Summary: Chipped Spike (Between Season 4 and 5) has a problem with some vampire bounty hunters, and goes to Buffy for help. There's a subtext, if you can pick up on it. Vignette.

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm just playing with them.

"Buffy! Buffy!" Screamed Spike. "Open this door this minute!" He pounded on her door, cursing his lack of invitation inside.

"What is it?!" Yelled Buffy, yanking open the door.

"Vampires!" He gasped. "After me! Want me dead!" She frowned, tapping her foot slowly on the ground.

"First, you don't need air. Stop gasping. Second, you made your bed. So now. . ."

"Lie in it?" He asked.

"Yeah." She suggested with a smile.

"But, but, they're vampires!" He protested, indignant. "That's your calling in life, killing vampires!"

"Like you?" She enquired.

"Shut up!" He snapped. "You're a force a goodness, and I'm a helpless thing! I need protecting, get it? Now protect!"

She sighed, watching him. "What, no please?" She asked.

"All right! All right!" He begged. "Please!"

She sighed. "All right, Spike. Where's the vampires?"

He glanced over his shoulder. "Uh, right here."

"Why is it when you get in trouble I have to help you?" She asked irritably.

"Cuz you're good. It's what you do." He replied irritably.

"Hello! You're bad. What I do is kill you." She replied.

"Yeah, yeah. Here they come." Said Spike.

Two vampires leapt out of the shadows, swinging long swords at Spike, who roared into vamp face and danced out of reach. "Help!" He yelled.

"Pathetic!" Yelled Buffy, charged one vampire, who shifted his stance, blocking her with his sword.

She kicked forward, taking out his knee. As he went down she grabbed his sword, wrenching it out of his grasp and beheading him. As he turned to dust she whirled, sword at neck height. The other vampire fell dead, flopping to the ground. As he did his sword stabbed Buffy through the stomach, impaling her. She fell to the ground, surprised.

"Ah!" She gasped. She glanced at the door. "Nuts, nuts." She said, thinking of the telephone inside. Thinking of her mother, inside.

Thinking of her mother, off at work.

"Nuts!" She said again, glancing at Spike, who was watching her, his face blank. At her gaze his usual expression slid back on, an amused spectator. "Aw, did the Slayer go ouchie?"

"Help me inside." She ordered him. He chuckled.

"I can't do that, pet."

"Why not?" She asked.

He considered his answer. You're the Slayer, I'm a vampire? No. That wouldn't do. He couldn't just let her die. Well, he could. He was supposed to.

But he couldn't.

Why couldn't he?

Because. . . she got hurt saving him? No. Vampires didn't feel gratitude. They were evil.

No. There was no reason.

He should let her die. Go bring another vampire, one who could bite her while weak. That's what he should do.

Why wasn't he doing it?

Because she was useful. Since he couldn't feed, she and her friends were the only way he could possibly avoid dying. They kept him around, safe from the demon population, because he was useful. If he killed her, no more protection.

Yes, that was right. He felt relief at having found the reason he wasn't going for help.

"Well, I can't go in your house without an invite." He pointed out.

"Oh, all right!" She snapped. "Spike, I invite you into my house! Now, help me!"

He did so with a grin, lifting her. "Mm, the smell of Slayer blood. Mind if I take a taste?" He asked.

"Ew! Gross! So help me, I'd stake you!" She said.

"Well, it's not like you'll be using it!" He protested, walking her into her house.

"You're a pig, Spike." She said resignedly. "By the phone."

He deposited her by the phone. "Never would have happened if you'd just invited me into your house where they couldn't follow." He sniffed.

"You leech." She said. Her voice was getting weaker. He dialed 911 for her, then put the phone to her ear. "Hello? Yes, um, I've had an accident." Said Buffy. Spike not-so-gently lowered her to the floor.

"Later, Slayer." He said, stepping through the door.

"You're a pig, Spike." She said again.