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Letting Go

Part two: Moving On

A summer breeze wafted through Buffy's open window and she breathed in deeply, loving the way the ocean air smelled. Smiling, she opened one eye and glanced at the clock. It was after ten and she realized, almost sadly, that until she started college she didn't have to worry about waking up early. Getting enough sleep was something she used to daydream about though. She'd have to ask Willow about afternoon only college classes.

Feeling good, she threw the cover back, making the bed up when she stood. Skipping, she headed for the shower. While the water massaged her back and neck, Buffy wondered if this was what letting go felt like. She had thought of Angel every second until last night, when Spike had shown up and distracted her. It didn't hurt that ‘letting go' involved such good company. Good looking company to boot. As she soaped her hair, she opened her mouth and sang one of the songs from ‘Cats', which she had watched a million times while she was lying in the bed under house arrest.

Memory, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

Joyce heard her daughter and smiled. It had been a long time since she'd heard Buffy's melodious singing voice. She'd always had a gift for vocals but was too shy to do much with it in front of other people as she got older. As a little girl, Buffy bragged that she'd star in ‘Annie' and sing on Broadway, belting out showtunes for anyone who'd listen. In middle school, the dream turned to starring on All My Children but always, there was singing involved. Joyce hummed along as she made her bed and crossed the hall to make Buffy's. When she opened the door she was shocked. The bed was neatly made and the assorted clothing that usually littered the floor had been piled in the hamper. Smiling so big it hurt, Joyce wondered what was making her kid so happy.

While Buffy dried off she sang the last few bars of the song.

Touch me
It's so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you touch me you'll understand what happiness is
Look a new day has begun

She sang it again and really listened to the words, wondering if whoever wrote it had a vampire for a friend. Angel had often spoken longingly of his days in the sun. Shrugging, she kept singing as she got dressed. That last part stuck with her and she realized why. When she had touched Spike she understood what happiness was and her new day was beginning. It had begun when she lost herself in his arms.

Willow rode her bike up to Buffy's front porch and hopped off, waving at Joyce who was up to her elbows planting shrubbery. The woman yelled for her to go on in and she opened the door, shouting for Buffy.

"Up here." Buffy called.

Willow took the steps two at a time and smiled at her friend. "Guess what? You'll never guess. Let me tell you…no guess what!!"

"Hmmmm," the slayer glanced up from her toenails, which she was painting an awesome new shade called Lizard and said, "You and Oz did it?"

Willow's face fell and she flopped on the end of the bed. "Did he tell you?"

Buffy's eyes widened and she stared at her friend. "Is that really what you were gonna tell me?"

The redhead bobbed her head up and down, then joined Buffy in a loud squeal. Buffy grabbed her, hugging her tight and Willow added, "It hurt. It really hurt."

"Yeah. The first time always does but the second, third, fourth…mmmm….you're in for some fun." Buffy was exited for her friend. Sex was amazing…with the right person. < With Spike. >

Willow gave Buffy a baffled look and shook her head. "You said you and Angel only did it the ONE time."

Gulping, Buffy tried to cover her tracks. "No, I mean, that's what I heard."

"I know you Buffy. That …mmmm…was an…mmmm…of experience. I told you so you tell me. Was it Angel?" Willow grinned blushing a little.

"You know I couldn't be with Angel." She looked wistful for a moment, wondering what if would have changed if she could have been with him.

"Buffy, come on! I tell you everything. First base, second base and the only time I ever got to third I practically had you on the phone while it was happening I called you so fast."

Buffy bit her lower lip and exhaled loudly. "Can I trust you?" Willow looked offended and Buffy quickly added, "Never mind…I know I can. Okay, here goes. That night that you guys were hunting me all over town…I had sex in the cemetery with someone. Massive sex. Porno sex."

"Wow." Whispered Willow. "That's so romantic. And ironic really since you fight there and sex is so…not fighting. Who was it with?"

"Spike." Replied Buffy.

Willow jumped up. "That's so insane!"

"What?" Buffy shouted. "What happened to so romantic?"

"He's a vampire!"

"And Oz is a werewolf." Buffy capped her nail polish and put it on her night table, hanging her legs over the side so her toenails could dry. "He never attempted to hurt me, Willow, and it was amazing. Then I spent the next day with him on accident."

"Are you in love with him?" Willow practically moaned the words.

"NO!" Buffy exclaimed, then quietly added, "I told him we can only be friends."

Willow read Buffy's face for several seconds before she said, "And no part of ‘being friends' makes you happy does it?"

Sadly, Buffy shook her head. "I don't know, Willow. I mean, sure, he's a vampire. A soulless-blood gulping -creature of the night-murderer-who tried to kill me enough times to make a whole seasons worth of campy television drama…but…God, Will…once he kissed me…I was his….He could star in my drama every week."

Willow grinned. "Cable or network television?"

"Networks nowadays would be scared of my show." Buffy didn't smile. "As weird as it is, as fake as it would seem, it's just too real for TV. What should I do?"

"Tone it down or be censored?" offered Willow. "I guess you have to decide if it's worth the controversy. You know some people wouldn't understand if you did get with Spike that way."

"Well, this Slayer doesn't bow for censorship." Buffy stood up, deciding that she'd go to Spike's room and thank him the way he liked. And she'd have fun doing it.

The sedan pulled up outside of Wesley's house and he began to pace when he saw Fagan step out of the driver's seat. He knew a councilman was coming but never would have dreamed it would be Fagan. During his tenure at the watcher-training center, he had idolized this man, mimicking his stature and demeanor. Always wanting to be just one step closer to what Fagan was. Perfect in Wesley's eyes.

He opened the door and grinned, stepping aside to indicate a tray of tea, cookies and pastries he had flown in from England. "Hello, Fagan, sir."

Fagan, a man of at least sixty, large in stature and possessing quite an air of self- importance, stared around the small cluttered apartment. He sniffed his nose with disdain and said, "I spoke with Hank. He'll not be giving us any problems."

The watcher nodded. "Buffy is quite a capable Slayer. Unleashing your unwanted demons here for disposal will give her a much needed round of exercise and thereby kill two birds with one stone."

"We only need to kill one, Wesley." Fagan took a seat, spreading his coat around him even though summer was upon California with a vengeance.

"I don't think I follow, sir." Wesley sat opposite him, admiring his expensive jewelry and exotic walking cane.

The old man's crippled hand rubbed the tip of that very cane. "What I failed to tell you on the phone is that Buffy Summers will die. Soon."

"My Lord." Wesley stood up, began to pace again. "We must warn her. Somehow thwart her destination. Have you pinpointed a date."

"Sit down, buffoon, and let me finish!" Snarled Fagan, tapping his cane angrily. "The reports that you have given the council indicate that the strain of personal issues coupled with being the Chosen one have left Miss. Summers in quite a detached and wayward state. Am I correct?"

Wesley felt the blood begin to drain from his face as he nodded, then shook his head quickly. "Well, yes, at first she was but…"

"Silence!" Shouted the old man. "This Summers' girl has been a thorn in the council's side for years. Merrick, the man who finally located and trained her, seemed to have faith in her awkwardness and the council has noted her abilities to a point but, this girl is too modern, too willful. She has friends, commoners who are privy to secret information and trades, she bedded a vampire, and we recently discovered that she is being influenced by someone too close."

Wesley was trying to digest this information, unable to grasp why such drastic measures would be needed. "Someone too close?"

"I'm sure by now you are aware of the great dislike the Council has for Rupert Giles. He was only considered to begin with as an honor to his grandmother, who always wished that he would carry on the Giles legacy of the Chosen lineage. We thought him little more than a breeder, possibly a researcher or a trainer but none of us could guess he'd become a watcher. Surprising us all, he finished top of the line in everything, but it was only after we had taken his sperm and used it to inseminate someone that he was given his Watcher place. You may have a daughter out there, you realize. Someone else is training her, watching her, those are just the ways we have always embraced." Fagan paused and looked at the young watcher across from him.

Wesley gasped, "Is Buffy my child?"

Fagan shook his head, "No. I know it seems almost barbaric and cruel to invent life inside of unsuspecting women but it takes a special girl indeed to be a slayer. It takes one that we invent, using good breeding, heritage, families who have been touched by the supernatural. In the old days, before there was DNA and fancy hospitals, believe it or not, the councilmen would resort to raping the women deemed worthy just to plant a Slayer in them. Buffy was given to Hank. He'd just been given his watcher status but he and his wife developed quite a bond with her and never told Joyce or the child the truth."

"Who is her father?" Wesley already figured out the answer but needed to hear it.

"When Merrick was killed, we gave Buffy three months to live at the most, she wasn't properly trained. We forced Hank to detach himself and allow destiny to run it's course. Because we considered her to be nothing more than a pebble in our shoe, we activated Giles without checking into the files. Actually, we had hoped that the idiot would perish along beside her somewhere down the line. During Buffy's birthday test, we noticed something odd. Giles felt compelled to help her, warn her and risk himself to save her. We checked the records."

"Oh good God." Wesley felt faint.

"Giles is her father. This type of thing has never happened before and their obvious affection for one another puts the fate of the world at risk, it puts the council at risk." Fagan lowered his head. "If there was any other way…"

"Isn't there?" Wesley's mind raced. "There are two Slayers, can't one simply retire?"

"No, they die. Retirement is not an option."

"So you will see to it that she dies yourself?"

"No." Fagan said again. "Buffy is on the verge of snapping. A slayer's whole life force is centered. She'll discover the truth about Giles, about the ways of the council, she'll think she has murdered a human being and if the profile that we have been given fits, she'll go insane, just like Faith. We'll step in, offer to take her out, by then Giles will know the truth as well and hopefully…no definitely…he'll choose to kill her himself as opposed to our methods."

"That would shatter Mr. Giles." The young watcher murmured.

"A man can hope." Fagan smiled. "I have a personal stake in this. Giles's suffering is what I have lived so long to see."

Buffy appraised her choice of clothing, smiling and satisfied that she looked sexy. She wanted to look so sexy that Spike would pull her to the bed, ‘shag', and ask questions later. The tight mini-skirt, low cut halter and high heeled sandals had gotten her several catcalls and whistles while she walked into town. Plus, she had bought a new vampish lipstick in a color she'd never usually wear.

She paused, getting a grip on her emotions and hoping that she could control herself. Knocking lightly at first, she frowned, realizing that the dead probably slept like the dead, so she knocked louder. A muffled swear came from the other side of the door and she grinned, wondering if that was the only cuss word he knew.

Spike yanked his pants on; swearing he'd kill whoever it was and then piss their blood on the corpse. Did no one in this town respect a ‘Do Not Disturb' sign? The maid certainly didn't and Spike had shown her. Apparently someone else needed a lesson. He pulled the door open quickly and calmed down instantly. It was the Slayer. It was the Slayer dressed like any one of the many hookers he'd encountered but wouldn't feed on, much less screw, even though they could be easy and willing targets.

Stepping aside, he allowed his gaze to follow her, roaming it's way up her backside to the curve of her exposed shoulders. She turned as he shut the door and stood, feet apart, watching him watch her. Spike made no move, didn't say a word, just stood there not knowing why she looked trashy when he knew she wasn't. Finally, she stepped toward him and grabbed his face between her hands, kissing him deeply, ramming her tongue in his mouth.

Spike grabbed her hands and shoved her back. "What the hell are you doing?"

Grinning, pulled her shirt over her head. "Anything you want me to."

"Are you drunk again, pet? Because I told you what would happen if you did that again." He growled, but gazed at her naked breasts anyway.

"You'd spank me." She gyrated her hips a little and then turned, pushing her skirt down over her hips and bending over as far as she could. He had a full view of her naked ass and the other jewel in that area, which was glistening in the little bit of sunlight that filtered through. Buffy smacked her own ass and said, "I may like that."

He turned away, completely turned off by her appearance. Her actions were even worse. "Get dressed."

Buffy's face fell. She stepped out of her skirt, wearing nothing but her heels, and walked to where he stood. She ran her tongue along the cool naked flesh of his back, them slid her fingers into the waistband of his jeans, gently working her way to the front. When she reached the button and pulled it open, Spike spun, shoving her on the bed. Buffy laughed and spread her legs, beckoning him to undress and join her.

Spike walked to her pile of clothes and picked them up, tossing them on the bed. "I said get dressed."

Buffy sat up, hugging herself and trying not cry. "Why?"

"You disgust me." He said simply, not believing that she would act so brazen after such a nice night patrolling. He was tired of her games, tired of her mood changes and most of all he was tired of reacting so strongly to everything she did.

She lost the battle and tears brimmed the edges of her eyelids. "But I thought that…"


"I changed my mind." Buffy whimpered. "I thought you said you wanted more."

"I changed MY mind." Spike snarled. "Look at yourself. You look like a whore, you're acting like a whore, god, you even smell like a whore. What happened to you?"

Buffy yanked her shirt on and stepped into her skirt. "I thought you'd like it."

"You really are naïve aren't you?" He snorted. "I can pick up a whore anywhere and she'd treat me to the same sleazy little show you just put on. You're supposed to be classier than that."

"I thought you'd like it." She repeated again.

"Well, I don't." He glared at her. "I swear, I think you're crazier than Dru ever thought about being. At least she had a little self-respect."

Stung by his words to the point that she wanted to die, she shouted, "If self respect means screwing you and Angel both every single day for months …then I guess she had it by the barrel full."

Spike drew back to slap her, wanting to hear the sound of his open hand on her smart little mouth. Buffy stumbled backward, cowering against the wall and he stopped himself, unable to hurt her. Turning away he ran his hand through his hair and said, "I think you better go."

Allowing the tears to run down her cheeks, Buffy sobbed loudly. "I wanted you, like before."

Spike turned slowly and looked her from head to toe. "I wanted YOU, like before. The real you."

Still sobbing, Buffy flew past him, toward the door. Spike stepped in front of her and pulled her to face him. "Buffy," He waited until she looked up at him. "I'm sorry that I almost hit you. I never…."

"I'm sorry too." She yanked free and ran out into the sunlight, leaving Spike to wander what he'd done to be damned to hell on earth.

Buffy changed into old jeans and a T-shirt before she went patrolling with Giles that night. She had decided that a) she was too dorky to pull off the sexy look and b) she was never having sex of any kind again. Ever. She would just be a Slayer and devote herself entirely to that. She was good. She was awesome. She was aware of her surroundings.

"You're awfully distracted, Buffy." Giles said, staring at her closely. "You did notice that I staked two vampires didn't you?"

No, she had not noticed that but she said, "Duh! I was letting you have a little fun."

Giles narrowed his eyes at her. "A-ha. I didn't just stake any vampires so you are distracted!"

"No, I'm not. I'm reversing your psychology on you….and move." Buffy shoved him out of the way and tossed her stake into an oncoming vampire's chest. It didn't strike the heart and she rolled her eyes, rushing the vampire and using her foot to angle it the right way. "How was that for distraction?"

"Hmmm. If you weren't so distracted you could have made that shot with a blindfold on." Giles smiled a little. "That's the first one tonight. I honestly thought we'd see more. Oh, there's one."

Spike jogged toward them and was in front of Buffy within minutes. She stepped away, hiding herself behind Giles, not wanting to face him. He glanced at her and turned to Giles, "Something's up. Willy told me that the vampires are going underground, avoiding something."

"Hmmm." Giles repeated, noticing Buffy and turning around, exposing her. "What on earth are you doing?"

"Watching your back." The Slayer quickly replied.

The watcher scratched his head and turned his attention back to Spike. "Did he give you any indication of what they're avoiding?"

Spike grinned as he saw one of Buffy's big blue eyes over Giles's shoulder and shook his head. "No. He just said that something bad was going down and to look out for it. Whatever it is, it drove a whole pod of new vampires back out of town."

"I saw we shake it's hand." Buffy said. "If it has one, that is. That's a few less vamps I have to worry about."

"Yes, luv, but you may have to worry about that, then?" Spike said, reaching around Giles and turning her to where he was pointing.

"Why waste time worrying when we can always run?" Giles reasoned.

Buffy's eyes widened. The thing that was advancing on them had several arms, several eyes and several hands. "Wonder which one of those I'd shake?"

"Let's just shake a leg?" Spike suggested, not liking the looks of the thing. It's mouth was as wide as it's whole head, and as it roared, it vomited a smaller demon from it's mouth. The smaller demon scurried to sit on the thing's shoulder, looking like a newborn baby that had been skinned, raising a fist towards Buffy.

"God, that's gross." Buffy dropped to her knee and dug through her bag, fishing out the crossbow and some bolts. She loaded it with perfectly steady hands and took aim, pressing the trigger. The bolt stuck the smaller demon through the forehead, knocking it off the shoulder of the big one. The larger demon whirled, looking for it's baby and Buffy shoved it from behind, burying a large knife in it's back. It howled, backhanding her and she toppled end over end until she landed at the bottom of a small hill.

"Buffy!" Willow cried. She and Oz rushed to where Buffy was lying sprawled out and Oz helped her to her feet. They'd seen Giles's car and figured they'd find them in here. Willow had received a very important package they needed to see.

Buffy glanced back up the hill and saw Giles and Spike rushing toward them, taking a moment to breathe a sigh of relief that they were okay. She ran a hand through her hair and felt something sticky and realized her head had a small cut. Oz handed her a wadded up napkin and she smiled gratefully.

"I think we best head to the library." Willow said, glancing around the darkness. "You aren't gonna believe what was delivered."

Buffy had her head down on the table, listening intently to what Giles was telling them. Apparently, the council had more tests. Worse tests than being locked in a hellhouse with the male version of Drusilla. He went over the conversation he had heard with Wesley, making sure he mentioned that he'd told Wesley off, and finished by telling Buffy that he needed her to go to Los Angeles.

Buffy groaned, still not raising her head. Part of it was humiliation, since Spike was seated across from her. The other part was the fact that she'd be tempted to go see her father if she was there. "Why Los Angeles?"

"I have a colleague there who I trust completely. He's involved with the council to some extent and I do think he could stop these horrible tests that are being drawn for you." Giles glanced at her, wondering why she'd been so odd all night.

"Phones nowadays can ring Los Angeles." Spike shrugged, he was still holding the threatening letter that had been delivered to Buffy, c/o the library. The thing that had gotten Willow so upset.

"And phones nowadays can be bugged." Willow pointed out.

"I want Buffy out of Sunnydale for now." Giles took off his glasses and pulled the chair out next to Spike, then paused, moving to sit beside Oz.

Buffy raised her head and followed his movements. "I'm the Slayer, Giles. If nasty stuff is going to happen here, I should be here."

Giles shook his head. "I think that Wesley, myself, Xander, Anya and your mother should be able to handle the hellmouth for now. Anya is quite gifted at binding spells and she should be able to get most of the demons contained without pause. The vampiric activity is almost non-existent at the moment as well. I'd feel better knowing that you were there, and that you were going to accompany Radcliffe back here."

"What about me and Oz?" Willow asked, jealous of being overlooked. "I can bind too!"

"You and Oz will drive Buffy in the van. We'll get darker drapes of course" The watcher quickly pulled out a pen and began jotting his plans on paper.

"Why would we need darker curtains?" Oz asked.

Giles glanced at the three teens and the vampire. "Well, for Spike of course, he'll be needed with you. Strength in numbers."

Buffy put her head back on the table to avoid Spike's amused grin. "When do we leave?"

"Tonight." Giles replied.

Not quite four hours later, Oz pulled the van in front of the only place they found that might have a ‘vacancy'. It was a cabin rental, about ten miles out of LA downtown. They had driven in circles looking for a place to crash for the day, since Spike needed shelter and they all wanted to sleep all day and work all night. Nothing like the protective cover of darkness.

Buffy watched as Spike and Oz headed into a big lodge and sighed. Willow turned and looked at her. "All right, spill. For someone who was going to seduce a certain vampire, you're awfully stand offish to him. He's tried to make conversation with you all night."

"Not open for discussion, Will." Buffy cringed as she recalled the sound of Spike's voice telling her she disgusted him.

Willow nodded, then added. "I'm SO looking forward to spending the whole night with Oz. Wow."

Faking a smile for her friend, the Slayer gave her a limp thumbs up, then sat up straighter as the two guys returned.

Spike glanced at Buffy then spoke, "Apparently, there is a big festival in town. We got the last cabin they had."

As they drove up a winding road, they all marveled at how beautiful the place was. Oz chuckled, "It should be for two hundred bucks a night."

"What!?" Both girls exclaimed.

"Thank Spike." Oz replied, parking at a cabin in the back, nestled in a patch of trees."

Buffy glanced at Spike who grinned and said, "I've always wanted to rough it."

They unloaded their bags as Willow unlocked the doors and turned on all the lights. Buffy heard her exhibit geeker joy and smiled. Lugging her stuff in behind the guys she gasped. It was amazing. There was a large stone fireplace that ran the entire length of one wall, complete with a bear skin rug in front of it. Two leather sofas sat facing one another, and off to one side there was a formal dining area. In the far corner was an entertainment unit. It had the biggest TV Buffy had ever seen and about a hundred movies to choose from lining shelves.

Willow rounded the corner and said, "Oh my GOD, Buffy! It has a hot tub, a sauna and would you believe….a tanning bed! This place is unreal!"

"It's gorgeous." Buffy nodded, walking into the kitchen and opening the cabinets and refrigerator.

"Are you hungry, baby?" Spike asked.

She jumped, tingling at the sound of him calling her ‘baby'. It rolled off his tongue, his accent making it the most sensual thing she'd ever heard. "No. Just checking stuff out. Are you hungry?"

He winked at her and said, "I'm good!"

She followed him down the hallway, pausing to look in the bathroom, running her fingers along the edge of the clubfoot tub and intricate tapestries. The showers were clear class and there were his and her sinks. Turning, she bumped into Spike, who had been watching her. He held onto her for several seconds and then ran his thumb over the small cut on her forehead. "They may have peroxide here."

She laughed and punched him playfully. "I know I have stakes here."

He nodded down the hall and she followed him again, stepping over the luggage that had been left in the hallway until they decided on rooms. One room had a huge king size bed. It was beautifully decorated with creams and burgundy shades. Buffy glanced into the other room, which had two queen size beds. She glanced at Spike briefly before pulling her stuff into that room. It was just as beautiful, but more masculine. Decorated in navy blue and hunter green.

Spike followed, watching as she walked out onto the patio, and hung over the rail. She had changed clothes after patrolling and was wearing a floral wrap around skirt that flowed to her ankles and a pink tank top. She was the most innocent and beguiling looking creature he had ever seen. That was the fascination. When she looked like this, he could forget she was a Slayer. The wind blew her hair away from her face and she leaned into it. He regretted every single thing that he had said to her that day.

Buffy came back in, avoiding his gaze and dug around in her suitcase for several seconds. "I'm going to take a shower."

He watched her go, busying himself with unpacking both of their suitcases so he wouldn't succumb to the urge to join her. He shook his head wondering why one small Slayer would need so many clothes. When he heard the shower turn off, he had finished unpacking and had turned down both beds.

Buffy stood in the doorway, wondering what the hell he was doing being so nice now. Not that she was about to mind it….but if he wanted to be nice, he could have joined her.

"I unpacked your…" He turned and forgot what he was saying. She was wearing a gown that came to her mid-thigh and it was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. "That's a beautiful gown."

Buffy stared at him for a second, dumbfounded. She'd brought this one because it was loose, comfortable and ugly. "Spike, it's Winnie the Pooh."

"I'm going to the shower." He quickly brushed past her and she took the bed by the window, carefully making sure she pulled the drapes and blinds all the way. She climbed into the bed, pulling the cover up to her ears and laid perfectly still when she heard him enter, check the curtains, and climb into the other bed.

And when she heard Willow start to moan in the other room, she wasn't prepared for the way her body reacted.

Angel glanced at the Los Angeles skyline once more before he pulled the blinds. He was on the eighteenth floor of an apartment complex, not sure he liked it too much. He missed the mansion, he missed Sunnydale and most of all he missed Buffy.

Lifting his bag of blood to his lips, he downed it in one gulp and walked quietly to the bed, hoping tonight he didn't drain himself again by crying blood tears.

Buffy tried not to pay attention to Willow's obvious pleasure by tossing, turning, and burying her head in the cover. Finally giving in, she put her hand between her legs. Delicately, she slid her finger into her own juices, moistening them, then stroking across the swollen nubbin that ached more and more every time Willow keened in the next room.

She was quiet, painfully aware that Spike was just a few feet away from her and that vampires had amazing hearing. Gliding her fingers back and forth, she began to raise her hips with each stroke, wishing that he would fill her emptiness and pound her into oblivion. Harder and harder she stroked herself, trying to concentrate on letting go of the tension her body felt.

Spike heard a gasp from the bed next to him and keened his ears. He heard her heartbeat quicken, heard the springs bouncing and gazed in her direction. Apparently she had forgotten that vampires could see in the dark. He slid into his vampire face so he could watch her more clearly, viewing her in the vivid colors of the night. She had tossed the cover aside and had a look of concentration on her face, one hand in her panties and one under her gown.

Buffy tried so hard. She squeezed herself down on an imaginary cock, trying to trick her body into thinking she was actually being screwed. Just like Willow was right then. Buffy, the girl who lost her virginity first, was fucking herself, and doing a piss poor job of it, while Willow was being worshipped in the next room. Trying not to cry out in her frustration, she rolled, putting the pillow over her head so her sobs wouldn't wake Spike up.

He watched as she rolled, turning her back to him, realizing she couldn't come. The first sobs were muffled but as her crying intensified, Spike stood and walked to her bed, kneeling beside it. He could smell her arousal, could almost taste it the air was so thick with it. Touching her shoulder, he rolled her until she was lying in one of his arms, facing upward. He was still kneeling beside the bed and he kissed each swollen eye, cradling her, rubbing her face with his free hand.

Gently, slowly, he lifted the hand that had been in her panties to his mouth, sucking each digit. She gasped and let him lead it back to her panties, pressing it into her mound. Spike inched her panties down just a few more inches and slid his own fingers into her tight passage, working in and out. Buffy bucked against his hand and hers as they collided, worrying her aching core.

Spike made no move to join her on the bed, made no move to kiss her, he just cradled her against his chest, staring at her face. He could feel her channel begin to constrict and knew she'd be loud, but he didn't try to inhibit her. When the orgasm hit, she screamed his name, lifting her hips and thighs off the bed, trying to shove his hand further. Still stroking her, he slid his arm out from under her and stood. When the shaking stopped, he pulled his hand free and walked back to his bed.

Willow thought she was actually going to die as Oz's tongue circles her swollen clit for what had to be the thousandth time. He had a pattern going with his tongue: into her hole, around her hole, around her clit, up and down the slit and back into her hole. She had already come against his face at least a dozen times, but he said he couldn't get enough. She was glad. She couldn't either.

He hit her button just right and she howled, squeezing his head between her legs until he thought the top of it would blow off. Oz pried her open again and slowly climbed up the bed, allowing his member to rub against her throbbing clit. Willow bucked upward, and as she did, he caught her hips and slammed into her. She was so tight, he was almost afraid she would sever him at the hilt. There was no way he'd last long when she felt this good.

Oz stopped moving and pulled away, wanting to prolong the moment. Willow glanced up at him expectantly and he devoured her mouth in his. Their tongues danced against one another as he slid into her again, loving the way it felt after he'd been out for several seconds. He wanted to pound her hard, but he was still afraid she was too new, so he kept his thrusts at a medium pace.

Willow had seen porn. She knew he was holding back and she hadn't been on top ever. She pushed his chest back and quickly flipped him, mimicking a move she'd seen Buffy do before in training. Oz looked a little shocked as she straddled him, grinding down onto his crotch until she was fully impaled. He put his hands behind his head, not daring himself to touch, he wanted to watch her bounce.

She was tentative at first, unsure of how to move her hips, but soon she found her rhythm and held onto it. Willow pounded onto Oz twice as hard and fast as he had pounded her. She almost jumped off of him when he lowered his hand back to her clit and pinched. Coming together, Oz sat up, holding her against him, his face even with her breasts. He took the opportunity to suckle hard and felt her clamp on him.

Yep, it was gone. His dick had disappeared and only Willow would ever be the one to find it again.

Spike smiled, almost chuckling as Buffy lay motionless on her bed. He had stunned her. Good. Her breathing was becoming more relaxed now and he knew that she was wondering why he didn't join her, why he didn't enjoy her body the way he wanted to. The answer was simple. After what he'd said to her that day to break her, she needed to work up the courage to come to him again and he wouldn't be the one to make that move. He wanted her to have enough confidence in herself, without the whore clothes she'd worn, to come to him. When she did, that meant that she forgave him for how harsh he had been…and he could forgive her for trying to be something she wasn't. He didn't want her to have to pretend that she was a sex starved half wit in order to be with him. He wanted HER to want him.

Buffy ached. She was torn between her need for him and her anger at him. Why didn't he finish what he started? She hated that man! He wasn't even a man. He was an animal. Did he want her to come to him? Wouldn't he have said so? She wanted to. She had to. She stood on shaking legs and stood next to his bed. The sun had risen and the room glowed with an orange tint, but no direct light entered the room. Buffy could see him perfectly, he had his eyes closed.

"Spike?" She touched his thigh, which was bare.

"What, luv?" He kept his eyes closed but every other part of his body reacted to her fingers on his thigh.

"I….." Buffy swallowed hard. "I want to sleep with you. Here, in your bed. Please?"

"Why?" Spike opened his eyes and looked at her.

"I want you." Desire burned through her. "*I* want you, Spike. The real me. I need you."

With lightning speed he reached up and pulled her on top of him, kissing her deeply. He had her gown over her head within seconds, sucking her pert breasts into his mouth one at a time while she put her legs on either side of him. Smelling her arousal, he lifted her, like she weighed nothing and slid her slowly down his cock.

Buffy rocked wildly, digging her fingernails into his shoulders for support. Her sensitive little nub found friction against his tight black curls and she exploded again, pausing to enjoy the orgasm. Spike didn't mind that she stopped, he used the opportunity to sit up, kissing her deeply. Grabbing her hips, he urged her to roll onto her stomach, covering her back and firm ass with nips and kisses.

She ground her twitching core into the bed and he chuckled, pulling her to her knees. Entering her savagely, he pounded as hard as he could, reaching around her to cup her breasts, using them as guides. Buffy slammed her ass against him, relishing the feel of his balls slapping the backs of her thighs. She called out his name, begging him to go faster. He complied and exploded, shooting such a hard, heavy load she yelped out as the coldness filled her insides.

Shaking, she stretched out on the bed. He followed and pulled her into his arms, kissing her so hard his lips ached. Breaking the kiss, he growled, "What took you so long to come to my bed?"

She sighed and snuggled closer. "What took you so long to come to mine?"

"I wanted to make sure you had a fair go at yourself before I showed you how it's done." He grinned.

"Can you show me again? I wasn't paying attention the first time." Buffy wiggled against him and he growled, sinking his fingers into her warm, wet flesh and Buffy knew she'd never be the same.

Spike woke up alone in the bed. He sat up quickly, scanning the room. "Slayer?" he called. Swinging his legs over the side, he walked to the closet, pulling a pair of black jeans off of a hanger. Yanking a maroon silk shirt off of another, he padded out of the room on bare feet. He glanced into the kitchen and nodded at Oz who was barely visible through a cloud of black smoke, apparently he was cooking. Spike was about to speak up when he heard muffled sobs coming from the living room.

Willow and Buffy sat side by side on the sofa, leaning against one another. Both girls were a sobbing mess and Spike felt a knot form in his stomach. He squatted in front of them, lying a hand on both of their knees, "What happened?"

"Harry died." Buffy cried, choking on sobs.

"Harry?" Spike wiped tears off of her face, aching for her pain. "Was he a friend of yours?"

Willow shook her head, still sobbing and pointed to the TV. He turned to see the ending of the movie ‘Armageddon' and shook his head in disbelief. "It's a movie! Damn sentimental humans!!"

"But he died to save the world!" Willow protested. "Just like Buffy is probably…going…."

Buffy elbowed the girl and started crying even harder. "Thanks Willow! Remind me of the inevitable, much!?"

Willow stood and walked into the kitchen to find Oz, still sniffling. Spike took her place, not liking the way he felt about what Willow said. He pulled Buffy against him and whispered, "It's not inevitable."

"What?" Buffy sat up to look at him.

Spike shook his head and changed the subject. "I didn't like waking up alone. You're supposed to be there after a night like we shared."

Buffy chuckled and replied, "Damn sentimental vampires."

Grinning, he pulled her into his kiss. She leaned into him and he wrapped his arms around her tiny waist, pulling her further into his lap. Spike loved the way she toyed with the back of his hair while she kissed him, trailing her fingers up and down, tugging it a little. He growled into her lips, about to take her right there.

Willow cleared her throat and said, "I think we'll have to go out to eat."

Buffy broke the kiss and glanced at her friend, not getting off of Spike's lap. "Why?"

Willow was holding a plate full of round, black objects. She picked one up and tapped it against the side of plate, making it clank loudly. "And it's a pancake."

"All is not lost." Buffy grinned. "I'll toss a few in my Slayer bag and sever a few heads with them."

"There's always that." Spike quipped, staring up at her and thinking that he'd never been happier in his life.

Giles had told Buffy not to call him unless it was absolutely needed. He didn't want her to be traced to Los Angeles for any reason. There was just something about the Council that had him unnerved. Ordering more tests was absolutely absurd and he knew there was more to the story than what Wesley had told him. He had agreed to beep her from pay phones though, if anything was wrong.

"Look out!" Anya cried, breaking her chanting to swat at a nasty looking winged creature. "What am I doing wrong?"

Xander swung his baseball bat, connecting with the flying demon and sent it flying into a million pieces. "A hands on approach is more fun anyway."

"My thoughts exactly." Anya smiled, running her hands over his chest before she kissed him.

Joyce rolled her eyes and looked at Giles, who shrugged. They'd been patrolling for over two hours and so far they had bound four demon varieties to a magickal stone. Giles was lucky that Jenny Calendar had insisted he buy it when they attended the swap meet together. He had been appalled at the sights and sounds of the crowded equivalent to a flea market, but agreed to buy it as soon as she let him know what it was used for. Giles realized if he had thought about it at all then, he would have questioned her on her knowledge of the stone, considering it was Romany.

Joyce glanced around anxiously. "How does Buffy do this every night?"

"Because she is remarkable indeed." Giles smiled at Joyce, admiring her acceptance. "I don't know how you do it. She's your daughter, it must affect you on a very high level." "It does." The woman leaned against the side of a mausoleum and sighed. "Sometimes, I just want to hang onto her. Not let her leave the house to do this crazy job."

Giles knew that feeling all too well but said, "It is hard, but she is quite capable. We should probably head into town. I have a feeling that these demons are being released off of a boat at the docks."

He hadn't bothered telling Joyce that the council was behind it. That the very council that chosen her daughter to slay, was behind the latest influx of demons that plagued the hell mouth. How could he explain that? He didn't even understand it himself. With Faith running rampant, the council should be worrying themselves with her.

Xander and Anya held hands as they headed toward the docks. He regaled her with his own stories for a change and she welcomed the odd humor he had. It wasn't often that she got to just forget that she was over one thousand years old and had spent most of that time punishing men. Anya glanced sideways at Xander, looking at the angle of his jaw. He was handsome. He was one man she didn't want to punish. Unless he asked.

The huddled together behind some craters and watched as a large boat made it's way to the dock. Giles recognized the emblem on the side as belonging to the council and shook his head. He had wanted to be proven wrong. He turned his head to look as several men hurried on board the boat, while another few readied a crane a few feet away. Whatever they were bringing now must be large.

Onboard the boat, Fagan sipped aged scotch from a snifter. He heard the thing below him bellow in rage, then felt the power of it as it shook the entire boat with its weight. Fagan smiled. He didn't want Giles to be the one to kill the Slayer now. He'd found just the thing to do it. It was poetic justice really. Scowling, he lifted his crippled hand, and remembered when the same demon had attacked him and Giles stood and watched. He'd see to it that Giles watched again while it ripped that tiny little Slayer to pieces. Giles squinted as they unloaded the large metal container. He could see that it jutted in several angles where whatever was inside of it had pounded to get out. The thing inside began to pound again and scream with rage. He felt Joyce shudder beside of him and laid a comforting hand on hers. "It's okay."

Two men approached the solid cage and turned the heavy lock on the front of it. As they stepped back and when Giles got a clear view he gripped Joyce's hand tighter, almost breaking into tears of fear. He had prayed he'd never see this demon again. Prayed that no one in his lifetime would see it again. Of all the things he'd ever faced or ever would, nothing had ever been as horrible.

It was commonly known as ‘walking fear', but the council name for it was Kralonis. It had earned the name ‘walking fear' because it read the thoughts of it's victims, transforming itself into their greatest fear to weaken them, overtaking them. What scared Giles the most though, was the fact that the Kralonis could only be dispatched for one intended victim. It would continue to stalk that victim until she or he died. It used it's skill to paralyze people with fear as it went after it's intended. Giles had felt the wrath of the demon. It hadn't harmed him, but he had been too scared to move and help a colleague who had been marked by a foe.

As he watched, Wesley stepped from the shadows and handed someone an article of clothing. They tossed it at the Kralonis who caught it in it's arms and buried its face in it.

Joyce looked at Giles and said, "Why did Wesley give them Buffy's coat?"

Giles glared at her briefly, then looked back at the demon as reality struck. The council had a hit on Buffy. As soon as it dawned on him, he hit the ground, passing out cold.

Spike excused himself as Buffy and her two friends walked into the restaurant. He ignored Buffy's glare, tempted to remind her that if he didn't eat he'd die, and hurried down the back alley. There was an assortment of homeless people littering the darkened corridor. Several reached up at him as he walked by, as if begging him to take them. At least that's what he told himself as he yanked the last one to their feet and sunk his fangs into their throat.

Buffy had told her friends she'd be back soon and followed Spike closely. She snatched the man away and pushed him back toward the alley telling him to run. She looked back at Spike. "I can't let you do that."

"I'll die if I don't." Spike glared at her several seconds before he let his features return to normal. "I don't have to kill anyone, but I MUST feed, Slayer."

"There's a butcher shop a few blocks down the road." She turned to walk away and Spike caught her arm.

"I don't drink from a butcher shop. I don't feed on rats and cows and pigs. I feed on human blood. I wasn't going to kill him."

"How could you stop?" Buffy was confused. She had always thought that a vampire couldn't control itself until all the blood was gone.

Spike shrugged. "After two hundred years of doing something you learn a few shortcuts. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I kill for the fun of it, but I wasn't going to kill him."

"Why not?" she asked.

Grinning, Spike took her hand and pulled her down the alley. "You keep forgetting that I've seen the inside of your Slayer bag. No part of me wants to get up close and personal with anything in there."

Buffy smiled. "You want to get up close and personal with the person who packs it?"

"Only always." Spike replied. He would have kissed her but he figured she'd freak out so soon after he'd fed. It was a damn shame that feeding made him all horny. Well, the Slayer did too.

A loud beeping sounded and Buffy jumped, digging her pager out of her pocket. She glanced at the number and spun, racing toward a payphone. Giles had given her over two hundred dollars worth of calling cards and she swore as her fingers fumbled, unable to dial all the numbers. Spike took the card, pressed in the proper codes, and dialed the number on her beeper.

"Giles?" Buffy shouted when he picked up. "What's going on?"

"Have you met with Radcliffe yet?" The watcher sounded frantic.

"No. What's happening?"

She heard him sigh in relief and then he swore. "The son of a bitches at the council have put a hit on you apparently. Wesley is involved."

"A hit?" She didn't like the sound of it.

"They've put a demon upon you that will seek you out no matter where you go, Buffy. Where are you staying? I'm coming up tomorrow."

Buffy looked at Spike, asking him what the name of the place the were staying was. Then she turned back to the phone, "Golden Eagle Cabins and we're in Cabin forty- three. Giles, how long until it finds me?"

"It will take it about twenty-four hours to gain the strength it needs for the hunt. After it's been caged for so long, it has to reorient itself. I expect it will have found you though within forty-eight hours."

"What time will you be here?" she knew it was bad if he was coming.

"I'll be leaving as soon as the sun rises. You know, I have a hard time driving at night." Giles prayed that she'd be all right.

"You have a hard time driving period, Giles."

He chuckled a little, the said, "May I speak to Spike?"

Buffy raised an eyebrow and motioned for Spike to take the phone. "Hello?" he said.

Giles cleared his throat and said, "Spike, I would like to ask a favor."

"Go ahead then." Answered the vampire.

"Until I get there, please whatever you do, do not let her out of your sight. Make sure she is armed at all times."

"No problem." Spike glanced at Buffy who was fidgeting with her bag. "I'll do that."

"Listen to me." Giles replied. "Your willingness to help her is most strange, indeed. But I trust you for some reason and I am only going to say this once. Buffy has never been in as much danger as she is right now. Her life may depend on you."

Spike was speechless. He didn't know what was going on but he could tell that the watcher was frantic. "I'll make sure she's safe."

Giles thanked him and hung up. Spike turned, eyeing Buffy closely. She was glancing at all the people who were walking past with interest, clearly paranoid. He slid his arm around her waist and said, "Let's get you some dinner and go back to the cabin."

She nodded and they joined Oz and Willow inside. Buffy gave them a rundown about what Giles had said about the council, each of them offering an opinion, Spike offering to kill them. Buffy realized that despite the content of the conversation, it was nice. Like a double date. She smiled as they all stood, staying behind with Spike to pay the ticket while Willow and Oz went outside to get the van.

Willow stepped out and breathed in deep, loving the assorted smells of the city. She turned to say something to Oz when someone caught her attention. Someone familiar. Someone that was smiling down at her. "Angel!!"

"Hello Willow." He grinned, never imaging how great it would feel to run into a familiar face.

"You're in LA! We were wondering where you probably went and you're in LA and we're in LA and…..oh." Willow glanced anxiously over her shoulder and saw Buffy and Spike snuggling at the check out counter.

"Is Buffy here too?" Angel asked, not sure whether he wanted to see her or not.

Oz looked at Willow's face and said, "She is. But you probably don't want to see her, right. Too painful. Bad memories."

Angel stared at the both of them and shook his head. "No memory of Buffy is a bad memory."

Willow was about to distract him by running, pretending that she saw a vampire or anything, when she heard the door to the restaurant open. She turned, hoping that they weren't still all over each other, but they were. Buffy was walking backwards, her arms around Spike's neck, kissing him deeply. For his part, Spike had both of his hands on her ass, caressing it, practically lifting her off the ground.

She heard Angel growl, somewhere deep inside of his throat and turned to face him. Her heart broke when she saw the devastation that was written all over his face. She made a step toward him but he took a step back, staring at Buffy and Spike.

Buffy broke the kiss and said, "Mmm, you keep that up and we'll be…" She stopped talking when she saw Spike's face, the hatred that suddenly replaced the longing. She turned, seeing what he saw, and gasped. "Angel?"

Angel stepped back again, staggering a little like he'd been shoved off guard. Shaking his head, trying to get the image out of it, he swallowed. "Buffy…" She took a step toward him and he turned, running away as fast as he could.

Spike grabbed her arm, saying. "Let him go, Buffy."

Buffy was stunned or several seconds, then she shook his hand off of her. "I can't."

Willow and Oz watched in astonishment as Buffy gave chase, then watched in astonishment as Spike chased Buffy.

Then they looked at one another and chased Spike.

Buffy lost sight of Angel in a sea of mass confusion. The festival that was in town was apparently in that area because Buffy couldn't really run fast enough to catch him. All she wanted to do was explain about why she was with Spike. She called his name again and kept running in the general area that he had gone. The sidewalk was packed and she pushed her way through, getting shouted at and called dirty names. She saw the back of his head and put on an extra burst of speed.

She never saw the shopping cart come rolling out of the side alley. She never felt her feet get tangled in it. She never saw the sidewalk racing up to meet her and she never saw Spike drop to his knees beside her. All she saw was blackness. And that was good.

"Owwww!" Buffy cried, trying to sit up.

"It serves you right, wouldn't you say?" Spike was sitting next to her on the sidewalk, cradling her head when she woke up.

"What happened?" She asked. Then she remembered. "Oh, Spike. I can explain."

Not saying anything, Spike pulled her to her feet and glared at the crowd that had gathered. "Shoo! Nothing to see here. Pesky Americans… always nosing." He waved the people away with a brush of his hand and looked Buffy over. She was fine.

Buffy put her hand on his arm and said, "I'm sorry, okay?"

"No, pet. It isn't okay." He was mad at himself for being so damn jealous of Angel. And for chasing after the freakin' Slayer like a lovesick dog. < Cor, did I just think the word love in the same thought as….the Slayer? >

"I just wanted to explain about us." She put her hands on her hips.

"What ‘us'?" Spike asked.

"What?" Buffy's face fell and she realized he was saying there was no ‘them'. "Don't do this."

"Do what?" he glanced at Willow and Oz who were standing a few feet away. "Now what are you accusing me of?"

"Are you breaking up with me?"

"Did I say that? Stop putting bloody words in my mouth, Slayer." He fumed.

Buffy's mouth flew open and she shouted, "You said ‘what us'? Like there is no us."

"Is there?" God, she was cute when she argued, Spike thought. "And I said what ABOUT us!"

"No you didn't!" She shook her head, then grabbed it in pain. "Stop trying to confuse me! I had a blow to my head you know!"

"And a well earned one at that!" He sneered at her. "And it was bloody priceless too. Watching the Slayer get all tangled up and humiliate herself. HAHA!"

Buffy was livid. "I'm not humiliated!"

"No?" Spike asked, then pointed at her face. "Why are you all blushy?"

"My blood pressure is up! You piss me off."

Spike widened his eyes, throwing his hands in the air. A couple walked by and he said to them, "She is the one who went chasing after her old lover and she's pissed at me. What about that?"

"He's trying to break up with me!" Buffy told them. "And we JUST got together."

"Which is all the more reason I should be upset, huh?" Spike asked the man and woman. The couple glanced at them, nodded at Spike and hurried away. "See. They're on my side."

Buffy shrugged. "I'm sorry and I'm asking you to forgive me. I'll do anything."

"I'll tell you what. You humiliate yourself and I'll forgive you." There, he'd show her. She needed to be as embarrassed as he actually was. For being such a soft wanker, running after her and then thinking she was all cute when she was mad.

"I don't get embarrassed!" Buffy crossed her arms.

"I'll lay odds that I can get you so embarrassed you'll crawl into a corner and hide." He was trying to look hateful.

"You're on! But if I don't do that, you HAVE to forgive me AND you have to show me a night like last night." Buffy glanced at Willow and Oz, not believing she'd said that out loud.

Spike glanced across the road and said, "If you survive Karaoke night at Paul's Pool and Pizza, I'll be at your command."

Buffy visibly shrunk, pulling her arms around her body. "What? No. No, Spike. Anything but that…okay? I'll do flips down the road…naked even…I'll…I'll wear a sign that says I'm stupid…I'll do…"

Grinning, he grabbed her arm and pulled her across the road. He knew he'd forgive her regardless of whether or not she had the nerve to sing, but at least this way, he didn't feel like he was TOO defeated. Or Slayer whipped. He WAS punishing her.

Willow and Oz followed and Oz said, "Do you think they realize that they sound like an old married couple?"

Willow shook her head, "Do you think they realize they're in love?"