Contents of an email from Dawn to Buffy, in the hope that she will read it.

Dearest Buffy,

OMG you won't believe what happened! Xander and Anya got married! They did it right, this time, they snuck off and did it without telling anyone, no friends, no family, no reason not to go through with it! They just turned up, one evening and announced that they'd got married AND that they're having a baby. That's why they got married, I guess.

At the moment, we are all living in that hotel of Angel's. God, it's creepy. It's all old and bits of it are falling down and the bits that aren't look like something out of 'The Shining'. I expect to see ghosts round every corner!

Angel's not around any more, obviously but, according to his friends, before he came to see us, he accepted an offer to head up Wolfram and Hart! You know, that evil law firm he's been fighting since he came to L.A. Anyway, he and his friends killed off a bogus god or something and Wolfram and Hart rewarded them by offering them the L.A. branch, to run. Weird, huh?

Anyway, his friends agreed too and, even though Angel's gone, they're sticking with it. They're gonna 'change the system from within', so while they're busy with that, we get the creepy hotel.

So much has changed. Cordelia's in a coma, after giving birth to this bogus god person and Wesley's got really buff! He was such a dweeb, before, now it's like he's a different person. He fights - well and is even sort of cool. Unbelievable, huh?

I know you haven't got back to me yet but I'm sure you will. I'll keep writing to you and I'm sure that one day, you'll remember to check your emails and let me know that you're OK.

All my love,



"Well, here we are, pet, England." Spike said.

"Where they drive the wrong side of the road." Buffy said.

"Well, bits of Africa did too."

"Yeah and most of Africa don't and all of Europe don't and England does. I'm gonna miss the van."

"No worries, kitten, we'll be at the house, before dawn."

The hire car had been waiting for them when they got off the ship, thoughtfully arranged by the Brachen couple who looked after Spike's house for him; Buffy had embarrassed herself by getting in the wrong side.

"Yeah and how come you have a house? You were always broke, in Sunnydale."

"Not really but making you all think I was, gave me a reason to help you. Wouldn't do to have the 'Big Bad' helping the good guys, just for the fun of it; besides, I'm used to making do, couldn't always get to a bank, when me and Dru were on the road. I bought the house, before I was turned."

"We'll be able to go in…?"

"Yeah, Pet; I own it and I'm dead, I've never lived there, dead or alive, so, no problem."

"Why'd you buy it?"

"I was planning on getting engaged…"

"No way! What was she like?"

"You met her… that vengeance demon, Halfrek; only she wasn't a demon when I knew her, just a spoilt bitch."

"Yeah… I remember… it was like you two knew each other…"

"She rejected me, at a party, back when I was still human; I walked off outside to… er… gather my thoughts…" He dissembled, remembering how the tears had burned. "Met Dru in an alley… the rest is history."

"So, how'd this girl get to be a vengeance demon? They have to do their first curse while they're still human, right?"

"Yeah. I got the story from Anya; answered a lot of questions…"

"Such as?"

"Why Cecily - that was her name - was such a bitch to me, when I told her how I felt… she said I was beneath her…" He felt Buffy tense, remembering how she'd said the same thing. "Turns out, her dad brought her up to believe that she was too good for most men; only the best was good enough for his little girl…"

"The best being…?" Buffy asked, feeling she knew where this was going.

"The richest bloke who'd have her and bail Daddy out of his debts."

"I'm guessing he wasn't what she was expecting." Buffy said, almost feeling sorry for the girl.

"He was old, hideously ugly and, according to Anya, so sexually perverted, that it would make a demon blush. Cecily had to endure his… er… tastes, for two years, until he died; having first shared several nasty sexually transmitted diseases with her and leaving all his money to her father, as previously agreed. Needless to say, Daddy wasn't her favourite person."

"What did she do?"

"She went through her late husband's collection of forbidden texts and then she put the mother of all curses on her father. Every time he handled, made or even thought about money… well, you remember the pain I was getting in my head, before the chip came out?"


"Well, Daddy Dearest got that… only not in his head… lower down, in a much more sensitive part of his anatomy."

Buffy laughed.

"Anya reckoned Halfrek spent a lot of time reminiscing about all the blokes she could have had, if she hadn't been such a cow…"

"Including you…"

"Yeah. I was so wet, I'd have probably paid off her father, without a murmur."

"So when you told me you could get money…"

"I have a sort of trust fund - a monthly income based on an untouchable lump sum - my father set it up when I was born but you needed more than I could get from that, what with inflation and all, so I borrowed against my house, got enough to pay off your debts and keep you and Dawn in luxury. Had the money waiting in my crypt, for when you finally agreed to accept it."

"Only I never did."

"Worse, you and Captain Cardboard blew it up, along with those damned demon eggs."

"Oh God, Spike, I'm so sorry. Why didn't you tell me? No," She said, looking away, her shame almost too much for her to bear. "I know why. I treated you worse than that Cecily did. Why didn't you stop loving me?"

"I did try." Spike said, a hint of amusement in his voice, "In fact, I tried before I even told you how I felt but, it's like I told you, that last night in Sunnyhell, you're the one."

"I'm glad I'm the one and I'm glad I let myself love you." She said this with such heartfelt emotion that Spike glanced away from the road, to see tears glistening in her eyes.


"We never did get to the bottom of that 'Doctor' thing. Was it you?" Buffy asked brightly, scrubbing her tears away and pretending they hadn't happened.

"No." Spike replied, his eyes back on the road. "Looking back, I think it might have been Andrew, what with his obsession with classic British sci-fi. As for the eggs… well, friends of mine were always leaving stuff at my place, I just thought one of them… Turns out, it was Cardboard himself."

"What, Riley planted…?"

"Yeah, seems soldier boy had been checking up on you, saw us together and decided to split us up."

"Oh, God and I fell for it."

"He knew there was someone in Sunnyhell calling himself 'The Doctor', he didn't know who, so he just blamed yours truly. Those eggs were harmless; hatchlings were just scavengers. After all, if anyone had been munched on, it might have got out that he was responsible."

"He really did wait 'til his life was perfect…"

"How's that?"

"He came back to rub my nose in the fact that he was happy. New wife, new life and I was stuck working at the Palace."

"Don't forget shagging a vampire, pet."

"Yeah, that was the worst part."


"No," Buffy said, laughing at her constant ability to put her foot in her mouth, "I mean from his point of view. After we'd broken up over what he'd done, seeing me with you… his ultimate revenge, I guess."

"Yeah, made him feel better about hanging around suck-houses."

"I didn't show it, at the time but I'm glad you told me about that. If he'd been turned, he could have done so much damage. Y'know, getting invited in by people who thought he was still alive?"

"Not why I told you, though, pet."

"I know. It's part of what I love about you; you do the right thing, for all the wrong reasons."

"What can I say, it's a knack."

Buffy loved that they could talk; she'd never really had that with any of the others. Talking with Angel had been like trying to get blood from a stone, Parker - used talking as a way to get what he wanted and Riley? Boring!

Spike? Loved to talk and never dull. He had the whole vampire photographic memory thing and he'd led an exciting life. Buffy would never be bored. She only wished she could talk to him.

Buffy was scared. She hadn't told Spike but she was terrified of what she was. The whole thing with the thralled maid, had started it off - the bloodlust. She'd sat in that hotel room, with that poor thralled girl and listened to the blood; calling her. She'd wanted to sink her fangs in, deep in. She'd wanted to feed - yes - but more, she'd wanted to take. She'd wanted to strip her and touch her; stroke that velvety skin and feel the girl's heart beat faster. She'd wanted to pleasure the girl - knowing, in some dark, instinctive part of her vampire self, that the blood would taste better. That if she took it while the girl was in the throes of orgasm, the blood would be hotter, sweeter, more satisfying…

God, she was sick.

Not for wanting sex with a girl but for the knowledge that, if she did what she wanted, the girl would end up dead. A part of Buffy felt that that was OK.

God, Spike must be some sort of vampire saint. To have wanted this, to have felt this way and to have resisted… Buffy thought back to all the times they'd screwed - there was no gentler word for what they'd done - back before he'd got his soul and when hers was still so damaged. Had he wanted her in the same way that she had wanted the girl? He was a vampire, of course he had. He bit her all the time, now that she was a vampire too. Nothing she'd experienced before, came close; the sharp pain balancing the intense pleasure, making her orgasms seem to stretch on forever… Lovemaking just wasn't the same without it.

All those times that she'd tormented him over his lack of a soul… if only she'd known. Now, here she was, a vampire with a soul, having dark sexual fantasies involving lesbian rape, bloodletting and death.

She'd actually taunted him, back when she'd been alive. She'd made out that she was better than him because she had a soul and he didn't. God, she was lucky he hadn't just waited 'til she was helplessly climaxing in his arms and drained her dry. It would have been easy for him, she wouldn't even have struggled. He could have left Sunnydale, after and her friends would probably never have caught up with him. Only his love for her and Dawn had kept her safe.

"You alright, pet? You're very quiet."

"Thinking about… stuff."

"You still worried about thralling people? You shouldn't, you've got much more control, now."

"Yeah but this isn't like Africa, there we could go for days and not see any people, here…"

"You're scared you'll thrall someone by accident?"

"No. I'm afraid I'll do it on purpose." There, she had said it.

"Pet?" He stared at her, driving on instinct and an occasional flicker of his eyes to the road.

"I want to kill." She whispered, a tear running down her cheek. "I want to sink my fangs into someone warm - human - and feel their blood filling my mouth."

"That's perfectly natural." Spike said, gently. "You're a vampire, it's instinctive."

"But you… all that time before… before your soul…" Buffy started to cry again, not trying to stop it this time.

"I had a chip. It hurt too much, I couldn't…"

"I mean me… with me you could have…"

"No." He said quietly, "I couldn't have. Oh we could fight," He added, seeing her look of disbelief. "I could fight you for hours on end but I could never have bitten you."

"Why not? Don't you like it?" Buffy said, her tears forgotten, as a feeling of rejection crept over her.

"That's my Buffy." Spike said, smiling and looking back to the road. "Of course I like it, I love it and holding back when we were first lovers, was hell."

"Then why…?"

"Because, if I'd ever so much as touched a fang to any part of your perfect body, at the very least, you'd have never let me touch you again…"

"And at worst I'd have staked you…?"

"Yeah. And I'd have deserved it. Breaking your trust, like that."


"No, what?"

"No, I would never have staked you. You went passed staking, a long time ago."


"I think…" Buffy said, slowly, "That it was after our truce, when you helped me with Angelus. I just couldn't stake you after that; you'd become too real."

"You staked me when I had the Gem of Amara."

"Only because you let me. Deep down, I knew, that if you made it that easy, it wasn't going to hurt you. Besides, you really pissed me off, taunting me about that jerk, Parker."

"Sorry about that, it just made me so mad. I mean, I hadn't realized, myself, how I felt… y'know… about you but the thought of you wasting it with a thoughtless jerk… I know his kind, wants quantity not quality and when he looks back at all the women he's had, he won't remember any of them. Might as well have been wanking…"

"He'll probably remember me." Buffy said, smiling.

"Oh? Why's that then?"

"When I was 'cave slayer', I hit him over the head with a tree branch. Twice."

"What's a 'cave slayer' some roll play thing?" Spike asked, genuinely puzzled but also happy to get her off the subject of her feelings of darkness.

"I don't think you were around for that… After, well… Parker… let's just say my confidence was a bit low… anyway, I started drinking…" She broke off, giggling at his look of horror, "Yes, I know, the booze and the Buff don't go well together… but this was only beer, or so I thought and besides, it was in a bar where Xander was working, so I felt safe; I mean, he wouldn't let anyone take advantage of me…" She looked across at Spike, trying to work out what he was thinking.

"Go on, Luv, I'm hanging on every word." He said, smirking.

"Well, I was getting drunk, a lot, with some boys I'd met; only the beer was enchanted. The owner of the bar was sick to death of college kids coming in acting like they were God's gift… y'know… 'we're so brainy, we're gonna run the country some day and you're wasting your pathetic life serving the drinks because you're so stupid..' So, he puts the whammie on the beer and we all regress into cave men. And slayers."

"I'm sorry I missed it."

"It's weird, I didn't used to remember it that well but now I'm a vampire…"

"Perfect recall. I know, it's a vampire survival skill, you live a long time, you remember all of it because information is power."

"It must have been a nightmare for my friends, I did cave painting on the walls, in the room I was sharing with Willow, I threatened Giles, sniffed Xander… Don't ask." She said, at his quizzical glance, "Then I ran off, found the other cave men, discovering fire, inside a building; helped to get them out, rescued Willow, who was unconscious and then, rescued Parker."

"So, at what stage did you hit him?" Spike asked, clearly amused.

"Well, he was much easier to carry from the building, unconscious and then, when he woke up, he started thanking me for saving him and asked if I could possibly forgive him for the way he'd treated me…"

"So you belted him again. Don't blame you." Spike said, chuckling.

"He didn't try to talk to me after that, which was a relief but someone said that Riley hit him and rumour had it, that it was because of me…"

"So I'm the only one who didn't get a go… damn, I always miss out…"

"Oh, I wouldn't say that… hey, we could always track him down and I could bite him…" Buffy said, with a laugh.

Spike smiled, he knew she didn't mean it and he was pleased that she was shaking off her black mood but he knew that sometime soon they would have to face her bloodlust…