All About Spike
Chapter: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13

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Haunt of the House
By Jericho TGF

Disclaimer: The storyline is the only thing I can claim, mores the pity. The rest belong to Joss and anyone that has anything to do with the Buffy universe.
Spoilers: All of it - the whole kit and caboodle. Every single one of the 100 episodes is fair game.
Distribution: I'm thinking yeah...as long as I know where it's going beforehand and my name is on it.
Summery: A weekend away from Sunnydale becomes more than expected. B/S...of course.
Rated: R
Dedications: Originally, when I started this fic, it was dedicated to my best friend, Kelly. I don't think she would mind if, in light of the horrendous tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, I take that original dedication and alter it. For the lost souls, for the families and loved ones suffering unspeakable loss, for Americans, for America, my country. The reed may be bent but shall never be broken. Friendship will guide us, unity will bind us, freedom will define us, love will save us.



Chapter One

"You have got to be bleedin' kiddin' me."

One very irritated vampire got out of his car and stared at the house in front of him. Scorn and disdain set in his expression as he examined the all-too-cheery yellow exterior of a large, three-story house with its white, gingerbread molding and sweeping front porch. Soft light poured from the windows, giving off a welcoming glow and lighting up the grounds. His lip curled in a sneer when he noticed the perfectly manicured lawn, perfectly trimmed hedges, and perfectly placed stone walkway. It was all so...perfect.

He whirled on the petite young woman who was even now removing her small suitcase and his ragged duffle bag from the cavernous trunk of the Desoto.

"This is your idea of a weekend getaway? It's Barbie's bloody Dream House! Tell me, pet, what is it about me bein' a vampire that you just don't understand?"

Setting the luggage down and slamming the trunk, Buffy grinned at the uncomfortable fiend. "Spike, shut up. You made your bed, you'll just have to lie in it." She sent him a saucy grin and sidled up to him with an impish gleam in her eyes. "Of course, the fact that you won't be in that bed alone should be enough to keep the complaints down to a minimum for the next two days."

Completely forgetting his irritation as soon as she pressed her body up against him, he growled low in his throat in response to the heat that flared between them. The scorn and disdain slipped from his face, giving way to desire and need.

They had been together for four months and still, every single time he touched her - or she touched him - his body responded with deep craving. It could have been four years, forty years; he knew he'd still feel the same level of passion and love for this woman.

She was right, though, it was his own fault he was here. Little did he know that the run-in with that Bovleaur demon they came across two days ago would result in this little jaunt into Norman Rockwell hell. They'd been patrolling together, just like they had done almost every night since Buffy came back from the land of the not alive seven months ago, when the rather boring evening took a nasty turn.

Bovleaur demons aren't large - the tallest are just over five and a half feet tall - but they're vicious and strong. Plus, there's that whole scaly body armor thing. Makes them a touch difficult to kill. Buffy's trusty stake had been completely ineffective, bouncing off the creature harmlessly. Spike had gotten behind it but had been knocked back...and out, when his head got up close and personal with a large, marble headstone.

Maybe it was the non-stop patrolling. Maybe it was the increase in evil baddies that had poured into Sunnydale when the dark forces had found out about her death - they were slower on the uptake about her return than they had been about her demise. Maybe it was just one of those rare, off nights for the Slayer.

Whatever it was, Buffy hadn't been in top form when the Bovleaur attacked. Spike came to in the nick of time, just as the demon was getting ready to take a bite of Slayer sandwich. He snuck up on the bastard and snapped its neck before it got a chance to inflict a fatal injury.

As well as it had ended - one dead evil creature, two alive 'white hats'...well, one 'white hat', one 'kind of gray hat' - the encounter had been a warning. Spike loved Buffy enough to heed that warning. He couldn't lose her again. Especially since she'd finally given in and admitted she had feelings for him so recently.

A Slayer and a vampire sans soul made for an unconventional couple, but it worked for them. Spike would do just about anything to guarantee that it continued to work. So he'd suggested...in a rather frantically demanding way...that Buffy take some time off, get away from Sunnydale for a while. Let the Scoobies handle the patrols so they could slip away in the night for a weekend. He'd even taken it upon himself to set up the Slayer's off-time with Giles.

His plans hit a snag, though, when Buffy refused to go. For some reason she didn't think that a vampire's idea of a weekend away would be quite what she needed for unwind time.

He'd been offended. Sure, he had been planning on taking her to San Diego for some partying and fun - wanting to avoid Los Angeles for obvious reasons - but still.

The fact remained, if he wanted her to go, he would have to let her plan her idea of a nice getaway. Either let Buffy choose when and where, or no dice. So that's why he was stuck here, in front of this sickeningly sweet looking Bed and Breakfast in a town called Three Rivers. The name was enough to give a vampire a case of the shudders. And he'd actually driven almost five hours to get there.

His only consolation was that Buffy was with him for a whole weekend without any of those irritating distractions that the Scoobies provided. Probably get stuck in bed for the duration of their stay, though. Spike doubted there was much else to do in the one-pub town.

Come to think of it...that was one hell of a consolation. The vampire grinned and pressed a quick, searing kiss to Buffy's lips.

"Right then," he said, when he finally lifted his head from her delectable mouth, "I guess I'll just have to suffer through it, won't I?"

"Mmm hmm, but somehow I think your monumental sacrifice will be worth it. Come on, let's go in and register. I'm tired and I need a shower."

Spike grinned at her slyly. "Shower, huh? Yeah, I think I could deal with a wash up myself."

Buffy swatted at him playfully before grabbing up her small suitcase and leading the way up the walkway.

Once inside, Buffy was pleased to see the welcoming exterior was matched by a quaint and warm interior. The entryway floor and walls were a finely polished, light-colored wood. Decorated in tasteful Americana, the artwork on the walls and the knickknacks around the reservation desk brought a down home feel to the place. Kind of like visiting your favorite grandparents during the holidays. She sent a swift mental "Thank you" to Willow, who'd found the adorable Bed and Breakfast advertised on the Internet. It was just what Buffy needed for some nice relaxing downtime.

Spike strode in behind Buffy, duffel over his shoulder and an arrogant swagger in his gait. He sniffed in derision at the décor and dinged the little bell on the desk in front of him. When no one appeared at the ring, he hit it harder.

Buffy thought she heard him mutter, "So its Barbie's parents bloody Dream House, then," under his breath. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. You can't dress him up and you can't take him anywhere, she thought drolly.

Bustling out of a room off to the right, a matronly woman in her fifties dressed surprisingly chic in a business suit hurried over to them. She beamed at the couple.

"Hello there! Welcome to The Carr House." Turning to address Buffy, she said, "You must be Miss Summers."

Buffy nodded and smiled, drawn in by the sweet woman with her infectiously happy personality. "I am, actually, but please, call me Buffy."

"And I'm Mrs. Heggan, but I would prefer you call me Ida. We're so informal here. It's more like a family, really, than a Bed & Breakfast." The woman smiled widely and patted the Slayer on the arm before slipping behind the desk. "I have your reservation, dear. For two nights, correct?" At the affirmation she continued. "We have you in the Dalton Suite, such a lovely room. I'm sure you and you're..." Ida, cast a quick, questioning glance to the ultra blonde vampire standing impatiently next to Buffy, "...friend will have a wonderful visit."

Grinning and thinking quickly, Buffy spoke before Spike could get a chance. "This is Ken...Ken Smith."

The surprised look he shot her almost made her giggle, but he did manage to control himself long enough to smile...well, grimace would be more accurate...at Mrs. Heggan. Buffy would pay for the indignity later. When he thought about just what he would do to make her pay, his grimace grew to a real smile.

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, mum. So, where's the room?"

"Oh my, you're English, then. I noticed the accent. I love accents. How wonderful!"

Spike had to struggle to prevent a deep sigh and an eye roll. "I'm English, yeah. Where's the room?" To distract himself from his growing impatience he grabbed Buffy around the waist and leaned down to nuzzle her neck. It was time to make her squirm a little.

Buffy was mortified at being pawed at so...deliciously...in front of the gentle and charming woman. There was a warning in her voice as she pushed Spike away, trying to hold on to her smile. "Ken, dear, please. Now's not the time." Under her breath, just loud enough for his vampire ears to pick up, she hissed, "Continue to embarrass me, Spike, and it won't be time ever again."

Ida completely missed, or was professional enough to ignore, the undercurrents between the pair. She just set out a form for Buffy to fill out and gave them a warm smile. "How adorable. You two make such a precious couple."

Spike grinned, unabashed, and tossed an arm over Buffy's shoulders. "Been tellin' her that for over a year, Ida, but she only just recently came 'round to my way o' thinkin'. Worked out okay, though, she's quite fond o' me now."

She was going to respond to the arrogant and thoroughly irritating vampire, but standing there, in the warm and cozy reception area, Buffy felt a chill go through her. A draft of icy cold air sluiced over her skin and she shuddered. Spike felt the change, felt her surprise, heard her quick intake of breath, and all manner of teasing fell away as he slid a concerned glance down at her.

"What is it, pet?"

Once it passed, Buffy was left feeling mildly foolish. It was just cold air, after all. No need to go all wiggy girl. She smiled up at Spike and shook her head dismissively. "Just a draft. Got a chill there for a second. Sorry."

"Oh, I know," said Ida, "large house like this, we get some drafts occasionally. Seems like no matter what we do, there's a cold shaft of air popping up every once in a while. I like to look on the bright side, though, it saves on cooling costs in the summer."

To cover her lingering embarrassment, Buffy leaned over the desk and quickly filled out the necessary forms and accepted the proffered key to their room.

"Now," Ida explained cheerily, "breakfast is served starting at 7 am, and it's covered in the cost of your stay. We eat in the dining room at the end of the hall. Lunch and dinner are served as well, though that is an extra charge. We also provide room service, if you prefer to eat in private."

Spike liked that idea quite a lot. "Hey now, that sounds like a plan. Like the sound of that. How do we get that set up, then?"

Ida gave a merry chuckle at his enthusiasm. "Just call down to the kitchen any time after 6:30 am. The number is on the phone in your room. I'll let you two go get settled in, now. I'm sure you must be tired, it's so late."

It was, in fact. Close to midnight, actually, as Spike and Buffy had to wait until the sun set to leave Sunnydale.

"Yes, we had to get a late start," explained Buffy, "and a shower and a bed sound just about like my idea of heaven right now."

Grinning lasciviously, Spike whispered in the Slayer's ear, "Sounds bloody good to me, too, luv - as long as you're with me...and naked."

A sharp elbow in his ribs, a quick good night to Ida, and the vampire and the Slayer were carrying their bags up to the third floor of the house, heading for the Dalton Suite.

Ida watched the obviously tired pair climb the stairs, a friendly smile on her face. Such nice people, she thought, and so cute when they're bickering like an old married couple.

As soon as they were out of earshot, Spike started in on the young woman walking in front of him. "Ken...Smith? What the bloody hell was that all about, then? Could have done a good bit better than a nancy-boy poof of a name like Ken, you know."

Buffy grinned with a touch of mischief in her eyes but she didn't bother turning around on the stairs to let him see it. "It's your own fault, fang face. Can't have a Barbie Dream House without Ken."

The last flight was climbed with one disgruntled vampire grumbling and complaining behind her. She couldn't see the intense concentration he was giving to her rear end swaying sexily in front of his face as she led the way to their room.

~*~*~*~*~*~

"Wow. Talk about picture perfect." Buffy was impressed. It was huge, truly a suite, with a bathroom off the right and a huge four-poster bed in its own room on the left. The main area in front of them was set up like cozy living quarters. Television, couch, armchair, and several beautiful, antique-looking floor lamps were grouped in a charming array.

"Now this is a bed!" Spike went straight into the small bedroom and tossed his duffle bag on the monstrosity that took up most of the floor space. "This here's the kind of bed you climb aboard and get lost in. What say we hop up and spend some time finding...each other?"

Buffy peaked into the room and sighed dramatically at the one-track mind of the vampire. The bed was beautiful, though, and Spike wasn't wrong about the need to climb into it. The mattress was about four feet off the floor, well over waist level for her and just at waist level for Spike.

"I have an idea, Spike. Why don't you get lost? I'll call home and let them know we got here, check in with Dawn, then jump in the shower. If I'm in the mood, and you're very lucky, I'll find you later."

Grabbing a pack of blood out of the bag before tossing it in the corner, Spike shed his duster and threw it over one of the banisters of the bed. Buffy just stared in mild reproach as he leapt off the ground, landed in the middle of the bed, and sunk in comfortably.

"Oh yeah. This is what I'm talkin' 'bout. True comfort. Beats that lumpy thing you call a mattress all to hell, lemme tell you."

"This from a vampire who does sleepy time on a cement slab in a crypt. And there's nothing wrong with my mattress, thank you very much!"

Spike grinned at Buffy's mock irritation. He was just pulling her chain and she knew it, just as he knew she wasn't truly upset with him or his prurient suggestions for passing time. They were used to each other, and it was doubtful anything remotely resembling a relationship between the two of them could be sustained if it wasn't for the sniping and the teasing they did. It was too much of a habit to even think about giving it up.

"Go on, luv, call the Watcher and the rest. Tell Little Bit good night for me. I'm just gonna lay here and enjoy a pint, then catch some telly. Look," he pointed out the large armoire against the wall and the television sitting on top of it, "remote control and everythin'. Maybe this place inn't so bad after all."

Buffy smiled wryly. "Such a renaissance man. Give him a television and a bed and he goes all soft and malleable-like."

"You do the responsibility gig. Let me know before you head in for the froth and bubble, you'll find out just how malleable I can be."

Laughing at his persistence, she left the room with a dismissive wave, name calling over her shoulder. "Beast."

"Shrew."

"Monster."

"Harpy."

The Slayer heard his rumbling chuckle follow her out into the other room before the TV switched on. He loved getting the last word. Occasionally she let him have it. He just got lucky that this time was one of those times. She was preoccupied with wanting to touch base with her sister before it got any later.

Walking over to the small table next to the couch, she bent down to pick up the phone when she felt another draft of frigid cold pour over her. It froze her in her tracks. There was something...creepy about it. For the briefest of seconds, she thought she saw her breath as she exhaled, so icy was the surrounding air.

Then, just as quick as it had come, it was gone. The temperature rose and it was once again comfortably warm.

"Okay," she mumbled under her breath, "someone really needs to take a serious look at the heating in this place, 'cuz penguin Buffy? Not a good."

Shaking off a mild case of the wiggins, she picked up the phone and did an ET. She phoned home.

With her back to the door, Buffy didn't notice the glimmer of movement hovering just off the floor in the far corner behind her. Nothing but the faintest shadow of color, really, but it hung for a minute or two before drifting towards the bedroom. Flying up towards the ceiling, it seemed to pause long enough to check out the suite's other occupant.

Spike was in full vamp face, draining one of the many bags of blood he brought with him on the trip. So absorbed with whatever he was watching on television, he didn't notice the intrusion.

It glowed a hot, angry red and shot up through the ceiling before anyone noticed its presence. In a flash it was gone, and the Slayer and the vampire had the suite to themselves for the first time.

The conversation with Dawn and the gang had taken longer than she had anticipated. Forty-five minutes after picking up the phone she laid it back onto the cradle, still smiling in gentle amusement at the antics Dawn had regaled her with. Gone five hours and already Xander had gotten himself in some sort of trouble, trying to humor Dawn by learning some dance steps to the latest all-the-rage boy band's newest video on MTV. Apparently, Grand Master Xan wasn't nearly as coordinated as he'd like to think.

Drafts of icy badness completely forgotten, Buffy headed toward the bedroom with a wide smile on her face. Time to collect Spike for a little showery fun. Speaking to her family had reinvigorated her and the weariness from the trip was nothing but a memory.

"Okay, I'm finished. You want to join-"

Buffy was brought up short by the site that greeted her eyes when she made it into the room. Sprawled out on the bed, fast asleep, was Spike. She noticed the empty bag of blood on the nightstand and the boots casually discarded at the foot of the bed. Crossing her arms over her chest, she couldn't help the tender smile that tugged at the corners of her mouth.

And here I thought vampires were supposed to be creatures of the night, she thought, more amused than irritated. Buffy was well aware that Spike had been up most of the day. Instead of sleeping in preparation of the coming trip, he'd spent a couple of hours holed up with Dawn in the training room at the shop.

He had taken it upon himself lately to work out with her, teaching her some basic self defense moves that would serve her well if she ever had the misfortune of coming up against one of his kind at night. Not that she was ever allowed to be unchaperoned at night in Sunnydale, but Spike knew that fifteen year olds usually find a way to get into trouble. He told Buffy he wanted to make sure Dawn could handle herself if that ever happened.

Buffy didn't have the heart to tell him no, he'd been so adorable when he asked for permission. And it had been so uncharacteristic of him to ask first. That he understood the importance of discussing any activity having to do with her sister told Buffy that he was well aware of just how much Dawn meant to her. There was comfort in that. And confidence that he would never let anything happen to Dawnie. That went a long way with her.

Backing quietly out of the room, wanting to let him get some sleep, she headed toward the bathroom. She could always wake him up after he got a bit of rest, and she really wanted that shower.

Charmed by the antique, claw-footed tub and matching sink, Buffy disrobed in the bathroom, shivering slightly as the cool air slid over her bare skin. She pulled the shower curtain closed and turned on the water, testing it until it was just hot enough to give a pleasant bite, not scalding enough to burn. She liked long, hot showers that filled the bathroom with steam.

As she climbed into the tub, she couldn't help think back to the events four months ago that brought her and Spike together after a year spent pushing him away. She had even died in the interim, but when she came back, the vampire was still there. He'd been helping out her friends and protecting her sister in her absence. Then, when she started patrolling again, he'd just picked up where he left off, following her around. Except this time, because of everything he did and everything he'd given up to help her, she'd let him patrol with her.

He'd been so happy when she came back. She saw it. She ignored it, honestly. And he never pushed. He never told her. Nor did he make any reference to loving her. The last indication that he gave her that he still felt for her had been the night before she died, back at her house. But even without saying the words, or stalking her like he had for so long, she knew it. She knew he loved her. It was just...well...he was a vampire. And as grateful as she was for his help, that was an obstacle that she just couldn't seem to get past. No matter how good looking and dependable said vampire turned out to be.

Funny, though, spending almost every night together for three months, patrolling, fighting together, bickering back and forth, watching each other's back, she started to see the vampire less and less and the man more and more. He would talk to her; tell her stories about his past. Not the horrible ones, but the 'this is who I am' stories you tell to let someone into your world. On the nights when patrolling didn't turn up anything more serious than a wayward raccoon, they could end up talking for hours. She learned a lot about the vampire that had been an enemy for so long.

And when you start knowing someone, really knowing someone, you can't help but see them in a different light than you ever did before. She started liking that new light. Plus, she'd found out that in a lot of ways, they were more alike than she'd ever thought. It was easy to forget that he was an evil killer once. One thing she was certain of, he wasn't that same evil killer any more. And it had nothing to do with the chip in his head, either.

Buffy had a theory. Once Spike started to spend some 'quality time' with his 'happy meals on legs', he had a harder and harder time of seeing them as a food source. It was kinda hard to eat your friends.

That's why the night they had been patrolling four months ago had been such a big surprise. They found three vampires in the cemetery and Buffy waded right in with her stake, fully expecting Spike to do what he'd done every other night, wade in right next to her and get with the dusting and busting. But he hadn't. In fact, he'd hopped up on top of a headstone and watched the show, calmly smoking a cigarette as she fought for her life.

Buffy managed to stake the first vampire, but one of the other two had picked her up and tossed her at Spike's feet. She had glared up at his nonchalant expression even as she was jumping back to her feet.

"Spike, what the hell are you doing?"

The vampire just smiled at her and took another drag. "Enjoyin' the dance, pet."

Buffy was furious but didn't have time to give him the good being killed that he deserved. She had her hands full as it was. She snarled at him as she ducked under one of the attacking vampire's swings. "Think you might want to lend a hand, here?"

"Why? Looks like you're doin' just fine on your own."

The Slayer growled in frustration and pushed her stake home in vampire number two. He dusted in a shower of fine powder.

The last vampire was a big son of a gun, and he and Buffy went a good five rounds before she finally sent him to the same hell she'd sent the other two. Chest heaving, exhausted, as angry as she'd ever been, she spun around to Spike. He was still sitting where he'd been since the beginning.

Tawny eyes flashed fire as she stalked over to him. The fact that he was just smiling at her in genuine amusement did nothing to lighten her mood.

"You want to explain to me just what the hell that was all about?" It was a vicious snarl of a question that lashed out at him.

One casual shrug and a, "Dinn't feel much like fightin'," was enough to push her over the edge and she popped him hard enough to send him flying off his perch.

"Hey now!" Spike popped up, clutching his abused nose. "None of that."

"You're lucky I used my fist instead of my stake, Spike. Don't push your luck. What's with you? There some new 'kick back and relax while Buffy's in trouble' plan I'm not aware of?"

"Oh, please. You weren't in trouble, woman, and you bloody well know it. If you had been, I'd a joined in. You know that, too. I wanted to watch you fight, so I did." When she looked like she might just go for that stake after all, he rushed to explain further. "Listen, pet. You don't need me to protect you. Sure, I watch your back, help you when you need it, but you didn't need it tonight. You know it and I know it. If there'd been four, I woulda been right in there with you. Three you can handle. I like your moves, Summers, felt like watchin' you use 'em. No reason to stake me for it."

Buffy had been completely thrown and totally confused. "Wait. So you're telling me that you didn't fight because you knew I could handle myself."

"Well...yeah. You're the bloody Slayer, aren't you? You can handle yourself just fine."

She was the Slayer, all right, but she'd never had anyone sit back and watch her fight just because he knew she could handle herself. With Riley it had been against his upbringing or something, letting her take care of herself. And Angel...well...no need to go there. This was new. Really new. A guy that trusted her enough to let her fight her own battles, even though he loved her enough to want to make sure she didn't get hurt. Wow.

That was...nice.

That's when it clicked for her. That's the minute she knew she had feelings for Spike. And she surprised the hell out of him when she stormed over to him. He dropped back in a protective stance until she grabbed him by the duster and pulled him into a hot, heavy kiss that left her panting and him weak in the knees.

After the passionate lip-lock, she turned her huge eyes up to his stunned blue ones and smiled. "Thank you."

He'd tried to come up with something to say, but the words just tumbled out of his mouth in garbled disarray. She'd had to silence him with another kiss. When he finally started to get the message...and realized that things had just changed drastically for both of them...he was able to get in a few good kisses of his own.

After that night, they'd spent a lot of time together - not all of it patrolling.

Buffy climbed out of the shower and wrapped a towel around her body. The flood of memories had her grinning like a cat warming itself in a sunbeam. She hadn't told Spike, but there was a very good reason she'd wanted a nice quiet place away from everything this weekend. She wanted to tell him something. She was finally going to tell him that she loved him.

A dance club in San Diego just didn't have the right atmosphere for such a dramatic and momentous announcement.

Grabbing a hand towel off the towel rack next to the sink, Buffy wiped it across the mirror in front of her. She gasped in surprised horror when she saw the figure standing behind her in the mirror's reflection.

Heart pounding, Buffy spun around. She was alone. Oh God. In the mirror...she could have sworn. She thought she saw...

Goosebumps were prickling her skin and she shivered. Slowly turning back to the mirror, almost afraid of what she would see, Buffy finally looked at the reflection.

Blood. Everywhere. Dripping down her throat from a wound on her neck. Saturating her towel. Her eyes flew wide, she tried to breathe, but the waterlogged air couldn't get into her lungs fast enough. Pale. She was so pale. She looked...she looked dead. He's going to kill you. That's what he does. The words popped into her brain and hung there, like the mist in the room, before slowly dissipating. She was so cold. Icy cold. Kill you like he killed me. Evil. He's evil. Devil's spawn.

Buffy's last thought was an automatic denial to the perversity of the images and the words in her head before her eyes rolled back and she collapsed in a heap on the ceramic tile of the bathroom floor.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Spike jolted awake. Something wasn't right. His predator senses were on full alert and his game face emerged. Flicking a quick glance at the clock, he noted that he'd been asleep for almost two hours. Going on pure instinct, he leapt from the bed and landed in a fight-ready crouch. Gold eyes scanned the room but came up empty.

Where was Buffy?

That's when he noticed it. The scent. Blood. Slayer's blood. He could tell, there was no mistaking it. Panic clutched at his stomach as he followed his senses out of the bedroom and across to the closed bathroom door. Not bothering to knock, he burst into the room and started in surprise.

Buffy lay in a heap on the floor, towel wrapped around her, blood pooling on the tile from a wound on her forehead. Noticing the smudge of red on the sink, he figured she must have fallen and slammed her head hard enough to knock herself out.

He knelt at her side, worried and confused. He could hear her heart beating, slow and strong, and he turned her over on her back.

"Buffy, wake up, girl." He shook her gently. When she didn't respond right away, he leapt up and grabbed a washcloth off the rack and ran some cool water over it. Pressing it to the gash at her hairline, he tried again.

"Buffy, come on now. Time to rise and shine, pet!"

Her eyelids fluttered and finally opened, but she almost screamed when she looked up at him. It made him jump, and then he realized he still had the bumpy forehead and fang thing going on. Shaking it off, he tried to comfort her.

"Shh now, luv. It's just me. Good ole Spike. You know I won't hurt you. Couldn't even if I wanted to, what with being neutered and all."

Buffy sat up so fast her head spun and she reached frantically for her neck. Spike watched in confusion as she pulled herself to her feet and stared hard into the mirror. She looked like she was checking out her throat for wounds, but it was her head that was bleeding. It didn't make sense.

When the girl sunk down on the toilet in relief, he cautiously got off his knees and crossed to her. She was shaking. Trembling so violently her teeth were chattering together. One huge tear dropped from her eye and traced its way down her right cheek. He moved to intercept its path and gently wiped it away.

"Here now, are you alright?"

Looking up at him with frightened eyes she said, "No, Spike. Alright is nowhere near where I am right now. Something is wrong with this place. There's something here, in the house, and I'm not talking cold drafts. It...I don't know what it did...attacked me, I think."

Spike could see she was serious and scared. He didn't know what had happened...yet...but he believed her.

"Well, we won't be givin' it a second chance. Come on," he lifted her into his arms and carried her toward the bedroom, "lets get you into some clothes, then you can tell me what happened."

So much for the bloody vacation, he thought, and then he grew very grim. Whatever it is, its got one mightily pissed off vampire to deal with now. And deal with me it will.

His arms closed possessively around the young woman in his arms. They'd beat it together, just like they did everything else.


Continued in Chapter Two

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