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Part two: Moving On

It had been one week since Angel had left. One week since Spike had seen Buffy. He was loathe to admit the fact that he had resorted to "lurking" to try to find out any morsel of information he could about the Slayer. He had heard her friends use terms such as: ‘depressed', ‘withdrawn', ‘solemn', 'grim' and the one that really bothered him was overhearing Xander say she wasn't eating enough to keep a bird alive. He had seen many of Dru's pet birds die from not eating.

So after waiting for a week, he found himself ringing the doorbell at the quiet house on Revello Drive, hoping Joyce wouldn't stake him for asking to see her daughter. Spike was carrying several pizza boxes. He'd gone into the pizza place to order one pie but he had no idea what sort a Slayer would enjoy. Why the bloody hell humans needed so much to choose from was beyond him. All he knew was that she needed to eat. He made sure he had SOMETHING she'd like.

Joyce opened the door and smiled, as recognition played across her features. "Spike, hello! How are you?"

"Hello Joyce. I'm fine. I was wondering if I may speak with Buffy?" He smiled and held up the pizza. "I brought a pizza."

"Indeed you did. Several from the looks of it." She looked at him closely. "Do I have to invite you in again?"

Spike shook his head and walked past her. "No. Once a vampire is invited, he's always invited. Well, unless you perform a ritual to stop it."

Joyce nodded and then shrugged, "I forget stuff like that."

"Who wouldn't?" Spike glanced around the small living room and then towards the stairs. "Is she here?"

The woman followed his gaze up the stairs and let out a big sigh. "She is here. I can't get her to do anything. She won't even get out of bed. Hasn't budged in a week. All she does is play this hauntingly sad song over and over and over. I'd let you go up but she's in such a bad mood she'd probably stake you."

He handed her the pizza boxes and smiled. "I think I can handle it. Could you pick something out of one of those that she'll eat and bring it up there in a few minutes?"

Joyce raised an eyebrow and said, "I thought you were her enemy. Doesn't she hate you?"

"She probably will by the time I'm finished forcing her to get on with her life." He started up the stairs and then turned. "And no..I'm not her enemy."

Spike opened the door to Buffy's room slowly. He could see her outline under her covers and he kneeled beside the bed, shaking her gently. She mumbled something inaudible and snuggled further into her comforter. Spike shook her again, harder this time and she rolled onto her back, saying, "Leave me alone, mother! You're pissing me off."

That angered Spike. You were supposed to respect your mother. "Buffy, it's me."

"Angel?" Buffy whimpered, sitting up a little and trying to focus her eyes.

That angered Spike more. He didn't say anything for several seconds and when he did speak he said, "Wrong again, Slayer."

Buffy flopped back down, crying out a little. As she did, a half empty bottle of rum rolled out from under her cover and hit the floor with a loud clank. Spike picked it up and leaned close to her, smelling her breath. Sure enough, he could smell it. Joyce walked in and he spun to face her, "You allow her to drink?"

The woman glared at the bottle, "No, I do not. She must have stolen it from the liquor cabinet."

Spike nudged Buffy again and she yanked the cover over her head. "Get up."

"Leave me alone, damn you." She drawled, trying to burrow herself in the cover.

"Joyce," He turned and glared at the woman. "go run the tub full of cold water, please?"

Joyce nodded, thinking that Spike apparently had a death wish. The vampire turned back toward Buffy, yanking the cover off of her. He took a moment to appraise her choice of sleep wear, and then cursed himself for being so easily distracted. He lifted her into his arms and walked across the hallway. The tub was already half full and he tossed her into the water.

Buffy screamed and sat bolt-upright, trying to get out of the tub. Spike held her firmly, yanking her feet out from under her and shoving her head under the water. Joyce watched from a few feet away, about to protest, when Spike let her back up. "Are you awake yet?" he asked Buffy.

"It's so cold." Buffy whimpered, still fighting. "Let me out."

Spike held her firmly in place and replied, "You'll get out once you've learned a lesson."

"I have!" Buffy cried. "I have learned a lesson!"

"And that would be?" asked Spike.

"To perform that vampire invite reversal as soon as I get out of this ice!" She screamed.

"Wrong answer, luv." Spike dunked her again. He was strong but she was too, and he was as wet as she was within minutes. "Damn it all to hell, Slayer. Be still!"

"Screw you." She called loudly.

Spike continued to dunk her in the cold water until she sputtered, her teeth clanking together while she sobbed. "Now have you learned a lesson?"

Buffy nodded, "Yes."

"And what is it?"

"Not to drink." Buffy whimpered pathetically, looking drowned.

"Good job, luv!" Spike quickly turned on the hot water, allowing it to warm the chills away. "Are you completely awake now?"

"Yes." Buffy was so furious she couldn't move.

"Good then, listen closely to what I'm about to say to you." Spike stared deeply into her big blue eyes. "You are not going to be drinking any more. Ever. Do you understand that?"

Joyce watched as her daughter nodded and shook her head in disbelief. Buffy didn't agree with anything for anyone unless she was forced. Spike stood up and threw a wash cloth at Buffy, telling her she had fifteen minutes, and sailed past the woman, who was standing with her mouth agape. She finally followed him into Buffy's room and watched while he yanked her bed clothes off the bed. Together they made it up again with clean linens. By the time they had finished, Buffy stood before them in the pajamas that Joyce had laid out.

Spike turned and glared at Buffy, handing her the bottle of liquor. "Drink the rest."

Buffy shook her head.

"Why not?" Spike asked harshly.

"I don't want it." Buffy replied.

"Why not?" Asked the vampire.

"Because I don't want it is why!" She shouted and glared at her mother. "Why did you let him in here?"

Before Joyce had a chance to reply, Spike said, "Joyce, can you leave us alone?"

Joyce nodded and said something about heating up the pizza and left quickly. Spike glared at Buffy, trying to let his anger dissipate before he spoke. Finally he said, "Listen very carefully to me. If I catch you drinking again, I will personally take off my belt and tan your ass until it's a nice shade of cherry red."

Buffy didn't doubt for one second that he was likely to try it. She nodded absently at him. Spike shoved the bottle into her hand and pointed to the bathroom, "Go pour it out."

She reluctantly poured the remaining contents of the bottle down the drain and returned to her bedroom. Spike was sitting on the edge of her bed with her hairbrush. "Come here."

He pulled the towel off of her wet hair and quickly brushed through the tangles, being gentle enough not to hurt her, but aggressive enough to show her he was pissed. Buffy practically held her breath until he was finished brushing it. Spike put the brush on the bed and didn't say anything.

Buffy was sitting with her back to him and she turned slowly, so that they were both facing outward. Neither spoke, they just sat quietly, staring at the bookcase she had on the far side of the room. Finally, Spike said, "You should be ashamed of yourself."

"Why should I be ashamed?" she asked.

"For worrying your friends and your mother so much." Spike replied and turned around to face her. "That's shameful."

"I don't want to be alive anymore. I can't live without him and I won't." Buffy began to cry and pulled her shirt away, exposing her neck. "Please, Spike?"

The vampire glared at her for several seconds, trying not to notice the vein that pulsed a few inches from his face. Finally, he grabbed her and jerked her to her feet, shoving her in front of the full length mirror in the corner of her room. He stood behind her holding her behind the neck, but only she was visible in the mirror. "Look at yourself, Buffy. Look at what you've become. Is he worth it? Is Angel leaving worth losing yourself for? Is it? I think not. Not many girls your age make a difference, pet, but you certainly do. He's fucking gone, Buffy. I saw him leave with my own two eyes and killing yourself won't bring him back!!"

Buffy kept sobbing and tried to pull away, but Spike kept talking, "Let him go! Let him go and hang on tight to what he did leave behind. YOU! Don't fold under pressure, Slayer, because right now you're a wreck and probably couldn't fight your way through a school yard bully."

"FUCK YOU!" Buffy roared, yanking free.

"Oh, did I hit a nerve?" Spike grinned. "Poor little Buffy can't fight and she's all pathetic and weepy. You make me ashamed to be a vampire if YOU are what they send to kill us."

Buffy yelled out, punching him in the face with all her strength. Spike recoiled but stood his ground, not putting up any resistance, just fighting to keep standing. She punched him in the stomach, in the face, some blows landed on his shoulders and arms, but she punched. Her tiny fists rained fury down on Spike and with each blow, she cried harder and harder, sobbing as if that was the only thing holding onto her sanity. Soon, her punches were just limp armed slaps and when Spike thought she'd had enough, he pulled her roughly into his arms, massaging the back of her neck. "Let it out." He held her firm as she collapsed against him.

Joyce had watched from the doorway, holding a pizza box, not believing her eyes. Spike had a power over her daughter that she didn't know whether to fear or applaud. She had no doubt that Buffy had finally met her match. She also had no doubt that fireworks were exploding around them. The sparks between them were clearly visible and Joyce didn't know quite what to make of it. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, she decided to accept it. Buffy was out of bed and was at least showing some sort of emotion. Quietly, she slipped the pizza box on the desk, nodded at Spike, and shut the door.

The phone rang in the hallway and she grabbed it up. "Hello?"

"Joyce?" Giles relied. "How's Buffy?"

"You aren't going to believe this Mr. Giles. But she's up, showered and about to eat dinner!"

"You did hear that I asked about BUFFY, didn't you?" Giles asked. "Surely you can't be talking about the same Buffy."

"I saw it with my own two eyes." She laughed. "And you won't believe who her dinner guest is. The person responsible for all of this."

"Angel's back?" Giles raised an eyebrow and looked at the Scooby Gang who had gathered at the library with him to get ready to patrol.

"No." Joyce took a deep breath. "It's Spike, he has quite a way with her."

There was a pause, a click and Joyce said, "Mr. Giles? Rupert?" It was clear he had hung up. "Well, that was rude."

Back at the library, Giles grabbed a stake and motioned for the kids to follow him.

Buffy finished off her fourth slice of pizza and patted her stomach. She would have been content stopping with the second slice but Spike kept it coming, not taking no for an answer, while she filled him in on all the details about the mayor. When he headed back toward the box, Buffy groaned, shaking her head vehemently. "I've had enough. I can't move now."

The blond vampire paused, looked her over and nodded his head. "Okay, you win this round. Do you feel better?"

She nodded, "I'm okay."

"Just okay?" He asked. "Not great? Not wonderful? Not like a new Slayer?"

"Just okay." Buffy said. "All that other stuff may come….in twenty years when I'm finally finished moping."

"You're finished now, I think." He sat beside her on the bed and pushed a stray hair away from her face. He couldn't help but notice that when her hair dried naturally it had waves through it.

Buffy pulled away from his touch and started to stand. "Spike, I…."

He caught her arm and held on to it, "Don't ever pull away from me."

"I can't deal with this now. The stuff that happened between us can't…" Buffy jumped as the door was shoved open and Giles flew in, followed by Xander, Willow.

"Get back!" Giles shouted at Spike, holding up a crucifix. He grabbed Buffy and shoved her toward Xander. Buffy wasn't expecting to be shoved so roughly and fell over an area rug, landing hard on her knees.

Spike stood slowly, glaring at the Watcher, avoiding the cross. "You would be wise, indeed, not to manhandle her again."

Buffy jumped up quickly and knocked a stake out of Xander's hand, then she turned just as quickly and grabbed the crucifix from Giles, positioning herself between Spike and the gang. "It's okay, guys. We're friends."

"What?" Xander exclaimed. "Are you crazy!? That's SPIKE! Remember? The one Angel tried to feed me to? The one who…"

"I know who he is!" Buffy fired back. "And trust me. He's harmless."

Spike glared at the back of Buffy's head and said, "Well, I wouldn't say harmless, really."

Buffy turned and gave him a look, then she spoke again. "I had reservations about him as well but trust me. That night, in the cemetery after I disappeared, well, Spike saved my life. Twice. If it wasn't for him, I'd be dead."

"Dead!" Spike agreed. "And it wouldn't have been pretty. She was all crazy talking, wanting to be evil. Then she was begging me to kill her so I saved her instead."

"Why would you do that?" Giles asked the vampire, doubting his motives.

"For spite?" Spike chuckled and then added seriously, "She was drunk. I couldn't very well kill her and feel good about it. I try to stay sober now. Unlike SOME people."

"Spike!!" Buffy glared at him. "Would you please stop helping me explain?"

"I'm the one about to be staked here, luv. I think in this country the accused gets to speak on his own behalf." Spike shrugged. "Besides, you're leaving out the other parts."

The Slayer's eyebrows flew up and she turned a bright shade of scarlet. Spike laughed out loud and added, "You know, the part about me helping you beat the mayor if you hadn't put him in a coma first."

Buffy exhaled loudly and said, "Right. Spike was going to help me with Mayor Wilkins and stop the ascension." "I don't like this at all." Xander eyed Spike up and down. "I could accept Angel ‘cause he was different but this guy…."

Willow nodded in agreement. "He doesn't have a soul. I could give him one, I suppose, if that's what Buffy wants…."

"The hell you could!" Spike growled.

"GUYS!" Buffy cried. "Look, this is how it is. I trust him, okay? You guys aren't expected to follow suit, but at least give him a chance to prove himself before you jump the gun. He's different. He feels stuff."

"It's impossible!" Giles shook his head. "Demons do not possess the ability to FEEL anything."

"Screw that!" Spike shot back. "When Dru left me I thought my freakin' heart had been ripped out, chewed up and spit on a sidewalk to be trampled on. Your books don't tell you a damn thing. I can tell you that. Who do you think saved your ass from Angelus?"

Giles was taken aback, not knowing what to say. "What?"

"When that dickhead kidnapped you and wanted to chop you to bits with a chainsaw, I stopped him." Spike paused and glanced off into space. "Off course, I was getting something in return but still."

"It's true, Giles. Spike and I made a deal and he kept up his side of it by keeping you alive for me. He attacked Angelus and that's probably the only reason the world wasn't sucked into hell." Buffy sighed loudly.

Joyce, who had followed the troops into the room, spoke up. "I like Spike. I've really talked to him before and he is very capable of feeling things. And he came in here and made Buffy snap out of it. He's been here for a while and hasn't hurt her at all."

"As her old watcher, I can't allow…" Giles began.

Joyce interrupted, "As her mother, I can allow it. You weren't here. You didn't see the way he helped her. I did."

"It's insanity!" Giles snapped.

"Insanity would be to allow her to continue to mope." Joyce fired back. "Buffy says they are friends and I'd feel better knowing that Spike was helping her."

"Why?" Xander asked the woman. "We help her."

"Spike's a vampire so he's stronger." Joyce pointed at Buffy. "Look at her, Xander. My little girl has to fight DEMONS! She needs someone to helps her besides you all."

"Well, why the hell should Spike be allowed if Angel wasn't?" Giles stared at the woman. "You made him leave, Joyce. And he was a good boy."

"He wasn't very good after he changed. Something could have happened between him and Buffy again…it was too tempting." She replied.

"I don't like this." Giles turned his attention back to Buffy. "How can you be sure?"

"I just am." Buffy said. "You don't have to trust Spike, Giles. But you and I HAVE to trust each other, and I'm being straight with you. It's okay. It is."

Spike smiled a little as he stared at Buffy. < She likes me. > He wanted to hug her but figured that would surely get him hurt. Instead he looked at Giles and said, "I will prove it."

"You'll have to." The man replied, turning and leaving the room.

Willow and Xander stared at Buffy, then at each other. Xander turned first and stormed out. Willow glanced after him and then looked at Buffy. "Call me later, okay?"

"I will." Nodded the Slayer.

Willow glanced suspiciously at Spike and added, "If you change your mind about a soul…"

"I won't." Spike shook his head.

Xander yelled for Willow from the bottom of the steps and she quickly left the room. Joyce smiled affectionately at Buffy before pulling the door closed. Buffy took a few steps across the room and Spike caught her arm again. She pulled away and he grabbed her around the waist, grinning. "I thought I told you not to pull away from me."

Buffy looked up at him and said, "I'm tired. I want to go to sleep."

Shaking his head, Spike spoke softly, "Earlier, you were saying that you can't do something. Finish saying it."

"Not tonight." She replied.

"Yes, tonight. I'm not leaving until you do."

Buffy's shoulders sagged and she stepped out of his grasp. He didn't try to stop her, but followed her closely as she sat on the bed. "It's too soon, Spike. I can't see you…THAT way. I don't even know what I was thinking. We can't….be together."

Spike's jaw clinched as he listened to her. "Tell me you didn't feel anything."

"Tell me you did." She replied. "What was it, Spike? Just a good time for you? You only did it to get back at Angel for what he did with Dru, didn't you?"

Spike struggled with the urge to smack the hell out of her. How dare she defend him to her friends only to berate him in private. "You don't believe that, Buffy."

"You don't know what I believe."

"Tell me you don't believe that." He watched her, wanting her to rush into his arms. When she didn't reply he walked toward the door. "Let me tell you something, Slayer. If I had done it to bother Angel… I would have let him know!"

It dawned on Buffy then how stupid this argument was. He was absolutely right and she was just trying to pick a fight so he'd leave her alone. There was no denying the fact that what they had shared had been wonderful, she was just so scared of being hurt by him that she was inventing a reason to be hurt. "Let me let go of Angel, Spike. I can't be..with you…until I do."

"I can't be with you either, Slayer. I just thought I liked you." With that, he turned and headed down the stairs, not bothering to acknowledge the bewildered look on Joyce's face.

He stormed through town, looking for someone to pick a fight with. He found a willing opponent in a vampire that Angelus had sired the previous year. Spike was savage as he fought the man, relishing the way it felt to have his fist connect with something Angel had made. The fight seemed to go on forever and when Spike finally plunged a stake through him, he felt a little better. Only a little. Anger coursed through his veins like poison and the only thing Spike could think of was the way Buffy acted. There was no way in HELL he'd let her get away with making such a fool out of him.

Buffy had changed her clothes quickly and rushed past her mother after Spike. There was no way she could leave things so unsettled. There was an apology in order and she'd have to be the one to make it. Rushing toward his hotel room, she was oblivious to the fact that she was being followed.

Faith kept a close eye on Buffy as she slinked after her. Careful not to make a sound. Grinning, she patted the knife in her pocket, wondering what if would feel like to slide it into Buffy and yank it upward. Then she tried to imagine the sound of Buffy's screams. Soon...very soon...she wouldn't have to imagine.

Buffy knocked on Spike's door, leaning an ear against it, hoping to hear him inside. After several minutes, she decided he wasn't there and tried to think of where to look next. Glancing at her watch, she realized that it was only after midnight, so she headed towards the Bronze.

As she walked, she thought about the first time she had walked to the Bronze after moving to Sunnydale. Angel had been following her and she had ducked into the side alley, attacking him and arguing with him. She grinned a little, recalling the way she'd been so turned off by his cockiness and had sassed him, hating him for his good looks and the effect he had on her even then.

She stopped walking and glanced down that same alley. Nostalgia pulled her into the darkness and she paused, looking up at the rail that she had used to swing around and kick him. That was the night he had given her the cross necklace. Buffy never could have imagined that night how much it would come to mean to her…how much he would come to mean to her. Closing her eyes, she replayed it in her mind.

Angel had picked himself up off the ground after she kicked him and asked. "Is there a problem, ma'am?"

Buffy had stood her ground, replying, "Yeah, there's a problem. Why are you following me?"

He had given her that crooked smile she loved so much and chuckled. "I know what you're thinking. Don't worry, I don't bite."

But he did bite. Maybe not in the sense of literally biting her, but he did bite into her heart and soul and he was still hanging there like a leech. She had given him everything she ever had and he still left her, unwilling to even try to see her side. He chose for both of them and Buffy hated him for that.

She turned angrily and then groaned when she saw someone at the end of the alley. "Faith, don't screw around with me tonight. I'm in a very bad mood."

Faith walked further into the alley, smiling sweetly. "I'd say I'm sorry to hear that but I'm not."

"I'm warning you…"

"Warning me?" she murmured. "I'm so not scared it's sad. You can't even talk a big talk anymore, B." Buffy rolled her eyes and started past Faith. The girl grabbed her, slamming her against the side of the Bronze, sneering, "Let's see if you can walk the walk."

Buffy threw Faith's arms off of her and quickly flipped her, slamming her face first into the opposite wall. Faith shoved backwards and both girls toppled over a crate, landing in a pile of garbage that had overflowed from a dumpster. Rolling as one, they took turns punching each other, jabbing fists as fast and hard and they could to any exposed area. Buffy was weak. She hadn't trained properly in weeks and pizza was the only food she'd had in days, but she fought.

Faith used her foot to propel Buffy backwards and fished the knife out of her pocket. The blond saw it, and her eyes widened. Faith thought. Holding tight to the handle she began to slice the air, getting closer to Buffy each time.

Buffy made the mistake of glancing away from the blade, looking for a weapon, and Faith seized the opportunity to drag the knife across Buffy's abdomen. The girl shrieked in pain, glancing at the wound, shocked.

"Hurt didn't it?" Faith cackled. "Wanna see what your liver looks like?"

Buffy realized in that moment just how far Faith was willing to take it. At no point during the entire experience with Faith did she ever really believe the girl was unreachable. Now she wasn't so sure. She crouched low and sprang upward, leaping high and using both feet square in Faith's face, who landed with a satisfying thud against the dumpster, leaving an imprint of her body in the side of it. Buffy quickly grabbed a metal bar that was lying next to a trashcan and slammed it onto Faith's wrist, forcing the knife from her hand. Faith howled in pain and stared in disbelief at her wrist, which had been snapped in two.

Buffy grabbed the knife, holding it in one hand while she clutched her stomach with the other. "What's it going to be, Faith? If you want to leave this alley, I suggest you go. If you want to keep ‘walking the walk', I'm game."

Faith stood on shaking limbs and glared at Buffy. "You know Buffy, we could have been friends. We could have shared everything. Clothes, friends, we already shared a man…but he couldn't stand you either, could he?"

Without thinking, Buffy backhanded the girl with the handle of the knife, sending her reeling again. She could feel blood pouring from the gash in her stomach and had no idea how bad it was. Faith began to half walk, half crawl away and Buffy followed, knocking her down each time she tried to stand upright.

Blood trickled from Faith's nose and mouth and she wiped it absently. "You haven't won."

"Haven't I?" Buffy shrugged. "Seems to me that you aren't any better off than you were before and I still have friends, a home and a mother…all you have is…a man in a coma and I put him there."

Faith came at her again, charging like a bull, screaming like a banshee. They flipped backwards, end over end, neither making a move to rise after they rolled to a stop. Several seconds passed and Buffy said, "Whore."

"Bitch." Faith muttered.

"Screw you." Buffy sat up, still clutching her stomach.

"You wish." Replied Faith, also sitting up.

The two girls glared at each other for several seconds before standing. They appraised one another, circling like wrestlers, looking for a weakness. Finally Faith said, "You broke my fucking arm."

"Too bad it wasn't your neck." Buffy retorted. "And you stabbed me. You made the first move."

"I hate you."

"I hate you more."

"Go to Hell." Faith screamed.

"I'll save you a seat."

Silence fell around them and then they both spun, walking in the same direction, out of the alley. Buffy elbowed her way past Faith but the girl quickly elbowed past her. "I'm going this way."

"We both have to go this way." Buffy replied. "It's a dead end."

"I'm going to kill you one day, B." Faith said, coming within inches of Buffy's face.

Buffy stared up at her and grimaced, waving her hand back and forth. "Did you enjoy the shit sandwich you ate?"

Faith blew her a kiss and whirled, walking away fast. Buffy dug a hand into her pocket and counted her money, then she made a beeline for the 24-hour pharmacy up the road.

Spike could smell blood. Normally it wouldn't bother him but this time he recognized it. It was the blood of a Slayer. The smell was stronger, sweeter than blood from a mortal. You could smell the power in a Slayer's blood and it was one of the most desirable things he had ever tasted. Not Buffy's, but the other two he had killed. He was fully aware that there was another Slayer in town and he figured that it was her. < Surely Buffy is at home safe in bed, she said she was tired. >

If it was the other Slayer in town, he'd kill her, drain her and end Buffy's problems with her. Spike noticed blood drops leading away from an alley and followed them closely. Every few inches down the sidewalk there was more and more. She had obviously been wounded badly. At the end of the sidewalk the blood stopped and Spike glanced around. He saw bright lights in a shopping center and saw the word ‘Pharmacy' and nodded.

Buffy walked slowly down the aisles looking for sturdier bandages than the ones she found. She wanted the butterfly kind that often took the place of stitches. Trying to seem inconspicuous, she had drawn her jacket tightly around her, wanting to avoid questions. Blood covered her hands and she could still feel it dripping so she grabbed what she figured would work and went to pay.

As she turned, she bumped into Spike. "Buffy!" He said, grabbing her by the shoulders. "You're hurt."

Buffy nodded, shocked to see him there. "How did you get in here?"

"Does it matter?" Spike looked at the blood that was dripping from under her jacket and quickly pulled it open, swearing loudly. He glanced at the bandages in her hands and shook his head. "You'll need more than that."

"I'll be fine by this time tomorrow."

Buffy began to walk around him but he said, "Wait right here. Do NOT move."

Spike rushed up and down the aisles until he found the peroxide, some better bandages, tape and medication to guard against infection. He paused on the painkiller rack and added some Excederin PM to the loot in his arms, then rushed back to where he had told Buffy to wait. She wasn't there and he swore again, going to the counter and hurrying the cashier along.

He saw her at the far end of the road, about to cross the block and head toward her house. Running, he caught up with her and growled, "Can't you do a damn thing that people ask you too?"

"You didn't ask. You ordered." Buffy replied, still walking.

"What the hell are you doing out here to begin with?" He demanded, pulling her toward his hotel room. No sense making her walk an extra mile when he had a place too.

"I was trying to find you and I live this way." She turned and headed the other way and he rushed in front of her, blocking her path.

"Tonight, you live this way. You're a bloody mess and we'll go to my place and fix it." He pointed in the other direction until she turned, sighing loudly and headed toward his room.

"If I wasn't in pain I wouldn't listen to you!" Buffy murmured, wishing she could stomp.

Spike didn't say anything until he had unlocked his door and led her inside. Flipping the light on, he tossed the bag of medicines on his bed and turned to face her. She was removing her jacket and he cringed when saw the wound through the tear in the front of her blouse. "Take your shirt off."

Buffy raised an eyebrow, "Or not. I'll just lift it up and…"

Spike crossed the room and pulled it gently over her head, almost fainting at the sight of her naked breasts. < Does she not own a bra? > He dropped onto one knee, using her already bloodied shirt as a rag, he mopped up as much of it as he could before he stood. "Lie down, I'm going to get some more towels."

Buffy watched as he walked out of the room and cursed herself, hugging her arms across her chest. While he had been on his knee in front of her she was reliving their first night together, when he had done that same thing to trail kisses all over her stomach. Biting her lower lips, she gingerly pressed her stomach. Spike opened the door again and sighed, "I say lie down, you stand, I say come here, you go there. Our lines of communication must be down. Lie on the bed, Slayer."

She glanced at the bed, trying not to remember how good it had felt to lie there with him. Reluctantly, she reclined on the edge and watched him closely. He had a bowl with him, which he quickly filled with water in the bathroom, then stopped beside her. Buffy had her arms wrapped around her tightly, hiding her breasts from his view. He looked at her, felt her discomfort and pulled his shirt off, putting it over her shoulders and chest.

Spike handed her a cup of water and two pills. She looked across the room, trying to see what kind it was and saw the familiar labeling that proclaimed it to be a painkiller/sleep aid. Swallowing them quickly, she closed her eyes, not willing to look at Spike's bare chest.

Buffy jumped a little as he ran washcloth along her stomach, cringing at the pain. Spike ignored her, rinsing the blood away. The wound was about six inches long and ran horizontally, slashing straight through her belly button and leaving it gashed open on either side. "You need stitches."

"I'm not going to the hospital." Buffy replied.

Spike shook his head and reached for the peroxide. Buffy sat up quickly, shaking her head. "No way! Don't even think about pouring that on me."

"It's peroxide!" he proclaimed. "Not alcohol."

"You can have a love affair with it if you want," she pointed to his hair. "But if burns."

"Don't be a baby." He pushed her back and opened tuned the lid. "What cut you anyway?"

"Faith." She said, watching his every move, trying to hold his hand away.

"The other Slayer?" he asked, grabbing both of her wrists in one of his hands. "Well then, we can't skip disinfecting the wound, no telling where HER knife has been. You can't be too cautious."

Buffy panicked as he poured at least half the bottle on her stomach and held her at bay. She became motionless, waiting for the burning to start, crying out loudly when it did. "Get it off!" she moaned. "Please Spike, get it off."

Spike could tell by looking at her face that she was in pain, he watched as the peroxide foamed, wiping it and pouring a little more. Her eyes were tightly clenched and he stared at her, hating causing her more pain than she'd already had for one night, but allowing the demon inside of him to relish it, feed off of it. She was the Slayer and the thing inside of him was applauding the tears that coursed down her cheeks.

"Please?" She cried, trying to sit up.

Spike quickly but gently wiped the peroxide off of her, using a clean towel to dry her completely. Grabbing the bag, he fished around until he found the lotion for bacteria. It had three million safety labels on it and Spike got frustrated, unable to open it. "I tell you. Humans are so freakin' overly cautious it's sickening."

"This coming from a man who HAD to use peroxide!" Buffy snapped. "To be cautious!"

After several more attempts, his face morphed into a vampire's face in anger and he bit down on it, ripping the bottom out. Pleased with himself, he dumped it on her stomach, tenderly using his fingers to smooth it out along the cut.

"Would you hurry up?" Buffy glared at him. "I could have been in and out of the hospital by now."

"Hey!" He snapped, still in vamp face. "I'm doing this for free, y'know. Try to be a little considerate here because it's not like I enjoy saving your ass repeatedly. Especially when you're such an ingrate about it."

Buffy narrowed her eyes and said, "I was just fine tonight. And you could use a healthy dose of modesty! Angel never threw stuff up in my face!"

Spike grabbed the bandages from the bag and quickly stuck Band-Aids and gauze all over the wound, taping it firmly in place. He stood up and glared down at her. "Don't compare me to him again. Truth is, if your Angel was so blasted perfect, he'd be here instead of me, wouldn't he?"

Buffy gasped and stared at him, not believing he said that to her. Fighting back tears, she tried unsuccessfully to rise, but a combination of the pain and the sleep medication left her unsteady. Spike watched her struggle, overcoming the demon inside of him and changing back to his "human" face. He pushed her back firmly and said, "Stay put."

"I'm leaving." She snapped.

"Are you?" Asked Spike, standing over her. "Cause from where I'm standing, I'd say you aren't. It's almost light outside and I don't fancy walking you home. And don't give me any more sass or I'll use the rest of this tape on your damn mouth."

Buffy pounded the bed with her fist, "You infuriate me!"

Spike shrugged, "It's mutual. Now go to sleep before you put me in a worse mood."

She rolled away from him, hugging the cover to her chest, she closed her eyes. Spike glared at her for several seconds and then started picking up the trash and bloody items. He ducked into the bathroom, carefully rinsing the towels in the sink and shoving them in the tub. When he walked back into the bedroom, Buffy was on her back again, breathing deeply and sound asleep. Spike squatted beside her, brushing her hair off of her face. Smiling, he brushed his lips against her temple and shook his head. Why did he have to like her so damn much?

"Wake up, Slayer." Spike nudged her. "YooHoo! Your watcher is on his way to get you."

"Wesley?" Buffy asked, stirring.

"Who the hell is Wesley?" Spike demanded.

Buffy sat up, looking confused. "What?"

Spike shook his head, too tired to care. He had stayed up all night, staring at her, checking her bandages and making sure she hadn't lost so much blood that she died without him knowing it. It was just after eight am and when he figured he'd ring the watcher. He'd been easy to track down, since he was the only Giles listed in the phone book. Standing, he tossed her a T-shirt, saying, "You'd best get up."

Grumbling, she pulled herself to the edge of the bed, motioning for him to turn. When he refused she angrily yanked the T-shirt over her naked chest. "You could have looked the other way!"

"I could have." He nodded. "How do you feel?"

"I'm fine." She glanced at him as she stood up. "Thank you…again."

"I like the way you thanked me last time I saved you." He grinned. She didn't.

Spike watched her walk into the bathroom and slumped against the desk. How had things become so awkward between them? He figured he liked it better when he wanted to rip her throat out. The sink area was exposed and he walked behind her. She was washing her face and when she stood, he handed her a towel. "Can I ask you something?"

"Yeah." Buffy replied, drying her face.

"Why were you looking for me last night?"

Buffy sighed and put the towel on the sink, shrugging. "I wanted to apologize for picking that fight with you."

"Which one?" Asked the vampire, crossing his arms.

"The only one I picked. And I only picked it after YOU started it to begin with because you have to be an asshole!"

Spike raised his eyebrow, "Lady, is that your idea of an apology?"

"Damn it, I'm trying!" she snapped. "This is hard for me! I'm really, really sorry about the stuff I said."

"Did you mean it? Do you honestly believe that I screwed you to annoy Angel?"

Buffy walked past him, looking for her shoes. "No, I don't think you did."

"Why did you do it?" Spike followed her closely.

Buffy sat carefully, pulling her shoes on, trying not to hurt her stomach. "I don't know. I don't know anything, Spike. I don't know what I think or feel or want. I'm so confused and angry and I can't figure anything out."

Spike felt his jaw clench, he wanted to shake her. He was so freakin' sick of women. First Dru, now the Slayer. The SLAYER! Of all the women in the world he had to like her. He wanted to tell her that he liked her spunk and spirit and HER since the first time he saw her. He wanted to tell her that she was more beautiful than anyone he'd ever seen and then remind her that he'd seen millions of women in his two hundred years. Instead he said, "Whatever, pet. Have it your way."

Buffy felt her heart fall. She wanted to tell him that she had often thought of him, thought about how much she enjoyed sparring with him and how much she enjoyed his company the other night. She wanted to tell him that what they had shared did mean something and she wanted it, but she said, "My way would be your friendship."

Spike snorted. "Friends? After what we did? You know what happened after you and Angel shagged and tried to be friends."

"I thought you didn't want to be compared to Angel. Why should our relationship be compared to what happened with Angel?" Buffy cried.

"Because Buffy, the same damn thing has happened again." He shouted. Then added. "Fuck. I don't mean to yell at you."

"What do you mean?" she wrinkled her forehead in confusion. "What's happened again?"

"You shagged Angel and he went bad, wanting to kill you. You shagged me and all I can think about is how much I don't want to kill you! That thing you've got between your thighs fucked with my mind more than my dick!" Spike heard a knock on the door and looked at Buffy. "Friendship is all you're willing to offer me?"

Buffy stared deeply into his eyes, resisting the urge to kiss him, and nodded. "I'm sorry."

Someone knocked again and Spike said, "Fine. I'll be your friend. But I'm not letting go of the possibility."

Buffy smiled, "And I'm not letting go of the grudge I have from the tub incident."

Chuckling, Spike turned to open the door, then paused. "You may consider alternative forms of punishment. I hear sex is the new weapon of choice."

"Spike!" Buffy warned. "Is sexual innuendo going to be the underlying thing with us?"

"More than likely." He said.

"Good." She smiled.

That evening, after a lengthy conversation with Giles, a trip to the hospital and fourteen stitches later, Buffy opened one of the many pizza boxes in her refrigerator and burst out laughing. The pepperoni had been arranged in a heart a toothpick was stuck in the middle.

Buffy had no idea what was going to happen with her and Spike. The only thing she was absolutely sure of was the fact that she liked Spike. A lot. She was about to bite into a slice of pizza when the phone rang. "Hello?" she answered.

"Buffy, hun?" Her dad said. "How are you?"

"Hey dad! I've missed you! When can I come up there?" Buffy smiled, relishing the sound of his voice. "You haven't seen my graduation pictures!"

"That's why I'm calling, baby. If you come at all, it'll be at the end of summer break for a couple of days, I'm so busy I wouldn't be able to spend time with you." Hank paused. "I'm sorry."

"Aww, daddy!" she whined. "I haven't seen you in forever! You even missed my eighteenth birthday. I'll have mom bring me so you don't have to make the drive."

"I said no, Buffy. I'll call you again soon and I really am sorry. I love you." Hank hung up and turned to stare at the man behind him. "Are you happy now?"

"You've done right by the council." The man replied. "You've done right by the honor of the Chosen line."

"But has the council done right by me?" Hank asked. "I gave her up, just like it says."

The man stepped closer to Hank. "Only after you were forced."

"But I did it." Hank reasoned.

"You have led her to believe that she is your daughter. She was given to you to watch. When we inseminated Joyce with a Slayer, you knew that you would need to tell the both of them of Buffy's legacy early on."

"She doesn't deserve this. I want to be in her life."

"She's finished."

Hank glared at the man, dumbfounded. "What do you mean?"

The old man shook his head sadly; "Buffy should have died when it was fated, at the Master's hands. She thwarted us when we attempted on her birthday even though it was said to be impossible. Her time has run it's course and she must die. The reports that Wesley has sent us indicate that…. "

"I won't let you kill her." Hank shook his head.

"Oh, I won't be killing her." The man straightened his tie and stared at Hank. "It's only fitting that her real father does it. Pity he never knew."

Buffy was exhilarated. A week of bed rest and lots of pampering from her mother had left her itching to finally get out and patrol. She had promised Giles that she'd take Xander along but she hadn't really spoken to Xander since the big scene in her room with Spike and didn't much want to at the moment. She was a big girl.

She spun, kicking the vampire in the throat, feeling her muscles come alive. Her body reacted instinctively and her stake was rammed through his chest within seconds. Smiling, she spun to face the woman vampire who had been with the man, "Come and get it."

The woman lunged but Buffy sidestepped, running the stake through the demon's back as she stumbled passed her. The Slayer bubbled with energy and she quickly glanced around, searching for more vampires. She leapt onto a headstone, scanning the cemetery, contemplating screaming that she was here if anyone was interested. When all she saw was a sea of gray, multi-shaped headstones, she muttered. "A little action. Is it too much to ask for?"

Spike stepped out from behind a large marble monument and chuckled. "Looks like someone is in rare form. That's the fourth one tonight."

Buffy turned quickly, yelping a little at the sound of his voice and losing her balance. He caught her in his arms and held her there for a moment before he put her on her feet. She stared up at him; "You've been following me?"

"And?" Spike shrugged and fished a smoke out of his pocket, lighting it.

"And I don't think I like it." Buffy pulled the cigarette out of his mouth and stomped it. "That either. It's nasty and smells funny."

Spike glared at her for a moment, then blew a mouthful of smoke in her face. "I'll quit if you intend on getting close enough to me to notice the smell."

Buffy threw her hands in the air, but giggled a little. "I see you are still on the same theme."

The vampire nodded, then pointed at her stomach. "Are you sure you should be patrolling? How are you?"

Buffy picked up her bag and started out of the cemetery. "You'd know how I was if you bothered to call or come by."

Swearing, Spike followed. "I should have called or come by? What for? Did you scare off your friends with that attitude of yours?"

The Slayer rolled her eyes and continued walking. She had heard Giles mention some vampiric activity he'd witnessed down by the docks three nights ago. No reason why she shouldn't check it out. It was her ‘sacred duty', although she doubted anyone in their right mind would call getting bloody, cut and maimed sacred territory.

Spike kept up with her even though he was hungry and really wanted to go find a donor. The silence wasn't uncomfortable but he liked the sound of her voice, so he said, "You graduated this week, yes?"

"Last week." Buffy hefted her bag on her shoulder, wishing she had left the two jars of Holy Water out of it.

"That's a big deal among people, huh?" He glanced sidelong at her, taking the bag and putting it on his own shoulder.

"It may be to some people." Not sure whether or not she liked his help, she shrugged and tried to take her bag back.

Spike shook his head and pushed her hand away. "Was it a big deal to the Slayer?"

"Not really." Defeated, she crossed her arms and glanced skyward. "It's a pretty night."

He'd spoken with her enough to know that when she changed the subject, something about the topic she was running from was bothering her. "What's the matter? Did you look fat in your cap and gown?"

Buffy spun and grabbed her bag, glaring at him. "That was really nice! Want to call me ugly too?"

Spike watched her stalk off and shook his head in amazement, wondering if she was suffering from a split personality disorder. Then it dawned on. He caught up with her again and chuckled, "Do you need some Pamprin?"

Buffy stopped walking but didn't look at him. Taking a deep breath she turned to face him. "No, I do not. Look, I just don't want to talk about graduation."

"Why not?"

"Explaining why not is still talking about graduation, Spike."

He felt his temper start to flare. "You asked me to be your friend but you won't let me." Buffy felt bad. She was taking out her anger at her father on him. Putting her hand on his arm she said, "I'm sorry. Graduation would have meant a lot to me if my dad had come but he didn't. He didn't bother coming to see me for my birthday and he doesn't want me to come see him this summer like always. I'm just a little upset about it."

"Want me to kill him, luv?" He grinned. Then laughed when she smacked him on the arm. "Hey, that's what friends are for."

Buffy headed toward the docks again, accepting the fact that Spike was going to come with her. She didn't really mind. He launched into a story about a graduation party he had crashed once, feeding on the valedictorian and several jocks. Buffy listened intently, only speaking to reprimand him for too many details.

By the time they reached the waterfront, she had forgotten about her dad and about Angel and most of all, she had forgotten that this was the same old Spike. A soulless vampire that had tried to kill her a million times. She opened her mouth to tell him about the frat party she had gone to when she was grabbed from behind. Without much thought, she tossed her attacker over her head grabbed a stake, whirling to plunge it in them.

Spike caught her arm and grabbed the stake. "It's not a vampire."

Buffy glanced at the thing and watched as it began to writhe, shedding the skin that had made it appear human. Before her eyes, it gyrated until the tan colored flesh was discarded, leaving behind a gristle covered demon. Every inch of it looked ready to drip as it glistened in the moonlight. "What is it?"

Spike grabbed Buffy's hand, backing her away with him. "It's the Lorviken."

"Well how do you suggest I slay it?"

"Honestly?" Spike asked. "I suggest we both run like hell."

As one, they turned and sprinted back the way they had come. Buffy could hear the slimy foot falls behind her and she half turned, seeing it a few feet behind them. "It's gaining."

"Wait ‘til it's wings dry." Spike let go of her hand and they both picked up the pace. He knew he could probably pull ahead of her but he didn't, staying completely even with her.

A golf course loomed ahead of them and Spike noticed the sprinkler system was cutting itself on it rows, shooting sprays of water in every direction. He grabbed Buffy's arm and pulled her with him, not stopping until they stood under the water. The Lorviken howled, circling just outside the spray of water, eyeing them.

"It's scared of water." Spike whispered.

"Really? I never could have guessed that." Buffy stared at the creature, the fighter in her looking for it's weakness. It stood about six feet tall in a hunched position, possibly seven when erect.

"Smart ass." Growled Spike, allowing the vampire inside of him to surface. "I think cold water makes it shrink."

"Cold water makes a lot of things shrink." Buffy laughed.

Spike chuckled. "Not mine."

"Not your what? What are you talking about? I'm talking about my clothes!"

Spike narrowed his eyes at her about to reply when the sprinkler they were under shut off. The Lorviken cackled and lunged. Buffy and Spike separated, both stepping in opposite directions. Spike punched the demon, getting it's attention off of Buffy. The thing turned, leveling him with a blow across the face, it's jagged skin ripping into Spike's flesh. The vampire stumbled and landed hard on his backside.

The Slayer glanced and saw a sprinkler not quite ten feet away about to spring to life. "Hey ugly. Are you blind. I'm the Slayer!"

The Lorviken turned away from Spike and shambled toward her. Eyeing her up and down, it's mouth opening and shutting like it was getting ready to chew on her. Drool began to pour and Buffy wrinkled her nose. "Attention K-mart shoppers, bibs are on sale now on aisle three."

Spike jumped to his feet, thinking that Buffy had finally lost it. She'd finally gone insane. He charged, knocking the beast to the ground and the sprinkler snapped on. "Hang onto him!" Buffy screamed, flinging herself on top of both of them to help hold it under the water.

The Lorviken screamed in rage, trying to shake them off. Spike realized that it was getting smaller and smaller, until finally in sank into the wet grass, no more than a puddle. He rolled onto his back, hanging onto Buffy who was half on him. She smiled down at him and said, "I thought stuff like that only happened in the ‘Wizard of Oz'."

"I'm melting, I'm melting." The vampire shrieked, sending them both into gales of laughter.

Buffy relaxed against him, giving herself completely to the first real laugh she'd had in weeks. His arms were around her waist and a familiar tingling was beginning to spread through her. If she didn't pull away now she probably wouldn't be able too at all. "We better go." She whispered, standing.

Spike stood behind her and pressed the toe of his boot into the grass where the thing had disappeared. "I hope that's that. I hope he doesn't rise again."

Buffy dug through her bag and rammed a stake into the earth. Spike cleared his throat and said, "Uhm, I don't want to point out the obvious…but…"

"I'm marking the spot in case Giles has to do something to make sure it doesn't rise again." She put her hands on her hips. "I'm smart. I can't get by on looks alone."

Spike grinned, "Ahhh, but you could with looks like yours."

Buffy hefted her bag but he took it from her. She tried several times to take it back and then threw her hands up in exasperation. Spike followed her, watching the way she wiggled her hips when she walked, remembering how well she wiggled when she wasn't walking.

Giles glared angrily at Wesley before throwing his cup across the library, smashing it against the far wall. Wesley followed the cup with his eyes and then took a few steps back, mumbling. "How on earth you passed the Council's psychiatric evaluation all those years is beyond me! Honestly, Mr. Giles, your temper…"

"Is about to get me arrested for assault." Giles stepped towards Wesley.

"Now, now, Mr. Giles." Wesley quickly put the table between the two of them and held up his hands. "No need for violence."

"Those are my thoughts as well. Buffy will not be subjected to ANY more of the unnecessary violence that the Council would like to place upon her."

Wesley removed his glasses, trying not to show that he was shaking. "I'm afraid it has already been started, Giles. And if you warn her this time, she'll be killed for your weakness."

Xander shoved the library door open, dragging a blanket and a pillow behind him, looking ruffled. He paused, staring at the two watchers, before swearing. "I left my house to get away from a lovers quarrel. Now look at this!"

Giles felt a small wave of compassion for the boy and then remembered Buffy's promise of asking Xander to patrol with her. "Where's Buffy?"

Xander tossed his pillow on the counter before crawling up any lying down. "She was walking toward me wearing a towel on her hair and nothing else when my dad decided to scream and pound the wall. Then I woke up."

Giles cleared his throat, reddening. "She was supposed to ask you to patrol with her."

"She didn't." Xander pulled the cover to his chin and snuggled into it. "Wake me only after it's apparent I've stopped dreaming."

Wesley glanced at the boy and then back at Giles. "I'm going home. You will remember what we discussed. It's most important that you…."

"Go away….. now." Giles said through clenched teeth. He watched as Wesley left and then started to pick up the pieces of his shattered cup, wondering how he could be expected to turn a blind eye to the Council's plan. They wanted to put Buffy through yet more testing. He'd accidentally stumbled upon Wesley speaking on the phone with someone about it, and began eavesdropping as soon as he heard Buffy's name. Anger coursed through his veins as he tried to sort out a plan.

"Giles?" Buffy called, staring at Xander's sleeping frame on the counter and musing about how funny it would be to shove him off.

Giles stood and grimaced. Spike stood a few feet behind Buffy, carrying her bag and both of them were soaking wet. He couldn't force himself to be comfortable around ‘William the Bloody' and doubted he ever would. He was about to speak when Xander woke up, saw Spike and screamed. "Wake me up!! Now it's a nightmare!"

Spike glared at the young boy, wondering if Buffy would forgive him if he rammed his fist down his throat. He watched as the Slayer punched the boy lightly on the arm and mumbled something that sounded like, "Don't even start."

Giles stepped around the table and gazed up and down Buffy. "I take it the night has been troublesome."

"Way troublesome." She walked past him and bounced onto the table. "We had to fight a Lord of the Dance."

Spike chuckled and said, "Lorviken."

Giles turned and looked at the vampire. "Are you quite sure? A dombril will appear to be the same but…" "But only a Lorviken will shrink in water." Spike joined Buffy at the table, sitting in a chair instead of next to her.

"That's not the only thing that will shrink in water." Xander piped up as he stood and walked into Giles's office, closing the door. Buffy and Spike looked at one another and laughed out loud.

Giles ignored them all. "Good Lord. The Lorviken was captured in Eastern Europe over one hundred years ago."

"And it was just as bad then." Shaking his blond head, Spike recalled the last time he'd seen it. "Hideous thing, really. Almost as bad as a chaos demon. It had obviously fed and merged its body with it's victim because it hatched out of it only after Buffy threatened it."

"Yes," the watcher nodded. "I witnessed it as a youth. It lived in captivity and was shown as a specimen to potential Watchers."

"The council had it?" Buffy asked.

Giles realized what was happening then. The Lorviken was only one of hundreds of horrible creatures that the council had and if it was here in Sunnydale, it was released for a reason. The reason was looking at him expectantly and he nodded at her. "Yes. One of the tests is being able to look at these demon species and maintain a clear head. Know and identify them and their weaknesses without panicking."

"How in hell did Wesley pass?" she recalled hearing about how he had panicked at the sight of Balthazar.

"Who the hell is Wesley?" Spike asked, remembering that Buffy had mentioned him when she awoke once.

"He's my new Watcher. Giles got fired."

Spike glanced at Giles but didn't reply. Part of him wanted to taunt the man, poke fun at him and laugh, but he suppressed the urge, noting the solemn look on his face. Buffy noticed the look as well and said, "What's wrong, Giles?"

He shook his head and walked to stand before the Slayer, glaring down at her. "You are not, under any circumstances, to patrol alone. Do you understand me, Buffy? You lied to me tonight saying you'd be taking Xander. Don't let that happen again."

She nodded at him, feeling her stomach flip a little. When a watcher wigged it usually meant big trouble in little china. Or big demons in little hellmouth land. Or if the watcher was Wesley it could mean a lot of other things. If Wesley wigged he may have seen his own shadow. Buffy chuckled at herself.

"I'm serious, damn it!" Giles shouted, grabbing her shoulders. "Do not disobey me on this."

"Geez Giles, take a pill!" She scooted off the table, angry that he'd use that tone in front of Spike. "So will water kill a LoserTek?"

"Lorviken." Giles corrected. "And yes."

Buffy smiled and gave a small shrug, "Who cares if I can say it as long as I can slay it."