Part 1 of 2

a Buffyverse fanfic by Sisiutil

(This story takes place a few months after the end of Angel Season 5 and features Spike, Dana, Faith, and Andrew.)


Spike shouted the curse angrily as the latest blow threw him crashing into the grey concrete wall, and not for the first time. His right shoulder blade took the brunt of the impact and sent a burning shiver of pure pain through the rest of his body. He shook his head, opened his eyes, and glared angrily at his opponent.

By rights, he should have been enjoying this. Spike loved a good tussle. In fact, he could think of very few things in this world he loved more. Cigarettes, perhaps. Watching Manchester United. A certain blond-haired Slayer. And, to be perfectly honest, the taste of blood. Not my own blood, mind you, he reflected as he licked a trickle of the cold, stagnant fluid from his upper lip.

"All right, pet," he grumbled as he pushed himself away from the wall and straightened his long black leather coat. "Not bad. But I've 'ad better," he added with a licentious grin.

If he was seeking to anger his opponent and bring on another attack, he succeeded. Spike ducked away from the young woman's sudden right jab. But it was a feint, and her left foot swung up in a lightening-quick roundhouse kick that caught him on the side of the jaw and sent the vampire spinning away and slamming back into the wall again.

"Oh, BLOODY HELL!" Spike roared. He stumbled a few steps away from both the wall and the girl. It took all his willpower to keep from going into full vamp-face. He wanted to. Oh, did he want to! He wanted to show this slip of a girl what he could really do. Show her how he'd killed two of her kind before. Show her the ultimate fate of all Slayers, the final crunch, the snap, the spurt of lifeblood into his eager mouth.

But he had a soul now. He was one of the good guys, or so he kept telling himself. And he was supposed to be helping this girl, not killing her. Not that any of it was taking. He'd walked in to the concrete-reinforced chamber expecting a heart-to-heart. Instead, she'd been smacking him about in the enclosed room for the better part of a half hour. Why did every woman he met treat him like a punching bag? Illyria, Harmony, Buffy...well, at least with Buffy it had been fun. This wasn't. Spike had trouble keeping his temper in check at the best of times. Keeping it under control now was taking a Herculean effort on his part.

"You won't hurt me anymore," Dana asserted quietly, her teeth clenched, her dark eyes fastened unblinking on Spike's increasingly unsteady form. She slowly moved towards him, her slender body's muscles coiled like a tightly-wound springs.

"Oh, bollocks!" Spike cried, annoyed and offended. "I didn't come in here to hurt you, you barmy bint! Now why don't we just pretend the bloody bell rang, and go to our corners, and calm..."

"Beat you before. Beat you again," Dana said, her voice quiet but confident.

"Now, I wouldn't go bringin' that up, if I was you," Spike warned her, his eyebrows and one finger raised. He glanced at his hand and flexed his fingers, glad they were still there and attached to the rest of him. No thanks to her. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice..."

"Don't stop 'til you see dust..." Dana murmured angrily, then repeated it, as if the phrase was a mantra.

Spike's eyes went wide, then narrowed with anger. "Oh, so that's the tune you want to sing, eh?" he growled in response. He pursed his lips angrily. That was the last straw; he'd had enough. "Fine. Gloves off, then. No more Marques of Queensbury nancy-boy bullshit."

He cocked his head, and with a crunch of folding bone and stretching skin, went into full vamp face. He could almost hear the air sucked through the clenched teeth of those watching from behind the safety of a sheet of bullet-proof, three-inch thick glass on the other side of the room. The thought amused him. He smiled, a change of expression that only made his suddenly-sprouted fangs more prominent.

"Come on, Slayer. Let's dance," he snarled.

Dana shouted, sprang forward, and swung her right at him in a powerful roundhouse. She missed this time; Spike leaned back, dodged the blow, and danced away, bouncing on the balls of his feet like a boxer, the edges of his leather duster flapping about his leg's like a bat's wings. He laughed, finally enjoying the fight now.

"Missed me, missed me, now you hafta kiss me!" he taunted her, grinning ferally. "I been holdin' out on you. But not anymore, luv. You get the full monty now..."

Dana's lips peeled back from her teeth, revealing an angry grimace. Her long, curly black hair hung in front of her face and made her resemble some wild beast that had wandered out of a primordial forest. She half-snarled, half-shouted, and launched herself at Spike, her right arm pulled back to deliver a blow. But the vampire just smiled and laughed. He side-stepped her attack with alarming speed. He raised his right leg as she went by and struck her full-force in the stomach. The blow knocked the wind from the Slayer, and lifted her off the ground. Spike stepped back and the brunette fell face-first to the floor, her body and face smacking against the concrete loudly.

She started to push herself up, her head rising from the pavement. Had she known Spike better, she would have realized it was a mistake to present him with such an easy and tempting target. Spike drew back his foot and kicked her squarely under the chin. The powerful blow lifted Dana's body from where it lay on the floor and flipped her over. The back of her head stuck the concrete with a loud thud. Her dark eyes rolled up inside her head and she fell unconscious.

Spike loomed over her and snorted derisively. Of course she wasn't seriously hurt; her innate Slayer's recuperative powers would ensure that. But she won't be so bloody cocky next time... Behind him, Spike heard the door to the chamber open. He didn't turn around.

"Okay, that wasn't exactly what we had in mind, compadre." Andrew stood in the doorway, nattily attired in a tweed jacket and dark brown trousers, an unlit pipe in his right hand, seemingly there for appearance's sake alone. "I know the tough love approach worked on Omicron Seti 3, but even so, knocking Spock out wasn't in the captain's log, if you catch my drift."

"Bugger you," Spike replied as he turned towards Andrew and let his features fold back into human form. "She's no better than she was a year ago when we found her. When she did for my feelers, need I remind you?" he said pointedly, holding up his hands. "She's a rabid bloody dog, this one. Best to put 'er down and 'ave done with it. Not like there's a shortage of Slayers these days."

"Not an option, blondie," Faith said as she sauntered into the room. Her arms were folded beneath her breasts, which were covered by a blood-red t-shirt that rivaled her black leather pants for body-hugging tightness. Her head was cocked to one side, her long, tousled chestnut hair framing her face. Her dark eyes held the vampire's in a steady gaze. "She's one of our own. And speaking as a former rabid dog myself, she's been comin' along, current encounter notwithstanding."

As she spoke, a trio of Slayers entered the room and gathered around Dana's limp and unconscious form. One of them glared at Spike. He glared right back, then winked and puckered his lips at her. The Slayer glowered at him as she and her compatriots gently picked Dana up and carried her out through the doorway.

"The shrinks say she's at..." Faith's eyes looked toward the ceiling as she recalled the exact phrase, "'a critical stage, but also an impasse, requiring an external intervention'. Hey, I don't pretend to grok their double-speak either!" she said defensively, her hands held up, in response to Spike's scornful glare. "Never have, never will. But they think you're the key."

"No, Dawn's the sodding key," Spike joked sullenly as he pulled a cigarette out from its pack and placed it between his lips. "Or was," he muttered uncertainly. "Point is, I just bring out the worst in 'er."

The vampire paused a moment as he flicked his lighter and lit the cigarette. "Heh. Done that for more than one Slayer, actually," he added with a smirk and a deliberately provocative leer at Faith as he took a much-needed drag. He was utterly unsurprised when she leered steadily back at him, her thin, arched brows raised and her eyes smoldering with her own suggestion. Spike's smile broadened.

" gettin' enough wood from Woody these days, luv?" he murmured to the sultry Slayer, who cocked an eyebrow at him as a warning. But she didn't tell him to stop. His face took on an achingly sincere expression; he pulled the cigarette from his lips and leaned towards her. "Those are very nice leather pants you're wearing," he murmured earnestly.

"That sort of line work on the ditzy blondes you like so much?" Faith asked pointedly.

She took the cigarette from his fingers and put it to her own lips for a drag. Spike watched her. Slayers had always fascinated him. And Faith...she was so much like him; in love with the rush that came from a good fight, and still willing to dance dangerously on the thin line that separated good from evil. If Buffy eventually cast him aside for Captain Monobrow...

Andrew coughed. "Excuse me, Han and Leia, hate to go all Threepio on you, but could we focus on the repairs to the Millennium Falcon for a moment here?" The Slayer and the vampire turned their attention--albeit reluctantly--to the Watcher-in-training. "She's firing on all thrusters, but her shields are maxed out and her weapons array's on a hair trigger, and we can't let her out into hyperspace in that condition."

Faith frowned and blinked, then turned to Spike. "I think the dweeb means she still has some anger management issues," she said. She took one more puff and then handed the cigarette back to the vampire.

"Holy head butts, Batman, you think so?" Spike replied, his voice heavy with sarcasm as he rubbed his sore forehead, which had been treated to just such a blow during his sparring match with Dana.

"Faith's right, she's made progress. She's fine around females, but males still set her off. Especially if she sees them as a threat, which she certainly does in the case of a formidable vam-pyre such as yourself," Andrew went on authoritatively, gesturing towards Spike with the pipe and pronouncing the term in that affected way that annoyed everyone so much. Spike sometimes wondered if he did it intending for that effect. "By making her encounter such a threatening male figure--especially one with whom she's had previous confrontations--and by dealing with him in a non-violent manner, it's hoped that she can progress to the next stage in her therapy."

"Bloody hell," Spike muttered after a moment's pause. "I actually understood that."

"So you'll help her," Andrew said forcefully. It wasn't spoken as a question. Spike reminded himself that his deceptively-nerdy little ponce had outsmarted not only Angel but his entire team, including the forces of Wolfram and Hart, when they'd first encountered Dana. He'd also been instrumental in getting Spike, Angel, and the others out of that rain-soaked alley in one piece, so it wasn't wise to underestimate him.

"Yeah, yeah, I'll help the little bint," Spike muttered. He took one last drag, then tossed his spent cigarette to the floor and crushed it with his boot. He thought for a moment, then glanced at Andrew. "But you'll let me do it my way. And if it doesn't work..." He paused for a moment, looking meaningfully at both Andrew and Faith.

"...if it doesn't work, what?" Faith prompted him impatiently.

Spike just shrugged. "Then you'll have to find yourself another boy," he said with forced cheerfulness, and studiously ignored Faith's pointed look by pulling another cigarette out of the pack. He lit it as Faith and Andrew glanced at one another, then back to Spike, and nodded their assent. They then turned to leave.

If it doesn't work, she's a lost cause, and you're all too sodding sentimental to see it, Spike said to himself as he lit the cigarette and the Slayer and junior Watcher left. He rubbed each of his forearms at the point where they'd been severed over a year ago. They itched sometimes when the weather turned inclement.

"A batty Slayer's too bloody dangerous to leave walkin' around," Spike muttered quietly to himself. "So if I can't save her...I'll have to kill her."