"You don't get anything," Buffy spat at Angelus before turning to Spike. "We need chains. Now."

"I'm on it," Spike replied, pressing the bag of food and blood he was holding into Buffy's arms. "I won't be long." He ran to the door and disappeared through it, pulling it shut with a loud bang.

Buffy glanced down at the other Spike and anxiously bit her lip, wincing when she snagged the cut. Not knowing what else to do, she placed the bag on the floor and then hovered over Spike. Without anything to restrain him with, the best she could hope for was to knock him out again if he came around.

Angelus chuckled. "I have to hand it to you, lover, I'm impressed. I never thought you'd see the end of the year with me around. I'm assuming that you're a few years older than seventeen – it's just that you're looking a little worse for wear."

"Shut up!" Buffy snarled, turning her back firmly on him.

"How did you end up with roller boy, anyway?" He leered at her. "Missing me, were you lover? I have to say he's a pretty poor substitute, but when the only other man – and I use that term loosely – on offer is Xander, I can see why you chose Spike."

Buffy chose not to answer and instead clenched her jaw.

Angelus changed his tone from mocking to musing, almost as if he were thinking to himself. "How did you even do this? Time travel is rare, but it still happens. But for someone like you…" He trailed off and gave a snicker. "No offence, Buff, but you're not exactly the sharpest pencil in the box."

Buffy was contemplating finding something to gag Angelus with when Spike hurried back into the apartment, chains in hand. The relief practically radiated off Buffy in waves. She closed her eyes and smiled. "Have I ever told you how wonderful you are?"

Angelus's features contorted in disgust but Spike grinned. "Once or twice," He said, heading over to where his other self still lay prone in the chair. "But I never get tired of hearing it."

Buffy nodded towards the unconscious Spike. "Can you handle him while I deal with the blood?"

"'Course, kitten. Hop to it."

Angelus, whose ears had pricked at the mention of blood, cleared his throat. "Did I hear right? Blood?"

"Yes, Angel, but you're only getting dinner if you're a good boy, meaning you have to shut up for the rest of the night."

He eyed her suspiciously. "What kind of blood?"


He snorted. "Why do you think you can keep my mouth shut with that God awful crap?"

"Because," Buffy replied sweetly. "I'll mix some of my own in with it."

Spike growled and almost dropped the chains. His demon surfaced before he realised it, the familiar ridges and bumps forming on his forehead. Buffy spun around to face him and gave him a warning look that clearly ordered him to keep his silence. Once she was satisfied that he wouldn't say anything she turned back to Angelus.

He was already enticed by the thought of Slayer blood, and Spike's jealousy would make it all the sweeter. His glance slipped to Buffy's neck. "I'd rather have it from the source," He murmured, earning him a warning growl from Spike. "But alright."

Buffy smiled in satisfaction and went to prepare the blood. Angelus thought she made rather a show of it, probably to drive him insane with his craving. Once the mug of heated blood was removed from the microwave, Buffy grabbed a knife from the drawer and settled herself in front of Angelus. She drew the knife across the palm of her hand in one sharp movement, creating a shallow cut. Glittering beads of blood welled to the surface. She tilted her hand and allowed the sanguine fluid to run down her slender fingers, then waggled her fingertips gently so that the drops fell into the cup.

Once enough of her own blood had been mixed with the pig's, she held the mug up to Angelus's lips, allowing him to drink. Spike kept his back turned and tried to ignore what was happening, but Angelus was being indecently loud, smacking his lips and slurping the blood. He kept his jealousy in check, reminding himself that the experience would be much worse for Buffy.

By the time he had finished chaining his other self up, Angelus had finished his meal and was fast asleep. Buffy watched him with a smug grin on her face. "What do you know," She said, winking at Spike. "That stuff Willy gave us actually worked. Looks like I won't have to beat him up after all."

Both of them had been dubious about the grey powder the seedy bar owner had sold them, but he had assured them that it would put a vampire to sleep for at least a few hours. Now it seemed that he had been telling the truth.

Spike gave Buffy a hand back to her feet. "Why did you give him your blood?" He murmured.

"I wanted to make sure he didn't taste that stuff and spit it out. I figured my blood would mask it better than pig's." Seeing the jealous look still in Spike's eyes, she gently entwined the fingers of her uninjured hand with his. "Come on," She said, pulling him to the kitchen. "We need to eat and get a couple of hours of sleep before we have to deal with him again."

Several hours later, Spike lay silently next to the sleeping Buffy, wide eyed in the darkness. Buffy's rest was fitful; she squirmed and murmured, occasionally uttering a sharp cry or lashing out. When Spike brushed her cheek with his fingertips, her skin was searing hot. She cowered from his touch, whimpering.

He hated to see her like this. Hated it. But he knew from bitter experience that there was nothing he could do. As much as it broke his heart to watch her suffer, the nightmare had to run its course. In the early days, during the first few times they had shared a bed, he'd tried to wake her when the nightmares had come upon her. It hadn't taken him long to discover that it was impossible. He could shake her, shout at her, pick her up and her eyelids wouldn't open even a crack. Whatever he tried didn't help her at all, instead it only added to her terror.

Trying his best not to jolt her, Spike climbed off the bed and headed towards the bathroom. He found a cloth inside and, after a brief inspection, decided that it was clean. He turned on the tap and ran the material underneath the cold stream of water that gushed out. Wringing the excess water out, he made his way back to bed, making sure not to bump into either Angelus or his other self as he went. He silently gave thanks to whatever deity or demon was listening that the first was asleep and the other was still, miraculously, unconscious from the blow to his head.

Kneeling next to the bed, he flicked a small lamp on. Buffy's brow creased and she shied away from the light, just as she had done from Spike. Before he'd left to get the cloth, Spike thought he'd smelled blood but couldn't be sure in the darkness, even with the benefit of vampiric sight. Now he saw that at some point in her sleep Buffy had bitten down on her lip, opening up the only recently healed cut. A small line of crimson had worked its way down her chin, standing out shockingly against the paleness of her skin.

Spike pushed back the tangled, sweat soaked hair from her forehead and gently dabbed at her with the cloth. This was the only thing that came close to calming her; she nuzzled into the damp material, craving its coolness against her burning flesh. After he had done his best to cool her down, he gently wiped the smear of blood off her chin, ignoring the almost irresistible urge to clean it with his tongue rather than the unworthy cloth.

Just a little taste, A voice inside his head whispered. She won't care, she won't even know. Spike snarled at the voice to shut up. It was true that he had tasted Buffy's blood before, but she had been very much in control of the situation. He refused to take it now when she was unconscious, unknowing. Besides, Slayer blood was like sweet nectar coursing through his veins. It made his skin tingle, his cheeks blush, his senses more receptive to every sensation the world had to offer him. If he tasted Buffy's blood now, even in a tiny quantity, he didn't know if he'd be able to stop himself from sinking his fangs into her neck to feel her life force sliding over his tongue.

He finished cleaning her face and hastily got to his feet, deciding that it would be best to move away from Buffy until he could compose himself. Discarding the cloth, he hurried over to the kitchen where he filled a glass with water in preparation for when she woke. No sooner had he turned off the tap than he heard a rustle of sheets. Looking over at the bed he saw Buffy propping herself up, blinking against the glare of the lamp.

"Buffy," He murmured, moving back over to her. He handed her the water and she smiled up at him sleepily, accepting the glass gratefully. He perched himself on the edge of the bed and peered into her tired face. "What was it this time?"

"The Master." She answered briefly after a moment of hesitation, giving a small shudder. Spike didn't press her for details; he knew that she had been drowned, murdered, by the vampire Master in the course of her final confrontation with him, only to be revived by Xander. This dreaming of old enemies, old battles and wounds, worried Spike. He wondered if she'd always had the nightmares or if they'd only started after she'd been brought back, but he couldn't ask her. The intense vulnerability he had witnessed as she slept only a few moments before was already disappearing, and her usual mask was slipping back into place. In a few seconds more she'd be joking or quipping, and only in Spike's ears would the confidence of her tone ring false.

He lay back down in his place on the bed and pulled her close to him. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he pressed his face into the back of her neck and inhaled the unique scent of shampoo and the powerful blood that hummed just beneath her skin. He silently prayed that if she wouldn't confide in him, then she at least wouldn't erect the usual verbal barrier between them. For once someone or something was listening to him; Buffy relaxed into his embrace and let her head sink into the pillow.

As the sun rose, Spike fell asleep wondering what he was going to do about his Slayer.