**Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction using characters from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series, which was created by Joss Whedon and is trademarked by Fox. I do not claim ownership over these characters nor the world therein. The plot I write through here is my own invention and is for entertainment purposes only. I am not profiting financially from the creation and publication of this story. Any resemblance between the characters herein and any contemporary or historical figure in reality is purely coincidental. This story is not a part of the official Buffy the Vampire Slayer story canon. I am grateful for the intriguing plot lines in the original series, without which this story would not be possible.***

Willow and Xander storm into the library with huffing breaths.

"Buffy! Giles!" Willow calls out, "You have to come see this! Hurry!"

"And by hurry, she means: hurry as if your life depends on it, because it probably does." Xander adds.

Buffy and Giles follow them out. Four pairs of shoes smack against the linoleum. Willow guides them to Principal Snyder's office. Buffy groans. On the average day, she avoids her militant principal whenever possible. An ominous feeling washes over her as she looks at the door. Buffy knows she won't have to try hard to avoid him again.

Xander opens the door to let the group in. Buffy slips inside first and isn't prepared for the blood spatter. A stake is pierced through Principal Snyder's chest. His head hangs over his desk, but the stake keeps him upright.

"It appears someone attempted to slay the principal…but, he is…was…human…" Giles says, lost in thought.

Buffy walks around Principal Snyder's body and stops short. She stiffens completely.

"Will," Buffy says, "did you see what's written on the stake?"

"No!" Willow says, rushing over, "as soon as Xander and I saw him we came to get you. We didn't really look around."

"What does it say?" Giles asks.

Buffy and Willow stare in disbelief.

Willow reads aloud the words burned into the wood, "It says 'For Buffy'."

"Quite the Valentine's gift if you ask me," Xander quips, "I'll have to remember that for next year."

"Heavens!" Giles exclaims.

"Oh, Buffy!" Willow says. "They're going to think you had something to do with this!"

"That's what I'm worried about," Buffy says, "I wasn't exactly his favorite student either."

"There's got to be some explanation for this," Giles says, removing the stake, wrapping it in cloth, and pocketing it in his coat. "We'll figure this out, Buffy. But for now, it may be best that you leave the school grounds."

Buffy nods, resigned. "When you need me to stake something, you know where to find me."

Buffy moves to leave, but Willow grabs her hand and squeezes it before she can stalk down the hallway as planned. Buffy looks up at her. Willows eyes are so warm and encouraging they could melt chocolate. She glances down and touches the rose gold bracelet already clasped onto Buffy's wrist and smiles.

"It-it looks nice on you," Willow says.

"Thank you," Buffy says, fighting the small smile that ultimately wins.

A flash moves through Buffy's body, something one might call desire. Praise, Buffy was discovering, had its erotic tones. She envisions pushing Willow against the bloody wall behind her and kissing her. If Buffy has anything in common with vampires, it's their predatorial style towards prey. Buffy can't help that her affection comes out more forceful. Buffy can't help wanting to unravel Willow's innocence into something more desperately wanting and eager. Her eyes seem to hint she wouldn't mind being corrupted.

"Uh…did I miss something?" Xander says.

Buffy snaps herself out of her trance-like daydream and takes a step backwards. Willow also takes a step back, seemingly caught in a similar frame of mind.

"There's quite a list of things you miss, Xander, wherever shall we start?" Giles says.

"Funny," Xander says.

"Beep me," Buffy manages, to no one in particular, and strides down the hallway.