Author: ast*P

Timeline: S4, post "Something Blue". Spike escapes from Giles' apartment and the Slayer is sent to bring him back. Doesn't quite work out that way...

Disclaimer: Not mine

AN: First fic. Be kind? I have no confidence in my skill as a writer, but I think (hope) there are far worse writers out there than me, so I'm posting this before I lose my nerve... Lucky you.

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CHAPTER ONE

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It was early evening, and Spike chuckled menacingly as he walked the streets of Sunnydale. He lit up a cigarette and tried to appear intimidating.

At last he'd done it! After much careful planning, his work had paid off and he'd finally escaped the clutches of the Slayer and her gang. Well, he hadn't so much planned it as waited until the Watcher took a bath before scrambling out the living room window (only to land in a bush, twist his ankle and hobble painfully away), but you couldn't argue with the end result.

It had been so boring living with the Watcher too. At first he'd tried winding up the Scoobies (reasoning that if he couldn't be evil and rip their throats out he could at least be annoying), but they only had to remind him that he was chained to a bathtub and incapable of harming them even if he wasn't and that game had lost it's appeal very quickly.

So what else could he do? If he behaved, Giles had let him watch Passions and maybe Jerry Springer, but that was all. If he behaved! William the Bloody, reduced to making nice with the Slayer so that he could watch daytime television! It was sickening, and finally he'd had enough and got the hell out. He was free.

"I love it when a plan comes together..." Spike said gleefully.

He'd probably watched a few too many episodes of The A Team as well.

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Buffy reluctantly climbed the stairs to Giles' apartment and rang the doorbell. Sometimes it sucked to be her. She had just been debating whether to call Riley and ask him to a movie or something (was that too forward?) when she'd found the message on her answering machine from her Watcher, asking her to come over as soon as she could. Unable to ignore what could be a life-or-death call for help, here she was.

Tapping her foot, Buffy crossed her arms and looked around as she waited. She really hoped Spike was asleep or something - after Willow's nightmarish spell she had even less tolerance for the annoying vamp than she had before, and his suggestive comments didn't help. she just wanted to forget it ever happened.

The door finally opened and Giles appeared.

"Good evening Buffy, I'm so glad you got my message." He gestured her inside.

She waved his thanks aside. "Oh, it's no big. Sacred duty and all." She looked at him expectantly. "What's up?"

Giles removed his glasses and cleaned them thoroughly. "I'm sorry to say that Spike has escaped again." He looked at her apologetically. "Could you...?" He trailed off.

Buffy sighed. "Round him up?" At her Watcher's nod her shoulders drooped. "But Giles," she whined, "It's not like he can hurt anyone! Can't we just - "

Giles regarded her sternly. "Now Buffy, you know we need any information he can give us on these... elusive commandos. Lord knows I don't want him in my home - I'll have you know he's far from the perfect houseguest - but you must understand it's for the best that you bring him back!"

Buffy nodded in defeat. "Fine, I'm going." She said sulkily, heading back out the door. She turned hopefully. "But can I kick him around a bit first?"

Giles smiled. "By all means."

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"Ow! Watch the leather!"

Spike groaned as he was thrown out of Willy's Bar by an ugly little demon half his size and landed on his backside. This was so humiliating.. the bloody chip was ruining his unlife!

Somehow he'd been spotted in the company of the Slayer and her chums (probably running away hand-in-hand from the demons that were after Harris during that god-awful spell), and now he wasn't welcome anywhere in town. They'd all turned on him, even the ones that would usually be quaking in fear, and he couldn't do a damn thing thanks to the sodding chip in his brain.

Spike sighed and put his head in his hands, wishing once again that he'd never returned to Sunnydale.

"Well this is pathetic." Said a smug and instantly recognisable voice.

He looked up to see the Slayer standing there with her hands on her hips, smirking down at him. How he hated her...

"I think it was even easier to find you than last time." She said mockingly.

He just glared.

She huffed, irritated that he wasn't responding. "Whatever. The sooner I return you to Giles, the sooner I get an evening to myself. Get up." She demanded, thrusting her hand in his face and waiting to pull him up.

He sneered at it, no doubt wishing he could crush it before draining her dry, but grudgingly took the proffered hand. He was partway up when she let go, making him fall over, cursing loudly.

Buffy laughed heartily. She couldn't believe he didn't see that one coming.

Spike growled and without thought kicked her legs out from under her, making them both yell in pain as she hit the floor. They glared furiously at each other, sprawled together on the sidewalk.

"I hate you!" they shouted in unison.

Buffy whipped out a stake. "That's it." She snarled angrily.

Spike's eyes widened as she advanced on him, but she was distracted by the little demon reappearing at the door to the Bar.

"And don't come back!" he said to Spike, nodding in satisfaction and dusting off his hands - obviously enjoying being the ass-kicker for once. Then he noticed the Slayer.

"Oh Spike!" he called loudly, "You brought your girlfriend to protect you, huh?" He looked back into the bar as he said it, hoping for a laugh, and sure enough raucous laughter could be heard from within.

Spike's eyes narrowed.

"The Slayer..." the demon continued, on a roll. "How many vampires have you dated now? I've lost count!" The laughter grew louder.

Buffy jumped up, irate. "That would be two, moron!" she shouted. Then frowned. Huh? "I mean, ONE!" The laughter continued. "I mean, shut up!"

She advanced on the demon, stake held high. He finally seemed to realise the danger he was in, because he yelped and ran inside, slamming the door behind him.

Buffy's arm dropped. She didn't have time for this now anyway. And who cared what they thought of her? Like it mattered. She tossed her head defiantly and turned to Spike, ready to haul him back to Giles.

He wasn't there. She looked up to see him turning a corner ahead, sprinting quickly away.

"Damn." Growled Buffy, and gave chase.

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They ran through the streets. It wasn't that late, and a few passers by looked at the pair rather oddly, but it being Sunnydale most of them seen far odder and soon continued on their way.

He could tell she was gaining on him and managed an extra burst of speed. I'm gonna make it! He thought jubilantly, looking over his shoulder one last time to check where she'd got to. Unfortunately looking behind him meant he wasn't looking forward, and he smacked straight into an innocent pedestrian. Hard.

They both grunted in pain that turned into a chip-shock for Spike, making him fall to his knees. Buffy wasted no time then, easily catching up and taking the opportunity to leap through the air to land on Spike and pin him to the ground.

"Ha!" she spat triumphantly, "You're not getting away that easily, Spike!"

"Ow... steady on!"

"Shut up... you're coming with me. Right now."

The sound of a throat being cleared made them both look up. It was the guy Spike had run into, who waved awkwardly.

"Uh... hey Buffy." Said Riley.

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TBC...

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ast*P