Standing in the recesses of the brightly lit room he let the delicate harmony of the string quartet wash over him, allowing himself a moments respite from the task at hand. Their gentle sound filled his ears, caressing them with memories of the years he'd lived, the countless times he'd done this. Balanced on the brink, he let the building crescendo touch his once beating heart and flood him with emotion before he shut it down.

Killed it.

Blue eyes opened up and peered out from behind his mask, cold and clinical as they watched the crowds below him, the groups of students and parents all dressed alike, all prey for his predator, blood for the taking.

He loved this town.

It had vulnerability.

And he fed off it.

Slowly descending the steps of the mansion he let his eyes roam the people he passed, assessing each one, calculating just how much blood they would contain and just what kind of struggle they would put up. His task was made harder by the fact he couldn't see their faces, all hidden behind their masks as they enjoyed a night of freedom, a night where they could be anyone they wanted to be, do anything they wanted to do--all with no repercussions.


God he loved Halloween.

People dressing up, pretending to be something they weren't, hiding the real them.

A real masquerade.

Not a sham like this one, an old mansion full of teenagers dressed in costumes that reminded him painfully of Venice, of happy times now passed, gone to ruin.

Reaching the bottom of the long marble staircase he looked back over his shoulder, letting his eyes trace the graceful swan neck curve and ensuring no one had gone un-inspected by him, no one had slipped the net.

Satisfied that he'd weighed up all the people bustling in front of his eyes he started to move through the crowds, revelling in how he could slip unnoticed among them, could get close enough to them to practically taste their scent without them even knowing he was there.

He licked his teeth as he let his senses roam the dance floor, trying to single out one that would make good prey, one that would make a fine hunt. Scanning the laughing faces of the people as they danced to the slow rhythm of the band, he adjusted the black mask that covered the top half of his face and narrowed his eyes. There had to be someone in amongst the hundreds gathered for the dance, someone worthy of his attention.

It wasn't that he was particularly hungry, having eaten a stray teenager in town so he could have his mask, it was simply that the signs all over town had piqued his interest, the possibility of playing the hunter and slipping unnoticed through a room full of prey too great a temptation to resist. He'd donned the mask and followed a group of students and their parents, slipping in with them as they'd entered the mansion.

Closing his eyes he tensed his jaw as he let his senses reach out, he could almost see its path as it weaved amongst the people, searching out his victim.

A low resounding thud caused his nerve endings to flicker with delight, it was followed by another hard beat that seemed to call to him, tug at his very core until he couldn't deny its siren song any longer.

Snapping his head up, he opened his eyes and fixed them straight on the owner of the heartbeat that had caught his attention.

He lost the ability to breathe--it was pushed out of his thoughts by the sight of her.

Stood on the balcony at the top of the twin staircases directly opposite him was the purest girl he'd ever seen. Dressed all in ivory the delicate features of her face were hidden from him, shut away behind the pale mask that adorned the top half of her face. All he could see of her was the beautiful curve of her red lips and the gentle slope of her neck, partly hidden behind her tousled honey coloured hair.

She turned away from him, her lips breaking with laughter as she talked animatedly to a red haired girl next to her. The blonde exuded power, grace and beauty. He could feel it in every bone in his body, how different she was to the fools surrounding him, how she was above them all.

He couldn't take his eyes off her and as she descended the stairs he found himself moving towards her, drawn to her like she was speaking to him, luring him with silent promises directed straight at his heart.

Spike let his head tilt to one side as the crowds parted to let her come to him. He narrowed his eyes on her clothing as she continued her descent to the dance floor, her dress reminded him of the ones he'd seen women wearing in his time as a human, the tight bodice accentuating her delicious curves and her long legs hidden beneath a large bell shaped mass of skirts. He breathed in deeply as she passed him, trying to catch her scent in amongst the others but failing.

Lowering his head as his eyes followed her progress onto the dance floor, he couldn't help feeling there was something about her, something that called to him on a deeper level and tugged at his basic instincts--he had to have her. He felt like he couldn't function when his eyes lost sight of her and his senses desperately reached out, trying to locate her.

When he spotted her again, he sucked his cheeks into a wide smile, she was dancing near the centre of the room and her friend was speaking to her. He watched the red head disappear into the crowd, leaving the blonde angel alone. Spike frowned as he scanned the people around her, the eyes of all men seemed to linger on her and it stirred a fire in him. Slipping silently into the crowd he hastily made his way towards her, his eyes not leaving her as he approached.

Breaking into the open area around her, he closed in on her, watching her hair bounce lightly as she danced with her back to him. He lowered his gaze as he stepped up behind her, his hands slowly coursing down her sides as he bit his lower lip. When his fingers closed around her waist, he dipped his head and breathed in deeply. There was something about her, something he couldn't quite put his finger on.

Buffy gasped as hard fingers grasped her waist possessively, sending a chill sweeping up her spine. She turned in the man's embrace, her insides trembling and her knees weakening as she looked up into a pair of sharp clear blue eyes.

He blinked.

Her heart fluttered madly.

In all her short life, she'd never seen anything like him. His hair was a mess of platinum blond curls, accentuating the black and gold mask that seemed to be moulded to his features. Her eyes traversed the sweeping curve of his high cheekbones and followed them down to his full lower lip.

He smiled at her.

Her knees felt like they were going to buckle.

Spike wrapped his arms tighter around her waist as she leant into him, her body pressing against his and her green eyes captivating him. He gave her another wide smile and slipped one hand free, grasping hold of her hand in his and pulling her close against him as he started to move with her.

Buffy swallowed hard as she realised what was happening. He was dancing with her and he seemed to be dancing the waltz. She wondered for a moment if she'd fallen over and banged her head in her bathroom this evening and this was all a beautiful dream--it was too perfect to be anything else.

Staring deep into his eyes she couldn't deny the pull she felt towards him, every tiny movement he made seemed to be instrumented to make her only want to be closer to him, to know more about the mystery man holding her tight in his arms as if he were never going to let her go.

She sighed out her breath as she felt his grip on her waist tighten, pulling her flush against his chest as he danced with her.

Giving her a wide smile, Spike couldn't help himself, at a distance she'd been pretty, eye catching, but close up she was divine, a beautiful angel in his embrace. He couldn't help noticing the contrast between them, her apparel so innocent and pure, his so black and sinful. He gripped her hand tighter as he moved through the crowds with her, suddenly wanting to be away from prying eyes and reminding himself that he was here to hunt, not here to dance.

Whisking her out through the large glass doors that were opened onto the balcony, he breathed in sharply as the cool night air hit them, the scent of earth filling his senses as he let the darkness speak to him, reminding him of who he was.

Looking down into the blonde's eyes as he stopped dead in his tracks, he couldn't help noticing the way they seemed to sparkle at him. He blinked languidly as he let his eyes play on hers, watching them narrow as her lips played into a smile.

She opened her mouth to speak.

Spike pressed his finger against her lips.

Bending her over backwards in his arms he cursed himself in advance for what he was about to do, so swept up in the masquerade that he himself was falling victim to the chance it offered him, the opportunity to be someone else for the night.

Closing his eyes he removed his finger as his lips pressed softly against hers, she tasted divine, a mixture of cherry lip-gloss and blood. He could feel it pumping beneath her skin, her pulse playing out against his lips as he deepened their kiss.

Buffy frowned at first and then melted into his arms, now sure that she was dreaming because reality was never as good as this--there was always something the spoilt the moment.

Spike sighed out through his nose as he let his tongue slip into her mouth, tangling against hers as it came to meet his. He breathed in deeply and nipped at her lower lip, sucking on the small bloom of blood that formed, finally catching her scent.

He stopped.

His lips barely touching hers as she panted hard into his mouth.

Buffy gasped as it dawned on her. Why his lips were so cold, why his grip was so strong and why she found herself drawn to him.

Opening his eyes, he saw hers were wide and full of horror as she pressed her palms hard against his chest.

Her heart pounded hard against her ribs, sounding violently in her ears and making her head ache as she tried to figure out what she should do. She was in the arms of a vampire, had been so caught up in the charade that she hadn't realised what she was dealing with until it was too late.

Looking up at him she realised he wasn't making a move. He was just staring at her like he too was trying to understand what was going on. His mouth was hung open, his eyes searching hers in the darkness as he held her tight in his arms, not relinquishing his grip on her.

She swallowed hard as a thought entered her head, a sudden desire sweeping through her. Hidden behind her mask she felt strangely safe, like anything she did tonight wouldn't matter, tomorrow she'd take off the mask and life would go back to normal. But tonight, tonight she could be anyone she wanted to be, do anything she wanted to do.

Sliding her hands up his leather coated arms she locked them tightly around the back of his head, her fingers trembling as they weaved into the short hair near the nape of his neck. She swallowed again as she lured his lips back to hers, feeling his cool shaky breath in her mouth as they finally touched again.

Spike let his eyes widen as she kissed him, her lips brushing against his and her body quivering with nerves in his arms. He grasped her tighter and splayed his fingers out against her back as he rolled his eyes closed and kissed her.

Just for tonight, it would be all right. He could break the rules, hide behind his mask and let the hunt slip through his fingers. Besides, it was Halloween, he was meant to stay in on this night, was supposed to let the people alone.

He sighed out through his nose as her tongue pushed its way into his mouth and pushed all his thoughts away. Steeling his jaw, he deepened their kiss, crushing her lips under his as their teeth clashed.

Buffy grasped his shoulders tightly and furrowed her brows, she'd never felt anything so intense in her life, his kisses were so hungry, so desperate as his lips moulded against hers, stealing her breath away. She melted in his arms and felt his hold on her waist tighten, his fingers digging in painfully through her bodice.

Spike growled low and pulled her up into his arms, lifting her feet off the floor as he moved across the balcony and into the shadows with her. Pressing her into the wall, he pinned her with his body as he fumbled with her skirts, trying to part them to free her legs.

She wrapped them tight around his waist as he pushed her harder against the wall, the urgency of his kisses making her head spin and the feeling of his hard body against hers making her ache inside. Her fingers wove into his hair as she held his mouth against hers, not caring about the fact she couldn't breathe and wanting him closer still. There was something strangely thrilling about what she was doing; kissing someone whose face she'd never seen, kissing a vampire. He was nothing like Angel. He exuded power and sexuality. Hunger and violence seemed to echo in his kiss. She couldn't stop herself from kissing him, from letting him do whatever he wanted with her, no matter how wrong it was--it felt right.

Spike nipped at her lower lip as he allowed her a few moments to breathe, he kissed along her jaw and grinned wickedly as she rolled her head to one side, granting him access to the untouched beauty of her neck.

Buffy didn't give a thought to what she was doing. She found herself moving instinctively, exposing her neck to him as her fingers played on his strong, leather encased shoulders. Her heart beat out a fast hard rhythm in her throat as she felt him press a soft kiss to her neck and then lick a trail back up to her jaw. She rolled her eyes closed as she realised what was happening, he had licked up the length of her jugular, his tongue pressed hard against her skin as he'd tasted her. He was gearing up to biting her.

She bit her lip as she felt him pull away.

Spike arched a brow at the way her brows were furrowed behind her mask, her teeth teasing her lip as she waited for him to make his move, clear signs that she was enjoying her night of freedom, her masquerade. Snarling slightly he crushed her lips hard under his, kissing her fervently as her fingers dug into his shoulders and her legs tightened around his waist.

Her simple act of acceptance, her exposure of her neck to him had bought his demon to the forefront. The opportunity too good to waste he couldn't resist the temptation of what she'd offered him for long--her blood called to him.

He growled as she bit his lip, her kisses matching the hunger of his own and her teeth drawing blood. Pushing her harder against the wall he grinned against her mouth as she sighed out her breath, forced from her by the vice like grip he had on her waist. Spike furrowed his brows as she sucked on his lip, pulling his blood from him and grinding her hips against his as her fingers held his head against hers.

Moving his hands to her backside, he ground into her, his body aching for a form of release as the heat of her seeped into him. He frowned as he kissed her harder, a tiny part of him wondering if she'd enjoyed the taste of his blood.

Buffy gasped for air as they continued to kiss, the ferocity and passion burning between them refusing to ebb away. The metallic tang of his blood lingered in her mouth, the images that had flooded her brain only heightened her desire, alongside the evil she'd seen in him there was also good, lingering emotions that seemed to make him different to any vampire she'd ever known, even Angel.

Spike nipped at her jaw with his blunt teeth as he finally succumbed to his desire for her, he'd reached the point of no return, the need to have her had spiralled far beyond his control and instinct had taken over.

His hand moved of its own volition, his body pinning her harder against the wall to compensate for its disappearance. He caught her jaw and yanked her head to one side, the sound of her heavy breathing and her rapid heartbeat echoing through him. He could practically taste the adrenaline as it flooded her veins, her heart beating harder in anticipation of the inevitable.

She swallowed hard as he found his hand covering her mouth, a sudden chill swept through her, the realisation of what he was about to do hitting her like a freight train.

She could feel him shifting guise beside her, his vampire face emerging as his fingers dug into her cheeks. Breathing fast through her nose, she screwed her face up as she felt his lips brush against her skin and then a sharp pain that seemed to dance along every nerve in her body.

Spike growled as she struggled against him, her body involuntarily bucking in an attempt to halt the pain. Restraining her against the wall with his body, he released her mouth when he realised her breathing had become ragged but she showed no sign of crying out for help.

Buffy clung to him tightly as his hard body pressed into hers, her legs trembled around his waist as she rested her head against her arm and gave in to the feelings flowing through her. Where there had been pain moments before there was now an ache, an overwhelming desire to have him closer to her and to feel just how strong he really was now he was in full hunt mode. She could feel his signature reverberating through her, could sense every movement before he made it. She bit her lip as his teeth sunk deeper into her neck, indelibly marking her, pulling her blood from her in a way that had an edge of desperation to it.

She realised it was because of who she was, what she was. She was a Slayer, he the vampire--he was powerless to resist her. Her blood called to him above all others and he was a slave to his desire.

Spike tugged on her blood harder, desperate to taste her, to feel the rich warmth of it flowing through his veins. He was awed by the way she had stilled in his arms, giving up her precious blood to him and holding him tightly in the process.

He wished she'd never let go.

Closing his eyes he lost himself in her, the way she tasted, how hot her body was against his, the way her heart beat against his chest and called to him.

He was lost.


Buffy sighed out a moan as he drew his fangs out of her neck, feeling them sliding free of her flesh before his lips wrapped around the wound. He was still drinking but it was gentler now, slower. His grip on her had loosened and she realised that he was emitting a low rumble that echoed around his chest. It was almost a purr.

Resting her cheek against his she nuzzled him slightly as he continued to drink from her, her fingers playing sleepily with the short hair on the back of his head. She wanted to remain like this forever--held tightly by him, safe in his strong embrace.

A distant noise caused Spike to look up.

Buffy went rigid in his arms.

He turned his head, slipping out of game face as he saw her red headed friend and two boys walking out onto the balcony.

Dropping her to her feet, Spike caught the pained look in her eyes and frowned. Dipping his head, he kissed her softly, his hands lingering in hers as he tried to quash the feelings inside him.

Buffy kissed him desperately as she realised what was happening, her moment with him had been shattered by the appearance of her friends and now he was leaving.

Closing her eyes as she felt his hands slip from hers, she bit her lip as she listened to him disappear into the darkness. Pushing the hurt back down inside her, she tried to ignore the sudden feeling of loneliness that had engulfed her. She straightened her hair out, hiding the marks on her neck and then smoothed down her dress as she stepped out of the shadows and walked towards where her friends stood.

Casting a glance back over her shoulder, she wondered if she'd ever see him again.

Buffy closed her eyes as she listened to the beat of the song, the stifling heat of the Bronze and the closeness of the people around her causing her to feel light headed as she danced.

Bringing her arms up above her head, she swayed her hips as she gave in to the lure of the music, her body writhing as she flung her head back and threw caution to the wind.

She didn't care who was watching, she ignored the comment made by Willow and the way Xander was watching her with his mouth hung open.

A moment's pause in the music seemed to make it fade away, a strangely familiar feeling looming up inside her, a feeling that seemed like a distant memory.

Opening her eyes, she scanned the room, searching for signs of him in amongst the closely packed Saturday night crowd. She silently cursed herself for thinking about him again, it had been a year since their chance encounter at the Halloween party and since then he'd been constantly on her mind. Each vampire signature she felt set her on edge, a part of her hoping it was him and that he'd finally come back to her.

Heaving a long sigh she watched her friends walking away from her, heading back to the table as the song ended and a new one began.

The feeling in her stomach intensified.

The scar on her neck caused a sweep of tingles to run through her.

Closing her eyes as she felt strong hands skimming down her sides, she leant her back into his hard body and sighed out her breath. As the grasp on her waist tightened, she found herself spun around to face him. She slowly raised her eyes to meet his, half fearing that it wouldn't be him and remembering that she'd never really seen his face.

Her heart beat sickeningly hard against her chest as her eyes met his, they narrowed on hers as he smiled.

"Hello, cutie." Spike purred down at her and watched her cheeks colour.

Buffy felt her knees weaken as she realised it was him, his whole being seemed to call to hers, his accented tones making her head spin.

Wrapping her arms around his shoulders she wriggled her hips against him as she danced, her eyes firmly locked on his and her skin buzzing beneath his fingers.

She smiled coyly as she recognised the hunger in his eyes.

Buffy let her eyes close and leant her head to one side, allowing him access to his bite marks.

He pressed a long kiss to her neck, nipping at it with his blunt teeth as he held her flush against him and then started moving with her.

Spike manoeuvred her backwards through the crowds and into a dark corner of the Bronze, the music pounding through him only heightening the tribal beat that was calling to him. The sound of her heart beating harder for him.

Buffy gasped as she found herself pressed against the wall, surrounded by darkness and his body. As his mouth descended on hers she rolled her eyes closed and surrendered to him, her body melting into his embrace and her arms wrapping tightly around his neck. She frowned as she realised it was happening all over again, panic rising up she broke the kiss and searched his eyes, hoping to read in them that he wasn't going to disappear this time.

"So what do I call you?" She let her fingers weave into his hair, her heart beat accelerating as his body pressed against hers.

"Spike�" He nipped at her throat. "Otherwise known as the big bad."

Buffy giggled.

"Big bad?"

"Don't you know it, baby." Spike grinned and nipped at her neck again, reminding her of their moment a year ago. "Got a name in there for me, love?"

"Buffy�" She smiled. "Otherwise known as the Slayer."

Spike ran his fingers down her cheek as he looked into her eyes, without her mask on she was even more incredible, her soft cheeks playing into her smile, her red lips luring him in.

Buffy narrowed her eyes softly on his, they looked bluer in the dim light of the Bronze, his cheekbones accentuated by the overhead lights of the nearby dance floor.

"Beautiful." Spike breathed and watched her blink.

"Was just thinking the same thing�" She smiled and lured his lips back to hers, kissing him slowly and deeply as the music filled the room around them, the people of the Bronze oblivious to them where they were hidden by the shadows.

Closing her eyes, she smiled against his lips as he kissed her, his fingers holding her waist tightly but only as tightly as her hands were holding him. A year apart from him had felt like eternity.

Bringing his lips down to her throat, she frowned as he morphed beside her, his teeth slicing into her skin again and the delicious tingling sensation playing out on her nerve endings once more. She held him flush against her as she felt his teeth leave her neck.

"Mine�" Spike growled low by her ear, the words leaving his lips of their own accord and the feelings they inspired hitting him hard. He trembled as he waited for her response.

Buffy sighed as the new sensation swept through her, the feelings she felt for him strengthening and seemingly tying her to him.

She realised what he was waiting for--his lips hovering just above the wound on her neck and his fingers trembling with anticipation against her skin.

She took a long, deep steadying breath as she threw caution to the wind once more.


~*~ End ~*~

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