Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Characters and other stuff belong to Joss Whedon.

Spike turned and stabbed out his cigarette against the corrugated iron roof he was sitting on. He could hear it creaking unsteadily under his weight; he didn't care, the roof had held up over the last few years and he'd be damned if it was going to fall in tonight. Normally at this time he'd be sleeping, tucked away from the night like everyone else on this stinking world. But not tonight. Or the last couple of weeks, for that matter.

The nightmares were coming again.

He'd thought he'd kicked them after he'd come to this planet, after leaving Seriphos – or had it been Seriamus? He couldn't remember. He only remembered the dark, pain-lanced dreams that had stalked him throughout his inhabitance there. He'd seen things that hurt and horrified him until he reached the point where he feared sleep more than anything.

And they were coming back now.

The worn leather of his jacket rustled as he leapt to the ground, landing silently, clouds of dust drifting up around his boots. The streets faded away beneath his feet as he passed between the shacks, heading towards the docklands. There was guaranteed to be some poor unfortunate hanging around, some drifter who wouldn't be missed. He wasn't really hungry, to be honest; it was something to do to keep his mind off the dreams. It was ironic, Spike thought, that as soon as you had an all-controlling dictatorship government, people went missing with even less fuss than they had before. He'd been wandering between the planets for hundreds of years now, and had never once been looked at sideways by the feds.

Well, they weren't exactly savvy over the whole 'creatures of the night' thing. Vampires, monsters, demons; somewhere along the way they'd all passed under the Alliance's radar. Spike hadn't even heard of a Slayer within the last two centuries or so. Even given the population of galactic humanity, one hundred billion or more, there should have been some whisper, some rumour, some suspiciously safe corner of the Alliance that would sing of a Slayer's presence. But there was nothing. And it made Spike edgy. The Slayer line couldn't just disappear like that, especially since there'd been over a hundred of them at one point. Long time ago. But somehow it had, and it seemed to have taken the rest of the demon world with it.

He slipped between two buildings and emerged before one of the docked ships. It wasn't particular in any way, nothing remarkable about it called to him. Yet he paused before it and looked over it again. The gorgeous bird sitting on the ramp had a lot to do with his decision to give it more than a cursory glance.

"You heading out?" she called to him. Her voice was beautiful in its roughness – maybe not so much rough as unpolished.

"Depends," he replied, strolling over, hands shoved deep in his pockets. "Where you goin'?"

"Athena. Direct run. Lovely place, Athena; they've got this fantastic little restaurant outside Aeros City where you can get these…"

"Yeah, alright pet," Spike said, holding out a hand in greeting. It was an easy choice. He'd stayed too long on this dump anyway. A few years in one place was the limit he could take. And he was getting uncomfortable, hanging around here all the time. Maybe a change of planet would do him some good. Chase the nightmares away once more. "Name's Spike."

"I'm Kaylee. And this is my girl Serenity." She gestured to the ship behind her.

"Serenity," Spike repeated, shaking his head. "I could use some of that about now."