Slightly Scary, and Way Wiggy

Disclaimer: Characters c/o Joss Whedon and the wonderful writers of the Buffyverse. The plot idea is mine.
Setting: Roughly S4 with reference to and specific theme taken from "The Wish."
Teaser: What happens when Buffy can't handle it and invokes the essence of 'Bad Ass Buffy' from "The Wish?" How will Spike react? And will this new Buffy accept the Scoobies and Spike?

Chapter 1

"Slayer, duck!"

Buffy dropped to a kneeling position just as the huge scaly paw of a Shrell'nell demon was launched in her direction. The backhand missed its mark, and she took advantage of the demon's slight pause to sweep her leg out, catching the demon's left ankle at just the right angle to send it snout first into a muddy puddle. Spike chose this moment to get back into the fray, now that the tables were turned (and also now that the world had finally ceased swimming. The result of a brain rattling blow received from the Shrell'nell.)

He jumped on the fallen demon's back, making sure to keep its head submerged in the 3 inches of fresh rainwater. Buffy was instantly at his side, also atop the demon.

"How do we kill this thing again?" she asked.

Shifting his weight closer to the thrashing demon's head, Spike replied, "One of two options. First, dismemberment. Nasty buggers, Shrell'nells. There's only one order to dismember them in, and trust me when I say that you do have to dismember everything. If you don't get the right pieces in the right order, they'll never quick kicking."

"Okay, what's option number two?"

He looked down to their captive Shrell'nell who had mostly stopped thrashing. After a few more seconds, the demon's movements subsided all together. "The second option, luv, and might I add the easier of the two, is drowning."

Buffy managed to get in a quick eye roll as she leapt off of the demon and back onto dry ground. She eyed the new state of her clothing with disdain while trying in vain to brush some of the mud from her new tan halter and jeans. "Well," she muttered, "at least I ruined my new outfit on the way home this time. More than I can say for most of my closet."

"I don't know, luv, I think you look quite ravishing all muddied up. Thou you would look a might better wearing the blood and gore of dismemberment. Maybe we should try that next time."

"Next time?" Buffy asked with an incredulous look.

"Three more Shrell'nells coming up behind you" he said with a slight nod over her shoulder.

She turned, let out an exaggerated sigh and muttered, "Great. Bring on the blood and gore."

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"All I'm saying, Slayer, is that you should've let me take on the big one."

Buffy turned her attention to Spike as they stepped up to the porch and she reached for the doorknob. "I don't need you whining about 'taking on the big one' just to keep your testosterone driven pride in tact. I'm the Slayer, Spike – "

"Yeah, a slayer who was out cold for a solid three seconds tonight. Bloody hell, you've never fought a Shrell'nell before tonight, you should have let me lead in to the fight!"

After the grueling (and time consuming) fight, Buffy had decided to forego the urgently needed shower and instead stop by to inform Giles about tonight's most recent fight. The Slayer barged right into the foyer with the vampire quick on her heels. Giles had overheard this last bit of conversation from the hallway and was approaching the front room, taking in the sight of the odorous and quite shabby looking pair. "A Shrell'nell you say?" Giles asked Spike, while handing over two towels he kept on a old wooden chair by the front door for just such encounters.

"Yes, a Shrell'nell, and the Slayer, here, has to go all gung ho for the largest of the set!" Spike shouted.

"Well I killed it didn't I?" she launched back

"Well yeah, after I'd already finished off the other two and you had your first go at dismemberment, out of order I might add. If I hadn't shouted to you the correct order you'd have been out of luck and probably dead in a matter of minutes!"

"Enough!" Giles yelled at the bickering pair, bringing and end to the escalating shouting match. Buffy looked a bit guilty at her behavior in front of Giles, but Spike kept up the glare at Buffy and the daggers he'd been shooting off in her direction. "Buffy, Shrell'nells are probably the most ruthless demons you've ever been up against thus far. They have few emotions, mostly limited to rage and calm, leaving no room for pride or vengeance. They are extremely adept in precision of moves and carefully calculated timing. They also have the strength of fifteen vampires within each one. I'm amazed that only the two of you were able to take down three at once – "

"Plus a fourth right before that," Spike added.

Giles' eyes widened. "Four in a single evening? It's almost unheard of. They barely even exist in this dimension. Amazing." Giles muttered the final few words as he turned back in the direction of his books and his mind began to wander with this new information.

After a few short moments, and more hostile glances exchanged with Spike, Buffy said, "Well I still think I could have handled them on my own." Turning to her former enemy she added, "Why do you always have to jump in just when I'm finding my niche?"

Before he could throw back a witty retort, Giles interrupted with "Buffy, I have to say that in this case, at least, I'm glad that Spiked happened to be with you." Buffy stared at Giles with an open mouthed unbelieving expression. Giles then turned back to Spike and gave him a short appraising look. "Just how did you know what to do during an attack by a Shrell'nell, anyway? They're quite rare and not very well documented."

"Well," began Spike, "it's sorta residual knowledge from back in my fearsome foursome days. While traveling through India, Angelus and I happened to come upon one. It made a remark in passing that offended Peaches, and just for kicks, he decided that a bit of meaningless torture was overdue. Once he realized that Shrell'nells are tricky buggers when it comes to killing, it became more like a challenge for him. Couple of weeks later the demon was begging us to follow the order, or throw him in a fish tank. You don't forget that kind of knowledge easily."

"Well I suppose I'm regretting it a bit that I asked," responded a slightly unnerved Giles, who was currently cleaning his glasses. He returned them to his nose, slipped the cloth back into his pocket, and began looking through the nearest stack of books.

"Wow, Spike, you should really start thinking about writing children's books," Buffy said with a disgusted look on her face.

"Yes, well as disturbing as that little story was, I think we should get back on topic. Buffy, as I said, Shrell'nells are quite rare and unusually strong. They won't have just been passing through. I'm not sure what their motivation may have been for being here, but I definitely wouldn't rule out the possibility of them being sent for you. It's imperative that we begin looking into this straight away."

"Well, that sounds like my exit cue," Spike began, while slowly backing toward the door. "Now if you don't mind, I think I'll be headed – "

"No," Giles interrupted. "I think it would be best if you walked Buffy back to her home before returning to yours."

"I don't need a babysitter, Giles! I'm perfectly capable!" Buffy chimed in, her words beginning to take on a higher pitch.

"Don't argue, Buffy. If there are this many Shrell'nells concentrated on the hell mouth at once, there's no telling what else could be waiting for you. And since Spike has a more thorough knowledge of demons than you, he will accompany you home. I'll call Willow first thing in the morning. We'll all begin researching then." On that final note, Giles nodded slightly to Spike, grabbed a few books and headed for his already cluttered desk.

Buffy had rarely seen her watcher so unnerved and excited. She knew that what he did was supposedly for the best, and since Spike had sort of saved her life a couple of times during the past few hours, she thought perhaps she could suffer through his company for a few minutes more. With another hard glare at the blonde vampire beside her, she threw a last glance at Giles, grabbed Spike by the sleeve and quickly exited the house, headed toward Revello Drive.

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A/N: This is my first story. It definitely won't continue w/o feedback, because I have pretty low self esteem about it to begin with. I have this whole idea loosely mapped out, but if anyone reading this thinks they could do a better job writing it, then send me and email. Also, I don't have a beta, so what you see is just me and the spell checker.