Lacrymosa

SUMMARY: COMPLETELY AU Spike is human and part of the gang. We join in Season Three as Faith makes her entrance and the fun begins in good ole Sunnyhell…

DISCLAIMER: God still won't grant my wish, so Joss still has them. Then again, Joss is God, so really he shouldn't have to give them up. I wouldn't.

Before you read on, I just wanna warn you of a couple of things. 1. Angel has returned to this plane of existence a little sooner, for storyline purposes. 2. If the timeline seems a little wonky, please don't shout at me, cause I realised half way through that I completely missed out Christmas, which is before Buffy's birthday, but by that time, I had gotten too far to be able to change a whole load and it would have gotten confusing. 3. I know there's a lot of the actual episodes in here for the first part, but it wouldn't have made sense without it, cause I spent a lot of time re-watching season three again and again, to make sure Spike fit in properly and that I had the dynamic right. I have explained how he fit the past two seasons briefly, I might get around to actually writing season two with him in, cause personally? Seeing Angel and Spike fight is one of my favourite pastimes. But if I don't, don't get grouchy cause I do have a lot of other stuff going on. It took me ages to get this one finished and I'm quite proud of it, being my longest fic and all. I put a lot of effort into it and I hope you like. Please review, if you get time, and any constructive criticism is welcomed, as long as no one flames unnecessarily, cause I think it's kinda nasty.

Thank you!!!

Chapter One: Competition

Buffy tossed her hair over her shoulder and strode down the hallway, clutching a multitude of books in her arms whilst struggling to keep her bag posted on her shoulder at the same time. The irrational thought occurred to her that whoever had designed the too-small-to-carry-my-books fashionable bag was in effect an idiot who had never had to cope with the possibility of six periods in one day. And had obviously never tested the weight of a math book in his or her life.

Pushing her way through the library doors and into the welcome, if a little stuffy, haven was the moment at which she could stop her battle with the ineffectively balanced books and she dumped them on the counter with a hardhearted sigh. She turned, her bag joining the mountain of books and she was met with four faces, all of which she recognised and all of which she had missed during her unbearably boring double math period.

Willow and Xander were sharing a pile of chocolate bars, the red heads eyes darting back to a book she had opened on the desk whilst her best friend talked about a funny dog he had seen on the way to school this morning. Giles was leaning against the back shelf; his glasses perched precariously on the end of his nose as he read a rather tatty looking old book. And the blonde head furiously scribbling at the pad of paper on the table was the one she had definitely missed during the deadly double math.

She walked up to him and landed a hefty smack to the back of his head, forcing him to drop his pen. He looked up at her without a sound, his hand rubbing the sore patch and a hurt look on his face.

'What the bloody hell was that for?' He asked, a slight pout coming to his face.

'That was for skipping math, Spike. And leaving me alone.' Buffy folded her arms. 'What's the excuse this time cos I'm sure...?' She peered over his shoulder at the pad he had been scribbling on. '...Doodling Crash Bandicoot does not count as a legal reason.'

Spike frowned and slipped his pad into his bag, his frown turning to a scowl as he pointed at Giles. 'He wanted me looking some stuff up. By the time I found it, it was too late to come to class.' He waited for back up from anyone. None came and he stood up, the scowl more prominent. 'No bloody help from you lot, thanks.'

'What?' Xander asked. 'Sorry, I wasn't really listening.' He stuffed another chocolate bar into his mouth and Willow smiled sweetly at Buffy.

'He was helping. He didn't really deserve a thump, Buffy.' Willow shut her book and picked up a Razzle bar.

Buffy snorted. 'Like it hurt. You're bout the only one who can actually take a punch from me.' She looked to Giles. 'So what were you researching?'

'Just your average demons.' Spike interrupted. 'And I believe classes are over for the day. So anyone up for a drink?'

Xander shook his head. 'You're the only one who can get away with buying it.' He stated and then grinned. 'But we could all go to the bronze. There is a band playing tonight I believe.'

'Oh, yeah, Oz said he was going to be there tonight to check them out.' Willow smile excitedly and Buffy shared it with her for a moment.

'You guys making with the smoochies?' She asked and Willow blushed in response. Spike rolled his eyes and turned away from the girly chatter, wishing he could be as blissfully ignorant as Xander was in these situations. Buffy hit him at his sigh of desperation and he poked his tongue out at her in defiance. 'Just because you reckon you get it more than the rest of us, Spike, doesn't mean you can rip us on our immature approach to the subject. I'd rather be innocent than a manwhore any day.'

Spike clutched his chest and looked toward her with mock horror plastered across his face. He faked a sob and leant against the banister on the small stairway leading up to the stacks. 'That hurts, Slayer. That really hurts.'

Buffy rolled her eyes at the use of her calling title and he grinned as he grabbed his coat from the banister and headed out of the library. Willow was packing her books away as Xander carried an armful of used chocolate wrappers to the bin. Giles watched him and sighed, waiting for the children to leave before he could get down to some good old quiet researching.

Finally, the group in their collective trudged out of the library, discussing their various plans for the evening. Giles took his glasses off and polished them, listening for a moment to the fading sounds of a school day and turning to his books with a smile that promised an evening of quiet tranquillity.

Spike flicked the fag away from his person with a none too gracious hand gesture and turned a blazing grin to Buffy as the group sat at the table. Cordelia and Xander were involved in a heavy conversation that consisted mostly of her trying to make a point and him mocking her at every turn, whilst Oz and Willow sat in a rather cosy situation, their arms linked together and hands entwined on the table top. Willow was blushing furiously, an indication of her still naive impression of their young relationship.

The two couples departed to dance and Spike's grin disappeared with them. He turned to Buffy, his gaze serious and she bit her lip, glancing around to spot anything that could deter her attention from his reprimanding glare. She knew exactly what he was going to bring up and she didn't really want to talk about it.

Only she didn't have a choice.

Angel was back, and Spike was not happy about it.

'You gonna say something first or are you going to avoid this subject forever?'

His voice turned her attention right to where she didn't want it to go. Hazel eyes met blue and she saw that glazed emotion he always had when he looked at her. Sure, he'd never said it, but she knew. Somehow. And part of her was blaming that for his defensive reaction to the vampire that had returned from hell.

He'd caught her, sneaking away from patrol, which he frequently joined her on. He hadn't barged in and made accusations, which was very unlike his usual "I've got to give my tuppence worth" attitude. He had simply waited for her outside and posed the question of her risk taking for a vampire that may or may not be evil. She had of course, countered that statement with her own about Angel's soul but he had then brought up the fact that it was not anchored and she should stay away from the vamp for all their sakes.

Nothing had been said since then, but she knew that he was disappointed. Knew she was still visiting the recuperating vampire. And the barely contained fury behind his blue eyes was recognisable from a mile off.

Buffy sighed and lowered her gaze, suddenly having an irrational thought about the overly tight jeans Spike was wearing tonight. She could never deny that he was a hottie and if Angel hadn't been on the scene...maybe there was something. But Angel was on the scene. And she should really start talking to him now.

'I'm not going to avoid the subject.' She made eye contact again. His eyes had darkened, as they always did when he was angry about something. Or whenever Angel was mentioned. And she knew why.

He brought it up before she could even think of the reason.

'You forgetting what happened last year luv?'

Buffy winced. She remembered all too well. Angelus had murdered Jenny. Giles had gone after the vampire and Spike had followed. The blonde had taken the beating of a lifetime to save her Watcher, while Buffy had been struggling to find them. Granted, he had given as good as he got, but Spike didn't have any super powers and no extending healing. He was in hospital for a week before he was allowed home.

And it had been her fault.

'I haven't. And I'm sorry but...I don't know what to do. I can't just kill him...it's Angel, not Angelus.'

Spike frowned. 'I'm not saying you have to kill him. I know the difference, pet. But it isn't going to be easy, especially if anyone else found out. Giles? He'll go spare.' Spike took her hand, and Buffy instantly felt comforted.

If Angel wasn't on the scene...

He continued talking, unaware of the rapidly rising blush in her cheeks. 'I'm just saying, maybe you should tell him to leave. I know you love him and I know it will be hard to let go...but no good will come of this, luv. Buffy...' He sighed, gripping her hand tighter. For a regular guy, he was pretty strong. 'You know I care...I can't let him hurt you again. There's too much at risk.'

Buffy watched him speak, his eyes the one thing she noticed most of all. She had always guessed there was more to him, and in the three years she had known him, there had been a great deal of change in his personality. He had been Xander's friend since childhood and Willow's since before. Instantly recognisable with his bleached hair and his chiselled good looks which always got attention from even the most popular of girls. His upbringing had been far different to those of his friends and whilst he was on the football team, he shied away from the usual limelight that came with it.

He was staring at her now and she wished she could say she would never see Angel again. But she knew it was forbidden fruit syndrome - the more she shouldn't, the more the teenager in her wanted to. Only now, it was just more than her own heart at risk. That was what he was getting at.

Causing Angel to lose his soul again would mean more than just her own heart getting broken - someone could get theirs ripped out...literally.

She was about to speak again when he looked away and she followed his gaze, seeing their friends returning to the table. Cordelia had a look of disgust on her face and Xander looked like she may have given him a slight berating. Willow was still blushing and Oz remained in his stoic state, although it looked like a slight smile may have been hitching the corner of his mouth.

'What's the up?' Buffy asked, and Cordelia pointed to the girl swinging herself around the dance floor like a complete ho-bag. Buffy's eyes widened, even more so when Spike gave the girl an appreciative glance.

'Looks like someone's having fun tonight.' A grin graced his face and Buffy instantly felt jealous. She stared at the girl and noticed for the first time the guy she was dancing with.

'Well, fun isn't always good for you.' She said, pointing at the badly dressed date. Cordelia scoffed at his clothing and Spike narrowed his eyes. 'That guy is a vampire.'

'And they are heading outside.' Spike said, passing Buffy a stake under the table. She flashed him a smile.

'Sometimes I think you're more into this Slayer gig than I am.' She said, standing and heading for the door the pair had just left through. As they exited the club, Buffy realised that the whole gang had followed, which wasn't an unusual occurrence.

But the girl and her date had disappeared. Buffy frowned. 'Where'd she go?'

She took a few steps down the alley, looking around for the missing couple. Then she turned back to the gang, gripping her stake with a slight look of disappointment on her face.

Cordelia shrugged and turned. 'I bet it's nothing. They're probably just making out.'

Buffy walked back to the group, looking to Spike with a grimace. As she motioned for them to go back in, a shout pierced the quiet of the area and she spun on her heel.

'Hey!'

The sound of something breaking reached their ears and Buffy started back down the alley, Spike in hot pursuit with another stake.

Willow scowled and looked to Cordelia. 'That's not what making out sounds like, unless I'm doing it wrong.'

The group followed the two blondes quickly, not wanting to miss out on the action. As they rounded the corner, they saw the badly dressed boy had the girl up against the fence, his game face on.

'Stop struggling. This won't hurt.'

The boy moved in to bite the girl and she grabbed him by the neck, pushing him away a bit and elbowing him in the face. He staggered back and regained his balance. The brunette girl jumped onto a crate and performed a perfect jumping roundhouse kick to his face, knocking him to the pavement.

Buffy watched, stunned. The girl noticed her and approached, smiling.

'It's okay, I got it. You're, uh, Buffy, right?'

Buffy was taken aback. Just as she was about to answer, the vampire came up behind the girl and grabbed her by the shoulders. She snapped her head back to head butt him in the face and grabbed onto his arm.

'I'm Faith.' She introduced herself before twisting the vampire around and shoving him into the section of chain link fence.

Oz leant into Willow as the scene unfolded. 'I'm gonna go out on a limb and say there's a new Slayer in town.'

Faith kneed him in the gut from behind. The vamp whirled around and tried to backhand punch her, but she easily ducked it. She punched him in the gut and then again in the face. Everyone just watched her fight. Xander followed her moves with jerks of his head, as Spike watched with an open mouth. She did a high side kick to the vampire's jaw, grabbed onto his shirt and neck and threw him to the ground. The vamp performed a no-hand front roll to control his fall while Faith reached over to Buffy for the stake and jerked it from her hand.

'Can I borrow that?'

The vampire used the momentum of his roll to get back to his feet and ran at Faith, throwing a punch as he came. She ducked it, hooked her hand on his shoulder, turned him around and pushed him back into the fence. She raised the stake and jammed it cleanly into his chest before she jerked it back out. The vampire instantly crumbled into ashes. Buffy stared in confused amazement. Faith faced her and handed her back the stake, winking at Spike flirtatiously.

'Thanks, B. Couldn't have done it without you.'

Buffy watched her leave, a confused look marring her face.