AN: Thank you everyone for your lovely feedback so far! I hope the next instalment doesn't disappoint. Keep it coming and enjoy!

Time Bomb

By Secret Slayer

Chapter Five

Buffy was vaguely aware that she was dreaming.

Professor Walsh was talking about something Buffy couldn't quite understand. She was zoning in and out of focus, Riley, the TA, grabbing more of her attention than the professor. He was a nice guy and she liked him. He was wonderfully normal and simple and ... safe.

Buffy was disrupted from her staring when she heard her name. Professor Walsh had called her to the front for a demonstration. Buffy looked around in surprise. She hoped this demonstration hadn't required her to have any idea what the lecture was about. The slayer stood, smoothing down her blue top. She nervously glanced to Willow, who smiled gently, encouraging her to the front.

"A typical college girl," Walsh said. She turned to Buffy as she reached the front, "Lie down on my desk."

Buffy quirked an eyebrow and laughed awkwardly. She was painfully aware of everyone in the auditorium watching her. "What?"

A smile that should have been comforting, but somehow felt anything but, crossed Professor Walsh's face. "Go ahead, you're perfectly safe."

Buffy nodded meekly and then perched on the edge of the large wooden desk. She anxiously looked at her audience one last time, before taking a deep, steadying breath and lowering herself back on the desk until she rested on her elbows. She didn't trust the situation to lie back completely and leave herself vulnerable – vulnerable to what, she didn't know.

"Riley, if you could oblige," Walsh said.

"Don't think so luv."

Buffy's head snapped to the crowd. Spike sat behind Willow like he had been sitting there all along. He was slouched back comfortably, his feet resting on the back of her own unoccupied chair and his arms folded behind his head. Had he been there all along? The rest of the students began to whisper and Willow winked at Buffy. The slayer frowned at her friend, but her attention was pulled back to the vampire, who suddenly stood, his face angry and intense. For a moment, Buffy panicked, expecting him to vamp out, but he didn't.

Professor Walsh laughed and applauded the vampire with approval. "Are you volunteering Hostile 17?"

"Spike, what the hell are you doing here?" Buffy hisses.

The vampire looked confused, "I think I was sent here."

Buffy knew that he was alluding to more than his cameo in her dream. For the first time since the future vampire's arrival, she truly believed he had been sent to their time for a reason, no matter how accidental the circumstances appeared.

Professor Walsh sighed impatiently, nodding towards Buffy."Be a good boy then."

Spike glared at the woman and Buffy barely noticed Riley melt back into the shadows. A cold chill ran over the slayer. She felt anything but safe, but the vampire wasn't the danger – her sudden attraction to him was. Spike turned his head very slowly and deliberately to look into Buffy's eyes. She froze, shocked by the amount of emotion and depth behind them. She had always thought of his blue eyes to be icy and cold, the eyes of a killer, but that changed instantly. She had never felt so warm and, there was that word again, safe. Her attraction was no longer dangerous, it was enticing.

"Spike, what are you doing?" Her voice was almost a whisper.

He silently walked to her side. She watched him closely, her heart hammering in her chest. He was close enough that his unnecessary breaths were tickling the skin on her face. His hand reached out cautiously and Buffy noticed his fingers trembling as he gently placed a hand on her waist. She sensed his uncharacteristic vulnerability and she smiled at him, placing her own hand over his. He looked at her with shock and she reached up with her other hand to gently stroke his face. His eyes fluttered shut blissfully.

"This doesn't feel as strange as it should," Buffy said.

Spike leant forward, noticeably more confident and rested his forehead against hers. "Maybe it's not supposed to feel strange," his voice was husky.

When their lips met, Buffy felt the world around them disappear into a darkness they wouldn't return from and only they remained in the light. Buffy pulled away from the kiss, but kept her arm around him. She turned her head back to look towards the corridor where she could hear a girlish humming. She also noticed all of her classmates were gone and everywhere but where the desk was, was shrouded in shadow.

"I need to know what that noise is," Buffy said dreamily.

Spike nodded and wordlessly stood back. She swung her legs off of the edge of the desk and jumped down.

"Fortune favours the brave," she whispered as she headed towards the dark corridor. "Do you hear that?"

Spike chuckled and Buffy frowned at him. "I've heard it all before luv."

And then Spike was gone and Buffy was alone in the corridor, apart from a little girl at the far end. Buffy cocked her head to the side and noticed the little girl holding a wooden box with odd carvings on the surface. The little girl started to sing.

"Can't even shout, Can't even cry, the gentlemen are coming by, looking in windows, knocking on doors. They need to take seven, and they might take yours. Can't call to mom, can't say a word. You're gonna die screaming but you won't be heard."

She sensed Spike materialise behind her and he reached out to touch her, but when she turned to look at him, she was met with the wicked smiling face of a demon in a suit.

Buffy flinched awake.

"So I'll see you all Monday for a final review session," Professor Walsh announced.

Buffy looked to Willow guiltily. The red head was already packing her books into her bag. "Man that was an exciting class, huh? And the last twenty minutes was a revelation. It just laid out everything we need to know for the final. I'd hate to have missed that."

Buffy grabbed her books and hugged them to her chest. She rolled her eyes at her friend's teasing. "Just tell me I didn't snore."

Willow laughed, "Very discreet, minimal drool."

Buffy sighed with relief and they began to walk out of the classroom together. Buffy caught sight of Riley starting to follow them.

"So were you dreaming?" Willow asked.

Buffy nodded, blushing slightly as flashes of her dream encounter came to mind. "Yeah, it was kind of intense... and disturbing and ... all kinds of wrong."

Willow quirked an eyebrow at her friend and playfully jabbed Buffy in the side with her elbow. "Was their kissage?"

"Ah she looked too peaceful for that."

Buffy and Willow parted as Riley stepped between them, giving Buffy a goofy smile. Buffy felt a twinge of guilt as she thought back to the way Riley had been so easily dismissed in her dream. Why was Spike interrupting her sleep anyway? Stupid vampire.

"I actually need to see someone," Buffy said quickly.

She liked Riley. She liked him a lot, but that dream had meant something and she had a gut feeling the guy with the answers was currently sitting in her house, sipping hot cocoa with her mother.

"Oh, okay," Riley said. He looked like a kicked puppy.

"I'll catch you guys later."

Buffy swerved down another corridor and practically ran to the exit.


"I will never get used to this."

Buffy leant against the doorframe that separated her kitchen from the hallway. Joyce was leaning back against the fridge, a glass of something fizzy in her hands, whilst Spike sat on a stool around the island. A quick glance at the little marshmallows floating on top of the beverage told Buffy exactly what he was drinking.

"Oh Buffy, don't be dramatic," Joyce sighed.

Spike gave the slayer a pointed look, "You should listen to your mother, luv."

"Shut up Spike."

Buffy rolled her eyes and walked into the kitchen.

"To what do we owe this pleasure, pet?" Spike asked.

"I thought you had more classes," Joyce said with a frown, but then she smiled slyly. "Did you get a chance to talk to Riley?"

Spike snorted into his hot chocolate. Both women looked at him with raised eyebrows.

"Something you wanna share Spike?" Buffy asked impatiently, crossing her arms over her chest.

Spike squeezed his eyes shut. Oh, how easily it would be to keep soldier boy and Buffy separated, but that wasn't his decision to make. He wasn't going to manipulate the slayer. She needed to live her life and fall for him on her own, if indeed, that was ever going to happen. He could only hope.

"No. Nothing," he grumbled.

Buffy eyed him suspiciously, before she sat on the stool beside him and her mother poured her a drink and placed it before her. Buffy smiled gratefully and took a sip, before looking at the vampire who was slumped over his drink, suddenly looking very depressed and troubled. Maybe she was imagining it, but she could definitely sense jealousy and a hint of hurt at the mention of Riley.

Spike looked out of the corner of his eye. Why was she staring at him? Maybe he was making his inner turmoil a little too obvious. He needed to snap out of it. Brooding was his grandsire's hobby.

He straightened his shoulders and gulped down the last of his drink. Bufy was still watching so he turned to her.

"See something you like, pet?" he leered. His blue eyes brought back instant memories of her dream, of being engaged to him – of things that a slayer shouldn't remember.

Buffy glared at him, "You're a pig, Spike. Even with a soul."

"Buffy!" Joyce scolded. "Apologise to our guest."

"Mom, Spike isn't a guest... he's a ... well, he's... okay, so he is a guest, but I'm not apologising. He started it! What's wrong with Riley?"

Spike raised an eyebrow, surprised how bothered she seemed at his obvious disapproval of the man.

"He's evil."

"Really? I knew it! No one's that... polite."

Spike gave the slayer an exasperated look and Buffy blushed, realising he was messing with her.

"That's not funny," she chided.

Spike shrugged and stood from his stool. He walked over to the fridge, pouring himself out a pint of blood. Joyce casually handed him a box of Wheet-a-bix. Buffy's face scrunched up in disgust.

"Okay Mom, no more bonding with the vampire." Spike crumbled some of the food into his blood, "Ewww."

Spike rolled his eyes, retaking his seat by the island. Buffy suddenly remembered that this wasn't a social visit.

"I think something demonic is about to happen," she explained. "I had a dream about a box and there was this creepy guy with a serious dental problem."

There was instant recognition on the vampire's face and Buffy watched him expectantly.

"The gentlemen. Bugger." Spike slid off the stool and began pacing.

"How do I stop them? What do they want?"

"They steal voices and cut out hearts," Spike replied. He looked thoughtful, clearly trying to remember something. It was strange, he thought, how his memories seemed so much cloudier since arriving in the past. Perhaps it was his brain reminding him he didn't belong there. "Something to do with a fairytale. The princess, that would be you, needs to scream to break the spell. You also need to destroy the box."

Buffy nodded, "Right, where do I find the box?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean, you don't know?"

Spike shrugged, scratching the back of his neck. "I wasn't there. I only know from what I overheard. I wasn't exactly trusted back then to be invited to your little Scooby meetings, unless they happened to be wherever you were tying me up at the time."

Buffy sighed, "Fine. I'll call Giles and see if he knows anything."

Silence fell over the kitchen and Joyce coughed awkwardly. "Well, I'm going to the gallery. You kids have fun."

Buffy's eyes went wide, "You're leaving us alone?"

Joyce laughed and Spike smirked at the slayer's discomfort around him. She had been skittish ever since the magical engagement. He took that as a good sign.

"I'm sure you'll be fine Buffy. Goodbye Spike."

"See you around Joyce." Once Joyce was out of sight, Spike clapped his hands together, making Buffy jump. His face lit up with an excited grin. "Fancy a bit of rough and tumble?"

"What?!"

"Training, luv," he clarified and then smirked, "Not sure where your minds at, but if you want..."

The vampire trailed off deliberately, loving the way Buffy blushed, but still gave him her best galre. It was almost deadly enough to stake him.

"A world of no Spike," Buffy said. "Our little magical engagement still gives me nightmares."

Okay, Buffy had to admit, she was having anything but nightmares recalling Willow's spell, but she wasn't willing to admit that to herself, let alone the cocky vampire before her.

"Of course," Spike replied, smirking at her knowingly.

Buffy glared back, "Oh, I'm so going to enjoy wiping that look off your face."


"Don't let your guard down!"

Buffy aimed a punch to his nose, but Spike swerved to the side easily. She launched her other fist at his face, but he ducked and span, moving behind her. Buffy brought up her elbow and managed to pull it back and land it on his jaw. He grunted and stumbled back a little. She used the short time to spin towards him, but he was ready for it. He blocked the following blows and Buffy groaned with frustration, upping her game. She grabbed him by the lapels and there was a brief moment when Spike wondered if she was going to kiss him – wishful thinking. She lifted him over her head and flipped him onto his back. She jumped on top of him, pulling out her stake, but he caught her wrist as she brought it down, using his strength to reverse their positions. He looked down at her and she went limp with exhaustion.

He stood and helped her up.

"I suck," she pouted. "How did you get that fast? And strong?"

Spike shrugged modestly, "You don't suck Buffy. You're the best fighter I know."

Buffy's smile beamed, "Really? Well, clearly I need more practice."

"You'll get there. S'all about experience."

Buffy nodded and grabbed her water bottle and towel. She dabbed her forehead. She had never been able to train with someone who could challenge her so much. She couldn't stop the smile twitching at her lips. It was fun! Her heart was pounding in her chest and her adrenaline was humming in her veins and even though she couldn't beat Spike, she could feel the instant benfits of training with him. She was already faster.

"This doesn't feel as strange as it should," Buffy suddenly said. "I feel like we've always done this."

Buffy briefly realised she had repeated her words from her dream and she looked away from the vampire, ignoring the memories of kissing him. Bad Buffy.

"What's that?"

"Me and you. Fighting. It's always felt more like..."

"Dancing?" Spike smirked.

Buffy smiled and nodded, "Exactly."

A genuine look of acceptance passed between them and Buffy ducked her head demurely.

"It's nice. Finally having someone I don't have to hold back with," Buffy admitted.

She felt guilty saying it, as though she was badmouthing the friends who had always supported her. Wait... friends... crap, Willow!

"What time is it?," she asked.

"I dunno, we've been down here for hours..."

"Hours?!"

"Well yeah... It's dark out. I'd say around ten, give or take an hour."

"Did you just use some weird vampire time-telling thing?"

"Yeah," Spike smiled with amusement, "That and there's a clock behind your head."

Buffy turned and saw the clock she had never noticed before. "Oh."

She slumped her shoulders. Willow wouldn't be awake now. How could they have been fighting for hours? Where had the time gone? She would have to make it up to her friend in the morning. A cupcake and some girl talk should do the trick.

"I might as well stay here tonight," Buffy sighed. "I'll head back in the morning and do some serious grovelling."

"She'll forgive you pet."

Buffy opened her mouth, but when she went to reply, nothing came out of her mouth. She tried again and Spike watched her as though she had lost her mind. He opened his mouth, but no noise came from him either. He tried once more, before he sighed.

Buffy mouthed, "What's going on?"

Spike looked around and his eyes lit up when he saw some paper and a pen abandonded on a crate at the far side of the basement. He strode over and scribbled down his response.

"We forgot to call Giles," it read. Buffy frowned. "The gentlemen are here."

TBC...

AN: Okay, so this story is tricky, because I want to put those crazy kids together already, but I know it's too early! I think there are enough repressed feelings and blossoming friendships to keep us going for now though, right? Hope you enjoyed... I'm excited to write the next chapter as obviously dialogue will be sparse... so how else will Buffy and Spike communicate? Hmm... Please review, I hope you liked... thanks for reading!