Entering the lunchroom was like walking down memory lane. It seemed like everyone Buffy had ever known was there, whether human, demon, or vampire. And all their eyes seemed to follow Buffy and Spike as they walked through the room.

"Hey, Spike! How's it going?" Forrest called from where he sat with Graham and...

"Is that Adam?" Buffy murmured, her eyes widening.

Spike scowled at them. "Bet I don't have a chip here. Think I could-?"

"No," she said firmly, moving toward where she saw Xander and Willow. At the same time, Spike veered toward a table across the room, where Cordelia, Harmony, Angel, Wesley, and a few people Buffy thought might be Angel's friends from LA waited for him. "Where are you going?" she asked Spike, frowning.

He shrugged. "Feels like I'm being pulled in this direction. Like that's where I have to go. Must be the fanfiction." He rolled his eyes. "Apparently, I'm doomed to spend time with Captain Forehead to atone for past sins."

Buffy grinned despite herself, watching him swagger toward his grandsire. The smile faded as soon as she saw who was approaching.

"My Spike," Drusilla cooed, wrapping her arms around his waist.

He looked alarmed, his eyes darting toward Buffy's unsmiling face across the room. Gently, he pried Dru off of him and sat down. "Dru-" She settled on his lap, her eyes flashing when he tried to push her away.

Buffy watched them, annoyed when Spike finally gave in and let Dru stay there. "Who does she think she is?" she fumed to Willow, completely forgetting where she was.

"His girlfriend?" Xander said, giving her a pointed look. "What was going on with you and Spike before, anyway?"

"Something went down between B and Spike?" Faith asked from the other side of the table, smirking. "Damn, B! I knew you had it in you!" She raised her hand for a high five.

Buffy glared at her. "Nothing happened! We just needed to…talk about an assignment. For school. Yeah." That sounded plausible, right?

And to her relief, Willow seemed to know what she was talking about. "Ohh, the history assignment! I thought you decided that you'd rather fail than do it!"

Of course. A history assignment to bring together enemies. God, it's like a stupid Disney Channel movie! Buffy automatically looked at Spike and immediately wished she hadn't when she saw him sucking face with Dru. "Yeah, well, I figured that I could handle Spike more than I could handle summer school, so…"

"Like you'd ever fail," Faith put in. "No way B the Brain's gonna end up in summer school!" They all laughed appreciatively.

Buffy considered that. She was a brain? Well, that was unexpected…but kind of gratifying. I guess when you're not too busy with popularity or slaying, this is what you become…

She grinned. "Absolutely. And I'm not going to let Spike bring down my GPA!"

Willow beamed. "That's the spirit! And at least it's not Harmony or someone that you're stuck with. I mean, Spike's really smart, so you'll be finished in no time, right?"

"Spike? Smart?" Buffy asked dubiously. The Spike she knew was much more prone to acting than thinking. Was this one so different?

"Well, not Spike," Willow conceded. "But back before he met Morticia-" She cast a distasteful look at Dru- "And he was William, and hung out with us…"

"Oooh, backstory," Buffy said, rolling her eyes. They all stared at her. "Never mind."

--

The rest of the day passed faster than she thought it would. Teachers didn't seem to care what you did if you were a brain, although Willow gave her reproving looks when she caught her doodling instead of taking notes. Not like Buffy cared. She'd be out of this story when her grades started to matter, anyway. Probably. Actually, she had no idea how long the fanfiction would take. What a horrifying thought. Hopefully, Willow was working on getting her out…

She waited by her locker until she saw Spike. "Listen," she said in a low voice, glaring at Drusilla, "Let's work on that history assignment tonight."

Spike nodded quickly, looking embarrassed. "Sure, I've got to take Dru home first, though, then I'll go to Revello? Is that where-"

She shrugged, annoyed. "Whatever."

"Buffy-"

Then they were interrupted by a strong hand that spun Buffy around and pulled her into a long kiss.

She recognized the kiss immediately, but suppressed the urge to pull away when she thought of Spike and Dru. "Hey, Riley."

He grinned at her. "Sorry I wasn't around all day. Coach wanted to go over some plays for the game, and you know how he is." He perked up. "Will I see you at the Bronze tonight?"

"I have this history…" her voice trailed off. Spike had left already. "Yeah, why not?"

"Great!" He beamed. "Does Willow need a ride home today?"

"I think Oz is taking her," Buffy said, remembering a conversation from earlier.

A few minutes later, she was wishing that Willow had joined her. Riley talked. A lot. And it was all about football, and "that time when I scored this" and "that time when I won that…" Eventually, Riley's voice just washed over her, giving Buffy time to stew. And stew she did.

What did Spike think he was doing with Dru? She wasn't even real. None of this was real. And if he was going to spend all of his time glued to that ho-bag, when were they ever going to figure out how to finish this story and get back home? It was irresponsible, that was it! And besides, what happened to the whole "I'll kill my sire for you" thing? What, now it was "I'll shag my sire for you?" The whole thing was so warped!

"Stupid Spike," she muttered.

"What?" Riley asked, frowning.

"Nothing. I hate Spike."

He laughed. "What else is new?" He pulled up next to her house. "See you later!"

He leaned over to kiss her again, but she pulled away from him before he could and waved. "Thanks for the ride!"

She headed for the door, wondering what she'd find inside, when the roar of a motorcycle made her turn. "Spike," she groaned.

He killed the engine and jumped off. "Apparently, I live next door," he offered, a wide smile splitting his face.

She stared at him. "Why are you so happy? Got lucky with your ho?"

He ignored her comment. "Sunshine, Buffy!" He grabbed her hand and swung her around. "Isn't it incredible?" He started singing some old rock song she vaguely recognized at the top of his lungs.

"I planned, each chartered course

Be careful thought along the highway!"

Caught up in his enthusiasm, Buffy let Spike dance her down to her doorstep, still bellowing the song.

"And more, much more than this

I did it my way!"

He laughed joyfully. "I love this! I love the sun! God, I love you so much!" And he planted a kiss smack on her lips.

She jumped back, her eyes wide. "Spike…"

The mood was broken, and he suddenly looked contrite. "I'm sorry, Buffy. I didn't mean to…"

"Forget it." She gave him a small smile.

He nodded, business-like again. "Right." He glanced at the door to her house. "Ready to go in?"

She shrugged. "Maybe we should go to your house. I mean, if Dawn's home, we won't get a moment alone. And we know what to expect in your house."

"Yeah, Daddy Rupes." Spike mock-shivered at the idea. "But in your house… I mean, it's very likely that your mum is there."

"I know," she admitted. "I'm not ready for that yet."

"Come on, then," he said, moving toward his house, his hand still wrapped around hers. "Let's go meet my Da." She followed with some trepidation.

Spike pulled open the door. "I'm home!" He called out.

Dawn came down the stairs, rolling her eyes. "Alert the press, Spike's home before midnight." She frowned. "Buffy? With Spike?"

"What are you doing here?" Spike demanded.

Dawn raised her eyebrows. "I live here? Remember me? Your sister?" She tossed her hair over her shoulder. "I'm outta here. Hey, Buffy. Nice to see you here. Make sure my brother goes easy on you."

And she was gone, leaving Spike and Buffy to stare at each other in shock.

"Dawn's your sister." Buffy couldn't help but feeling a little dismayed.

"Apparently." Spike was grinning again. "My life really is perfect in this story."

"Yep." Buffy grimaced. "You've got lots of friends, Giles as your dad, Dawn as your sister, a girlfriend plus Harmony on the side-"

"Buffy." Spike softened. "Look, with Dru-"

Buffy turned away. "I get it. She's your sire, and she actually wants you here. Of course you'd want-"

He took her hand again. "Buffy, I love you. That's not going to change just because we're in some warped fanfiction. I can end things with this Dru right now, if you want."

She flushed. "You don't need to… I mean, I'm apparently with Riley…But I don't…"

He straightened. "That's right. You've got Soldier-Boy now. Shouldn't matter what I do." He was getting annoyed. "You just need me on standby in case you get lonely?"

"Spike…"

"First the principal, now Finn…" He started pacing. "You're moving on. Fine. But I can't, without you getting all jealous?"

"I'm not jealous!" she snapped. He gave her a disbelieving look. "I'm just worried! That you'll lose sight of getting out of here with your perfect life and all, and the First-"

"Sod this!" Spike said furiously. "None of this is real, I know that. I'm not going to forget who I am, or where we are!" He spun around. "But we can't get out of here on our own, so we've got to live it out! I'm just trying to follow the script!" He stormed up the stairs, looking angrier than he had in a long time.

Buffy sent a glare toward the stairs. "I hate him!" she fumed, heading for her house.

She flung open the door, ready to vent alone in her room, when someone grabbed her.

"I saw you with the Giles boy, you slut!" he hissed, slapping her hard.

In her non-Slayer body, it hurt. So it took her a moment to recover and look up to see the furious face of her attacker.

Dad???