Spike relished the panic in the young man's eyes. It still tasted sweet. One and a half years of being chipped hadn't changed that. The demon was - after all - still there. He smiled.
"Looks like your friends have better places to be. What's it feel like to be dumped by people you trust, hey?"

The vampire lessened his grip on the boy's throat, enabling him to speak.
"What score? What do you want from me?" Parker babbled. "I don't even know who you are!"

"You treated Buh- ... a ... person I care about like shit. She trusted you and you trampled on her." *You had what I never had, never will have, and you threw it away.* "And now you'll pay!"

"Whoever your friend is, I'm sorry. I'll make up for it, I promise. Please!"

"Why'd you do it, Parker? To add another freshman to your collection? To show off to your mates? To prove yourself a great ladykiller when you're really just a pathetic little nancy boy?"

Spike lifted his hand and almost lovingly cut Parker's cheek with his nail. A few drops of blood welled out of the cut.


Spike leaned over. His golden demon eyes shone with hunger and pleasure. Almost languidly, he licked the blood off, as the young man whimpered in a mixture of fear and rapture.


He turned towards the interruption, snarling. He had almost forgotten Tara was there. She looked at him, visibly concerned but not backing down.

"What are you doing? Are you nuts? Do you really think SHE'd want you to do this?"

"I loved her! I would have done anything for her," Spike ranted, all that pent up emotion coming to the fore. "And this ... this spineless little creep, who's not even worthy to live on the same bloody planet with her ..."

"I know." Tara said softly.

"...this complete and utter waste of space ..."

He released his grip on Parker's throat. The young man coughed and clutched his aching neck. Bruises were already visible where the vampire had choked him. Parker slid to the floor, his legs suddenly weak. He sobbed.

Spike turned away. He was disgusted. Both at Parker and at himself. He didn't even notice it when his human face reappeared. "Get out." he said flatly.
Parker hurriedly scrambled to his feet and fled from the crypt without looking back.

For a moment Spike and Tara just looked at each other. He fumbled a packet of cigarettes out of his pocket and lit one.
"I'm sorry you saw me like that," he said quietly.

"It's not his fault she's dead."
"I know."

She hopped up on the stone coffin and sat with her legs dangling. She nodded invitingly at the space beside her, so Spike joined her.

"Your spell ... how long does it last?"
"Not long. An hour, two perhaps."

"You know," Tara said finally, "this place isn't so bad. You should get a few nice curtains, though. And maybe a bolt to keep out visitors."

"Nah!" Spike replied.


MANY HUGS TO my great betas Kate, Nmissi, Miss Binks, Cestruma and Marcee.