Buffy's family and spirit are destroyed by the vampire Lothos.  She manages to kill him, but she is left an empty shell.  Two creatures come along and fill her up the only way they know how.  Now she's entering her senior year at a new high school in Sunnydale.  Everything seems fine until some guy in tweed demands to know where she's been the last two years.  NC17.  Rape, torture, blood play,.  Male/Male, Male/Female/Male, Female/Female, Male/Female.  Warning:  Dark, vampish Buffy

Tuesday’s Child


Chapter 1

 She was bouncy and bright. Male and female eyes alike followed her progress as she made her way down the school halls. She was the new girl. Her golden blonde hair was pulled back in a simple pony tail. She had a black flared miniskirt with a grey ticking-striped men’s dress shirt, white knee high socks, and chunky black oxfords. Her backpack was a plain black Dickies with a red patch sewn on it that read ‘Bite Me’.


She had her eyes turned down studying a little white map that the school secretary had given her. It had her class schedule printed on it along with yellow highlights marking the location of each of her classes. Currently she was headed to an advanced English class. The teacher was a Mr. somebody. It was always better when they were male. Better for her anyway. Sometimes it wasn’t so good for the teachers themselves. Her guardians could be so overprotective; always scenting her when she walked in the door.


She took a seat at the back. You never knew when you might have to make a quick getaway. She scanned the room just as her guardians had taught her. She looked with her eyes, she scented with her nose, and she sensed with that ‘other’ integral part of her being.


She noticed the class was half full. The bell wouldn’t ring for another two minutes. The teacher had his back to the seats. He was writing with precise handwriting across the whiteboard. Something to do with a guy named Byron and a guy named Manfred. Like she cared.

She also noticed the windows. So many windows. This was definitely not the friendliest of environments in her opinion. Sunlight didn’t cause her pain, but it did push back that thing inside of her. The thing that shunned the light. The thing she shared so intimately with her guardians. She wondered if they could feel it; if as they were sleeping in their large walnut bed in the master bedroom, arms and legs intertwined, sleeping the sleep of the dead, they could feel as their possession of her retreated from the light steaming through the classroom windows.


“Huh?” she said looking up. Someone was calling her name.


“Miss Summers?”


The teacher. The teacher was calling her name. He was British. He was wearing tweed. Who wore tweed? He was holding a pair of glasses in his hands, wiping at them furiously.


“Miss Summers, I do believe I’m addressing you. I expect you to respond when your name is called.”


“I said ‘huh’,” Buffy coquettishly offered. There were snickers heard across the now full classroom.


The teacher looked down at the ground as if he could somehow pull the strength needed for patience from the chipped linoleum floor. He put his glasses back on and looked at her with something close to a smile. “Yes, well I fear ‘huh’ is not an acceptable means of communication in this class. You will see me after school.”

Buffy just gave a slight nod of her head. She looked on the board. He’d written his name. She hadn’t paid attention to it on the roster. It hadn’t been important. Now it might be. Giles. She had an odd feeling about this one. There was something different about him. Unsheeplike. This one was aware. He could be dangerous. Buffy thrilled at the thought. Eternal life could get old fast. Of course she’d only been living the life of the eternal for two and half years, but still, time stretched on.

This was why they were here. Will had gotten bored withLos Angeles. He’d wanted a change. “Let’s move to the Hellmouth,” he said. He’d gotten her in on it.  Between the two of them, Angelus could refuse them nothing.

So they moved. Will and Buffy were very excited about the new house. They’d picked it out from an Internet real estate site. It was old, of course not nearly as old as their sire. She and Will were having a great time planning the house’s renovation. They’d already had contractors out before they moved to replace the plumbing and update the electricity. They’d also had it painted. They’d used a book by Edward Gorey called the Gashly Crumb Tinys as inspiration. The exterior was painted a dreary gray brown with black trim. It was perfect. Will and Buffy planned on doing the inside themselves - with Angelus’ money.

Buffy exited the class of Uptight Grumpy Guy and proceeded to enjoy her first day of school at Sunnydale High. If going from class to class and only half listening to people yammer on could be called enjoyment. Now she sat all by her lonesome at a small round table. She hadn’t exactly talked with anyone in her classes so she was quite surprised to find three people walking toward her. There were two tall, dark haired kind of gawky looking boys sandwiching a lovely little redhead. Buffy loved the color red.


“Hi, you’re new,” the red head said breathily. “Course you already know that.” She slapped her hands in a ‘duh’ kind of motion. “Can we sit with you?”

Buffy gave them a bright smile and nodded her head. She just loved new play things. The three teenagers sat their trays down on the little round table filling it to crowding.

“I’m Willow,” the red head said pointing to herself. “And this is Jesse,” she pointed to the boy with the long nose. “And this is Xander,” she pointed to the other boy. “We grew up here, and have known each other for like forever. Where are you from?”


Damn, but this one was talky. “I grew up inLos Angeles. My guardians and I just moved to Sunnydale. We were looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I’m Buffy by the by.” A phrase she’d learned from Will when he was feeling sassy.


“Well, Buffy. Welcome to good ol’ Sunnydale. No hustle and bustle here. We hope you’ll find it just as appealing as we find you,” the boy called Xander said and then he proceeded to blush a deep shade of red. “I said that last part out loud, didn’t I?”


“Yeah,” Jesse said. “You did.”


Buffy enjoyed her lunch immensely. She found the threesome to be delightfully fresh. She looked forward to corrupting them utterly. She’d already decided she would take her time. She couldn’t wait to tell her guardians about them. Friends. She had friends. The thought made her giggle as she finished her lunch and then headed off to the rest of her classes.


Two hours later she was dutifully back in her lit class, ready to face the dreaded Mr. Giles. She found him sitting at his desk writing in a leather journal. He looked up at her as she came in. He motioned for her to close the door. She came in and took a seat close to his. He finished what he was writing and laid down his pen.


“Do you care to tell me where the hell you’ve been?” His voice was hard. “You are two years late!”


Chapter 2


He waited in the dark, absently rubbing a lock of her hair. She was coming. He could feel it. He thought that if he concentrated very hard, he could actually feel each step she took, hear the gravel as it crunched beneath her feat. He hated when she was gone. The peace she brought to him became pulled, filling him with that agitated restlessness he had been so well known for before she came.


His existence was divided into chapters, marking him just like one of his beloved books. The first chapter was humiliation. The second chapter was sex and violence. The third chapter was desolation. And now, in his fourth chapter, it was completion. But only when she was there. He struggled to understand what their sire said about her needing an education. Why couldn’t they educate her? Why did she have to go to school? It would only end badly. It always did. She’d been in two high schools before this, three if you counted Hemery. Her impulsive nature, something their sire accused him of giving to her, eventually caused an upset of the bloody kind.


He heard the distinctive squeak of the old wrought iron gate that he and she had scoured the Internet for. She was in the yard, walking in the dappled sun under the trees. She was whistling. She’d had a good day. He counted the front porch steps as she walked up. One more to go. She was on the landing. Her hand was at the door. He stepped back into the retreating shadows as a spill of light came through the opening door. He forced himself to wait as she closed the door and dropped her backpack on the floor. Then he pounced.


Buffy landed on her back with a sharp thud. She laughed. It was like having a really big puppy waiting for her every time she came home. He simply couldn’t settle down until they became reacquainted. “Spike,” she giggled as he licked the side of her neck. She wound her fingers through his short platinum curls and arched her hips against his obvious erection.


“Missed you,” he whispered behind her ear. “Missed you so much.” He moved to the other ear. “You smell of so many different things. So many different people. It makes it hard to control myself.” He pushed his hardened shaft against her mound, loving the hiss she gave as he did so. “Need to reclaim you. Need to mark you where everyone can see.”


Although his words went straight to her core and soaked her panties, she remembered the warning of their sire. “Spike, baby, we can’t. You know what Angelus said. Nowhere visible. We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves, remember?” She felt him nip at her neck with his blunt teeth. Damn, how she loved that. “Besides, that still leaves plenty of places for you to bite.”


He pulled away and looked down at her. “That it does, luv. That it does.” He reached underneath her short black skirt and ripped off her prim white cotton panties; the ones he’d specifically made her wear to keep anyone from getting a peek at her cunny. He tossed them to the floor.


Buffy quickly unbuttoned her shirt and unhooked the front snap of her bra, baring her beautiful breasts to his ravenous gaze. “So, where you gonna do it?” she flirted shamelessly.


Spike freed his straining cock and dove into her in one swift move. “Not where, kitten. When. When am I gonna bite you?” Spike asked huskily as he moved in and out of her. “That’s what I want you to be asking yourself. I could do it as I push down on the next thrust.” He demonstrated his meaning. “Or the next.” He showed her. “Or I could wait to the last moment, the one right before you cum, and send you spiraling off the edge.” He nuzzled her breasts as he kept up the movements of his hips. “You…” He gave her a nip. “Just…” A little suck. “Never…” A long lick. “Know.” He bit down hard, shooting his fangs into the spot just above her right nipple. He felt her inner walls violently contract around his cock, milking him, as she screamed out his name.


“Will…” Buffy howled. It was a haunting sound, an animalistic sound, filled with need and love, and it echoed throughout the halls of the old house.


Spike collapsed on top of his girl. He was full again. The gnawing feeling he felt when she was away from him was gone.


A low laugh sounded from behind them. “The foyer again? Can the two of you never make it past the entryway?” Angelus looked down at his mates, his childer. They were the world. They were the universe. They were his entire existence. He knew without a doubt that the death of even one of them would be his undoing. His Will. His wild childe. So full of piss and vinegar. Only calmed by this tiny girl. She was so lost when they’d found her. She’d killed everything, but she couldn’t see anything, not until they had come. They picked up the lost little lamb and brought her home with them. It was the single greatest thing they’d ever done. The claiming, the mating, the binding of three entities had come soon after. Quite simply, they were one.


Spike looked sheepishly up at his sire. He let loose of the succulent nipple he’d been nursing and gave a deliberate sniff, all the while maintaining eye contact with the large vampire. “Her scent. It’s not my fault. She’s covered with the scents of others. Come smell,” he beckoned.


“I can smell her from here, Will.” Angelus’ voice rolled over his childer. “But more than the scent of others is the scent of you.” He took a step towards them. “And it smells fucking fantastic.” He gave them a great smile. The kind that promises dark things, fun things, play things.


Spike and Buffy each hopped to their feet, anxious for whatever their sire had in mind. They considered themselves to be equals; mates and siblings. They considered Angelus as sire; mate and protector. It was a role the older vampire reveled in. So many years ago, before he’d been cursed with a soul, he’d been called on to lead only when his sire was in trouble. She was perfectly happy to let him save her life, even if it meant risking his own. The only thing Darla had ever loved was Darla. When he’d come to her for care, with the soul weighing heavily on him, she’d rejected him utterly and returned to her creator, The Master.


He’d been desolate, but thankfully Drusilla had one of her visions and sent Spike off to find him. They had taken care of him and never said a word about his feeding off of vermin. They also took care to never feed in front of him. Eventually Dru had found a gypsy clan inPrague that could take away the awful curse. She hadn’t told them why they were going toPrague. She’d said it was a whim and batted her dark lashes at them. So they’d gone. After they arrived, Drusilla drug Spike out to the Gypsy camp and together they captured the clan’s patriarch. They brought him back to the hotel, and he removed Angelus’ curse, but no sooner had he done so than his clan burst into the room and attacked. They’d known what they were up against and had come well armed. The three vampires were badly wounded during their escape through the hotel window. The men hadn’t realized the extent of Drusilla’s injuries because all three of them reeked of blood from their multiple wounds. When they reached shelter she was already fading, to weak to even feed from them. They had to sit and watch in horror as she turned to dust. Her last words were a request that Spike and Angelus go toAmerica, to the city of angels. They gave her their word, along with their tears and anguish. Now when they looked at their golden girl, their last gift from Drusilla, they sent off a thank you to the wind, knowing that the pixies would pick it up and whisper it in their dark princess’s ear, wherever she was.


Angelus opened his arms and Spike and Buffy ran into them. He gave them each a nuzzle on the top of their heads. Spike, was right, Buffy did smell strongly of others. He led them into the study and onto a ridiculously tufted leather couch the color of ox blood; Spike’s choice. Angelus sat down between them, loving the feel of each of them leaning against him. He played with a loose piece of Buffy’s hair. “Tell me what you did today.”

“I went to school like you insisted,” she reminded him.


“That’s now what I meant. We’ve been over this. School is important. You need more to your education than just what Will and I can offer. Socialization is an important part of education. You need to learn how to blend in with humans. It is an invaluable tool,” Angelus spoke wisely.


Buffy gave a great sigh. “I know, you’re right. It’s just that I miss you both so much when I’m away. It’s like a great ache that just won’t stop.”


Spike rumbled a growl of agreement. Angelus placed his hand on the younger vamps thigh and gave it a long stroke. “Hush, my love. I miss her when she’s gone as well.”


“I did have something unusual happen today,” Buffy began carefully. She wanted to play. If she didn’t word this carefully, Angelus would go running out of the house with them both and take them as far away from Sunnydale as possible. Buffy was beginning to think she might actually like it here. She wanted to stay.


“What happened,” Angelus asked. He would have picked up on the hesitation in her speech if he were not so very distracted by the growing bulge in Will’s pants.


“My literature teacher called me to his office after school. He asked me where I’d been the last two years, said I was late or something,” she mumbled. She was also getting distracted, watching as Angelus made long leisurely strokes on Spike’s thigh as if he was petting him. Delicious.


Buffy’s words penetrated both men’s brains at the same time. They jerked upright and looked at her, “What!”


Chapter 3


She cringed. “You heard me. It turns out he’s my watcher. He came here a couple of years ago, thinking I’d show. I didn’t. He’s had to use Council mercenaries to maintain things while I was on my ‘bloody little holiday’,” Buffy said drolly.


Angelus shot to his feet and pointed his finger at them. “You both pack your things this instant. We’re leaving.”


Buffy turned wide eyes at Spike.


“Oh, no you don’t,” Angelus warned. “That won’t work this time. The two of you can gang up on me all you want, but there is no way in hell I’m letting the Watcher’s Council get their hands on Buffy.”


Spike stood. “Like I’d put her in that kind of danger, Angelus.”


“Are you saying that you don’t want to stay here?” Angelus questioned.


Spike threw his hands into the air. “Of course I want to stay here. I love this house. I love all of the demon activity in this town. A town which is made up of the most truly thick populous that I’ve ever encountered, promising a world of fun. None of that, however, matters a damn when it comes to her.”


Angelus gave him a nod. “Thank you, Will.” They both turned to look at Buffy. Angelus spoke, “Get your stuff packed, now.”


Buffy put out her bottom lip and let eyes fill with tears. “But I don’t wanna go. I made friends today. I think I can really stick this one out, if I just had the chance.”


"No, and that’s final,” Angelus stated. "End of story."


Buffy hung her head in resignation. She was very familiar with that particular tone. She sluggishly came to a stand, offering her most dramatic sigh. She refused to look at either one of them. She turned to leave the room and do as she was told when the doorbell rang.


Each looked at the other. Finally, Angelus put his hand up indicating that Spike and Buffy should stay put. He walked out of the study and over to the front door. He looked through the peephole. He saw a clean cut, middle aged man in a moderately priced grey suit. No one he knew.


He opened the door, careful to avoid any sunshine that made its way past the front porch. “Yes?”


The man gave a wide toothy smile and stuck out his hand. “You must be Angelus. It’s an honor to meet you.”


Angelus gave the man’s hand a shake. He couldn’t get a reading on the guy at all, and that bothered him. He seemed human but something was off. “I’m afraid I’m at a loss here.”


The man took his hand away and stuck it in his pants pocket, surreptitiously squeezing some hand sanitizer onto it. “Well, I am sorry. My bad, as the kids say today. I’m the mayor. Mayor Wilkins. May I come in?”


Angelus nodded warily. Was this guy for real? He moved aside, letting Mayor Wilkins pass through, and then he shut the door behind him. He walked the man into the front room. “Have a seat, please.”


“I will, thank you.” Wilkins sat down. “I suppose you’re wondering why I’m here?”


“It has come to mind, yes,” Angelus answered, leaning against the doorway.


“It’s about your ward, Buffy Ann Summers,” the man said, his face suddenly serious and concerned looking.


Angelus had to physically stop himself from vamping out by digging his nails into his palms. “What about her?”


Mayor Wilkins held up his hands and gave a chuckle. “Whoa there. I don’t mean any harm to the little lady. I just want to welcome all of you to Sunnydale, and explain a thing or two about our fine town. We believe in family values here, and in the integrity of our youth. Miss Summers has what you could call a bit of a checkered past. Her record came across my desk this past Monday.” Wilkins made a ‘tsk’ sound with his mouth.


“Go on,” Angelus said evenly.


“Let’s see,” Wilkins paused as if thinking. “There’s burning down the school gymnasium, death, dismemberment…” He looked at Angelus. “Do I really need to go on?”


Angelus just glared.


“I didn’t think so.” Wilkins came to a stand. “All that I’m trying to say here is that those sorts of actions won’t be accepted at Sunnydale High. No sir. Here we keep things orderly, we follow the rules, and we show our school spirit.” He made a little punching motion with his hand for emphasis. He got up and walked over to Angelus. “I’m sure we can expect exemplary behavior from Miss Summers from this point on. I bet she’ll have a stellar senior year.” It was a clear warning.


Angelus broke into a wide grin and patted the mayor on the back as he led him to the front door. “Oh, you have nothing to worry about, Mayor. Our little Buffy will be on her best behavior,” Angelus assured him. “It was hard at first, with the death of her parents and… well, everything else. But my partner and I take our responsibilities very seriously. We have Miss Summers firmly in hand.” Angelus offered a fangy smile as they reached the front door.


Wilkins didn’t so much as blink. He stuck his hands firmly in his pockets as he gave Angelus another wide smile. “I knew we would be in agreement on this. I just knew it. Tell Miss Summers I look forward to seeing her at the pep rallies.”


Angelus opened the door and stepped to the side. “Will do, Mayor. Will do.”


“All right then.” The mayor gave a final nod before turning around and heading out the door.


Angelus could hear the man whistling a jaunty little tune as he made his way down the front walk. He locked the door with a hard snap.


“Well?” Spike’s voice sounded from behind him.


“We stay.” Angelus turned around to see his childer desperately trying to hide their grins.


“Something about that man was just plain wrong. Not only did he know exactly who we are, he didn’t show any fear, not even when I flashed some fang. He’s got something big going on here.” Angelus gave his lovers a wicked grin. “You know how I hate anyone to have more fun than me.” It wasn’t even close to the truth, and everyone in the room knew it. Truth was, Angelus wasn’t entirely the vamp he used to be. Where once he would have rejoiced at bringing Hell to earth, know the idea sickened him. Buffy may be infused with his and Spike’s demon, but she was still human enough to suffer in a world like that. No, Angelus was staying on in Sunnydale for one reason and one reason only: to keep his eye on Wilkins and thereby protect his family.


Buffy and Spike stalked towards the elder vamp. “We know, baby, you’re all bad,” Buffy purred. “But what about the Watcher?”


“It looks like you’re going to have to play Slayer.” Angelus closed his eyes as he felt all four of their hands run across his body.


“Why don’t we start now?” Buffy suggested. “I’m sure I could find a stake around here somewhere.”


Both men groaned as a wave of lust hit them. ‘Slayer’ was one of their very favorite games. They both swallowed hard and gave her a nod.


“Okay, but there’s a catch,” Buffy warned. “You two have to fight completely naked.” She pulled back from them and straightened her shoulders.


Here was the tough Slayer that could bring Spike and Angelus to their knees, literally. “Strip. Now!” she commanded.


Both men dutifully did as they were told. Soon they stood before her in all their naked glory. And it was glorious. Yum. She was one lucky woman. Remembering her role, she put her hands behind her back. When she brought them forward she had a stake gripped firmly in her right hand. “Surprise,” she said with a big brilliant smile.

Both men stared in shock. How did she do that?


“Now, run.” She gave the stake a little twirl in the air and caught it again with her hand. The two vampires took off for the massive staircase. One went right and the other left, splitting up made the game last longer. Plus, if they hid together they tended to get started without her and that made her cranky.


Chapter 4


Spike always got caught first. He had this horrible habit of giggling. He just couldn’t seem to help it. This time he was determined to stay quiet. Buffy shut down those senses that tied her to them as mates, leaving her hearing as one of her strongest assets. She would be using slayer powers only in this game. Otherwise it just wasn’t any fun.


Spike knew she was close. He could feel her. He wrapped a hand around his mouth to try and hold back what was sure to be a loud guffaw.


The door opened to the room he was hiding in. Delicate footsteps sounded on the worn wooden floors. Spike quietly scooted himself back. He was hoping to seriously confuse her by hiding in the crawl space at the top of this closet. It actually spanned two rooms. He planned on moving back and forth into each room’s space to trick her. He’d discovered this lovely little hidey hole while she was at school today.


Sure enough, she turned to check the room next to this one. He scooted forward. He heard the door open to the other room. More delicate footsteps. There. She was turning back out. It had worked.


“Ghhmph.” He shoved his face into a pillow, knowing as he did so that it wouldn’t do any good.


The door to the closet flew open and a tiny powerful hand grabbed the back of his neck.


“Why do you even bother?” Buffy asked as she roughly pulled him out of the closet and onto the floor.


Spike would have answered her, but all of the sudden the laughter he’d been holding back came rushing out. He was making a pitiful attempt to fight back as she kicked the daylights out of him. He just couldn’t get a hold of himself. He knew it was irritating the hell out of her. He often got punished for not staying in character. But that was okay, he liked being punished.


Finally, she spread his arms wide with her hands and used her knees to trap his legs. She had the stake in her mouth, and in a truly amazing move she turned it with her tongue until she was gripping it head first and the end was aimed at his heart. “Yrr gegg.”


“I’m Greg?” Spike said between sobs of laughter. “Here I thought I was Will.”


Buffy spit the stake out of her mouth. “I said ‘you’re dead’!”


Spike just shook his head at her.


“What do you mean ‘no’?” She squealed in indignation.


“You can’t get enough power to stake a vamp using your mouth, Slayer. You have to get through the rib cage.” Spike’s laughter trailed off into a sigh.


“Can too.”


“Can not.”


“Can too, and I’ll prove it to you.” She sat up lettings his hand go. “Tonight we’ll go slaying.”


“Fine. But don’t whine when Angelus and I have to jump in and save your ass.” Spike said his voice changing as his hands came into contact with the item being discussed.


“No time for playing,” Buffy said. “We have to go find the Scourge of Europe and take him out.”


“You have to. I’m a vampire, an apparently dusty one at that,” Spike added.


Buffy rolled her eyes as she leaned down lightening fast and bit him hard enough to draw blood. She licked at the precious fluid and raised herself back up.


Spike’s eyes were glazed with lust and his cock was straining against her sex as she straddled him. “What was that for? Not that I’m complainin’” he asked.


“This,” she grabbed the forgotten stake and used the sharp end to slice a neat line at her wrist. She placed it in his mouth. It was her turn to be rocked by a wave of desire as his tongue lapped at her sensitive skin.


Spike reluctantly let go of the succulent offering. He pulled her down in a heated kiss as he rolled her onto her back. He pressed his length against her and moaned, “Need in you, baby.”


“I know, but we still have to get Angelus.” Buffy was having trouble concentrating. She bucked Spike off, and shook her head to clear it.


The resounding growl of anger from her mate drenched her panties. “Down, doggie. You’re a slayer now, and slayers kill vampires. We have to find Angelus.”


Spike was flabbergasted. “What? How the hell do you figure that?”


“I turned you. I made you a slayer with my blood,” Buffy said proudly.


“That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. First of all ‘one girl in all the world’ mean anything to you? Like there’d ever be two slayers. Second, only vampires can turn people with their bites,” Spike said proudly.


“Please. How about weres?” Buffy said knowingly.


“Not always.” Spike snapped. “Sometimes they’re cursed.” So there miss smarty.


“Whatever.” Buffy grabbed his hand to drag him from the room. “You are a slayer. My game. My rules. You’re William the Vampire Slayer. Or does Spike the Vampire Slayer sound better?”


Spike just trailed after her in indignation. He didn’t want to be a slayer. Slayers didn’t have bumpies or teeth. He liked his bumpies and his teeth. They made him feel all manly. He could sense that she had managed to drag him clear to their sire during his pout. He gave a tug on her hand, causing her to fall against his chest. He looked at her with his best ‘I’m hot enough to make you weep’ look. “Luv, can I be a vampire turned slayer and so I get to keep my teeth and stuff?”


Buffy looked at that face. That perfect face. Those blue eyes. That tongue placed calculatingly against his teeth. She reached up and sucked his bottom lip into her mouth. She let go and stepped away with an affirmative nod.


Spike gave her a sloppy grin. Yay, he was back in the game. He figured this just doubled his power.


They threw open the door and walked into the room like true bad asses. Which was impressive for Spike ‘cause he was naked. Angelus had his back to them. His muscled back and rounded ass gleamed in the light of the roaring fire he’d built in the oversized fireplace.


“We’re here for you, vampire.” Buffy ran the stake along the wall making a scraping sound as she entered the room.


Angelus just chuckled. His voice was gruff and Buffy could tell he was in game face. Just as Spike and Buffy were ready to pounce he turned around and grabbed Buffy by the neck, throwing her on the bed. Suddenly he was grabbed from behind and the stake that had once been in Buffy’s hand was placed firmly against his back. He turned around in confusion. “You can’t help her. You’re dead.”


Spike just grinned. “Nope, not dead. Just turned.”


“Huh?” Angelus didn’t get their games sometimes. Those two were always on the same page while he didn’t think he even had the right book.


“It’s not all that complicated, Peaches. Buffy bit me, drank my blood, and then offered me hers.” Spike said, loving that they’d gotten the upper hand on their sire for once.


Angelus tried not to laugh. He failed. He pointed at Spike. “You… you’re a slayer.”


Spike straightened up and threw Buffy a dirty look. “No, I am not a bloody slayer. I’m a slayer-vamp. That’s completely different.”


Angelus threw himself back on the bed in a fit of laughter, Buffy joining.


“Fine.” Spike turned on his heel to leave.


“Will, come back.” Angelus sobered.


“No thanks, had my fun today. I’ll just toddle off to the kitchen.” He kept walking.


Buffy and Angelus both moved across the room and blocked the door. They’d hurt his feelings and now they’d have to pay. He would make them work for it, too.


“We’re sorry, Will,” Buffy said sincerely. “Come to bed.”


Spike just shook his head. Angelus was having none of it, however. He picked his grumpy childe up and carried him to the bed. He laid him down gently and covered his body with his own. Buffy moved in on the side and started peppering kisses along his face.


“Love you,” Angelus whispered to his mate as he rubbed his length against his thigh. He felt Spike’s immediate reaction. Fuck how he loved that. Loved knowing the power he had over his beautiful boy. Such a gift Dru had left him.


“I love you too, Spike. So much,” Buffy murmured as she made her way down to the bone of his hip. She gave it a hard suck. She heard the hiss of his breath in reaction. He loved having his hip bones played with. She opened her eyes and caught a glimpse of her men. So magnificent, the both of them. She watched as their cocks rubbed against one another. She forgot all about what she had been doing. Absently, her hand slipped down between her thighs.


Spike and Angelus stilled utterly. “Is someone touching themselves?”


Uh, oh. Buffy was in trouble. She moved her hand away quickly only to have it caught in Angelus’ firm grip. He brought up to his nose and sniffed. “Delicious.” He looked at Spike. “I think someone is wearing entirely too much clothes, don’t you?”


Spike looked at Buffy and she could see the predator swimming behind his eyes. He was so playful with her that sometimes she forgot just how deadly he was. “Take off your clothes, slayer.” His voice was rough and commanding.


Buffy stood up and turned around. She bent clear over to untie her shoes, which was entirely unnecessary as they could easily be kicked off, but Spike had torn off her panties earlier and she just couldn’t help giving her mates a nice flash. She heard them growl in response. The urge to hurry hit her and she shoved it back down. She wanted to go slow, to truly torture them. She pushed one sock down and then the other. She pulled each shoe off and then toed off her socks. She straightened up and started unbuttoning her shirt. She let it fall to the floor along with her bra. Then she pushed the skirt down slowly, giving a shimmy. More growls. She turned around and walked toward them meekly.


She got to the side of the bed and kneeled down. Angelus rolled off of Spike and pushed him towards the side of the bed. Spike sat up bringing both of his legs to touch the floor on either side of Buffy. She cupped his balls with one hand and lowered her mouth onto his throbbing penis. She used her tongue to lap up the moisture that had pooled there, then she went down, pushing it into the back of her throat. She sucked hard as she drew it out again slowly. She repeated the action several times, before a rough “Stand up boy,” came from the bed.


Spike knew what Angelus was asking, and he wanted it. Fuck, how he wanted it. He stood up and moved to the side. Angelus came off the bed and stood in front of Buffy. He pulled her to a stand. He reached his hand down to her center and put two of his fingers inside of her. “Angelus!” she howled in response.


He pulled his fingers out and then scooped up the moisture dripping from between her legs. He rubbed his hands on his swollen cock, lubricating it. Then he roughly grabbed Spike by the shoulders and pulled him so that his back was against him. “I’m going to make you scream, Spike. You’ll be too damn tired to be grumpy,” Angelus warned as he spread Spike’s cheeks and entered him.


Spike threw his head back in pleasure, and sure enough he let out a scream. Oh fuck, that’s just what he wanted. He closed his eyes and moved in rhythm with his sire. His eyes flew open again as Buffy’s hot little mouth latched back onto his cock. He let out a loud growl. He loved when it was all about him. He let his mates work him into a frenzy, let the pressure build until he just couldn’t take it anymore, then he had his release. He filled Buffy’s mouth, his knees bending in ecstasy as she took all of him down.


Angelus felt Spike’s release and he let himself go. He leaned against the smaller man in exhaustion for a moment. Then he moved them all to the bed.


Buffy was lying there seriously thinking of slipping off in another room once they’d fallen asleep in order to finish off what she’d begun. Spike was in the middle of the bed so she would have ample opportunity to get out on her side and head off to the bathroom. Hot bath. That would be perfect. She let out a sigh of anticipation.


Spike chuckled, reading her thoughts. “As if.” He rolled over her as Angelus pulled her to the middle.


Angelus nuzzled her neck. “We’d never forget about you, my beauty.” He began kissing his way down her body. He reached her right nipple and drew it into his mouth, making slow lapping motions with his tongue.


Buffy felt Spike pull the other nipple into his mouth and her hips arched off the bed. She loved when they did this.


Angelus moved off her, letting his childe stay to play. He pushed her thighs gently apart and let himself feast on her juices. He used his tongue and his teeth to bring her to orgasm. He felt her thighs clamp around his head as she came, and he knew he was damn lucky he was supernatural as she surely would have crushed a lesser man. When she was done he moved up to lie beside her. “Everyone okay, now?”


The silence that met him let him know things were just fine. He started to drift off to sleep, content in the comfort of his mates, surrounded by the scent of their sex, when the thought of the dangers that surrounded them slipped back into his mind. The Council. They couldn’t find out that William the Bloody and Angelus were Buffy’s guardians. On paper, thanks to the legal team of Wolfram and Hart, they were Liam and William O’Conner. Now, how to convince a trained watcher that they weren’t blood sucking fiends so that they could find out what the mayor was up to and bring him down. That was the question.


Chapter 5


Small hands reached out to grab the staff. Quick. Snakelike. Death-like. The head went flying. So pretty the spray of blood. Often she wondered if she couldn’t create works of art this way. Manipulate the spray onto a canvas. Sell them to demons. Some demons would buy anything, especially if it was made by a slayer. She continued to contemplate the spray until a loud clearing of a throat sounded from behind her. Funny, how the clearing of a throat could still sound so decidedly British.


Buffy turned around to look at the tweed attired man behind her. Can anyone say ‘jeans’? “Is there a problem?” she asked


“I just thought perhaps we could move on to finding other, less dead creatures to kill?” Giles didn’t understand this girl at all. She had just stared down at the ground for countless moments like she could see something he couldn’t see at all.


Buffy just shrugged her shoulders. “Sure, lead and I’ll follow.”


Giles looked at her with his mouth in a tight line. Then he rubbed his temples with his right hand. “Don’t you think it best if you lead while I follow? Seeing as how I am not the one equipped with supernatural senses?” Training. Oh how this girl needed training.


“Whatever,” Buffy quipped as she turned and headed further into the cemetery. Great. Just great. Now she had to go seek out things to kill. What if she ran into someone she knew? What then? Could she just dust a vamp that she’d hung out with in clubs inL.A.? Okay, yeah she could. They’d probably look really surprised. That could be fun. She picked up her pace now that there was some sort of amusement promised. She hated being bored almost as much as Spike did.


Giles watched his charge. She was so very different. He’d never had a slayer of his own before, but he had met one or two and this one was highly unusual. She had a lack of care for her calling that he had never seen or even heard of in other slayers. What had the past two years done to her?


Buffy thought about the man following her. She’d gone to his class after school again today. She’d told him how two years ago she’d convinced her guardians that she was the slayer and that vampires were real and how they’d ‘flipped’ out and vowed to keep her away from such ‘terrible dangers’.


Giles had already been informed at a staff meeting that Buffy Summers was the ward of Liam and William O’Conner; Liam being a second cousin of Buffy’s deceased mother. He’d been told that her parents had been murdered a couple of years ago and that Buffy had suffered psychological trauma. He knew through the Council that her parents had been killed by the vampire Lothos. Now that Buffy had filled him in, he’d be able to let the Council know exactly where she had been all of this time. It would be a relief to have the Council’s operatives go back toLondon. Those men walked a fine line between right and wrong. They were natural born killers - the lot of them.


Giles looked up from his musings to see his slayer straddling a struggling vampire. “Hold still,” he heard her murmur to the trapped demon. Then she did something he will never understand. She put the stake between her teeth and proceeded to try and stake the vampire beneath her. She failed. The vampire struggled even more earnestly.


Buffy took the stake in hand and rammed it in his head. She wiggled it a little bit until he stopped moving. Then she pulled it out and put the clean end back in her mouth. It took a few tries, but eventually she was able to get enough force to push it through the chest cavity and into the heart. She watched it turn to dust beneath her with a satisfied ‘yes!’. Somewhere in the cemetery a quiet ‘damn’ was said but went unheard.


Buffy knew Spike was watching her. He was making sure that she was safe as she patrolled. Angelus was occupied elsewhere. The older vamp had come to the conclusion that the only way they were going to be able to convince the watcher that they were human was to meet the man in sunlight. To do that they needed the Gem of Amara, which was rumored to be buried somewhere in Sunnydale. Angelus had hired a crew to try and find the gem. Buffy just had to keep offering excuses as to why her guardians couldn’t meet with the watcher quite yet.


Buffy came to a stand feeling extremely proud of herself. She dusted off the vampire’s remains and gave her stake a jaunty twirl. She looked at the watcher. His mouth was hanging open. She gave a knowing nod. “That was pretty cool huh? I bet you thought that couldn’t be done?”


Giles didn’t know what to say. The term natural born killer came back to mind. Perhaps the Council operatives weren’t so terribly vicious after all. She had just, undoubtedly, played with her prey. It was like watching a cat. It was nothing like watching a human. Perhaps he didn’t know as much about slayers as he thought. He wondered, not for the first time, exactly where the slayer powers emanated from.


As he followed her the rest of the night, watching as she killed one demon after the other he came to some definite conclusions. One, the Council was right in taking these girls away from their families at the earliest age possible and raising them under their guidance. He feared he was getting a look at what an unchecked slayer was like. It was unnerving. He wondered if he shouldn’t recommend to the Council to have her terminated so that a new slayer could be called. One they would have control over.


Deep in thought, he never heard the Gorgon behind him. The first sign he knew of his near death was the grey blood that poured over him and the sudden weight of a thousand tiny snakes hissing their last against his back.


Buffy came up behind him and pulled the horrid creature off. She cut off its head and held it up in the air. “You can look at it after it’s dead. Plus this isn’t like Medusa or anything. This is just a demon that has similar attributes and hitched the name. Check it out. Totally cool. Each snake is a completely separate sentient being, but kill the biped chick and they die.” She held up the head proudly.


Giles looked at the object. She was right. It was fascinating. He’d never even heard of such a demon before. He had of course heard of the myth it was named after. “Is it safe to touch? I’d like to take it for further study.”


Buffy held the head out to him. “Safe as houses.”


He took it, wincing at the slimy feel and the funny copper smell. “Yes, quite. Thank you.” His earlier thoughts of recommending her for termination resurfaced, and then he thought about how she had just saved his life, perhaps he should give her a chance. “I would like to thank you for saving my life just then.”


Buffy turned to him and blew a great big purple bubble with her grape bubble gum. “Not a problem. It’s my job. At least I think it is. Hey, that reminds me, do you have one of those handbooky things?”


“I do actually,” Giles said absently. “But somehow I don’t think it will be of any use where you’re concerned.”


“Whatever,” she dismissed it. “Let’s go find more stuff to kill. I thought this would be totally boring, but the Hellmouth has a lot to offer.”


It would be hours later, after a long hot shower, the Gorgon head safely tucked away in a bucket with embalming fluid, Giles safely tucked in his bed, that it would come to him to wonder about how someone who has been sheltered from such ‘terrible dangers’ could know so much about demons.


Chapter 6


Angelus turned in small circles with his arms held out wide. He was squinting. It was beautiful. He couldn’t stop laughing. He knew he was drawing the attention of several humans, but he just didn’t care. This was the sun, and it was pouring down on him. He’d done it. He’d found the Gem of Amara, had to turn a few construction workers to do it, but here it was giving off the bling bling on his ring finger. He stopped his spinning and headed home. He had a goal.


“Spike!” Angelus yelled loudly from the front yard.


The upstairs windows parted and a “Bloddy hell! You did it you tosser!” sounded from above.


Angelus did one last turn for Spike’s benefit before heading to the front door. It was thrown open before he had a chance to grab the knob. He walked in and shut it behind him.


“Damn, I just saw you in the sunlight. Weird doesn’t even cut it. Wait until Buffy comes home. We can take turns wearin’ that thing and shaggin’ her on the beach,” Spike suggested enthusiastically.


Angelus just pulled him in for a kiss. “I love you, William. You know that, right?”


Spike looked into the dark brown eyes of his sire. “No doubts whatsoever.” He let Angelus pull him against him tightly.


“I have treat for you,” Angelus murmured into the top of the smaller man’s platinum locks. “I called Buffy’s Watcher. Told him you’d be coming by after school to meet him right before Buffy’s training.”


Spike pulled away and looked at Angelus. “She’s gonna shit when she sees me standing in the sunlight.” Spike leaned in and took Angelus’ mouth into his own. “Thank you for letting me surprise her like this. It means a lot.”


“I know it does, you big softie.” Angelus ruffled his hair. He loved Spike’s hair. It was perhaps the softest substance on the planet. He could spend hours just running his fingers through it. Angelus took the ring off of his finger and put it on his childe’s. He brought the younger man against him again, letting him feel the bulge of his erection. “You need to get going now. Just make sure you stand in the front yard for a moment so I can see you first. Gotta see how my boy looks in natural light.”


“As dead sexy as always,” Spike assured him as he made his way out the front door. When he saw the curtains part he turned in a circle just as Angelus had done. “See! Dead sexy!” He trotted off down the lane to the sound of Angelus’ laughter. Spike could have taken the Desoto, but he really wanted to walk.


He arrived at Buffy’s school and made his way to the front desk. There was a chubby young thing with blue/black hair and way too much eyeliner sitting sentinel. Spike gave her his most winning smile. “Hello, pet. I’m here to see my daughter.”


“School’s almost out, sir,” Gertie said with an answering smile. This guy was hot. She had no trouble believing that he was a dad, though. Lots of the dad’s were really young. Heck, lots of their students were dads already. Some people just got started a bit on the early side.


Spike gave her another smile as he let his eyes roam over her in appreciation. “I know that, luv, but I’ve an appointment with her an’ one of her teachers, Mr. Giles.” The bell sounded loudly and Spike had to cover his sensitive ears. No wonder kids’ hearing went to crap. It wasn’t the loud rock and roll, it was the friggin’ bell.


“Oh,” Gertie giggled. “That would be room 32. It’s just out these doors,” she pointed to a set of double doors behind her, “and you make a right at the drinking fountain. Enter another set of doors. Go down the left corridor and you’ll find room 32 on your left hand side. You can’t miss it,” she said brightly, thinking to herself that if he got lost the entire female populous of the school would be more than willing to help him find his way.


Spike headed to the doors giving Gertie one last smile and a parting, “Thanks.” He pushed through the doors and found himself in a courtyard. A sunny courtyard filled with an amazing amount of sexy young women. He was just about to have himself a quick sit down to admire the view when he felt her. She was approaching fast. She must have sensed that he was near. Uh-oh. He hoped she hadn’t sensed any of his lustful thoughts about the young darlings walking around in the shortest skirts he’d ever seen. Honestly, the material barely covered their arse. Damn, he did it again. He was screwed. She would have picked up on that one for sure. It’s not like he’d ever act on any of those thoughts. He was just scanning for prey.


He felt her anger mixed in with her fear. She was worried about him being here during the day. Very worried. He stepped into the shadows in case she came screeching down on him in front of everyone, dragging him to safety. So much for surprising her with a dance under the sun.


Buffy was terrified. She’d been on her way to meet Giles for training when she felt Spike close by. The only reason he would risk coming out during the day was if something terrible had happened. She opened her link to Angelus and was comforted to feel him sleeping safely. So what had driven Spike out in the middle of the day? How would she explain to everyone why one of her guardians was hiding under a fire blanket? This was so not of the good. Then as she got closer to where she could feel he was, she picked up on several lusty thoughts. The gall! Here she was worried about him and he was ogling the coeds! He was so gonna get it.


She entered the courtyard and her eyes zeroed in on him instantly. He was starring down at the ground. Like hell. She was quite sure his eyes had just now turned downward. She put her hands on her hips and marched forward. She nearly had him in her grasp when a voice sounded from behind her.


“Miss Summers,” Giles said. “Is this perhaps William?” Giles was relieved to finally meet one the mysterious men who acted as Buffy’s guardians.


Buffy gave Spike a warning glare. “Yes, this is William.”


Giles stuck out his hand. “Nice to meet you.”


Spike had rubbed his hand on the back of his pants vigorously as soon as he’d spotted the Watcher behind Buffy. He confidently placed his warm hand inside of the other man’s and gave it a hardy shake. “I’d say it’s nice to meet you, Mr. Giles, but my partner and I are quite upset about all of this.”


Giles had expected as much after the phone calls he had received from the other guardian, Liam. Funny, that the two men had the same basic name. “Yes, well perhaps that is better discussed somewhere less public. If you’ll follow me.” Giles stepped out into the courtyard in order to lead them to his classroom.


Spike went to follow and Buffy jerked him back roughly. “Are you crazy!” she hissed.


Spike stepped into the light and pulled her along with him. He held his hand in the air, letting her see the twinkling gem. He could feel her relax. It was a soothing balm to his own frazzled nerves. “Wanted to surprise you.  Didn’t really think it through though. Sorry if I scared you, luv.”


Buffy looked at him with tears in her eyes. He looked so beautiful with the sun shining down on him. “It’s okay. It would have been a great surprise if I hadn’t gotten so scared.” She pretended to trip into him, and gave him a good strong elbow in the ribs. “And if you hadn’t been eyeing other girls,” she added.


Spike let out a painful gasp. Damn, but that girl had a powerful elbow strike. He should have known she wouldn’t have forgotten about that. He whispered low, so only she could hear, “You know it was just a look, pet. I’d never touch.”


Buffy had to hide a smile. She trusted him completely, and even found his occasional roving eye somewhat charming, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t give him hell for it.


“’Sides, I was only shopping for dinner,” he reminded her a bit too loudly.


Giles turned around and caught his eye as he reached the class door. “Oh, really? What are you making?”


Spike didn’t even miss a beat as he stepped aside and let Buffy precede him into the room. “Buffy’s favorite, roasted duck,” he said, knowing full well that Buffy hated duck. She thought it was slimy.


Giles followed the strange blonde man into the room. He was dressed all in black, and he had an enormous ring on the third finger of his right hand. ‘Must be a wedding band’, Giles thought, reminding himself that Buffy’s guardians were a couple. “Please take a seat.”


Spike sat down in a desk beside Buffy. “You have to understand, Mr. Giles. To you she’s just a tool to save the world. To my partner and me; she is the world.”


Giles sat and thought about that for a moment. It was quite profound. He couldn’t relate at all. He’d never felt that way about anyone. He admired that these two men could feel so intently about a girl that they had only begun to raise two years ago. “I realize this must be hard for you, but it is her destiny. She is the chosen one. The one girl in all the world to fight the vampires. To save the world from unspeakable evil.”


Spike had to stop himself from gagging. Really. Could the fucking Council be any more pompous? Unspeakable evil. Spike gave a tight smile. “That isn’t expectable. It just isn’t. We’ll let her do this for now, but we want you and that damnable Council to find a way to transfer the Slayer power from her without killing her. Don’t think we haven’t figured out that’s how it works. We aren’t stupid,” Spike warned him.


Giles was taken completely off guard. That was indeed how it worked. He felt a blush of shame come over him. This essentially was the man’s daughter, and he had thought to kill her for convenience. “We know of no other way.”


“Then you’d better start researching,” Spike stated. He came to a stand and reached a hand out for Buffy. “I’ll be taking her home now.”


“She really needs to train,” Giles protested.


Spike turned around and gave the man a hard look. “Somehow I doubt that.” He turned and left, taking Buffy with him.


They made it out to the front of the school and down the road before Spike simply lost it. “The nerve of that man! Sitting there telling me what your duties are. I wanted to kill him so badly my teeth hurt!” He looked at Buffy who was just ogling him.


He looked so good. “You know, you look dead sexy in all of this sunlight,” she whispered throatily.


Thoughts of the Watcher slipped away. Spike gave a bit of a swagger as he walked along. “That’s just what I told the big guy. Dead sexy.”


“Mmm, the big guy. I can’t wait to see Angelus out in the sun. Did he look yummy too?” Buffy asked dreamily.


“Good enough to eat,” Spike assured her. He looked down at the ring on his finger. “Wish we could split this thing in two.” Spike said with regret.


“Can’t you cut the stone in half and make two separate rings or something?” Buffy asked as she took his hand and held it up to look at the ring. “It’s kinda pretty.”


“Angelus is having another one made to look just like this, so we can pass them off as wedding bands, but it won’t have any of the mojo. Apparently, splitting the ring would just destroy its power. We’re gonna have to take turns.” Spike gave her a look of regret.


“Damn,” Buffy muttered. There went a world of fun. “Still, one on one isn’t that bad.”


Spike looked at her with wide, disbelieving eyes. “You did not just say that.”


Buffy slipped her hand out of his and took a step to the side. She looked at him with an inviting smile. “You know, Will, I did.” Then she took off running.


Spike took off after her, laughing all the way. He caught up with her just outside of one of the cemetery entrances. “Too public,” he growled in her ear. He pulled her away and into the backyard of some poor unsuspecting elderly woman. He proceeded to show her just how ‘not bad’ one on one could be under the hotCalifornia sun.


Nora Betters leaned across her sink and stared out her kitchen window. Wow. This was better than soaps. That blonde man was dead sexy.


Chapter 7


“Oh, come on. It’s Friday afternoon. Soon to be Friday night. We have to ask her if she wants to hang,” Xander whined for the twelfth time.


Willow turned and laid a hand on his arm. It was obvious that her best friend, the secret love of her heart, had it bad for the new girl. It madeWillow sad, but she had long ago resigned herself to the fact that Xander Harris would never see her as a woman. “Look, Xander, if Buffy had wanted us to be able to get a hold of her she would have given us her phone number. You know, like when we oh-so-obviously gave her ours.”


Xander held up a finger of triumph. “Yes! I get that. But, and here comes a really big but, what if she didn’t have a phone yet. I mean they just moved here right?” Xander had thought this through. “We know where she lives. Everyone knows where she lives.” Jesse andWillow nodded. Everyone did know where Buffy lived. The old minor baron’s house had been empty for decades. No one could quite believe that anyone would be interested in owning that spooky old dump. It was rumored to be haunted. “Okay,” Xander continued, “here’s the plan. We go up to her house. Knock on her door and ask her out. I mean ask her to come out with us as a group. Not ask her out on a date. ‘Cause she’d probably just say no to that.” He looked at his friends. “Do you think she would say no to that?”


They gave him a resounding affirmative nod. Feeling sorry for their friend, Jesse made up his mind. “Okay. I’ll go with you.” He pulledWillow to his side. “And so will Willow. We’ll go right up to her spooky door and ask her if she wants to go Bronzing tonight. Okay?”


Xander’s smile was a mile wide. “Okay. It’s a date. Only, it’s not ‘cause she’d say no.”


Meanwhile, at the O’Conner household things were not looking good. The other ring that Angelus commissioned had been delivered. Now each man wore a band around their finger that announced to the world that they belonged to one another. Buffy was feeling very left out. She’d gotten quiet. Too quiet. She’d slipped out of the room and up to her own. She never slept here; it was just a refuge for thought.


Right now she was thinking that Angelus had been right. They should leave. It wasn’t just the rings. It was the whole pretending when they went out that she was their ward while they got to play the devoted couple. She knew it wasn’t true, but it hurt nevertheless. She wanted to go back toLos Angeles, but she knew they couldn’t. Angelus felt the mayor was a threat. Buffy felt the whole town was a danger to her happiness. For the first time in two years she felt lonely.


There was a soft knock on the door right before it was pushed open. Well, at least he’d tried to respect her privacy. “Yeah?” she asked looking into the blue eyes of one of her lovers.


Spike walked all the way into the room. It wasn’t finished yet. It was decorated in faded creams and blues. It was a ghost bedroom. Buffy was designing it to look as if it had belonged to a girl once, but had suffered years of neglect and now stood as a sad reminder to a time gone by. He’d imagined having some terrific sex in this room. He hadn’t imagined her coming up here to be away from them. “There are some kids at the door for you.”


Buffy perked up. Huh. Who’d have thought?


Xander, Jesse, andWillow were nervous as hell. The house and grounds were actually spookier now than when they’d been left to neglect. Buffy’s guardians made some interesting choices in landscape and design. They’d persevered, however, and knocked on the large black wooden door. They were expecting an aged butler to answer the door; they were pleasantly surprised to see a blonde haired man standing in the threshold. Well, it was pleasant for about two seconds. As soon as Xander had asked after Buffy the man’s demeanor had undergone a complete change. All three of them would swear that the temperature dropped about six degrees.


“Wait here,” the man ground out before shutting the door in their faces.


So that’s what they were doing. Waiting. Xander looked leaned into Jesse and whispered, “I always thought gay guys were supposed to be ultra friendly and stuff.”


“I know, dude. This guy was majorly hostile,” Jesse agreed.


Willow just rolled her eyes and whispered, “Hello, you are a teenage guy asking about what amounts to his daughter. Dads are like that. It’s in their programming,Willow finished as the door opened to reveal the blonde beauty that was Buffy.


“Hey, guys. What’s up?” Buffy asked. She couldn’t imagine why they were here, but she was extremely glad for the distraction.


“We were wondering if you might like to go to the Bronze later,”Willow said. She could see the grumpy guy standing over Buffy’s shoulder and thought an invitation might be more acceptable coming from another female.


“The Bonze?” Buffy asked.


“Yeah, it’s this club we go to. They have live bands and stuff. It’s pretty much the only teen hang out in Sunnydale,”Willow explained.


Buffy couldn’t believe it. They were asking her to hang out with them. It made her feel kind of good. Especially with Angelus and Spike pulling the couply thing. “I’d like that. What time?”


Xander moved in to respond. “How’s eight sound? We can meet you here and we can all go over together.”


Spike put his hand on Buffy’s shoulder. “We’ll drop her off. She’ll be there at eight. I want to check this place out before I let my daughter stay.”


Buffy stiffened under his hand. Daughter my ass. If either one of them thought she was calling them ‘daddy’ they were in for a world of surprise.


Willow lifted up a hand. “Sure, of course. That makes total sense. You need to check out the place. You should hang with us for a while, you know, get to know us. Make sure we’re not axe murders or anything.”


Spike smiled. He liked the redhead. She was goofy. “Thanks for the invitation, Red. My partner and I would love to get to know the three of you better.”


Buffy could detect the underlying meaning in his voice. She stepped back and ground the heel of her foot into his toes. “We’ll see you then, guys. Thanks.”


“Bye, Buffy,” Xander said longingly.


“Bye,” she waved as she shut the door and turned to Spike who was rubbing at his bare toes. “Did you have to invite yourselves along like that? As if I need the two of you to baby-sit me!”


Having heard the ruckus, Angelus came into the room. He’d been attempting to take a nap. “What’s wrong now?” he asked wearily. Buffy had been short tempered for the last couple of days, and quite frankly he was tired of it.


Buffy swallowed back the lump in her throat. She wasn’t used to him taking that tone of voice with her. “Nothing. Nothing’s wrong at all. I’m just going to go take a bath before we leave.” She took off up the stairs.


Angelus turned to spike with a raised eyebrow. “Where is it exactly that we’re going?”


Spike’s face was stony. He didn’t like the tension in the house. He wanted things to be like they usually were. “Buffy’s little friends came around just now. They asked her to go to some nightclub. Two of them are boys, and if I’m not mistaken the one female is gay.” He looked at his mate with determination. “I told them we’d be going to check the place out. There is no way in hell I’m letting her go out with the three of them. They’re all young and lusty.”


Angelus’ face now mirrored Spike’s. What was up with their girl? Spike was right; they definitely needed to chaperone.


Buffy walked into the club keeping her ‘guardians’ two steps behind her. They’d bitched about her clothes as soon as she’d walked down the stairs and they hadn’t stopped the entire way here. What was wrong with them? What she was wearing was far more conservative than what she’d worn back inLos Angeles. She had on a tight pair of hip hugger jeans, brown boots, and a brown and gold sheer top with butterflies embroidered on it.


Spike and Angelus stiffened as they saw the stares that Buffy was getting as she made her way across the room and over to her friends. Neither one failed to recognize the appreciative glances that both boys gave her as she took a seat.


Buffy was aware of every female, and some males, as they gave her mates heated looks. In the past, she would have just stuck her tongue down their throats and let everyone know just who they belonged to. Now, she was stuck playing their dutiful daughter. It was not a role she liked.


“Aren’t you going to introduce us?” Angelus asked as he and Spike came to stand behind her.


“Of course,” Buffy said evenly. “The female isWillow. Sitting beside her is Jesse and beside him is Xander. Guys, these are my guardians – Will and Liam.”


“Sit down,”Willow smiled up at them.


“Thanks, Red,” Spike purred. “Don’t mind if we do.” He took a seat next to Buffy. He noticed that the Xander person had firmly attached himself to his girl’s side. He thought that this would be the first of her friends that he would kill.


Angelus felt the tension in Spike. He put his hands on his shoulders to soothe him. “I’m going to go get us some drinks. Can I get you kids anything?” Angelus asked the group of teens.


“Oh, no thanks, we’re good,”Willow said with a smile.


Angelus gave a nod and walked over to the bar.


Cordelia Chase was flirting her way to a free drink when she spotted the most gorgeous man she had ever laid eyes on. Hot damn. This would be his lucky night. She was definitely going to let this one have a taste of Cordy.


“Can I have two of whatever you have on draft and a diet coke?” Angelus asked the bartender. He felt a warm hand run up his sleeve. ‘Oh, food,’ he thought.


“Aren’t you the tall, dark, and luscious one?” Cordelia said huskily.


Angelus gave her a long look from top to bottom. “The same could be said about you. Are you a student at Sunnydale High?”


Cordelia was miffed. This guy was obviously older. Usually older men didn’t try and find out just how young she was. Usually they tried very hard to avoid that subject. “Yeah, I am.”


Angelus gave a sigh. Damn. Couldn’t eat her. They were trying not to draw attention to themselves, and somehow missing teenagers might make the Watcher a tad more alert than he already was.


Buffy had noticed the school’s reigning bitch queen giving Angelus the come on. She put her hand on Spike’s leg and gave it a squeeze.


At first Spike thought she was forgiving him for whatever it was she was pissed at him for, but the slight toss of her head in Angelus’ direction clued him in on the problem. “Right,” he said slowly coming to a stand. “I’ll be right back,” he said to the group.


Spike walked up right behind Angelus and ran his hands down his arms, easily dislodging the brunette bimbo’s hand. “Hey, baby. Do you need help carrying the drinks?”


Angelus knew exactly what Spike was doing, and who sent him to do it. This was usually Buffy’s job, but for obvious reasons she’d had to send Spike. Angelus gave a low throaty chuckle. “I can carry the drinks, but I always need help from you, my love.”


Cordelia was horrified. How, oh how, could such salty goodness go over the rainbow like this! It was totally not fair. Guys like this should come with warning labels so that girls didn’t get their hopes up.


Angelus looked at the seething girl in front of him. Was princess not used to being denied? Tough. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?” he asked Cordy, and then before she could answer he moved his head back and to the side to give Spike a quick kiss. “This young lady goes to school with our daughter, Buffy. She’s a student at Sunnydale High.”


Cordelia hadn’t thought it could possibly get any worse. These were Buffy’s guardians? Everyone knew she was like adopted or something. She was all the entire school could seem to talk about, and it was pissing Cordy off to no end. Now, the little blonde bombshell had the two hottest dads in the whole wide world. Figures. She gave the blonde guy a tight smile. “I’m Cordelia Chase.”


Spike wasn’t about to waste his breath introducing himself to this chit. He’d seen the way she reacted when Angelus had said Buffy’s name. He pulled his mate’s earlobe into his mouth and whispered. “Back to the table, I want to dance.”


Angelus gave another chuckle. “That sounds wonderful, William.” He looked at Cordelia. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Miss Chase.”


“I’m sure,” Cordelia muttered at their retreating backs. Rude much? She went to join her friends and tried very hard not to notice as the two hotties danced the night away. At least she’d have something to rub in Buffy’s face at school on Monday. Buffy had two daddies. It was going to be way easy giving this one hell.


Buffy thought she was perhaps already in hell. Watching Spike and Angelus dancing was killing her. She felt a loneliness creep into her soul that made her heart ache. She tore her eyes away from her lovers and looked at the boy who was talking to her. “I’m sorry what?”


Xander cleared his throat. Couldn’t she cut him a break? It had been hard enough to ask the first time. “Would you like to dance? Everyone else is.” It was true.Willow and Jesse were cutting a rug not more than three feet away from Angelus and Spike. Buffy was about to protest when suddenly the band started a low pulsing beet that Buffy recognized well. It was Undenied by Portishead.


She came to a stand and held out her hand. “Why, I’d love to, Xander.”


Xander swallowed hard. She had a predatory look in her eyes that went straight to his groin. He let her lead him onto the dance floor. He stood there swaying side to side, just watching as she writhed all around him. It was like she was making love to the music. It was the single most erotic thing he had ever seen in his young life. He knew his dick was hard as a rock and probably very visible in his corduroy pants, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. He was enraptured.


Spike and Angelus had stilled as soon as they heard the song playing. It was one of Buffy’s favorites. They turned their heads to see her leading the whelp out to the dance floor. They watched with deadly, assessing eyes as she moved to the rhythm. When the song was over they each grabbed her by the arm and drug her out the door.


“What are you doing?” Buffy hissed when they hit the street.


“Stopping you from having sex with that human!” Spike gritted out.


“What?” Buffy tore away from them and headed to the car. She got in the back seat with her arms firmly crossed over her breasts. She was fighting back tears.

Angelus gave Spike a look and shook his head. It wasn’t that he didn’t feel the same way, but he knew that you couldn’t talk to her like that. She’d just clam up. He got in the driver’s seat and waited for Spike to slip in beside him. Then he started the car. “Buffy, what were you doing dancing like that?”


“Just being a normal teenager. Blending in like you want me to. I’m only doing what you asked.” She didn’t sound bitter. She sounded tired and very, very far away.

The rest of the drive home was made in silence. When they pulled up to the house Buffy was out of the car in a blur. She ran through the door and up the staircase to her room. She spent the first night alone in over two years. It sent a thread of despair into her heart. She would have thought they would at least try to come and get her to come to bed. Maybe they didn’t want her anymore. Maybe she’d been just an amusement, something to pass the time, like moving to Sunnydale. As each hour went by the thread around her heart tightened. By morning, she felt like she was dying.


Chapter 8


Buffy woke up completely disoriented. Something was missing. Terribly, terribly wrong. Everything. She was alone. But there was something – some new addition to herself. It was the band of desolation wrapped tightly around her heart. They hadn’t come for her.


She jumped up and headed into the shower. The water was hot, she turned it up. She felt it burning her skin as it ran lava rivulets down her body. Why couldn’t it reach inside? Why was she so cold? She dressed quickly, glad she’d put a few articles of clothing in her room. She didn’t pass by their room, not daring to disturb them. She went out of the window instead. It was quite high. She’d never really jumped from such a height before. She didn’t second guess herself though. She just stepped off the ledge and glided effortlessly to the dried lawn below.


A while later she knocked on the door to her watcher’s house. They were supposed to meet for training. She was grateful for the distraction. Something was happening to her. Something unpleasant.


Giles looked at his watch. She was late. No surprise there. He went to the door and opened it. He was prepared to give a scowl, perhaps even a bit of a lecture, but one look at her and he simply stepped aside to let her in. She looked like hell.


“I’d like to get straight to it if you don’t mind,” she said as she kicked off her shoes.




Two hours went by without either of them noticing. Giles had to admit she was amazing. Simply amazing. He’d patrolled with her a time or two, but training with her was something entirely different. She responded effortlessly to whatever command he gave her. She needed to be shown a move only once to master it. He was in awe.


They were both so caught up in what they were doing that they didn’t hear the pounding at the door, or the subsequent opening.


“Ah, excuse me?” Angelus called loudly. He could sense Buffy inside. He hated her being anywhere that he did not have an invite.


Buffy and Giles turned around in surprise.


“Oh, terribly sorry,” Giles said as he walked to the door.


Angelus grinned apologetically as held up a small white bag. “So sorry to interrupt. I tried knocking but you apparently didn’t hear me. Buffy forgot to eat her breakfast.” He waived the little bag again.


“Oh, you must be Liam, Buffy’s other guardian. Please come in,” Giles waived his hand in invitation.


Angelus gave him a grand smile. So nice to be invited. Man, he loved this ring. “Why, thank you,” he said as he walked towards Buffy and shoved the bag at her. “You missed breakfast,” he said accusingly. He was pissed that she’d left without talking with them. He always made her breakfast in the morning before she left for the day. He really did not like this attitude she was developing. That’s why he hadn’t gone to get her the night before, no matter how much Spike had begged. Something just told him to leave her alone. Let her brood all she wants.


Buffy thought about the tiny bag. She’d eaten. She felt full. In fact, the smell of the egg burrito inside the bag was making her decidedly nauseous. She shoved the bag at him and shook her head. Then she turned abruptly and ran into the bathroom kicking the door shut as she went in. She nearly missing the toilet as the content of her stomach made a violent rush upwards.


Angelus stared at the shut bathroom door for about half a second before the scent of blood hit him. He spared the slightest glance at the watcher and then he opened the door and walked in. He bent over her and drew her hair back. He felt his own knees grow week and he slid to a kneeling position on the floor behind her. He tried to offer her the comforting sounds that William would have made, but they would not come. The sight of the blood flowing out of her mouth was paralyzing him with fear.


When Buffy felt the last spasm flow through her, she leaned back against him. So very grateful for the solidity that was Angelus.


He reached over and flushed the toilet as the smell of the bile and the blood was making him queasy. He pulled her into his lap as he sat down on the linoleum. He rocked her back and forth. Finally, the comforting words were coming to him. “Shh, baby, it’s okay. It’ll be okay. You’re okay.” The words were with him now, because now he realized she wasn’t dying in front of his eyes. He could tell by her pulse and her scent that she wasn’t losing blood, even internally.


He hadn’t been able to smell that it wasn’t her own blood at first thanks to the strong scent of bile, but now he knew. The question was where and how had she gotten all of that blood in her system?


Chapter 9


Leaving Giles had been easy. He assumed his young charge had come down with the stomach flu. Entering his own home with an incredibly ill childe was another thing.


Spike hadn’t been happy with Angelus decision to leave Buffy on her own the night before. He’d stayed up most of the night worrying. He didn’t even remember falling asleep, though he must have because he hadn’t heard her leave the house. When he realized the next morning that she was gone he panicked. Angelus told him to calm down, that he’d find her. Spike had wanted to go himself, but Angelus had convinced him that would be a very bad idea. As soon as Spike spotted Buffy he’d give up the game by scooping her up in his arms and raining kisses down on her. Angelus knew how his boy operated – pure emotion.


Spike heard the car door shut. He was trying to peek through the windows but the sun was ridiculously high at the moment. When he finally caught sight of his mates his heart tightened painfully. Why was Angelus carrying Buffy? Was she hurt? He didn’t feel that she was hurt. He felt concern coming off of Angelus and he felt confusion coming off of Buffy. What was going on here?


Angelus made it up the stairs, gently cradling his precious girl. The door opened for him as he knew it would. He also didn’t hesitate as he handed her straight into Spike’s waiting arms. He shut the door and followed them up the stairs to their bedroom. He watched as Spike started to lay Buffy down on their bed. He was startled when she shook her head.


“I don’t belong here,” she muttered weakly. “Take me to my room please.”


Spike’s eyes filled with tears and he looked back at Angelus accusingly. He firmly placed her down on the bed and lay beside her. “Of course you belong here, kitten.” He kissed her forehead. She wasn’t hot. She smelled of recent sickness. Maybe it was something she ate. He looked at Angelus for answers. The big vamp just shook his head.


Angelus wanted to lie down beside Buffy, but something was stopping him. Some internal instinct said to back off. A little voice whispered that if she didn’t want to belong to them, why push it? He watched Spike stroke her hair and murmur soothing words to her. He remembered his own terror at seeing her vomit all that blood. Why wasn’t he holding her? He forced himself to walk over to the bed and pull them both into his arms. Instantly he felt better. All of the former doubts disappeared. This is how things were supposed to be. They were a family. For a moment he thought he heard a growl sound deep inside of his brain.


When Buffy was good and asleep, Angelus motioned for Spike to get up and follow him. Spike reluctantly slipped out from under Buffy as he followed Angelus into the bathroom. Angelus shut the door as quietly as he could, not wanting to wake Buffy.


“What the hell is wrong?” Spike hissed in a low voice. He wasn’t happy with the way things were going lately. Buffy was distancing herself from them and Angelus was letting her. It was wrong. All wrong.


“I don’t know,” Angelus said in frustration as he ran a hand through his spiked up hair. “She was training with the Watcher. Everything sounded fine. I could hear her moving from outside of the house. I came in and handed her a breakfast burrito I’d picked up at a drive-through. She took one look at it and made a dash for the bathroom. She started throwing up. I was going to just let her stay in there by herself, get it out of her system,” Angelus paused. Why had he been going to do that? Since when did he abandon one of his mates when they needed him? “Anyway, I smelled blood, lots of it. So I went into the bathroom.” He looked at Spike with anguished eyes. “Will, I thought, I thought we were losing her. I really did. She was vomiting blood. It looked like something you did after one of your benders, only I knew she couldn’t have borrowed blood inside of her. That it had to be her blood, but when she was done… I could tell, it wasn’t her blood. I don’t know where she got it, and I couldn’t tell through the smell of the bile what it was. Something’s not right. I’m scared.”


Angelus never admitted to being scared. That scared Spike even more than thought of Buffy somehow ingesting a bunch of blood. He looked at his sire. “Do you think it’s the mayor? Or maybe the Watcher? Do you think they’ve put a mojo on us?”


“I don’t know, maybe.”


Spike looked at Angelus. “You have to stop pushing her away. You need to hold her close. Whatever is happening, I think someone is trying to push us apart. Make us weak. And you’re falling right into their hands, mate. Gotta stop that. Gotta hold on to what’s yours.”


Angelus knew Spike was right. “I don’t want to push her away, it’s like I’m compelled to do it. I think someone is controlling me.”


Spike moved towards his sire, gently pulling him into his arms. “If someone is controlling you, mate, there’s a good chance it’s family. We haven’t heard from Darla in the last hundred years.” Spike knew he would have to be the strong one for his family. Darla had never been able to control him. It was a combination of things. She was three generations removed from him so the link was a bit weaker. But more than that was Spike’s own personality. He wasn’t easy to control. Dru had done it through her feminine wiles and never her call as his sire. The same thing went for Angelus. It was due to his adoration of the man as his mentor that he’d followed him originally, and then eventually it was due to love. Spike wasn’t ruled by convention. Spike was ruled by his heart.


Angelus let Spike comfort him. It felt good to just give everything over to the younger vampire. “I thought about Darla on the way over here. It could be any of a number of people working to destroy us, but she’d get the most pleasure out of it. We need help. We need to call in someone who can detect magic. Offer us some protection spells.”


“That we do,” Spike agreed. “But in the meantime. You need to hold onto our girl. Don’t let anything stop you. When you feel like backing away from her. Don’t. Go to her instead. I want you to promise me that you’ll do this.”


Angelus looked into Spike’s deep blue eyes and nodded his head. “I promise.”


“Good, now let’s get back to where we belong.” Spike let go of Angelus and made his way back into the bedroom beside Buffy.


She opened her eyes as he lay next to her. “I shouldn’t be here. I’m not really a part of you. I need to be in my own room.” She started to get up.


Spike wrapped her tightly in his arms, refusing to let her go. He felt the bed shift as Angelus took up position beside her and did the same.


“What makes you say that, luv?” Spike asked.


Buffy shook her head. Now that they were all three lying there together she didn’t feel the same compulsion to get away. “I don’t know. It’s the strangest thing. I keep getting the feeling that you don’t want me. That I’m interfering. It started with the rings. You both have rings that say you belong to one another. I don’t have anything like that. Then it just got worse. The more I stay away from you, the more I want to stay away from you.” She turned frightened green eyes to him. “What’s wrong with me, Spike? Am I right? Do you guys want me to leave?”


Spike’s voice broke on a sob. “Fuck no, baby.” He held her even tighter. “Never want you to leave. I’ll die the day you leave. Someone’s just messing with us. We’re gonna find out who, and we’re gonna kill them dead,” he promised.


Buffy let out a giggle. “Is there another kind of killing other than dead?”


Spike chuckled back as a few tears slipped out of his eyes. “Always the smart ass, Summers.”


She stiffened. “That’s another thing. How come you two are O’Conners and I’m a Summers?”


Angelus kissed the side of her temple. “That’s something I’ll take care of tomorrow along with getting a ring made for you. I’m so sorry I’ve been pulling away from you, Buffy. I don’t know what’s gotten into me. It has to be a spell. I love you so much. Just as much as I love Will. The two of you are my entire existence.”


Buffy’s shoulders started to shake. It felt so good to be back where she belonged. “I love you both. I hate being apart form you. Even if it was just one room and one night. It felt so very wrong.”


“It was wrong,” Spike stated emphatically. “Not gonna happen again. I’m not gonna let it.”


“Good,” Buffy breathed a sigh of relief.


“Buffy?” Angelus asked. “Can you tell us how all of that blood got in you?”


Buffy didn’t understand what he was talking about for a moment. Blood. Oh, blood. All of that blood that had come flowing out of her mouth not more than forty-five minutes ago. Yuck! “I don’t know. I got up really early. I tried to be quiet. I didn’t want to bother you guys. I didn’t go out the front door. I went out my window. Beats the hell out of me why I did that.” She shook her head to clear it. Things were kind of fuzzy. “Then I went straight to Giles.” She remembered the way he’d looked at his watch. “He seemed kind of annoyed that I was late. But I wasn’t late, I was early. I left the house around seven. It just doesn’t make since.”


Angelus reached over and grabbed the phone. He knew the Watcher’s number by heart. He’d memorized it in case they ever needed to get a hold of him fast.




“Yes, hello. This is Liam, Buffy’s guardian. I was wondering at what time Buffy had gotten to your house this morning. She’s a little disoriented from the throwing up.” He realized he wasn’t giving an actual explanation of why he wanted to know. Oh, well.


Giles didn’t seem to notice a thing. “She was quite late, actually. She was supposed to have been here ateight a.m. but she didn’t arrive until eight-twenty.”

“Thank you, Mr. Giles. You’ve been very helpful.” Angelus hung up the phone.


“Assuming it would take you twenty minutes or so to walk to Giles’ place. You lost an hour, baby.”


“An hour?” Buffy was scared. “What’s happening to me?”


“I don’t know,” Angelus admitted. “But we’re sure as hell going to find out.”


Chapter 10


Buffy woke up much happier than she had the last time. She looked at the clock. It was aquarter after 3 in the afternoon. She’d slept the day away. She was rested and feeling very loved, but much in need of a shower and a good teeth brushing. She started to ease her way from between her mates. Arms and legs held her tight.


She laughed, “Calm down. It’s okay. I’m just gonna head to the bathroom.” They still didn’t let her go. “You know the little room right inside of this room? The one with the little, itsy-bitsy window that not even I could possibly crawl out of?”


They let her loose and she crawled out of bed. She walked to the bathroom discarding clothes as she went. It drove Angelus crazy, he was such a neat freak, but that’s why she loved doing it. She shut the bathroom door and turned on the water. While she was waiting for it to heat up, she went to the bathroom, brushed her teeth, and washed her face. Then she stepped into the hot streams of lovely, lovely water. Ahh… Heaven. She lost herself in the sensation.


Spike was laying with one foot over Angelus’. He was trying to be patient. Let Buffy have all the time she needed to relax. Patience, however, was not his strong suit. “How long’s she gonna be? How long does it take? Hot water’s probably gone off by now!”


Angelus looked at the clock. It was4:00. He frowned. That was a bit long. He sat up and listened. He could here the water, but not the heartbeat. “Shit!” He flew out of bed and into the bathroom. Empty. Spike was right behind him.


They each tore out of the room and split up to search the house. They met back at the kitchen in defeat.


“Where the hell is she?” Angelus yelled.


Spike ran a hand through his messed up locks. “Don’t know. We were both awake. Can’t see how she could have gotten past us.”


“I’m going to beat the shit out of her when we find her,” Angelus promised as he slipped into vamp face.


Spike stilled. He looked at his sire. “Angelus? Tell me exactly what you are feeling right now?”


“Anger. I feel angry and like she’s just not worth it!” He looked at Spike in horror.


“Something’s got a hold of you again, and Buffy too I’d bet. All I feel is panic and love.” He walked over and held his hand out. “Give me the ring, please.”


Angelus took off the ring and exchanged it for Spike’s. “Find her. And both of you come home safely. I love you both so much. I don’t know what’s happening to me.” He slumped into a chair and hung his head between his knees.


Spike got down low and raised Angelus’ chin up. He kissed him softly. “It will be okay. I will bring her back safe and sound, and together we’ll find whoever is doing this to us and we’ll kill them slowly. That is a promise.”


Angelus just nodded his head.


Spike got up and took off out the front door. Their connection as mates was completely nonexistent at the moment. He still had her scent, had tasted her blood, he could track her anywhere. He couldn’t however, run around in full vamp face in the middle of the day. He relaxed his senses and concentrated on picking up the unique scent that was all Buffy. He walked in circles around the house. He finally found it outside the door of the kitchen. He took off in a running lope.


A while later he was walking along Date Street following the trail, when suddenly it just stopped. He backed up a few spaces. He looked down. A man-hole. He glanced about to make sure no one was looking, and then he lifted the lid and went down. At the bottom he was able to easily pick up her scent again. He followed it down a tunnel. He walked on for what felt like miles, twisting and turning. Finally he came to a place in the tunnel wall that had been chiseled out. He got down on his hands and knees and entered another short tunnel that opened into a cave. He could smell many vampires here. This was a nest. He looked about. Well, it used to be a nest. He reached down and sifted his fingers through one of about five piles of dust. It was fresh. He walked around the room. He could smell traces of Buffy’s blood here and there. She’d been here. Done some major damage, too.


There was no other exit for the cave so he went back out the way he’d come. He picked up Buffy’s scent again and started moving forward. Eventually it stopped. He looked up and sighted another man-hole. Time to go out. He climbed into the fresh air and lifted his nose. He wasn’t that far from Date Street again. He followed the trail, sure enough it lead back to Date and from there straight back home.


He ran into the house. He found Angelus still in the kitchen with his head between his knees. He looked up forlornly as Spike entered the kitchen.


“She’s in here. I traced her right back here. She’s home,” Spike said.


“Of course I’m home. Where else would I be?” Buffy asked as she came into the kitchen in her white bath robe. She was running her fingers through her still wet hair.


“You were gone!” Angelus growled.


“Was not. I was in the shower like I told you I would be. I just got out,” she said defensively.


Spike walked up to her and sniffed her breath. He looked at Angelus and closed his eyes tightly. “Blood. Vamp blood. I found five piles of dust in a cave in the sewers. She’d been in there. She’d lost some blood.”


“Take off your robe, Buffy.” Angelus came to a stand and walked over to her slowly.


“Okay,” Buffy was confused. What were they talking about? She dropped her robe to the floor. She heard both men gasp and she looked down. She was covered in cuts and bruises as if she’d been in a really big fight.


“You lost time again, luv,” Spike said softly not wanting to spook her anymore than she was.


She looked at her lovers. “What time is it?” There was a clock on the wall. One she’d hung up herself, but her mind was frozen with dread.


“It’s almostfive o’clock, baby,” Angelus walked over to her and drew her into his arms. She laid her head against his chest and sobbed.


“What’s happening to me? Spike said I smelled like vamp blood. What did he mean?” She was afraid she knew the answer.


“It means you fed off a vampire. Maybe a couple.” Angel held onto her tightly as she tried to get away from him.


Spike saw the struggle and moved in. He was a second to late as he was hit by Angelus’ overgrown frame and knocked to the ground. Both men immediately jumped back to their feet.


Buffy was backing away from them in horror. “No, you have to stay away from me. I’m dangerous. I could hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you. I love you. Please don’t come any closer.” She was sobbing every word.


“Buffy, listen, kitten. Listen to Spike. You have to stay with us. As close as possible. I have a theory. This thing only takes a hold of you if we aren’t together.” He pleaded.


She kept backing away. “I don’t care. I don’t care what it does to me. So long as you’re both safe. I can’t lose you. Anything but that.”


“Think, baby. It has Angelus too. Do you want to allow it better access to him? It’s messing with his mind and his heart. You gonna let anything do that? Stay with us and we stay strong. If we lose you, Buffy, we’ll both head out to the next sunrise, and neither one of us will be wearing the damn gem. Do you understand me?” Spike was feeling desperate. He was already calculating how long it would take him to run to the basement and get the chains.


But Buffy threw herself back into their arms. “I don’t want to hurt you. Promise me that you won’t let me hurt you!”


“We wont’,” Angelus assured her. “Don’t think you would anyway. This thing might get you to lose time and memory, but it can’t be stronger than our love. Spike said some things to me… I need to put my emotions first with you both. I keep thinking that makes me weak, but I’ve been wrong. That’s what keeps us strong. If I start to push you away again, just grab me and hold on. Don’t let me go. Okay?”


“Okay,” Buffy agreed.


Spike was silent. He realized he was the only one of them unaffected enough to deal with this. He had some phone calls to make. They needed help of the magical sort.


Chapter 11


Spike looked out the window at the young woman walking up the front steps. She was lovely. She had natural blonde hair that flowed down in a wave of silk against her back. Her eyes were wide and full just like her lips. She would make a luscious meal. He gave himself a mental smack upside the head. This one wasn’t food. They needed this one. She was a witch.


Spike didn’t care much for magic but he’d been with Drusilla long enough to learn a trick or two. Last night, after he’d calmed his mates and put them back in bed, he’d opened a small chest that had once belonged to his dark princess. After a little reading and some light casting, he’d come up with the location of the nearest witches. Their whereabouts played in his head like a mini-movie. He’d had three to choose from. Two went to school with Buffy – her friendWillow, and some chit Spike hadn’t heard Buffy mention named Amy. The third was at the college, and oh so conveniently tacking up a service flyer with her phone-number all over it.


Spike had rung her first thing this morning. He’d told her that his daughter was having trouble with her English homework. Today being a Sunday, the lovely witch said she’d come right over. And here she was.


“Buffy,” Spike hissed. He wanted Buffy to open the door and lure the girl inside. She was bound to be able to read auras, and while Buffy’s probably wasn’t too pure, Spike’s would surely send her running.


Buffy ran out of the study and over to the front door just as the bell chimed. She opened it with a big smile. Her first thought was ‘Wow’ this girl is a major hottie. “Hi, I’m Buffy,” she said cheerily as she stuck out her hand.


Tara gave the excited girl a big grin in return. The child’s aura was definitely conflicted. It ran with many shades. The girl’s initial thought had been powerful, however, and it had seeped out toTara. ‘A hottie’Tara thought stifling down a giggle. She could live with that. She took Buffy’s hands in her own. There was something wrong with the girl. Seriously wrong. A frown exploded onTara’s face and she went to take a step back.


Buffy, still holding onto the woman’s hand jerked her inside with one pull while Spike slammed and locked the door behind them. The woman immediately began to struggle. Buffy held onto her tightly, careful not to crack any of her ribs. “Shh, calm down. We just need your help. Someone has put a spell on me and one of my mates. We need you to help us break it. You’ll be safe here. I give you my promise.”


Spike spoke up from behind the captured girl. “I also give you my promise,Tara. That’s a beautiful name for a beautiful girl. We just need your help.”


“I’m not that powerful. I just dabble really,”Tara pleaded. She was terrified. Terror wouldn’t get her out of this situation. She ceased struggling and closed her eyes. She said a chant to clear her head. She didn’t know any spells powerful enough to get away from them, but she could at least be in control of herself. “What’s wrong?” she asked as she opened her eyes.


“Promise not to run?” Buffy asked her.


Tara nodded. “I promise.”


Buffy let her go and took a step away from her. “Not that I minded holding onto you. Luscious. That’s the best word to describe you.” Buffy gave her an appreciative leer. “And I mean that in an entirely non I’m gonna eat you kind of way,” Buffy added.


Tara just looked at the girl and took a deep breath. This was not good. On the other hand she didn’t get called luscious very often. “What do you want me to do?”


Spike come up to her. “I want you to check out my mates. See if you can tell what kind of spell is being used on them. Then I want you to help me break the spell. Then I want you to help me trace the spell back to the assholes who cast it so I can rip their spines out after several days of excruciating torture.”


“Okay,” Tara said reluctantly. What else could she say? No? Probably not.


Buffy put her arm through Tara’s. “Come with me. I want you to meet my other mate. He’s just as thoroughly sexy as this one. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.”


“I’m sure.”Tara swallowed painfully. She let the girl lead her into another room. It was a cross between an office and a library. It was decorated far less goth then the rest of the house appeared to be. Sitting in a leather highboy was a drop dead gorgeous specimen of manhood. That’s where the appeal was lost onTara. She just didn’t go for the manhood part.


Angelus got up to greet their guest. He took her hand in his and raised it to his lips. “Beautiful,” he breathed as he kissed her hand, making sure to blow a cool puff of air across her knuckles.


“Vampires,” Tara said resignedly.


“Yes, but we aren’t going to hurt you. My mates promised. I also give you my word that if you willingly help us no harm will come to you by our hands.” Angelus motioned for her to take a seat.


Buffy and Spike had curled up together on the ox-blood couch. Angelus went back to the highboy. That leftTara the option of sitting next to the creepy couple, or taking the wooden window seat. Not much of a choice really. She sat down on the hard wood. Briefly, she wondered what would happen if she threw the curtains open wide. Would the sunlight protect her? Would it burn them? Probably, it would just send them scurrying backwards with her stuck standing in the sunlight, pounding on some window with wrought iron bars behind it. Nope. Better just play along.


“Can you see anything in our auras?” Angelus asked the nervous woman.


“Yes,” Tara said. “You and the girl are both heavily magiked. It’s a spell on the girl, but for you it something else. It has a connection to your demon. It’s like you’re being pulled or put in a thrall.”


Angelus looked at Spike and Buffy. “A family matter then. We thought as much.”


“Can you try and figure out what kind of spell has been placed on my mate? We need help,Tara.” Angelus said as he came up to her. “We want you to give it willingly. We’ll turn you if we have to in order to get your cooperation. I’m desperate,Tara. This is my family. This is my world.” He laid open everything he was to the girl, letting her know just how serious this was to him.


Tara felt the force of emotions come off him and it sent her head backwards. She lifted her neck up and took as steadying breath. “Whoa, okay. I’ll do what I can.”


“Great,” Angelus exclaimed as he took a few paces backward. He didn’t want to crowd the poor creature. She was such a treat. He really wished they could eat her, but a promise is a promise. “I’m Angelus by the way. Spike and Buffy were the two who met you at the door. Buffy is somewhat human. Spike and I are vampires as you guessed. The three of us are mated. It’s something like a human marriage, only without the divorce. We take the ‘til death do us part’ very seriously.”


Tara admired them in some ways. She could see the connections flowing between them, as well as the dark magic that was trying to tear them apart. “I’ll need some supplies. I don’t know that much really. I’m just starting to learn about my craft.”


Spike turned to her with a gentle smile. He’d decided he didn’t want to eat her anymore. She was fun to watch. All nervous and confident at the same time. “I have all the ingredients you’ll probably need and I have several books on witchcraft that you are welcome to borrow. They belonged to a beloved who has passed on.” He got up, not looking to see if she would follow.


Tara decided that he offered the most warmth out of the three of them and wasted no time in following him from the room. Plus, she was intrigued by the offer of the books.


Angelus waited until they’d left the room before he strode over to the couch and picked Buffy up. He carried her out to the front room and placed her gently down on the large faux bear rug. He started the gas fire up and then lay down beside her. He pulled her gently into his arms. “We’ll get this figured out, baby. I can’t let anything come between us anymore. You and William are my everything. You have to believe that.”


“I believe it, Angelus. I believe it with everything I have in me.” She snuggled against him. “What are we going to do about school?”


“Don’t suppose they’d let me go to class with you?” he whispered into her ear as he gave the lobe it a not so gentle nibble.


“Don’t do that. You know how I get when you bite me. That delightful girl is nervous enough. The last thing she needs is to walk in on you and I shagging on the bear!” Buffy giggled.


Angel laughed in agreement. “I’m just trying to keep the bond strong, so you don’t go wondering off, and so I don’t pull away from you. I have an idea about our lovely witch. She would make a great match for your friendWillow.”


“What? Huh?” Buffy babbled. “Willow totally has a thing for Xander.Willow’s not gay.”


“Oh, she’s gay. Never doubt my ability to sense the desires of a human.” Angelus had moved on to her neck. He was seriously thinking of breaking his own rule on visible marking.


Buffy ground her butt against his erection. “If you came to this discovery based on the fact that she is the only female on the planet not to find you completely irresistible, than I’m gonna have to have a laugh at your fragile ego.”


“It’s not my ego. It’s having two and a half centuries of knowledge under your belt, baby.Willow is gay. She’d make a hell of a vampire. Xander is mostly straight, though he’d be bi as a vampire, and he’d make a good vamp too. Jesse is as straight as they come. He’d make a very mediocre vampire. Personally, I think he’s only good for food.”


Buffy hit him playfully. “You don’t get to eat my friends or turn them.” She got quiet. “Even if I  might have been eating some of yours.”


“Shh, love. Don’t go there. I doubt you ate anyone we knew, and even if you did? As if we’d care,” he scoffed. He put his hands against the outside of her shirt, giving each breast a firm squeeze as he pushed himself against her.


Spike came into the room and just looked at them both. “Could you two knock it off with all the lustiness. You’re interfering with Glenda’s mojo.” He didn’t wait for an answer as he turned on his heel and left the room as quickly as he’d come.


Buffy turned herself around to look into Angelus’ brown eyes. She giggled. “He’s already given her a pet name. That means he likes her.”


Angelus nodded. “Yep, damn it. That takes her right out of the food chain. Stupid Spike and his big heart.”


Buffy giggled again. “You know you love it. Plus, that’s the reason we figure he’s not affected by all this crap like us. Spike thinks with his heart first. We need to work on that, lover.”


“That we do,” Angelus agreed as he pulled her in for a tender kiss.


Chapter 12


Tara laughed again at what the weird vampire was saying. If he wasn’t all evil she could actually see them hanging out. Currently he was doing a really bad job of trying to get her interested in some friend of Buffy’s. It was a really bad job because apparently the young woman in question is so far in the closet that she doesn’t even know there is a closet. Not exactly promising.


“Spike,” she said with a smile. “Give it a rest. I’m not looking for love right now. Okay, who isn’t always looking for love in some way, but what I’m trying to say is that I just got into college. I’m learning to be me right now. Plus, I wouldn’t be good for a girl like that,”Tara finished quietly.


Spike picked up on something deep and dark. The predator in him perked up and leaned into the witch. “What do you mean exactly, pet?”


Tara had been raised not to tell. It was her biggest shame. Looking into Spike’s yellow eyes, she realized that for once she could say it out loud. This creature would not think her unnatural. “I’m not human. Not purely human. I’m unclean.”


Spike sniffed the air. “Smell clean to me.”


Tara hit him in the shoulder. “That’s not what I mean and you know it!”


Spike laughed. He loved that she’d hit him. Wasn’t afraid of the bumpies that had erupted at the scent of her secret. “Okay, let’s dish it out straight then, shall we? What the bloody hell are you going on about?”


“My mom was part demon, and I’m part demon too. It runs through the women in my family.”Tara looked down at the spell book in her hands as if it was suddenly the most interesting thing she’d ever seen.


“You’ve got to be shittin’ me!” Spike exclaimed. “Who told you that rot? Runs in the women in the family. Got news for you, Glenda, if demon blood is in your family line it doesn’t discriminate from males and females. It just is. No different than human races. You add some Italian to some German and you get little German/Italians. Boys and girls. Get it?”


Tara thought about what he’d said. It made sense. In fact it made complete sense. She looked up at Spike. “You’re right. My brother must be part demon than too. My father is probably just in denial. H-h-h-e d-d-doesn’t like abnormalities.”


It was the first time Spike had heard her stutter so badly. He decided then and there to track downTara’s family and have a nice chat. Okay, not so much chat as rip and tear. He opened his mouth wide, “Angelus! Buffy! Get you’re sexy arses in here!”


He looked down atTara. “We’ll solve this problem right quick.” He turned to look as the loves of his existence came into the room.


“You rang?” Angelus asked drolly.


“Glenda thinks she’s part demon. Right ashamed of it, too.” Spike explained.


“I didn’t mean…”Tara tried to apologize for any insult she may have given.


“Oh, please,” Buffy interrupted her. “No need for sorries.” She bent down to the same level as the other girl. She leaned in and then back out again. She rolled her head around until she was back at eye level with the witch. “No demon. All human. Just witch.” She got up and let Angelus slide beside her.


He just looked deeply into her eyes. Then he turned back to his mates. “Nope. She’s pure. No demon blood.  Not a drop of evil in her. Disappointing.”


Spike looked atTara with a smirk. “My mates are experts. My girl here is the Slayer. She’s got a sense for the demon. Built to kill them. Our sire is just canny as hell when it comes to reading people. Pretty good myself, but no one has the depth that he has.”


Angelus pulled Spike back quickly so that he was resting against his chest. He leaned down and bit into the younger man’s neck. He took a swallow of blood and then licked the wounds shut. “William, you say the sweetest things. How close are the two of you to being done? I feel like renewing claims.”


Spike’s pants suddenly grew uncomfortable. He turned so that he was facing Angelus, not wanting to shock the innocent witch with his erection. “We’ve pinned the spell that is being used on Buffy. Still working on the ingredients for an anti-spell.”


“What does the spell do exactly?” Buffy asked. She had taken a seat on the floor and pulled one of the old books into her lap.


“It brings out the slayer in you. The slayer powers are originated from a demon. One who hunts and preys off of vampires for food. Spike told me about the blackouts and the blood,”Tara told the young woman. For some reason Buffy brought outTara’s mothering instincts. It was everything she could do not to go over to the girl and wrap her in her arms. She wondered what a slayer was doing with two vampires.


Buffy put the book down and looked at her mates. “So, I’m meant to use you as food? That’s just…”


Spike rolled his eyes. He walked over to the stupid chit and lifted her onto his lap as he sat down on the floor. “Listen, you silly bint, how’s that any different than what Angelus and I are? We’re vampires and we feed off of humans, but you still love us and trust us. Never did think we were going to eat you, did you?”


Buffy shook her head as she buried herself against him. “No, you’re right. You’re always right.”


“Smart girl,” Spike agreed as he held onto her.


Angelus looked at his loves and then back atTara. “Can you see why I love them so much?”


“Yes,” Tara admitted, “it is easy to see the love you three have. It moves all through you. It’s really beautiful.”


Angelus gave the girl a rare genuine smile. “Do you think we can trace whoever is doing this?”


“Yes. I know we can. I just need some of your blood. It’s definitely someone related to you. We can scrye for their location. Then you can do what you need to do, but if I were you I’d wait. We’ll break the spells and weaken the connection between you and your family. If you wait a week or so, I can try to come up with a protection spell. Something powerful. I know of some one who uses markings, like tattoos, that bind the body against powerful magiks.” Tara had met an old man at a magic store inSan Francisco that could do such things.Tara was pretty sure he wouldn’t work on vampires, but he had offered to teach her the technique, and she thought now would be a good time to take him up on his offer.


Angelus and Buffy went back to their rug, while Spike andTara worked the spells necessary to completely free Buffy and to loosen the ropes around Angelus considerably. She showed Spike some preliminary protection spells he could use while she was gone. Spike got out his wallet and handedTara several hundred dollars. “Listen, I’m going to arrange a hotel for you to stay at. This is just spending money. That includes some pampering for yourself, you hear me! You gonna be okay with missing school for a week?”


“Yes,” Tara assured him. “I’ll be fine. I’m going to say it was a family emergency.”


“I can bite you and give you a quick protection claim if it will make an honest woman out of you,” Spike offered, sensing how much the woman before him hated lying.


Tara gave him a glorious smile. “You are the weirdest person I have ever met. Such a mix of evil, love, loyalty, and oddly enough, integrity.”


Spike would have blushed if he’d fed recently. “Always been an odd duck,” he admitted.


“Well, Spike, the world needs odd ducks. It keeps things interesting. No, I don’t need you to bite me, but thanks for the offer. It was actually quite sweet.” She headed for the door, offering a little wave at the snuggling couple on the carpet. “You can pay me back by setting me up with that redhead you mentioned.”


“Told you so,” Angelus said from deep within the room.


Spike laughed. “Will do, Glenda. Now I’m going to call you later and let you know where the hotel is. Call us when you get in so we know you’re okay.”


Tara promised she would as she left the strange old house and its even stranger occupants. As she walked home she thought over the day’s events. Maybe things weren’t as black and white as her father had taught her. Maybe it all depended on perspective. If you were a vampire, feeding off of humans wouldn’t be any more evil than human’s eating fish and chicken. It was simply what you did. She laughed at the irony - for the first time ever she was free from the thought of her demon blood, and for the first time ever she realized she really wasn’t bothered by it. Perspective.


Chapter 13


Buffy walked through the halls of school on Monday morning with terrible thoughts running through her head. Angelus had decided that as long as the spell on her was broken, it would be safe for her to attend classes. Buffy didn’t share his confidence. Images of her classmates necks firmly wedged between her gaping jaws kept popping into her mind. Logically, she realized that her classmates were not vampires and therefore should not incite whatever primordial slayer thing had been awakened in her, but she was still a teenaged girl and the fear of embarrassment was paramount. She wasn’t worried about hurting anyone on a moral basis. Nope. It was far more banal than that.


“Oh, look, it’s the girl with two daddies. Do you call each of them daddy, or is one daddy and the other papa?” Cordelia’s derision floated across the hall and rested on Buffy’s ears.


Buffy stiffened. A clear vision of Cordelia’s head resting in her lap a good three feet away from her body, entered Buffy’s mind. Now, that was one gruesome image that was entirely welcome. She had a genuine smile spread across her face as she turned to look at the cheerleader and her cronies. “I’m sorry Cordelia if the thought of someone having two caring parents makes you uncomfortable. I realize we’re from entirely different worlds.” Buffy turned gracefully and headed into her class, leaving Cordelia staring after her hatefully.


Buffy took her usual seat in Giles’ class and opened her notebook. She really didn’t want him to ask her how she was feeling. Angelus had called the man and told him that Buffy had a stomach virus. Somehow, Buffy doubted the Watcher would leave it at that. She expected an inquisition. She bet slayers didn’t even get sick. She certainly never had since she’d been called. Of course, shortly after she was called her blood was infused with that of two master vampires. She might be a slightly souped up version of a slayer. Like a SuperSlayer. She let out a little giggle.


“Care to share what you find so humorous, Miss Summers?” Giles had started the lecture during her reverie. As usual his Slayer was one of the many who did not seem to notice.


Buffy looked past Giles to the board. More Manfred. Angelus and Spike had given her all sorts of juicy details on this work. She looked at Giles with wide, innocent eyes and said, “Just thinking about demons. If I’d known Manfred, I could have…”


“That’s quite alright.” Giles rushed to interrupt her. He made a mental note not to call on her in class and to skip Dr. Faustus altogether. “If you could just listen to the lecture like everyone else, please.”


“Of course,” she said sweetly, and she did.


Later in the day she found herself surrounded by the usual group. They were all talking animatedly about Friday night. They wanted to know where she’d gotten off to. Buffy vaguely remembered that night. Oh, that’s right! She’d been dancing with Xander, and by the way he was sitting entirely too close to her, he’d apparently taken it to mean a heck of lot more than it did. Great. Just great. She was thinking it might just be easier to get Spike to eat him then it would be to convince him she only wanted to be friends.


“Buff? I asked if you were going to eat that.” Xander pointed down to her untouched slice of pizza.


Buffy followed the line of his finger and her stomach rolled over. She shook her head violently and pushed the offending plate towards him. No. No eating. She’d told her mates that she was still feeling queasy. That wasn’t even close to describing the problem. Nope. The only thing that sounded appetizing was blood. Lovely, borrowed blood spiced with demon. The feel of it in your mouth. The struggling body. The way it would turn to dust in her embrace. Images of what she’d done had started to make themselves known during the night. It should have sickened her. It didn’t. It just made her want more. At least Angelus and Spike had been right, even with her current cravings they were recognized only as mates; not food.


“I said thanks,” Xander mumbled through a mouthful of food. “Geez, Buffster, you’re a million miles away today.”


Buffy looked down at the salad she’d been pretending to eat. “Sorry, home stuff.”


Willow put a comforting hand out to grasp Buffy’s. “I’m sorry, sweetie. That’s the worst.”


“Oh, it’s nothing like that. Liam and William are great. It’s just we’ve been working on the house a lot, fixing it up, and I’m kind of tired.”


Willow took her hand back. Buffy’s house made her uncomfortable. “You guys have done a lot with that old place.”


Interested, Buffy perked up a bit at the conversation. “Totally, it’s so much fun. We pour over magazines and stuff on the Internet. We’re really trying to take our time. Do it room by room, you know?”


Willow nodded her head in agreement. She didn’t know. “So, how’s Giles’ class working…” she trailed off as she spotted that guy again. She wondered who he was. There was something about him. It was probably the red hair. They’d have such cute babies together.


Buffy watched where her friend’s attention wondered. Her senses came alert. Werewolf. She looked back atWillow. Nope. That creature wasn’t for her delicate friend. “He’s not for you. He’s trouble,” she leaned in and whispered so that onlyWillow could hear.


Willow looked at her in surprise. Then she looked back at the guy in question. He was staring at her. Buffy had to be wrong. Trouble didn’t come to mind at all when she saw him. Not at all.


Buffy waited outside of the school building after the final bell. She had the boy’s scent. She could track him. It would be much easier if he used the front entrance, however. Luckily, she didn’t have to wait long. Eventually, he came out of the building and headed out to the school parking lot. He was getting in a van. Buffy moved quickly. She slipped into the passenger seat and shut the door.


Oz calmly looked at the pretty girl sitting beside him. He was pretty sure she was friends with that redhead he’d been eyeing. “Where to?”


“My house please. It’s the old miner baron’s place,” Buffy told him. Everyone seemed to know where her house was.


“Okay,” Oz said as he started up the engine.


When they had put some distance between themselves and the school, Buffy decided it was time to have a talk. “I want you to stay away fromWillow. She’s my friend. She’s not for you. You need to be with your own kind. Your animal will eventually seek a mate. It’s the way of nature. It’s how weres work.”


Oz’s usual calm shattered. The van swerved and came to stop at the side of the road. “How do you know?”


Buffy felt the Slayer slip into control. Her face shifted, her teeth elongated. She turned predatory eyes up at the animal beside her. “Because you smell like meat.” It was true. Vampires smelled like blood. This were smelled like meat. It was taking every ounce of self control she had not to take him right there.


Oz froze. His survival instinct causing him to be as still as possible. If he moved, she’d strike. He looked at her. She was struggling for control. He knew that feeling. Her eyes were still green but now the green filled the entire eye socket, and her pupil was elliptical like a cat’s. Her ears were slightly pointed and they seemed to shift backwards and forward to capture sound. Her mouth was filled with sharp pointy teeth. All in all she looked very catlike.


Buffy knew she was loosing the battle. She put her hand on the door of the car. “Just stay away from Willow Rosenburg,” she growled, and then she opened the door and set off on foot. She let out her pony tail as she went, letting her long hair cover her face. She went down a side street and then started to run. She needed to get home. She was scared.


Spike and Angelus were both waiting in the foyer for her return. Each as eager as the other to see their mate. Suddenly, they felt a shift. Something was wrong. Buffy felt different, and desperate. They could feel the intensity of her emotions as she made her way toward them. They each stared out the window, waiting to catch the first glimpse.


Buffy made her way home using the trees, bushes, trashcans, sides of houses, anything really to camouflage her rapid pace. She could feel her mates responding to her urgency. They were waiting for her. She jumped over the gate and swiftly moved through the grass and up the front steps. She moved through the door and took in a great breath.


Spike and Angelus both startled at the sudden appearance of their mate in the house. They’d sensed her approach but they had not seen her enter the yard, nor had they heard her open the door. Even more shocking, was her physical self. Her features were nearly catlike. She was every bit the predator, sleek, dangerous, and hyperventilating? They moved as one.


Buffy felt their arms come around her and she let herself go. Deep heaving sobs came up from her chest. She wasn’t even sure whose arms had her as they carried her up the stairs and placed her on the bed.


Each man wrapped themselves around her shaking body and offered words of comfort. They stroked her hair and kissed every available space of bare flesh. After a while she calmed, and her features returned to normal. Her sobs turning into occasional hiccups.


“What happened?” Angelus asked.


“You know my friend,Willow? The one we want to set up withTara?” Buffy asked. Each man nodded. “Well, she was looking at this guy, and he was looking at her, and I realized the guy was a were. Not a good match. He’ll either break her heart or end up eating her some night, so I waited after school and I had him give me a ride home. When I was telling him to stay away fromWillow, I started to realize that he smelled like food. Like meat. Vampires smell like blood. Were’s smell like meat.” She looked at her lovers. “What’s wrong with me?”


“It’s the Slayer, kitten,” Spike winced at his choice of pet name. “Now that she’s been awakened, I think she wants to stay.”


Buffy’s tear stained face turned to him, “Well somebody tell her she’s not welcome. This is my body and I don’t want to share it!”


Angelus sighed. “It doesn’t work like that, baby. You and the Slayer are not separate. You’re one in the same. It’s just another part of you. We can’t make it go away, but we can help you learn to control it. It’s not that different than what we go through as vampires.” Angelus got quiet for a minute as he was sucked into another time. When he started to speak again, he didn’t look at either of them. “I didn’t have any control over the demon when I was first turned. I went back to my village and I killed. I killed, and I killed. I killed my father, which even with some forethought I’d still do. My mother, maybe. My sister, never. I killed my Katherine. It’s my greatest regret.”


Buffy and Spike moved around their sire. They slid against him and offered him comfort.


“I did the same thing, mate,” Spike whispered.


Angelus gave a bitter laugh. “No, William, you didn’t. What you did was done out of love. You simply didn’t know any better. You thought you were saving your mother, not damning her.”


Buffy knew about what had happened with Spike’s mother. It was the one thing that tormented him. Everyone has their ghosts. For Spike it was his mother. For Angelus it was his sister. Buffy didn’t have regret like that. She missed her family, but she hadn’t killed them herself. She’d slaughtered a friend here and there, but never without provocation. She looked at the two men entwined with her body and with her soul. “I want you to teach me to control this. I don’t want either of you to be my ghosts of regret. I can bear anything but that.”


Chapter 14


Over the next week Buffy didn’t have a single idle moment. She trained with Giles. She patrolled with Giles. She studied. In between these activities, she worked with Spike and Angelus to control the Slayer. She was getting good at it, too. She actually enjoyed some aspects. She was faster. She was incredibly stealthy. The only drawback was the feeding. The Slayer needed to be fed just like Spike and Angelus needed blood. They did discover, however, that as long as she ate the occasional vamp she could still enjoy human food. This was a big relief to Spike who hated to dine alone.


Spike and Buffy were happily enjoying a chocolate, caramel cheesecake. It was the predecessor of two bacon wrapped filets. Angelus just sat back in the booth, sipping his wine, and letting himself enjoy watching them eat. Food simply did not appeal to him. He found their appetites, however, to be quite tantalizing. It was like foreplay. Watching them eat made him horny as hell.


A familiar feeling came over Angelus causing his wine glass to still, suspended half way to his parted lips. The tension he felt immediately spilled over to his mates. They stopped chewing. All three concentrated on what was coming.


Walking into the restaurant she spotted her target. As gorgeous as ever. She was glad she’d gone to so much trouble with her own appearance. If there was one thing Angelus could never resist, it was her body. She had a blood red dress on that clung to every curve, spiked stilettos, and a pendant that he’d given her long ago. She walked over to the table. She’d seen them react as they became aware of her. It was amusing watching them all freeze at once. They’d resumed their movements now, appearing to the average humans as normal.  To a predator like her, however, she could see it was all pretense. They knew she was here. They were waiting. Not wanting to be rude, she went straight to their table.


“Darla,” Angelus said evenly. “What makes you decide to grace us with your presence after a hundred years or so?” He looked at her. She was as beautiful as ever, but she did nothing for him. Her lack of loyalty, her inability to love left him cold. She was like a statue, perfect in form, but utterly without function.


Darla didn’t like the way he was looking at her. Hatred she could understand, but this, this was indifference, and indifference she would not stand for. She ran a hand along Spike’s shoulder blades. “I was just missing my boys,” her voice was low and suggestive.


Spike shifted away from her and put his arm around Buffy. “We are not yours, Darla. Why don’t you go pick up some new toys.”


Darla just laughed. “You’ll always be mine, William. It’s my blood that animates you. It’s my blood that calls to you.”


“Apparently not that well or you wouldn’t be here,” Angelus said dryly. “Cut the crap. Don’t touch my mates. Ever. Killing you would make me only too happy, Darla. You tried to control me. You failed. So now you’re here to see why. Well, just look at them.” He motioned to Spike and Buffy. “We’re mated. Irrevocably mated. They’re mine. I’m theirs. You are nothing to us.” He picked up his wine glass and took another sip, dismissing her.


Darla hadn’t lived as long as she had, however, without knowing how to play the game. She slid in beside Angelus in the booth, and ran her hand down his leg. She felt his cock jump in response, and she gave him a triumphant smile. “I wouldn’t call that nothing.”


Angelus moved her hand away and laughed. “Please, I get that from the pizza delivery boy’s wife-beaters.” He looked down at his lap. “It’s always been a bit of a slut.” Then he looked pointedly at his sire. “But then, so have you.”


Darla hissed at him, flashing amber eyes. “You will regret those words. The Master has plans for your human. He’s destined to kill her. It’s been prophesized. When he does, the two of you will be destroyed unless you beg me to help you. I can break the mating bond. As your sire, I have the power you need. Just wait,” she said getting out of the booth, “in the end, you’ll come to me.” She gave Buffy a look of pure hatred as she walked away.


Spike’s hands were shaking. He looked at Angelus. “We have to stop them.” He felt ill. “They can’t take her, Angelus. They just can’t.”


Buffy wasn’t as scared as she thought she should be. She wrapped her arms around Spike. “Hush, baby. It’s not gonna happen.Tara will come back with some major power, and we’ll annihilate them. In the mean time, I’m going to have a little talk with my Watcher. I mean, he’s supposed to be good for something, right? If I’m Prophecy Girl then he should know.”


Twenty minutes later they were all sitting in Giles’ living room looking at him with varying degrees of irritation. Giles was busy cleaning his glasses and avoiding eye contact.


“Don’t ya think this is something you could have filled us in on when we got here?” Buffy asked, barely masking her anger.


“I was hoping it would no longer be an issue. The Master’s killing of you was prophesized, but it also had a specific time frame. The time has past. The prophecy was somehow diverted,” Giles explained. He walked over and poured himself a large helping of scotch. He poured two more glasses and brought them to Buffy’s guardians.


“He still needs my blood to be able to get out of his earth-prison thingy though, right?” Buffy clarified.


Giles took a seat across from them with his glass held firmly to his chest. “Yes, that’s correct. Only your blood is powerful enough to release him.”


“That’s precisely why you should have told us. Prophesy or no,” Angelus knew he sounded dangerous. He didn’t care. The Watcher should be afraid. The man had no clue how close to death he was. If they didn’t need him and his books, he would have been dead as soon as they crossed the threshold.


“You’re right. I should have. Things haven’t exactly been easy these last couple of years, you know. A Watcher without a slayer. The Council constantly sending rash, young operatives my way. I’ve had much to deal with. Now, there is something happening with the mayor that has been diverting my attention…” Giles was interrupted.


“The mayor. You mean Wilkins? He’s a danger?” Angelus knew damn well the man was a danger, but he was hoping to get Giles to share a little.


“Yes. He’s planning something. I don’t know what. It has to do with an ascension of some sort. The Council uncovered some books recently, unfortunately they were stolen before we could gain all we needed to from them,” Giles explained.


Angelus looked at Spike. They could probably use some of their demon contacts to find out exactly who and what would be ascending and where to. Of course, they’d have to find some way of relaying this knowledge back to Giles without him knowing where it came from.


“So let’s get this straight,” Buffy said as she stood up and started pacing. “The Master wants my blood so he can bring hell on earth or something equally as stupid.” She looked at her mates. “I mean, what’s he gonna eat when all the humans die? Pig?” She returned to her pacing, not waiting for them to answer. “There’s the matter of a certain blonde. I’ll take care of that myself and enjoy it too. Then on top of everything else, we have the mayor making with the big plans.” She stopped pacing and looked at Giles. “Are things always like this around here?”


“It is the Hellmouth, Buffy. What would you expect?” Giles answered as he finished off the last of the scotch in his glass.


Buffy turned to look at Spike. She gave him a wink and a smile. “I guess I need to raise my expectations.”


Spike wanted nothing more than to take her into his arms and ravish her right then and there. She’d gone from freaked and worried to excited about the kill. That was his little predator. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Angelus shift his legs uncomfortably. Oh, yeah. It was going to be a fine time in the O’Conner household tonight.


Buffy turned back to her Watcher. “Thanks for the help, Giles. We have to go now.” With that all three of them left just as suddenly as they’d come.


Giles shook his head as he closed and locked the door, “Strange people.”


Chapter 15


Note: The following chapter has violent/graphic sex. It is not important to the plot. If this kind of thing bothers you feel free to skip this chapter. It was written to fulfill the request of one reviewer who wanted to see them renew the claim.


“Have to have you,” Buffy said huskily to her mates as they loaded her into the car. Why did the brink of battle always turn her on? She looked at the large bulges emanating from their trousers and realized they were just as affected as her. “Do we hafta wait until we get home?” she asked in her best ‘I should get what I want voice’.


Angelus was using every ounce of self restraint he had. When he spoke his voice was rough with bridled lust, “You know we can’t. If someone were to see us, there would be trouble. Now just be still until we can get you home.”


Spike didn’t even answer her. He simply held onto the handle of the car door as Angelus drove them home. He was focusing on what he wanted to do with them and where. Angelus was a bedroom kind of a guy. Spike liked the unexpected. Okay, maybe he was just too impatient to wait for the bedroom most of the time. Buffy never seemed to care. It was all good in her book.


Angelus parked the car in the garage that had once been a horse stable. His hands were shaking. He desperately wanted to get things taken care of here. He was tired of pretending to be Buffy’s guardian. The Master, Darla, Mayor Wilkins, they all needed to die. Graduation day needed to come and go. Then he and Spike could take their mate on the streets of Sunnydale if the need struck them and fuck her silly. Coming out of his thoughts, Angelus realized that Spike and Buffy were out of the car and starting without him.


He jumped out of the car and searched for his mates. The hayloft. He’d done it in haylofts many times before, but never with Buffy. He jumped to the top of the barn, landing in a black swirl of leather. The two lovers before him didn’t even pause. They were tearing each other’s clothes off using claws and fangs to separate the clothing from the flesh underneath. The scent of blood was heavy in the air.


Angelus felt his demon come to the fore as his bones shifted and his fangs descended. He watched them in their ferocity. Carefully, he began to take his own clothes off and lay them over the railing behind him. His childer were completely taken over by the need to mate. It was beautiful, and it had him harder then he thought he’d ever been before. His cock throbbed painfully against the last remaining barrier. He pulled off his boxers and set them on top of his pants.


He watched then as Spike tore into Buffy’s throat with a growl. The undoing of his patience occured when Buffy did the same to Spike’s shoulder. Angelus wasn’t even aware that he was moving. One moment he was watching, the next he found himself latched onto the other side of Buffy’s neck. This was his. His mate. His childe. His.


Buffy felt Angelus’ fangs enter her neck and she let go of her prize, seeking out another. She bent into her Sire’s flesh with a keening growl. Sweet blood. She could feel the power of both men sing as it traveled along her veins. They were hers. Her mates. Her family. Her blood. Her flesh. They were one.


Spike felt Buffy let loose of him, and he became aware that their Sire had joined the mating. He opened his jaws, not bothering to lick up the blood, there would be time for that later, and he moved over Buffy’s body to find Angelus’. He bit into his sire’s neck as he had just done to Buffy. It wasn’t enough; he needed more. He needed to be inside of him. He reached down and spread Angelus’ thighs, using the blood from Buffy’s body he wet his member and then pushed his way inside. There, that was better. That was almost what he needed. Something was missing though. It still wasn’t enough.


Angelus felt Spike enter him, and he felt his boy’s need. More. They needed more. He maneuvered himself so that he was hovering over Buffy, Spike still firmly attached to his back, and he placed his aching cock deep inside of her, hitting her cervix in his rush to mate.


Buffy didn’t mind the pain. She pushed up against him, using all of her strength, letting him know that she could handle whatever he needed to give her. They began to move. Flesh against flesh, a writhing mass of body parts. Claws drew lines of blood. Teeth gnashed and tore at skin. They’d mated before. They’d had violent sex before. But this was the first time that Buffy’s demon had matched that of her lovers. This wasn’t just sex. This was something far more primal. It was a confirmation of being; of self.


It was a statement sent out to the world that there would be none to come between them.


Far beneath the houses of Sunnydale, in a lair filled with the rank smell of old blood and rotting flesh, The Master looked at his favorite childe. He thought for a brief moment she would turn to dust; her particles had seem to flutter for a fraction of a second. He would hate to loose her, but then again, with his release so near, it was hard to feel too badly about anything. So, he just sat back and watched her pain. It was delicious. The three errant creatures above were sending out a signal. For Darla it brought rage and pain. For him, it just brought a hard on.


“Darla,” he said in a voice that would take no refusal. “Come here, my sweet.”


Darla stood up as if in thrall. She wasn’t. She was just numb from the sexual onslaught so kindly put on her by Angelus and his get. She walked over to her Sire and got down on her knees. She unzipped his leather pants, she wondered if he wore them to please her, and took out his forked member. She knew what to do. She’d been doing it for centuries.


Chapter 16


Angelus hefted both of his mates over his shoulder with a chuckle. They’d passed out cold with the force of their orgasms. He’d wanted desperately to do the same, but it was his lot to keep them safe. He carried them into the house and set the wards they’d acquired. Then he made his way up the stairs and to their bedroom. He placed his lovers on the bed and headed into the shower.


As the hot water made every scrape and splinter known, he thought about the situation at hand. Manipulation was one of his greatest assets. There had to be a way to make this all play out in his favor. What he saw when he stepped back from the situation was two powers. Two people with hopes of ruling the Hellmouth. The trick was to play them against each other. As soon as the sweet little witch got back they needed to make a move. Possibly contact the mayor, fill him in on the competition below.


Tara should be back in the morning. Spike had talked to her just that afternoon. She’d said she had all they needed. They were insisting that she come straight to them and stay until this mess was over. They protected what was theirs, and his William had decided that included the witch.


Angelus dried off and padded on bare feet back to the bed. He could feel the renewal of the claim humming inside of him. Despite the worry all around, he felt content as he slid into the sheets and wrapped his arms around Buffy, his fingers linking with those of Spike. Nothing could come between them. They felt stronger than ever. They just needed the witch.


Tara was packing up her car with various spell ingredients. She had actually enjoyed herself this week. She’d split the time between studying for her classes and studying magic. She wished life could always be so fulfilling. Now, if she only had a special someone in her life to share it with. She heaved a big wishful sigh as she put her hand on the top of the hood to shut it.


Out of nowhere a rough shove came from behind her, knocking her into the trunk. She felt someone push her legs in after her before she could even gather her wits to turn and fight back. Then darkness. She was locked in the trunk of her own car. Panic begin to bubble inside of her. She was a child again. Locked in the cellar of the house. Her father saying it was where demons belonged; deep in the bowels of the earth. She couldn’t breathe in the blackness. She hit the top of the trunk with as much force as she could muster in such a small place. Someone had to hear her.


She felt a rumbling underneath her and a sickening realization bloomed. The car was moving. Someone had purposely kidnapped her. She felt her hopes diminish. No one would even know she was gone. Spike wasn’t expecting her back for another five hours. She cursed herself for leaving before the sun was up. How stupid she had been. She was unwillingly involved in some kind of vamp war, and she heads out alone in the dark. She’d been feeling so confident with all of the new spells. What a second… She wasn’t completely helpless.


The first thing she did was try and sense her attacker. She relaxed and called on the spirits of the earth to guide her. She let a part of herself slip out. She felt it moving like fog in between the cracks of the car, entering the cab and looking at the man who had hot wired her car. It was a man. Not a vamp. She could see his life pulsing all around him, along with his evil. An evil man was no better than an evil vampire. Worse in some ways. She’d been working on a several repelling spells for vampires. They would be harmless to a human.


The panic set back in. What did he want with her? Where was he taking her? She curled up in a ball, pulling her outward self in just as she had done when she was little. If she could make herself small, so small, then maybe he couldn’t see her. Back then she’d cried out her mental anguish to her mother. Though her mother had heard her, she had never been strong-willed enough to go against her father and come and get her. Despite the futility of it all, she couldn’t help herself from sending out the same cries for help.


Buffy, Spike, and Angelus all sat up at once. Someone was pounding on the front door. They hadn’t sensed anyone approaching the house, but considering their ‘ordeal’ the night before they weren’t really surprised. All three climbed out of bed and looked at the clock. It was early in the morning, just this side of daylight. They made their way down stairs and toward the continuous pounding.


Spike knew before he even looked. He turned to Buffy. “It’s your mate, Red.”


Buffy rushed past him and opened the door.Willow was standing before her in a white nightgown with her fists against her temples and her eyes shut tight. Buffy reached out a hand and pulled the girl into the house. “Willow!”


Willow’s eyes opened. “You have to help her! There’s a girl you have to help. She’s crying. She’s scared and it’s dark. There’s a man there. You have to help. She’s been crying for hours. She won’t stop. She keeps asking for a Spike.”Willow gave Buffy an entreating look. “You know a Spike. I know you do. A couple of days ago I asked where you got the patch on your back pack and you said ‘oh Spike got it for me’. I figured it was someone you knew inLos Angeles. You have to call him, Buffy! She won’t stop crying!”


“Shhh, calm down,Willow.” Buffy drew her into her arms and shot a look over at her mates.


“It must beTara. Damn it! Why didn’t she let me bite her! Then I would have known,” Spike moaned. He felt like this was all his fault. He’d been the one to contact the witch. He’d been the one to let her leave the house with her freewill intact. Stupid. Why did humans even need freewill? They were nothing more than cows. Stupid cows. Should never get attached to them. He felt Angelus wrap his arms around him, just as Buffy had done toWillow.


“It’s okay, Will. We’ll get her back. If she’s crying they’re keeping her alive. And she’s not completely helpless. Think how smart she was to contactWillow here. It’s going to be okay,” he promised, hoping desperately he wasn’t lying.


Willow had stilled at the word ‘bite’. Now, she’d lived in Sunnydale her entire life. She knew a thing or two even though she, like everyone else in town, pretended really hard not to. “Bite?” She pulled away from Buffy, wavering a bit as the crying seemed to affect her balance. “But, I’ve seen you in the sunlight.”  Willow looked at Buffy’s bleached blonde guardian.


Buffy grabbedWillow by the shoulders and turned her to face her. “Look. We don’t have time for that. The girl you hear crying in your head is in terrible danger. She’s a friend of Spike, or Will’s, she needs our help. She needs your help. You can either panic and run off screaming about ‘monsters’, or you can help. Which is it?”


Willow heard another frightened cry sound in her head and made her decision. “I want to help.”


“Good,” Angelus stated. “We have to hurry. First, I need to know if the sound of her crying changed as you left your house.”


Willow thought about it. “Yeah, it got a little louder.”


“That’s what I wanted to hear.” Angelus let go of Will and ran back towards his study. Immediately, Buffy was there supporting her mate.Willow looked at the way she was holding her guardian and had a sudden realization. Not father figures. Nope.


Angelus emerged a few seconds later with several large weapons. He walked right past them and back toward the kitchen. “He’s loading the Impala. It has darkened windows. We can drive around in it even at high noon,” Buffy explained. “Spike, baby, let’s go get dressed.” They’d slipped robes on before coming downstairs. Buffy looked atWillow. “Follow us, just in case the sounds in your head change, okay?”


Willow nodded. She wasn’t stupid. Buffy wasn’t worried about the sounds in her head. Buffy was worriedWillow would take off. Well, she wouldn’t. She just wasn’t the type of person who could let someone stay scared without trying to help. She followed them up the stairs. The house was just as spooky up here as it was below. At least now she understood where the whole ‘Adams Family Revival Theme’, as she and Xander and Jesse had taken to calling it, came from.


She closed her eyes as Buffy and Spike quickly changed clothes. When she opened them again she saw that they had also pulled out a set of clothes for Liam.Willow blushed furiously at the thought of them all sharing this bed together. Her eyes darted to the rumpled, gold silk covers. Who was Buffy Summers, really?


“Come on, let’s go,” Buffy ordered as she turned and left the room with Spike by her side.


They walked out to the waiting car and tossed Angelus his clothes. He dropped the robe without a thought toWillow’s modesty and got dressed. He’d warmed up the car. Spike and Buffy slipped into the back seat so thatWillow could navigate for Angelus in the front. They pulled out of the garage and headed forSan Francisco. The closer they got the moreWillow seemed to be affected by the cries in her head.


“Ahhh!”  Willow screamed. “He’s hurting her. He’s really hurting her. We have to help.”


Chapter 17


Warning: Character rape. Graphic torture.


Tara was trying not to feel. It was the best way. She knew. Only it wasn’t working. Every bite from his foul mouth. Every touch from his cruel hands. Every sickening push into her sensitive flesh. It all resounded. It echoed throughout her soul.


Willow was sobbing. She was receiving everything fromTara. She wished desperately that she could send some sort of comfort back to her. She wished she could let her know that they were coming. That help was on the way.


Angelus was driving as fast as the car would allow. He was using every bit of vampire thrall he had to cloak the car from the highway patrol. Every time he thought he couldn’t hold it, he would hear a cry from Buffy’s friend and his control would be renewed. He’d tried to put a comforting hand on her leg, but she’d withdrawn as if bitten.


He figured they were fairly close. Luckily whoever had Tara had actually taken her in the direction of Sunnydale, far outside ofSan Francisco. They were turning up a winding road. He drove for several miles whenWillow’s eyes opened wide in horror and she pointed to a dirt turnoff. Angelus took the turn hard, throwing everyone toward the right hand side of the car. No one complained.


He tore down the road untilWillow pointed off in the distance. “There. He’s got her there.”


“He?” Spike said from the back. “What kind of he?”


“I don’t know. A he. A man. There’s a man and he’s hurting her. He’s hurting her so much. He won’t stop,”Willow cried.


Buffy tried putting a hand onWillow’s shoulder. The girl flinched away from her. She went for words instead, “Willow. We’re going to stop him. We’re almost there, honey. We’ll make him pay. You go toTara. You hold her. You let her know she’s safe. Okay? Spike and Angel and I will take care of the bad guy. Do you understand?” Buffy figured if she could offerWillow some sense of direct purpose it would help to calm her.


Willow nodded her head. Her eyes were still open wide, pinned to the wooden building off in the distance. She was trying to will them closer.


Angelus was headed towards the old buildingWillow had pointed too. The car was flying over the ruts in the road, when suddenly the car was literally flying over the ruts in the road. It landed quietly in front of what could only be described as a shack. All the windows had been bordered up to keep out vagrants. He looked at Buffy’s friend. “Well, well, well. Someone’s coming into their powers,” he said as he jumped out of the car.


Angelus went straight to the trunk while the others got out. He took out several large weapons and one small wooden case. He loved this case. It was a source of infinite pleasure. He shut the lid of the trunk quietly, and he tossed two weapons to Buffy, who slipped one to Spike under his fire blanket.


“Let’s go.” Angelus said. They didn’t have to communicate a plan of attack. They knew exactly how to proceed. Angelus steeredWillow toward the front of the shack, while Spike and Buffy made their way to the back.


Buffy found a back door and led Spike up the three steps. They leaned against the door, waiting. They would move when Angelus moved, entering as one.


A hard crash sounded throughout the old building.Tara heard it. She felt it. And she grabbed onto it in desperate hope. Anything that wasn’t this man was something to hold onto. She felt the man on top of her still. Then she felt him gone. Blissfully gone. She started to cry in relief. He was gone.


Warm, soft arms encircled her. There was a world of comfort in these arms. For one moment she thought it was her mother. That she’d finally come for her. Then she realized it was more than that. It was someone who would fight for her. Someone who thought she was worth it. She let herself be cocooned in love and care. She was safe. In these arms she was safe.


Spike held up the human waste by its neck. He was careful not to damage the man. That wouldn’t do. Angelus was opening the case. There would be pain, sweet pain. He was purposefully blocking his senses towardTara. He didn’t want to smell her on this man. He didn’t want to hear her cries or see her broken body. He knew then he would not be able to control himself. He needed control. Control would make this last.


Buffy stood silently by Spike while Angelus prepared the equipment. This was Spike’s show. She was waiting for him to move. They needed information from this man, but beyond that it was Spike’s decision.


Angelus came over to them and took the man from Spike. He laid him out on the ground. He held him still with his body and with his mind. He wasn’t allowing this man to scream. At least not out loud. You could see the scream. You could see it behind his eyes, begging to be released. It pleased Angelus’ demon greatly. “The spikes,” Angelus hissed.


Buffy walked over to the case and took out four spikes and a mallet. She handed them to Spike. She loved watching him work.


Spike raised the first spike over the man’s right thigh, just above the knee. He sent it home in one practiced stroke. His vampire strength and experience unerringly placing it deep into the floor beneath, pinning the man. Then he repeated the exercise on the left side. He liked using the thighs instead of the ankles because it left the person a little room to kick it out. That part was amusing. Then he moved up to the man’s torso. Now, there was a decision to be made. Below the shoulders? Or the wrists? He went with wrists.


Once the man was secured, tears making tracks through the dirt on his face, Angelus got up and went to the case. He pulled out a shiny tool and held it up. “This dim light doesn’t really do it justice. It’s a beautiful tool. One of a kind. I had it made for me by a craftsman inGermany. It has one purpose and one purpose only, to peel back the flesh.” He turned the instrument so that the man could see it clearly. “This part here gathers the flesh. Then you give it a bit of a roll, just to secure it mind you, and you’re in business. Just pull. The flesh will come off… well… easily isn’t really the word I would use to describe it. Perhaps firmly.” Angelus shrugged his shoulders. “Will here is really the better one with words. What would you say Will?”


“Painfully. That would be the adjective you’re looking for, Angelus.” Spike walked over to the man and kicked him in the ribs. “Don’t you go passing out on us now. Saw your eyes flutter. Buffy.”


“I’m already on it, baby.” Buffy was back at the case. She was grabbing a little vial. She walked back to the man and leaned down. She had to force back a gag as the scent of his breath hit her nostrils. She gripped his cheeks hard and poured the fluid from the vial down his throat. “I highly suggest swallowing,” she warned him. “Good job,” she said as she saw him deliberately swallow. “That will make things much better. That will keep you awake for hours.” She got up and replaced the vial. It was so important to stay orderly during torture sessions.


“Angelus,” Spike said quietly. “I think I know where to start.” He was staring down at the man’s flaccid penis.


“Going straight for the goods, my childe? Don’t you think that’s a bit soon?” Angelus preferred to work his way down there. Once a man’s manhood was removed he tended not to care about what else you did to him. Ruined the fun.


“Oh, no. Not there.” Spike bent down and placed a finger just above the man’s pubic bone. “Here. We grab the skin here, and peel up. I want to work out from his cock. Highlight it. He seems to think in awful lot of it. Putting it in places it doesn’t belong.” Spike stood up and kicked him again.” The man jumped but did not utter a sound. They were still holding him a vocal hostage. They didn’t want his sounds to reach the ears of the humans in the other room. Humans could be so soft. They might feel pity towards this foul being, and that just wouldn’t do.


“Right. That’s just the place,” Angelus agreed as he leaned down. He moved the tool sideways so that it could pick up its bit of flesh. Then he rolled it, so the flesh became secure. Now he was ready to peel. He moved his hand steadily and slowly upward. The man’s body was vibrating with pain. Angelus let out a little giggle. He heard Buffy stifle one of her own. Damn, but he loved that girl.


Spike walked over to Buffy and pulled her into his arms. They each watched raptly as their sire worked. He was a master. There was so much to learn from him. When he was done, it looked like a crimson blossom. It was a work of art. The man’s penis sat untouched, just waiting.


Buffy broke away from Spike and leaned down by the man’s ear. “Who sent you afterTara? Tell us and the pain will stop,” Buffy promised.


Darrell Sands had thought the creature that hired him to do this job was the scariest thing he’d ever seen. He was wrong. So wrong. He stared at the three monsters in front of him and realized that he wasn’t what he thought he was. He’d felt above everyone around him his entire life. The rest of the world filled with sheep. He was different. Special. The laws of man did not apply to him. He’d killed many girls over the years. All of them young and alone. Each beautiful in their own way. He’d played with them for a while. Usually in this shack. Then he’d kill them one way or another. Sometimes it was an accident, he just got carried away. He buried them around the property in deep, lonely graves. He’d been something. Now he knew he was nothing. He was the sheep, and it was slaughtering time.


Angelus watched as realization dawned on the man’s face. He loved this part. “Yes, you will die, but it’s up to you whether you die a slow painful death or a nice quick one. Tell us who hired you.” Angelus released the man’s vocal cords.


“Blonde woman. Looked like you,” the man’s voice was tight with pain.


Angelus immediately sealed his voice off again. “Darla. I figured as much.” He turned to his mates. “Just another thing she has to pay for. At least it wasn’t Mayor Wilkins. I’d hate to think he was this advanced on the board.” Angelus walked over to the sink to clean his toy. “He’s all yours, Spike.”


Spike walked up to the man and brought out the weapon Buffy had given him earlier. “This is a butcher knife. A common household item. It’s all your worth.” He stuck the blade into the man’s gut and made a deep cut from side to side. Then he stood up to follow Angelus to the sink.


Buffy looked at the man’s ruined form. There was one part left untouched. It kept staring at her. She walked over to the case and took out a pair of sheers. She put on a couple of latex gloves. Then she walked back over to the man. “I don’t think you’ll be needing this where you’re going.” She pulled his penis taught with one hand and then snipped it cleanly off using the sheers with the other. She took the offensive object and squeezed his cheeks again. “I realize this is cliché, but I just can’t seem to help myself.” She shoved his dick down his throat with a harsh shove.


She stood up and looked down at him. “I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking Angelus promised you a quick death. Well for him, this is quick. I think his record is thirteen years. It takes a true master to stretch someone’s death out like that. You should be dead within the next fifteen minutes or so; merciful really.” She studied the wound on his stomach and the flow of blood. “Yep, I’m just a novice, really, but I think fifteen will be about it.” She walked over to the sink to wash her own weapon off.


When they were done and the case was set to rights, they turned to look at the man. They watched avidly as the light went out from his eyes. Buffy looked down at her watch. “Huh, I was off by about three minutes.”


“You’ll get better with time, luv,” Spike assured her.


They walked to the front of the house.Willow andTara were huddled in a ball. Buffy bent down to the two women. “It’s over. Let’s get you home. We can carry you if you like.”


Willow turned to her. “No, that’s okay. We’ll walk.” She got up, pullingTara with her. They stumbled their way to the car, leaning against each other all the way.


Chapter 18


The drive home had been exhausting; the silence coming from the women in the back completely unnerving the three creatures in the front. When they arrived at the mansion there was still a complete lack of words. Tara andWillow simply got out of the car and headed inside the big old house. Buffy led them up to her special room. She pulled back the covers and left the room. Words were useless.


She hadn’t made it more than three feet past the closed door when it opened again. It wasWillow.


“Buffy,” she spoke softly. “Do you think we could have a shower?”


“Oh, of course.  GetTara. I’ll take you to the bathroom.” She waited forWillow to reemerge with the blonde witch at her side. She walked down the hall and opened a door that revealed a large modern bathroom. It was done in shades of black and verdigris green. Buffy reached in and turned on the shower. It didn’t have a door, it was double headed, and you just walked in. Then she went to the cupboard and got out two fluffy black towels and matching bathrobes. When those were placed on the countertop, she opened a drawer and took out a basket. It was filled with necessities such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, face cream, and other toiletries.


“If you need anything else, just ask. The door above the toilet is the laundry chute. You can put your clothes in there. We’ll have clothes for you when you awake. She gave them a small smile as she left the room. They’d be okay. She could tell. These women were strong.


She walked into her own room and heard the shower going in the bathroom. It was a good thing they’d put in such a large water heater. She removed her clothes, scattering them as usual, and walked into the bathroom. For a moment she just leaned against the doorframe, enjoying the view.


Spike and Angelus were gently soaping one another. Showing all the tenderness they held deep inside. It was so beautiful. Buffy needed something beautiful after this day’s events.


“Are you planning on joining us anytime soon, luv?” Spike’s deep voice rumbled throughout the bathroom.


Buffy smiled. So impatient, her man. She walked into the shower and slid between the two men. Ahh… heaven. She lifted her arms languorously and let them run soapy hands up and down her body. She felt fingers begin to massage her scalp and realized that she should perhaps give as good as she was getting. She reached over to the shampoo bottle and squeezed a dollop of soap in her hands. She reached for Spike first.


Spike turned around and bent backwards a little, giving Buffy better access. He loved when she washed his hair. She would use her little nails to rake his scalp in just the right way. When she was done, she leaned in and gave the side of his neck a good suckle.


Buffy turned away from Spike and repeated the ritual with Angelus. He had to lean a little farther down for her to accomplish the same task. She bent down to give his neck a suck as she had Spikes, when it hit her. She felt her face shift. Immediately, she turned away and went to leave the shower. Strong arms grabbed her from behind.


“Shh… calm down, pet. It’s just hunger. We all have it. We don’t want you to leave right now. We need you, kitten,” Spike purred into her ear.


“I won’t feed off of you. I won’t,” Buffy stated firmly.


Angelus gave her a low laugh; the kind you feel in the inner most parts of yourself. “I don’t think Spike and I will find it a hardship. I want it Buffy. I want to know that I’m moving inside of you in more ways than one.”


Buffy felt her knees buckle and her mouth water. These were her mates she’d bitten them in their recent sex-fest, but it hadn’t been for food. This was different. She thought about it. She’d never truly hurt them. It just wasn’t possible. She’d die first. Resolved, she turned in their arms. She went to Angelus first. He was so big. She worried less about harming him. She leaned up on tiptoes and wrapped her arms around his neck. She pulled his lips into her mouth, giving them a gentle suck. Then she moved her way down to his jaw. When she got to the underside of his jaw, that special place between his bone and his neck, she lingered. Nibbling and sucking. So sweet. So rich. So good. Finally, she was where she needed to be.


Angelus picked her up and moved her legs so they wrapped around his waist. The anticipation was killing him. His cock was hard and ready. He loved being bitten. It was something he and Will shared that he and Buffy hadn’t fully been able to. Oh, she’d bitten them a time or two, and last night had been amazing, but it wasn’t out of basic need. Now it was different. Now she needed it as much as they did, and that gave it just the right edge. He felt her tense up just before she struck. It was the barest of movements, but he was a practiced man. He plunged her down onto his waiting member with perfect timing. Then he pounded into her as she pulled his blood into her body. Fuck, it was sexy. So damn sexy. Angelus felt himself going over the edge in record time.


Buffy felt her sire cum, and she couldn’t help the self satisfied feeling that rolled over her. She pulled away from his neck and licked the wounds. She’d tasted his blood before, but this time it was different. This time it filled her in a more primal way than it ever had before. She felt a rumbling coming out of her chest and vibrating in her throat. What? She was purring. Wow. Purring. She giggled.


She gently removed herself from Angelus and turned to Spike. “Your turn,” she whispered, huskily. She watched as his cock jumped in response. It made her purr again. “Want you, William,” she said moving into his arms. “Always want you. Can’t stop. Won’t ever stop.” She talked more when she was with Spike. Words were so important to this vampire mate.


Spike pulled her against him roughly. “Want you too, kitten. Always. Gonna be so good.” He’d watched raptly as she’d bitten his sire. His hand had automatically gone up to his own throat. He could almost feel it. He realized that he was a greedy bastard, but his demon rejoiced that she needed them that much more than she had before. He wanted to enslave her just as much as he was enslaved. Equals.


Buffy didn’t have to get on her tippy toes to reach Spike’s neck. All she had to do was pull him down a bit. She looked on each side. There were several marks still left from the other night. She put her nose into his neck to smell him. She didn’t know exactly what she was looking for. It was something… There. This was it. She found a place. A tender place. A place he’d never been bitten before. Her own territory. She struck fast and sure. She was a little rougher than she had been with Angelus. With him she’d been almost respectful, like she was acknowledging a great gift, which it was. With Spike she was being a bit more aggressive. She wanted something from him.


“Bite me!” she demanded as she pulled away from his dark blood for the briefest of moments. She latched back on, sucking in more of his blood. She felt him enter her. He was latched onto the side of her neck hard and fast, and he was deep inside of her pussy with equal fervor. That was her Spike. Wild, fierce, and under it all terribly tender.


Angelus wrapped his arms around his mates. He felt their orgasms before they did. In fact, he felt everything they did. He was connected to them more deeply than he ever had been before. His demon came to the fore and it smiled. Darla and The Master would ever know what hit them. He heard the purring coming from his childer and he joined in with a rumbled, “Mine.”


In another bathroom, in the same house, things were going much differently, and yet somehow they weren’t different at all. It was about strength and healing. It was about love and care.


Willow was taking her time. She was washing every inch of the woman in front of her, slowly and thoroughly. She was washing away the horror and memorizing her body all at once. She had a flush of guilt at her actions. She didn’t know what had come over her, but she found the flesh bared before her endlessly fascinating.


“You are so beautiful,” she whispered to the broken girl. “You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”


Tara shook her head in denial. “No, not beautiful, unclean. I’m unclean.” Tara took the washcloth fromWillow and began to scrub furiously at her skin, trying to rid herself of his scent, his touch. She’d been in a stupor.Willow’s words had jarred her into awareness. She had to get him off of her skin.


Willow grabbed the washcloth fromTara and laced their fingers together. “Shh… shush, baby. Shush. It’s okay. You’re not unclean. Never that. You’re all that’s pure and good. I can feel it. I’ve never felt anyone like I feel you.” She placed one ofTara’s hands onto her head and the other against her heart. She had tears in her eyes. “You’re in here,Tara. You’re in so deep, you’ll never be able to get out. I want to be in you like that.” She looked deeply into the other woman’s eyes. “Let me in,Tara. Let me in and don’t let go,” she begged.


“What have I done,”Tara sobbed.


“You haven’t done anything,”Willow insisted.


Tara nodded her head. “Oh yes I have. I needed someone and I pulled you into my nightmare. I pushed myself on you. It’s like rape. I mentally raped you.” She pushed away in horror.


Willow was having none of it and she pulled her back against her. “You listen to me, and you listen good. You sent a call out. It was a cry from your soul,Tara. Why do you think I was the one to answer? Huh? My soul shot out to yours. We met in the middle. I willingly embraced what you were offering. You can’t rape the willing,” Willow said emphatically. She searched for the right words to describe what she was feeling. “I’ve never felt right about anything. I’m always awkward. The world just doesn’t seem to fit me quite right. Not boys. Not parents. Not even friends. You are the first thing that has ever fit. You make sense to me when nothing else does. Please. You have to see!”


Willow’s words went straight intoTara’s heart and mind, just like the hands Willlow had held up. She knew what this girl was talking about. She’d always felt like that. As if she was out of focus with the world. She let herself look into the other woman’s eyes. She searched. “Ahh…” she said with a broken voice. “There it is.”


“You see it?”Willow asked in wonder. “You see my soul?”


“I see it. I recognize it. Somehow, it’s always been in my sights. Just flittering about, never close enough to see clearly.”Tara smiled. Hours before she would have sworn that she would never smile again. Now she couldn’t stop. “It’s so beautiful.”


“I know,”  Willow agreed. “It’s what I see. I see the beauty that you are. It’s going to be okay,Tara. We’re going to be okay,”Willow promised.


Tara gave a slightly hysterical laugh. “We are. We really are.” She gave into the embrace of the beautiful red head before her. “Thank you for coming for me. Thank you so much,”Tara sobbed.


“Always. I will always come for you,”Willow vowed. She pulled away slightly and tookTara’s face in her hands. She leaned in and gave her the sweetest of kisses. The kind of kiss that fairies share. Feather light and full of heart and beauty. It was a kiss of healing and of hope. It was a kiss that pushed them into a world of tomorrows.


Chapter 19


Spike and Buffy had ordered some clothes delivered for Tara andWillow. They’d put them in front of their door when they heard the women rise. Currently, the two mates were making breakfast. Not something either of them usually did, but Angelus was busy making evil plans. Well, evil if you were The Master or Mayor Wilkins. Definitely evil if you were Darla. So it was up to Spike and Buffy to pull something food like together for their guests. The funny part was that though Spike and Buffy were the only creatures in the house that actually ate ‘people food’, they were novices in the culinary department.


“This isn’t so hard,” Spike said saucily as he added another egg to his ‘scrambled delight’. “I mean you just turn on the stove, put on the pan, and break some eggs.”


Buffy just smiled. She wondered if he knew how many extras Angelus put in their scrambled eggs. Things like seasonings and peppers. She was flipping bacon. She loved bacon. She did not, however, love cooking bacon. It kept splattering up on her. Funny, how such a small pain could be so irritating. Was it all that different from candle wax? She liked candle wax. She did not like bacon grease.




“Gotta step away from the pan, Slayer,” Spike quipped drolly. He didn’t see what was the what. His job was coming along delightfully. He heard the faint sounds of emerging footsteps. It looked like the witches were coming out of their room after all. Good. He’d made a whole lot of eggs. He turned off the fire under the pan and went to pour the orange juice. They got it from a local grower. It was about as fresh as you could get.


Buffy pulled out the last of the bacon, wondering how come some parts were raw and some parts were burnt. She shrugged her shoulders. At least her foodstuff would have flavor. She put the paper towel covered mound on the center of the table. She loved this room. They’d installed special glass in here so that they could all eat in a bright and sunny kitchen. She and Spike had picked out a gorgeous cream colored paint that reminded Angelus of the butter his mother used to make. The counter tops were made from black stone. The handles on the cupboard doors were blue-fired steel. It was truly a great kitchen.


“Good morning,” Buffy said with cheer as the two women entered the kitchen. “I see you found your way to the food.”


“It smells really good,”Willow told her with a smile.


“Take a seat. It’s just Spike and I. Angelus doesn’t eat.” Buffy pulled out two chairs for their guests.


“We made scrambled eggs, bacon, and we had some muffins delivered.” Buffy took a seat beside Spike who was looking rather steadily at his napkin.


“I’m sorry,Tara. ‘S all my fault. I got you into this, and I want you to know that I regret it,” Spike said quietly.


Tara reached over and slipped her hand in his. “It wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Except for the man who did it. I’ve thought about this a lot during the night. If it hadn’t been me, it would have been someone else. Someone without people to ride to their rescue. That man can never harm anyone ever again, right?”


Spike and Buffy looked atTara simultaneously. It was a movement so precise that it completely betrayed their dual natures. “Yes,” they said as one.


“Good. He talked about it. About all the things he did with women. So many young girls died at his hands. If it took what happened to me to stop him, then so be it.” She stated firmly.


Spike and Buffy just looked at her. They realized that they’d never been around anyone so pure before. So selfless. Spike took his hand away, suddenly uncomfortable. “Let’s eat then shall we?” He dug into his scrambled eggs.


“Uhgh… what’s wrong with them?” he asked in horror, pushing his plate away.


Buffy just laughed. She pushed the salt, pepper, and Tapa Tio towards him. “Seasoning. Look it up.” She went back to her own, properly seasoned plate and started eating.


“No!” Tara yelled as she grabbed Spike’s hand. “Like this.” She took the salt shaker from his hand and screwed the lid back on. Then she sprinkled both salt and pepper over his food. Then she unscrewed the cap to the hot sauce and did the same. “Haven’t you ever seasoned your food before?” she asked with a smile.


Spike felt embarrassment flood him. “Angelus does it for us.”


Buffy took pity on her mate. She reached over and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. “Spike hasn’t had to do for himself in well over a hundred and twenty years, and even before then his mom pretty much took care of him.”


“Must be nice,”Willow mumbled.


Tara looked at her funny.


Willow shrugged her shoulders. “My mom’s not exactly the nurturing type. She’s more of the ‘doesn’t even notice I’m there’ type.”


“My parents were like that when they were alive,” Buffy confided. Spike pulled her chair close so that he could slip his arms around her. Sometimes he wished her folks were alive again just so that he could kill them. They’d never appreciated the precious gift that had been given to them with this woman as a daughter.


“Thanks for breakfast,”Tara told them, lightening the mood.


“Yeah, thanks. It’s very tasty,” Willow added, picking up a muffin and slathering it with butter. At least the muffins were tasty.


Angelus came bounding into the room, waiving a paper. “I got it!” He stopped mid explanation as his eyes caught site of the food at the table. “How did you get the bacon burnt and raw at the same time?”


“That’s nothing!” Buffy cried. “You should taste Spike’s eggs!”


Angelus looked at the eggs in question and just shook his head. “No. Did I say I got it?”


“You did mate, yeah,” Spike assured him, taking a bite of the now flavorful eggs.


“Well, I did. Get it, I mean.” Angelus put the paper down in front of Spike. “I know what Wilkins is up to. He’s the one ascending like we thought. He’s…”


“Going to turn into a bloody big snake.” Spike whistled as he read the information in front of him.


“Let me see that,” Buffy said as she nearly ripped the paper out of his hands. “What is he thinking? Oh so he gets power and immortality. He’ll be a snake. What fun is that? I just don’t get it.” She looked atWillow. “Do you get it?”


“No.” She was having trouble getting a lot of things though. Like why vampires were being so helpful, and how did they walk out in the sun, or raise little girls. Her mind flashed back to the way-big bed upstairs. Scratch that. Raising Buffy wasn’t what they were doing at all.


Tara felt the girl beside her heat up. She looked at her curiously. She was blushing a becoming shade of red. “You okay?”


“Yeah, I’m okay. It’s just all a bit much. My people are blinders kind of people. We don’t like to see the weird stuff going on around us,”Willow confided.


“I noticed that about Sunnydale right away,” Tara admitted as she slippedWillow’s hand into hers and gave it a squeeze.


Angelus looked atWillow curiously. “I need you to do me a favor.” He handed her the piece of paper. “This is a fax print out of all the details on the ascension. I need you to slip this to Rupert Giles. You have to make sure he sees it. Can you do that?”


Willow took the paper from him. “This will stop a bad guy?”


“Yes. A soon to be very big bad guy,” Buffy put in.


“Is he the one who…”Willow trailed off, not wanting to say it out loud.


“No,” Angelus told her. “That was someone else. Someone we will deal with shortly. That’s a promise.”


Willow looked down at the paper in her hands. “I’ll do it.”


Chapter 20


Willow was nervous. She’d never been very stealthy. She was always the one to get caught when Xander and Jesse wanted to sneak a cookie. They’d make it out of the kitchen just fine.  NotWillow. Nope. She’d be caught with her hand in the cookie jar every time. It wasn’t just that she had to slip him the paper. That would be easy. It was the waiting around to make sure he found it part that was causing her boots to shake.


She’d thought about just slipping it into the homework pile, or putting it on his desk before class, but with her luck some stupid kid would grab it and be all ‘what’s this’ and stuff. That would not be of the good. So here she was, sitting through a lecture that she had been looking forward to but now couldn’t even remember the topic of, waiting to be stealth-girl. The bell sounded. Show time.


She got up from her seat and walked over to Mr. Giles desk. She bent down as if to retrieve something. “Here, I think you dropped this.” She handed him the paper.


“Why thank you,Willow,” Giles mumbled absently as he took the paper from her and started to put it on his desk with all the others.


“Ooh, what is it?”Willow asked inquisitively as she tried to snatch it back from the desk.


Giles hated when students got into his papers. He took it off the pile before she could touch it. He gave it a brief glance. His face paled. “It’s nothing. You should go before you’re late for your next period.”


“Okay,” she said hoping she sounded sufficiently uninterested. She forced herself to walk slowly out of the classroom. No need to hurry. Not running away from the scene of the… crime? Is secretly supplying information a crime? She supposed doing anything covertly had an aura of wrong doing to it.


“Oh, Willow,” Giles called out, halting her at the door.


Freedom. So close. She turned with a smile. “Yes?”


“This was on my floor you say?” he asked.


She hadn’t said, but… “Yep. On the floor. I spotted it when I got out of my seat. Just sitting on the floor. Waiting for the janitor to sweep it right up. So I picked it up and gave it to you. Yep. Gotta go. Don’t want to be late like you said or anything.” She turned and left as quickly as she could. Sweep it up? She was such a moron.


“Strange girl,” Giles said to himself as he examined the paper. This was everything he needed. Suddenly receiving all of his answers made him highly suspicious of the validity of those answers. Someone had planted it here on purpose. He would like to think it was done as an aide, but he’d been around long enough to have developed a healthy sense of distrust. He’d have to do some research. He hadn’t brought Buffy into research yet. Somehow he couldn’t picture the girl sitting still and pouring over old texts. Now Willow on the other hand. He shook his head. What was he thinking! He couldn’t bring innocent children into this. He looked back down at the paper, then again if the mayor succeeded; there would be no children left.


He needed help. He picked up the phone and dialed a number that was quickly becoming familiar. “Hello, Liam? This is Rupert Giles. I was wondering if perhaps you and your partner would mind coming over with Buffy this afternoon. Someone supplied me with a paper on that subject we were talking about. I could use a couple of extra eyes and minds to help me do some research if you’re able.”


“Yes, very well. I’ll see you then.” Giles hung up the phone. Mr. O’Conner had said they had plans for the afternoon but that they’d be there after dark. Such strange wording. Not be there this evening. Not be there after seven. After dark. It was exceedingly strange. He shook his head at the thought that came into it. He’d seen them both in the sunlight. Plus they did live with a vampire slayer. Still. Strange.


Hours later, Giles was running around trying desperately to prepare for a research group. He had several drinks available for both adults and adolescents. He’d prepared a tray of biscuits as well as some old fashioned chips and dips. He looked at his watch. Scratch that. He walked over to his curtains and looked outside. It was nearly dark. He thought back to the words Buffy’s guardian had used earlier. He just couldn’t quite get past them. His instincts were on alert. He had some holy water in the utility closet. Perhaps something more subtle. Perhaps slipping in a Bible to each stack of research books. Not really subtle. Crosses? Shit. Nothing seemed subtle. He’d have to just play it by ear.


The doorbell rang. He looked at the window. It was just now dark. If they were members of the undead, they would have had to account for leaving the house in the dark. They wouldn’t be here yet. He took a calming breath. ‘See, Rupert old boy, you’re letting your imagination get the best of you’, he allowed a brief laugh at himself before he got the door.


“Buffy, it’s good to see you,” Rupert said as he stepped aside to let them in. “I trust that your absence in school today doesn’t mean you’ve been ill again.” He smiled at the beautiful blond girl who was walking in with them.


“No, just tired. We had to go out of town. To pick upTara.” Buffy grabbed the witch by the hand and gave her a little cross between a hug and a lean. “This is Will’s cousin Tara. It’s nice to have a girl around the house.Tara knows all about the slayer stuff, but it’s totally okay. She’s a super powerful witch, big time with the occult knowledge. We thought she could help.”


Tara blushed. “I-I-I’m n-not that powerful,” she stuttered shyly.


Spike moved in and wrapped an arm around her. He hated to see her nervous like this. He gave the Watcher a dirty look; sure that he’d caused this. “Tara’s just being modest. She’s amazing. One of the most amazing women I’ve ever met.”


Angelus came up behind them. “I second that.”


Tara looked up at the big vampire in surprise. He’d been the one to make her the most nervous. The one she felt didn’t care if she lived or died. She looked at him – into his eyes. He was serious. She gave him a wide smile. He smiled back.


“Well, it’s lovely to meet you, Tara.” Giles motioned for them to all take a seat around the table. “The additional help is appreciated.” He sat down himself and handed the paper he had received earlier to Liam.


“What’s this?” Angelus asked as he looked over the paper in his hands.


“It was found by one of my student’s this afternoon. It had been lying on the classroom floor near my desk. I don’t trust it of course. It’s far too convenient,” Giles said. “Can I get you something to drink? Please help yourselves to the food. I’m afraid it will be a rather long night.”


“We’re used to long nights, mate.” Spike reached over and helped himself to a glass of whiskey.


Giles immediately tensed at the younger man’s words. His senses once again going on the alert. Then he watched as Will pursed his lips and began putting one kind of each food item on his plate. Not a vampire then. He felt a little silly at his errant thoughts. Honestly, Buffy was the slayer after all, he reminded himself.


“Are you really going to eat all of that, Will?” Angelus looked at his mate’s plate. Overflowing as usual. He was such a weird vampire.


“Have you ever known me not to finish my dinner?” Spike asked cockily as he threw a cheeto in the air and caught it with his mouth.


“No, William, I haven’t,” Angelus laughed and returned to the very familiar paper in his hands.


Buffy looked down at her own plate. It was just as full as Spike’s. She’d been about to reach for another type of cookie, but decided she should probably just quit while she was ahead. No one had taken notice of her full plate.


Tara watched Buffy’s actions and smiled. For all of her power, for the very adult way she lived with these two men, she was still very much a teenaged girl. Afraid of someone saying she was eating too much.Tara made sure to fill her own plate just as high as Buffy’s even though they’d already had dinner. Thankfully, Angelus had cooked.


“I have a stack of books for each of you to look through.” Giles glanced atTara. “Now, a slightly smaller stack thanks to you.” He continued, “I made a list of the key words that I want you to look for. Some texts are likely to have only passing references, while others will be quite long.” He got up and went to several stacks of books that he had on the counter. He rearranged the pile to account forTara. Then he placed a stack in front of each person along with a pad of paper and a pencil. He took a much larger stack and put them on the floor at his feet.


Spike looked at all the books piled beneath the Watcher. “We read quite well you know.”


Giles gave a little laugh. “I’m sure that you do, but these books are not in English.”


“Try me.” Spike said evenly. He’d had quite the education when he’d been human, and a hundred and twenty odd years of experience had only broadened it.


“Very well,” Giles muttered as he leaned down and withdrew three books from his pile. “One of these is in Latin, one in Greek, and one in Hebrew.”


Spike reached over and pulled the Greek and Latin books from the pile. “These will do nicely. You can keep the Hebrew. Don’t read a lick of that.” He immediately opened the first book and started to read.


Giles pushed a piece of paper toward Will. “Would you perhaps like to know what it is you are looking for?”


Spike took the paper from Giles and looked it over. He really wished he could just eat this poncy fart. He passed the list off toTara on his right and resumed his reading.


By midnight they had compiled a fairly nice set of information. Giles looked at the group in front of him, “It seems that the paper sent to me is at least accurate on the details of an ascension. It still remains to be seen if it is accurate on this ascension, however. If it is, I think we’ve got a clear idea on how to proceed.”


“Yep,” Buffy agreed looking over her notes. “Clear. Must blow up big snake thingy ‘cause mayor is all invisible.”


“Invincible,” Giles corrected her. She made it seem startlingly simple.


“Yeah, whatever,” Buffy mumbled putting a chocolate coated cookie in her mouth. “Can we go now?”


Giles looked at his watch. “Oh, my. It is getting late. Isn’t it?” He looked at Angelus. “Could you pass the book behind you to me? I just want to check on one more thing before we call if a night.”


Angelus reached to the counter behind him without looking and grabbed the book, immediately he pulled his hand away with a fierce growl, his vamp face coming to the fore.


Giles stared in shock. “You’re a vampire.”


Chapter 21


For one second everyone just froze. Then they all moved at once.  Buffy,Tara, Spike, and Angelus came to a stand and formed a solid front while Giles pulled out a stake from who knows where. Buffy made sure she was standing slightly in front of her mates, ready to grab any flying pieces of wood if necessary.


Giles looked at the foursome in front of him. “I take it you were all turned. That’s why Buffy was not at school today,” he said sadly.


Buffy moved lightening quick and took the stake from him. “No, you over-stuffed-shirt. We haven’t all been vamped!Tara’s a witch like I told you. A good witch. Spike even calls her Glenda…”


“Spike!” Giles looked around in horror. “One of these men is actually William the Bloody!” He couldn’t help the retreat his feet insisted on taking. He halted when the back of easy-chair hit his legs.


Spike raised a hand and gave a little wave. “That’d be me.”


“Oh, dear.” Giles looked at Buffy like she was insane. “And you? What are you exactly?”


“I’m the Slayer,” Buffy said matter-of-factly. Then she turned to place Angelus’ burnt hand in her own, raising it to place a tender kiss on his seared flesh. “And the man you injured is Angelus.”


“A-a-as in the Scourge ofEurope. That Angelus,” Giles swallowed a hard lump in his throat. He supposed it was all over for him now.


“Oh relax, old man,” Spike hissed. He was growing irritated at all of the fear and spluttering. Sometimes it was nice. Sometimes it was funny. Right now it was keeping him from going home and shagging his mates. “Not like we’re here to hurt you. Do you honestly think I would have put up with over five hours of research if I had planned on killing you? Do you?”


Giles thought about this for a moment. “No, I don’t suppose you would. But really, who knows the ways of evil?” Giles looked with wide eyes as all four individuals before him raised their hand. “Can you please tell me what’s going on, and why two of the most infamous vampires to ever walk the earth are willing to help a slayer?”


Spike pulled Buffy roughly against him. “That one’s easy. She’s our mate.”


Giles toppled over backwards as his feet went for the retreat thing again. He landed on his back with his feet sticking up over the back of the easy-chair. He just stayed there for a moment, digesting the information. Mate. He’d done a paper on the mating habits of vampires. Fascinating. He’d never heard of one mating with a human, however. And a slayer. It was just too odd by far. He righted himself and came to a stand. He turned to them slowly.


“Again, may I ask why?” He walked carefully over to his glass on the table and poured himself a liberal amount of brandy.


“Because we love her,” Angelus said simply. “She’s our world. We were destined to find her and make her ours.” Angelus walked over to Giles. “That is what she is. Ours. You think she’s your slayer, but she’s not. We are only letting you borrow her while we find out how to stop the mayor and kill my sire, Darla, and The Master. Do you understand?” He growled threateningly. “She is not some tool for The Council to use until she’s worn to death so that another can be called. So, I suggest that you do some more research in those books of yours. Find a way to call another slayer.”


“The Council…” Giles began.


Angelus had the man by the throat and up against the wall. “We know all about your Council. We know what they do to young girls who are lucky enough to make it to eighteen. We know how they send out a wet-works team for those slayers who aren’t playing by their rules. How they take young girls away from their families, isolating them and then brainwashing them. We know it all. It’s you who’s been in the dark.” Angelus let the man go and turned back to stand with his family.


“Those things are done for a reason.” Giles found his anger again. “Look at her. Look what you have done to a slayer! This is why we must isolate them. Otherwise, they will not understand their purpose.”


Buffy let herself shift into full slayer mode. “Is this my purpose?”


Giles shrieked and dropped his glass full of brandy on the carpet. “Dear me, what have you done?”


“See, Angelus was right. You know nothing.” Buffy brought Spike’s arm up to her mouth. She turned it over so the tender part of his wrist was showing. She bit down and took a mouthful of blood before pulling away and licking the wound closed. She kept her eyes trained on the Watcher the entire time. “Delicious. Did you know that the Slayer power was derived from that of a demon? A demon who feeds off other demons? That’s why we can feel them. Why we crave the hunt. It’s also why some of us go a little wacko.”


Giles shook his head. He was truly horrified. “I knew a little, but nothing like this. How?”


“Oh, some mojo awakened my full powers and what not,” Buffy said. She was actually getting kind of bored. She looked up at Angelus. “Can we go now?”


He smiled down at her. She was so much like Will it was scary. He kissed the top of her head. “In a minute, my precious.”


“How can you, a creature meant to fight evil, bear to live with it?” Giles asked. The exchange between his slayer and these vampires was sickening him.


“Creature meant to fight evil?” Buffy started laughing. “Oh, please. That’s like harnessing a lion and telling it that it’s meant to fight antelope. It’s simply a matter of food. I bear living with them because they are my family. My mates. My world. They aren’t food.” Buffy saw Giles eyes dart to Spike’s arm. “Oh please, that was just foreplay.”


“I didn’t really need to hear that,” Giles stated, his eyes searching for his dropped shot glass.


“Live with it,” Angelus warned. “I’m taking my family home now. Nothing has changed. You will help us take down Wilkins and The Master. It’s your job. Also, you will not contact the Council or anyone else you know and tell them about Buffy. If you do, well… there will be no place you can hide. We will systematically hunt down every last one of you and yours. Got it?”


Giles looked into the amber eyes of the men in front of him. “I got it.” He stared blankly at them as they began to leave. He still had so many questions. He saw the blonde vamp take the human girl by the arm. “Tara, would you like to stay with me?”


Tara turned and laughed. “No thanks. I’m staying with my friends. We need each other. We protect each other. That’s what friends do.” She turned and left, shutting the door behind her.


Giles was stunned. Everything! Nothing made sense. His entire world had just been thrown eschew. He honestly didn’t know where to go from here. He wished at that moment for just one good friend. Someone he could talk to. Someone who could help him make sense of things. A large noise sounded from behind. Giles turned to look. “Ethan? What are you doing here?”


“Beats the hell out of me, old friend. I was, well let’s not discuss what I was doing exactly, when suddenly I wasn’t doing it anymore. I was here.” He looked around. “You’ve obviously come down in the world, haven’t you?”


Giles closed his eyes. Be careful what you wish for. Now his night was complete. He walked over and grabbed the bottle of brandy. To hell with the glass.


Note: Taking liberties with the timeline. Also this is Ethan’s first visit to the fair Sunnydale. Plus, still hopped up on the cold medicine so forgive me if there are more mistakes than usual. Plus I was too lazy to look up the spelling for Eyghon.


Chapter 22


“Try again!” Ethan stamped his foot.


Giles turned to the man with a look of disgust on his face. “Did you just stamp your foot?”


“No. I merely tapped it for emphasis. Now, would you please be so kind as to try once again to wish me back. It is imperative that…” Ethan trailed off. “Just wish me back.”


Giles eyed him suspiciously. “Imperative that you what, Ethan? What are you up to this time?”


“It’s just business. Highly lucrative business I might add. So if you please.” Ethan looked at Giles pleadingly.


“Why not. Wishing for the nineteenth time that you be returned to where you were will surely do the trick. What is it that they say? Oh yes, the nineteenth time’s the charm.” Giles closed his eyes and wished yet again. He opened them. “Still here I see.”


“Damn.” Ethan slumped down in the couch opposite Giles. He put his head between his hands. Think. Think. Think. He looked up at Giles, inspired. “I’ve got it!” he exclaimed as he jumped to his feet. “What were you holding in your hands when you made the wish?”


“Nothing,” Giles paused to think. “I think it was nothing.” He looked down at his hands. “I might have been holding a book, I suppose.”


“A book!” Ethan looked at the myriad of books lying about. “Bugger. That isn’t at all helpful.” He surveyed the room. “When I popped in, you were standing here.” He took a large step, occupying the space in question. He looked down. A small leather bound book stared up at him. He bent down and picked it up. Then he looked at Giles in triumph. “Not necessarily what you were holding, possibly just what you were touching.” He handed the book to Giles.


Giles paled as he immediately recognized the text in his hands. “This is the boulh Biblarion, Ethan. You won’t be going anywhere until my will is done. Regardless to how that will may have changed.”


Ethan gave a bitter laugh as he helped himself to a bottle of ale from Giles refrigerator. He popped off the cap and stared oddly at the church key in his hand.


“Don’t even think about it,” Giles warned, Ripper coming to the surface. “First off, you can’t take me. You never could. Secondly, killing me would not end my will. Not to mention the trouble you’d be in with two of the most notorious vampire’s history has ever known.”


Ethan tossed the church key back on the counter. “It was worth a thought,” he drawled as he came into the living room and resumed his slouched position on the couch. “This is terribly depressing and somewhat ironic.”


“How’s that?” Giles asked.


“Well, I was working on a spell for an up and coming big wig in the demon world.” He pounded his ale against his knee. “Right here in Sunnydale. Anther day or two and I would have been coming here willingly. Will. There’s that word again. Tell me, Giles, what exactly was your ‘will’ when you made your silly wish.”


Giles thought back to that moment. The one immediately after the vampires, the witch, and the Slayer had left his home. “My wish was for a friend. Someone I could talk to. Someone who could help me make sense of a senseless world.”


“That was your wish. Not your will. Think deeper,” Ethan demanded as he leaned toward his old friend. “What was your will?”


“My will was to have this mess fixed! To have another slayer called, one who isn’t the scariest bint I’ve ever encountered, and yet somehow keep my head on my shoulders. In other words, new slayer with the previous slayer still living and breathing. Do you think you can help with that?” Giles barked.


“Fill me on the situation and I will see what I can do. Let’s start with who the vampires are that you mentioned.” He laid himself out on the couch. Might as well be comfortable.


“William the Bloody and his grandsire, Angelus. I believe you may have heard of them.” Giles pulled the lever on the easy chair, allowing himself to stretch out.


Ethan gave an appreciative whistle. “Impressive crowd you’re running with.”


“Yes, well, not of my choosing, I assure you. It seems that my Slayer, the current Chosen One to whom I have been so auspiciously assigned, is actually their mate.” Giles waited for this to sink into Ethan’s quick little mind.


Ethan shot up into a sitting position. “That is rich! A slayer mated to two vampires,” Ethan laughed. “Only you, Ripper. Only you would have such good fortune.”


“I feel very fortunate. Thank you for seeing it so clearly, Ethan. I’ll just go off and count my blessings, shall I?” Giles snarked.


“Oh, pipe down. There’s power here for the taking if you would just come off your high horse for half a second!” Ethan exclaimed.


“Power? Is that all you think about? Did Eyghon teach you nothing? I don’t want power. All I want to do is keep the world safe. To do that with any measure of success requires a slayer. And the one I’ve got is utterly corrupted. Not to mention that her ‘mates’ have ordered me to find a way to release her from her slayer duties, or else. And I don’t think I really need to explain the ‘or else’ to you, do I?” He looked at the calculating expression on Ethan’s face and felt a great urge to wipe it off. “By the by Ethan, I was warned that my ‘or else’ includes not only me but everyone connected to me, and judging by the fact that you were the one sent to me in my time of need, I’d say that means you.”


Ethan’s face paled. He looked at Giles incredulously. “You! Look what you’ve got me into! First you ruin my deal with the mayor. Now, you have me entangled in your muck. Honestly Giles, did you wake up this morning determined to ruin my life?”


Giles leaned got up and went nose to nose with the wily man on his couch. “If you are involved with the mayor, then you’ve stepped into this muck all on your own. No blaming me. Tonight we sleep. Tomorrow we go to the vampires. Understood?”


“Understood,” Ethan agreed. He couldn’t help the smile that broke out over his face. He loved when Giles got forceful. It reminded him of better days.


Chapter 23


Ethan was actually looking forward to meeting the unusual threesome of vampires and slayer. Of course, after spending the day grading papers as Giles kept one eye on him and the other on his students, anything sounded fun. He watched as Giles got out of the car and manually pushed open a retro-gothic gate that had just enough authenticity to it to seem actually creepy. Ethan loved it. As the house and grounds came into view his infatuation grew. He wouldn’t want to live here himself, he was more of a modernist really, but what a delightful place to play.


Giles turned off the motor and sighed. This was it. Time to turn Ethan over to the bosses. There was no fooling himself. He, Rupert Giles, was abiding by the dictates of not one, but two master vampires. He might as well toss the tweeds and slip back into the jeans and t-shirts of his youth. Redemption. The word rang a sour note in his brain as he pushed the doorbell. Was it even possible at this point?


“Hey Giles! Hey strange, paper grading man,” Buffy greeted the men at the door. Giles looked different today. He still had a sports coat on, but underneath she thought she spotted a white linen lounge shirt – the kind you saw on rich old guys inBermuda. “Come on in.” She stepped away from the door and let the two old guys walk through.


“We’re in the kitchen,” she said as she shut the door. “Follow me.” She led them into the brightly lit room where Angelus and Spike leaned against one another whileWillow andTara occupied a similar position in seats across from them.


Willow!” Giles exclaimed.


“Mr. Giles!”Willow squeaked back at him. “What are you doing here?”


“I could ask the same of you, Miss Rosenburg,” Giles said warily. Suddenly he was quite sure he knew where that paper had come from.


“I’m with Tara,”Willow said with a smile. She tried to see if she could actually melt intoTara. No such luck.


Tara pulledWillow against her and whispered an encouragement.


“I’m studying witchcraft withTara and Spike. Plus, I’m sort of…” She turned toTara with a shy smile. “Dating?”Tara nodded.Willow looked back at Giles with a brilliant smile and a dash of well needed confidence. “Plus I’m datingTara.”


“I see,” Giles said not really seeing at all. He wondered briefly at the rolls of the rest of the students in his class. It was the Hellmouth after all. Perhaps Principal Snyder was actually a Fyarl demon. No, that would be an improvement.


Angelus got up and pulled out two chairs for the men who had yet to explain their presence in his kitchen. “Have a seat, please.” He returned to his position against Spike, who was now the middle of a mate sandwich as Buffy was pressed up against his other side. He motioned to the array of food and drinks on the table. “Help yourselves.”


“No thanks,” Giles said evenly. He wasn’t about to partake of food in this den of iniquity. He remembered his folklore. A few pomegranate seeds and it could all be over.


“Don’t mind if I do.” Ethan stuck out his hand. “I’m Ethan Rayne by the way. Ripper here used to have far better manners in his younger days. I do believe old age has made him stodgy. Of course it could be the tweed.”


Angelus took the proffered hand in his own. “Nice to meet you, Ethan.” He away and motioned to Spike and Buffy. “These are my mates, Spike and Buffy. The two lovely ladies areWillow and her girlfriend, Tara.”


“It’s a pleasure.” Ethan helped himself to a chocolate covered strawberry and a bottle of flavored water.


“So, Giles, I’m sure that you’re here for a reason,” Angelus prompted.


Giles looked at the demon sitting across from him. The devil is a gentleman. Giles cleared his throat. “Yes, well, as the fates seem to be mocking me of late, Mr. Rayne appeared in my living room after your departure last night. It seems he is here to be of some aid to us. He has been contracted by the mayor to…” Giles looked oddly at Ethan. “What exactly was it you were to do for the mayor?”


Ethan sucked off some dark chocolate that lingered on his finger. He gave the room a cunning grin. “It was brilliant. I was creating an enchantment for candy bars. Upon eating the candy adults would be turned into their inner adolescents.” He gave a wistful sigh. “I was almost finished. Then ‘poof’ I wind up in Rupert’s living room.” He looked at his audience. “A disappointment, I assure you.”


“What good would that do?”Willow asked. She didn’t get the point of the whole candy bar thing.


“Not all adults were who you think they are,” Ethan explained.


Willow thought about his statement for a moment. “Still, what’s the point?”


“The point is distraction. With the adults fully distracted Wilkins was planning on stealing something valuable from them. I don’t know what exactly,” he finished, reaching for another strawberry.


“The most valuable thing would be children.”Tara shuddered at the thoughts in her head. “The mayor must be looking to offer some kind of sacrifice.”


Giles reached out and punched Ethan squarely in the jaw. “You bastard!”


Ethan rubbed at his jaw with a giggle. “Oh, Ripper, you know that just turns me on.”


Giles moved to hit him again, but was stopped byTara’s gentle voice. “Don’t. We need him. He’s under a geas. I can see it. He has to help us. He’s also a very powerful wizard. Far more powerful than eitherWillow or I are - yet. We need him.”Tara looked deeply into Ethan’s eyes. “As soon as the geas is lifted, however, he will turn on us. He has no loyalties. None. I’ve never met someone so completely without an ethical code. Even psychopaths follow some sort of twisted idea of right and wrong. This man has nothing. It’s as if…”


“As if I worship chaos?” Ethan supplied. Wasn’t like he was hiding it.


“Exactly,” Tara agreed. She moved closer toWillow. This man gave her the heebie-jeebies.


Buffy raised her hand. Angelus smiled at her. “Yes, Buffy?”


“After this is all over could we do the candy bar enchantment thingy?” she asked. Beside her Spike nodded his head gleefully.


Angelus just laughed. “No.” He saw the incredible disappointment flash across the features of his childer. “We’ll see,” he amended. It was so hard to deny them anything.


Angelus turned to Ethan. “Mr. Rayne, you will continue your work for the mayor. Convince him the spell is taking longer than you thought to complete. You will also pass on some valuable information to him regarding The Master. In your spare time you will work with Tara andWillow to develop a protection spell. I need something very powerful. Something that will make me immune to the influence of my sire and my grandsire.”


“As you command, Angelus, so shall I obey,” Ethan said as he popped yet another strawberry into his mouth.


“You’d better,” Angelus growled.


“So, let’s outline the plan.” Buffy eyed the last strawberry on the plate. That strawberry was hers.Tara had made them especially because Buffy had said she liked them. She saw Ethan move towards it and she was just about to slap his hand when suddenly she had a mouthful of succulent strawberry.


She looked at her bleached blonde mate. “Thank you,” she mumbled around the plump little fruit.


“Your welcome, lover.” Spike placed each chocolate covered finger in her mouth to lick clean.


Buffy moaned as she sucked the chocolate of his fingers, and then she flipped herself so that she was straddling Spike’s lap. “More chocolate,” she whispered before claiming his mouth with her own.


“Excuse me,” Giles said in shock.


Willow laid a comforting hand on her English teacher’s arm. “You get used to it. Well, not used to it. But certainly less surprised. They sort of do that out of nowhere. I think it’s like a vamp thing. Hormones or pheromones or…”


“I see,” Giles took off his glasses to clean them. Not father figures. He needed to keep reminding himself of that.


Buffy disentangled herself from her mate and resumed her seat. “Sorry about that, but there was chocolate and fingers. Two of my favorite things,” she giggled. “Anyhow, plan. So we know we have to blow the mayor up. No problem. The problem as I see it is just sheer numbers. You know? I mean the Master and Darla have had like years to just sit around and build an army of vamps.” She looked at Giles pointedly.


“What?” He looked back at her. “Did you expect me to go down there and take him out? Let’s see, I would have, but I was missing something. What was it?” He gave her a pointed glare. “That’s right. You. I was missing you.”


“Please, you had like the whole Council at your finger tips. Are you telling me that a group of trained operatives with the high tech gear and stuff couldn’t manage to dust a couple of vamps?” Buffy huffed. Why was it supposed to be all up to her?


Angelus chose to interrupt. He wanted to get things moving. He may not be much for human food, but he was having some fantastic thoughts involving Spike, Buffy, and the leftover chocolate sauce. “Look. This is how it’s going to work. Ethan will convince the mayor that The Master is a threat. We’ll let the troops whittle themselves down. Once the numbers are a bit more in our favor, we go in. Or at least I go in. That is if Ethan can come up with a strong enough immunity spell. After The Master and Darla are history, then we can patiently await the ascension and blow the mayor into tiny little snake bits. Any questions?”


Spike and Buffy both laughed. “No,” Spike said. “No questions. Just thought you should know that it really would be a cold day in hell before either Buffy or I let you fight alone. We’re a team. Got it?”


Ethan and Giles watched the exchange in fascination. It had been clear from the start that Angelus was the dominant in the room, but here was his childer openly challenging his authority.


Angelus reached out a hand and brought Spike onto his lap in one powerful move. He vamped. “Got it, William,” he growled before his mouth descended down upon his.


Willow jumped to her feat. “Oh, okay. That’s enough. I think I should probably go before Xander and Jesse start to wonder where I am.”


Tara got up with her. The two women enjoyed a brief, tender embraced beforeWillow went to the kitchen door and opened it.


Angelus, Spike, and Buffy stopped what they were doing and watched in fascination as the door opened and two brunette teenagers came spilling onto the floor. The threesome had known the boys were there all along. They watched in amusement as the boys collected themselves. As usual Xander was the first to speak. So many things could have come out of the boys mouth, like ‘hey you guys are vampires’ or ‘hey Buffy’s boffing her guardians’, but this was Xander.


He looked atWillow with his mouth opening and closing, much like a fish gasping for air. Then one finger rose shakily at his lifelong best friend. “Willow… you… you’re gay!” he croaked.


Chapter 24


“Are you serious?” Buffy asked Spike, the question being completely rhetorical.


“Dead,” Spike whispered.


“He’s…” she trailed off, not knowing how to put it into words. “I mean I love him. You know I love him. But…”


“I know. Me too, pet.” Spike shook his head perplexed. He lay against the back of the living room couch with Buffy nestled securely in his arms. They both sat there pretending to watch a television program, but they were really listening to the jaunty whistling coming from above. From the bathroom. The big one with the Jacuzzi tub.


“He sounds so happy,” Buffy sighed. She took the remote from Spike and did some flipping.


“Yeah, he does. Not like it won’t be fun. I mean sex is always fun. Even very, very planned sex.” Spike grabbed the remote and turned it back to the unwatched channel he’d previously not been watching. Realizing the futility of his actions, he threw the remote on the coffee table.


“Oh, I know it will be fun. But… I don’t think he gets it.” Buffy turned to so that she could lay her head in Spike’s lap, knowing he would play with her hair. She loved when he played with her hair.


Spike started to move his fingers through her golden locks. “Well, there’s nothing for it. We just have to… It will be like playing one of our games. Slip into character. Act like we are having a wanton moment of unbridled sexual passion brought on by chocolate lust.”


“Well, it was brought on by chocolate lust,” Buffy pouted, thinking back to the sixty-seven seconds of fun she’d had after everyone had finally left earlier. Then it had all been ruined. One glance from Mr. Clean. Honestly. She’d just dipped her hand into the chocolate sauce and put a small little dab on Spike’s lips. While she was dutifully cleaning it off, one of her hands had slipped under Angelus’ t-shirt in an attempt to take it off so she could get him all chocolaty. Unfortunately it had been the hand that was still covered with chocolate.


One moment there was fun. The next there was cleaning. Then ushering into the living room where Angelus bade them to stay. He said he’d take care of everything. He’d been all wicked grin-y when he’d said it, too. Now he was upstairs planning a great moment of chocolate debauchery. In the bathroom. They’d be naked and there would be soapy water and a drain. Buffy sighed again. He was so not getting the point of sex and food.


“Why is it taking so long?” she whined. “It’s been at least two hours!”


“Don’t know, pet. Probably cleaning the damn place before we start,” Spike grumbled.


“Was he always like this?” She asked, looking up into Spike’s very blue eyes.


“Pretty much.” Spike thought back. “Well, when it was someone else’s house and we were dealing with blood instead of chocolate; he’d get pretty damn dirty.” Spike sighed, thinking about some of the magnificent times they’d had.


Buffy felt herself grow wet at the dreamy look in his eyes. She took one of his hands and placed it against her sex. Then she rubbed her head back and forth in his lap. “Tell me a story, Will,” she purred.


Spike felt a low growl of passion erupt from his chest. “A story is it.” He moved his hand so it undulated against her, eliciting a long moan. “All right, kitten. I’ll tell you a story.”


“One with Dru,” Buffy said breathlessly. She’d never gotten a chance to know the woman who’d brought her mates so much joy. It was something she deeply regretted. She never once felt threatened by the memories of Spike’s dark princess. She knew that she was Drusilla’s last gift. It made her feel precious.


Spike smiled down at the beauty in his lap, and then he leaned down and gave her a gentle kiss. “I love you Buffy. You’re golden.”


She gave a tinkling laugh, and then she sat up. She pulled Spike down to lie on the couch and she crawled on top of him. She slipped her tongue into his mouth. She loved his mouth. Every part of it. His lips. His tongue. His teeth. The lovely sounds that came from it. The lovely things he could do with it. She broke away and looked into his eyes. “Your mouth is one of my favorite playgrounds.”


“Yeah?” he asked almost shyly.


“Yeah,” she whispered, claiming his mouth again.


“Am I interrupting?” A deep voice sounded from the doorway.


They turned their heads in perfect synchronicity, “Never,” they promised.


Angelus felt his cock harden immediately at their words. Damn, but he loved these two creatures. “I have everything ready. Follow me.” He turned around and left the room to head back upstairs. Sure that they would follow.


“Ready, luv?” Spike asked with a smile.


“Ready and willing, but later when we go to bed, you’ll tell me some stories?” She said against his ear.


“It would be my pleasure.” He got up and took her hand. “Let’s go and make the most awful mess that has ever been made in a bathroom before.” He thought about what he’d said. “Scratch that. Sorry.” He shuddered as some truly horrible images came to mind. “Didn’t mean it like that.”


Buffy giggled as they walked up the stairs. “I know what you meant, but thanks for the mental imagery.” She echoed his earlier shudder. “Yuck. Think chocolate. Think naked. Think naked chocolaty goodness. Do not think about turned over outhouses.”


“Slayer!” Spike yelled. “That’s actually worse then what I’d thought of. Honestly, woman!” He stopped outside of the bathroom and looked down at his pants. “I don’t even know if I can now.”


“Are you telling me that I’ve found the one thing that can actually tame that savage beast?” she teased as she grabbed his limp penis and pressed herself against him.


The violent little move had the organ in question hardening immediately. Buffy just threw her head back and laughed. That’s when the scent of chocolate hit her hard. More chocolate than she could make sense of. She pulled away from Spike with a “Huh?”


Spike lifted his head in the air and vamped. Something was off. He opened the door to the bathroom and found himself completely gob smacked. He felt Buffy walk in behind him, stumbling in sudden shock. He was able to grab her before she actually fell and hit the hard Italian tile. They both turned to look at their sire who was staring back at them with a look of utter evil.


“And you two thought I was being boring,” he accused.


Buffy and Spike turned back to the tub. Buffy was the first to speak. “It’s naked.”


“Oh, yeah,” Angelus informed them. “So, who’s hungry?”


Buffy’s face immediately morphed. She gave her mates a toothy smile. “I could really go for a bite.”


“Fuck,” Spike growled. The look on his girl’s face was enough to bring him to his knees. “You are without a doubt the most gorgeous woman on the face of this earth.”


Angelus came up behind Spike, wrapping his arms around him. “He’s right.”


Buffy gave a little growl of acknowledgment, pleased with the comment. “We need to be naked, too. Everyone naked, now!” They men laughed and complied with her demands.


When they were all naked they approached the tub. Buffy turned to her mates. “It’s just like when I was a child and my mother would put a chocolate covered bunny in my Easter basket. I’d unwrap the gold foil and just stare at it. Trying to figure out where I wanted to bite first. The ears were always a nice starting place if I was in a nibbling mood, but when I was feeling greedy, I’d bite the whole head off in one big crunch.”


They watched as the chocolate coated vampire struggled against its bonds.


“Where did you get her?” Spike asked. He hadn’t heard Angelus leave the house, though he had heard a truck earlier.


“She’s one of Darla’s minions. Found her snooping at the back door. Brought her in and made a little call to our new friend Ethan. Figured if he was working on something this big he probably already had a chocolate supplier lined up here in Sunnydale. Sure enough, twenty minutes after my call one large vat of chocolate was delivered.”


Buffy burst into a fit of laughter. “Oh my. Just think. Just think,” she said between guffaws, “of what must be going through Giles’ head at your request. I mean Ethan’s staying with Giles, right?” The two men thought about what she was saying and burst into laughter.


When they collected themselves, Buffy wiped the tears from her eyes and looked at her mates. “Let’s play!”


Chapter 25


“Mmmm,” Buffy moaned as she licked the quaking vampire before her from the jaw line to the bridge of the nose. She looked wickedly at her two mates who were just now climbing inside of the tub. “I can’t decide which is better. The chocolate? Or the Fear?” The female vamp began struggling in earnest at her words. Buffy’s giggle tinkled throughout the bathroom. “Okay, fear it is.”


“Save some for us, luv,” Spike said as he got down on his knees. He nudged his face into the crook of the vampire’s elbow. He bit down viciously, enjoying the way the creature’s pain spiced the taste of its blood. Vampire blood wasn’t particularly sustaining for other vampires unless it was from one’s own family, but it was still fun as hell to drink.


Angelus leaned down on the other side, sinking his fangs into the intruder’s collarbone. Collarbone removal was one of his specialties. He bit down hard, until a good portion of the bone was lodged between his teeth, then he ripped it off like a dog. Blood spurted everywhere, and even through its bonds the vampire’s screams could be heard. Angelus laughed in joy. This was it. This was a part of himself that he was unable to indulge in as much as he needed. He was always worried about the safety of his mates. Too much damage to a vampire and its master could seek reprisal. Too much damage to humans and the authorities started looking. That’s not to say he didn’t have his moments, but as time wore on they were few and far between.


Spike and Buffy both stopped what they were doing when the spray of blood hit them. Buffy turned predatory eyes on her blonde mate. Her fangs practically ached. Tough. They’d just have to wait. She stuck her tongue out and began licking the blood clean from Spike, like a cat cleaning its kitten.


Spike stilled, letting Buffy work her way across his skin. He loved when she was like this. All animal. Barely in control. He felt his penis fill with blood. He reached one hand down to grip it, and he gave it a long stroke. “Clean me up good, kitten. That’s it. Lick me clean.”


Buffy growled in the back of her throat. It was a message of agreement. Of completely solidarity. She had no other intentions. Clean Spike. The unknown vamp completely forgotten by all but Angelus.


The elder vamp had his mouth against the vampiress’ torn flesh. He was feasting, and it felt so damn good. Blood. It was always about the blood. Even this blood. He had no idea who had turned this creature. There was no signature flavor. She had been with Darla recently. He could smell the leftover scent of their sex. Darla was not, however, her sire. It didn’t matter, though. Even as weak as the blood was, it was blood. It was pain. It wouldn’t be death. Oh no. Angelus planned on leaving this one alive. His saliva had begun to slow the bleeding, allowing the sudden smell of cum to hit him. Angelus stopped working on the dead flesh and looked at Buffy who was eagerly licking up the milky white fluid that dripped from Spike’s cock.


Angelus gripped Buffy by the shoulders, pulling her up against his chest, smearing her back with blood and chocolate. “What did you do to our dear boy?”


Buffy gave a sound between a laugh and a purr. “Just gave him a little bath.” She pulled out of her sire’s embrace and turned her attention to the passed out vamp. “Angelus! You broke our toy.”


Buffy pulled the chocolate covered treat into her arms almost as if she were cradling a lover. She flopped the head over so that she could have access to a less gnarly section of flesh. She dutifully began sucking the chocolate into her mouth. So good. Rich and… and missing something. She sank her fangs deeply into the creature’s neck. Ahh… yes. That was it. Blood. Vamp blood. She was greedily drinking it down when Angelus’ hands rudely wrenched her away.


She stuck out her bottom lip. “What?”


“We aren’t dusting this one. You can lick it. You can bite it. But you can’t dust it,” he informed her.


“But what are we going to do with it?” she whined, convinced he’d let her finish her treat if she needled him enough.


Angelus just laughed. “Don’t be naughty, and do what Daddy tells you, baby.” He reached down and took one of her nipples into his mouth. “Mmm, even I could grow to like chocolate if it was always like this.”


Buffy kept up the pout. Well, for a little while that is. Spike distracted her by pushing her back until she fell onto the unconscious vampire’s lap. He pulled her legs apart and pushed the vamp’s chocolate covered knees against Buffy’s sex. He moved them around and around until Buffy was thoroughly covered with chocolate. Then he leaned between her legs and had himself a nummy treat.


Angelus stroked his shaft as he watched his boy eat out their mate. It was sexy as hell, watching the two of them be so wildly uninhibited. He watched Spike position himself so that he was at Buffy’s entrance. He watched as his childe entered her forcefully, causing her to push the undead corpse behind them into the walls of the tub. His gut clenched; watching the creature’s chocolate covered head flop back and forth was just damn well doing it for him. He spilled unashamedly onto his hand.


Buffy had felt Angelus’ eyes on her and she’d eagerly returned his fevered gaze. She loved the dark look he got in his eyes right before he reached orgasm. She could tell he was about to cum from his eyes alone. Spike was different. Spike’s eyes were full of so much emotion that you often couldn’t see his intent.


Spike felt Buffy’s walls clench him tightly and he let himself have his second release of the evening. He leaned against her in exhaustion. He looked at the brown smears all over the tub and he was actually thankful for Angelus’ foresight. At times, not having minions was a bitch. “Clean up time?” he muttered.


“Not quite,” Angelus informed him as he leaned over to the side of the tub and retrieved a plastic sheet. He unrolled the sheet with one expert flick of his wrists. Then he reached over and lifted the vamp out of the tub and onto the plastic. “Now we can get clean,” he declared happily.


Buffy and Spike just watched him as he turned on the taps and grabbed a washcloth and the liquid soap. He was so damn happy when he was cleaning up. It was a little freaky. As they felt the first rush of warm water and their sire’s gentle touch while he scrubbed them clean, they decided it wasn’t that bad after all.


When they were clean, Angelus hopped out of the tub and folded both ends over the still sleeping vampire. Then he rolled her up, leaving not a single chocolate smear on the ground. “Let’s get dressed,” he told his mates. “We’ve got a little gift to deliver.”


Spike and Buffy eagerly jumped out of the tub and dressed quickly. They understood what he was about now, and they were looking forward to the mischief.


A half an hour later they were making their way across the cemetery. Angelus was letting the pull to his sire guide him to the needed entrance. He had the vampire’s head while Spike was carrying the feet. Buffy had just laughed and skipped along beside them saying it was a shame they hadn’t been able to play a little bit longer with the food.


“It’s like old times innit?” Spike asked as they lugged the body between them.


“Yeah, it is,” Angelus agreed. “This reminds me of that one time inBerlin. Remember when you two had that Nazi up in your room and you were trying to keep him quiet because you were worried I’d be all upset at the carnage? Then Dru accidentally pulled the guy’s head off! You came running into my room saying how you were sorry but you needed help getting rid of the body. We had to wrap the guy up to carry him out of the hotel, and Dru placed his head in his hands,” Angelus laughed. “Good times, even with the soul. That was fun.”


Spike laughed. “Was scared as hell you’d be pissed, but you just rolled up your sleeves and got us out of their safely.” Spike looked into his sire’s eyes. “Thanks. Thanks for always being there for us, even when… you know.”


Angelus gave him a smile. “I know. Same here. You two stood by me when most vamps wouldn’t have. Certainly not Darla.” Angelus gave a shudder at the mention of his sire. “Speaking of which, this is it.” He stopped. “On the count of three.”


Spike gave him a nod. “One. Two. Three.” They tossed the vampire well into the entrance for some of the other minions to find and bring back to the lair.


“Time to go home?” Buffy asked as she placed each of her hands in one of her mates’.


“Home again, home again, jiggety jig,” Spike responded.


Hours later with the Slayer and her vampires curled up in bed telling stories about times past, The Master turned to Darla in confusion. “What I don’t get is where all the chocolate came from?” he asked as staked the still unconscious vampire.


Chapter 26


“You’re acting like I’ve betrayed you!”Willow cried her teeth firmly clamped around a Slurpee straw.


“Well, I feel like that’s just what you’ve done,” Xander said, pumping his straw up and down in an attempt to capture the last bit of sugary goodness.


Jesse just sat back, picking at his onion rings as his two best friends hashed out their problems.


“How is my being gay a betrayal?” she asked.


Xander pointed atWillow with his straw, effectively flinging melted Slurpee at the two people in front of him. “It’s misrepresentation!”


“Misrepresentation!” Willow yelled, throwing herself back against the booth in frustration. “I didn’t even know I was gay, Xander, how could self-discovery possibly be viewed as misrepresentation?”


Xander looked down at the straw in his hands. “I don’t know,” he said quietly. “I guess it’s just that…” He looked up at her. “I always thought that someday, if I didn’t find anyone… I mean if neither of us had found anyone, that we’d – you know… get together.”


A look of disgust came overWillow’s face. “I was your backup plan!”


Jesse wiped his fingers on a napkin and looked wildly around for some sort of escape. What had possessed him to sit next toWillow? Oh why, oh why hadn’t he sat next to Xander? He saw a drop-dead gorgeous blonde sitting alone at one of the booths. She looked upset. She also looked nervous. She kept glancing around. The sound of Xander’s voice brought his attention back to the table.


“Not backup plan,” Xander explained, “more like a warm fuzzy security blanket. You know the kind with the silky edges that you can stroke yourself to sleep with.”


She looked into his warm brown eyes and decided it was time for some truths. “I don’t want to be someone’s security blanket, Xander. I want to be their everything.” He just looked at her, not getting it. She sat up and took his hand in her own. “What do you feel when you touch me?”


“Nice. I feel nice,” Xander said without hesitation.


Willow let go of his hand. “Nice isn’t what I’m looking for Xander. It’s not what you should be looking for either,” she told him gently. “When I touchTara, I feel like I’m more than I am when I’m not touching her. It’s like alone we’re just fine, but together we’re amazing. I want amazing. I want to see my special someone’s eyes light up when I walk into a room. I want them to immediately search me out wherever they go. I want them to think about me when I’m not there. I want them to call me just to hear the sound of my voice. I want their touch to set my skin on fire. I want love and I want passion.”


Xander grabbed her hand again. “Tara does that for you?”


“Yes, Xander, she does, and I do that for her too.” She felt him give her hand a squeeze.


“Well, I guess you better introduce us to the person incredible enough to love you like that,” Xander declared as he let go of her hand.


Willow felt tears well up in her eyes. “Thank you for understanding. It means so much to me. All three of you,” she looked at Jesse and then Xander, “mean the world to me. I know you guys are really going to like her.”


Jesse leaned his elbows on the table and said as quietly as he could. “Now that that’s settled, do you think maybe we could discuss this whole vampire thing?”

Xander looked atWillow. “Yeah. What’s up with that?”


Willow looked around. “I don’t think this is the right place for that discussion. Let’s just say that there are some seriously scary things that we’ve all been ignoring that simply won’t be ignored anymore.”


“What can we do?” Jesse asked.


“Do you mean to help or do you mean to protect yourselves?”Willow was unsure how involved her two friends were willing to be. She was in deep, looking forward to paying the bitch that hurt her girlfriend back.


Jesse looked a bit embarrassed. “I was thinking more along the protect myself lines.”


Willow leaned against him and put her head on his shoulders. “That’s okay, too. No one expects you to lay your life on the line here. There’s only so much I can teach you, but if you were willing to go back over to Buffy’s she and her… ah… guardians can give you some pointers. Oh, andTara can teach me a protection spell or something for you.”


Xander looked at his lifelong friend with a sense of dread. “Things are never going to be the same are they?”


“No, Xander, I’m afraid they’re not.”Willow said, hating to pop his bubble of disillusion.


“Well, if there’s nothing I can do about going in the water, I might as well jump in feet first. Take me to Buffy’s,” Xander told his friend. He was willing to get involved. He didn’t think they’d have a choice, really.


Jesse got up shaking his head. “Not ready to go back there. I’d rather just go home. Maybe when you two learn some stuff you could show me. Preferably as far away from Buffy Summers and her ‘guardians’ as possible.”


Xander offered Jesse his hand. “No problem, man. I totally understand. We’ll see you tomorrow.”


“Tomorrow,” Jesse gave them both a little salute as he turned and left the restaurant.


This just wasn’t his thing. He’d noticed the weirdness that was Sunnydale, but like everyone else he’d hoped that if he didn’t look at anything too closely than nothing would look back at him. He wondered if he shouldn’t just talk his parents into moving. Heck, if they weren’t willing to go, maybe they’d be willing to send him off to military school or at the very least to grandma’s.


He turned the corner to cut through the park on his way home. He heard a sound coming from one of the bushes. It sounded like a woman crying. He swallowed hard. Just his luck. He went over to see if he could help. He parted the bushes and saw the beautiful blonde girl from the restaurant. She was crouched down, sobbing quietly to herself. “Can I help you?”


She shook her head and huddled deeper into herself. “Go, go. I don’t want him to hurt you, too.”


“Who? Is some guy messing with you?” Jesse wasn’t a fighter, but he wasn’t small, and he wasn’t about to leave a defenseless woman quaking in the bushes. “Why don’t you come with me? We can get you some help.”


The girl turned bright eyes to him. “Are you sure?”


Jesse reached a hand into the bushes and helped her out. “Very. Come home with me and we can decide who you need to call. My mom’s a social worker. She knows all about this stuff.” He looked at her in alarm. “I hope that doesn’t scare you. We aren’t some kind of freaky do-gooder family who goes out searching for damsels in distress or anything.”


The girl gave him a tiny smile. “You don’t scare me…”


Jesse slapped a hand to his head, the one not holding the chilled hand of the girl. “I’m such a dork. I’m Jesse.”


“Nice to meet you, Jesse. I’m Darla. I really appreciate you inviting me home with you.”


“It’s my pleasure, Darla,” Jesse assured her.


‘No, it’s all mine,’ thought the lovely blonde as she leaned into the warm hunk of meat at her side.


Chapter 27


“You sure this is okay, right? They aren’t going to decide that they can’t resist the nummy treat that is me and eat me?” Xander asked, not for the first time since they had decided to head over to Buffy’s.


Willow pulled her finger back from pushing in the doorbell. She had this insane desire to hit Xander. Hard. “I’m sure. You’re completely resistible.”


Xander’s eyes widened in offense just as the door opened.


“I’d agree with that statement, Red. Come on in.” Spike stepped away from the door, letting them walk through. “So, what can we do for you?”


“Oh, Xander and I were hoping you could show us how to protect ourselves against… well…” she trailed off in embarrassment.


Spike’s face shifted. “Me?”


Xander gave a high piercing shriek and hid behindWillow.Willow just smiled. “Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.”


Buffy, Tara, and Angelus came out of the den at the sound of the shriek. Tara immediately walked towardsWillow, but stopped when she realized that someone was hiding behind the lovely redhead’s back.


Willow pried Xander’s hands off of her t-shirt and made her way toTara. She pulled the other woman into an embrace. “Hey, I missed you.”


Tara gave her a gentle kiss. “I missed you too. Did everything go okay?”


Willow gave her a bright smile. “It did. Not at first, but eventually it hit the okay mark. Jesse was totally cool, except with the vampire part. He kind of doesn’t want anything to do with vampires. He decided to go home and be like the rest of the citizens of Sunnydale – blissfully, intentionally unaware.”Willow turned back to Xander. “Xander has decided that he’s in. He wants to learn how to handle himself and he wants to help.”


Buffy beamed. She gave a little chirpy cheer and ran over to give Xander a big hug. The low sounds of growls filled the room as she wrapped her arms around the teenager. Xander immediately let out another squeak and held onto to Buffy all the more tightly. The growls got worse. Xander held tighter.


“This isn’t helping, Xand,” Buffy informed him as she tried to pry his fingers off her shirt. She looked into his eyes and offered him a reassuring smile, right before she allowed her own features to morph. It worked like a charm. Xander jumped at least three feet away.


“She’s… you’re a…” Xander stuttered. “Okay, I don’t know exactly what you are, but you’re one of them!”


Buffy moved into Angelus’ and Spike’s arms. Immediately, the men ran their hands all over her body and nuzzled her neck to reassure themselves of her after seeing their mate in the arms of another man. “Yes, Xander, I am very much one of them. And they are extremely dangerous creatures. Killing you would be easy. If you want to learn how to survive on the Hellmouth, than you’ve come to the right place, but you will have to relax and listen to us.”


Xander shifted nervously on his feet. He couldn’t believe that he’d ever been attracted to Buffy. He gave a little shiver at the thought that if she’d been interested, he would have actually kissed that mouth. He couldn’t help it. He just wasn’t attracted to demons. “It will take some getting used to, but I want to learn how to protect myself, and I want to help stop the bad guys.”


Spike walked over to the young man. “Okay. Lesson the first. Follow me.” He turned on his heel and walked down the hall. Xander followed. The hall led to a big bright kitchen. Spike walked over to a cupboard and reached his hand in. He handed a small package to Xander. “First, you get to make the popcorn. We were in the middle of a movie night,” Spike explained. He pointed to a cupboard underneath the island. “You’ll find bowls in there.” He gave Xander a slap on the back as he left the room.


Xander held his tongue as the vampire left the kitchen. He looked around, spotted the microwave, and tore of the cellophane on the popcorn. He put the bag in and hit the popcorn setting. Stupid vampire. What did he think? That Xander was ‘snack guy’? Xander thought about that for a moment. Better ‘snack guy’ than ‘snack’. He bent down to look for a big bowl and wondered idly what movies they’d be watching.


‘Huh,’ Xander thought hours later as the last movie was put in. Spike and Buffy’s movie had been the one he’d interrupted. It was some foreign film called ‘Man Bites Dog’. Xander had found what little he’d seen of it horrifying, but Buffy, Spike, and Angelus had found it funny as hell. Even Tara andWillow had snickered a few times. The next movie had beenTara’s pick. Xander had really enjoyed ‘Witches of Eastwick’; he’d especially liked the way Angelus and Spike had been totally affronted by Nicholson’s character not being able to stay with his women and his children. The latest movie was what surprised Xander. Apparently the big vamp was a bit of a classic movie aficionado. Xander reached to take a drink of his root beer while the opening credits for ‘Citizen Kane’ rolled.


When the movie was over, Xander was over. He was sound asleep. Spike and Angelus looked at the slumbering human eagerly. They moved toward him like the predators they were. The air did not stir. There was no sound made. One moment they were on the couch with Buffy, the next they were each hovered over Xander’s neck with fangs extended.


Xander felt something drip down his neck. He stirred and wiped at it. A second drip had him opening his eyes. He didn’t scream. He didn’t even squeal. Self preservation had actually kicked in and he remained utterly still, staring back into the golden eyes that hovered over him. Another drip from one of the fangs fell onto his neck. This time Xander didn’t bother wiping it away.


“Second lesson, Whelp,” Spike hissed.


“Never fall asleep in the same room as a vampire,” finished Angelus.


“Xander, catch!” Buffy yelled as she tossed a wooden stake at the boy. Xander still wasn’t moving, however, and the stake simply landed with a dull thud next to his hand.


“I’d pick that up, boy,” Angelus suggested.


Xander’s hands inched around until they found the wood. He gripped it in the palm of his hand. He’d seen it done in movies. “Wh… where’s the mallet?”


For a moment Buffy, Spike, and Angelus were entirely unsure of what he meant. Then realization dawned and they all burst into laughter. Spike and Angelus fell back on the floor, holding their sides. Xander took the opportunity to scuttle away. He stood in the doorway, ready to flee, still gripping the stake tightly in his hands.


When they were finished laughing, the two men rolled into each other. Angelus gripped Spike around the waste. “He’s still got the stake, baby,” Angelus whispered into Spike’s ear.


“That he does, Sire. There’s hope for him after all,” Spike stated as he rubbed his ass against Angelus’ cock.


“Not too much hope,”Willow said. “You all were totally laughing. It would have been a good time to try out that stake.”


Everyone in the room turned to look at the redheaded witch. “What? It would have.”


Spike looked at Angelus over his shoulder. “A few techniques and that one’s gonna be just fine.”


The two men hopped to their feet as one. “Okay. Let’s get started.”


“Tonight?” Xander whined. He was tired. “But it’s a school night!”


“Vampire’s don’t care if it’s a school night, Xander,” Buffy told him. “They’d be perfectly happy to follow you home and have a nice bite.”


Xander thought about the long walk to his house, clear across town from this one and he gave the stake a little toss in the air and caught it. “Okay, show me how to kill myself a vampire.”


Chapter 28


“Ouch! No biting!” Xander yelled as he came awake. Opening his eyes, he realized that he was in psychology class and not on the floor of Buffy’s house with her two freaky love-vamps drooling over his tender neck. He looked around for the vicious pincher.Willow. It was sweet littleWillow.


“Sorry, Xand, but you were sleeping again,”Willow explained. It was the second class she’d had with her friend, and the second one that he’d slept through.


“Well, you didn’t have to pinch me!” he hissed, rubbing the back of his arm. She gave him another little apologetic smile. She was tired too after last nights vamp training, but you didn’t see her drooling on her notebook.


The bell rang and the two of them headed off to lunch. The first thing they noticed was that there was no Jesse. Neither one had a class with him until later, but they always saw him at lunch. They found Buffy sitting at a table and joined her.


“Have you seen Jesse?” Xander asked the deceptively sweet looking blond.


“Nu-uh. He’s in my first class, but he was a no-show today. Maybe he’s sick,” she suggested.


Willow shrugged, “Maybe.”


“I’ll head on over to his place after school,” Xander suggested.


Buffy gave him a worried look. Anything out of the ordinary was something to be wary of. “Maybe you shouldn’t. Just in case,” she said.


Xander just laughed and looked up at the sky. “Kind of sunny out for a vamp attack, little missy. I’ll be fine. I’m just gonna go see what’s up. Make sure he got home okay last night.”


“Can’t you just call?” Buffy asked as she poked her fork around in her mashed potatoes. She could really use a good hunt. She was hungry, hungry, and mashed potatoes and meatloaf just wasn’t going to cut it. She found herself searching the room for the werewolf. She slapped herself on the cheek. Bad Buffy. Must not snack on the coeds.


“It’s on my way home, Buffy. No worries. Plus, I’ll save precious change that could go to a far better use. Like Twinkies,” Xander said. Mmmm… Twinkies.


Willow just laughed. “You’re such a dork!”


“Okay, just make sure you leave his place before dark,” Buffy told him, pushing her tray away.


“Yes, mother,” Xander said snidely.


The three finished lunch and headed their separate ways.Willow was meeting Buffy after school. The two girls were getting a ride from Giles to Buffy’s place.Willow andTara were being taught a new spell today by Ethan. It involved painting the wearer with protection symbols.


Xander headed off in the bright sunshine towards Jesse’s. It was only a block and half away from his own house. It was funny what a difference a mere block could make. Xander’s house wasn’t exactly in Sunnydale’s nicest neighborhood, and yet Jesse’s was. Well, not the nicest. That would cover Miss Cordelia Chase’s territory. Xander, Jesse, andWillow tried hard to pretend that section of town didn’t even exist. Xander shuddered at the memory of him and Jesse working for Mrs. Chase as lawn boys one summer. That woman had grabby hands.


Xander walked up the covered front porch and rang the bell. He whistled a little tune as he bounced on the balls of his feet. The door opened to reveal Jesse’s mother. She had a dishtowel in her hand and a smile on her face. “Hello, Xander,” she said brightly. “Why don’t you come in? Jesse’s in his room. I couldn’t get him to go to school today. He kept going on about calling his grandmother to see if he could go live with her. He even suggested military school!” she laughed.


Xander stepped into the house and shut the door behind him. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust. It had been very bright outside and it was kind of dark in the house. When he was able to focus he saw Jesse’s dad sitting in his big easy chair, reading the paper. “Hey, Frank!” Xander called out to the man. Jesse’s parents had insisted that Xander call them by their first names. They were friendly like that. Xander often felt more comfortable in Jesse’s house than he did in his own. “You’re home early today.”


Frank turned to look at Xander. There was something in his eyes. Something Xander had never seen before. Something dark. Then the man smiled and it was gone. He gave his paper a good shake. “Left work early today, Xand. Jesse’s been acting a bit odd. Thought I’d have a father and son chat. Don’t know if I did any good, though. Maybe you should give it a try. See if you can talk some sense into him.”


“Will do,” Xander assured him as he made his way back to Jesse’s room, relieved that his friend had only been absent due to nerves. He should have knocked. Of course, knocking wouldn’t really have made a difference. He opened Jesse’s door and there was his friend – naked - with a girl. Xander went to shut the door, but the couple broke apart and looked at him. Vampires. Xander thought he felt the earth move under his feet. Jesse was a vampire. He started to back away when he realized that Jesse’s parents were right behind him, blocking his way.


“What’s the matter Xander?” Frank said giving one of his fangs a lick. “You don’t like the new us?”


Jesse’s mom waived the dish towel at Xander. “Now, don’t go being all skittish around us, sweetie. We aren’t going to hurt you.”


Xander doubted that very much. He was frozen in terror, all of his training from the night before slipping away from him. “What are you going to do with me then?” he asked. He turned to look back at Jesse. “Jesse?”


The female vamp practically flew into a standing position in one graceful leap. “I wouldn’t bother asking Jesse, Alexander. It’s me you need to worry about.” She slinked around him, running one finger down his back. “It’s simple really. You’re bait.”


Xander closed his eyes. Bait. He didn’t want to be bait. He didn’t want to be the cause of leading his friends to their deaths.Willow.Tara. He decided he’d rather be dead. Suddenly, he could hear Spike and Angelus talking to him. Taunting him as they trained him. Fight. He had to fight. He needed wood and he needed sunlight. All at once, Xander became a thing in motion.


He dove forward into the room, towards the pulled drapes. He felt the female vamp grab at his ankle, but he kept moving forward with one goal: sunlight. He felt his hand take a full grasp of Jesse’s navy blue curtains and he pulled with all of his might. He heard the sound of cracking wood as the curtain rod snapped in two and the room was filled with light. Jesse screamed and his mother dove on top of him, still needing to protect her son. Darla had realized what was going to happen, and she’d let go of the stupid boy’s ankle just in time to push herself backwards out of harms way.


“Grab him!” she yelled to the male vamp, still standing safely in the hallway. Apparently mother love was a bit harder to overcome than fatherly.


“But the sun!” he watched in fascination as his wife burned to a crisp.


“I don’t care! You can’t let him get away! This is an order, Frank!” Darla growled in her best sire voice.


Frank felt himself move forward. He was on fire, but he couldn’t refuse her order. He grabbed Xander Harris around the waist and carried him kicking and fighting back to his waiting sire. He couldn’t disobey. He barely handed the boy to the waiting vampire when he felt himself begin to crumble.


Darla saw that Jesse was not completely exposed to the sun’s rays. “Use the blanket for fucks sake!” Darla yelled at the sizzling Jesse as she held onto a wild Xander. All his moving was kind of turning her on.


Jesse threw the blanket over his head and trudged through his parent’s ashes to reach the side of the woman who had sired him. He saw Xander struggling in her grasp and he laughed. “Poor little Xander, looks like the monsters found you.”


Xander felt regret and he felt purpose. They moved as one inside of him. Darla had his arms firmly held, but he had enough movement, just enough to reach Jesse. He couldn’t save himself, but he could bring his friend peace. He gripped the broken curtain rod that he’d managed to wrestle free when Frank had grabbed him. He gripped it hard and he shoved upwards. Under the rib cage and into the heart. For one moment the vampire features faded and the features of Jesse appeared. It made Xander’s heart hurt.


Darla just laughed as she saw her latest boy toy join his parents as so much vacuum fodder. “I didn’t need them anyway. You were the real prize. I’d intended on using the boy as bait, but I went a little far and drained him. It happens sometimes, even at my age.” She thought about how Xander had been led here by his friend’s absence and she smiled. “Hey, it worked actually. He was bait. He was bait for you. Now we just need to let your new found friends know who has you. In the mean time, my dear boy, you and I are going to get to know each other a hell of a lot better.” She licked her lips. “I just adore virgins!”


Chapter 29



The phone was ringing as Buffy, Spike, and Angelus entered the house. They’d had a lovely hunt and were looking forward to topping the night off with some mind blowing sex. Angelus had a sinking feeling as he headed to the shrill device that he was about to find his hopes a tad on the dashed side.


“Hello,” he said voice on edge.


“Angel?” This isWillow. Xander didn’t come home. He went over to Jesse’s after school to see why he didn’t come to school today, and then he never came home. I’ve called his house like a dozen times and his mom’s getting irritated, but there’s no Xander so I keep having to call, and Tara said that I should probably call you guys which I’m doing, and I’m scared.”Willow took a deep breath.


Angelus had moved the handset away from his ear. He caught ‘Xander didn’t come’, ‘Jesse’, ‘Tara’, and ‘scared’. He looked at Buffy in need of a rescue. She had her eyes closed and was shaking her head.


She opened them and looked at Angelus. “I told him to be careful,” she said in disgust.


“Angelus put the phone back to his ear. “We’ll come get you and Tara. Be ready.”


The three lovers walked out of the door again, not wanting for once to face the night. They hopped in the car and proceeded to make their way over toWillow’s and to who knew what kind of mess.


Willow andTara were two pale faces masked with worry, staring out of the window. No sooner had the big black car pulled up, and then the faces disappeared, reappearing a moment later as full bodies running out of the house. Buffy and Spike jumped out of the idling car to escort the two witches. They were taking no chances.


They made their way to Jesse’s in near silence,Willow occasionally giving a ‘turn here’ as she pointed left or right. They pulled alongside the modest, middle-class home and killed the engine. There was something about the look of the house. Angelus and Spike had seen it many times before, had in fact caused that particular brand of stillness themselves. It was the stillness of death, far more evident than what can be supplied by a mere absence. It was as if the house itself became a shroud.


Angelus would have loved to have had the humans stay in the car, but his instincts told him that from here on out they moved as one or not at all. He got out of the car, taking the lead as Spike and Buffy moved the witches in front of them, taking the rear. They headed up the front walk and straight for the door. Angelus twisted the handle. The door opened with ease and he walked right in. If there had been any lingering doubt, it had been thoroughly laid to rest. The barrier was gone. Every last resident of this house was dead.


As they walked through the house, both Spike and Angelus emitted low growls. They were speaking. Buffy understood them completely, but didn’t have the right intonations to participate. The message was not death. That was known. The message was far worse. Xander’s blood and cum sat heavy in the walls of the house along with the distinct smell of Sire. Darla had been here and she’d had herself some fun.


Fear had weaved itself into the fiber of the house, and it would stay here. A hundred years from now the house would still scream its secrets to those who knew how to listen. Normally, the demons that now walked the halls of this residence would have been stirred to excitement by such a sound, but not when it had been made by their own. Revenge was the uppermost thing in the minds of Angelus, Buffy and Spike; their demons called out for it. When the house was done telling its story, they led the humans outside and back to the car.


“What was it?” Tara spoke the words thatWillow could not yet say.


“It was Xander,” Spike answered.


‘Xander,’ thoughtWillow. That told her nothing. She had a choice. She could remain unknowing for just a little bit longer; hold onto what scraps of childhood she had left. That wouldn’t help Xander, though, and if there was help to be given she wanted to give it. She chose knowledge, and in doing so made that last final step into adulthood. The words ‘Never,Never Land’ whispered through her head, the ‘Never’ becoming an echo. She swallowed. “Is he dead?”


“Not yet,” Angelus answered her.


Buffy turned around to face her newly found friend, the one who not long ago she’d had visions of corrupting, visions that included pain, now she wished desperately that she could spare her, but she could not. It may be an overused adage, but knowledge really is power. “Xander had been there. He was alive when he left, most likely taken as bait. Jesse and what I presume were his parents had been turned and dusted.”


“If he’s bait then we still have a chance to get him back,”Willow cried. She’d mourn for Jesse and his kind parents later, for know she needed to concentrate on the one best friend that she still had a hope of saving.


Willow,” Buffy began to explain, “if we get Xander back he will most likely be a vampire.”


Willow’s hope had taken seed, however, and it refused to be trampled in the ground. It burst forth like a vibrant thing, much like the young witch herself. “That’s okay,” she declared. “Angelus and Spike are vampires and they aren’t so bad. They still have feelings beyond hate. We can get him back. It’s going to be okay, you’ll see.”


Buffy turned back around to stare into the night, her hands slipping inside those of her lovers. Xander wouldn’t be like Angelus and Spike. Xander would be a fledgling. Maybe in twenty years he would be able to control himself enough to be trusted around those he loved, if then. Angelus had been a right vicious bastard for a very long time. Spike was different, but then again that was Spike. He was a rebel.


The car pulled into the O’Conner garage and Angelus turned off the engine. They sat there a moment, sensing the night. A myriad of sounds and smells came to them, nothing with even a hint of danger. They opened the car doors and led the witches into the house.


Angelus walked over to the phone and picked it up, punching in numbers and waiting. “It’s time to move. They killed the boy Jesse and they’ve taken the other one as bait. We can’t wait any longer. You need to grab the wizard, whatever clothes and supplies you might want and head on over here. Be careful, they’ll take you if they can,” Angelus warned. He hung the phone up, not waiting for a reply.


Twenty minutes later Giles and Ethan, duffle bags in hand, were waiting at the door. Angelus let them in and led them into the study. The kitchen had seemed too cheery for that which they would be discussing.Willow was curled intoTara on one end of the couch. Spike and Buffy were up and pacing, their demons not being able to still when they felt threatened; a deep, primal call to action resounded in their psyches.


Angelus motioned for the men to take a seat. “Ethan, progress so far?”


Ethan looked at the large vampire. The one who had managed to calm the other two creatures in the room with a simple hand on the shoulder. This man had power. So much power. “The mayor’s toadies have thinned the herds a bit, nothing more. I’d say The Master still has a good thirty to forty minions left. The mayor only had the success he had due to the fact that he is an equal opportunity employer. The Master only works with vampires. A blind loyalty type of thing. The mayor doesn’t bother with loyalty. He offers payment. In either power or cash, depending on the needs of the demon.”


“Okay. So we’re going up against, let’s say fifty, fledglings. That wouldn’t normally be a problem for Buffy, Spike, and I, but we have to worry about the effect of our elders upon us,” he looked at his two mates, who had stopped their pacing at his touch and were now wrapped around each other, listening so intently to their sire. ”Well, it’s a worry with me, anyway. I think Spike and Buffy will be immune.”


Ethan stood up. “The good news is thatTara and I managed to perfect the protection spell we want to use on you. It does require some time to prepare, however.” The older man looked at the girl he had been training. “I believe we could have him ready in about six hours. You?”


Tara nodded her head. “Six hours should do it.”


The three vampires turned their faces to the night. “We don’t have six hours left before one of risks getting a bit crispy,” Spike explained. He turned apologetic eyes to the red head. “I’m sorry, Willow.” He used her name for the first time. “We can’t move tonight. It’d be to rash anyway. We’ll wait for sundown tomorrow. Give ourselves some time to rest, some to play, and some time for the spell to be applied.”


Willow knew he was right, but she hated it. She felt her eyes fill up with a fresh bout of tears. “Poor, Xander. Who knows what he’s suffering at the hands of that bitch,” she moaned.


Spike and Angelus looked at one another. They knew exactly what happened to men at the hands of Darla. It wasn’t pretty.


Chapter 30


They planned their plans. They slept their sleep. And when it was time, Ethan and Tara, painted their art. Buffy and Spike sat side by side, enraptured. They had watched the entire proceedings with fascination, not moving for the five and half hours that the two magic users had woven their spell on Angelus’ bare skin. The magic was in the ink itself, it was in the words said as the ink was prepared, it was in the motions the hands made as they wielded the brushes, it was in the thoughts of those who bore witness.


As Tara worked the last brush stroke she felt a shift in the room. She turned knowing eyes onto Ethan. Spike, ever observant, saw the slight tension come over the witch. He moved towards Ethan. Buffy followed her mate. The two circled the man. Spike was trying to decide whether to kill him or lock him up. If they locked him up they ran the risk that he would get loose. If they killed him they ran the risk of needing him again someday and not having him. Decisions, decisions.


Buffy leaned in and ran a tongue across Ethan’s throat. Spike smiled, his face morphed, and he sunk his fangs deep into the wizard’s jugular. Buffy lifted one wrist of the twitching man and brought it up to the mouth of her sire, who was standing still, waiting to dry. Angelus bit down on the proffered wrist and looked into Buffy’s eyes while he drank.


When Ethan was just this side of alive, the two vampires let his body fall to the floor. Buffy broke eye contact with Angelus and bent down to pick up the unconscious man. She hefted him over her shoulder and began a little whistle as she made her way down to the basement. She knew quite well where the manacles were at.


Spike and Angelus watched her go. When she was out of sight and her whistling dimmed, Spike turned to his sire and said, “You look bloody amazing.” He got up and walked over to the man. He was just within touching distance. “You have no idea how erotic it was to watch them painting on you. Magic scenting the air. The quiet of it all. Your skin ever changing colors. It was so damn hot, Sire.”


The older vamp leaned in so that his lips just brushed those of his chidler. “Once it dries, it can only be removed with a special solvent that Tara and Ethan mixed up.”


Spike groaned as his cock filled with blood. “We’ve got to get this over with quickly, clear the house of guests, and then fuck until we bleed.”


“My thoughts exactly, Will,” Angelus agreed.


Tara was blushing. “You should be dry in another couple of minutes,” she said. “I’m just going to go findWillow and Giles and tell them that Ethan’s out of the game.”


Tara quickly left the room and went down the stairs. She found Giles andWillow in the kitchen sharing a cup of tea. She walked over to her girlfriend and placed a gentle kiss on the side of her cheek. “I love you,Willow,” she said earnestly.


“I love you too, Tara,”Willow said back with a smile. Though she had a sick feeling inside every time she thought about Xander,Tara’s presence gave her a calming balm. “Can I get you some tea, sweetie? Or a sandwich! You must be starving!”Willow shot up and headed to the refrigerator. “Should I make Buffy and Spike something, too?”


Tara looked down for a second. “Uh-uh. Only Buffy. Spike and Angelus already ate.”


Giles stilled. “Where’s Ethan?”


“That’s what I wanted to tell you guys. The geas was lifted off of Ethan when we finished the spell. Apparently he’s done everything for you that you willed, Giles,”Tara began to explain.


“I see. So the two vampires thought they’d just eat him,” he came to a stand, his eyes searching desperately for a piece of wood.


“No, Giles, calm down. Give me a chance to explain,” Tara said quickly, mentally cringing at the thought that Spike had indeed thought of such an act andTara hadn’t voiced a single objection. She couldn’t. She’d looked inside of Ethan’s soul. It wasn’t corrupt. It wasn’t bent on evil. It was utterly unpredictable. Worshiping chaos was akin to worshiping nothing. It was an indefinable act.Tara thought that Ethan was far more dangerous than The Master and Mayor Wilkins put together. “He was a danger, so they drained him to the point of weakness and then locked him up in the basement. He’ll be fine.”


Giles sat back down. He was agitated. He hated that those vile creatures had sank their fangs into an unwilling human being right under his nose, but he realized that whatTara was saying was true. Ethan was a danger. It was for the best, no matter how vile it was.


Willow came back to the table with a sandwich forTara. She sat down, thinking hard. There was something she and Tara had discussed. She hadn’t made her final decision even though she knewTara had. She’d also hoped to keep Mr. Giles from knowing, but she seriously doubted that was possible.


Reading her thoughts,Tara reached over and took her girlfriend’s hand. “It’s your decision, baby. I do think it’s for the best, but ultimately it is up to you. I won’t try and force you to do something that you aren’t comfortable with.”


“It would be the best thing for Xander wouldn’t it?”Willow asked quietly.


“Yes, it would. If he’s been turned and you really want to try and have a relationship with him…”Tara was rudely cut off by an angry Giles.


“Are you both off your bloody rockers?” It was between a question and a yell. “If the boy has been turned, he’s lost to you. Lost. There is no recovering from a turning. He will be an evil soulless creature who views you as nothing but his next meal,” Giles stated emphatically.


“If you’d let me finish,”Tara growled. She was surprised at her new found boldness. Now that she had faced the worst, well losing Willow would be the worst, but now that she’d faced the worst that could possibly happen to her physically, she’d found a bravery that had been within her all along. Deep inside. She turned toWillow. “If you are bearing their mark, he won’t try and kill you. He’ll be just a fledgling. Only a master vampire would be able to overcome the compulsion form a claiming mark.”


“What!” Giles shot to his feet. “This is nonsense. It’s as if I’m in a house of madness. I can’t believe I didn’t just call the Council,” he bemoaned. “I am a fool.”


“Oh, sit down already, though I agree with your last statement completely,” Spike said as he came into the room. “Tara’s right. If the little witch wants to keep her friend around and he’s been vamped, only a claim will keep him from coming after her. Angelus and I are both willing to claim these females. It’s our business and it’s theirs. You have no say in it.”


“How do you think your ‘mate’ will feel about this, eh? Buffy doesn’t strike me as the kind of girl that shares,” Giles said snidely.


“Buffy can share quite nicely when she’s of a mind to actually,” the girl in question said sweetly as she sailed into the room on the arm of her other lover.


Angelus laughed. “Let me guess, the Watcher’s Council has told you that during a claiming there’s an act of sex.”


Giles looked down at his feet. “They have indicated something of that nature, but more than that it seems that claimed humans are most often used as mere sex slaves.”


Angelus, Buffy, and Spike all burst into laughter. Angelus was the first to calm and speak up. “Claims are administered for a variety of reasons. Most often it is done to protect a human, as is the case here. Humans are often taken as sex slaves, but a claiming is not necessary. We find that thrall and/or chains works just as well.”


“You sicken me,” Giles told him flatly.


“Right back at ya,” Spike drawled.


“Are you helping us or not?” Buffy was tired of the bickering. Tired of the small mind the Council had worked so hard to create in the man before her.


“I have no choice. It is my duty to keep the world safe,” Giles informed her, looking at her accusingly.


“Yeah, got the message. Sacred duty. Yadda, yadda.” Buffy turned toWillow andTara. “What have you decided about the claiming?”


“I’m doing it,”Tara told them, looking at Spike. She wanted him to be the one to bite her.


Spike gave the sweet girl a nod. “It will be an honor, Glenda.”


Willow?” Buffy asked.


“I’m going to do it. I’ll do anything to help Xander,” she explained. “If Spike is going to be bitingTara…”


Angelus gave the red head a smile. “As Spike said, it will be an honor,Willow.”


Buffy clapped her hands. “Oh, goody. You four go do the deed while I keep our intrepid Watcher company.”


“Oh, I think not,” Giles spoke coldly. “If they are going to be so foolhardy the least I can do is stand by, ready to protect them if things go too far.”


Buffy just shrugged her shoulders, like he could really protect them against her vamps. “No problem, Tweed Man, I like to watch,” she told him saucily as she peeled a banana and bit off a big chunk.


Chapter 31


Buffy had been perfectly willing to wait with the Watcher outside of the room. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to witness the claiming. She had hoped to save the two women any embarrassment. Many aspects of the claiming had been discussed. To taste or not to taste. No tasting, both women had firmly decided, not wanting any of the vampiric blood in their systems. Desperate to hold to their humanity.


Orgasms, however, well… they hadn’t been mentioned once. Not every human received one from the bite. Most? Most did. Buffy had the feeling that neither Tara norWillow was the type to like to overly share. Maybe they should have told them. Buffy shrugged. Too late now.


She jumped up on the windowsill seat and patted the space beside her. Giles gave her an annoyed look before sitting down.


“You don’t have to be so flippant about this,” he said under his breath.


“Yes, I do,” Buffy hissed back at him. “They’re nervous enough, and now you’ve added to it by insisting on being a big fat voyeur. So sit down. Shut up. And don’t even think of interfering,” she warned, her eyes flashing briefly.


Giles didn’t respond, but Buffy could tell he wanted to because there was this ticking thing going on in his jaw. She turned her eyes away from the man and onto the people who this was really about.


Each of her mates gently held a girl to his chest. They stood facing one another. Tara andWillow were clasping hands, eyes locked with their backs pressed against the chest of the vampires.


“Are you willing?” Angelus said softly.


“I’m willing,” both girls answered in unison.


Angelus and Spike gave each other a small smile before leaning in as one. Their faces morphed at the very last moment as they sought to spare the women any more distress than necessary. They didn’t use thrall to lessen the pain of the bite. This was all about free will.


Tara flinched as Spike’s razor sharp teeth sank into her jugular. Pain made her want to tear away, but something else, something indescribable made her stay. It was a warm sensation in the pit of her stomach. It was a feeling of belonging. An intimacy that she’d never fully experienced before. She looked intoWillow’s eyes and realized that the younger woman was feeling the same thing.


That’s when she realized it. She was sharing this withWillow. It was just one more thing that would draw them closer. With this thought, Tara fully relaxed against Spike, and holding Willow’s hands tightly in her own, she let it come.


Willow hadn’t liked the pain at first, but then it had stirred something inside of her. Something that had always been there. It was from the same place that her magic came from. That ‘other’. Before meetingTara it had been a fleeting image on the edges of sleep. Then came a cry for help, andWillow had had her first clear glimpse of her secret self. And now this… Locking hand with the woman she loved, she fully stepped into the woman she was supposed to be.Willow’s orgasm hit hard.


Angelus and Spike each removed their fangs and said a simple, age old chant to seal the claim. Then they looked at one another with manly pride as they lay the young women on the couch to recuperate.


Buffy forced herself to stifle a laugh at the look on their faces. Smug. If they thought they could get away with it, they’d probably high-five. They may be vamps, but they were also very, very male.


“And you said it would not be sexual,” Giles accused.


“Did not,” Buffy answered childishly as she got up and walked over to her mates.


She loved their strutting, but couldn’t help taking them down a peg or two. “Well done, boys, but I could have done better.”


They each looked at her incredulously.


“I’m only saying,” she quipped as she walked on by them and out of the room. They followed.


“You don’t even have that power,” Angelus pointed out.


Buffy looked down at his resting crotch. “Oh, yeah?”


Angelus backpedaled as quickly as he could. “Not what I meant and you know it! Of course you have that power over me. What I meant…”


“What he’s saying so very badly, luv, is that it’s a vamp thing. Not a Slayer thing,” Spike explained.


“Wanna bet?” Buffy challenged. She had absolutely no idea whether she could do it or not, but just like the whole ‘stake a vamp using my mouth’ thing, she could not help herself.


“What kind of a bet?” Spike asked, taking the bait.


“After we put the smackdown on your crusty old relatives, I’ll find myself a nice vamp to bite,” Buffy offered.


“And if you can’t make him cum with just your bite, no hands, what then?” Spike was an old hat at making bets with Buffy.


“Then the two of you can make one request of me,” Buffy promised.


“One request?” Angel perked up. They were headed to the kitchen to get the witches some juice. “Each. One request each,” he clarified.


“Each,” Buffy agreed.


“And if you succeed?” Spike asked warily. He’d been in this position before with her, and it always seemed to turn out badly for him.


Buffy knew exactly what she wanted. Exactly. “Same deal. I get to make one request of each of you. Deal?” She turned to face them with both of her hands outstretched.


Each man took a hand and gave it a solid shake. “Deal.”


Chapter 32


The sewers were stinky and unsanitary. Buffy was well accustomed to the muck, but it was a first for Tara andWIllow. Both women were wishing that they’d thought of an olfactory dimming smell before starting their journey. It was about the only spell they hadn’t prepared. They had a mean cloaking spell going on, not to mention several ‘kick fanny’-- Willow Words-- protection spells. They had a few magical weapons as well.


Two witches. A Watcher. A Slayer. Two Master Vampires. The odds could be worse. Wilkins could have decided to join with The Master instead of fighting him, then the opposing force would have been in the triple digits. It was all in how you looked at it. That was Spike’s opinion.


The bleached vamp was the first to round the next corner, and therefore the first to spot the guard at the cavern entrance. He held up a warning arm, signaling to the others to cease movement. The cloaking spell prevented them from being noticed peripherally by any senses, but if direct attention was brought to them, such as a cough or a sneeze, they would be seen.


Buffy, Angelus, and Spike slipped into game face. One moved to the left. One to the right. And one went head on. There were seven vampires guarding the opening. Oops, make that four. No, one. One little vampire. Still, one is all it takes.


The remaining vamp had just enough time to shout. It wasn’t even a coherent ‘enemies at the gate’ kind of a shout, but a shout is a shout. The six warriors pushed into the room, single vamp dusted, crossbows drawn. They released a flurry of wooden bolts taking down the first to run into the cavern in response to the errant shout.


Crossbows were reloaded, but it was only marginally effective. The vamps were upon them, fangs bared claws at the ready. It was time for hand to hand. They’d known it would come to this, but they’d hoped not quite so quickly.


Giles stood in front ofWillow and Tara who had their backs pressed to the cave wall. The Watcher swung his sword through the air. He was no match in strength for the vampires, but he had skill and purpose and wielded them well. The magic being flung out from behind him didn’t hurt either.


If Buffy and Spike weren’t so worried about their Sire, they’d be having a blast. So many creatures available for killing. It was exactly their brand of fun. The spell painted on Angelus, however, was entirely untried, and that sent a feeling of unease into the hearts of the warriors. They felt him. Strong and ferocious. He was felling vampires left and right just like they were. Soon, it was just so much dust and the scattered footprints of the few who had chosen to run. It was time for the real confrontation.


The sound of clapping filled the air. Spike turned to Buffy with a look of great annoyance. “That’s my thing. You know that’s my thing,” he whispered to her.


“I know, baby,” Buffy assured him.


“Well done,” Darla purred. It was an echoing purr that bounced of the cavern walls. She took several steps into the room from an entrance previously unseen by them. She had a chain wrapped around her hand. Tied to the other end, being dragged, was Xander. Or at least it had been Xander. He was a bit on the disfigured and overly bleeding side.


“At least he’s not vamped,” Spike offered toWillow.


Willow was entirely not comforted by the words. Somehow a strong, fully vamped Xander seemed preferable to the pitiful, beaten wretch lying on the cave floor. Somewhere inside she recognized that his presence was meant to be demoralizing, but the attempt was an utter failure. She felt it. That stirring power. It was building, it was growing, it was being reformed into a definite thing. No longer a vague magical current that needed to be pulled out and fashioned by her girlfriend and the chained up wizard. This was her true power, and it was pissed.


Tara felt the magical force beside her and spared a glance atWillow. It took everything she had not to step backwards and gasp. Gone was the red hair. Gone were the soft doe-like eyes. This was dark magic. Very different than her own.Tara couldn’t believe she hadn’t sensed it before. She’d felt the strong power that lay deep inside of the girl; it was what had responded toTara’s call at the beginning. She should have known. This was it. This was one of those turning points. Where you decided how the rest of your existence was going to go. A few weeks before, before Spike and his newly offered perspective, she would have turned away in sorrow and pity, and not a little bit of fear. Not now, now she was ready to lend her own abilities to the woman by her side.Tara glanced at the broken Xander. It was time for revenge. She slipped her hand inside the hand of the powerful woman beside her. Ready to lend her support.


Spike and Buffy were oblivious to the shift in the world that had taken place behind them. Their eyes were focused on the woman before them and the outrageously ugly old guy coming up behind her. Leather. What was the point of the black leather? An attempt at hip? An attempt at sexy? The man really hadn’t seen a mirror in like a thousand years. And the fruit punch mouth? So not helping his image.


Angelus felt their pull. He’d been feeling it all along. The protection spell so painstakingly applied to his skin was acting as a dampening, but it wasn’t taking on the full load. He knew what they wanted. His sire and his grand-sire wanted him to turn and kill his mates and feed Buffy’s blood to The Master. Darla promised that she could help him escape from the bond; that he would not die. She beckoned him inside his head with the call of sire. It was a powerful seduction that hinted at warmth, sinful delights, and blood so rich it would bring him to his knees. He felt himself falter. Just the slightest of shuffles toward his kin.


Buffy and Spike felt that shuffle in their hearts. It was like a wooden stake, sharp and splintery. They responded with the only power they could; love. The walked up, shoulder to shoulder with their sire. They slipped their hands in his. They leaned into him and sighed, letting him know that it was with him they were complete. They felt him squeeze their hands in response. It was all he had needed.


“Release the boy,” Angelus demanded.


There was a flash of response in Darla’s eyes that clearly said she knew she’d lost what she wanted. She would not be getting her ‘boy’ back. “Gladly,” she said, and then with one powerful flick of her wrist she sent Xander flying into the back wall. “He was annoying as hell. A real whiner.”


“You think you’ve won, don’t you?” asked The Master. He threw his head back and started laughing. That’s when the sound of hundreds of feet could be heard rushing towards the cavern. Out from the halls poured dozens of demons. Mostly vamps. Accept of course for the well suited creature who came to stand beside The Master.


“Mayor Wilkins,” The Master addressed him. “So nice of you to join us.”


“Well, you did say all you wanted was the Slayer’s blood. You missed the little Hellmouth opening thing. She was about two years to late for that, right? Such a shame. I do hate tardiness.” Wilkins turned to point at Buffy. “That’s going to go on your permanent record, missy.”


Buffy, Spike, and Angelus realized that this was it. Angelus had chosen love over the pull of tradition and sire, but the numbers were too far against them. Death had arrived.


Buffy knew she could save her mates. “Let me do it. It’s my blood he needs to be released from his prison. That’s what this is all about. They won’t kill the two of you. You’re their family. Let them have me, please,” she begged, knowing it was useless.


“I’d rather be dead than live in a world without you,” Spike told her sadly.


Buffy felt a sob threaten, but she would be damned if these assholes saw her cry.


Angelus didn’t say anything to her, but his thumb ran over the top of her hand before he dropped it and took up a fighting stance. “Are we going to fight, or is this just another forum for you guys to let your yaps fly?”


Both men shot Angelus an annoyed glance before they sent a hoard of demons at them by raising their hands in the air.


Willow was cradling Xander in her arms. She could feel his life force starting to leave his body. She knew she had the power to heal him, but she didn’t have the knowledge. So much power. She just needed the words. She needed time. She didn’t have time. Why couldn’t he have just been vamped? Vamped. That was it. Angelus could turn him. He was a powerful master vampire. He’d make Xander strong, and then the newly turned boy would have a sire to be guided by.


With renewed determinationWillow looked up at her surroundings. Wow. There were a lot of demons. Her friends were still alive, but they wouldn’t be for long. She needed them. She couldn’t remember why clearly, but the need was there. She used all of her power and all of her rage and all of her blind need, and she flung it out at the group before her.


There was screaming. There was roaring. A dozen different scents of blood filled the air mixed with ash. Occasionally, there was a sickening popping sound as one demon was rendered undone. The warriors fought on. They knew something was happening, that the tide had turned heavily and quickly in their favor, but they couldn’t risk taking their attention off of their opponents for one moment to see why.


Angelus had Darla in his hands. She seemed very distracted by things happening behind him. Her eyes were wide with terror. At the last minute she turned to him, pleading eyes, helpless eyes, eyes that had enthralled him many times before. “I have no pity for you, Darla, just as you had none for me.” He barely finished his sentence, when she was merely something to be brushed off his hands. He turned to survey the scene behind him. Wow.


Buffy and Spike were somewhat annoyed as they stared at the crumbling bones beneath their feet. They’d wanted to kill The Master themselves, but he’d turned to ash and bone right under the hands. Very disappointing. They looked up at the damage surrounding them. Wow.


Giles’ concentration had been trained on Wilkins. He was pretty sure the man was invincible but he thought perhaps he could capture him, tie him up, take him to the Council and maybe together they could find a way to destroy him. At the very least keep him from ascending.


The man really had been invincible. There had been something inside of him that kept him from being harmed. Of course, in all of his planning he apparently hadn’t thought about a powerful, out of control witch separating that thing that made him invincible from the rest of him.Willow had, in essence, isolated the problem. Smart girl. Giles had seen it. One moment there was a whole Mayor Wilkins, the next there was a composite of Mayor Wilkins. It was like he could see the flesh, the spirit, and the magic all separate. Then boom, it was just fallen down dead Mayor Wilkins. Giles turned to look atWillow. Wow.


Willow bent down and picked up Xander’s fading body. She brought it over to Angelus. “Do it. It’s why I helped you. Turn him.”


Angelus didn’t hesitate, despite the sound of protest coming from the Watcher. He didn’t hesitate because he didn’t have time to hesitate. The boy was dying fast. Angelus sank his fangs into the side of Xander’s neck, drank as deeply as he dared, and then slit his own wrist with his teeth and placed it against the boy’s mouth, willing him to drink. He felt a slight sucking at his wrist and nearly sagged in relief. He did not want to piss off Buffy’s little friend. To quote Buffy, “Nope.”


Chapter 33


“This happen a lot?” Angelus asked Giles as they made their way back through the sewers to the O’Conner household.


“Quite often, I’m afraid. It seems every other week or so I’m uncovering an attempt at opening the Hellmouth,” Giles confided.


“Huh,” Angel responded, thinking.


Spike and Buffy looked at one another. They were carrying Xander. He wouldn’t awaken for hours. Awakenings differed according to a number of factors: the amount of blood given, the strength of the sire, and the innate strength of the demon occupying the now dead body. Angelus was strong but he hadn’t given Xander as much blood as he normally would have. It was a bit of a rushed turning.


Buffy and Spike were each thinking the same thing: that they were going to get to stay in their house. Angelus wouldn’t like the thought of the Hellmouth being left with just Giles to keep it closed.


The group walked in the door and those with superhuman hearing could hear the rattling of chains. Angelus took out a key and tossed it to Giles. “Unchain him, take him home, and buy him a ticket back toEngland.”


Giles took the key and headed toward the basement door. “Why couldn’t the damn wish have sent him back toEngland without the aide of my pocket book?”


Angelus turned to look at the as yet to awaken fledgling. A fledgling. Great. Just what he needed – to play daddy to an idiot whelp for all of eternity.


“I want to wash him,”Willow’s voice came out soft and weak. They all looked at the once again red head. Angelus knew he’d have his hands full in more ways than one. This girl was powerful. Too powerful for one so young. She was a danger to the world and to herself. He should have suspected something when she’d made the car fly. He turned to Spike and gave him a nod.


Spike and Buffy hefted the not small body up the stairs and into the big bathroom with the Jacuzzi tub. They laid Xander down on the cold tile and began to undress him. They’d done this sort of thing before and knew the drill well.


Willow andTara came in with them.Willow leaned over the tub and turned it on. She held her hand under the water to check the temperature. She sniffed. She sniffed again. “Why does it smell like chocolate in here?” she asked Buffy and Spike.


Buffy had to bite her lower lip to keep from giggling. Spike came to her rescue. “Had some chocolate scented bubble bath. Buffy’s crazy for the stuff and used it all up.”


Tara elbowed Spike in the ribs. “Liar,” she teased, sensing that the vamp was pulling their legs.


He gave the witch a wicked grin. “You know it. Evil to the bone,” he said as he carefully removed Xander’s blood soaked underwear, trying not to rip at any skin that had dried to them.


Buffy came over with a plastic bag and put the discarded clothing into it. She sent it down the laundry chute with the intention of putting it in the incinerator as soon as she could. It smelled like Darla, and was making her gag.


“It’s ready,”Willow called softly. She was quickly removing her clothing. She got in the tub and reached her arms out to help Spike as he placed the boy against her. All three people standing outside of the tub worked together to gently scrub him clean whileWillow held him steady. Spike had gotten a large glass from under the sink and was using it to pour fresh water over his body.


Once he was clean they lifted him out of the tub and dried him off with a large, fluffy brown towel. Spike left the bathroom and reappeared a moment later carrying a pair of black silk pajama bottoms and a matching t-shirt. They were Angelus’.


Buffy helped Spike get the unconscious vampire dressed, and then they carried him into a spare room. It had a large king sized bed. It would be Xander’s room indefinitely. It was good for him to wake up in a place of belonging.


“I want to be here when he wakes up,”Willow informed them as she tucked Xander in.


“He’ll want only two things when he wakes up, Red, blood and sire. You need to let us handle this,” Spike explained to her. “You stay with Glenda in her room.” Spike had declared it too dangerous forTara to go back to living in her dorm. He’d insisted that she pick out a room here and make it her own.


Willow shook her head. “No. I’m staying. I won’t interfere, but I need to be here for him.”


Tara laid a hand on Spike’s arm as he was about to protest. She shook her head, “let her stay.”


“Alright, stay, but don’t… Just don’t expect too much,” Spike warned her.


Angelus came into the room then. He’d heard what they were talking about. He looked over the rag tag group. “Giles took Ethan and went home. All of you go take showers, get a bite to eat if you need to, and then come back in here. We can pull a mattress off of one of the other beds for you two women to sleep on,” he told them. “I’ll watch over Xander.”


A shower sounded divine.Willow nodded her head. She’d been in the tub, but she hadn’t washed her hair. Plus, a shower withTara would be healing. The two couples left, leaving Angelus with his newest childe.


Buffy and Spike came back into the room as quickly as possible to give Angelus a chance to clean himself up. They each slid completely naked into the bed on either side of Xander. They cuddled against the seemingly lifeless body and waited for their sire to return.


By the timeWillow andTara had cleaned up and eaten there was a mattress fully made up on the floor of the room. They glanced briefly at the bed before crawling under the inviting covers. Spike was spooning Buffy and Angelus was spooning Xander. It was at once one of the weirdest things and one of the most natural things the two women had ever seen. They lay down and closed their eyes, thinking they couldn’t possibly sleep.


What seemed like minutes but was in fact hours later, a low growl sounded throughout the room followed immediately by a louder, demanding growl, and there was a whimper. Xander was awake.


Chapter 34


The demon made itself known. A fierce growl that stated existence. The sire, however, was also a demon and the validity of his existence was long proven through practiced dominance. An answering growl had the fledgling offering a whimper of obeisance. The places were established. Quick. Quick. A new order coming into being.


Angelus offered his wrist to his newest childe. It was a great gift. Done to make him strong. Done to tie him further to his family. And done to help calm the demon in order for the boy he once had been to swim to the surface.


Sire’s blood. Its richness flooded the mouth, overwhelming the taste buds, reminding the demon once again that it owed its very existence to the sire. He was allowed to nurse at this succulent source for several minutes. He could feel himself reshaping, gaining a modicum of control. The wrist was wrenched away and another offered in its place. This one was different. It tasted of family and something else. Something of extreme power. It also made him slightly fearful, but the fear was tempered by the familiarity of family blood and something else. Something vital. Mate. This was the blood of his Sire’s mate. It must be respected. The offering was removed far too soon for the likes of the demon, much sooner than the sire’s blood had been. It was to remind him that it had been a privilege and nothing more. This blood, this woman, did not belong to him. Another wrist came. Always a wrist. Never a neck. This one a brother, but more than that, another mate. This too was the mate of his sire, and it did not belong to him. Another sweet offering that was taken quickly away. Not his.


He laid there, awareness, true awareness whispering inside of his brain, trying to make itself heard. He decided to be very still so that he could pick up on the secret goings on in his head. His stillness brought him other sounds in the room that had previously remained unheard. The female mate of his sire was alive. He could hear the beat of her heart and hear the rush of blood in her veins. It was comforting. He had no desire to kill her or to try and claim her. There were other sounds, however, two others. Humans in the room.


He stretched out his senses, trying to separate the sounds. They were the same, but the scents were different. He sat up and sniffed. Both scents were familiar, but one, one was more than familiar. He leapt off the bed, landing unerringly on top of the familiar scent.


“Mine,” he growled as he held on to the precious object.


Angelus had been anticipating the move and he’d jumped in time with his childe. He was there to protect the human he had claimed if need be, but he doubted it would be necessary. He waited to see what would be made of things; to see what kind of vampire this boy had been born into.


Willow reached up and ran a hand over her friend’s bumpy forehead. “Xander?” she asked with a watery smile.


The whispers formed themselves into a strong voice. “I’m Xander,” he said. “You’reWillow,” he told her.


“That’s right,”Willow said with a small sob of relief.


Xander’s eyes clouded over as memory returned. He jerked away fromWillow and into the waiting arms of his sire.


Angelus held the boy to him. He offered comforting growls to the demon and soothing words to the young man. “It’s okay. She’s dead.”


Xander relaxed against his sire and sobbed.Willow andTara both got up and wrapped their arms around him. They opened up the wells of shared pain and experience and let him feel their compassion. Their understanding. Their knowing.


“I’m home,” Xander said. “I’m safe.”


“Yes, boy. You’re safe and you’re home,” Angelus confirmed.


This close toWillow andTara, Xander could sense the claims that had been placed on them by his sire and his brother. He turned his head and looked atWillow sadly, “Not mine,” he whispered.


Angelus turned Xander’s head so that the boy was forced to look into his eyes. “You are my childe, born from my blood and my demon. The witch was claimed by me in honor of you. She is yours if she’ll have you. I gladly pass on the claim,” Angelus told him.


Xander fully realized at that moment all that had happened; the corruption that had entered him not just by Darla’s hands but more… worse. He was no different than Jesse and his parents. He was a monster. Xander shook his head and tried to back away fromWillow. “I don’t want to hurt you.”


The entire room erupted in laughter as the impact of the last twenty-four hours fell upon them.Willow let her power fill her. Her hair and eyes turning black with the thickness of it. She pulled Xander to her without lifting a finger. She bit into the side of his neck, “Mine,” she declared. Then she turned her head to off him the same. This would be an equal claim.


Xander hesitated for the briefest second but a gentle push on his lower back from his sire was all the encouragement he needed. He bit intoWillow and the claim was sealed. Friendship was a bond that went beyond family. Family was without choice. Friendship was a willing tie and the strength that stemmed from that had a greatness to it that could move mountains or even the heart of a demon.


The world of the humans who had entered the O’Conner household would never be the same. They had passed through the mirror and there was no going back. The boy was a vampire; his innocence had been ripped away most cruelly. This wasn’t about loss, however, not at all. Xander Harris had come home. He had found a family that was capable of loving and caring for him deeply and completely. He’d never spend another Christmas Eve outside in a sleeping bag.


The shy redheaded girl would still be shy. She’d still love computers and college would be a place for her to truly thrive, but the power she had awoken was woven into her being. Left alone it would have destroyed her, but with the guidance and the occasional down right dominance from the head of her new family, Angelus, she was given the discipline and purpose she needed to control it instead of it controlling her.


Tara would never again walk the world peripherally. She went from the girl who never belonged, who was never understood, to being the center of a family.Tara was the hearth. The mother goddess. One who knew just how terrible her children were and loved them still. Her power was of the earth. Not light. Not dark.


Giles did not stay in Sunnydale. He retreated to the Council halls. He studied. He found the answer he was asked to find. One day he called Angelus and told him how to relieve his mate of her slayer duties. Then Giles hung up the phone and waited for the new slayer to be called, waited for the death of Buffy Summers.


Chapter 35


“You tried turning her?”Willow asked as she plopped a grape in her mouth. The entire household was seated around the kitchen table. It had been quickly discovered that Xander did not have Spike and Buffy’s proclivity for human foods. He was a straight blood drinker like his sire. It was somewhat amusing considering his love for junk food as a human.


“Tried,” Spike confirmed as he dipped a tater-tot in blood. “Didn’t take.”


“It was fun though,” Buffy said, remembering the first time she had been bitten by them. Beautiful orgasm. She hadn’t forgotten the bet, there just hadn’t been time in between securing the Hellmouth, keepingWillow from going over to the dark side of the force, and teaching Xander to control his base instincts. Life had been busy in the O’Conner household. Now they were trying to find a way to kill her. Busy, busy, busy.


Xander shot up out of his chair. “I’ve got it! I’ll be right back,” he declared as he took off for the front door.


“He does remember he’s a vampire, right?” Buffy turned and asked Angelus.


A high pitched scream sounded right before the smell of burning flesh reached their nostrils. A slightly abashed looking Xander reentered the kitchen. Spike did the big brother thing and handed Xander a thick fire blanket. “Sewers,” was all that he said as he returned to his seat beside Buffy.


“Right,” Xander answered as he headed out the kitchen door.


“That boy scares me,” Angelus said quietly.


“He’s trying really hard,”Tara pointed out. Things had not been easy for the fledgling vampire. First,Willow andTara had refused to let him eat his parents. Then Angelus had explained their hunting limitations. Lastly, had been the realization that every one was mated but him. He was a part of the family, but still alone.


“He is trying hard, and doing well at it,” Buffy confirmed. “I’m really quite proud of him. The other night in the park, he caught sight of Cordelia Chase necking with some jock and he so wanted to tip her face off, but he remembered the no killing people we know rule, and he restrained himself. I didn’t even have to remind him.”


“Yes, the whelp is a good little vampire,” Spike drawled. He was growing bored with the conversation, not that he liked talking about ways to kill Buffy, but he was eager to get it over with so that they could get on with their lives as it were.


Sensing Spike’s restlessness, Buffy glanced up at the clock. “Hey, big boy, it’s almost time for The Office on BBC,” she told him. She let out a giggle at the way he perked up.


“Watch it naked?” he asked her hopefully.


Buffy’s only answer was to pull her top off over her head and toss it at Angelus as she tore out of the room, laughing.


Both men looked at one another before running after their mate, Spike discarding clothing along with Buffy while Angelus kept grabbing the dropped pieces.


Willow looked atTara. “I like The Office, but there is no way I am going to watch it while they’re naked. They won’t just sit there and watch TV. They always promise but they never do!”


Tara nodded knowingly. “We can go up to our room, baby,” she suggested.Willow officially still lived at home, but most nights she stayed withTara. Her parents barely noticed. Still, they were leagues ahead of Xander’s parents who had rented out his room when he never showed up again, not even bothering to inform the authorities that their son was missing. They figured the kid was almost grown anyway.


“Okay,” Willow agreed with a wicked little tone to her voice. She grabbed the bowl of grapes and declared, “They aren’t the only ones in this house who can be naughty.”


Tara laughed and picked up a grape, rolling it slowly between her thumb and forefinger. Then she made the grape disappear. She smirked atWillow. “Bet you can’t find it.” She turned around and left the room with a saucy sway of her hips.Willow followed eagerly behind.


Forty-five minutes later Xander ran back in the kitchen, fire blanket in place, with a pretty young woman coming up behind him. He shut the door and flung the blanket off. He sniffed the air and then looked accusingly at the people seated around the table. “You all had sex. I was gone not more than an hour, and you had sex! Not that you don’t go ahead and have sex when I am here,” he groused.


“Oh quit complaining, the sooner you explain things to your nest-mates the sooner you’ll be the one having sex,” the young woman assured him.


Xander turned a slightly pink shade.


Angelus shot up out of his seat. “You fed!” he growled. “You’re blushing, which is weird by the way and entirely impossible unless you’ve recently fed. Who did you eat, Xander?”


Xander shuffled his feed and tossed the video on the kitchen table, hoping to distract everyone from his actions.


“Great, now we’ll never get to rent movies anymore,” Buffy complained as she looked at what he had thrown on the table.


“Calm down,” the young woman said. “He ate me. Well he didn’t eat me, and that’s the problem. I mean if you’re going to be so rude as to drink someone’s blood, the least you can do is give them a good orgasm. Am I right?”


“You said it, sister!” Spike exclaimed, enjoying the show.


Buffy promptly hit him in the back of the head. “Ouch, Slayer!” he yelped.


“Slayer!” the girl screamed and jumped behind Xander for protection.


“It’s okay. She’s my sister,” Xander said to the female. He was oddly charmed by her using him for protection. Nobody, not even Tara, ever looked to him for protection.


“Sister? Oh this is the girl you need to kill,” Anya said as understanding dawned. She walked out form behind Xander and smelled Buffy, not getting too close due to the warning growls sounding from the two older vampires. “You tried to turn her didn’t you?” she asked them.


“Yes, and who are you?” Angelus asked. He could sense that she was some kind of demon, but he couldn’t tell what kind.


“I’m Anyanka,” the girl said proudly. “I’m a vengeance demon. I was at the video store following this frat boy named Parker Abrams. He wronged this girl. She called for vengeance. She wants me to seduce him like he seduced her and then rip off his penis with my…”


Xander slapped a hand over her mouth. “Too make a way long story, just plain long, what Anya,” Xander gave everyone a goofy smile. “She said I could call her Anya. What Anya is saying is that I…”


Anya popped herself across the room. “The fledge here didn’t recognize me as a demon and decided to have himself a little snack,” she told the room.


Xander reached over and picked up the movie off of the table, waiving it in the air. “I get hungry when I’m in the video store. But look,” he handed the video to his sire. “I found the solution to our problem.”


“Flatliners?” Angelus read the title.


“Watch it. Trust me,” Xander said, excited that he was the one to have found the answer.


“Okay, I guess its movie time,” Angelus informed the group.


“Fine,” Willow said, “but clothes on, buster.”


“I second that,”Tara put in.


“Clothes off sounds much more exciting,” Anya said as she grabbed Xander’s hand. “Why can’t we watch it with our clothes off? It’s much easier to…”


Xander kissed her, hard. It was the only way he could think to shut her up. He wondered briefly what he had gotten himself into letting her follow him home like some lost puppy, but then again, WOW, she could really kiss.


Chapter 36


The movie ended and everyone sat there quietly for just a moment. None of the usual frivolity had been present. They all knew they were watching a movie on how to kill Buffy. It sort of took the viewing pleasure down a notch or two.


“Of course this wouldn’t work with a slayer,” Anya piped up. “It would be the same as the turning. You can’t turn slayers. You can kill them, but you can’t turn them. Good thing too for the Council, or you’d have hundreds of turned slayers running around.”


“Why didn’t the turning work?” Angelus asked the strange demon.


“Because of her metabolism and because she already has a demon in her. It’s the metabolism thingy that is going to botch up the chemical death. Her body processes things to fast to be able to kill her like that. It’s pretty much all or nothing with slayers. Personally, I would go with drowning.” Anya thought about it for a moment. “Yep, drowning. You could shove her head under water. Stop her heart. Revive her with CPR. It would work. You could lose her of course, but I doubt it.” Anya gave everyone a brilliant smile, proud of her years of wisdom.


Spike pulled Buffy to him tightly. “Hell no. Not gonna happen. Not gonna do anything that could kill her.”


Angelus inched his way over to his mates and wrapped his arms around them. “I’m with Spike. We’ll just have to live with her being the Slayer.”


Anya shook her head. “No, not a good idea. The Council will find out about your little mating, and they’ll send hit squads after her so that a new slayer can be called. You’re going to have to kill her to keep her. Trust me.”


“Ow, ow! Boys, lay off the squeezing,” Buffy cried, as she wriggled her way free of her clinging mates. “We do it. And I say we do it now. I want this over with.” She looked at the panicked faces of her lovers. “It isn’t just risking me. It’s risking all of us. Do you think I would do anything that would bring harm to the two of you? Do you?”


They each shook their heads. They hadn’t even thought of themselves. Only her. Only their girl. It wouldn’t matter really. If she died and the claim didn’t take them down as well, they walk out, ringless, in the sun. There was no life without her. There simply wasn’t any point.


She held out her hands to them. “So we do this?”


They took her hands in theirs and came to a stand. “We do this,” they agreed.


Buffy turned toWillow andTara. “You guys know CPR?”


Both women nodded their heads.


“Okay,” Buffy said, trying to not sound nervous. “Someone fill the tub.”


Xander got up and dragged Anya with him. He would fill the tub. He knew it would be easier on him than anyone else. He was also pretty sure that he would be the one to have to hold her down. In fact, he’d better go get the chains. If Angelus and Spike weren’t chained, they’d interfere. With a heavy sigh, Xander set out to do the things no one else could.


Buffy, Spike, and Angelus retired to their room. They slowly undressed one another, committing every inch of flesh to memory. There were kisses. Sweet succulent kisses that lingered on the skin. Hands caressed flesh. Bodies were joined. Both men seeking to be inside their love.


Spike rested himself inside of her sex. He was crying softly onto her breast. Angelus was imbedded in her from behind with his arms wrapped around them both. Buffy leaned back against Angelus as she held on tightly to Spike. Her face was awash with tears. She felt something hit the top of her head and realized that Angelus was also crying.


This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. Buffy felt a fierce anger build up inside of her towards the Council. Who were they to decide who lived and who died? It was simply because they were powerful. They had seemingly unlimited recourses. The bigger bad always took town the lesser bad. Well, two could play at that game. Her tears dried up and resolution stole over her.


“We will live. We will live to fight another day,” she whispered with steely resolve. “We have to. The Council has controlled things for too long. One girl. Stupid. Inadequate. We demons keep ourselves in check far better and far more frequently than the Council ever has. Who do they think keeps the other Hellmouths closed? It’s time for a new order. I really want to see the Council fall.”


“Sounds fun,” Spike told her.


“I could go for a good toppling,” Angelus agreed.


With their purpose redefined, they shed off their sorrow and there worry and began to move. Spike sliding in and out of her on side, Angelus on the other. The feeling was intense. Their rhythm perfect. The only thing missing… Oh there they were. Buffy felt her inner walls clinch as their fangs entered on each side of her neck. She threw back her head and let out a primal sound. It was between a scream and growl. It shook the walls of the house. Both men felt as if their orgasms were ripped from their bodies by its reverberations. Spent, the three mates lay against one another, waiting for the strength to return to their limbs and sense to their minds.


When they were collected, they walked into the bathroom. They took one look at the chains and gave Xander an appreciative smile. Angelus walked up to the boy and let him do the honors. “I’m proud of you Xander, you’re thinking like a seasoned vampire more and more each day.”


Xander felt his sire’s warm words go straight to his heart. His parents had never praised him. Never. Angelus did it all of the time. So did Spike and Buffy. They went out of their way to let him know that he mattered. When he was finished with Angelus he moved on to Spike.


Willow andTara had come into the room. They had several things in hand. They placed their fingers in a bowl and came out with a dark substance smeared on the tips. The placed it on Buffy’s tongue, each woman giving a swipe. Then they started chanting.


Xander took Buffy’s hand and escorted her into the tub. He got in with her and not waiting for any signal, pushed her down with all of his strength. For a brief moment it seemed as if the slayer within was going to struggle, but the girl’s resolve broke through and she allowed Xander to drown her. She threw instinct to the wall and took a deep breath of water. It filled her lungs. She knew she was thrashing a bit, but she just couldn’t help it. Thankfully blackness took her over at the same time that she felt her mates struggle to rescue her.


It was done. Xander could hear the cessation of her heartbeat. He pulled her out of the water and turned her over to expel what he could. He felt warm hands move to take away his burden. He almost fought them. The instinct to protect his sire’s mate and his sister was strong.


The two witches took the lifeless body away from her vampire brother and placed it on its back.Tara bent over and started to breathe life back into it.Willow worked to keep Buffy’s soul anchored to the here and now, keeping it from the pull of the ether. Both women had to struggle to concentrate over the howling of the demons. They had never heard such a sound in all their lives, and hoped never to again. It was the sound of nightmares; it put all other horrors to shame.


All at once, Buffy’s chest gave a great heave, and a small fountain of water erupted form her mouth as she began choking.Tara turned her over, and helped her to cough it all out. Buffy took in a great breath, then immediately looked to her mates. She shoved off of the floor and landed with preternatural grace at their feet. She gripped the chains and ripped them apart. The sound of her mates cries driving her strength new heights.


As they were freed they began touching and biting her. To an unknowing onlooker it would seem as if they were attacking her, but those in the room knew they were just being sure of her. Tasting her, touching her, feeling her everyway possible. They left the room, not wishing to intrude on this private moment.


Chapter 37


“Do you think she can do it?” Spike asked Angelus as they hid in the trees. The little woman was doing the rounds. She was no longer the Chosen One, but she still held all the strength of the slayer and then some.


“If you thought she could do it, why the hell did you agree to the bet?” Angelus asked irritably. He had nearly forgotten about the bet with all of the fighting and the killing of their mate. Then recently they had been working out long term plans to take the Council down. They needed to build a really strong base of power first. They were so caught up in all of that, it was no wonder that Buffy’s announcement that tonight was the night had come as a complete surprise. But now, here they were, sitting in a tree, waiting for her to give some strange vampire an orgasm. Not Angelus’ idea of a great night.


“You know me, can’t say no to a bet. ‘Specially from her!” Spike whined. He should not be held accountable for his actions around Buffy. She brought out the competitive streak in him, always had.


“What do you think she’ll ask for?” Angelus asked.


“Something horrible. Not fair really, if we win we’ll just ask for kinky sex acts,” Spike said knowingly.


“Speak for yourself, William. Why waste a request with something she’d just agree to anyway?” Angelus wondered.


“Not this she hasn’t,” Spike grumbled under his breath.


Angel tried desperately to think of something sexual Spike wanted that hadn’t been given to him. He came up blank. He looked at his childe, ready to find out what might be missing in their sexual repertoires when they felt a shift in the air. They both looked down.


Buffy was the only one who knew exactly how high the stakes were. There was something she wanted. Had wanted for a long time. She was about to get it. She’d thought about this. Thought of just how to go about it. She knew she wasn’t allowed to use hands. Hands would have been a cinch. No, she was going to have to get creative. She sent a little mental note of thanks off to Drusilla for inspiration. Then she dropped the coat.


In the tree above the men grabbed onto one another for support, completely gob-smacked at the view below.


Buffy sat down on the ground, her white frilly skirts spread out before her. She sat there and sniffled, letting a tear or two slip down her face. She felt a young vampire approaching. She waited.


Steve had scented something. He wasn’t sure. He was only out of ground for three days. He was still struggling to get used to his senses. He followed the scent. He walked into the clearing and couldn’t believe his luck. What a beauty. A darling of a little girl, weeping at a recent grave. This was too good to be true. He walked up, putting on all of his charm.


“Miss? Can I help you?” he asked, his voice dripping with concerned sincerity.


Buffy looked up at him with big tear-filled green eyes, her chin wobbling ever so slightly. “He was my fiancé. He died,” she let out a little choke, “right before our wedding. I’m so lost. He was my everything. The only man I have ever even kissed. How am I supposed to go on living without him?”


Steve felt sure he could help her with that little dilemma. He sat down beside her and pulled her into his arms. “Shhh, little one. It will be okay. You let Steve handle everything. I can take the pain from you. Let it all out.”


Buffy let herself cry into the vampire’s shoulder. She shifted ever so slightly, careful to keep her hands tightly clasped.


Steve felt her little bottom wiggling against him and instantly became hard. Damn, this was too easy. He was definitely gonna have himself a little somethin’ somethin’ before he ate. He stroked her shining gold hair. “Beautiful. You are so beautiful,” he whispered.


Buffy dried her tears and quieted her sniffles. She looked up at the vampire, with wide, trusting eyes. “Really? You think so?” Then she looked down at the ground. “That’s what he used to say.”


Steve tilted her chin up. “Don’t think of him now. He’s gone. You’re here. You’re here with me. This was meant to be little one. You and me. It’s destiny.”


Buffy thought it was definitely time. Destiny! She cleared her head and let herself think about her mates. Think about how they were watching her right now. She concentrated on the feel of their skin on hers. The way they’re tongues tasted in her mouth. Arousal bloomed just as she knew it would.


Steve sniffed the air. Ahh, there it was. The sweet scent of young crème. This one was his for the taking. Just a little finesse. “I’m going to lay you down now, sweetheart,” he told her as he maneuvered them to the ground.


“Could…” Buffy let herself trail off into a blush. “Could you lay down, and I lay on top of you?” She looked pointedly at the grave. “He never let me… he thought people should wait until marriage. He never let me feel it.”


Steve groaned. He didn’t even try to hide it. He willingly lay on the ground and let her lay on top him. His cock was pushing into her sex. The scent. The scent was amazing. It was heady. It was filling his senses. He threw his head back, he felt himself morph. He couldn’t control himself. The feel of her against him combined with her smell had him just about coming in his pants. Then his world exploded.


Fuck. She had fangs. They were in him. Sucking the blood out of his system like he had done to so many victims in these last three days. Only he didn’t feel like a victim. Not in the slightest. He felt like he was getting the sweetest reward. He let himself go with that feeling, let himself surrender to her completely. He erupted in his jeans the barest moment before he crumbled to dust.


Buffy hoped up in triumph and brushed off her white, frilly dress. She looked up at the trees. “You can come out now. The deed is done. And done well if I do say so myself.” She was feeling proud. In fact, she felt a distinct strut coming on.


Angelus and Spike jumped down from the trees. “You cheated,” Spike yelled.


“Did not. You said no hands,” Buffy reminded him. “And I didn’t touch him once.”


“Scent. You used your own arousal to bring him to his. That’s cheating!” Spike declared.


Angelus just threw his head back and laughed. “No, William. That’s ingenuity. Nice dress by the way. Dru would have loved you wearing it.”

Buffy felt tears come into her eyes for real this time. “Thanks. I was thinking of her the whole time.”


Spike felt his cock twitch. “The whole time, kitten?” His ire at his defeat gone.


Buffy realized what he was getting at and went for honesty. “Mostly during the… ah, moment, I was thinking of you two, but a little about her. Impossible not to in this dress. I think about her a lot if you must know.”


Spike came over and drew her into his arms. “I love you, Buffy. Love you so much.”


“I love you two, Will.” Buffy leaned up and gave him a promising kiss. “But now you have to go over there. Far, far over there. I want to make my request of Angelus first. Then it’s your turn.”


Spike did as she asked. Feeling somewhat hurt that she wanted to bestow her whatever it was on Angelus first.


The big vamp looked down at his young charge as his other mate walked away. “Okay, get it over with. What do you want?”


Buffy leaned in and whispered to him. His eyes grew wide with horror. “You can’t be serious!”


“You said anything, besides, what do you care. He’s the one stuck with the worst of it and you know it,” Buffy groused.


Angelus thought about that. She was right. “You won. Fair and square. I’ll do it.”


Buffy squealed in delight and threw her arms around him, peppering kisses all over his face. “You can come back now, Spike,” she yelled out, knowing he would be pouting or worse.


He came back to the clearing and saw her wrapped in Angelus’ arms, but he did not scent anything of a more sexual nature. Pacified he came up to them. “How bad is it?” he asked his sire.


“Bad, childe. Really bad,” Angelus said seriously. Buffy hit him on the back of the head.


The next day a sound could be heard in the O’Conner household. It was the sound of two cars pulling up in the driveway. Doors were opened and closed. One car drove away. Buffy bounded eagerly into the den. “It’s here! It’s really here!” She threw herself against Angelus again and gave him a kiss of gratitude. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”


Spike got up warily. “What’s the what? You’ve kept me in suspense long enough.”


Angelus stepped away from Buffy and pulled the ring off of his finger. He handed it to Spike, who pulled his own off and gave it to Angelus. Spike slipped the other ring on and looked at them questioningly.


“I’m sorry for this, Will.” Angelus told him as he walked with them to the front door. He opened it and stepped back away from the light. There was a small black box on the ground connected to a key chain.


Spike picked it up and looked at funny. “What’s this?”


“This,” Buffy took it out of his hands and pushed a button, allowing a key-like object to pop out. “This is for me.”


Spike spotted the shiny black Passat in the yard. He looked back at his sire in absolute terror. “You have got to be soddin’ kidding me! Anything but this! What exactly did you have to do?”


“I had to pay for it, and for the gas, and more importantly for the insurance,” Angelus told him, knowing all the while that Spike got the worst of the deal by far.


Spike just shook his head. “That’s nothing. Stupid bets!” He walked down the front steps with resignation. A man sentenced to hell. A man about to teach the slayer how to drive.


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