by Kari Mouke
may contain m/m/f/f so if that isn't your thing, please don't read


Chapter 1:  Identity




            Buffy left the Bronze feeling a million miles away from pretty.  What was it about Angel that sucked the confidence right out of her?  It wasn’t the vamp in him.  She went up against vamps every night.  Dust.  No problem.  His age maybe?  Did the many years of experience he’d had make her feel inadequate?  Just a bumbling youth?

            “Nah,” she mumbled as she kicked at an imaginary vampire, twirling through the air as she did so.  If age was the problem then Spike would have already found a way to take her out.  She ran and jumped over a tombstone, coming down in a summersault, finishing with one leg stretched out, elbow bent, stake in hand.  It was a cool move.  Shame there was no one here to see it.  Her mind jumped back to the bleached menace.  Spike didn’t make her feel inadequate.  Nope.  In fact, she felt fully capable of kicking his very British, very cute ass.

            Buffy stopped and forced herself to shake that thought off like a wet dog.  Thinking of any part of the evil undead as cute was definitely of the bad.  What had gotten into her?  Stupid Angel.  This was all his fault for making her feel like… Well like less of a woman, or girl, or whatever.  She remembered at that moment that she was supposed to be heading home and commenced to do so.

            She arrived at Revello drive to find herself alone, as usual.  Her mom must still be at the gallery.  She headed upstairs unhindered by things like ‘how was your day’ and ‘are you hungry’.  She walked into the bathroom and leaned against the shut door.  Asylum.  She ran a steamy bath with lots of fragrant bubbles.  While she waited for the tub to fill she took off her dirt stained clothes.  Ugh.  Was that blood?  She stood then, looking into the mirror.  Who was she when she was naked?  Stripped bare.  Was it the Slayer?  Was it Buffy?  Was she even a person at all, or was she just a tool of the Council?  A killing machine and nothing more.




            Angel watched Buffy leave the nightclub in utter confusion.  Was it something he’d done?  Peripherally, he was aware of the beautiful brunette babbling like so much static at his elbow.  It couldn’t be because of her could it?  Was Buffy jealous?  He didn’t understand jealous women.  Darla and Dru had never been jealous, at least not in any way that affected him.  If they had a problem with another woman, or man, they simply ripped their head off.  Problem solved.  Angel glanced at Cordelia.  Still here.  He supposed it was wrong to think of Buffy ripping the cheerleader’s head off.  He made his excuses and left.

            Darla was gone now, the disloyal bitch.  Good riddance.  Not Drusilla.  He was painfully aware of just how not gone Dru was.  She was in his blood, and her current presence in Sunnydale was wreaking havoc on his senses.  He could smell her wherever he went almost as if she were purposefully leaving a scent trail for him.  When he slept he dreamed of her, and when he awoke he woke with the taste of her in his mouth.

            He really should go see Spike, talk him into leaving.  He could play on the younger vampire’s insecurities.  Now there was a jealous vampire!  Angel couldn’t help the grin that spread over his face as memories of torturing Spike over the years rushed in.  When would that boy realize that Drusilla belonged to her sire?  Always had.  Always would.

            Angel walked into his lonely apartment and looked around.  What did this place say about him?  Angel.  Angelus.  Man.  Demon.  Dru’s sire.  Buffy’s boyfriend.  He gave a bitter laugh at that thought.  Someone as old and jaded as he was had no right to the title of boyfriend to a teenage girl. 

            He stripped his clothing off and slipped into his red satin sheets.  Red.  Blood.  Existential crises meant nothing when it came to blood.  Maybe that was what he really was.  Just so much blood and nothing more.




            Drusilla leaned out one of the only un-boarded windows in the factory.  Angel had been out tonight.  His scent a gift from the wind itself.  It was a lovely gift, and she would be a naughty girl indeed to not appreciate it, but she wanted so much more.  She wanted the embrace of her sire.  She loved the way he enveloped her.  His size made her feel safe.  The potential in his body thrilled her like no others.  And the blood.  Oh, the blood.  Sire’s blood – there was nothing else like it in all the world.  She felt her face shift, and she ran her tongue over her sharp fangs.  If she concentrated very carefully, she could taste her sire in her own blood. 

            She looked down at the blue lines running underneath her skin.  She wondered if the fairies stole the oxygen?  Sucked it up like the greedy little tweedles they were.  Taking the beautiful red fluid and turning it into a cold, cold blue.  She’d tried to open all of her veins once, freeing them, letting them run red.  It had made Spike very cross with her.  He hadn’t let her out of his sight for months.  She adored her dear boy, but oftentimes she found his presence smothering.

            Spike wanted her to be his everything.  She was his sire.  Why couldn’t that be enough?  Everything.  How could she possibly be his everything when all she was belonged to Angelus?

            “How can you belong to someone who doesn’t exist?” Miss Edith asked snidely.

            Dru looked hatefully at the doll.  Miss Edith was often snide of late.  “He does exist.  He’s trapped.  Trapped by guilt.  By conscience.  It’s wrong.  All wrong…” Dru moaned as she ran her fingers through her hair in frustration.

            “Perhaps you are the one who is wrong,” Miss Edith suggested.

            Dru growled and took off her shawl.  She picked Miss Edith up and began to wrap her tightly, like a mummy.  “I’m not wrong.  Not wrong!  You’re wrong!” Dru accused the doll as she bound it tighter and tighter in the hopes that if she bound it tight enough it would cease to speak.  She tossed the doll in an old trunk, slammed down the lid, and sat down upon it.

            She rocked back and fort as she tried to dismiss the disturbing words of the porcelain miscreant.  “Not wrong.  I’m not wrong.”

            “What are you then?”  Miss Edith’s voice carried itself up through the layers of shawl and through the thick cedar of the trunk.

            Dru did not answer, but the question resounded in the room, echoing throughout her crazed mind.  Crazed.  Maybe that was all she was and nothing more.




            Spike found himself watching the Slayer from a distance as she mock fought and tumbled her way through the cemetery.  Unbelievable, this one.  Deadly and beautiful.  It got his manly bits all tightened up.  He gave himself a mental slap upside the head.  What business did he have reacting to the Slayer like this when his Ripe Wicked Plum was waiting for him back for him at the factory?  He concentrated on thoughts of his dark princess.  He thought about the blue of her eyes and how the color changed with her moods.  Mercurial, that one.  It kept him on his toes.  The kind of woman you could spend eternity with and never get bored.  If you had her, that is.

            Spike freely admitted that he was a fool for love, but he was not a fool.  He knew Drusilla wasn’t his.  The only claim he had on her was that of childe. She had never let him claim her as his mate, saying that she belonged to her precious daddy.  Hell, he would have settled over the years for just having her lay a claim on him.  He’d happily be her willing slave, but she hadn’t even been willing do to that.  He guessed he just wasn’t worth it.

            He never had been worth much.  Couldn’t provide properly for his mum.  Lousy poet.  Beneath Cecily’s prospects. Beneath all of them really.  Half-hearted vampire.  Loving the fight and the kill, but never really embracing the whole ‘pain of the innocents’ thing.

            He caught his last glimpse of the Slayer as she walked into the house on Revello Drive.  Maybe if he killed this one Dru just might see him as worthy.  No sooner had the idea cheered him then he remembered that tomorrow was Halloween.  Nothing ever happened on Halloween.  He’d have to wait a night before he could get his hands on the Slayer’s luscious little body.  This time he went for a mental kick to the groin.  Might work better.

            He lectured himself all the way back to the factory.  If he couldn’t even get his sire to love him, he sure as hell shouldn’t be thinking of the Slayer in romantic terms.  She’d stake him before she ever let him put one of his filthy mitts on her.  He should only be thinking of her in terms of killing.  That and nothing else.

            What kind of a monster was he to have thoughts such as these?  Maybe he was a fool after all.  Perhaps that’s what it all came down to – vamp or man, he was William the Bloody Fool.  Unlovable to the last.  A fool and nothing more.

Chapter 2:  Never Piss Off a Wizard


            “Hey, Giles.  What’s the what?”  Buffy asked as she and her friends descended upon the library. 

            It was funny how their presence changed the entire feel of the house of books.  Giles gave a little smile as he realized that he actually preferred it when they were here.  “A friend called today…”

            “Friend?” Xander asked incredulously as he stuffed a potato chip in his mouth.  “I didn’t know you had any of those.”

            Giles gave the young boy a pained look.  “Yes, well, in fact I have quite a few.  This friend happens to be a mistress…”  Once again he was interrupted by Xander.

            “Ooh, a mistress.  Like Elivra or like ‘who’s your daddy’?” Xander asked eagerly.

            “I’m going to pretend that I have no clue what you’re talking about,” Giles said evenly before turning to Buffy.  “She’s the mistress of a coven in England.  She said that she was doing a sort of magical survey, checking to see what areas of the world were being most strongly influenced by magic.  As you know the Hellmouth has a high level of magiks surrounding it at all times, and certainly she’s aware of this, but she saw a dramatic spike in the levels today.  She thought she should warn us,” Giles explained.

            “Huh, dramatic spikes.” Buffy’s mind trailed off to places it so shouldn’t go.

            Willow, ever responsible, turned to Giles with a smile.  “What can we do?  Is there some way we can trace this locally.  Some sort of locater spell or something?”

            “Yes, actually.”  Giles gave the young girl a smile of gratitude.  It was nice to feel like someone was listening to him from time to time.  “I took the opportunity of going to the local magic shop on my way here today.  I have the spell prepared, but I do need some assistance in casting it.”  He looked at the rag-tag group.  “I suppose it can wait until after school, however.  The three of you really should get to class.”

            “No way!” Buffy said, coming out of her reverie.  “Snyder is out there ordering people to act as escorts for a bunch of kids.  Tonight is supposed to be my night off.  Well, after I find this magic wielder and slay who or whatever it is.”

            Hmm… She really had been listening.  She never failed to surprise him.  “Slaying might not be possible, I’m afraid.  There is a good chance that this spell caster is human.  Most are.”

            Buffy rolled her eyes.  “That is so annoying.  I hate when I can’t kill things.”  She kicked her feet out in annoyance, accidentally hitting Xander under the table.

            “Ow!” the boy screamed.  “I mean really, ow!”  He picked up his wounded leg and cradled it to his chest.  He looked at Buffy.  “You hurt me.”

            “Sorry, didn’t mean to.”  She gave him her most sincere look.  The one that occasionally got her excused for missed chores.

            “That’s okay.  Accidents happen,” Xander said.  Damn, she was cute.

            “Well, if the tragedy is over, I would like to get back to the issue at hand,” Giles said as he lifted a little baggie out of his pocket and shook it.

            “No thanks, man.  I don’t do that stuff.  Wacky weed will only bring you trouble,” Xander informed him.

            “No, you idiot, it’s the ingredients for the spell!”  Giles wanted to hit the boy.  He really did.  Perhaps just a little bruise on the other shin, so that he would sport matching wounds.

            Willow got up and took the baggie from Giles.  She sniffed it.  “Hey, this actually smells kind of yummy.”

            “It does, doesn’t it?  I noticed the same thing myself while I was mixing it.  All we have to do is apply a little alcohol, light it on fire, say a few words over a map of Sunnydale, and presto…” Giles waved his hand in the air.

            “Cool.  Very cool.  How can I help?”  Willow asked as she handed the baggie back to the Watcher.

            “All three of you can help me with the chanting.  There is power in numbers.  I made photocopies of the words.  They are in Latin, however, so I imagine a trial run on pronunciation is in order,” Giles said happily.

            Xander and Buffy let out simultaneous groans. They had a feeling they would be here for a long, long time.  Maybe Snyder’s little program wouldn’t be all that bad after all.  Before they could get up out of their seats, before they could offer a sound protest, they found themselves repeating word segments and blends back to the librarian.

            Several hours later an irritated Slayer grabbed the scorched map off the counter.  “There.  Map marked.  Let me at whoever it is so I can get on with my night of no Slayer duties!”

            “Perhaps some of us should accompany you,” Giles suggested.

           “Not on your life.”  Buffy pointed a finger at the group.  “If even one of you goes with me, things will get complicated.  I’ll end up at the Bronze, dancing.  Or worse, escorting some human to the police station with Giles.”

            “And if it is indeed a human?  What then?” Giles asked.

            “Let me worry about it.”  Buffy turned and ran out of the building before anyone could stop her.  She would have her night off, darn it.

            She walked through town with one eye on the map and the other on the costumed cuties milling around her.  It wasn’t even dark yet, but already they were emerging from their homes and meeting friends for the yearly candy cultivating festival.  Eventually her feet took her to the place represented by the burn mark on the map. She looked up.  Costume shop.  Figures.

            She walked into the shop.  Empty.  Apparently everyone already had their costumes.  Buffy had a horrible thought.  She sincerely hoped she was wrong.  Magically enhanced costumes would not be of the good. A sense of urgency stole over her and she rushed toward the back of the store, bursting through the concealing curtain and knocking into a statue.  The head-like sculpture warbled for a moment before it tipped over and crashed to the floor. 

            “Oops,” Buffy said, looking around.  There in front of her stood a highly irritated man. 

            Ethan crossed his arms and stared daggers at the interloper who had in one fell swoop destroyed months of planning.  This spell had been his masterpiece.  Now its power lay uselessly shattered all over the floor before it could see fruition. 

            Buffy saw the look and pointed at the broken statue.  “That is so not my fault.  I mean, who leaves a statue in the middle of a room?  Shouldn’t it be up on a pedestal or something if it’s so important to you?”

            Ethan gritted his teeth, hard.  “Yes, how silly of me.  A pedestal.  Though I feel strongly that someone of your caliber would not be put off by such a thing.”

            “Hey, I think I’m insulted.”  Buffy noticed for the first time the very spell casty look to the whole set up.  “I take it you’re the big magic user that I’m here to stop.”

            Ethan appraised the girl with new eyes.  “You must be the Slayer.  Rupert’s girl.”  He placed his right hand briefly in his pant pockets, coating it with a powdery substance.  He held out his hand to the bubbly blonde.  “I’m Ethan.  An old friend of your Watcher’s.”

            Buffy put out her hand.  She wasn’t going to give his a shake.  Her purpose was to grab the little wizard and tie him up.  Then she would call Giles and tell him where to find his ‘old friend’. 

            Ethan knew the girl’s intentions.  Honestly, how stupid did she think he was?  Right before their hands made contact he lifted his towards her face and blew.  A fine powder coated her face and entered her eyes.  “Blood, yellow bile, phlegm, black bile.  Elements of self.  Elemental self,” he chanted quickly, watching as the girl closed her eyes tightly and shook her head.  He used the distraction to leave as quickly as he could.  He knew exactly what was about to happen, and he wanted to be as far away as possible. 

            He kept that little dried concoction in his pockets for emergencies like this; when he was truly pissed off.  The four humours were used in making the spell and they would demand to bring out the elemental self in four beings, starting with this blonde.  One after the other they would be affected by the Slayer’s touch.  It was definitely time to leave Sunnydale.  The spell only lasted for twenty four hours, but with a Slayer in the mix, Ethan couldn’t be persuaded by Coyote himself to stay.  Chaos was on its own tonight.


Chapter 3:  Back to the Basics



            She looked around the room.  No sense of belonging came over her.  She slinked her way through the empty store like the shadows themselves.  She moved silently.  She was a predator.  She walked into the night and lifted her head.  She took in the fresh air of the dark.  She loved the dark.  It was her time.  Her place to hunt.  She broke into a trot, scenting her prey.

            He was out there somewhere and he was hers.  She avoided the strange little creatures that were running all around.  She stuck to the shadows and the hidden places.  She moved like a blur of darkness.  A trick of the eye.  Through the housing area she went, through the streets of the town, and into the industrial area.  She was close to her prey.  His scent was strong here, pulling her in.

            She looked at the large factory building.  She could feel the presence of several vampires inside.  She scanned the building for open windows.  There, at the top.  She grabbed a hold of the corner of the building and easily crawled up.  She slinked through the window.  She passed a room with a woman who smelled heavily of him.  It made her growl low in her throat.  She went into the room, intent on tearing her rival apart.

            Drusilla whirled around as she felt the shift in the air.  Something was here.  Something she had not been able to detect.  “Spike!” she screamed just before the unknown creature attacked.  Dru fought with everything she had, and then she fought with more.  Gone suddenly was the weakness that had plagued her all these months.  She was a fierce beast made to rip and bite. 

            Spike ran into the room in fear, but the sight that met him had the fear draining right out of him to be replaced by something much stronger.  Lust.  Hot, liquid lust.  Drusilla and the Slayer were viciously fighting.  Clothes were being torn.  Bites were being made.  Flesh scratched.  It was the most unbelievably fucking beautiful thing he had ever seen.  Neither woman capable of gaining the upper hand.  They appeared equal in both their ferocity and their fighting skills.  They were like wild animals.  His painfully hard cock told him to jump in there while he could.  He was about to do so, when suddenly the blonde stopped fighting.  She threw the brunette to the corner of the room with a burst of renewed strength and turned to look at the prey she had only just now sensed was behind her.

            Spike saw Drusilla fly backwards, and he would have gone to help her, but he was stopped by the look in the Slayer’s eyes.  This chick was on something. 

            Buffy approached him slowly.  She didn’t want to frighten him off.

            “Ah, Slayer, you’re actually kind of scaring me here,” Spike muttered as he edged carefully away from her.  He spared a quick glance at Dru.  Her eyes looked as wild as the Slayer’s.  What had these two gotten into?  But instead of joining Buffy on her path towards Spike, Dru slinked out of the room.  ‘So much for help from that corner,’ Spike thought.  The back of his knees hit the bed and he fell backwards on it.  Uh-oh.

            Buffy smiled a wide, feral smile and pounced.  She held his head tightly and turned it sideways.  She bit hard, straight through the skin, sucking in the delicious fluid pouring from his neck.  “Mine!” she growled loudly for all the world to hear.

            ‘Fuck,’ Spike thought before something stole over him, ‘the Slayer just claimed me.’ 

            Buffy began to rip and tear at the offending garments that were separating her from her prize.  He was hers now.  She’d claimed him.  No one else had, and that meant he belonged to her.  And she wanted him.  She wanted him bad.  Just as he was laid bare to her, he opened his eyes.  Yellow eyes.  Fierce, beautiful, yellow eyes.

            Buffy felt herself being roughly turned over so that she lay beneath him.  His knees parted her thighs as he rubbed his rock hard cock against her swollen mound.  Not enough.  She ground against him. Not nearly enough.  She used her own hands to remove the last shreds of her clothing.  Now he was pressed against her, skin to skin.  It was close, but still not enough.

            Spike knew what the girl wanted.  She wanted him.  All of him.  And he’d give it, but not without getting everything she was in return.  He bent down and nuzzled her neck, seeking permission.  A shot of joy entered his heart as she willingly tilted her head, granting him access.  He bit into her neck, savagely tearing her flesh to firmly mark it.  “Mine!”  His growl matched the intensity of her earlier one.  Then, only then did he shove himself inside of her, tearing straight through her virginal membrane.  The scent of that special blood hit his nostrils and he nearly blacked out.

            She was his.  Had never been anyone else’s.  His.  Finally, he had what belonged to him.  He moved in and out of the girl at a hard, bruising pace.  She matched him every bit of the way.  Tiny little grunts of pleasure came out of her mouth each time he pushed inside of her.  Soon they both reared their head’s back and howled at the night as they found their release.

            Spike pulled her further up on the bed and crawled beside her.  He began to carefully lick at all of her wounds.  Cleaning her from head to toe.  He took special consideration when reaching the crux of her thighs.  Virgin blood.  The blood of his mate.  When he was done he lay down and pulled her on top of him.  He brushed his lips over hers, with a purring sound coming from his chest.  He was content.  Replete.  For the first time in his existence, he was truly at peace with himself.

            Buffy parted her lips to allow him greater access to her mouth.  She felt the first dart of his tongue and her breath hitched.  He tasted like home.  She eagerly began kissing him back, running her tongue over his, sucking on his lips.  Hers.  This man was hers just as she was his.  She belonged.  She was at peace.  This is what she had been searching for all along.  She’d found herself in this man.

Chapter 4  Wild Child


            Drusilla tore through the cemetery.  She had to find him.  She could smell him.  He was everywhere here, and yet he was not here at all.  She was about to slip into a howling despair when a singular signature finally made its way to her.  She lifted her head in the air and began to trail it.  Eventually she reached a building.  She pounded fiercely on the door.

            Angel heard the knocking.  No, pounding.  He set his book down with a weary sigh.  He sincerely hoped it wasn’t a bunch of teenagers out for stale trick or treating.  He really hated that.  If you were old enough to drive to the store and buy your own damn candy, then do it!  He flung the door open and was immediately thrown backwards.

            She’d found him.  She licked his neck, nipping and mewling in her throat to show him her pleasure.

           Drusilla.  Drusilla was on him.  Licking him.  He felt his cock respond and a shaft of guilt went through his dead heart.  Buffy.  She wouldn’t like this.  He tried to pry Drusilla from his neck.  No go.  He caught sight of the still open door and swore.  He got up, Dru firmly attached, and made his way over to shut it.  That done, he returned his attention to Drusilla.

            Dru wasn’t about to let her sire part from her.  She broke away from his neck and looked into his eyes.  Her own were a feral yellow.  “Mine!  My sire,” she growled.

            Angel sighed.  “Yes, Drusilla.  Your sire.  Now why don’t you get off me so we can sit and talk.  Starting with what you took tonight?”  He tried again to pry her off of him.  “Okay, let’s just sit together then.” 

            He made his way over to his bed and sat down with her straddling him.  He brushed her dark hair back from her lovely face.  “So beautiful, my Dru.  Now tell me, did Spike feed you some stoner?”

            Dru could hear his words.  She recognized only two.  Her name and the name of her childe.  She stared patiently at her sire, waiting for him to finish so they could play.

            Angel realized that she wasn’t getting a word he said.  He tilted his head back and sighed.  One thing was for sure:  she was a hell of a lot stronger tonight than she had been.  He realized that he’d have to pay a call to Giles.  If any other vamps-- most noticeably Spike-- were hopped up on this stuff with all of the kids running around, things would turn real ugly real quick.  He stood up, Drusilla firmly wrapped around him.  “Okay, Dru.  Daddy’s taking you on a walk.”

            Angel made it to Giles’ house, thankfully without catching sight of any more tripping vampires.  He’d received only the occasionally odd glance from passers by.  Dru was still firmly wrapped around his torso, but it was Halloween and there were weirder looking things out on this night.  He knocked on Giles’ door.  It was immediately opened.

            “Trick or treat,” he said sarcastically to the librarian and his bowl of candy.

            “Angel?” Giles said in surprise.  “What are you doing here and why do you have a woman wrapped around your body.  Is this Drusilla?”

            “Yes to the last question, and the first relates to the second.  I need you to help me figure out why she’s attached herself to me,” Angel said.  “She seems to be drugged or something.  I’m afraid that if Spike or any other vampires are like this, we’re going to have a bloodbath on our hands.  Vampires normally sit this night out, but if they aren’t in their right minds, who knows what could happen.”

            “Yes, quite.”  Giles reached over and grabbed his coat and keys.  He locked his door, leaving the bowl of candy outside, in the vain hope that it might last until he returned.  “We should go to Buffy’s.  We’ll need her help on this.  Could you turn her around so that I could see into her eyes.” 

            Angel maneuvered Dru’s head, which had been buried in his neck so that she faced the Watcher.  She gave the man a tiny warning growl and then returned to her neck nuzzling.

            “I agree.  She’s been affected by some substance or another.  We’d best hurry,” Giles said as he walked the two oddly attached vampires to his car.

            They arrived at Buffy’s to see Joyce handing out candy with a smile to a group of young children.  Giles got out of the car alone and walked up to the porch.  She waved the kids off and then turned to greet him with the smile slipping off her face.

            “Mr. Giles?” she asked.

            “Ah, yes.  I was wondering if Buffy was here?” he asked the woman.  He’d really been hoping she would be at the gallery.

            “Is she in trouble or something?” Joyce asked warily.

            “Oh, no.  Nothing of the sort.  It’s just that many of the kids were escorting groups of children around tonight and I was wondering if she’d returned.  We are trying to see how long it takes each year to, to, ah… time the trick or treating,” he finished lamely.

            “Oh, okay.  She didn’t tell me anything about this, but then again that’s nothing new.  Sometimes I feel as if she’s leading this entirely different life that I don’t know anything about,” Joyce laughed nervously.

            Giles smiled at her.  “That’s ridiculous, of course.  Well, if umm… Buffy returns please have her call me to tell me how long it took her to complete her rounds.”

            “Certainly, Mr. Giles.  Thanks for stopping by,” Joyce said, wondering if she should worry about the amount of time her daughter spent with the older man.

            Giles gave her a tight smile and backed up towards his car.  He turned around and got in with a deep sigh as he started the engine.  “That woman thinks I’m strange.  I could see it in her eyes.”

            Angel gave a hollow laugh.  “Cheer up.  I could have gotten out of the car with my leach.  That would have given her an entirely new outlook on strange.”

            Giles actually laughed.  It wasn’t necessarily a healthy laugh.  “Let’s try the cemeteries.  Maybe Buffy decided to patrol after she finished with the magic user.”

            “Magic user?” Angel asked, absently petting Dru’s hair.  Grinning as it made her purr.  He’d missed that sound.  He really had.

            “Yes,” Giles said as he drove.  “There was someone performing a spell around town.  Buffy went to stop them.” 

            “Think there could be a connection?” Angel asked, pointing towards the woman on his lap.

            “Possibly.  I hadn’t thought of that.  We’d best find Buffy quickly.”


Chapter 5:  Under the Stars


            Buffy and Spike had awoken, sated but hungry.  They headed out into the night.  Each looking for food, but unwilling to part from the other.  Spike let his nose lead them.  Soon he found exactly what they needed.  A picnic.  There were two humans foolishly lounging on a blanket, under the stars, gothed out, and sucking face.  Spike held Buffy back with one arm as he moved soundlessly into the bushes to reach his prey.  He was running on instinct, and instinct told him to kill the male quickly, drain the female, and then feed his mate.

            Spike moved in.  He snapped the male’s neck and sank his fangs into the female’s throat.  He drained her rapidly and left her body on the blanket beside her boyfriend.  Then he rifled through the food until he found what he was looking for – meat.  His mate needed meat.  He pulled the roast beef out of the sandwich and grabbed a bottle of water.  He made his way back through the bushes where Buffy waited patiently.

            He pulled her naked form down onto the cool grass until she was in a sitting position.  Then he gave her a toothy smile as he dangled a piece of the roast beef into the air.  Buffy had smelled the meat immediately.  She could also smell the fresh blood on her mate’s breath.  He’d fed.  She was glad.  She needed him strong.  She opened her mouth and tilted her head back, allowing him to feed her.  He repeated the process over and over until the last piece of roast beef was gone.  Then he took a swig of the water and leaned in to press his mouth against hers, passing the water into her body.  If she were a vampire he would feed her only upon his blood, and he sought a way to replicate this the best he could.

            Buffy was satisfied on one front but feeling a pressing need on the other.  She really needed to relieve herself.  She gave her mate’s neck a nuzzle and then slinked off into the bushes.  Spike knew what she needed and as long as he could smell her and hear her he was okay with her going a few yards away from him.  He lay down on the grass and closed his eyes.  He felt such peace.  Full belly.  Satisfied cock.  Full heart.


            The gang was trudging through the cemetery.  Giles had rounded everyone up, worried that they were vulnerable with drug crazed vampires running around and a missing Buffy.  The young people were being surprisingly resilient, though he did notice they kept stealing surreptitious glances over at the growth that Angel was still sprouting.  Giles had to admit it was one of the oddest things he had ever seen in his life.  The female vampire seemed to be entirely content to keep herself wrapped around the male, just waiting for him to finish his business and take care of her.  He had a feeling he’d be spending a late night with his Watcher’s Journal when he eventually returned home.

            The intrepid group rounded a bend in the cemetery wall that opened into a local common area.  Everyone in the group stopped dead still.  Even those with heartbeats.  There, across the clearing, was Spike.  A very naked Spike just lying on the grass. 

            Angel recovered from his surprise and started walking toward the vamp.  He didn’t make it.  Something tackled him from the side.  Down he went to the ground.  No sooner had it registered in his mind that it was an equally naked Buffy that had attacked him then he felt something take over.  Something wild.  He turned and flashed his fangs at her, Drusilla falling to the side in his haste.

            Giles watched in horror as his Slayer tore into the big vampire she supposedly loved.  She was vicious.  At least he’d thought she was vicious.  Once Spike joined the fray he realized what true viciousness was.  There was scratching, growling, and the distinct sound of bones crunching and flesh tearing.

            Giles caught sight of their eyes, including Angel’s, and he began to carefully back the humans out of the park.  When they’d exited the cemetery walls he said as quietly as he could, “Run.”

            They ran.  They’d seen Buffy’s eyes.  Whatever the vamps were on, so was she, and somehow that had been passed on to Angel.  Not good.  Really, really not good.  They reached the other end of the cemetery and Giles’ car.  Piling in they tore out of the area as fast as the sputtering car would take them.  Giles headed over to Buffy’s.  He ran up the steps and pounded on the door.

            “Joyce!” he yelled.

            A sleepy yet panicked Joyce opened the door.  “What?  Has something happened to Buffy?”

            “Yes, now get in.  I’ll take you to her,” Giles lied.  Now was not the time for explanations.  Now was the time to regroup somewhere that the vampires did not have an open invitation to.

            “Xander?” Giles asked as he and Joyce got back into the car.  "Has Angel ever been inside your home?”

            “No.  Why?” Xander asked.

            “Because we need to all get somewhere safe until we can figure out what’s going on,” Giles informed him.

            “Wait!  What?  No way.  Head to the decent section of Sunnydale.  He doesn’t have an invitation to my house and it’s so much nicer than Xander’s it doesn’t even rate a comparison,” Cordelia declared.

            Joyce was confused.  “Would someone please tell me what’s going on here?  Where’s my daughter?”

            “We’ll tell you as soon as we get to the Chase residence,” Giles promised.

            Joyce calmed somewhat.  Mr. and Mrs. Chase had commissioned several pieces from one of her favorite artists recently.  They were terrible snobs, but normal.  She seriously doubted there was anything normal to the man sitting next to her.  She could call the police from the Chase’s.

            They arrived at Cordelia’s to find her parents out for the evening.  They parked the car and headed out to the pool house.  Cordelia said the servants would just assume she was having an impromptu party.  Apparently it wasn’t uncommon for her to do such things and they knew she’d expect them to stay out of the way. 

            She let the gang in and went into the bathroom to remove her cat costume and put on a nice, fluffy white robe.  When she came out she saw Xander and Giles holding down Buffy’s mom.  She took a deep breath and let it out.  “Listen!” Queen C yelled.  “Your daughter slays vampires.  She’s the Chosen One.  You should be proud.  There’s like only one in the world or something.  Get used to it.  We all have.  And really, shouldn’t you have figured some of this out by now?”

            Joyce quit struggling.  The girl was saying exactly what the others had said to her a minute before, but somehow coming out of Cordelia’s mouth it seemed… so final.  So true.  She looked at Cordelia.  “So, Buffy’s not a gang member?” she spoke her deepest fear.

            Cordelia threw her head back and laughed.  “Buffy!  Buffy Summers a gang member!”

            Willow couldn’t help letting out a little giggle herself.  It was silly, really.  Buffy a gang member.  “Mrs. Summers, I swear we’re telling the truth.  Buffy fights vampires.”

            “Where is she then?  I want to talk to her myself,” Joyce said, shaking the men off her but not heading for the phone like she had tried earlier.

            “She’s fighting,” Giles said quietly.  There was no way he could explain this to Joyce.  He didn’t even understand it himself.  Though he had a pretty good idea that it must have had something to do with the magic user Buffy had been sent out to stop earlier.  He ran a hand across his forehead.

            “I have to go back out,” he announced.  “I need to check out the place Buffy went to earlier tonight.  I still have a copy of the map.  I marked it.  You all stay here.  Explain things to Buffy’s mother.  I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  He turned and headed for the door.  “Listen, don’t let me back in if my eyes look… or if I need to be invited.  Got it?”

            Xander nodded.  “Got it.”

            “Good.”  Then he left.

            He drove out into the quiet of the night.  It was strange really.  All of the kids had gone home.  Trick or treat was done. The demons were safely nestled in their lairs.  It was a very uneventful night if you discounted the fact that his Slayer had been last seen rutting and fighting naked in what passed for woods around here.

            He came to the place on the map and stopped the car.  A costume shop.  A shiver of horror passed over him as thoughts of what could have transpired tonight entered his brain.  Magic + costume shop = no good.  The door was open so he pushed his way in.  Silence.  This place was empty.  He’d grabbed a flashlight from under the passenger seat of his car and he was now using it to in an arcing motion across the shop floor.  Nothing.  He spotted an opening toward the back and moved determinedly toward it.

            Giles walked into the backroom and a beam of light landed on the broken statue.  Janus.  Not good.  He had a funny feeling about this.  Broken statues immediately brought to mind his Slayer and her often surprisingly clumsy ways.  Then he spotted something else, something barely noticeable if you hadn’t seen it before.  Powder.  Not just any powder.  This was one of Ethan’s specialties.  Damn him.  

            Giles got back in the car to head back to Cordelia’s.  He knew exactly what had been done.  He’d helped to create the spell in another life time.  Another man.  Not Giles.  Ripper.  Sounded kind of silly now.  The foolishness of boys.  Only Ethan wasn’t a boy any longer.  It was long past time he be held accountable for his actions.  Not tonight, however.  Tonight he would wait indoors in what he hoped would be safety.  The spell only lasted twenty-four hours.  They’d have to wait it out.  Wait out the deadliness of a primal Slayer and three vampires.  Giles drove along with a song playing gently, achingly inside of his head.  What a Difference a Day Makes…   


Chapter 6:  Back to Me


            Buffy had a nipple in her mouth.  A flat, male nipple.  The kind you really have to suck to get up and going.  Lucky for her, or him, Buffy had enhanced muscles everywhere. 

            Spike held her head to him with his hands gripped tightly into her blonde locks.  This was his.  This girl.  This creature.  Words meant nothing to him.  It was all just… her.  Her mouth on his chest.  Her nails embedded in his sides.  Her cunny surrounding his pumping cock.  “Aughh!!!” he screamed as he came, ripping her off the object of her current affections to sink his fangs into her neck.

            Buffy’s own orgasm came crashing down onto her as she followed her mate and bit into his flesh.  Home.  Him.  They were synonymous.  It was all about him.  A whispering wind broke across them, dissolving into them.  Letting the hegemony back into their lives, their minds, their hearts.

            Spike realized several things all at once.  First, he had the Slayer in his arms, his fangs in her neck, and his dick buried in her heat.  All of which would be good if he hadn’t noticed the other things.  Like the fact that her mouth was equally attached to his own.  And the claim.  He was very aware of the claim.

            Buffy first noticed that she had something in her mouth.  Something incredible.  Something she wanted like she’d wanted nothing else before.  She let herself luxuriate in it for a moment until the knowledge of just what it was she had in her mouth hit her.  Spike.  She was… biting Spike?  She let go and pushed away.  A pair of intense blue eyes looked into her own.  That’s when she also became aware of other things.  Like that Spike had been inside of her in more ways than one.  She scooted further away.

            “What?” she asked, incapable of articulating anything else.

            Spike looked down.  He should be attacking her.  Eradicating this mess.  Vampires did not mate with Slayers.  Not ever.  He had Dru.  Dru… “Fuck!” he yelled coming to a stand.  He glanced around for their clothes.  He wasn’t getting a very clear picture of the events of the last twenty four hours, but he was pretty sure that at some point Dru had run off with Angelus.  He found clothes in a trunk and he threw them at the confused girl standing in shock behind him.

            “Get dressed.  You’re leaving,” he growled.

            A strange feeling hit Buffy.  It was like a cross between disappointment and pain.  She was very confused.  She hated Spike.  Why had she done all of those things with him?  Why did she feel the need to stay here?  To be anywhere he was?  Her hands started to shake.  She looked at the clothes grasped in her trembling fingers and she put them on.  Her body felt strange.  It was extremely sensitive.

            Spike was dressed before the frightened teenager.  He turned around to see her slipping on the pair of too big, black jeans he had thrown at her.  His jeans.  His shirt.  He couldn’t bear the thought of giving her anything of Dru’s.  Fuck.  Dru.  He’d claimed the Slayer.  He’d shagged the Slayer.  Right.  In.  Their.  Bed.  It didn’t matter that the crazy vamp was probably banging away at her ‘daddy’.  Spike wasn’t like that.  He was loyal.  He was her willing slave.  Always had been.  Oh, he felt the pull of the girl in front of him.  But he wasn’t about to respond to it.  He had over a century of control on his side, and he was going to exercise it, damn it.

            “Do you know what happened?” Buffy asked in a small voice as she rolled the jeans up to fit her small frame.

            “Nope.  Don’t know.  Don’t care.  Just want you out of here.  Gotta find my girl.  Get things back to normal.”  He walked right on by her and out the door.

            Buffy’s chin was betraying her and she was glad he’d left.  That he did not see as the tears poured down her cheeks.  She didn’t know what had happened, but she knew that nothing would ever be the same.  She turned and followed him out the door, making sure he was well in front of her.  Dignity wasn’t much, but it was something.

            He went one way.  Buffy was pretty sure he was heading to Angel’s apartment.  She went another.  Home.  It left a funny taste in her mouth -- that word.  There was something really wrong about it.

            Spike was grinding his teeth and since he was in full vamp face it wasn’t pleasant.  His demon was pissed.  The further it got away from its mate the angrier it became.  This was not good.  He somehow hadn’t expected it to be like this.  It actually hurt.  The damn demon thought it was in love.  That was unexpected.

            He made it to Angel’s apartment and pounded furiously on the door.  A moment later it was flung open to reveal his grand-sire in nothing more than a pair of black slacks.  “Come in, Spike,” Angel said in a voice heavy with weariness.

            Spike walked in and looked around.  “Nice place.  Any new additions you care to show me?”

            “Hello, Spike,” Dru said softly from the bed.  She was curled up in a ball, crying.

            Spike ran over to her.  “Dru.  My princess.  I’m so sorry,” he said as he pulled her into his arms.  A wave of revulsion poured over him but he fought it down and held on to the distraught vampire.

            “He… he doesn’t want me,” she sobbed.

            Spike gave Angel a dirty look.  “Why the fuck do you do this to her?” he yelled.

            Angel flinched.  “The last time wasn’t my fault.  Darla kicked me out.  Not like the two of you were running after me.  The way I see it, I was the aggrieved party there.  Not you.  And now this…  This,” he sighed.  “This isn’t my fault either.  I was with Giles, Buffy’s Watcher, last night.  He believes it was a spell.  There was nothing any of us could do about it.”

            Spike sniffed Dru.  She’d had sex with the tosser.  Lots of it.  Angelus had always had a claim on the girl, and Spike could tell it had been renewed.  “What are we supposed to do about this then?” he asked, moving Dru’s hair aside to expose the fresh marks on her neck.

            “It will wear off in time.  It always does,” Angel answered sadly, rubbing a thumb over his own neck.  Angelus was howling in rage, but thanks to the soul he was locked in too deeply to go across the room and take his mate out of Spike’s arms.

            Spike stood up with Drusilla in his arms.  “Then you won’t mind if I just take the girl back then, eh mate?”  He didn’t wait for Angel to answer.  He just left, carrying Drusilla all the way home.  He cleaned her up and laid her in their bed.  He wished he’d had time to change the sheets.  They reeked of him and the Slayer.

            He went back into the bathroom and took a long, hot shower.  But the heat reminded him of the Slayer.  He put his head against the shower wall.  What was he going to do?  Like Angel said, the claim would lessen.  Though it would always be there.  A thousand years form now it would be there, but its pull would lessen day by day.  Until then?  He had a broken hearted sire, and he had a broken hearted demon.  It was going to take every ounce of control he had to stay away from the blonde Slayer.

            Across town, in a still empty house, Buffy was struggling.  She didn’t have any knowledge or experience to help her through this.  All she had was a burning desire to return to him.  She was in a corner of her room, wedged against two walls.  Mr. Gordo was clutched firmly in her arms, her only lifeline to sanity.  She gripped him tightly as she rocked back and forth, willing her arms and legs to still.


Chapter 7:  Changes


            “She’s up here!” Joyce yelled in relief.  Mr. Giles had made them all wait until daylight of the following day before going home.  He’d insisted on coming in with her, just to be safe.  She crouched down at her daughter’s level and reached out a hand to touch her forehead.  A low growl had her snatching her hand back.  She heard the librarian enter the room and she turned to him with a worried look.  “Something’s wrong.”

            Giles approached the girl slowly.  He knew what strength she possessed.  She appeared to be sweating profusely and that wasn’t a good sign.  She was also trembling.  Also not a good sign.  It was as if she was suffering from withdrawals.  “Back away, Joyce.  She can be dangerous.”

            “I can’t.  I have to help her,” Joyce said, not moving an inch.  “Buffy?  Baby?  It’s mommy.  Can you talk to me, sweetheart?”

            Buffy looked up at her mother with watery, overly bright, green eyes.  “Mommy?”

            Joyce put her hand to her chest as a sob caught in her throat.  “Yeah, baby, it’s me.  Can I touch you?  I want to get you into bed.”

            Buffy nodded her head, but when Joyce made another move to touch her she couldn’t help the warning growl that sounded in her throat.  More scared than ever, Buffy looked beyond her mother to the man she could feel behind her.  “Giles?  What’s wrong with me?”

            “I’m not sure, Buffy.  We need to get you into bed.  I might need to take some blood samples.  I believe a man I used to know put a spell on you.  It might be withdrawals.  Angel, Drusilla, and Spike were also affected,” he explained, noting the way she twitched at Spike’s name. 

            “Okay, I’ll try to move.  But, mom, don’t touch me.  There’s something really wrong with me,” Buffy said softly as she forced herself to her hands and knees and crawled over to her bed.  With difficulty she was able to get herself up and on it.  A fresh bout of tremors hit her, however, and she started to convulse.

            Joyce tried to help her, but was stayed by Giles hand.  “Don’t.  Just wait until they’ve passed.”  He stood by the helpless mother, watching.

            Buffy felt hot.  So hot.  The fang marks on her neck were throbbing.  They felt like they were going to burst.  She pulled her damp hand away so that they could breathe, headless of the sharp intake of breath from the humans in the room.

            Joyce was shocked at the wound on her daughter’s neck.  “Do you think she has an infection?  Did one of those things bite her?” she asked worriedly.

            Giles swallowed.  “No.  And it’s far worse than a mere bite.  That’s a claim.  She’s been claimed,” Giles said, placing his head in his hands.  It was over.  This girl’s life was done.  The Council had very strict policies on claimed Slayers.  They would send in a wetworks team immediately.  Claimed Slayers did not act like claimed humans.  Humans became mindlessly devoted to the vampire who had them enthralled.  With Slayers it awoke the demon inside of them.  They not only had a loyalty to the vampire who claimed them, but they became what could only be described as feral.  They still held onto their humanity, but it wasn’t ever the same.  They were changed.

            “What’s a claim?”  The voice did not come from the woman beside him.  It came from the girl on the bed.

            “It means the vampire who bit you now owns you.  It doesn’t happen very often.  A person cannot be claimed without being willing.  I’m sure that the spell placed upon you last night had some bearing on this,” Giles said evasively.

            “Owns me?  But what if I claimed him first?” Buffy asked, thinking back to the hazy events of that night.  She was pretty sure it was her who instituted the claim.

            “I don’t believe that’s possible,” Giles answered her, daring to walk closer.

            Buffy looked up at him.  Sure now. “It is possible, Giles.  I bit him first.  Claimed him.  Then he bit me,” Buffy said firmly.

            Giles thought about this.  A dual claim.  There weren’t such things, were there?  An impossible thought struck him.  “Buffy, did you have sex with… this vampire?”

            Buffy turned her head away, unable to look in her mother’s direction.  “It was Spike, and yes.”

            “I see.  Not just a claim then.  A mating.”  Giles found himself trying to decide if that made a difference.  It wouldn’t make a difference to the Council, but it did mean that Buffy was on equal footing.  Spike could not mindlessly control her.  Her Slayer side would be irrevocably stronger, however.  A few Slayers had been seduced by a vampire and submitted to claims, but none had ever equally mated with one.  Giles suspected that they thought that was what they were doing, but vampires were clever creatures.  The Watcher realized it must have been the spell that had caused Spike to bind himself to a Slayer.  Still, he didn’t expect they would receive much help from that corner.

            “I have to go,” Giles told Joyce who was weeping softly to herself as she stared at her little girl.

            “Where?  Why?  You have to fix this!  My baby is hurting.  You need to make it stop!” she yelled.

            “I am going to do everything in my power to help her, Joyce.  But I need… I cannot call the Council.  They would kill her.  She’s an unknown at this point,” Giles explained.

            “Unknown!  She’s not unknown!  She’s Buffy.  My daughter!  Now you go and get whatever help you need and you come back and fix her!” Joyce yelled ferociously.

            “That’s what I’m trying to do, woman.  Now, do not answer the phone or the door.  Do not speak to anyone of this.  Not even her friends.  No one must know.  The Council is very powerful and they won’t hesitate to send assassins after her.  Do you understand?” he asked.

            “Yes.  I understand perfectly.”  Joyce didn’t look at the man as he left the room and her house.  When she heard his car start she went into her bedroom and pulled a box out from under the bed.  Then she went into her closet and opened up the safe.  She took out a box of shells and relocked the safe.  Then she went back into her room and opened the box.  She took out the shotgun that her grandfather had willed to her when he died, loaded it and sent off a silent thanks to the grandfather who had so patiently taught her how to defend herself.  

            Shotgun in hand she came back into her baby’s room.

            Buffy’s eyes grew wide as she saw what her mother held.  “Mom!  Since when do we own a gun?”

            “Since before you were born.  This Council.  They’re human, right?” Joyce asked.

            “Yeah,” Buffy answered.

            “Good.  Then bullets will do.  Now, can I get you some water, baby?”

            “Water would be good,” Buffy admitted.  Wow.  Her mom could be really scary sometimes.

            Joyce came back in the room with a glass of water, a basin, and a sponge.  She handed the water to Buffy who drank it down without taking a single breath.  “I want to wash you down, sweetie.”

            Buffy shook her head.  “I don’t think that’s a good idea.  I seem to get kind of growly when you try and touch me.”

            “I noticed.  Can I try again?”  Joyce didn’t wait for her to answer.  She ran the sponge along one of Buffy’s exposed feet.  No growl.  Good.  She kept it up.  She noticed the black pants sitting in the corner of the room.  Buffy was only wearing a t-shirt.  No underwear. 

            Moving very slowly, she was able to clean her daughter up to some degree.  The t-shirt stayed on, however.  Buffy had gotten suddenly possessive of the garment.  Joyce backed off.  She went into the bathroom to rinse the basin off and refill it.  She came back into the room to see her daughter’s eyes glowing.  The growling had also resumed.  Joyce followed the girl’s line of site.  Giles was back and he’d brought someone with him.

            “You must be Angel,” Joyce said, recognizing him from the description given to her by one of Buffy’s friends.

            “Yes,” Angel answered, not bothering to look at the woman.  All he could see was Buffy.  What had Spike done?  What had she done?  This was unlike anything he had ever seen before.  Giles had explained things as Angel huddled underneath a blanket inside the man’s car, but he still hadn’t expected this.

            “How can we break it?” Giles asked.

            “It can’t be broken.  It should weaken, but…” Angel trailed off.  The eyes.  Her mouth was closed but he expected there were teeth to go along with those eyes.  He took a deep, unnecessary breath and walked slowly over to the bed.  Her growling increased.  It was a halfhearted warning at best.  Low in her throat.  Not reaching what it could be.  Angel hoped that meant she was sensing that he was family.  If he was lucky, she would also respond to him as an elder.

            He reached out a hand and her growling increased.  He growled back and she immediately responded.  The growling ceased and turned into mewling.  Angel let out a tiny sob of relief.  He looked back to Giles.  “It’s going to be okay.  I can help her.”

            “You can take the claim off?” Giles asked.

            Angel, annoyed, growled at the man, setting Buffy off all over again.  This time her attention focused on the Watcher.  “Giles,” Angel said.  “The claim, as you know, is a mating, it cannot be broken.  End of story.  But it will lessen eventually.  In the meantime she is willing to let me take care of her.  This isn’t going to be easy, and I’m going through something similar myself.  It would be best if you let me take her home with me.”

            Joyce’s response was immediate.  She cocked the rifle.  “No.  She stays with me.”

           Angel had to hold back a smile.  He could easily see where Buffy got her fire from, but he had a point to prove here.  “Joyce,” he said.  “Look.”  He reached out a hand and pulled Buffy’s lips up to reveal her gums.  There, nestled above her regular teeth, was a sharp pair of retracted fangs, just the tips showing.

            Joyce let out a gasp.  “She’s a vampire?”

            “No, not a vampire,” Giles said.  “Just changing.  It happens to all claimed Slayers.  Especially if they are fed blood from the vampire who has claimed them.  It’s why the Council kills them.  They are unpredictable.”

            “Not this time,” Joyce said in a voice of steel.  “Angel.  Take her.  If you need anything you know where to find me.”

            Angel picked up the tiny girl and held her close.  “I promise to keep her safe, Joyce.”

            “I’ll hold you to that,” she said.


Chapter 8:  Need



            Angel was having a hell of time.  He’d forgotten just how strong she was.  Currently, he was spread out on his bed, doing his damndest to hold her down.  Her fangs were fully distended and her eyes were glowing amber.  She needed blood.  The problem was that she didn’t need just any old blood.  She needed Spike’s blood.  Since his blood was Spike’s blood, he was trying to talk her into biting him.  But she’d reacted on the violent side when he suggested it; hence their current situation.

            “Buffy, you need it.  You’re sick and you’re getting worse,” he yelled as he forced her down.

            “No.  Not yours.  Not yours!” she screamed instinctually.

            “I know it, baby.  I know it, but I’m all you’ve got,” he cried.

            That seemed to settle her down a bit.  “I’m sorry, Angel. I really am.  I just can’t seem to control myself.  It hurts.  I hurt.  I… I need him.  I wish I didn’t, but I do.”  She started crying and Angel felt it was safe to let her go.

            “You need to rest.  If you drink, the demon will be satisfied and you’ll be able to sleep.  Please, drink from me, Buffy.  I can put it in a cup if the biting is a problem,” he suggested.

            She wanted it.  Some part of her.  But she just couldn’t.  It was wrong.  She shook her head, letting him know her answer.

            Angel got up and sighed, running a hand threw his head.  “If I get his permission?  Will you do it if he says it’s okay?”

            Buffy thought about it.  Once again she didn’t answer out loud, but she did nod her head.  Ever so slightly.

            “Okay.  I’m going to go now.  It’s dark out.  Just don’t try to leave or anything.”  Angel looked down at her.  Fuck it.  He walked over to the bureau and pulled out a roll of duct tape.  He flipped her over and trussed her up in record, rodeo-style time.  Of course she hadn’t protested.  That made it easier.

            “I’ll be bake in twenty minutes.  I promise.”  He left her there and walked out the door.

            On his way back to the factory he ran several scenarios through his head.  There had to be some way to convince Spike to give permission for the blood.  Spike could just say no on the basis that it was Angel doing the asking.  Sometimes he was perverse like that.  He could be such a shit. 

            Angel walked into the factory, staking a few minions for good measure as he made his way unerringly to Dru and Spike’s bedroom.  He flung open the door and immediately forced himself to tone down his sense of smell.  The place reeked of Spike and Buffy.

            “Nice of you to knock,” Spike said as he looked up from the bed.

            “You’re sleeping late, Spike,” Angel responded, looking around for Dru.  “Where’s the little woman?”

            “You mean your little woman?” Spike asked, taking a cigarette from the nightstand and lighting it.  “Hunting.  Didn’t feel like going.  Slayer blood fills you up for days, ruins you for anything else, really.”

            Angel knew the young vamp was trying to get a rise out of him.  It nearly worked.  He reminded himself what he was here for.  “I know you hate me, but I need something from you.”

            Spike’s interest was tweaked.  “Oh, yeah?  What’s that?”  He blew a long stream of white smoke from his lips.

            “It’s about Buffy, the Slayer.  She needs blood,” Angel began.

            “Take her to the soddin’ hospital then.  They’ve got loads of the stuff.  Right stingy with it, too.”  Spike had no idea what Angel was getting at.

            “Not human blood.  She needs vamp blood.  Our blood.  I want to give her mine, but she refuses.  She’ll do it if you give permission,” Angel finished.

            Spike was surprised.  More than surprised.  He’d seen claimed humans before.  They never needed blood.  Course he’d never seen a human mated to a vamp before.  “This usually happen when a vamp and human get drunk and hitch themselves up?”

            “It isn’t about the mating so much.  I mean it is… This is complicated.  It turns out that Slayers are made from demons just like we always thought. And…”

            Spike laughed, interrupting Angel.  “And they are so damn sanctimonious, always chasing after us, killing their own kind.”

            “That’s neither here nor there, Spike.  Will you give your permission for me to feed Buffy?” Angel said, forcing Spike back on topic.

            Spike looked at the glowing embers on his cigarette.  He had no reason at all to deny Angel his request unless it was for pure spite.  “Do it.  Just do it,” he said quietly, knowing the only reason he actually gave in was because it felt so very wrong to do so.  He wasn’t about to be controlled by this… this abomination.  This mating to a Slayer.  Hell no, he didn’t want Angel touching her.  She was his.  But he couldn’t give into his instincts on this.  He refused.

            Angel didn’t waste any time.  He ran out of the room, out of the building, and into the night.  There was some small part of him that was actually looking forward to this.  He would never have done what Spike did to Buffy.  He wanted her in the light.  It’s where she belonged, but he couldn’t deny the strange feeling of peace and belonging he had having her beside him like she was now.

            He walked into the apartment and removed his shirt.  There she was, lying exactly where she’d left him.  Beautiful.  He walked over to the bed and turned her over, not bothering to take the duct tape off her wrists and ankles.  “He gave permission, Buffy.  You need to drink, sweetheart,” Angel told her as held her up so that her mouth was pressed against her neck.

            Buffy still didn’t want to do it, but she knew she needed it.  She could feel the saliva pool in her mouth as she scented the blood underneath the surface of his skin.  She swallowed.  She had to do this.  She opened her mouth, ready to bite down…

            The door to the apartment flew open.  “Get the fuck away from her, Angel!” Spike yelled as he stormed in.  “She’s mine!”

            Angel turned to him with a slight growl.  He didn’t even mean it.  He caught himself and reined in the demon.  He dropped Buffy back onto the bed and stepped away.  “Yours,” Angel admitted.  He wasn’t being that magnanimous.  He knew damned well that Buffy wouldn’t let him feed her now.

            Spike looked at the girl on the bed.  She was still in his t-shirt.  That and nothing else.  Realizing that meant that Angel had gotten a good look at more than he should, he threw another roaring growl at his grand-sire.  Then he turned back to the panting Slayer and removed the tape.  “Don’t know why you’ve tied her up like this.  Skin’s all chaffed.  What were you thinking?” he yelled.

            “I was afraid she’d follow me.  Try to come to the factory.  To you,” Angel explained.

            Spike rubbed her wrists.  She just looked up at him with glassy eyes.  She was obviously sick.  There was a strange heat coming off her skin.  His demon was enraged at the shape its mate was in.  Before Spike knew it he was in full game face and holding her gently to him.  “Drink,” he commanded, and she did.

            Buffy gratefully sank her fangs into Spike’s neck.  There.  That was what she needed.  Blood.  His blood.  She swallowed several gulps of the elixir down and then she retracted her fangs and closed her eyes, soundly asleep.

            Something happened to Spike at that moment as she collapsed against him.  So much trust.  So much tenderness.  All wrapped up in this tiny creature.  He couldn’t deny it any longer.  She was his.  He swallowed hard and looked at Angel.  “What am I going to do?”



Chapter 9:  Need


            With his soul, Angel was able to feel something besides annoyance, possession, and disappointment with Spike.  For the first time ever, he felt sorry for the younger vamp.  “I honestly don’t know what you should do, Spike,” Angel said.

            “I’m not going to be able to leave her, am I?” Spike asked, looking down at the sleeping girl in his arms.

            Angel’s voice was soft, resigned when it came.  “Probably not.”  He looked up at Spike and gave a laugh.  It was highly reminiscent of Angelus.  “The way you stormed in here, boy.  Taking her for yourself.  It was really something.”

            Spike laughed.  Maybe he was finally being the vampire that Angelus had always wanted him to be.  “Liked that did you?”

            Angel pulled a chair up to sit near the bed.  “Yeah, I did,” he answered.  “You never did that with Drusilla.”

            “Did what?” Spike asked.

            “Challenged me for her.  Not once,” Angel stated and waited for understanding to come to Spike.

            The bleached blonde vamp repositioned himself so that he was lying on the bed, curled around his unwanted mate.  He thought about what his grand-sire had said.  He never had challenged him for Drusilla.  His sire.  The meaning of his existence.  His dark princess.  His ripe, wicked plum.  Yet, he had barged in here, thoroughly intent on keeping Angel from taking this tiny little girl who he barely knew.  It had been instinctual.  Primal.  He looked up at the elder vamp.  “There’s something here, isn’t there?  Something more than just the reciprocated bites?”

            Angel didn’t like this part.  He needed to talk to Giles about just what kind of spell they had all been under.  “I think you’re right.  When I saw you the night we… you know.  I had Dru ridiculously attached to me.  She was holding on for everything she was worth.  Not gonna let me go.” Angel gave a smile.  “I saw you in the distance.  You were completely naked and lying on the grass.  I was sure that you were affected by the same thing Dru was, so I walked toward you.  I’m not sure what I would have done.  Staked you or taken you home with me,” Angel said honestly.

            “’S alright, mate.  I understand,” Spike said, swallowing back old hurts.

            “Not really.  But things are confusing now.  Letting you and Dru live is letting innocent people die.  But I still care about you.  I don’t know what to do or think.  A part of me is actually relieved that you and Buffy are mated.  It gives me a solid reason not to…” Angel trailed off, ashamed on so many fronts.

            “I understand, Angel.  I may be a demon but I’ve been around a long time.  Got some wisdom going for me,” Spike said as he stroked the sleeping girl’s head, loving the way her golden locks glinted in the soft light.

            Angel laughed.  “I know you do, Spike.  You always did.  You were always different.  It used to bug the hell out of me before.  It just adds to my confusion and my guilt now.  But anyway, what I was saying is that before I could figure out what I was going to do, Buffy rushed me.  Entirely focused on saving you from me.  It was intense.”

            Spike smiled, remembering through the haze that had accompanied the spell.  “That was pretty neat, wasn’t it?”

            “That it was,” Angel agreed.

            “No one but you has ever come to my defense like that before,” Spike said quietly.  “Certainly not Drusilla.”

            Angel gave his grand-childe a small smile as he got up from the chair.  “I need to call Giles.  Ask him about the spell.”

            Spike didn’t answer.  He just looked at the girl in his arms.  His girl.  Maybe his demon knew something he didn’t.  Maybe it was more than just some spell induced mating.  Maybe it went deeper than that.  Maybe.

            Angel picked up the phone and dialed Giles’ apartment.


            “Giles, it’s Angel.  I want you to tell me everything you know about the spell that was used.”

            “Yes, of course.  It is an elemental spell meant to bring out the most base, primal if you will, natures in a person.  Four persons actually as it uses the four humours of the body.”

            “So it represents all basic elements of the self?”


            “You realize what this means, Giles?”

            “I do in fact.  Every part of Buffy responds to every part of Spike, and likewise you with Drusilla,” Giles answered.

            “It’s different with us.  We were already bound.  I certainly want her right now, but I don’t have to have her.  I can do without.  But Buffy can’t do without Spike, and I seriously doubt he could do without her, either,” Angel informed the Watcher.

            “What are you saying?  Is he there now?  Damn it, Angel, we trusted you to take care of her!”

            “What the hell do you think I’m doing, Watcher!  Spike is the best way to take care of Buffy.” Angel slammed the phone down in irritation.

            “Angel?” Buffy’s voice called lightly from the bed.

            “I’m sorry, Buffy.  I didn’t mean to wake you.  I’m a little edgy tonight,” Angel apologized.

            “It’s okay.  I don’t mind.  Thank you for bringing Spike,” she said, her voice so small it was nearly unheard.

            Angel laughed as he took his chair again.  “I didn’t bring…”

            “Oi!” Spike hollered.  “Leave it be, you great lummox.”  Spike wasn’t willing to lay his own vulnerabilities out on the table.  Mate or not.  She was the Slayer and she was a woman.  He hadn’t had the best of relationships with either over the years.

            “What did Giles have to say?” she asked, turning over in Spike’s arms, luxuriating in the feel and smell of him as he surrounded her.  Spike had to bite back a groan.  Little twit brushed up against some highly sensitive parts.

            “Giles explained the spell that was used on you.  On us,” Angel told her.

            “Go on,” Spike prodded, wanting to hear it all.  He needed to understand what was happening to him.

            “The spell did not force you to mate.  The spell just got rid of all the extra stuff.  Took you down to the basics.  It let you act on your true needs and not the needs you have been socialized to accept,” Angel explained.  “Does this make sense?”

            Buffy gave a tiny shake of her head.  “Not so much.  I don’t remember anything clearly, but I do remember searching for Spike.  I mean it was like I zeroed right in on him.  That’s why I attacked Dru.  She smelled like him.  It made me so angry.  Then when I finally got to him I…” she turned again, so this time she was looking up at Spike. There was a look of horror on her face and she pushed away, breaking his hold on her.  “Oh, Spike.  I’m so sorry.”  She scrambled off the bed as quickly as she could go, tripping up in the sheets and landing on the floor as she did so.

            Spike was tense.  He didn’t know what was going on in that female mind.  It usually meant something bad for him.  “Sorry for what, Slayer.  Giving it up to a soulless vamp?  Letting someone so obviously beneath you to pop your cherry?”

            Angel gave a low growl, letting the younger vampire know he wasn’t pleased with his harsh words.

            Buffy just shook her head as tears pooled up and spilled over in her green eyes.  “No,” she sobbed.  “Sorry for forcing you.  I… I raped you.  I’m so sorry.  I made you have sex with me and then I bit you.  I did it.  I claimed you.  Obviously, basic Buffy isn’t a very good person.”  She started sobbing.

            Something in Spike’s heart did a strange thing.  It broke loose.  Feelings that he’d suppressed for as long as he could remember began to course through his veins.  “Oh, kitten,” he said softly as bent down and lifted her back up on the bed.  “You did no such thing.”  He wrapped her tightly against him.  “Didn’t you listen to a word the great Neanderthal said?  It was about our true needs.  When I ran into that room and saw you and Dru fighting, my first thought was of protecting Dru.” Spike stopped and laughed.  “Okay, that’s a lie.  My first thought was that the two of you looked right sexy fighting like that, but somewhere in there was the thought to protect Dru.  But as soon as you touched me, passed on the mojo, I didn’t even notice Dru.  It was all about you.  It’s cliché but you can’t rape the willing, and I was very, very willing, Slayer.  I didn’t have to reciprocate the bite, but I did.  I wanted it, wanted you, as much as you wanted me.”

            Buffy hiccupped against his chest as her sobs dwindled away.  “Really?” she asked, every one of her teenage insecurities coming to the fore.

            “Really,” Spike said as he stole a kiss.  “This isn’t easy for any of us.  I have to accept the fact that not only did I not want the woman I’ve been with for over a hundred years, but that she clearly didn’t want me either.  As soon as you were distracted with me, she high-tailed it out of the factory and found her daddy.  I knew I was never her first choice, but that’s not something I can try and explain away no matter how many times I’ve tried for the last several hours.”

            Buffy’s eyes got big.  “I don’t want Angel.”

            Spike laughed.  “Just realizing that, are you?”

            Buffy nodded.  Her whole world view and view of self had just shifted.  “Wow.  That’s just… wow!”

            Spike chuckled again.  “You said it.”

            Angel got up and grabbed his coat.

            “Where you headed, mate?” Spike asked.

            “Think I better go talk to Dru,” Angel admitted.

            “That you should,” Spike agreed.

            Buffy wasn’t jealous in the slightest.  In fact, she was relieved that Angel was leaving them alone together.  She was pretty sure the item poking her in the stomach was also relieved.  Buffy giggled as she made Spike groan by giving a wiggle. 

            As soon as Angel shut the door behind him, Spike pounced.  “Mine!” he growled and proceeded to show her just what he meant.



Chapter 10: Where Do We Go From Here?


            “Hey, Dru,” Angel said softly as he came into the bedroom.  She was staring down at the empty bed.

            “He’s gone to her, then?” she asked, not turning around.

            “Yes,” Angel told her. “He didn’t have any choice in the matter.  It’s not like a regular claim.  It’s different.  Something to do with the Slayer.”

            “He’ll love her, Angel,” Dru said as she finally turned to him.  She had tears streaming down her lovely face.  “He’ll love her more than he ever did me in time.”  She laughed, bitterly.  “I couldn’t love him back the way he wanted.  That’s no way for love to grow.”

            Angel winced.  “I know, my sweet.  I’m so sorry for everything. I…”

            “Why did you leave?” she asked, wrapping her arms tightly around herself.

            “Darla made me.  Because of the soul,” Angel explained, holding himself back.  He wanted so very badly to just go to her and hold her.  To forget the loneliness of the last hundred years.

            Dru gave him an intense look.  “Is that really it?  Is it really and truly why you left me?”


            She closed her eyes and smiled.  “Okay, then.  You’re forgiven.”  She opened her eyes.  “But don’t do it again.  I don’t like it, and it makes Miss Edith mock me so.”  

            Angel smiled back as he gave into his urge and closed the distance between them, pulling her into his embrace.  “Think you can live with me like this?  I can’t let you kill humans.”

            Dru looked up into his brown eyes.  “I know, and yes, I can.  I can do anything if I’m by your side.  I’m yours.”

            “Oh, Drusilla.  I’ve wasted so much time,” Angel cried.

            “Time is something we have plenty of, my darling.  Which is good, because it might take me awhile to learn to live like you want me to.  Will you be patient with me, daddy?” Drusilla asked worriedly.

            “Infinitely, my childe,” Angel promised as he swept her up in his arms and carried her over to the bed.  “Well, not with everything,” he laughed as he devoured her lips in his own.

            Quickly, he had them both naked.  Bodies touching.  Skin to skin, as it was supposed to be.  He hovered a moment just outside of her wet folds, drinking in her beauty.  “I love you, Dru,” he declared as he pushed his way inside.

            Dru hissed in a breath as she threw her head back.  “I love you, too. So much!” she yelled.  Then she wrapped her pale legs around him, urging him to push against her harder.  “Need you.  Need you, Sire,” she growled.

            Angel turned her head sharply to the side as he pounded into her.  “Mine!” he growled as he savagely bit into her.

            “Yours,” she cried as a bruising orgasm took her over.

            Angel felt her walls close in on him, and his own release quickly followed.  He gave them both a moment to recover and catch their nonexistent breaths.  “Gather up your things.  I’ll get Spike’s.  We have to leave here,” he told her.

            “Why?  Are we all to stay with you?” she asked.

            “It’s not safe here.  The Watcher said the Council will try and kill Buffy if they find out what’s happened.  I want to take you all somewhere safe.  Eventually out of Sunnydale, but for now we’ll go to a place I found.  It’s an old mansion.  A bit run down at the moment, but I was able to get it cheap.  I planned on fixing it up as a surprise for Buffy, but it looks like the surprise is on me,” he said as he captured her lips in a quick kiss.

            Drusilla laughed in glee.  She loved it when he was like this – playful.  He’d never been very playful around Darla.  It made Dru glad.  She liked to think that she was the only one to bring this side of him out.  She gathered up her things and directed Angel to the trunk where Miss Edith still lay.  When they had filled it to the brim, they left, abandoning the rest.  They dragged the trunk out to Spike’s car and then headed over to the apartment.

            “Are you going to be okay around Buffy?  With she and Spike being so close?” Angel asked as he opened the door for her and helped her out of the Desoto.

            Drusilla gave him a gracious smile.  “I’ll be fine.  We’ll be fine.  We’ll be like sisters.  Somehow I think this one will like me more than the last.  Not that Darla was unkind, just… less than patient,” Dru confided.

            Angel looked down at the ground as he escorted her to the front door and opened it.  “It’s probably a good thing she’s gone.  She cared for us in her own way, but it was always about the Master with her.”

            “Don’t even say that ugly git’s name!” Spike yelled as the two stepped through the door.  He smelled them all over each other.  He smiled.  He should be jealous, but considering his limp cock was still buried inside of the drop-dead, gorgeous blonde before him, he was feeling anything but.  “Everything good then?” he asked.

            Angel brought Dru against his chest.  “It’s perfect, but we need to leave.  You guys get up.  Buffy’s stuff is still packed.  I need to put my things together and then we have to head out.  There’s a new place for us all to hole up for awhile.  It should be safe,” Angel told them.

            “Safe from what?” Buffy asked sleepily.  She sure seemed to be sleeping a lot.

            “From the Council,” Angel said as he threw things into a suitcase Dru was holding open for him.

            “Oh, that’s right.  They’ll want to kill me now,” Buffy mumbled absently as she sat up.

            Spike’s demon immediately came out, growling viciously.  “What the fuck?”

            “It’s Council policy to send an assassin team after claimed Slayers,” Angel explained.

            “How the hell would they know?” Spike asked, getting up to help Buffy dress.  His angry tone was belied by the gentle way he slipped the shaking girl’s clothes on her.

            “Hopefully they won’t.  Not for awhile.  You know how these things happen, Spike.  Eventually, they’ll find out.  We have to be prepared.  Convince Buffy’s mom it’s okay if she leaves with us.  Convince Giles the Hellmouth stood here long before Buffy moved to Sunnydale without it being split wide open.  We just need to regroup somewhere safe and make plans,” Angel said, zipping up the suitcase.

            “You with us, Angelus?  You gonna stay?” Spike asked.

            “Yes, childe.  I’m with you all the way,” Angel promised.



Chapter 11:  Settling In


    It was weird and yet it wasn’t.  The entire drive over to the new place had a surreal quality that was underlined with a feeling of rightness.  Dru sat up front with her daddy.  Just as she liked.  Spike sat in the back, holding the still adjusting Slayer.  Things were not how he liked them to be ordinarily.  He hated Slayers.  Yet here he was, stroking her hair and giving her the occasional comforting growl.  Her coming over was so different than a vampire’s turning.  They did their changes while under a cover of death.  For Buffy it was a process of life.  An occasionally painful, lust driven, violent part of life.  It hit him then.  He was glad to be witnessing this.  To be a part of it.  To be the one to bring her into her full Slayerhood.

    “We’re here,” Angel said as he pulled the car into a large garage that looked more like an old barn than a place you’d keep automobiles.

    Spike looked down at Buffy.  “Time to get up, pet.  It’s movin’ day.”

    Buffy stirred in his arms and let him pull her into a sitting position.  She watched languidly as he opened the car door and reached in for her.  There was no hesitation.  She went right to him.  There was some tiny part of her that recognized that she should be horrified.  Relying on Spike went against everything she’d ever been taught as both a strong human female and as a strong Slayer.  She laughed.  She knew something the Council and her mother didn’t.  She knew what it was like to really belong to somebody.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t flowers and candy.  It was much more like a disease.

    Spike scooped the little thing up in his arms.  He couldn’t seem to stop touching her now that he’d let himself.  Now that he’d tasted her again in every way; knowingly.  “What’s so funny, kitten?” he asked as he carried her inside, leaving Drusilla and Angel to bring in the bags.

    “You.  Me.  It’s like I’m sick and you’re the only cure,” she admitted, enjoying the feeling of her hands wrapped around his neck.  She couldn’t help leaning in and giving his neck a little nuzzle.

    Spike stiffened.  “What you gonna do when you’re all better than?  Stake me?”  He was wondering how he could ever have been so stupid, to believe, if only for a little while, that she would be different than the others.

    Horror washed over Buffy, hitting something deep inside of her.  “Not even if you begged me,” she growled.

    Spike’s arms tightened as he held her against his chest.  “You mean that, luv?  You staying with us?”

    She shook her head against him.  “No.  I’m staying with you.  The others are just a consequence.  It’s all about you.  That’s what the spell told me.  I should have known.  That night in the Bronze.  I could feel something that night.  It was why I was dancing like I was. I was dancing for you.  Then outside.  Saturday.”  She giggled.  “Oh, Spike.  We’re quite a pair.”

    He laughed with her.  “Yeah.  That we are.”  He walked into the mansion and placed her down on a dusty old couch.  At least it was red.  He sat down beside her, smiling at the way she crawled into his lap.  “Knew something was up.  Knew I wanted you, but I figured it was pretty much just a lust thing.  You’re slightly cute in case no one’s ever told you.”

    She tilted her head back, looking up into his blue eyes.  “Only slightly?”

    Spike smiled, his tongue in his teeth.  He let her dangle for a minute as he looked her over.  Then he took her face in his hands.  “You’re bleedin’ gorgeous and you know it.”  He leaned down and kissed her soundly.

    “Aren’t you just the most charming things?” Drusilla cooed as she came in with her hands full of bags.  “Don’t you agree, my Angel?”

    Angel came in and looked at the blonde couple on the couch.  “I’m not sure I’d use the term ‘charming’ but they’ll do.  Now let’s pick ourselves out some rooms,” Angel commanded.

    Everyone immediately set to do as the big vamp requested.  It made him feel like he hadn’t felt in a very long time:  needed and strong.  Angel and Drusilla chose the master bedroom suite, partly because of Miss Edith.  Angel knew the doll needed room or she tended to crowd Drusilla’s mind.  They brought in their bags and shut the door, but not before Angel reminded Spike and Buffy to be careful.  They had no idea what Giles had told the Council if anything.

    Spike nodded as he watched his sire shut the door.  “Figures they’d take the big one.”  He turned and started pushing doors open with his foot.  One bedroom in particular caught his eye.  It wasn’t particularly large but it had a bathroom with an old fashioned, claw footed tub.  “What do you say, ducks?  Good enough for the likes of us?”

    “I could definitely use a bath,” Buffy replied as she surveyed the bedroom.  “And who needs a lot of space?  Not like I’m going to let you more than a few feet away from me anyway.”

    Spike laughed.  “Things really are bloody weird aren’t they, pet?”  He reached down and started to unpack their bags.  

    Buffy walked over to the window and parted the heavy curtains.  “I don’t think the sun will hit here much.  There are lots of trees.  None too close, though.  I don’t think anyone could climb one and gain access to the house or anything.  We should check that out tomorrow night, though.  Maybe do some trimming.”  She would have said more but she was suddenly swept off her feet.

    “Listen to you nesting.  It’s sexy,” Spike said as he threw her on the bed.  The rest of the clothes could be put away tomorrow.

    Buffy tugged on his arm, causing him to fall down on top of her.  “I think you find everything sexy, William.”

    “Not everything.  That gangly friend of yours.  The male.  The one Angel offered to share with me.  Didn’t find him sexy,” Spike said.  “Don’t find those weird flat shoes little old ladies where sexy either.  Or any cars accept the Vanden Plaz that were made in the 80s.”  He took a fake breath as if to go on.

    Buffy put a hand over his mouth.  “Okay.  Okay.  I get it.  Enough already.  Now pleasure me and hold me while I sleep.”

    Spike gave her a wicked grin and leaned in to take a nipple into his mouth, fabric and all, but suddenly there was nothing beneath him.  He looked sideways at her retreating figure.

    “Just let me close these curtains,” she huffed as she tugged on the dusty old drapes.  She stood back, her hand on her hips.  “Is that going to do it?”

    Spike’s heart cinched.  Fuck.  He was falling in love with this girl.  “Yeah, Buffy.  That ought to be fine.  I’ll wake up if I start to sizzle.”

    She whirled on him.  “That’s not funny.  I feel… I don’t know how to describe it.  It’s nothing I’ve ever felt before.  I just have all these feelings, worries and stuff, about you.  One moment I want to kiss you, the next I want to ask if you need anything,” she confessed.

    Spike held out his arms as he rolled onto his back.  “How about if what I really need is just a kiss?”

    Buffy bounced on the bed and into his outstretched arms.  “That would solve all my problems.”  She slipped her tongue into his parted lips, running it along his teeth.  His tongue followed suit, and soon both were caressing and nibbling on the other.

    “Amazing what just one kiss can do,” Buffy breathed into his mouth.

    Spike opened his eyes and looked into hers.  “Amazing,” he agreed.


    The next day they got up a little after noon.  Spike and Buffy spent the following hour in the tub, playing and splashing.  When Buffy expressed worry about ‘prunage’, Spike pulled out the stopper.  He let her get out of the tub first so he could watch her dry off.  Her golden skin and hair were absolutely blinding.  He was surprised that just being in the same room with her didn’t burn him.  She was sunshine.  He was darkness.  What business did he have with something so pure?

    Buffy could feel a sudden chill in the air.  She dropped the towel and turned around.  “Spike?” she asked, worriedly.  “What’s wrong?”

    “I don’t belong with you.  You don’t belong with a bunch of vamps, Buffy.  We need to fix you up and get you back home,” he said, refusing to look at her.

    Buffy used her Slayer muscles to spring into the tub, straddling it with perfect balance.  Her eyes were flashing a golden amber.  Her teeth long and sharp.  She cocked her head to the side with a low growl in her throat.  Then she struck.  She bit deep into the side of Spike’s neck, giving it a little shake as she went.  “Mine,” she stated as she released him and licked the wounds.  She pounced out of the tub, landing gracefully onto the ground and grabbed up her towel.

    Spike was frozen.  Completely speechless.  The otherness that had come over her.  It was palpable.  The way she moved.  The way she sounded.  Hell, just the way she’d reacted.  There was nothing human about it.  A spark began to glow inside his long dead heart.  He was thinking that maybe, just maybe, things would work out.  That for once he’d get the girl and be able to keep the girl.

    “If you’re done with your panic attack, we can head downstairs to talk game with Angel and Dru,” Buffy said saucily as she dropped the towel and flounced out of the bathroom.  

    “Minx!” Spike hollered after her as he finally found his voice.  He hopped out of the tub not nearly with the same level of grace she had and grabbed the discarded towel.  There was another towel but it was even dustier than this one.  Damp was more appealing than grimy.  He dried off quickly, tossing the towel over the tub, and ran into the bedroom to catch her pulling on a pair of jeans.  She reached for a top and he growled.

    “Don’t you dare!”  He stalked over to her and pulled her against him.  He bent his head down and sucked in a nipple.  “This is going to be one of my favorite outfits on you, luv.  I can tell.”

    Buffy laughed as she pushed him away.  “I can tell, too!”  She stared pointedly at his protruding member.

    “Gonna do something about that, kitten?” he asked, giving her a sly smile.

    Buffy got down on her knees.  Without breaking eye contact she licked her lips and then slid them over his rigid cock.  She sucked in as she pushed downward, loving the little sound he made in the back of his throat as she took him in.

    “Fuck.  Oh, Buffy.  Slayer.  Love.  My Buffy.  My girl.”

    Knock.  Knock.  Knock.  “Fuck off!” Spike yelled.

    “Wish I could, darling, but Angel wants us all downstairs.  He just got off the phone with the Watcher.  I’m afraid it isn’t good news.  Miss Edith has spoken as well,” Drusilla called through the still shut door.

    Spike gave a terrific sigh as he felt himself slip out of Buffy’s mouth.  He turned to find his own clothes as his mate put on hers.  “This had better be important,” he whined.

    Buffy gave him a sympathetic smile.  “I promise to try that again as soon as we get the chance, baby.”

    “You’d better,” Spike groused as he opened the bedroom door for her.


Chapter 12:  The Council


    Spike and Buffy walked downstairs, hand in hand.  It seemed to both of them that instead of backing off, the mating claim was growing.  Each desperately needed to feel the other as much as possible.  Their shoulders brushed, their hips bumped, and as soon as they came to a stop at the bottom of the stairs in front of Angel and Dru, Spike’s arm slipped around Buffy’s waist drawing her flush against his side.

    “What’s up?” Spike asked his grand-sire.

    Angel had watched them descend.  Whatever was happening between them was different than a vampire mating or claiming.  It was elemental.  Angel realized that the pained feelings of loss he had felt yesterday were completely gone today.  He accepted and respected Buffy and Spike’s relationship.  He felt a tiny hand slip into his own.  He looked down and smiled at Drusilla.  Of course, it was much easier to take when he also got the girl.  Just not the girl he had been expecting.

    “Oy!  Gramps!  I asked what’s the what?” Spike reminded him, really just wanting to go upstairs and have Buffy finish him properly.

    “I spoke with Giles and he’s coming over with Joyce, Willow, and Xander.  They all want to see that Buffy is really okay, but I could tell from the Watcher’s tone of voice that there is something more.  I don’t know.  Just…  I got a bad feeling about it,” Angel explained.

    Spike’s sexual desire faded into the background as he gripped his mate tightly.  “They aren’t taking her away from me.”

    Buffy turned so she could wrap her arms around him, scared of the same thing.

    Angel shook his head.  Spike had seriously changed his tune from Angel’s earlier visit to him in the factory.  “No, Spike.  That’s not what I’m worried about.  It’s obvious looking at the two of you that there is no separating you.  Except by death.”

    Spike and Buffy both looked at the elder vampire with yellow flashing eyes.  “Like hell!” they yelled in unison.

    Angel would have laughed if it hadn’t been so serious.  “It’s not Giles or Buffy’s friends.  It’s the Council.  It’s policy to eliminate claimed Slayers.  No questions asked,” Angel informed them as he led the tiny group over to the sitting area.  Each couple chose an overstuffed chair, leaving the couch for the coming white hats, the females curling up on their mates’ laps.

    “How would the Council know?” Buffy asked.  “Giles wouldn’t call them.”

    Angel looked down at the ground, entirely unsure about that.  But then again he knew a lot more about Watchers and their training then the young Slayer did.  “I don’t think he did, Buffy, but it is only a matter of time before they find out.  The Council is big.  Really big.  They have offices in London, Spain, Slovenia, China, India, Brazil, and Canada.  And operatives in just about every other country and prominent city.”

    “Wow,” the Slayer said.  “How come they don’t have an office in America?”

    “They tried, pet.  The Laisez Faire isn’t hands off enough.  They still have operatives like Angel said though.  Wouldn’t be surprised to find there are a few in Sunnydale, minding the Slayer and the Watcher,” Spike told her.

    “That’s creepy,” Buffy said, thinking about all of the times she’d been doing things she probably shouldn’t.  Like enjoying the fight.  Patrolling with her friends.  Arguing with her Watcher.  Making out in the cemetery with Angel.  She shivered.  Funny how that thought now disgusted her.

    A knock at the door pulled everyone from their thoughts.  Each couple stood up and braced their shoulders.  Angel walked over to the door and opened it.  “Hello.  Come in, everyone.”  He stood aside and let the group enter.  Then he shut the door and guided them to the sitting area.  “Please, sit.”  He indicated the empty couch.  The four humans sat down on the long red sofa.

    “Buffy!  You’re holding Spike’s hand.  Why is Buffy holding Spike’s hand?  I thought this was something that would pass,” Xander cried, turning an accusing eye on Giles.

    Giles was also watching the way Buffy was standing beside Spike.  He saw much more than the boy did, however.  He kept his silence as both master vampires sat down in the armchairs with each female curling into their laps.  It was nearly synchronized.  Giles got a sick feeling deep in gut.  There would be no stopping this.  No coming back from where Buffy had gone.  Which meant he had no hopes of stopping the Council from killing her.

    Xander’s mouth was open.  His eyes were dry.  He needed to blink.  Willow reached over and closed his mouth, slipping her arm into his as a sign of support.  “Let’s hear them out, Xander.”

    The boy closed his mouth, but glared accusingly at the bleached blonde vampire across from him.

    Buffy had enough of Xander real quick.  “Stop it,” she said to him.  “Stop staring at Spike like that.  He didn’t do this.  I did.  I started this whole thing.  I went after Spike, not the other way around.  This is my fault.”

    Spike liked that she was telling everyone that she’d chosen him, but he wasn’t too keen on the fault thing.  “Not anyone’s fault, kitten,” he told her softly as kissed the top of her head.  “Well, that wizard’s.”  Spike turned in eye on Giles.  “He a friend of yours?”

    “Yes, he was.  I’ll have to find Ethan and deal with him later.  We need to concentrate on other things at this point,” Giles said evenly.

    “What other things would that be, Watcher?” Spike asked.

    “I received a call from an old acquaintance.  A friend of my father’s, actually.  She said that the Council knew something had happened here in Sunnydale.  They are sending the other Slayer tonight to deal with it.”  Giles sat back and waited for the fallout.

    “What other Slayer?” Joyce surprisingly was the first to speak.  “I thought you said there could only be one!”

    “There can.  Buffy died last year, Joyce.  Briefly.  Xander brought her back to life.  At the time another Slayer was called.  The Council didn’t say anything to me about it, but they knew of course.  I had reported the drowning in my weekly update to them.  They felt no need to interfere and were, in fact, delighted to have two Slayers on their hands,” Giles explained.

    “Are there any records of Slayers being brought back to life, Giles?” Angel asked, a thought coming to him.

    “No.  Buffy is the first,” the Watcher admitted.

    “Buffy,” Angel said, turning to her.  “Did you feel any different after the Master bit you?”

    Buffy felt Spike’s hold on her tighten.  He didn’t like talking about anyone but him biting her.  She ran a soothing hand over his cheek.  “Yes.  I felt different.  Stronger.  More focused on slaying than I had before.”

    “What do you mean by ‘more focused’?” Giles asked.  He certainly hadn’t seen any evidence of her being more focused.

    Buffy buried herself into Spike’s neck.  “It was like I needed to kill things.  I’d go out patrolling even if I didn’t have to.  I’d do it late.  Sneak out of my bedroom window.  In Los Angeles it was the worst.  I didn’t have all of you to ground me.  My dad was practically non existent, always at work.  So I would tell him that I was meeting up with friends at night, but I was really out walking the streets.  Killing things.”  Buffy’s voice was barely above a whisper.  She was ashamed of her behavior.

    “I think it’s safe to say that Buffy’s Slayer side was awakened with her death.  Then Ethan’s spell combined with mating herself to a master vampire… Well, she’s in a process of awakening.  The Council won’t have it, Buffy,” Giles said.  He took a deep breath and swallowed.  “What I am about to say doesn’t leave this room.  The Council will kill every one of us if they think I told you.  Slayers usually die young so it isn’t an issue, but eventually as they get older the Slayer, the demon that makes the Slayer, gets stronger and stronger.  If she is not killed by her duties than the Council steps in as soon as the Watcher sees signs that the demon is emerging.”  Giles clasped his hands tightly.

    “That’s so wrong,” Joyce said quietly, looking at her baby.  “Spike.  It is Spike, right?”

    “Yes, Ma’am.”

    “I want you to take my little girl away from here.  I didn’t bring any of her things.  I was afraid someone would be watching, but I took the emergency cash I keep hidden in the basement.  It’s a little over five thousand dollars. It should get you guys started somewhere.  Just take her and go.  Keep her safe.  You seem to care for her.”  Joyce’s voice broke on a sob.

    “Oh, mommy,” Buffy cried, slipping off her mates lap and going towards her mother.  The presence of others stopped her, however.  Her body was loathe to approach them.  “Uh, mom?  I really need to hug you.  Do you think you could step away from the humans?”

    Every eye in the room centered on Buffy.  “Did I just say humans?”  Buffy backed away, suddenly not trusting herself near them.

    Joyce wasn’t about to let her distance herself, however.  She stood up and purposefully made her way to her daughter.  She pulled the trembling girl into her arms.  “It’s okay, baby.  It’s all going to be okay.  You were chosen for a reason.  This is your destiny.  Not to die young, fighting some demon in a graveyard.  Not to be butchered by these Council bureaucrats.  Not my girl.”  Joyce ran a hand lovingly over her daughter’s face.  “I always knew you were something special.  You’ve never been like the other kids your age.  Even at Hemery where you tried so hard to be one of the gang.  I’d catch you in your room, just staring at the walls.  It used to break my heart how out of place you were deep inside.  Looking at you with Spike, for the first time, you seem to be where you belong.  To be who you really are.  Other than fat grand babies there isn’t much more a mother could wish for.  Go.  Be happy.  And when you can, when things settle, come get your old mother.”

    Spike stood up and walked over to the sobbing women.  He wrapped them both in his arms, causing Giles to nearly fall of the couch.  “It’s a promise, Joyce.  I’ll take care of your girl.  I’d die for her.  She’s a part of me.  When we can, we’ll come for you.”

    Joyce only nodded.

    Willow and Xander looked on.  Everything they’d ever known about vampires was suddenly thrown into question.  Their black and white world was now muted with grays.


Chapter 13:  The Scent of a Woman


    “But I don’t like this car.  I like my car.”  Spike continued to whine as they sped down the road.  He’d been steadily complaining ever since Angel had forced him to trade in the Desoto.  They’d used some of the cash Buffy’s mother had given them with they reached Los Angeles and had gotten a nice large black Buick.  It was the kind of car you could stretch out in.  The kind of car you could travel in for indefinite periods of time.  They’d learned from Giles’ source that the Council had no idea about Spike and Drusilla.  All they knew was that Buffy’s powers had shifted.  If anything, Giles figured that the Council assumed Angel had claimed her.  This worked in their favor as Council operatives would be on the lookout for a tall dark haired man and a petite blonde.

    “Spike, there are going to be a lot of things we all don’t like.  Deal with it,” Angel said in exasperation.

    “Like what exactly?” Spike asked.  What could be worse than losing his precious Desoto?  He felt a tiny hand slip into his, showing her undying support.  Oh, yeah.  That would be worse.

    Angel took a deep breath, knowing that neither of the occupants in the back seat was going to like the next change.  “Like losing the Billy Idol and the prom queen looks.  Both of you are going to have to go back to your natural hair color I’m afraid.”  He waited for the explosion.  It never came.  He looked into the review mirror, expecting to be able to look at Buffy and gage her reaction.  There was no Buffy.  He adjusted the mirror.  Still no Buffy.  He swerved sharply to the right, catching the shoulder with the right rear tire.  The car began to fishtail, but Angel quickly got it back on track.

    “Eyes on the road, gramps!” Spike yelled.

    “Yeah, okay.”  Angel just kept driving, wondering to himself exactly what kind of demon gave the girl in the back her powers.  He’d heard vamps talk over the years about natural vampires and natural Slayers.  That the demon they originated from was one in the same, that that was why Slayers were called Vampire Slayers even though they killed all demons and not just vampires.  

    “Are you alright, my darling?” Drusilla asked from beside him.

    “Fine.  Just tired.  We’ll be in Taos soon.  We can get a hotel room there.  See about getting my old accounts open.  There is a bank there that I used once,” Angel explained.

    “Mr. I’ve Got Soul actually deposited some dirty money?” Spike snarked from the back seat.

    Angel growled.  “That’s why I deposited it instead of used it, Spike.”

    “Now, wait a tick.  That don’t make sense.  If you weren’t ever going to use it why not donate it to charity?” Spike asked.  

    Buffy wondered that, too.  Angel was really strange sometimes.  She was looking forward to getting to the hotel.  She needed to sleep in a bed.  Not that lying against Spike wasn’t perfectly comfortable, because it was.  There were other things that could be done in a real bed, though.  Naughty things.  Spike things.

    All four vampires froze as the heady scent of arousal filled the car.  They’d smelled Buffy a time or two over the last couple of days, but this was different.  This was a deeper, muskier smell.  It promised dark and wonderful things.  Drusilla gave a small mewling sound in the back of her throat.  Angel gripped the wheel tightly.  Spike had no qualms about investigating this new smell, however.

    He pushed Buffy into a sitting position against the side of the car.  Then he spread her legs.  He leaned his head down giving her most sensitive area a nuzzle that resulted in his game face being practically pulled out of him.  He nuzzled her some more, starting to growl now.  Buffy could tell he was getting frustrated but she couldn’t understand why he didn’t just pull her pants down and take what he wanted.  She looked at the front seat.  Was he being shy because of them?  No way.

    “What’s wrong with him?” she asked.

    Both vampires in the front seat were now sporting full bumpies.  “I think he’s lost control, dearie.  Try giving him what he wants,” Drusilla suggested, biting her lip and sucking on the blood in an effort to control her own reaction.  She saw her sire equally battling to rein in his demon and she gave him her wrist to suck on.

    With great difficulty Buffy wiggled out of her pants and underwear.  She had to hold Spike off the entire time with her left arm, using her right to remove her clothes.  When she was free, she let him go.  

    He was on her in an instant.  This was what he’d wanted and he didn’t understand why she’d denied him.  He sucked furiously on her swollen lips, licking away all of the sweet juices that coated them.  

    Buffy was caught between pain and pleasure.  She realized that what he was doing had nothing to do with her own release.  It was like he couldn’t help himself.  He was quite literally feasting.  She felt him sink his fangs and retract them.  She thought he must be mingling her blood with her ‘other’ stuff.  The entire time his growling never stopped.  Eventually she shuddered to a climax, digging her nails into the top of his scalp.  As weird as the whole experience was, what came next was even more bizarre.  He leaned up and offered a wrist to each vampire in the front seat.

    Angel wasted no time in letting Dru’s wrist go as he bit into Spike a second after Drusilla had.  Both vampires moaned in pleasure.  Angel turned the car of the highway and onto a side road.  

    Buffy got worried as the two vampires continued to drink from her mate.  When she sensed Spike getting woozy she gave a deep warning growl.  Surprisingly all three vampires stopped what they were doing and turned to look at her.  Waiting.

    “Uh, if the frightfest is over maybe we could get back on the road?” she hesitantly suggested.  They looked a little drugged.  It was making her nervous.   

    Angel shook himself like a dog, losing the vamp face.  “Yeah, that would be a good idea.”  He pulled back on the highway and pushed down on the accelerator, his raging hard on driving him to go as quickly as possible.  In the state he was in he didn’t really mind Spike or Drusilla snacking on a highway patrol officer.  

    Spike crouched with his knees drawn up to his chest.  He could hear Buffy putting her underwear and pants back on.  He’d never completely lost control like that before.  He stole a glance at his mate to see how she was reacting.  She was so very young.  This must be even more puzzling to her than it was to him.

    “Spike?” Buffy whispered.

    “Yeah, pet?”

    “What just happened?”  She wanted to go to him, but he wasn’t in the most receptive of poses.

    “I have no idea.  It’s like you released a pheromone of some sort.  I couldn’t think past anything but ‘want’.  I’m sorry, Buffy.  I didn’t mean to scare you,” he told her, forcing himself to relax and open up to her.  He didn’t like losing control. It reminded him of other days.  William days.  He never wanted to be that helpless again.

     Buffy felt her bottom lip tremble, followed by her chin.  “It’s me who should be sorry.  I’m the freak.  And I smell?”  The last word turned into a wail.

    Spike pulled her to him.  “Hush, hush.  You don’t smell. I mean you do smell.  You smell like Buffy and like Slayer.”  Her wails increased and he rushed to explain himself.  “Those are good smells, baby.  The best smells in the world, except maybe for that smell you just released in the car.  That was crazy good.”

    “But it made you upset,” she sniffed, pushing away just enough to look into his eyes.

    “I wasn’t upset because of you, though. I was upset because of me.  I need to be in control.  It’s important.  I’m a master vampire with responsibilities.  Namely you,” he told her as he tweaked her cute little nose.

    “You don’t mind being responsible for me?” she asked in a small voice.

    Spike’s face split into a grin.  “Hell no.  Didn’t care too much for it at first, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.  You belong to me.  You’re mine.  You and that sweet Slayer musk.”  He leaned down to capture her lips in a kiss, immediately the smell started to come back.

    “Spike!” Angel yelled.  “Stop whatever you are doing.  Stop it right now.  In fact, Buffy you have to stay on one side of the car and Spike you have to stay on the other.  I think the scent of Buffy’s arousal is changing.”

    Spike and Buffy swiftly broke apart.  Each to their separate corners.

    “But it wasn’t like that earlier.  I was really aroused earlier when Spike had his hand…” Buffy broke off.  “Never mind.  You know what I mean.”

    “I do know,” Angel admitted; he’d done the same thing for Dru at the same time.  “Whatever is happening to you is increasing.  You’re changing.  I think we’ll just have to adjust to the new Buffy senses together as a family.  It’ll be okay, but we need to get ourselves someplace safe where we can concentrate on adapting a bit more.”

    “Daddy,” Dru said softly.  “Please tell me that this hotel you are taking us to is what you mean by safe.  I don’t think I can wait much longer.”

    Angel looked at his darling girl.  Her eyes were overly bright and her hands were shaking ever so slightly.  The blood that Spike had shared was laced with Slayer.  “Yeah, baby.  That’s safe enough for now.”


Chapter 14:  Pushing Through


    The four creatures got out of the car, bags in hand, and rushed inside of the hacienda style hotel.  Angel hadn’t made reservations because he was trying to leave as little of a trail for the Council to follow as possible.  He’d stayed here before, however, and new that they catered to the occasional demon.  

    “Yes, I’d like two adjoining rooms please.  Something with as little sunlight as possible.  We like to sleep during the day,” Angel said, trying to let the middle-aged woman at the desk know they were vampires.

    The woman looked up and over his shoulder.  “She looks a little young,” the woman said, indicating Buffy who was molded against Spike.  “Perhaps you would like to find another place to stay?  There are plenty of hotels that…”

    Buffy growled.  The woman’s eyes got big.  “Oh.”  She immediately looked down at her computer screen and started typing.  When she looked back up she had a spray bottle in one hand and the other hand was being held out, palm up.  “That’ll be $175 dollars cash only.”

    Angel just rolled his eyes as he pulled his wallet out.  He counted out $200 dollars to the woman whose name tag read ‘Nance’.  “I take it everything is fine, now?” he asked.

    “No worries.”  Then Nance added under her breath, knowing the vampires would be able to hear her.  “We had some Feds here last week.  One of our ‘regular’ guests had kept an underage girl in his room.  He met her on the Internet.  Ugly business.  We’ve been a little tight ever since.”

    Angel pulled out another $100 and slipped it to the woman.  “We’d appreciate it if you could let us know if anymore unusual ‘regulars’ come around.”

    Nance gave him the first smile.  “Will do, sir.”  She handed them four sets of card keys.  She didn’t ask his name or for a credit card number.  Even those demons who had hard ID didn’t like giving it out.  She was very familiar with the drill.

    As the four weary travelers walked away they could hear Nance typing at the computer, letting the big boss know they had vamps coming in.  They reached the elevator marked with a demon symbol and Angel pushed the call button.  He leaned his head against the wall as he waited.  He needed two things.  Sex and sleep.  His stomach growled.  Okay, and maybe some blood.

    The elevator arrived and the doors opened.  That’s when Spike made a mistake.  It shouldn’t have been a mistake.  It really shouldn’t have been anything at all.  A mere accidental brush of skin as he picked up Buffy’s suitcase for her.  Unfortunately, Buffy had bent down at the same time and the brush of skin was Spike’s hand right over her neck.  Right over the set of scars she wore that marked her as his.  The response was instantaneous.

    Buffy immediately shifted.  Everything about her seemed to change.  She didn’t have bumpies like vampires, but her ears changed.  They got pointy and turned out a bit like a Lynx.  Her teeth came to sharp points.  Her eyes glowed a yellow/green.  All that wouldn’t have been so bad.  All that could have been solved by Angel’s push of them into the elevator and the rapidly closing doors.  But the smell.  There was nothing they could do about the scent of her arousal or their reaction to it.

    The doors closed and they were on each other.  Each mate tearing into the other.  Clothes weren’t removed so much as split open at necessary points by sharp claws.

    Spike had his dick out and was shoving it in Buffy’s waiting pussy in under two seconds.  She screamed at the welcome invasion, throwing her head back and embedding her razor sharp nails into the walls of the elevator as she wrapped her legs around her mate’s waist.  Spike growled in response, sinking his fangs into the side of her throat as he pounded into her.

    Angel couldn’t even remember his own name.  All he knew was the woman riding him and the overpowering scent of pure sex.  His.  She was his.  He bit into the side of her neck with a claiming growl and felt her do the same.  That’s it.  That was right.  Mate.  Sex.  Mine.  Childer.

    Spike felt the call of his elder and he moved towards it without losing the grip on his mate.  When he could feel his grand-sire at his back he stopped.

    Buffy had to let loose from the walls when her mate began to move.  It gave her the opportunity to find the soft place on his neck.  The little puckered area that said he was hers.  She moved in, viper fast, and struck.  She heard her mate’s answering growl as it reverberated against her neck.

    As Angel and Spike leaned back against one another, Buffy and Dru used their arms to make contact, to draw the group as close as possible.  Once they had formed a tight little knot  a collective orgasm came crashing down on them, causing all four to tilt their heads back, fangs glistening with blood and saliva, and give out a primal roar.  That’s when the elevator doors opened.

    “Why, I never!” a prim sounding voice filled the elevator cab.

    Four sets of yellow eyes turned to the open doors.  Three fleshy, pink and orange demons stood looking at them.  One much smaller than the others.

    “Daddy, why are they all connected?  Is it a four headed demon?” a sweet little voice asked.

    “Yeah, Nolly.  It’s a four headed demon, and don’t listen to your mother.  She’s met one before.  Back when she used to enjoy…” the man was silenced by the woman’s purse hitting his face.

    The elevator doors started to close again.  Angel reached out a hand to keep them open.

    “We’ll take the next elevator, thank you very much!” the woman huffed, her purse still mashed in her husband’s face.

    Angel removed his hand and let the doors closed.  The next floor was their stop.  They didn’t say a word as they got out of the elevator and headed down the hall.  They used the card keys to open the doors.  

    Once Spike and Buffy had deposited their bags on the floor of their room they opened the connecting door and walked in to Angel and Dru’s room.  They joined the other couple on the large king sized bed.

    Buffy was the first to giggle.  Then Drusilla.  Soon all four of them were laughing uncontrollably.  The weight of the last few days bearing down on them and causing a kind of hysteria.  Eventually their laughter died down and they lay there in exhaustion.

    “Well that was different,” Spike said with no one surprised he was the first to speak.

    Buffy huffed.  “Oh please!  As if the three of you haven’t had sex in public before.  Probably even in an elevator.”

    “It wasn’t the public sex, luv.  It was the demon side taking over and rutting without care,” Spike explained.

    “Sorry,” Buffy said, once again ashamed that she was the cause of their lack of control.

    “Don’t be sorry, kitten.  One of the most memorable shags of my existence,” Spike promised, pulling her in for a kiss.

    “Gotta agree with you there, Spikey,” Angel said, threading his hands through Dru’s.

    “Four headed demon,” Dru said softly and then promptly burst into giggles again.

    “Oy!  Speaking of demons, Buffy did you know you went all demony in there?” Spike asked.

    “Demony as in bitey and stuff?” Buffy asked in confusion.

    “No, dearie,” Dru said.  “You had lovely pointy ears and gorgeous glowing eyes.”

    “I did?  I wanna see,” Buffy jumped up with the energy of extreme youth and ran into the bathroom.

    A loud scream rent the air.  

    Spike moved in a blur to reach his mate’s side.  “Bloody, buggering hell!” he yelled.

    Angel winced.  “I forgot to tell her she doesn’t have a reflection anymore.”

    Dru started laughing all over again.


Chapter 15:  Deeper


    “Giles would be loving this,” Buffy muttered tearfully into Spike’s chest.

    “How’s that, luv?” Spike asked.  It was lucky for him that he had a lot of experience with distraught females.  The main issues Buffy seemed to be having over the no reflection thing were all vanity based.  That he could deal with.  He was a bit vain himself.

    “It would give him something to research.  He always said vampire’s didn’t have reflections because they were unnatural,” Buffy explained.  Then panicked.  “Oh, no!  That means I’m unnatural!”

    Spike growled.  “The hell it does.  Stupid Watchers.  Don’t know a fifth of what they think they do.  Vamps don’t have reflections  because it is part of our superior hunting skills package.  Can come right up behind a bloke starin’ into a store window and he’ll never be the wiser.”

    Buffy tilted her head up.  “Oh, yeah?  They have a lot of windows hundreds or thousands of years ago?  Or were villagers wandering around all of the time staring into whatever reflective thingies they could find like pails of water.  Answer me that Mr. All Knowing!”

    Spike had to admit defeat.  “Okay, you got me there.  We’ll ask Angel.  He’s an old fart.

    Buffy giggled.  “Old fart.  What would be an old fart anyway?  Not like it would have any smell or anything.”

    Spike pulled her up for a deep kiss.  When he let her go, Buffy looked at him with a wobbly smile.  “Wow, but what was that for?”

    “For just being you.  Not like other Slayers, Buffy.  You’re something else.  That little brain of yours just keeps flipping through things.  It’s cute as hell,” Spike admitted giving her a bright smile.

    Buffy felt her knees go week.  It was a good thing he still had his arms wrapped around her.  “Gosh, you’re handsome.  I never really noticed before.”

    “Too busy fighting for your life I suppose,” Spike teased.

    “Yeah, something like that,” Buffy admitted.

    “Can we go out of the bathroom now, or do we need to stay in here a little while longer not staring at ourselves?” Spike asked.

    “We can go out, but I’m holding you to your promise.  You have to be my reflection now,” Buffy reminded him.

    Spike had promised to make sure she always looked as right as rain.  To which Buffy had gone off on a mind walk involving how rain was right.  Spike was certain he was falling madly in love with the little minx.

    “I’d love to be your reflection, Buffy.  Do you think you can do the same for me?” he asked, putting a lot more into the question than the face value of the words.

    Buffy ran a hand over his face.  “Oh, yeah.”

    Spike gave her another melting kiss before leading her out the bathroom door.

    Angel and Dru had fallen asleep.  Spike and Buffy walked past the couple and into their own room, shutting the door as quietly as possible.

    “What say we give the sex thing another try?  With less loss of control?” Spike asked her as he began to take her cloths off.

    Buffy felt almost shy.  She’d had sex with him a number of times.  But each and every one of them had been out of some need, either primal or healing.  This would be different.  This would be purposeful sex.  Purposeful sex with Spike.  She was the mate of William the Bloody.  How weird was that?  It should spook her, but really it just made her feel very good.  She felt like she could offer him all of her and he’d take it.

    Spike waited as the wheels in her head turned.  Could she logically give herself to a soulless demon?  Was he good enough for her?  When you stripped away all of the need, would she still want to be with him?

    Buffy reached out her hand and slipped it into his.  “I don’t know what I’m doing.”  She laughed.  “I seldom do.  I kind of just follow my instincts on things.  I’m not exactly rule girl.  But hey, I’m still alive.”  She frowned.  “Well, except for that whole part where the Master killed me, but so not my fault.  I mean it was in the Codex.  Not like I could escape it.  You know?”

    Spike smiled as he tugged her to him.  “Is this your way of telling me, yes?”

    Buffy nodded.

    Spike gave a loud ‘whoop’ as he scooped her up in his arms and gave her a twirl.  “We’re gonna be so good together, baby,” he promised.

    “I think we can be, but Spike, I’m not really down with the killing of the innocent’s thing,” Buffy warned as she twined her arms around his neck and wrapped her legs around his waist.

    Spike gave her an intense look.  “I know, kitten.  Already figured I’d be changing my ways.  I can only go so far, though.  I am a demon, and I’m not ashamed of that.  I won’t go around randomly killing people.  I’ll try to bag it when I can, but I will probably screw up a time or two.  I need you to…”  He almost said ‘love me anyway’ but stopped himself.  “I need you to accept me as I am.  Mistakes and all.”

    “I can do that if you can,” she told him.  “Now, make love to me, William.”

    Spike stumbled a bit at hr choice of words.  He steadied himself and then lowered her gently to the bed.  He pulled the rest of her clothes off in between kisses, hardly noticing that she was doing the same to him.  When they were naked, skin to skin, he used his knees to pry her legs apart.  He hovered at the outside of her entrance and leaned his forehead against hers.  Then he tilted his head ever so slightly to claim her lips again as he pushed his way inside of her velvety softness.  He groaned.  “So good.  Buffy.  My Buffy,” he moaned.

    “Yes.  Yes, Spike.  Yours.  Always yours,” Buffy cried as she ran her hands over his back.  She brought them up to cup his head and deepen the kiss.

    As their momentum increased they both slipped into game face.  There was no biting though.  They’d gained something.  A small measure of control.  And if the quiet coming from the other room was any indication, so had Drusilla and Angelus.  Buffy was still producing the intoxicating scent but it was no longer triggering their more primal selves.

    Buffy pushed Spike slightly away as she felt herself drawing close.  She wanted to look in his eyes as she came.  “Keep your eyes open for me, baby,” she begged.

    Spike opened his blue eyes and was shocked to realize that she was crying.  He stilled.

    Buffy growled.  “Keep going.  I just want to watch you and I want you to watch me.  I want you to know.”

    Spike’s hips resumed their deep, slow strokes.  He gazed intently into her eyes as her walls began to convulse around his shaft, causing his balls to tighten as his own release came.  He never broke eye contact with her.  He didn’t even blink.  He watched as the tears streamed down her face.  He watched as pleasure burst over her.  And he watched as the love she held shown out of her green eyes.

    “Buffy?” he asked softly as he rolled them both over so she was resting on top of him.

    “I’m not sad.  I’m just a little overwhelmed.  I realized that… that I love you, Spike.  I really, really love you,” she sobbed.

    “Oh, kitten.  My beautiful girl.”  Spike could feel his own eyes fill.  “Love you, too.”

    “Good.  I’d hate to think I was in this alone,” she admitted.  She lay there with her head resting on his chest, her right hand drawing little circles on his alabaster skin.  “Spike, do you think it’s wrong that we loved Drusilla and Angel and then suddenly we love each other.  Is there something wrong with us?”

    Spike chuckled.  “No, baby.  Doesn’t work like that.  Love isn’t a limiting thing.  Love is boundless.  We honestly loved Drusilla and Angel.  And we honestly love each other.  It’s just different.  More.  Our love for them doesn’t go away, either.  It stays.  It changes, but it stays.”

    Buffy tilted her head up to look at him.  “Is this the kind of stuff you understand when you have like a hundred years to watch and learn?”


    “I’m kind of intimidated by some things,” Buffy confessed as she gave his nipple a little lick.

    Spike sucked in a hiss of breath.  “Not gonna sleep if you keep that up,” he warned her.  “Now, what’s got you intimidated?”

    “Well.  You.  You know so much.  I feel like I’m just a kid.  And Dru intimidates me.  ‘Cause she knows you so well.  She’ll always know you better than me.”

    Spike gave a bitter laugh.  “Knowing someone and loving them properly aren’t the same things.”

    Buffy gave him a strange look, not knowing that her eyes were flashing.  “What?”

    “Calm down.  You’re a protective bint, aren’t you?” Spike asked, absolutely loving the way she responded to him.  “Not really Dru’s fault.  She was in love with Angelus.  Always.  I was just a diversion.  One that stayed.  She’s loved me in her own way, but not like I loved her.  Not like I wanted or needed to be loved,” he explained.

    Buffy growled.  “Well that’s over.  You’re mine.  I will love you right.  I will love you always,” Buffy promised, the tears coming back.

    Spike pulled her up so they were nose to nose.  “Same here, baby.  I’ll love you always.  I think I finally found it.”

    “Found what?” she whispered.


Chapter 16:  Money


    Angel and Drusilla were staring at the bank manager.  “I don’t understand.  Is there a problem with the account?”  They’d traveled through underground tunnels conveniently located underneath the hotel straight to the underground parking garage of the bank.

    The bank manager cleared his throat.  “The problem, Mr. Angel, is that according to your year of birth you are seventy-three years old.”  

    They were seated in the privacy of the bank manager’s office.  Angel and Drusilla had their backs to the large windows that looked out at the main lobby.  They’d been ushered in here by the bank teller who had looked decidedly pale at the suggestion that Mr. Angel empty out his considerable account.

    Angel gave a very Angelus like laugh.  “Oh, that would be a lie.  I’m a whole hell of a lot older than that,” he said with a bit of Irish brogue before vamping on the unsuspecting man.

    Oliver Whelmsley had only been branch manager for three months.  He thought of himself as a level headed guy. He’d fantasized a time or two about what would happen if he were ever faced with a robbery.  The heroics he would act out.  He exercised.  Ate right.  Had been captain of the Polo team at university.  Vice president of his fraternity.  He hunted on weekends.  All in all he thought of himself as a man of strength.  A man’s man.  So the high pitched shriek he gave came as somewhat of a surprise.  To him at least.

    “Oh, calm down, man.  Not gonna hurt you.  Just want what’s mine.  ‘S not like you’re getting robbed here,” Angel said in annoyance.

    The creature’s words penetrated Oliver’s panicked brain.  Robbed.  He searched for the button.  The one he should know about.  The one that hadn’t moved for over twenty years.  The one he had practiced hitting for the last three months.  He suddenly had no idea where it was located.

    Angel watched the man, his annoyance turning into amusement.  “Now, you don’t want to go and do that Mr. Whelmsley.  Think how the bank customers would feel about this?  Bad for business.  Would scare everyone away.  The withdrawals and closed accounts would be terrible.  Just give me My money, and we’ll be on our way.”

    Oliver Whelmsley’s hands stilled and he nodded.  “Certainly,” he swallowed.  He picked up the phone.  “Clara?  Please call security.  We will be taking a trip into the vault.”  He hung the phone up.  “Money of this amount has to be taken out of the vault.  There are certain procedures that have to be followed.  Protocol.”

    Angel’s human face returned.  “I don’t have any problems with protocol, Mr. Whelmsley.  But I do need to let you know that this money is for my family.  The little woman and I have children.  It’s protocol in our family to right any wrongs done to our own.  Do you understand?”

    The manger nodded.  He understood perfectly.  A half an hour later, Angel and Drusilla were poking their head through the tunnel entrance to the mall.  They had some shopping to do.

    “I haven’t shopped with money in a very long time, Daddy,” Dru admitted.  Usually she and Spike just killed people that were wearing things they liked.  Occasionally they would bother to massacre the occupants of a shop, but more often than not they preferred to avoid such attention.

    Angel laughed.  “It’s time for good behavior, Drusilla.  Remember, my sweet?”

    “I remember.  I’m going to be a good girl.  Now where do we start?” she asked looking around at all of the colors.

    “We all need some more clothes, and Spike and Buffy need a change of hair color,” Angel told her.

    “Are we playing dress up then?” she asked.

    Angel smiled.  “Oh yeah, and I know just the place.”  He tugged her arm and followed a sign in the distance.

    Drusilla looked up at the outside of the shop.  “Like in London?  With the trains?”

    “Not quite, Dru.  This is a place humans go when they want to look like everybody else,” Angel explained.

    “Why would they want to do that?” asked Drusilla, confused.

    “It’s just easier that way.  They don’t have to think about things such as who they are.”  Angel walked over to the khaki pant section.  This was actually going to be kind of fun.  He picked out two pairs of khaki pants for both himself and spike, adding a pair of dark brown and grey corduroys for each of them, and three pairs of blue jeans.  He also got them several white t-shirts and button-up shirts in a variety of stripes and solids.

    Dru was having a divine time herself.  It was like having dolls.  She picked out several pairs of jeans, white dress shirts, blouses, and skirts.  She returned to Angel with her arms free.  She had two shop boys trailing after her, their arms laden.  “Need help, Daddy?”

    Angel smiled.  “Yes, darling, I do.”  He handed over his selections to the two waiting youths and then followed them to the check out counter.  After he made the payment he handed a card from the hotel to the girl and a hundred dollar bill.  “I need to have these delivered.  Is that a problem?”

    The girl smiled.  Hell.  She had a car and a lunch break.  She took the money.  “No problem at all.”

    “Good.  The room number is on the card.”  He gave her a sexy grin and then led Dru out of the store.

    “Where now?” Drusilla asked, really getting into the groove of things.

    “Now we need shoes, underwear, cosmetics, jewelry.  Definitely jewelry,” Angel said with a mischievous lilt.

    Several hours later they returned to the hotel.  They could tell from the grousing inside the rooms that their purchases had arrived ahead of them.  The jewelry, however, was in Angel’s pocket.  He gave Dru a grin as he used the card key to open their door.  “This is going to be so much fun!” he hissed in her ear.

    Dru laughed as they walked in.

    “Glad you think it’s so soddin’ funny!” Spike yelled holding up a pair of brown loafers.

    For her part, Buffy didn’t mind so much.  Although she would have dearly loved to do the shopping herself.  Still, as a sign of solidarity she wrapped her arms around her mate and gave Angel and Drusilla the evil eye.

    “We’re going normal, William,” Angel explained.

    “Normal?  Lots of normal people out there,” he pointed to the closed window, “who don’t shop at The Gap.  The Gap!  It’s like you’re after my manly bits!” Spike cried, grabbing the items in question.

    Buffy growled.  “Those are mine!”

    Drusilla and Angel laughed.  “Calm down.  It’s not forever.  It’s only for a year or two.  Until we find a way to shake the Council.  I figure they’ll have their ear to the demon underground.  They’ll be looking under every otherworldly rock they can to find us.  But they won’t be looking in Middle America.  They won’t expect for us to try and pass as humans.”

    Spike heaved a great sigh of defeat.  “Fuck.  You’re right.”  He held out his hand.

    Angel looked at him funny.

    “The dye.  I assume you got dye,” Spike said evenly.

    Drusilla reached into a bag that read Walgreens and pulled out two boxes of hair dye.  Both were a dark brown.

    Spike and Buffy each looked at the color match and then looked up at Angel and Drusilla.  “So we’re going for some freaky incest thing?” Buffy was the first to speak.

    “Actually I’m getting paper work that has the two of you married and Dru and I married.  Since Spike and Drusilla both have blue eyes and similar builds the paper trail has them as brother and sister.  Buffy and I are just the spouses,” Angel explained, tossing Spike a ring box with a set of wedding bands and a nifty, fat diamond engagement ring.

    “Got anything else for us?  Like a nine to five to go along with this?” Spike asked, the cranky clear in his voice, not that he minded slipping a ring on Buffy’s finger.  He rather liked that.

    Buffy rubbed his arms and gave him a nuzzle with her nose.  Golly, he smelled good.

    “A web based business run out of our home.  That’s why we all live together.  That and to save money.  Drusilla and I will have been married for three years, but you and Buffy will be honeymooners.  Buffy I ordered you ID that says you’re nineteen.  I didn’t think you could possibly pass for any older than that.  Sorry,” Angel told her.

    “That’s fine.  I don’t drink or anything anyway,” she glanced at Spike.  “Well, except for him. I drink him,” she teased.

    That got a smile out of Spike.  “Fine.  I’ll play.  Come on, little woman,” he said to Buffy.  “Let’s go color our hair and enter the mainstream.”

    “Whatever you say, hubby.”


Chapter 17:  Howdy Neighbor


    Luckily, Spike had time to get used to the new him.  They drove into Texas after leaving New Mexico and bought themselves a legitimate car with their new identification.  The car was registered under Angel’s now legal name:  Richard Kiernen McFaye.  It was a black SUV with extremely dark tinted windows.  He even had a handy dandy doctor’s report as to why the windows needed to be tinted.  Both his wife and his brother-in-law suffered from severe sun allergies.

    Spike, or Jacob Andrew Simmons, was currently riding in the dark car with his cradle catch:  nineteen year old Allison Rae Simmons.  They were inside the state line of Indiana – their new home.  Jacob’s sister, Ruth Simmons McFaye, was accompanying her husband in the giant assed moving van that held all of their not so old furniture and other belongings.

    “This ain’t ever going to work,” Spike groused, thinking they couldn’t possibly pass for normal.

    Buffy had been listening to this rant for several states.  She rubbed the diamond ring on her finger absently as she glanced at her husband.  Secretly she adored the dark brown curls he now sported.  The clothes she could do without.  Khakis were just wrong on a warrior like Spike.  She couldn’t think of him as Jacob or Jake just yet.  He was Spike to her. Sometimes William during their softer moments.  She shifted in her seat and rubbed her legs together.

    Spike scented the air.  Ah… Buffy arousal.  There was nothing else like it.  Literally.  The three vamps had adjusted to the smell so they had a measure of control but there had been a sticky situation here and there when Buffy had gotten turned on in public.  There was a lot more vamp dust in the middle of the country then there used to be.  “Can you check the map, luv?” Spike asked.

    Buffy looked down at the hand drawn map that Angel had given them.  “The next turn is in just half a mile.  That should be Scrivener.  You’ll need to make a left.  Then home sweet home.”

    Angel had been willed a house in a historic neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He refused to say why the little old lady who had been born, lived, and died in the house left it to Angel of all creatures.  Over the last twenty years it had been used as rental property.  The only legitimate income the master vampire could lay claim to.  The former tenants had vacated several months ago and Angel hadn’t been able to rent it out again until he saw to some minor repairs.

    Spike made the turn and whistled.  “This is nice.  I like these old style houses with their oversized front porches.”

    “Me too.  They kind of remind me of my mom’s house in Sunnydale.  Only bigger.”  She pointed.  “There!  That’s the one.  It could really use some paint.”

    Spike agreed.  He pulled the big automobile onto the long drive, taking it all the way to the back where the detached garage was located.  The house looked like it had once been white but was now faded to a strange bluish/white color.  The dark green trim was flaking off in huge chunks leaving grey weathered wood to show through.  The grounds seemed to be in an equal state of disrepair.  He looked at Buffy.  “Well, at least we’ll have stuff to do.”

    Buffy rolled her eyes.  “You mean I’ll have stuff to do.  How weird would it look if you guys were out working on the house after the sun went down?”

    Spike opened up the rear of the car and pulled out the bags.  “Yeah.  As if the outside of the house is any worse than the inside.”

    “Good point,” Buffy admitted as she picked up her share of bags.  They turned around just in time to see Drusilla and Angel pulling up in the moving van.  They’d timed it so they could arrive a few minutes after sunset.  That way they could unload the van in the dark without the neighbors getting suspicious.  A ‘just couldn’t wait’ sort of thing.

    Angel hoped out of the van and went around to the other side to help Drusilla down.  He looked mournfully at the house.  Forty years ago the place had looked much nicer.

    “Gee, Dick.  The house is swell,” Spike snarked as he walked towards them.

    Angel winced.  How could he have been so stupid?  Richard seemed like such a sensible name.  He liked it.  Solid.  Of course Spike had taken one look at the paperwork and started in on the nickname.  It stuck.  Even Dru used it when they were in public.  Now Angel would be known as Dick McFaye.  It was wrong.

    “Glad you like it, Jacob,” Angel snapped back, trying desperately to make Jacob sound like a nerdy name.  Only every one knew that Jake was cool.  He really wished he’d taken Jake for himself.  He should have named Spike something like Simon or Lesley.

    Angel took out a key and walked them all up the front porch.  He pushed open the screen door and used the old key in the somewhat rusted lock.  With a few jiggles the door handle depressed and the door swung open.  Angel reached a hand around and flipped the light switches.  The front porch light and the foyer light both came on.  Angel walked through the door followed by the others.

    “I take back my sarcasm, Dick,” Spike said as he looked around with growing excitement.  “This place is really cool.”

    Buffy followed her mate’s eyes. “Wow.  It needs work but look at all the trim.  And I love how wide the doorways are.”

    Drusilla bent down and picked up the faded area rug.  “And the floors are lovely.”  She clapped her hands.  “This is going to be fun!”

    They made a quick walk through of the old house.  On the ground floor there was a living room, dining room, kitchen, library, bathroom, and mud room.  On the top floor there were four bedrooms and two baths.  Only one of the bathrooms was original.  It had gorgeous old tile and a big tub with a newly installed shower head.  The added on bathroom was horrible.  It was in the master bedroom and it had apparently been put in during the 1970’s.  It had orange wallpaper, a shower stall/tub combination in a nice brown to match the sink, and peeled linoleum flooring.

    “Right,” Spike said with a sigh.  “Buffy and I will take one of the smaller rooms.  You two can have the master.”

    Angel nodded.  He couldn’t blame the younger vamp.  The bathroom was bad.  The sort of thing that would give even Angelus nightmares.

    They made their way out to the van and started to unload the furniture.  Within minutes several neighbors had gathered to offer help.  Angel, Spike, and Drusilla froze.  Buffy, however, was used to such human hospitality.  She gave them all a big smile.

    “That is so sweet to offer, but we know it’s late.  Truly the men would love to wait until tomorrow, but my sister-in-law and I are just dying to get everything in so that in the morning we can arrange things how we like it,” she said.  Then she slapped a hand on her forehead.  “How silly am I?”  She stuck the hand out to the nearest neighbor.  “I’m Allie Simmons.”  She took her hand back and began pointing at the others.  “This is my husband Jake, his sister Ruthie, and her husband Dick.”

    All three of the vampires just stared at the newcomers.  Luckily the humans began to introduce themselves in a flurry of names and comments.  It seemed they were relieved to have the house lived in by actual owners.  They went on and on about how renters just didn’t care about a place enough to keep it up.  How it affected the property value of the whole street.  Buffy continued to agree with them all as Angel and Spike started to unload the van.  Drusilla went to help but Buffy grabbed her hand and brought her in close, slipping an arm around her shoulders.

    “Well, thank you all for stopping by.  But we really don’t want to trouble you this late.  Besides, we don’t have that much stuff.  We’ll be done in no time.  When we get the place all fixed up we’ll have everyone over for a barbeque.”  She gave them all a big smile, with her arm still firmly wrapped around Dru.

    Eventually the curious neighbors headed home.  Buffy turned to Drusilla with a wicked, knowing grin.  “Do you have any idea how lucky we are?”

    Dru shook her head in confusion.

    “Those people will be peeking out their windows all night long.  That means the heavy stuff is left to the boys to bring in.  We’re just weak little women who can’t manage more than an end table between us,” Buffy giggled.

    Spike and Angel let out simultaneous groans as they realized how right she was.  Dru laughed and clapped her hands some more.  It took them until midnight to get all of the furniture and boxes into the house.  Then Spike and Angel went out to return the moving van.

    Buffy had found a pad of paper in Angel’s things and was wandering around making a detailed list with Dru’s help of what needed to be done in both the long and the short term.  She was actually really excited.  As odd as it seemed it looked like she was going to get a taste of that normal life she had always dreamed of.  How ironic that it was a group of vampires and her own descent into demonhood that provided it for her.


Chapter 18:  An Idea


    Several weeks passed.  The house was looking much better.  Angel had hired a team of workers to repaint the outside using a fresh white paint with navy blue for the trim.  They bought a new front door in dark red.  Buffy was working on the front yard during the day and the backyard with Drusilla during the night.  It was already too cold to plant anything but they were ripping things out, cutting things back, and painting the fences.  When the neighbors would ask why she was always out alone doing all of the hard work she would smile and tell them that the others were making a living.  They had been very vague in what they did, simply saying it was a web based business.

    Inside the others were hard at work getting the rest of the house up to snuff.  They would choose one thing to work on and go at it until it was finished.  This week it was the trim.  They’d finished the floors and they now gleamed with a nice dark red finish.  After they sanded down and painted all of the trim around the windows and the doors they were going to paint the walls.  They were becoming regulars at the home improvement store.

    Their biggest problem had been blood.  There weren’t a lot of demons in Fort Wayne which is why they’d picked this area - that combined with an available house.  It had been up to Buffy to go out scouring the city for an available blood source.  One, she could go out during the day.  Two, she could sense a demon from a mile away.  It had taken her several days but eventually she’d come across a fat little demon by the name of Gary.  He passed as human and he ran a used car lot.  Buffy had gone in.  She’d flirted.  She’d cajoled.  Finally, the roly poly man had agreed to help her with the blood.  If she bought a car from him and paid him a hefty and continual supply fee.  

    She went home and consulted with the family.  The next day she returned with a wad of cash and picked out a three year old BMW.  It was a pretty shade of blue that reminded her of Dru’s eyes.  Plus it was an automatic.  Always a good thing.  Before Buffy drove off with her new wheels she had a little one on one moment with Gary.  She cornered him in his office and flashed some serious fang.  She let him know that if anyone got wind of why he needed the blood or of where the blood was going, she would see him shredded and she’d video tape it and send it to his mother.

    Gary had swallowed heavily and broke out in a sticky sweat.  He promised that he had deals such as theirs going on for several demons who just wanted to be left alone.  That he knew the drill.  That he really did not want to be shredded.  Buffy let him go and wiped her hands on her pants.  She gave him a smile and waived the keys as she walked out of the office and started up the BMW.  It had black leather interior and was in truth a great ride.  It would be nice to have something besides the hulking SUV to run errands in.  After all, it was always her that did the errand running.  Stupid sunlight issues.

    Buffy walked into the house after a trip to the market to find Drusilla avidly watching Spike and Angel.  Something was up.  She went into the kitchen and put away the meat she had bought and a few other things.  They discovered quickly that she had to have a lot of red meat.  She also seemed to need it to be as fresh and raw as the human side of her could stand.  When she was done she came back out to the living room and sat down beside Dru.

    “What’s up?” she whispered.

    “Our boys have an idea,” Drusilla said excitedly.  Dru was still an eccentric thing.  Crazy and lovely all at the same time, but she’d improved dramatically.  Buffy seemed to be a stabling influence in their lives.  That, and the fact that Buffy had been the one to realize that Miss Edith was indeed talking to the poor woman.

    Buffy hadn’t been able to hear the doll, but she’d been able to since the demon that possessed it.  One morning she woke up in yet another motel room.  This one with two queen sized beds that housed a couple each.  She felt a little different like she did every morning.  Her powers continued to increase as she came fully into being the Slayer.  She walked by the chair that Drusilla had carefully placed the doll on and she froze.  The change came over her.  Ears pointed.  Teeth long and sharp.  Her skin a mottled shade of brown and tan that worked like camouflage.  She cocked her head to the side and zeroed in on the doll.  Then she hissed and attacked.

    Spike hadn’t known what was wrong.  He woke up to the sound of Drusilla screaming and Angel growling in response.  Before anyone could stop her, Buffy had taken the doll and smashed its head in against the side of the motel television.  Not satisfied, she had then taken one of Spike’s boots and crushed the rest of the doll.  

    Instead of increasing her cries, as the doll began to be nothing more than porcelain dust, Drusilla actually seemed to calm.  Eventually she was completely quiet and she looked at Angel with wide, dark eyes.

    “Dru?” he asked.

    “She’s gone,” Dru said in relief.

    “Slayer?” Spike asked as he approached the fully demonized woman.

    Buffy let herself relax back into her human form.  “With all of your ‘vamp senses’,” Buffy used finger quotations, “neither one of you ever realized that damned doll was possessed?”  She then stomped into the shower, leaving them to clean away the debris.  Ever after, Drusilla was far more calm.  She still heard the pixies and the stars still talked to her, but she didn’t have bouts of anguish like she had before.

    That had been weeks ago and now the dark haired vampire was much more serene and much more happy.  “I think they’ve come up with something wonderful.”

    “There!” Angel shouted, and he picked something up and handed it to Spike.

    Spike looked it over with a huge smile.  “That’s good, mate.  That’s really fucking good.”

    He passed it to Buffy who shared it with Drusilla.  The two women looked at it curiously.  “The Two Janes?” Buffy was the first to speak.

    “Yep.  The Two Janes.  It’s a comic book.  We are going to give it a web release.  Sign people up for subscriptions.  It’s inspired by the two of you,” Spike said excitedly.  “I’m doin’ the writing and Angel’s doin’ the drawing.  It’s about two demon hit women.”

    Buffy looked up at him, enjoying his enthusiasm.  “I think it’s amazing, but won’t people just pass it on to their friends and stuff?  Can we really make money off of this?”

    Angel laughed.  “That’s not exactly the point.  We are going to doctor the books.  Make it look like we’re earning a steady, regular income.  And I will be able to deposit a little bit of money here and there into our business account without the government wondering where I got all of that cash.”

    “Won’t cash deposits look a little weird?” Buffy asked.

    “Got that covered.  Called your fat demon friend, Gary,” Spike explained.  “He’s going to help set us up with a nice laundering system.”

    “So basically we are paying ourselves?” Buffy clarified.

    “You got it!  And producing something extremely cool in the process,” Angel said.

    Dru looked at one of the Janes.  “Is this one me?” she asked.

    “Yeah, baby.  She’s a little taller than the other one.  You like it?” Angel asked.

    Dru gave a wicked smile.  “Oh, yes.  It’s very exciting.”

    “Buffy?” Spike asked, coming to pull her to a stand.

    She wrapped her arms around his waist and turned her head up for a kiss.  “I’m with Dru.  The only question I have, my love, is why the hell are our boobs so big?”

    Spike tried to let go and step away from the danger, but his mate held on tight.  “Ah… ah… well… you see…”  He threw a hard look in Angel’s direction.  “He’s the artist.  Not me.  Ask him.”

    Buffy and Dru both turned hard eyes on him and said.  “Well, Dick?”


Chapter 19:  News


    The next two years flew by for the little family living on Scrivener Street.  They had minimal contact with any other demons and not a hint of the Council.  Apparently living in suburbia really did the trick.  Unfortunately they also hadn’t had any contact with Sunnydale which was very hard on Buffy.  Unless you counted the delivery of a strange ring a year ago from one of Spike’s former minions.  He’d contacted the vampire named Dalton and asked him to search for the Gem of Amara.  The man not only found it, but sent it to a friend of Gary’s who then sent it to Gary who then had it delivered with the weekly blood supply.  It provided invincibility to the vampire who wore it, but more importantly it let them go outside.  This went a long way in convincing their neighbors that they were normal.  They took turns wearing it as needed.

    The barbeques didn’t hurt either.  They’d only had three on late summer nights and each and every one of them had caused the vampires nothing but stress.  It amused the hell out of Buffy.  She wasn’t positive, but she suspected that the vampires were actually scared of the humans.  Scared of their polo shirts.  Their golf stories.  Their issues with crab grass.  Luckily, Buffy, or Allie rather, was always there with a smile and some kind of quip to make everyone laugh.

    Now it was almost Halloween again.  All four of them adored the holiday.  They considered it their anniversary.  They went all out with the decorations and they would wear the same scary costumes as last year.  Okay, they answered the door in their demon guises.  But the neighborhood kids loved it.

    Buffy heard the doorbell ring and realized it was probably the blood delivery.  Gary had managed to get an employee of his deliver it in brown grocery bags.  Buffy reached for a few dollars out of the kitchen catch-pot before going to the door.  She opened it to see the smiling face of the young halfie that came by every week.

    “Hello, Reggie,” Buffy said brightly as she took the two bags from him and slipped him the cash.

    “Hello, Mrs. Simmons.”  This was all he usually said, but this time he leaned in close, nearly causing Buffy’s demon to come out and play.  “Did you hear the news?” he asked excitedly.

    Buffy moved the bags onto her hips.  “What news?”

    “About the Council?”

    Buffy stiffened and scent out a signal of panic to her family.  “What about the Council, Reggie?” she asked in a tight voice.

    “It’s great.  They’re gone.  A big explosion.  Some demon did it.  A freak created by some government agency called the Initiative,” he whispered.

    Spike and Angel came running from out of the library where they put together the comic book and Drusilla came in from the back yard where she was making a scare crow, the ring firmly resting on her middle finger.  

    Spike came up behind Buffy.  “What’s wrong?”  He gave Reggie a hard look.

    Reggie held up his hands, suddenly feeling the power of the creatures in front of him.  “Look, don’t shoot the messenger,” he said with a nervous laugh.

    “Sorry, Reggie.  We don’t mean to frighten you,” Buffy rushed to assure him.  “It’s just.  Could you come in for a moment?”

    Reggie really didn’t want to go in.  In fact, he just wanted to get as far away from them as possible.  He knew that three of them were vamps, but he was clueless about Mrs. Simmons.  She scared him.  But he also knew that she could go out during the day.  It was pointless to run.  He nodded his head and walked over the threshold.

    Buffy shut the door behind him and gently led him into the living room.  “Sit, please, and tell us everything you know.”

    Reggie sat down as he was told, wishing they would sit down too.  He took a deep breath.  “I don’t know that much.  Just that the Council was blown up and most of its operatives killed.  There was this demon named Adam that the government built.  He went psycho, no surprise there, and killed all the people who made him.  He created a bunch of demon soldiers and attacked the Council.  Then the Slayer sought revenge and wiped out his ass.  Guess she died in the process,” Reggie shrugged.  “Oh well, right?  The Slayer’s dead, long live the Slayer.”

    Buffy growled as the change came over her.  Spike vamped beside his mate.  Dru and Angel held them both back.  Angel looked at the now quivering delivery boy.  “We don’t mean to scare you.  This is just very important to us.  Is there anything else you know?” 

    Reggie thought back to what he’d heard Gary say to a friend over the phone.  “Just that a lot of this went down on the Hellmouth in California.  That’s all I know.”

    Angel was struggling to hold Buffy and Spike back.  “Thanks, Reggie, you can go now.  We won’t need our delivery next week.  We’re going to be out of town.”

    The boy got up and headed out the door as fast as he could go.  He was only a halfie and he hadn’t been raised around his mother’s people.  Gary was the only full blooded demon he really knew.  He was suddenly very glad he didn’t live in the big city where demons were more common.

    Buffy was shaking with emotion and Spike was reacting to his mate.  Angel looked at Dru.  “Do you think you could make airline reservations for us, Drusilla?  Have us leave and arrive during the night?  I don’t care about the price.  Secure a rental car, too,” Angel called out to her as she left to do as he asked.

    “You both need to calm down,” he said as he urged them to the couch.  “This is a good thing.  The Council is gone.  We’re safe.”

    Spike growled.  “What about her family and her friends, you great git?”

    Angel closed his eyes.  “I know, Spike.  That’s why I we’re leaving.  We’ll be in Sunnydale before morning.  We can figure things out when we get there.”

    “We didn’t ask when?” Buffy cried.  “We didn’t ask Reggie when this all happened.  I need to call my mom.”  Buffy tried to get to her feet.

    “No.  No calls,” Angel stated.  “First we have to see if this is all true.  We’ll go to Sunnydale and head over to the Watcher’s.  Those amazing senses of yours don’t work over the phone lines, Buffy.”

    Spike nuzzled his mate’s neck.  “He’s right, baby.  We need to calm down.  Let’s go upstairs and pack.”

    “Okay,” Buffy said in a state of shock.  She followed her husband up the stairs and to their room.

    Angel walked into the library.  “Is it done?”

    “Yes, my Angel.  We’ll be leaving at dusk.  I found us a straight flight.  We’ll get there at about one in the morning.  That gives us plenty of night left to see if our darling girl’s family is safe,” Dru told him.

    “Thank you,” Angel said as he kissed the top of her glossy head.  “Let’s go pack and have a nap.  We don’t know what we’re likely to face.”

    They walked back into the living room and put the blood in the refrigerator.  Then they went upstairs to make love, sleep, and ready themselves for their trip.

    At exactly one thirty in the morning the foursome pulled into Sunnydale in their black rental sedan.  They drove over to the Watcher’s apartment and parked.  As they got out of the car, all four let out their supernatural senses.  The only thing that came back to them was Slayer.  Apparently the halfie had been right.  The Slayer is dead, long live the Slayer.  Buffy reached up a hand and knocked on the front door.

    The door opened and a fist came flying out.  Buffy pulled the fist and the girl attached to it over her head, slipping into her demon visage as she readied for battle.  The girl came to a stand, punching and kicking.  Buffy admired her spirit but her style was seriously lacking.  Soon, she had the girl pinned.

    A throat cleared from behind and Buffy turned her head slightly to see a slight man standing in Giles’ doorway, holding a crossbow that was aimed directly at her mate.  Buffy growled.

    “Let the Slayer go and you can all walk away,” the man said.

    All four of the creatures laughed, but Angel was the first to actually address the man.  “You must be kidding.  We’ve been around a time or two.  As soon as she lets that weak excuse for a Slayer up, you’ll shoot my childe and then reload while your Slayer attacks.  It’s a no go.  I’ll tell you what is a go, however.  Why don’t you get Giles?  That’s who we’re here to speak with.”  Angel sounded calm, but inside he was shaking.  He couldn’t lose Spike.  They couldn’t lose Spike.  This family was everything.  They’d made the impossible work and carved a life out for themselves.  Souled and unsouled, living in harmony.  He’d be damned all over again if some puny human was going to destroy that.

    “Giles doesn’t live here,” the man said.

    “Where is he?  He’s not dead is he?” Buffy asked as tears filled her eyes, and she morphed back into her human visage, still holding the new Slayer firmly down.

    The man looked at her funny.  “You are Buffy Summers, aren’t you?” he asked in awe.

    Spike, heedless of the wooden shaft aimed his way, growled, “My wife asked you a question, Watcher.”  He’d figured out right quick who this one was.

    “I am in fact that girl’s Watcher.  The one your wife is nearly choking the life out of,” Wesley pointed out.

    Buffy let up a little.  “Sorry,” she murmured to the girl underneath her.

    “No big,” the girl rasped.  “I attacked first and all.  I’m Faith by the way.”

    “Nice to meet you, Faith.  I’m Buffy and the one your Watcher is trying to kill is my husband, Spike.  The other two are my family, Angel and Drusilla.”

    “Interesting family you got there, B.”  The girl squirmed.  “If none of us are going to kill anyone, you think you could let me up?”

    “You promise to not try and attack my family?” Buffy asked.

    The girl gave her a funny look.  A look too old for her years.  “You’d take my word on something like that?”

    “Yeah, I would,” Buffy told her.

    “Yes.  I promise I won’t try and hurt your family and neither will Wesley,” Faith said.

    Buffy let the girl up and watched carefully as the Watcher lowered his weapon.

    “Faith, please come inside this instant,” Wesley called.

    Surprisingly the girl did as she was told.  It just amused Buffy.  Who walked over and put her hand through the threshold.  “Sorry, Watcher.  I’m not a vamp,” she said.

    “That’s right.  You are some pure form of Slayer or something.  Giles has told me all about you,” Wesley said.

    “Is he okay?  Where is he?  Is my mom okay?” Buffy asked with worry, leaning against Spike as he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed the top of her head.

    Both Faith and Wesley watched this exchange with disbelieving eyes.  They knew who this was.  It was William the Bloody, the killer of two Slayers, and yet here he was treating one with the utmost of gentleness.

    Wesley shook himself into responding.  “Yes.  They are both fine.  Giles lives on Revello Drive with your mother now.  They should both be home at this time of night.  I live here with Faith.”  He cleared his throat and a blush stole over him as he added, “I live here as her Watcher of course.  Nothing else.”

    Spike gave the nervous man a wicked smile.  “Of course.”

    Angel put his arm around Dru and Spike.  “We’ll just head over to Buffy’s mother’s house then.”

    “That would be wise,” Wesley said.  He and Faith just stood in the doorway, watching as the strange foursome walked to the black car and got in.  When the car pulled away from the curb, Faith turned to Wesley with a smile.  “Should we call the house and give them a warning?”

    Wesley laughed.  “No.  The surprise would do them good.  They are far to settled in their married life.”  

    Faith laughed as she let Wesley take her back to bed.  It was cuddle time.


Chapter 20:  More News


    Buffy was relieved.  Whatever had gone down, her mother and Giles were safe.  She hoped that included Xander and Willow as well.  She really should have asked Faith’s Watcher, but her brain wasn’t working nearly as well as she’d like it to at the moment.  They pulled up to her mother’s house expecting to see lights on, but the house was mysteriously dark.

    They got out of the car with Buffy bounding ahead of the group in her eagerness to see her mother again.  She ran up the front steps and started knocking.  A faint light came on through the crack in the door.  Then the door opened to reveal a sleepy Giles.

    Buffy was taken aback for a moment and then remembered that the Watcher had said Giles lived here now.  She was about to wonder why he lived at her house when a smell hit her.  Buffy growled.

    Giles was in shock.  It was Buffy as he had seen through the peephole.  That was shock enough, but here she was growling at him once again.  He’d rather hoped that over the last two years she’d gained some control over her demon.  “Buffy?” he asked as he spotted the three vampires coming up behind her.

    “Why do you smell like my mother?” she demanded, pushing her way into the house.

    “Well, you see… uh…” Giles spluttered.

    “Because he made an honest woman out of me,” Joyce said softly coming down the stairs with a wide smile, tears shining in her eyes.

    “Mommy!” Buffy yelled as she ran past her now step-father and into her mother’s open arms.

    “Buffy.  My baby.  My baby girl,” Joyce sobbed into her hair.

    “Well, dad,” Spike snarked.  “You gonna invite us in or what?”

    Giles hesitated for only a moment.  “Of course.  You are all invited.”

    And just like that the barrier fell away as they three vamps entered the house.  Giles watched them closely.  They had eyes for only one thing:  Buffy’s joy.  It reassured him.  “Would you all like to have a seat?  I suppose you being here means you heard about the Council being destroyed.”  He had mixed feelings on that subject.  He’d lost many dear friends, but at the same time the last two years had revealed some very unpleasant aspects of the Council.

    Joyce kept her arms wrapped around Buffy as they walked over to the couch and sat down side by side.

    Spike perched on the arm of the couch beside his mate.  Giles took the seat next to Joyce.  And Angel sat in the armchair with Dru in his lap.

    “So, it’s true?” Buffy asked Giles.  “We’re safe?  What about this government thing?”

    Giles scratched his head.  “Well, you are safe from the Council.  The government operation here in Sunnydale was destroyed.  That’s how we lost Kendra; the Slayer who was called upon your death at the hands of the Master.”  Giles winced as all three vampires growled.  It was unnerving and yet fascinating how protective of Buffy the three were.

    “She killed the demon who destroyed the Council, though?” Angel asked.

    “Yes, she did.  But her boyfriend, Riley Finn, had been turned into this… a cross between a zombie and a demon.”  Giles shuddered in remembrance.  He’d been the one to put Riley down.  It hadn’t been pretty.  “Riley killed her just after she’d taken the power source from Adam.”

    “That’s horrible,” Buffy said with tears in her eyes.  She reached up one hand to grab onto Spike.  It would be devastating to kill the one you love.  “What happened to this Riley?”

    “I killed him.  It was for the best.  He was a mindless monster.  Then Xander and I blew up the whole damn place,” Giles confessed with a slight chuckle.  “We have it on good authority that the government has other such operations around the globe, however.  It is something to be wary of,” he warned them.

    Spike sighed.  “Great, no sooner we get rid of one worry than another takes its place.  I miss the good ol’ days,” he said with longing.

    “Yes, my childe,” Drusilla agreed.  “When the only thing to fear was the Slayer.”

    Buffy beamed with pride and Spike laughed and ruffled her hair.

    Angel was worried but at the same time relieved.  This meant they could stay in hiding.  He liked their life.  He could easily stay there for another ten years before moving on.  “I think we need to stay undercover.”  He looked at Buffy.  “I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

    Buffy nodded, knowing he was right, but hating the thought of leaving her mother.  Spike stood up, lifted his wife up, and sat down in her place, pulling her onto his lap so that she could still be close to her mother.  “We’ll think of something, kitten,” he promised as he held her tightly.

    Dru looked at them all strangely.  “Is this Hellmouth not well guarded?  It has a Watcher and a Slayer,” she pointed out.

    “Yes, it is as much as it can be.  Plus, Willow and Tara are very powerful witches and they aid Faith and Wesley,” Giles explained.

    “Who’s Tara?” Buffy asked.

    Joyce looked down at her lap and blushed a little.  “Ah, Tara is Willow’s girlfriend.”

    “A friend that is a girl or that other kind?” Buffy asked for clarification.

    “That other kind,” Joyce said.  She loved Tara and thought she was a great match for Willow but for some reason telling Buffy about them made her feel odd.  Like she was telling about someone’s sex life.

    “Whoa,” Buffy said.  “Who would have thunk it?”

    Both Spike and Angel raised their hands.  Drusilla and Buffy turned and growled at their mates.  

    “Stop with the thinking, Spike,” Buffy admonished, more amused than anything.  Men were so predictable.  Then she turned back towards her mother and Giles.  “So everyone is okay then?”

    “Yes,” Giles told her.  “Xander and Cordelia are still together.  Cordelia’s family lost all of their money.  She was devastated of course, but Xander stepped right in and took care of her.  He even pays for her tuition at the university.  Quite remarkable actually.”

    “What does he do for a living?” Buffy asked, curious.

    “He is in construction.  He’s the foreman.  He’s quite good at it.  Willow and Tara both go to school here in Sunnydale with Cordelia,” Giles finished, catching her up on her friends.

    Buffy gave a sad smile.  “I’m glad they’re all doing well, but I can’t believe how much I’ve missed.”  Then she looked at her family and the sadness disappeared.  “Not that I would have changed one moment of it,” she said passionately.

    Angel had caught on to what Dru was getting at.  “So, the Hellmouth is secure here?”

    “Yes,” Giles said.

    “Then why don’t you two come back with us?  There’s a nice little house for sale on the street behind ours.  Weather isn’t quite as warm as Sunnydale,” Angel admitted.

    “Cold as hell, Watcher,” Spike cut in and then had to duck a swat from Buffy.

    Joyce squeezed her husband’s hand.  “Please, Rupert.  It would mean everything to me!”

    Giles smiled at her tenderly.  “Of course, my dear.  We can even rent this house out to Wesley and Faith.  It’s only a few hundred dollars more than my old flat.  It could act as Scooby central.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Willow and Tara wouldn’t also like to move in.  We could get a special number where they could reach us in an emergency.  I believe everything would be fine.”   

    Joyce pulled him in for a tender kiss as she ran a hand along his face.  “I knew I married you for a reason.”

    “I thought it was my devilishly good looks,” Giles teased.

    “Those, too,” Joyce said, giving him another kiss.

    Buffy sniffed.  “I’m so happy!”

    The next day the entire gang came over to reunite with Buffy.  It was a little awkward at first.  Xander particularly had trouble wrapping his mind around Buffy and Spike being married and the four of them living in suburban Indiana.  As soon as he’d found out Angel’s human name from Spike, however, he’d laughed his head off and everything became more relaxed form there.

    The four otherworldly creatures stayed in Sunnydale to help Buffy’s parents make arrangements and to get false identification.  The house was put in Wesley’s name in the end as it just seemed easier and to create less of a paper trail.

    Joyce and Giles made arrangements via a demon shipping line that Gary recommended to have personal items, pictures, and books sent along the ground as they decided to fly back with the others.  The furniture was left for the house’s new occupants.

    The entire gang came to the airport to wish the strange family goodbye.  As the hugs ended and they began to walk away, Xander called out to Angel, “Have a nice flight, Dick!”

    Angel just flipped him off as he turned around and thumped Spike on the back of the head.

    “Ow!” Spike yelped.  “What the bloody hell was that for?”

    “Oh, like you don’t know,” Angel groused.

    Buffy and Dru looked at one another and smiled.  Life was going back to normal.






    Buffy kissed her mother on the cheek as she left the curio shop that she and her husband owned.  The two loved being shop keepers just like they loved living so close to their daughter and her family.  Buffy walked to her blue BMW and slid behind the wheel.  It would be dark by the time she got home.  Dark was always good.  It meant that everyone could come out to play.  Tonight they would drive into the city and do a little hunting.  Get a little violence out.  Though often times they simply hunted each other up and down the city streets.

    Buffy had come to understand who she was.  What’s more, she really liked who she was.    She was Buffy.  She was the Slayer, a wicked killing machine.  She was a friend.  She was a daughter.  But most of all she was his.  And he made her feel like she was everything.




    Angel looked at his watch.  He had a few minutes before Buffy got back.  He sucked down a blood packet.  He loved going out hunting with his family, but he liked to be in control of himself.  He’d never harmed an innocent in all his time in Indiana, but then again not all humans were innocent.  He laughed a little as he ran his tongue over a sharp fang.  Blood.  He finally understood what he was.  He was a master vampire with a soul.  A creature of the night who loved his family fiercely.  Even more, he was the sire and the mate of woman who made him feel like a man.  Who made him feel like he was everything.




    Drusilla heard her mate’s footfall on the floorboards.  He was coming to her.  He would always come to her.  Miss Edith had said it wasn’t so, but Buffy had proven Miss Edith to be a liar.  No longer clouded by twisted words, Dru understood things.  She could meet her Sire half way.  She could be the woman he needed her to be.  She was not merely a demon.  She was a sister.  A friend.  A mate.  She wasn’t crazy.  Buffy declared her enchanting.  But most of all she was Angel’s and she always would be. Having his devotion made her feel like she was everything.




    Spike watched as his mate pulled into the drive.  He did this every time she went to visit her mother on her own.  Usually he went with her, but sometimes he had a deadline to meet.  Each time he would look out the window to see the blue of the car.  To see his love.  Yeah, he was love’s bitch.  An openly admitted fool for love.  But Buffy  made being the fool seem like being the king.  He was still William the Bloody.  He still wrote his poetry on occasion, but now he had an audience.  His wife loved every bloody awful word he wrote.  Kept each and every poem in a scrapbook.  He’d catch her reading it sometimes and it always made his heart turn over a bit to know that she had it as bad as he did.  That he finally had his equal in life.  She gave him everything she had.  She made him feel like he was everything.







    The four creatures sailed through the night in the big black car, laughing softly, and giving the occasional challenge out.  Tonight they would hunt.  They would make the city their playground.  There would be blood.  There would be flesh.  There would be sex.  There would be a renewal of self.  But most of all there would be love.











The End





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