Hyper Spike Challenge - as issued by Tazzy
What would the Scoobies do with a hyper Spike? We're talking a two year old
after eating all the Halloween candy, sugar instead of blood in the veins, five
double espressos, hyper.

This can include any rating from G to NC-17 and cover any and all pairings. All I
ask is that you let me know where the story is posted so I can read it.

A Tale of Two Tiggers

Author: Lucinda
Rating: pg?, pg 13?
Main Characters; Spike, Willow
Disclaimer: I do not own anyone from BtVS. Don't own the energizer bunny either.
Distribution: WLS, Bite Me, SoulMates, WWW, YourMission
summary: response to the Hyper-Spike challenge
notes: Set in S4, so Spike is chipped. Willow is NOT dating Tara.


Giles was horrified, and a bit afraid. Somehow, Spike had managed to send himself into a sugar-high, and as a result, the vampire was incredibly hyper, with more energy than that ridiculous pink rabbit from the commercials. He'd managed to have Spike help him rearrange some furniture, and convinced Spike to spar with Buffy, having discovered that Spike could do that without setting off the chip.

Buffy had collapsed in exhaustion after going through boxing, staff work, swords, and some basic unarmed moves. She was draped over his chair, still gasping for breath, sweat glistening on her face and arms. Xander and Anya might have had some influence on Spike managing this appalling sugar rush, they had looked a bit guilty as they had made a frantic escape from his apartment, Anya's hurried comment of 'Got to go, need orgasms.' had sounded a bit... off, as if it was not the real excuse for leaving.

Spike was standing in his living room, his whole body quivering with energy, humming some rock song softly to himself, his head bobbing a bit in time with the words. He didn't look tired at all.

What could they possibly do that they hadn't already tried?

"Wait, I remember I saw a picture of that bloody smelly demon in one of those books!" With that exclamation, Spike bounded towards the shelf of demon books, pulling a book off the shelf, rapidly flipping the pages, glancing bare fractions of a second at each page. With a small growl, he dropped the book to the floor, literally, and reached for another. "I know I saw that face, and since the Slayer can't look through the books..." Another old tome fell to the carpet with a thump.

Giles winced, almost physically pained by the abuse his books were suffering. Something had to be done about Spike. But what could they do? He was helping them, so they really shouldn't stake him. Buffy was so exhausted that she would be of no help, Xander and Anya had fled the scene, and he had no ideas. Who else could he turn to? He needed to find a way to protect his house from the vampire.

There was a tap at the door, causing Spike to drop yet another book so that he could dart to the door and fling it open. "Hello, hello, we don't want to buy any magazines... Willow! Hey, Giles, Slayer, it's Willow! Come in, come in, don't just stand there gaping, you're letting out all the watcher's carefully Brit-ified air."

Willow stepped into the house, her eyes wide and confused as she glanced from Spike to Giles, and staring with wide eyes at the pile of books on the floor. "Umm... Xander called and said there was a disaster? What happened?"

"Sugar frosted Honey smacks, with blood. And some of this honey-mead that Anya brought over to try to lighten up Giles... and two jelly donuts... and umm... some chocolate because there wasn't any cocoa." Spike was standing right behind Willow, still bouncing a bit on his toes with a big overly cheerful smile on his face.

"What! I thought Xander ate the last jellies... You mean to say that it was you?!" Giles voice was a mix of anger and surprise, with a hint of dismay. Everyone knew that the jelly donuts were his favorite.

"Uh-huh. And you're out of the little chocolate snack cakes that Xapper was hiding in your kitchen." Spike's expression was entirely unrepentant.

Willow looked at Spike, and then at the exhausted form of Buffy, now asleep and snoring slightly. "Giles? Is this the emergency? Spike on a sugar-rush? Umm, make that hyperactive Spike on a sugar rush? There's no big prophecy, no scary big demon?"

"Hey! I'll have you know that I'm very scary... I'm the big bad!" Spike's indignant comment was almost drowned out by Giles words.

"Yes there is! Spike! With far too much sugar in his system... I'm not even sure he'd bleed blood right now... probably pink tinted sugar water."

Giles dropped onto the couch with a sigh, polishing his spotlessly gleaming glasses yet again. "I assure you, he's been every bit as terrifying as a major demon or apocalyptic prophecy. I'm at a complete dead end as to what we do with him. I had him help rearrange the furniture of my house, and he sparred with Buffy until she dropped... and he's still bouncing like that horrible pink bunny on the battery commercials."

Smiling with relief, Willow patted Giles' hand gently, and spoke in a soft, soothing tone. "Don't worry, I can take the bouncing vampire off your hands. There's a circus down the street that will pay good money for him."

Turning to Spike, she spoke again, her voice sounding much more cheerful and enthusiastic. "Come on Spike, let's go before you break the Watcher."

The two of them walked out the door, looking surprisingly cheerful and bouncy. Spike looked very excited and leaned over to whisper into Willow's ear. "Really a circus? You aren't just teasing him, are you?"

Hearing her giggle madly in response, Giles felt a new terrible suspicion bloom into his mind. When he asked the question, his voice was rather weak, as if he wasn't certain that he really wanted an answer. "Willow? Have you been drinking caffeine?"

Willow stopped, spinning around to look at Giles, a wide smile on her face. "Me, drinking caffeine? You know Buffy gets all cranky when I drink coffee. But there's this wonderful thing they make for college students... it's called No-Doze. Caffeine and sugar in a neat little pill... we had several at my study group. Taste like peppermints. See you later!"

Giles watched as they left, the two of them whispering to each other and gesturing wildly. He suddenly felt the need to just go to bed and hide. "Dear God, what have I unleashed on this unsuspecting town?"

end part 1.

As the pair of then proceeded down the street, half walking, half dancing, and just a bit of bouncing thrown in, Spike suddenly looked at Willow, a question in his eyes. "Why does Fluffy get cranky if you have coffee? How can you tell the difference? She's always threatening to stake me..."

"She gets this exasperated look of annoyance, and tells me all about how bad for my system caffeine is... how it makes me all jittery and nervous... She thinks it makes me talk too much and faster. Then she says when I get all twitchy and jumpy she starts looking for baddies to kill, but it's just me having too much coffee, and we forbid her to kill the coffee maker."

"I didn't think Giles had a coffee maker." Spike had this calculating look now, one that said he was planning something.

"Yep... except that Buffy hid it in an effort to keep me from coffee... she said she put it into the back of Giles closet, next to a pair of leather boots and a pair of handcuffs. Why does Giles have handcuffs in his closet anyhow, and do I really want to know the answer... umm, never mind, I don't want to know... ever. Buffy only threatens to stake you because... umm... I think it's because you're a vampire." Willow's commentary rambled, her final expression oddly serious.

"Yes! I am a vampire! A big scary vampire with scary sharp teefeses... Wait a minute, Paingel was a vampire and she didn't go around threatening him!" Spike's jubilant shout turned into a puzzled question.

"No more Monty Python and the Holy Grail... wait a minute, you were watching the Holy Grail without me! I'm going to have to hurt Xander for that, he knows how much I love that movie! Was he trying to make Anya jump into his lap at the killer rabbit? When it came to Angel, Buffy lived in denial-land."

"It was Giles' copy. Anya made me turn it off when they showed up... scared of the bunny. So I had chocolate... and the jellies... and a few other bits. Can I help you hurt him? please? It's been a long time since I got to hurt someone... I can do those bloody puppy eyes..." Spike sounded almost gleeful at the idea of hurting Xander.

"So we can blame your sugar high on Xander and Anya... sounds good to me. If they're together we probably want to make him pay later, when he and Anya aren't... busy. I do not want to walk in on THAT!" Willow shuddered.

"Oh, bad image, luv! That's not even something I want to imagine... let me go back to thinking about pain for him... OUCH! I hate this chip... hate it, hate it... Can't even imagine a proper torture without it zapping me..." Spike's complaints faded into grumbles.

"I'm not... Not you're love, 'cause I think that was Dru. I'm not anyone's love. I tried to be Oz's love, but he left... Willow's eyes dropped, and she studied the sidewalk at her feet, noticing a little crack that lead over to the side, passing under Spike's boots and leading to a tree root to the left of the sidewalk.

"Don't love Dru anymore. I've come to the conclusion that she must not have loved me or else how could she have done all that? Slept with all those people... a Chaos demon, and a Fungus demons, for pity's sake! And that wolf had to have been a fool, running off like that... Wonder if I can think about torturing him?"

Spike's efforts to cheer Willow up caused a small smile. "If you don't love Dru anymore, is there someone that you love, or are you just sort of using it as a British 'hey you' sort of thing? What's up with that anyhow, luv and ducks and pet? It almost makes me think you have some sort of issue." She paused, looking around as she gathered her thoughts back from Oz and pain and loneliness.

"I do not want to spend tonight moping and miserable because Oz was a cowardly cheating mutt. And I don't want to think about Psychology. We are going to go see that carnival... although they were still setting things up earlier. Now, are you with me?"

"Sounds like a plan, luv. I'm with you... now on to the carnival..." Spike bounded ahead, resembling a tailless Tigger. "And I don't know where it is. Lead on."

Willow giggled at the expression on Spike's face, one of dismay and bewilderment, as he stood on the sidewalk, tapping his toes as he hummed some rock song that Willow couldn't recognize, his eyes bright with energy and enthusiasm as he scanned the street. "This way, it's over near the college."

Both smiling, they set off again towards the college, talking about carnivals and what they thought might be there.

"I know there will be games, with little toys, things like throwing darts and balls and rings... and squirt guns and, oh, if they have one of those strength test hammer things I bet you could win a big prize!" Willow's voice was almost crackling with enthusiasm.

"You bet I could! I could hit that thing so hard the bell wakes up the neighbors! Think they'll have the rides that spin you around in circles? Maybe the ones with the giant teacups to sit in?"

"Those always make me think of Alice in Wonderland... shrink down to tiny size... can that really happen? I mean, being put small enough to fit into a teacup?"

"I really don't know... If it's possible, it'll show up here, over the nasty Hellmouth. Dru never wanted to ride those things, said she was afraid that someone would drink her right up."

"Look, see! It's the carnival, and they have some tents, and the rides, and the little booths for the games... do you think they'll have cotton candy? And the supposed to be homemade fudge?" Willow's excitement bubbled up.

"Yeah! Hey, they're starting to test the rides! Maybe we can sneak in and slip on them while they're testing?" Spike's voice was filled with mischief.

"I have the feeling that's not a good Willow thing to do... sounds like fun. Got to be careful not to get caught though. Buffy'd flip..." Willow's voice trailed off.

"She can't. I wore her out earlier... No Buffy panicking and screaming and threatening to stake us." Spike sounded smug.

"Oh, yeah, she was snoring and everything. Let's go." Willow's smile was delighted.

end part 2.

It was simple enough to slip into the carnival grounds, there were no walls or fences to keep people out, only the darkness of night and tangles of cords and cables and ropes running here and there to trip the unwary. They were no obstacle at all for Willow or Spike. Wandering towards the rides, they found a booth with bags of cotton candy, although there was nobody inside.

"Hey, Spike? Does cotton candy sound good to you? All sweet and sticky and just melting in your mouth..." Willow's eyes had lit up at the sight.

"Don't think I've ever had any before... How's it go with blood?" Spike's voice was partly teasing, and partly thoughtful.

Willow giggled. "Silly... it's spun sugar, with a little food coloring. If you put it in blood it would just sort of melt away, and your blood would be all sugary. Here, lift me up, I want some. I'll just leave them... three dollars a bag? Isn't that a bit steep?"

"Pure sugar? Well... that would be different. Here, put the money there, I'll lift you up. I want to try this stuff." Spike put actions to his words, and lifted Willow up so that she could reach the plump bags of sugary goodness dangling tauntingly out of reach.

They ended up with two, one in pale yellow and the other in soft blue, both colors the soft pastel of diluted water color paints. Willow opened her bag quickly, her eyes bright with anticipation. Pulling out a handful of the soft threadlike confection, she bit off a chunk, her eyes lowering in pure sugar induced bliss.

"Mmmmm. Try some?" She held out another handful to Spike, as if offering some forbidden fruit, her expression full of amusement and excitement.

He looked at it for a moment, as if debating the advantages or disadvantages of tasting the sugary fluff. Coming to a decision, he leaned forward, nibbling the fluff from her hand, ending with gently nipping the last clinging bits from her fingertips, a smug smile settling on his face as he swallowed the last little sweetness. "Now that was good. Ready for those rides now?"

Willow stared at him for several moments, wondering exactly what had caused Spike to nibble the cotton candy from her fingers. Had he been merely pursuing the last shreds of sugar? Had he been nibbling what he could not bite, remembering his more violent days? Or maybe, just maybe, he had done it in an effort to stir something up inside of her. It was normally difficult to figure out his motivation, but right now, it was impossible.

Shaking her head, she nibbled on another chunk of spun sugar, wondering if she could taste a hint of Spike clinging to her fingers. What had he said after trying to shut down her mind? Oh, right, the rides. "Of course I'm ready for the rides."

They rode the giant spinning teacups four times through, only partly because they were having so much fun spinning the teacup around and tossing random literary quotations back and forth. The other part was that they couldn't sneak away until the operators weren't looking. They left the empty bag that had once held pale golden sugar behind, tied in a complex knot around the seatbelt, a parting gift from Spike. They were giggling madly, an image of Dru as the Mad Hatter looking at them all shrunken to the size of sugar cubes in the bottom of her tea.

With frequent ineffective shushing noises, they crept along the row of tents and booths, looking for the next ride to sneak onto. Finally, they settled on one that resembled a large octopus, with small closed bubbles at the ends of the tentacles, which would spin in circles while each main arm lifted and sank in an alternating pattern.

"How about that one, Spike? The bubble thingies for people to ride in are smallish and dark enough that they won't see us." Willow's whisper carried easily to the vampire.

Swallowing a mouthful of the blue cotton candy, he nodded slightly before realizing that she couldn't see him. "Are you sure it's just a ride? I'm pretty sure I saw something similar in one of Tweedy's books... I'm not going to feed myself to a giant land living octopus demon."

"Nope, not a demon. Too many cables and power cords... so, quick, that one right there before the guy comes back!" Her words were low in volume, but there was a great deal of intensity.

Sprinting across the grassy area, the two sugar fueled bodies were securely belted into the compartment and the door softly closed before the operator could return. Grinning wildly as they were lifted starwards, nobody noticed their joyful laughter as it floated away on the night breeze. Perhaps it went unnoticed because it was so different from the normal sounds carried on the night wind in Sunnydale.

end part 3.

They were both dizzy and staggering by the time the octopus like ride had halted long enough for them to make their escape. They made their uneven way into the group of games, looking at the colorful signs claiming that the game was easy, advertising a small prize for three rings, a medium prize for two small ones, and a large prize for two mediums. Many of the game booths were still barren, the rows of hooks and shelves empty. Others had clusters of animals hanging in large mesh bags, with little legs sticking out some of the holes and plush fur making the whole mass look like some giant fuzzy fruit collected under the moonlight.

"I don't think they're ready for me. Nobody's here to give me prizes." Spike sounded a bit amused and disappointed.

"Maybe they've heard about you and they're all hiding? People often seem to hide when you make your first entrance. When you crashed the Parent-Teacher conferences, I ended up hiding in the closet with Cordelia. It was horrible, absolutely the most horrible, miserable experience of my life."

"Red, you're babbling again. Wait, hiding in a closet was worse than when I kidnapped you and dragged you and Chubs off to the factory? Should I be insulted?" Spike sounded a bit indignant.

"Yes, three hours in the closet with Cordelia was much worse than being kidnapped. Either kidnapping actually. She spent a long time praying for God to get her through this because there was supposed to be this really awesome sale that weekend... Faith and the Mayor just locked me up, and there were a few threats of bodily harm. You threatened to kill Xander, complained about Dru cheating with a Chaos Demon, and debated eating me." Willow managed to sound as if being kidnapped and threatened was an almost ordinary event for her.

"Shopping? She needed to live so she could go shopping? Is she entirely daft? Wait, this is the same chit who's in Los Angeles now? The one working with Angel?"

"That's her. Apparently, she's changed since she moved to LA. At least, that's what Angel says. I talked him into giving me an email address to reach him with. I get an email about every week... keeps me up to date on what he's doing. I want to know if there's ever a return of the Angelus that we saw in Sunnydale. He was... scary and unbalanced and tried to end the world. Said it was a good thing that you used that crowbar, by the way, but it still hurt." Willow was studying her shoe, which had split along the toe, leaving a hole.

"He always has to have a high maintenance woman around... Next email, tell him I'll bash him upside the head with a crowbar anytime. I think he's getting masochistic in his old age." Spike sounded as if he was trying not to laugh.

"Maybe he thinks the suffering is good for his redemption. Personally, I think there are a lot of things he could do other than sit in a dark office brooding. Things that would be a lot more productive, maybe even help people. I think he's afraid to deal with people." She sounded almost distracted, as if the analysis of Angel's problems were simply a question for her psychology homework.

"Probably doesn't know how to play nice with others. He never had very nice motives in the good old times, when we were the Scourge of Europe... It was always killing and a spot of bloodletting... All sorts of things that he doesn't do with a soul."

"uugghh... This talk has gotten all serious and gloomy. I did not sneak out here in the middle of the night to figure out why Angel mopes all the time. We're smart... we've got to be able to do better than this." She had narrowed her eyes in frustration.

A grin slowly spread over Spike's face. It was full of mischief and a bit of wicked amusement. "Right... something better. I got something better for you... TAG!!"

Willow staggered as his hand pushed against her shoulder, the force of it causing her to take a few steps backwards. Tag with Spike? Tag, in the dark edges of Sunnydale, with a Master Vampire... that would be much more interesting than talking about Angel brooding in a dark room. It was also the sort of thing that she would never cheerfully agree to if it hadn't been Spike. Maybe she had a small bit of insanity, but she had stopped being afraid of Spike at some point.

Regaining her balance, at least physically, Willow grinned wildly, the sugar singing in her blood. She had a vampire to find.

end part 4.

She crept through the trees, her eyes bright and her lips curved into a playful smile. "Ohh, Spi-ike? Where are you? Come out, come out wherever you are..." Her voice carried through the clear night air.

A twig snapped behind her, accompanied by the sound of grass and leaves shuffling. There was no way that Spike had made that much noise, Willow was certain of it. She tugged at her sleeve, causing the small wooden stake to fall into her hand. Sighing slightly, she turned to see what was intent on ruining her evening of fun.

She recognized Shawn Westing, someone that had been a grade ahead of her, and actually in the computer class that she'd taught for a while. Except that she'd never seen him before in clothing that was torn and stained and had dirt filling in the creases. Long, dirt crusted nails that could pass for claws were on his hands, and hair was a tangled, tousled mess, with some dirt caught in it. He lifted his face looking at her, and she heard a small growl pass from his lips, coming around a mouthful of uneven pointed teeth, and he glared at her from sullen yellow eyes. Clearly, he was recently turned, either that or he'd become an extremely dull minion. He also seemed to expect her to be cowering in fear.

"You are not the vampire that I am looking for." Willow felt a bit annoyed, and lunged forward with her stake, a move she'd adapted from her fencing class, piercing his heart in a smooth, swift thrust.

He even had time to look up at her with stunned disbelief before he turned to dust. Willow paused, listening carefully for any other sounds. There was something, or maybe just a ghost of a noise that way. Still holding the stake, just in case, she moved towards the noise.

When did I start going TOWARDS strange noises in the dark instead of away from them like a sensible person? Do I even want to know what's making that noise? What if it isn't Spike? Willow had a number of thoughts circling through her mind as she approached the sound, as quietly as she could manage.

Creeping to the edge of a small clearing, she peered carefully towards the source of the noise, and her jaw dropped. Standing on a patch of stone was Spike, his duster dropped into a pile, along with his tee shirt. He had a pair of headphones over his ears, with the small cassette player clipped to the waistband of his pants, the dark wires trailing over his muscled stomach. He had his eyes closed, and was dancing on the rock, his lips moving and his head bobbing to a fast beat.

For a moment, all she could do was stare. He looked... amazing. And then, she recognized the song. He was listening White Wedding by Billy Idol, and could have actually done a good job impersonating him if he'd wanted to. Having finally closed her mouth and regained some semblance of control, she moved closer, a plan forming in her mind. Reaching out, she ran her finger up his spine, starting just above the waistband of his faded jeans.

With a startled yelp, he spun around, his eyes almost glowing amber, and his sharp teeth bared in a snarl. She couldn't help comparing him to the now dusted Shawn. Spike's teeth, while just as sharp, were more even, and more of a gleaming white than a dulled yellow. There was no dirt on his clothing or in his hair, and his eyes were filled with a dangerous intelligence.

Drawing a breath, Willow tried to slow her now racing pulse. "Tag?"

For a moment, he just stared at her, no longer snarling, but simply looking at her, his eyes feral and unblinking. Finally, he blinked, and smiled, reaching down to turn off his tape. "I'd almost forgot about that, Red. Why the stake? Didn't think you were that bothered by the sugar rush."

She blushed, wondering if he thought that she had been contemplating staking him. "Umm... actually, it's not always safe here at night. I met up with a minion a few moments ago. Used to be a fairly smart guy, he was in the computer class that I taught back a few years ago, but... He was standing there all covered with grave dirt. I had to stake him, and then when I heard another noise... You can't just assume that a sort of noise in the dark of night in Sunnydale is your friend, you know?"

Tilting his head slightly, Spike gazed up at the stars, his features slipping back to human. "Good point, luv. So, I'm it now? Think I'll wait until you have that nasty bit of wood put safely away." He paused, watching as she slid it back up her sleeve, as she giggled the whole time. "Much better. I feel all safe now."

"See? No more sharp pointy bit of wood for you to get stuck with." She held her hands out, showing empty hands.

A slow smile crossed Spike's face as he moved closer, his steps gliding and predatory. "Tell me, luv... are you ticklish?" Lunging forward, his cool fingers found her ribs, tickling fiercely.

With shrieking laughter, Willow collapsed to the ground, managing to drag Spike along with her. Frantically gasping for air, Willow tried to ask him to stop, but she was laughing to hard to form the words. Giving up on speech, she decided that the only solution was to tickle him back, and hope that he had a ticklish place somewhere.

As it turned out, he was extremely ticklish, and soon they were engaged in an all out tickle war, the question of who had been 'it' for tag entirely forgotten. Willow was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down her face, and Spike's features had shifted again, and he was laughing almost as hard as Willow.

Finally, Willow gave a firm push against his muscled chest, separating them by a moderate distance. She was now safe from his twitching fingers. Gasping for breath, she managed to get out a few words. "No more... Human here... need air... remember?" She had ended up on her butt, the leaves and plants a slight cushion to sit upon.

"Well, it seems that you do need to breath..." Spike had managed to slow his laughter, and was settled on the ground as well, looking entirely comfortable. He reached for his tape player only to discover that it was no longer clipped to his waistband. He looked around in the leaves, glaring in frustration. "Hey! Where did it go?"

Willow closed her eyes, and focused on the feeling of spike, all cool and smoky, with hints of caramel. Reaching out, she felt several objects that held traces of Spike on them, and she tried to identify them. There was the pile of his duster and shirt. AHA! There was the cassette player and the long tendril connecting the headphones... she concentrated, lifting them up from the ground and floating them towards him. "Here... your music."

Taking it from it's position in the air, without any means of visible support, Spike smiled at Willow. "Thanks, Willow. You're something else, you know that?"

All she could do was smile. It felt so good to have someone thank her, even if only for something small. And he had a gorgeous smile.

end part 5.

They were still smiling as they walked back from the woods, occasionally breaking into another fit of giggles at the memory of the tickle-fight. They'd declared it a draw. Their game of tag had been forgotten, or at least dropped, although they might try to play again another time.

"Red? Think the carnival will be open tomorrow night?" Spike's voice was thoughtful, no longer quite as fast and hyper as he'd been earlier.

"Should be, it might even stay for a few days. You want to go back tomorrow, when we don't have to sneak around?" Willow looked at him, wondering what was going on inside his head.

"That sounds good. I'll win you some of those little fuzzy animals. Tonight was... it was fun." Spike sounded as if he hadn't quite expected to enjoy himself.

Willow smiled at him, her eyes sparkling with enthusiasm. "I've never had anyone win me a toy before. Nobody even tried. And contrary to a few suggestions, I can have fun on my own, it just isn't normally at the Bronze."

He nodded. "I know, I've been watching the whole lot of you. It's not like I've had that many other options for keeping my mind occupied. You're good at finding things to do, and solving problems quickly when time matters. Slayer's lucky to have you on her side. I'd have you on mine if I could."

Willow stumbled as the meaning behind his words became clear. "You mean if the chip went flooey. You'd turn me? That night in the dorm, did you really mean it when you said I had a choice?" Her gaze was fixed on him. The answer suddenly seemed very important.

"In the dorm? No, you never had a real choice. I'd already decided that I'd turn you, keep you with me. But then, I saw you as a translator and researcher, as well as a pretty face. Didn't have a clue how useful you'd be for tactics and planning." He sounded wistful, his voice making it clear that he missed the nights before the chip.

Oddly, she found herself smiling at his words. "Well, at least someone thinks that I have a pretty face."

"Red? I'm standing... walking here telling you that I'd turn you in a heartbeat and keep you by my side to devise plots to take over the word, and you're just happy that I think you have a pretty face? Maybe you need to sort out your priorities..." His words faded out, replaced by a big, wicked grin.

She looked at him, her eyes wide and amazed. "You've read the Harry Potter books? Oh, that is so... not what most people would expect from you! Just because I'm the research girl and the magic girl doesn't mean that I want to be turned into leather wearing skanky evil me. I've seen her, and it was a rude surprise. But I like the idea of being considered a valuable and dependable aide. Practically speaking though, you'd need a secure power base before trying to expand, and you'd need to deal with the immediate threats to your power, which would be Buffy... and I really shouldn't be trying to plan your take-over of the Hellmouth."

Spike looked as if he'd gone through grinning with amusement to stunned gaping. "You... how many topics was that? Leather? Skanky? Maybe I'd need some sort of tranquilizer to slow you down enough to listen to your plans..."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to babble at you. I'm sure Buffy or Xander would go on for a while about Vamp-Willow, and Anya might have a few things to say about her. Giles would probably just turn red and stutter into his tea." Her words were interrupted by a huge yawn. "ohh, wow, I'm getting a bit sleepy. Hmmm... You're still all chipped, right?"

Spike scowled at the sidewalk. "Yeah. Why? I'm not exactly looking forward to ending up chained in the Watcher's tub again. Considering how unhappy he was about those books..."

"So don't go to his place. We can crash at my... well, technically my parent's house. There's room, extra blankets for blocking windows, and Xander won't be there with Anya." For a moment, she let her mind wander, picturing Spike lounging on the couch, cheering on the various wrestlers, heating his blood in the microwave. She smiled slightly, at least she would have some company.

"Not afraid your parents would object to you showing up with some strange man at three in the morning?" He was looking surprised again.

"They're in Atlanta, so I really doubt that they will notice me bringing you in." She sounded almost casual, the pain of her parents abandonment long since faded from a sharp wound to merely a dull ache.

Spike shook his head, as if thinking unhappy thoughts. "Sounds a lot better than the Watcher's tub. So, you got cable?"

She just laughed, the sounds carrying through the air. "There's cable, there's even some tapes of wrestling. Any plotting to take over the world will have to wait until after I've had some sleep."

"I can deal with that, Red. No world domination planning sessions before five hours sleep, minimum. I can deal with that." He smiled, walking with her to her parents' house.

end part 6.

Willow was smiling as she pulled out the extra blankets for Spike to use to cover the window in hr parents room. She hadn't expected to have so much fun with Spike. But they'd slipped into the carnival, played tag, although not for very long, and had a tickle fight. The tickle fight had been entirely unexpected. When you thought about Master Vampires, you didn't normally think 'and he's ticklish along his ribs', but Spike was ticklish. And a good dancer. And he looked really good without a shirt... which she had actually already known.

"What has you all smiley, Red?"

Spike's voice startled her out of her wandering thoughts, and Willow could feel herself blushing. How had she missed the feeling of his attention focused on her? "Just... thinking about tonight. It wasn't how I'd expected it to be."

He was leaning on the wall, smirking slightly. "How did you expect things to be?"

She looked over at him, handing him several blankets while smiling. "I hadn't expected you to be ticklish. Or to like cotton candy. I had never thought about you dancing in the moonlight to Billy Idol. I had expected you to be a bouncing bundle of energy and enthusiasm, but... I hadn't expected... tonight was fun."

"Fun? Yeah... it was. But don't tell anyone about the ticklish. Not anyone, ever. I mean that." His fond smile turned into a serious expression, one promising pain and misery if she ever divulged his secret.

Willow was still smiling. "Doesn't fit the image of the big bad vampire? I won't tell anyone, living or dead, human or other. I won't write it on anything that someone else could read. It will just stay in my head, along with all sorts of other things that I've learned about life, the universe, and the Hellmouth. But I might mention the cotton candy. Night, Spike. Or maybe morning would be closer... sleep well."

Spike just sighed, glancing skyward as he rolled his eyes. "Thank someone for small miracles. I haven't got much of a reputation left, the knowledge of that sad little problem getting out... it would make me the laughingstock of the Hellmouth."

"I wouldn't do that to you. I promise. But... you're a really good dancer." She left the hallway, cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

Spike watched her retreat, a small smirking half smile on his face. His next words were barely over a whisper, and went unheard by Willow. "I had fun tonight too. The last thing I ever expected, but I did. Maybe I should get to know you better, Willow."

His final whispered words were not intended for anyone but himself. "I think I've overlooked quite a lot with her. She's not just a research assistant, not a pretty face. I should have known better from the beginning, otherwise why would she bother helping Buffy? She's something, and I want to know more..."

Spike shook his head sadly as he took the blankets into the room that her parents would have been using if they had been at the house. It had this curiously unused feeling, the decor nice, but lacking any signs of a personality. Her parents had never left anything to make the room distinctly theirs. It felt oddly like a nice hotel room, and for some reason, that made his skin crawl.

What sort of parents go away and leave their daughter over the Hellmouth? To give them some credit, they probably didn't know about the demons or vampires, but... didn't they want to have some input on their daughter's life? Didn't they worry about her being hurt or killed? Did anyone besides the Slayer, the Watcher and Xander ever worry about her?

As he carefully put the blankets over the window, he realized that things would change for Willow now. Somehow, he'd decided that someone needed to watch out for her, and he would be that someone. He would try to prevent anything nasty from eating her. He would be there to prevent her from giving herself over to despair and heartbreak.

As he lay down on the bed, he tried to convince himself that this was just so that he could turn her when he got rid of the chip. He tried to convince himself of that for a long time, until sleep finally quieted his thoughts.

end part 7. end Way Too Much Sugar.