The vampire pounced.

Landing right in front of his prey, the monster, who was once part of the trio of demons that had terrified a continent under the title of the Scourge of Europe, straightened up into an arrogant posture, shifted into game face, and prepared to taunt a now-powerless Slayer in her ornate noblewoman's gown whose mystical transformation by a Chaos mage's spell had stripped away her warrior-woman abilities.

Instead, looking directly into the features of the completely unknown blonde in the elaborate dress, Spike the vampire blurted out something he'd had no intention of saying.

"Who the bleedin' hell are you?"

He was promptly answered.

"How DARE you use such vile language in my presence!"

This chilly rejoinder was delivered with such aristocratic hauteur that it went right through the vampire's mind directly to his subconscious that was ordinarily crushed by the demon's personality. Now, for the first time in a century, a reaction occurred that was totally human.

William the Bloody flinched, took a step back, and his right arm jerked up to deferentially touch his forelock.

Suddenly realizing what he'd done, Spike looked around in dread, until he remembered he'd sent away his gang of other vampires, demons, and minions to search for the Slayer. Exercising his rarely-used lungs, the vampire breathed a sigh of relief, until he came to his senses, and his quick temper rose to extreme levels.

In the alley that seemingly contained only himself and the bitch who'd defied him, Spike sent his most ferocious glare at the young woman who was disdainfully gazing back, and snarled, "You're not Buffy Summers!"

Looking down her autocratic nose at him in a manner that made the male demon nearly burst with fury, a lady of the highest rank said scornfully, "Ah, you've clearly mistaken me for someone else. Well, I'm certainly not going to introduce myself to such as you. The truly ill-mannered lout standing in front of me may not be a R.O.U.S., but you're evidently a V.O.I.D."

(Behind the pair, deeper in the alley, shadows shifted, coming closer, so quietly that a distracted vampire in a full rage heard nothing. You couldn't have a more better incentive in learning prowling lessons than the comment of "Well done today, lad. Perhaps I'll kill you tomorrow instead. Keep practicing. Haul in that line!")

His attention now totally on the woman standing proudly in the alley, Spike gabbled, "A who?! What?!"

Sighing, the noblewoman patiently explained to a member of the lower classes. "Anyone with the slightest trace of learning knows about the Rodents Of Unusual Size in the Fire Swamp. A void, on the other hand, besides being the space between your ears, is also a contraction of the capital letters of a Vampire Of Idiotic Demeanor."

(The patch of darkness drifted nearer.)

Spike felt as if his entire body was about to explode in sheer ire. He stood there quivering, unable to decide just how he was going to kill that….that… Well, it was going to be as painful as possible. He tensed, about to leap in the next instant right at the young woman. Until something else happened.

Spike blinked, and lowered his head, to stare at the yard-length of sharpened steel that had just erupted out of his chest.

The noblewoman calmly said, "Westley, kindly dispose of this rubbish."

In the last second of his unlife, just before he puffed into ashes as the rapier that had been thrust into his back ripped through his heart to end the demon's hold on a young Englishman, Spike the vampire heard from behind him a male voice lovingly murmur three words.

"As you wish."