Author's Notes: I've decided to continue, at least for the moment, mostly because I found a new idea. This is set during "The I in Team," two episodes after "Doomed." To be more specific, this is set after Buffy left the Bronze with the Initiative and Willow went to Tara's, but before Willow and Buffy came back to the dorm and realized they both had been out all night. This story is still going to be very erratically updated; sorry for that.


Chapter Two

Spike raced through the night, his muscles burning from hours of exertion. He didn't know what he was going to do. The commandos kept coming, no matter where he went, no matter how fast he ran. His head was killing him from repeated attempts to save himself that forced him to use violence.

The university, Spike thought wildly. Slayer… Willow…

It was his only chance. Panic rising within him, he dashed towards the campus. It was a risky move—after all, the commando guys were stationed there—but if he didn't get help, he was dead.

He sped across the manicured lawns of U.C. Sunnydale, heading for Stevenson Hall. As he approached the doorway, a sizzling noise sounded somewhere behind him and he ducked just in time to avoid the blast from one of the high-tech gadgets carried by the military men. Fighting down a roar of frustration, struggling to maintain his human visage as the demon within him balked in outrage and fury and indignation, he burst through the front entrance to the dormitory and ran smack into Willow.

"Willow!" he hissed as he caught her to keep her from falling. "You've got to help—commandos—kill me!"

Spike grabbed her arm and made to run for her room, hoping they could reach it, hoping the Slayer was there, hoping she would help him, but Willow shook him off and grabbed his jacket in each hand. She spoke, strange words in Latin that Spike wasn't able to translate, and he felt a tingling sensation run through his body, accompanied quickly by a most bizarre feeling, as if his skin was moving around over his bones.

The door burst open again; three military guys in plainclothes, led by Graham, ran into the room and stopped short, looking uneasy at the sight of Willow and Spike. Each carried a pack, inside which Spike knew they hid their weapons. Spike screwed his eyes shut, certain this was the end…

"Graham!" Willow exclaimed, a note of fear in her voice. She started moving in a jittery sort of way, wringing her hands.

"Oh, hi, uh—Willow, right? Buffy's friend?"

Willow nodded and prattled on. "Graham, you've got to go for the campus police! This ugly bleached b-blond guy ran through here and he snarled at us and he ran out that way—" She waved her hand jerkily at the other entrance to Stevenson. "I think there was something wrong with him, o-or he might hurt someone, his face looked funny… he came at me but Xander here—" she jerked her thumb at Spike— "he shoved the guy back and the guy ran and you've got to get the police! Oh, I need to sit down…" Willow slid down the wall to sit on the floor.

The three guys looked at each other. "Don't worry, Willow," Graham said hastily, a note of genuine concern for her in his voice even as he looked eagerly at the other exit. "We'll go get the cops."

They took off running and were gone in a matter of seconds without so much as a backwards glance at Spike. He stared after them in amazement, hardly able to believe his luck. He turned back to Willow and barely had time to register the wide grin on her face before he realized that his jacket, his wonderful leather duster, was now a Hawaiian shirt of the hideous variety.

"What did you do?" Spike yelped in dismay.

"Shh!" Willow hissed. "They might come back if they hear yelling. I turned you into Xander."

"WHAT?" Spike roared.

"It's only temporary!" Willow hurriedly assured him. "It was just a glamour spell to keep them from seeing you. To them, you looked like Xander. In fact, you will to everyone, at least for a while. You have to get out of sight as fast as you can."

"Thank you," Spike breathed, uncomfortable about looking like the idiot Xander but beyond grateful that she'd saved him; he had to fight the urge to throw his arms around her and swing her about. Then he glanced around apprehensively. He had been running all night, had ditched and stopped the commandos several times, but they'd kept coming. Where could he possibly take refuge?

"Hide me?" he said pleadingly.

"Spike—"

"Please? Pretty please? I'll be good, I promise!"

Willow stared up at him; unbeknownst to Spike, he was giving her Xander's patented puppy-dog face, which had always melted her in the past.

"All right," she said resignedly. "Come up to my room."

"Your room? But the Slayer—"

"Is out with Riley and the Initiative. I get the feeling they'll be 'hunting' all night," she said with a touch of bitterness.

"Right," Spike said. "Okay then."

Awkwardly, he followed her to her room, keeping a nervous eye out for soldiers. The moment Willow unlocked the door, Spike darted inside. "Let the spell be ended," Willow said with a wave of her hand, and Spike looked down and found his own clothing had returned. He felt his face, pleased to note his features seemed to be his own again.

"You've got to teach me how to do that," Spike said, impressed. "Would come in handy."

"Teach you magic? Yeah, right," Willow scoffed. "You're pretty much the last person on earth I want running around doing spells."

Spike started to retort, but Willow turned her back on him and strode over to her clock. "I'm setting the alarm," she told him. "It'll go off one hour before sunrise. Then you're on your own." She took off her shoes, set down her bag and flopped on her bed, pulling the covers to her.

"You're going to sleep?" he asked incredulously.

"Yes, Spike. That's what most humans do when it's nighttime," Willow said wearily. She was starting to get more and more annoyed. She'd had a great time with Tara, almost completely forgetting that Buffy had ditched her and Xander had allowed Anya to lead him from the Bronze to go have sex once Buffy was gone. Indeed, she'd allowed herself to forget just who she was. No thoughts of slaying had entered her mind, no worries about the Initiative and the Scooby gang, no upsetting angry mental rants about Xander dating Anya. And, most importantly, no more thinking about what the hell Spike's deal was, which had been plaguing her ever since he'd come by with that outfit. She hadn't let herself remember that he'd tried to help her, that she'd challenged him to ask her back to his place. It had been just Tara and magic, not wondering if she needed to start taking anti-psychotics. Then Spike had shown up again, digging up all her inner turmoil. Giles's pain at being separated from Buffy and unemployed, Anya's tendencies to be annoying, Xander's panting-dog attentions to Anya, Oz's departure, the strange military presence, Buffy immersing herself in Riley and leaving Willow alone, and so on were too much to deal with as it was. Willow wasn't sure she could take anything else, especially not some strange attraction—even if, or perhaps because, it was quite possibly a mutual one—to Spike, who had once scared the crap out of her, and still did on some level.

Spike stared at her in disbelief. "And what am I supposed to do while you're having naptime, eh?" he demanded.

"I said I'd hide you. Not entertain you." Willow closed her eyes, hoping he'd take the hint.

"But I'm bored!"

"Then go back to running from the Initiative."

"But—"

"Be quiet!" she said firmly, and snuggled against her pillows.

"But… but what if I try to kill you in your sleep? I'm the big bad, remember?"

"You're chipped."

"Damn… uh… what if the Slayer comes home?"

"Then you'll get staked, and I'll get some sleep."

"But… um…" Spike racked his brains for another arguing point. He had just realized that here was his chance to talk to her, to be alone with her, maybe do something fun—and she wanted to sleep! How could she sleep at a time like this?

"Willow," he began. She didn't respond. "Willow! Hey, Red! Come on, wake up, love. I'm bored. I'm going to read your diary! Yes, that's what I'm gonna—ow! It shocked me! How did… stupid magic! You put spells on your diary? Oh, fine. No trust, that's what's wrong with the world. I'll just go… uh… look through the Slayer's things!"

This did in fact seem like a very good idea, and Spike started forward, then stopped with an uneasy glance at the door. If Buffy happened to walk in and find him with his hands on her stuff…

"Or maybe I'll, uh… hmm." Spike saw the corners of Willow's mouth twitch in amusement as she feigned sleep. His eyes narrowed in irritation. He had an overwhelming urge to jump on her bed and do all sorts of naughty things to her… but she seemed to be in the mood to kick him clear across the room. Sighing, Spike sat down on Buffy's bed and thought hard about what he could do to get her to talk, what he could say that would be interesting enough to keep her from ignoring him.

"I really was going to turn you last year."

Willow's eyes opened just a crack. "I was. When I kidnapped you," he said seriously, trying to keep the eagerness over her attention out of his voice. "That's why I chose you, and not the shopkeeper."

"You were not," Willow said, rolling her eyes. "You're just trying to keep me awake."

"No, I was going to! I figured if it didn't work out, if Dru couldn't be brought back, I'd turn you."

Willow stared at him for a moment. "Why?" she asked finally, her face and voice expressionless.

Spike shrugged. "Seemed like a good idea. Part of me wanted to do it whether the spell worked or not. In fact, I almost did, remember? I was gonna eat you."

Willow nodded and then shook her head, suddenly realizing that she was flattered that Spike had planned to kill her. "Why are you telling me this?" she demanded, staring at him with a furrowed brow.

"Well… you were the one asking if you were bite-able the other day," he said lamely.

"You mean right before I creamed you with the lamp?"

"Yeah. That was downright rude of you, you know. I already had a headache."

Willow smiled at him slightly, marveling at just how strange her life was. "Look, I know the whole I'm-gonna-bite-you thing is considered a vampire compliment, but since, well, you know… I don't want to die..."

"Don't know why you don't. You'd be a bloody good vampire."

"Thank you. I mean…" Willow sighed. "Spike? My life has been very hectic lately and… and I kind of need some not-confusing time, okay?"

Willow was rather shocked to see Spike nod and attempt to respect her wishes, glancing around the room curiously. She had no way of knowing that Spike considered her confusion a great victory; the way Spike saw it, if she was confused, then it could only mean she was feeling something funny towards him, and something funny could possibly lead to something nifty.

Willow frowned, lost in thought about Spike and his motives. His bringing that outfit by had just been weird… and why was he telling her about his previous plans to bite her? Obviously vampires weren't that choosy. After all, someone had made Harmony a vampire, and that was definitely a sign of bad taste. Willow had seen quite a few pathetic excuses for vampires wandering around Sunnydale.

"What shopkeeper?" Willow blurted out.

"Hmm?"

"What shopkeeper? You mentioned a shopkeeper."

"Oh! The one in the magic shop. I was looking for a good curse to use on Angel and you came in. That was how I learned you could do magic. I thought about taking the shopkeeper, as it's not really a good idea to kidnap the Slayer's friends, but then I got the bright idea to take you, and turn you if you couldn't do it. What were you doing there, anyway? I remember something about love spells and anti-lust spells… who was that for, by the way? Some sort of errand for the Slayer?"

"No, that… well, it was for me. And Xander. You know, you almost completely ruined my relationship with Oz!"

"I almost ruined it? Excuse me, but you're the one who wasn't satisfied and actually went after that idiot Xander. I mean, come on. If you got that desperate, Dog Boy couldn't have been that much fun."

"Hey! He was too! And what do you know!" Willow sat up, looking angry and defensive. "I had a crush on Xander since that day with the yellow crayon. I spent years hoping he'd notice me. Is it any wonder I acted like that when he finally did? Besides, I was in the process of casting that stupid de-lusting spell when you showed up. If I'd just had the time to cast it, I could have fixed everything."

"Red, if you had to cast a spell to keep you from cheating on your boyfriend, you couldn't have been that committed to him."

"This from the guy who needed a love spell to keep Drusilla!" Willow spat.

Spike's jaw tightened. "Watch it," he said warningly.

"Or what? You'll growl at me?" Willow snorted and lay back down. "Get out, Spike."

"No."

Willow's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Get out."

"Why should I? Because the truth hurts? Admit it, will you?"

"Admit what?" Willow demanded, propping herself up and glaring at him.

"That all you really cared about was him not leaving. It wasn't about love."

"Excuse me?"

"Come on, Red. I may be an evil soulless vampire, but I know about love. I know what it is and what it isn't. You cared about him, maybe. But you weren't committed, see. That's the difference between real love and the bonds formed between two people who don't want to be alone. Wanting to be together, forever, that's love. Wanting to be together while you bang your loser lackey behind your man's back, that's—"

"Shut up!" Willow screamed. "What do you know? Huh? You think you can feel, the way we do? You're a demon, Spike, just another creature, just part of the food chain, no direction, no ambition, no desire, no nothing! You're an animal!"

She picked up the diary and lobbed it at his head. "Now get the hell out of my room before I stake you myself!" she shrieked.

The shock of magic hit him hard as the diary connected with his temple; he batted it away and jumped up. "Fine," he growled, and stormed out.

He slammed the door and leaned against it, closing his eyes and letting his head thunk back against the door. Not only had he just blown his chance of hiding for the night, but he'd probably just ruined any chance he might have ever had with Willow.

Great.