A/N: A lot of this was "cleaned up" so that I could post it here, although, I feel that it takes away from the story, and seeing the characters fully. That being said, if you're interested to see the unedited version, please email me.

Warning: rape, profane language

"My Plague"

I'm just a bastard, but at least I admit it; At least I admit it.


Spike sat in his armchair listlessly, holding a bottle of alcohol. He pulled out the cork, sighing before taking a healthy swig. He didn't bother to turn around as his crypt door burst open, and he heard the heavy, lumbering footfalls of Captain Cardboard approaching him. Knowing an argument of some sort was about to start, Spike put the cork back in the bottle and set it aside.

"What took you? Guess it takes awhile to get back to full strength after those bites."

Riley grabbed Spike by the shirt and pulled him out of the chair without a word. With rage written all over his face, he slammed him against a pillar.

"You may have noticed, Spike…" He paused only long enough to punch Spike in the face before continuing, "I left reasonable about three exits back."

"Look, I'm not the one who got you into this. 'S not my fault you're not gonna be able to hold onto her—you're not the long haul guy, and you know it."

"Why the hell not?" Riley punctuated the "not" by slamming the back of Spike's head into the pillar.

"Bloody hell!" Spike could see that the boy's anger didn't seem to be abating, but still opted to tell him the truth.

Maybe then he'll bloody well come back to reality.

"The girl needs some monster in her man ... and that's not in your nature..." His voice softened, and he tried to sound as calm as possible, as he finished, "...no matter how low you try to go."

"Really, Spike? What makes you so sure?" Riley's eyes darkened as he stared at Spike, something vaguely sinister beginning to show there.

Spike scoffed at him in disbelief.

"Whatever, Crew Cut. I don't have time for—"

Riley cut him off, bringing the bleached blonde's head down upon his raised knee. Spike fell to the floor, and Riley was immediately upon him.

"'Not dark enough,' he says. This dark enough for you, Spike?" he yelled, turning the vampire over onto his back, his huge hands fumbling at the buckle of Spike's pants.

"What the hell are you doin'?" Spike yelled back, a faint note of panic beginning in his voice as he kicked out blindly, and managed to catch Riley on his upper thigh.

Riley fell upon him from the blow, as Spike cried out in pain, collapsing on the ground from his massive, chip induced headache.

"You're gonna pay for that."

Spike felt Riley's breath on his face before feeling his pants being ripped downward to his knees. He muttered a slightly slurred, "no" as he turned over, trying desperately to crawl away. He had made one critical mistake -- he had forgotten that the worse the intent to hurt a human, the harsher the firing of the chip would be. Now, the pain was making him woozy, and he felt like passing out.

No, gotta get away.

He stiffened in alarm and confusion as he felt Riley directly behind him.

He wouldn't dare.

"I'll show you just how dark I can be," Riley muttered, positioning himself behind the helpless vampire.

Everything went in slow motion after that.

In a vehement rage, just desperate to escape before the boy could carry out his intentions, Spike roared as he rolled over quickly, kicking Riley in the face as he flipped onto his back. He cried out again as the chip fired more torturously than before, stunning him into brief immobility.

He could only hope that he would recover before Riley, who lay on his stomach beside him on the floor. Spike squeezed his eyes shut, willing the searing pain to go away. He realized he was being swallowed by the darkness of his closed lids, and willed them to open.

When he managed to open them again, he could see Riley in his peripheral vision— rising stiffly to his feet. He turned his body, frantically trying to push himself up.

If I can just get to the tunnels before that wanker…

Riley's caustic laughter broke into his thoughts.

"You drew first blood, Spike," he said conversationally, removing some of said blood from his lip with his thumb as his less than average member, red, angry and hard, jutted from his opened pants. "But let's see if I can draw more," he added darkly, walking back to stand over the suffering blond.

He turned Spike over once more, pulling his hips back so that he was on his hands and knees. Wasting no time, so that he couldn't attack him again, Riley rammed himself into Spike. A monster cried out in pure bliss, and his victim in unadulterated agony. Riley hissed as he slowly pushed forward, against Spike's rebelling muscles, until he was all the way inside.

"Oh… yes," Riley murmured, slowly pulling out before thrusting back in quickly, his movements eased slightly from Spike's blood, his large fingers squeezing and bruising Spike's narrow hips.

"No. No, no, no…" Spike's pained mantra of disbelief broke slightly through Riley's haze. He grabbed the back of his slicked back platinum hair, yanking his head backwards.

"Come on, Spike," he panted out, his thrusts quickening, the sound of skin slapping against skin echoing in the crypt. "I thought you liked dark, being a vampire and all. So you must…" He paused to groan deeply. "…like this. God, I do. I can be dark. I can be dark. Say it. Tell me I'm dark."

Spike whimpered, biting the insides of his right and left cheeks simultaneously to prevent himself from crying out— or just plain crying.

"Tell me!" Riley snarled, driving himself deeper as he leaned over Spike's bent form, his face now next to his. "Tell me," he demanded again in Spike's ear in a low, guttural tone.

"Fuck you, you bleedin' faggot!" Spike hated how ragged his voice sounded.

Riley just laughed at him, his pleasure building from Spike's overt distress and shame. His right hand still gripping Spike's head, Riley turned the vampire's face forcefully sideways in an attempt to force him to look at him. Spike stubbornly continued to look toward the ground, though Riley could see tears welling up in his eyes.

Even though the vampire refused to let any of the salty water spill, just to see the evidence of Spike's misery was enough to send Riley over the edge with a grunt. The knowledge that he had dominated the cocky vamp sent waves of pleasure coursing through him, and Riley collapsed on Spike, his weight sending the platinum blonde crashing to the floor.

Spike, feeling beyond contaminated, and yet somehow numb, shoved him weakly off. Ignoring the slight fire of the chip at that small act of violence, he rose up on his forearms, and tried to stand up. He stumbled slightly, his progress hindered by his own pants, still tangled around his knees. Once he managed to stand, he quickly pulled up the black denim, zipping and buckling in a trembling haste to cover himself.

"See, Spike? You were wrong." Riley had stood up as well, zipping up his pants. "I can be just as dark as anyone."

"Get out," Spike said quietly, picking up the bottle he had set down earlier with a shaking hand, able to think of nothing else that might help to dull the pain and shame of what had just happened to him.

"Just make sure you keep this little encounter to yourself, Messenger Boy. I'm sure you'd hate for me to show up at your door again— and next time I might be just a little further beyond reason," Riley said darkly, trying to mask his own bafflement at what just occurred.

If they didn't talk about it or mention it, it never really happened…right?

"I said, get…out!" Spike shouted in rage, involuntarily shifting into game face and throwing the bottle with such force that it shattered on the crypt wall, wine and shards of glass covering the floor.

Riley, startled by the display, walked stiffly to the door, opened it, and left without another word. As soon as the door had closed behind his attacker, uncontrollable shivers began to course through Spike's body. As he unconsciously started to breathe deeply in an attempt to calm himself, the scent of his blood and Riley's sweat and spendings assaulted him, making him feel the need to retch.

His moment of brief numbness was wearing off.

Ignoring the physical pain that was becoming increasingly apparent as each second ticked by, Spike pulled on his duster before going down to the lower level of his crypt, grabbing a fresh pair of pants, a shirt, and his blanket. With the clothes clenched in his hands, he headed through the tunnels to Giles' apartment.

He knew that the Watcher would probably be at the Magic Box, and that he would have free reign and solitude at his house at this time of day. He desperately needed to shower, and to have a drink of the good stuff that Giles always seemed to have on hand. That— and the Watcher's house was one place that he knew Finn wouldn't come looking for him.

Though Giles often complained about the wayward vamp barging into his home, he, like Buffy, had never revoked his invitation. In fact, during the past summer, he and Rupert had spent a lot of time together, watching soaps and listening to Giles' records. Ever since those months of quality time, Rupert had begun to leave his front door unlocked for Spike, leaving blood in his fridge for him, and hiding his good liquor.

Of course, he did a piss poor job of hiding the liquor from his pseudo-invited guest, and when he began to realize that, rather than revoke Spike's invitation, Giles had merely moved his more expensive bottles to alternative hidey holes in the magic shop.

Even so, a hot shower was calling Spike right now.

Smoking slightly, he burst into Giles' flat, shutting the door quickly behind him.

"Giles?" he called out solemnly, not really expecting an answer. He put his clothes down on the counter, waiting a moment just in case.

"Good," he muttered, tossing the blanket on the floor, and then stripped his coat off before laying it gently on the couch. He looked at his leather duster, his trophy of the triumph of what should have been impossible— beating not one, but two Slayers.

But today, it all means nothing if a sorry git like white bread could…

Even though he knew he had a handicap, and that there was only so much he could have done to protect himself, Spike felt beyond disappointed that he had not been able to stop him.

With a grim expression on his face, he stomped up the stairs and headed for the bathroom. Closing the door behind him, he locked it and began to take off his clothes. Turning the water on hot, he stepped under the flowing streams of scalding water, watching as rivulets of watered blood ran down his legs and swirled into the drain.

He carefully lathered his entire body, gently grazing over his wounded backside, all the while grimacing as his hands touched the sorest spots. He washed his hair as well as his body, repeated the entire process seven times, and still felt unclean.

By that point, the water had cooled considerably, and he figured that he was as clean as he was going to get— though he still felt filthy and dirty and used. Enraged, he took out his frustration on the tiles, the jagged ceramic pieces clattering against bottom of the tub. Spike gritted his teeth, extending his arms of tense, corded muscle, and braced his knuckles against the wall, trying to calm down.

"No need to take it out of Giles' pocket, is there?"

He turned off the cool water, and stepped onto the rug, dampening it as water ran off him. He didn't spy a clean towel, and opened the door, going out into the hallway stark naked, heading to the linen closet. He grabbed one of the thicker ones, forest green, and wrapped it around his hips, then headed back into the bathroom, and noticed the pile of dirty clothes lying discarded on the floor.

He picked up the shirt and bloodied pants with the least amount of contact as possible by using his thumb and forefinger, and then headed down the stairs, grabbing Giles' steel trashcan on his way out to the back porch. Luckily, the porch was shaded, and he stepped outside, placing both articles of clothing into the can.

"Oh. Right," he muttered a bit listlessly, gingerly reaching into the pocket of his jeans and pulling out his lighter.

Realizing he needed an accelerant, he went back into the apartment and grabbed a bottle of beer from the fridge. As he headed to the back porch once again, he twisted off the cap, and took a quick swig. With a sniff of indifference, he poured the rest onto the clothing. He lit a corner of the shirt, and watched as it went up in flames, illuminating the shadows of the porch.

He sighed as the heavy, dark smoke began to fill the air, and then headed back into the house solemnly, getting two glasses of water to put the fire out. He left the charred remains of the shirt and pants behind him.


Spike, after having put on the fresh clothes, realized that he had nothing to do. He felt antsy, as if he should be doing something. Oh, he knew what he'd like to do—seek vengeance against that wanker, Finn, for what he'd done to him.

But in his current state, that didn't seem plausible.

He realized that he didn't have his smokes, and he really needed a fag just then. Or some really good bourbon, and neither were available in the Watcher's apartment.

He supposed that he could go see Giles— after all, the good liquor was at the Magic Box, and… he needed to apologize for breaking the tiles. Yes— never mind that he was so tightly wound that he was ready to snap at any minute.

It'd be bloody awful if Giles came home and saw the mess, all shocked and whatnot, and threw me out. Best to go explain it to him now.

With no further thought, he threw on his duster, grabbed his blanket, and headed to the shop.

Giles had just been straightening a few books while Anya attended to a customer when Spike came into the shop through the basement door. There was a look on his face that greatly disturbed Giles— it was one of a false calm tinged with apprehension.

Giles wasn't sure what to think of it.


"Watcher. Mind if I talk to you— alone?" he asked, glancing nervously in the direction of the training room.

"Of course." Giles followed him into the room, taking a subconscious note of the vampire's slightly wide legged walk, and then closed the door behind him. "Want to tell me what this is about?"

"I… used your shower today." Spike's shoulders were slumped, and his hands were shoved deeply into the pockets of his coat. It was then that Giles noticed the curls that adorned his head, as if whatever had brought him there had not given him time to worry with his appearance as he usually did. Spike always took great care of slicking back his unruly curls, for in the vamp's opinion, he didn't want to appear "poncy." As he studied the blonde's demeanor, he suddenly realized that he looked incredibly… vulnerable.

To Giles, that was a thought that was more than a little disturbing.

"Okay. I suppose I should expect damp towels or something of the like littering my bathroom floor then?"

"No. Well, yea, but um… you should also expect some broken tiles in the shower."

"Broken… why? What happened?" Giles frowned, the beginnings of irritation in his voice, though his rising concern kept it mostly at bay for the moment.

"Punching a wall with tiles usually has that effect. But what with my vampire strength and all, there're some holes in the plaster too."

"Holes in the— Spike! Why on earth would you do such a thing?" Giles allowed some of his irritation to show as he glared indignantly at the strangely evasive vampire. Spike looked away from him, ashamed. Curious, Giles stepped a bit closer.

"You were clearly upset about something," he observed. "What happened?"

Spike laughed bitterly, before remarking with no little irony, "Got my virtue sullied, didn't I?"

"Got your… what?" Giles' face expressed nothing but confusion, as he searched Spike's eyes, shaking his head, at a loss.

Spike turned furious eyes on Giles, his anger visibly rising in his face, his trembling hands slowly clenching into fists at his sides as all of the pain and humiliation of the past few hours came boiling up within him all at once, pouring out with his frustration.

With a roar, he turned his wrath on the pommel horse in the center of the room, kicking it onto its side before stomping on it, breaking the wooden frame and legs.

"Spike— stop it! Enough!" Giles tried to stop him in his most severe tone, reaching toward him as if to stop him physically.

But Spike ignored him, turning his attentions to the punching bag instead, bludgeoning it blow after blow with his fists until the sand exploded from the split seams. Growling at not having that to hit either, he turned to the brick wall, punching it in rapid succession as tears streamed down his chiseled cheeks, the flesh tearing from his knuckles that were now stained with blood.

Giles' firm grip on his shoulder, shouting his name, finally pulled Spike back from his blind rage. Spike turned and looked blankly at the Watcher, almost as if just realizing that he was in the room. As his eyes slowly registered the overt worry and concern on his face, Spike's face slowly crumpled, and he began to weep openly, his grief causing his knees to give out under him. As he accidentally collapsed onto Giles, the other man held him steady.

"I couldn't stop him…" Spike mumbled onto his shoulder.

"Who?" Giles questioned softly.


"What the hell is going on here? And the breaking of merchandise! Well, technically, this isn't apart of the Magic Box, and I can't sell these things since they're Buffy's and… is there some sort of homosexual relationship between the two of you? Cause really, I never would've expected—"

"Anya—please get me the bottle under the counter," Giles interrupted her. Anya's brow furrowed, and she looked at Spike with a tilt of her head.

"Is… is he okay?" Anya asked at last, wringing her hands together in apprehension.

"No, I rather think not. The bottle, please, Anya." Sensing the heavy atmosphere of the room and the strange mood of the Watcher, she nodded, closed the door and left them.

Giles lead the now silent vampire over to the couch. Tears still flowed from his eyes, but we wiped at them angrily as he struggled for control. Giles watched as Spike slowly sat down, gingerly sitting back on the cushions with a wince.

"What happened?" Giles queried gently.

"Last night, I took the Slayer to one of those… vamp whore houses Downtown. She didn't know it, but her tin soldier had taken up spending quite a bit of time there as of late." Spike's voice was strangely level and calm, as if he knew that if he lost control again for even a moment, that fount of rage would come pouring out again, resulting in further destruction— or perhaps just further humiliation.

"Bloody hell," Giles muttered to himself.

"Yea. So, Finn stops by to visit me today for ratting him out. Thought he was just gonna yell and punch me a few times, but… He took it further than that."

"Further than that? How… Oh dear." Giles whipped his glasses off of his face, squeezing the bridge of his nose as the horrible truth dawned on him.

"He… raped you?"

Spike's silence said it all.

"'S not like I can complain, can I? I've done a lot of bad in my day, so karma comes back for me and maybe I deserved it. Doesn't mean I had to like it though." Spike hung his head, shaking it as he clasped his hands on the back of his neck.

"Spike, you most certainly didn't deserve—"

"It isn't supposed to be this way! This bloody chip…" Spike gritted his teeth, forcing back the sob that rose in his throat.

"He still had no right to violate you. No right at all," Giles said darkly, disgusted at Riley's actions.

Dear lord, I'll have to tell Buffy…

"Can I stay at your place for awhile? I… don't feel safe at... Unfortunately, there aren't dis-invite spells for humans."

"Or for raping little sods, either," Giles said with disdain. "You're welcome to stay as long as you need, Spike."

Grateful, Spike opened his mouth to reply— but before he could, an irate Slayer barged into the room.


Anya looked at the bottle of amber liquid, and frowned to herself.

Spike looked so incredibly broken, that she wasn't sure how to handle the situation. She'd seen him bitch and moan, mope, gripe, rant, be furious… But she'd never seen him weak.

Something awful must've happened.

She found two clean glasses, sighing morosely when she couldn't find a third. An idea formed in her head, and quietly, she approached the training room door, and put her ear to it, listening intently. All she heard were the low rumblings of the two Brit's voices. Scowling, she headed back to the counter, grabbed one of the glasses and then bee lined straight for the training room door again, putting the glass against it, eyes squinted in concentration.

As the bell chimed above the door, Anya's head shot up guiltily and saw a not so pleasant looking Buffy enter. With her leather pants and black sweater, she looked ready to start a fight.

"Anya, what's going on? Where's Giles?" the Slayer asked. Anya gave her a look of false cheer.

"Oh, Giles? Pfft. What do you need him for? He's… an old fuddy duddy. Totally un-hip." Buffy's eyebrows shot up, and she noticed the bottle of bourbon on the counter in her peripheral.

"Have you been drinking?"

"No," Anya said, slowly moving away from the training room door.

"Is he in there?" Buffy didn't wait for an answer, and advanced towards the door.

"I, um… wait." Anya held her hand out to her. "He's busy. Spike came in, and—"

"Spike? Came to spread the good news, I suppose," Buffy said sarcastically more to herself than Anya. "He is so dead." Buffy went around Anya, reaching for the door handle.

"Buffy, wait—" But Buffy had already opened the door, and the destroyed equipment was the first thing to catch her eye. Then she saw Giles and Spike sitting side by side on the couch.

"What the hell is going on?"

Giles looked up at his charge, clearly startled, while Spike's jaws began to clench involuntarily.

"I tried to stop her, honest," Anya explained from behind Buffy.

"Quite alright, Anya," Giles said soothingly as Spike stood up slowly.

"Uh, Rupes, mind if I take the bottle with me?" Giles nodded his assent. As Spike headed for the doorway into the shop, the petite Slayer blocked his path.

"You know, it's bad enough that you had to show me… But you had to tell Giles too? It wasn't your place," she said with a slight shake of her head.

"I'm well aware of my place, thanks." He tried to walk around her, but she grabbed his wrist—not so hard to hurt, but enough to stop him.

"You wanna make fun of me and my pathetic situation, fine. But don't do it in front of my friends." Spike glared down at her, snatching his wrist out of her grasp.

"Funny how you think everything is about you, Summers. You can be such a blind bitch sometimes. Giles, I'll see you when you're done here." Without any other comment, he stormed away, leaving behind a weary and angry Giles, a baffled Buffy, and a solemn Anya.

"That's it. He is so—"

"Enough, Buffy," Giles said firmly as he stood up and walked towards her. Buffy turned astonished eyes to him.

"You're actually defending him? After he called me a—"

"Yes, well, he's not exactly himself at the moment."

"What? Rude and insulting? Seemed like Spike to me," Buffy argued.

Giles pursed his lips in thought, knowing that Spike would want confidentiality, even if he hadn't voiced it. And yet…

Buffy deserves to know what had become of her… boyfriend

Giles shuddered at the very thought of what Riley still was to his Slayer, in light of what he now knew about him.

"Spike told me what Riley has been doing most nights." Buffy's eyes widened before darkening in anger at the vamp, while Anya remained quiet, hoping to get the full story.

"He also said that Riley, in his… frustration, came to see him earlier today."

"What, he beat him up or something? Punched him a few times? Big deal, Giles. There are more important things at hand—like why didn't you tell me about those vamp places Downtown?"

Giles took off his glasses once again, and busied himself with a thorough polishing, but his heart just wasn't in it. Exhaling a silent sigh, he put them back on his face.

"He did a lot more than hit Spike," he said quietly and clearly, and both bottle blondes heard exactly what he didn't say.

"Oh god," Anya whispered, wrapping her arms around herself.

"Wait—what are you saying?" Buffy asked, sounding for all the world like a young girl who learned that Santa was indeed fiction, and that monsters, though in human form, were real.

"He… Spike made it quite clear to me that Riley raped him," he said as he looked her in the eyes. "I'm sorry, Buffy."

Buffy shook her head at him, and to the insane notion that Riley would ever…

"No, he's lying."

"I don't believe he was." Giles gave her that look of authority that made her feel small and powerless. It was one that said, "I know I'm right, and there's nothing you can do to change it."

Buffy swallowed. "How could Riley—"

"Spike's chipped, remember? He has no way of protecting himself. And because he was angry at Spike for telling his dirty secret to you, he decided to take full advantage of that fact. And I must tell you Buffy, this whole thing is… Who knows who else he's violated? Spike can't formerly press charges, but something has to be done."

Buffy agreed; something had to be done. Though all she felt in that moment was the extreme sensation to vomit.

"Wait and Bleed"

Buffy walked past Anya from the training room into the Magic Box in a daze, going to the counter to use the phone.

Oh god. No, it's a lie – only -- it's not. Riley raped Spike. He's a rapist. He's a monster. Riley's a monster. My boyfriend. Riley. I feel sick. Oh god…

Giles and Anya watched in solemn silence as Buffy picked up the phone and calmly dialed a number.

"Hello? Dawn? Can you put mom on the phone? Don't worry about why—just…can you get her?" Buffy paused, her expression hardening in a way that only a little sister could evoke – but at the moment, she did not feel she had the strength to argue with Dawn.

"Can you put her on the phone please?" she conceded, and then was silent again for a moment, waiting for her mother to come to the phone.

"Mommy? Hey, can you do me a huge favor? If Riley comes by… don't let him in, okay? No, just… tell him I'm busy or something, and that I'll call him later. And please, don't let him in. I'll explain later. No, I'm not all right. But thanks for asking."

Buffy hung up on her mother, silencing her prodding questions for the moment.

"Giles? He's staying at your place?" she asked, all the while staring toward the door.


Buffy nodded silently, and started to leave.


She paused, her shoulders slumping as she slowly turned to face Giles and Anya.

"You do realize that he is the victim in this situation?"

Buffy nodded, adding, "I just want to talk to him. Not that there's…" she allowed her voice to trail off, unsure of how to finish her thought.

"You'll stop at home and shower first, right?"

Buffy and Giles both turned their eyes toward Anya at her strange inquiry.

"No. Why?"

"It's just…you may want to do that— the showering. Wash your hair, too."

"And again with the why?"

"Buffy, Spike's a rape victim—a vampire rape victim seeking sanctuary at Giles'. Do you honestly think that you walking in, having his attacker's scent all over you will be in any way comforting?"

Buffy's face fell, and she felt a fresh wave of sickness over come her. She vowed in that moment to never let Riley touch her again. "All right," she agreed a bit listlessly, and then left without a backwards glance, or another word.

"What do you suppose she'll do?" Anya asked Giles, who was still looking out the door through which his charge had just gone.

"I don't know, Anya. I just don't know…"


Riley walked home in a daze, trying to make sense in his head of the events that had just occurred—the events which he had caused to happen.

He had had no intention of doing that when he went there—honestly.

He had been angry, and felt justified in going to the crypt to rough the cocky vampire up a bit. After all, it was clear that he had only done what he did so that he could get Riley out of the way, and have Buffy all to himself. Did he honestly expect for Riley to just lie there and take it?

Perhaps. But in the end, it was Spike who had…

Riley shook off the thought, the image of Spike on all fours beneath him, the muffled sounds of his cries of anguish… His body had felt incredibly cool, although the blood he had recently drank, coming forth from his torn tissues, had felt slightly warm as it had coated Riley, easing his hard thrusts into him.

Riley hopped into the shower as soon as he made it back to his apartment, desperate to get the blood off of him. He felt conflicted, though he wasn't sure why, because at the end of the day, Spike didn't matter—he was nothing but a thing—an evil, disgusting, thing that Buffy wouldn't give the time of day.

Not that it would matter—Riley was certain that the vampire would keep the events that transpired between the two of them to himself, not that anyone would believe him anyway. Between the two of them, Spike would be the one viewed as a liar—and a habitual one at that.

The ex-soldier stepped out of the shower and headed to his dresser. He had a girlfriend to see and make amends with. But for whatever reason, should things not go as planned, and Buffy rebuked him, he had a back up plan.

Someone was going to welcome him with open arms…


"Buffy, what's going on?" Her mother accosted her as soon as she swung the front door open. Buffy figured that she must have been waiting by the window for her to come home, as she took in her mother's furrowed brow and look of concern.

"Nothing…nothing, mom. I have to go take a shower, and then I'm heading back out," she replied, heading toward the stairs.

"Buffy Anne Summers, you come back here right now," Joyce demanded, sighing in relief as Buffy turned back to face her.


Joyce finally noticed how utterly drained her oldest daughter looked—how rundown…discouraged…lost. Her slight anger at Buffy turning away from her evolved into maternal concern once again, and a bit sheepish at her own outburst.

"Well it's just…you look so—and you sounded so upset on the phone. And why can't Riley come in the house? Did you two have an argument? Did you…break up?"

"Not yet."

"And you don't want him in the house?"


"Why, honey?"

Buffy's face crumpled as she swallowed back her tears. "He isn't…it's not safe to be around him. Especially if I'm not here."

"Not safe? Why—"

"Please, I don't wanna talk about it."

"Did he hurt you? Hit you?" Joyce felt her defensive maternal anger rise once again at the thought of her baby being hurt.

"No, not me…he just can't be trusted, Mom. He…hurt a defenseless being. And I don't want him around you and Dawn. I don't know what he's capable of anymore."

"A defenseless…" Joyce's voice trailed off momentarily, as she realized who Buffy had to be talking about. "Spike? He attacked him? Why?"

"I don't…I can't—not now. I have to go shower." Buffy practically fled up the stairs and into the sanctuary of the bathroom as Joyce watched in a contemplative silence.

Neither noticed the young brunette peeking around the corner of the kitchen doorway. Though she had heard every word, she wasn't exactly sure what it all meant.

But she definitely intended to find out.


Spike lay on his stomach, intermittently swigging from the bottle, his head facing away from the door. He sighed when he heard the knob twist, the door swinging open gently.

"Watcher…didn't think you'd be back so quick."

"It's me, Spike."

His eyes widened at the intruder's voice, and his jaw clenched as he pushed up on his hands, rising up slowly. With awkward, painfully careful movements, he stood up and headed toward the other side of the room—hoping that she would stay on her respective side, keeping her slight Captain A-rapist-a scent with her. He turned to face her just as she shut the door.

"What are you doin' here, Slayer? Come to harass me some more?" His eyes squinted slightly as he took in her wet hair, pulled back into a ponytail, and fresh change of clothes. It was the first time he'd seen her without her bouncy, shampoo commercial hair.

She slowly eased her way towards him, attempting not to flinch at his odd, slightly wide legged walk. Watching his face carefully, she replied in a soft, cautious voice, "I went home, after the Magic Box." She looked down at her attire, fingering the hem of her baby blue, long sleeved sweater. "I showered and changed. I…I didn't wanna offend you."

He looked her over with curiosity in his eyes, slowly approaching her until they were face to face.

"You smell like Caress," he said, his voice as soft as his expression.

"Yeah. How'd you know?"

His eyes widened slightly before suddenly, deliberately shifting to a cooler demeanor. "Just guessin'."

Buffy shoved her hands deep into her pockets, looking down again. She couldn't seem to look him in the eyes, and this troubled him greatly. Swallowing the imaginary lump in his throat, Spike lifted his hand, placing his fingers lightly beneath her chin, making her raise her head. She looked at him with large, sad, teary doe eyes, her bottom lip trembling.

"What's wrong, luv?"

His voice felt like silk, gently caressing her.

"Giles…he told me." She looked away again for a moment, ashamed. Spike dropped his hand to his side, suddenly feeling self-conscious. "I'm so sorry."

Spike grit his teeth, wishing his embarrassment away. It was fruitless, of course. "Not your fault," he mumbled, turning away from her.

Somehow, his turning away gave her a courage she had lacked before, a determination to somehow make this easier for him.

"Hey…" She placed her hand lightly on his shoulder, causing his back to stiffen for a second before he suddenly gave in, allowing them to slump wearily, as if all of the energy required for resistance had been drained from him in that moment. He still kept his back to her, unwilling to allow her to see the shame in his eyes.

"I am so sorry, Spike. If I had known—"

"You didn't. No worries."

Buffy walked around, standing in front of him, silently insisting on meeting his eyes. "But I do now. And I swear to you, he will never touch you again."

Spike gave her a wry smile, unable to hide the surprise in his terribly vulnerable blue eyes. "So, what then—you my sworn protector, now?"

Buffy shrugged her shoulders. "I guess so," she replied, deciding so just as she said the words. "Against humans, at least. You find yourself in a tiff with a demon, then you're on your own, pal."

"Fair enough, Summers."

In that instant, an unspoken message passed between the two of them, causing them both to head to the couch without a word. Spike sat down gingerly on one end and Buffy on the cushion next to his.

"Drink?" Spike held out the half empty bottle to her, desperate to break the suddenly awkward silence that had fallen over them.

"But it's still kinda early." Buffy consulted her watch; it was only five past six.

"Yea, but no better time like the present, luv."

Buffy glanced at him sideways, holding her hand out to him for the bottle.

"Thata girl," Spike said with approval, placing it in her hand.

She took a healthy swig, following it with a "blaaah, ugh!" making a horrible face accompanied by the shake of her head at the awful, bitter flavor. Even so, she took another swig, thinking she'd get used to the taste.

She didn't.

"My throat and my gut feels all… warm." She took another small sip before passing it back to him.

"Eat anything?"


"Did you eat something? Breakfast? A snack?"

Buffy shook her head dumbly at him.

"Bloody hell, Slayer. Can't have alcohol like this on an empty stomach. That, and I'm sure you've got a piss poor constitution, as small as you are."

"I may be short, but I pack a mean punch," she retorted, lightly hitting him in the bicep with her fist.

"And who'd know that better than me?" he asked with an arch of his brow.

Buffy's thoughts darkened, as she looked away from him, her eyes narrowing with a grim, smoldering anger.

I'm thinking Riley's gonna find out real soon