remember so well, she forced herself to continue watching the activity in what was clearly his private space. She could see vamp Willow hovering around the Master’s chair and cringed when he slid his hand up to cup her ass, making the redheaded vampire giggle and rub against him.
She was so wrapped up in being grossed out by Willow’s obvious enjoyment of the Master’s attentions that she didn’t notice that her vamp tingles had gotten stronger until she heard a chillingly familiar voice behind her.
“I knew I smelled something familiar.”
She straightened slowly, allowed the stake in her sleeve to slip down to her wrist as she turned to face the demon wearing the grinning face of one of her best friends.
He sneered at her, walking slowly forward with no fear at all. “You know, I kind of expected a slayer to be a little smarter than this – coming to my home town, walking right into my lair, leaving her scent all over one of--”
Buffy stared at him, her mouth hanging open as she took in his words and the attitude behind them.
“YOUR home town? YOUR lair? Oh, I’ll bet old Bat Face would love to hear that.”
Ignoring Buffy’s disbelief, he continued to swagger towards her, growling, “Maybe you just couldn’t stay away from me. We must be something to each other where you come from – the way you got all teary-eyed and wouldn’t stake me...You want me, don’t you, Muffy? You find me attractive...”
“Find you attractive? You’re a bloodsucker – like, oh, I don’t know – fleas, ticks, leeches...stop me when I get to something that sounds like I might find it remotely attractive.”
“You hang out with a vampire!” he snarled. “You must like them.”
“I like A vampire. A very unusual vampire – you’re just a run of the mill demon. The kind I stake every night.”
“But you couldn’t stake me -”
Behind the now angry vampire’s back she caught sight of a familiar shock of blond hair. Spike was gesturing to her urgently and she put an end to the bantering with the vampire now reaching for her.
“Uh, yeah. About that – I got over it.” She ducked under his outstretched arm and kicked him in the knee, sending him to the ground with a howl of pain. The howl cut off abruptly when she ran her stake into his chest, watching impassively as the dust drifted to the ground. Giving herself a little shake, she walked through the dust to join Spike at the corner of the building.
“You alright, love?” In spite of his obvious impatience, Spike touched her face tenderly as he asked his question.
Buffy nodded shortly. “I’m fine. It wasn’t my Xander – he was having a little trouble figuring that out.”
“Think he’s got the picture now, Slayer.” Spike’s tone held only admiration as he smiled at her. Then he straightened up and looked over his shoulder. “Can you get to the car from here?” he asked abruptly. “Think we need to get out of here before our luck runs out tonight. I just missed gettin’ caught by that red-haired bitch, and now you’ve done for her buddy here – somebody’s got to miss him eventually.”
“But we haven’t done anything yet!”
“This wasn’t about doin’ something, Buffy. It was about learnin’ what we could about them. And we’ve done that – we know where to find ‘em, you’ve taken out one of his top minions, and I’ve seen the inside of the place. Time to get out of Dodge while we still can.”
Her “hmmph” of disappointment wasn’t a serious objection as she realized the truth of what he was saying. With a nod of agreement, she pointed to the cars behind which she had worked her way to the building. “I have to get to those cars and then I can sneak back to the other end of the lot.”
“Right then; off with you. I’ll meet you at the car – you see where it is? I’m gonna pull it out onto the road and you can just pop out of those bushes. If you run into anything you can’t handle, you holler, yeah?”
With a nod, Buffy watched him step back out into the open area and look around – at his quick gesture, she sprinted to the first car and crouched behind it. As soon as he saw that she was safely across the open area, Spike began walking quickly towards the far end of the lot where he had left their car. Buffy darted from car to car, pausing once when her senses told her there were vampires nearby. She waited behind an old station wagon until the vamp couple getting in the next car could get out of her way. Instead of getting into the car, however, the man in the remains of a business suit started towards the rear of the car, saying over his shoulder, “Let me just find something to wear that doesn’t look like I was buried in it---“
He was cut off as Buffy rose in front of him and dusted him without a word of banter. Behind the dust that was slowly falling to the ground, his companion was opening her mouth. Her confusion about whether she should attack the small blonde girl waving dust out of her eyes, or scream for help gave Buffy all the time she needed to knock her unconscious and drag her body behind the wagon where she could drive a stake through the vamp’s heart.
“Hey! What are you---?”
“Shit!” Without looking to see who or what had seen her, Buffy sprinted for the end of the row of cars, yelling for Spike. Suddenly the waiting car was spinning around in the driveway and roaring back towards the running slayer, who was now being pursued by a rapidly growing group of vampires. Spike drove right through the oncoming crowd, not even slowing down until he had done another 180 degree spin and was moving alongside the Slayer. He leaned over and opened the door, slowing down only enough to allow Buffy to dive through it before putting his foot to the floor and flinging gravel all over the angry demons behind him. The force of their forward motion was enough to slam the door shut, and Buffy quickly squirmed around until she could see out the rear window.
Spike’s “Yee haw!” as the car swerved and skidded to the end of the driveway and slid sideways into the deserted street brought her head around in disbelief.
“Did you just say ‘Yee Haw!’ ?”
“Might have,” he mumbled, risking a quick sideways glance at her shocked face. “ ‘s fun, you know. Can’t remember the last time I got to drive like this – not sober, anyway.”
She just shook her head and took a tighter grip on the seat. Suddenly the fact that seat belts had never made it big in this world was beginning to seem like a very large oversight on the part of the Powers That Be. Spike continued to grin manically as he sped through the city, paying no heed to pedestrian safety, now that they knew that only vampires would be out and about in the dark. Not until they had left the city limits far behind and could see no signs of pursuit, did Buffy unclench her fingers and relax a little, suggesting to Spike that he might want to slow down before they got to Winterset.
“I suppose you’re right,” he grumbled, giving an exaggerated sigh as he allowed the car to slow to a more reasonable sixty miles per hour. “Come on now, Slayer. Admit it. That was fun, wasn’t it?”
She allowed a small smile to play around her lips.
“In an ‘I-could-die-any-second’ kind of way, I guess,” she finally allowed.
“Well, there you go! Nothing like a near-death experience to get the old heart pumping.” He looked so proud of himself that she had to laugh as she relaxed back into the comfortable seat.
“I get enough of those every night, thank you very much,” she said primly, trying not to giggle. “I don’t need to go looking for more.”
“Bollocks, pet. Most of the vamps and demons that you put away in this world don’t even make you break a sweat. When was the last time you were in fear for your life – really in fear?”
Buffy mumbled something even his vampire hearing couldn’t catch, repeating it a bit louder when he demanded to know what she was saying. “I said, the last time was when you showed up and had me pinned,” she growled, hating to be reminded of how easily he had beaten her that first night.
“Ah,” he said softly; then – “You know I wouldn’t have hurt you, don’t you, love? Not much, anyway.”
“Well, I know that NOW; but not then, I didn’t. I thought you were going to kill me.”
“Still might,” he said. “You never know.”
“Oh, I know,” she responded, waving her hand around dismissively. “I know you, Spike.”
“Hey! That’s my line! You don’t get to use that, you...you...” The more outraged Spike became, the more Buffy giggled, until he finally finished sputtering and shook his head. “Don’t know why I bother. You’ve got me just as much by the short hairs as your other self did. Might as well just wrap me up and consider it Christmas,” he grumbled good-naturedly.
“Wrap you up? You mean like a present? But then I’d have to unwrap you if I wanted to play with you,” she teased, miming taking a ribbon off his torso.
Spike’s cock jumped to attention at Buffy’s surprisingly suggestive remark. Another sidelong look at her face and the way she was biting her lip to keep from laughing and it began to push against the denim in his jeans.
“You sassy bint,” he growled. “Do you have any idea what you just did to me?”
“Um, no; not really. I just—eep!”
Before she finished speaking, he had taken her hand and placed it on his erection, pushing down enough to be sure that she didn’t miss how hard he was. He released her immediately so that she could move her arm, but to his surprise she just blushed and slid over closer to him, leaving her warm hand right where he’d placed it and squeezing him gently.
The car moved even slower as he sighed and slid down in his seat, taking his free hand and putting it around Buffy’s shoulders. His hand was dangling in front of her, his fingers just barely touching the fuzzy sweater over her suddenly erect nipple. It wasn’t long before Buffy’s breath was getting ragged and her rhythmic squeezing of his cock was getting harder as he teased her nipple until it was almost painfully hard.
By the time he pulled the car into the driveway and around behind the small house, they were both breathing hard and fast. As he yanked the key from the ignition, he turned to meet the lips that were already pursed for the kiss Buffy had been waiting for. For long minutes their lips and tongues battled as though unable to get enough of each other. His hand was now under her layers of sweaters, cupping her beast while he ran his thumb over the nipple and used the arm around her shoulders to pull her closer to him.
When Buffy went to reach for his zipper, he tore his mouth off hers long enough to say, “Let’s take this inside, love. Don’t fancy watching you get all goosebumps when I rip all those layers off you.”
With an agreeable whimper, she nodded her head and pushed away from his chest. Without speaking, she got out and reached into the back seat for her weapons bag and extra clothes. Spike took the bag from her with one hand, and holding onto her hand with the other, he led her around the house to the front door. The visions of naked Buffy that were going through his head dissolved abruptly as they rounded the house to find an angry and shivering Dawn sitting on the top step.
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