"What's this I spy with my little eye?" Buffy quipped, skipping down the steps of their Scotland home base into Willow's headquarters.

"Buffy!" Xander whined. "You have to stop stealing my one-liners!"

The blonde grinned. "Well, you do have an eye for the humorous, that's for sure."

Willow groaned in unison with Xander. "Buffy, that was bad. Even for Xander."

"Hey! What's that supposed to mean!"

"So what did you guys find—ooh, shiny!" Buffy approached Willow's work table to see what Xander and Willow were so intently hunched over.

"Yeah. We found a lot of unknown stuff in a chest in that last vamp den. There's a lot of rare and ancient stuff here. I've never seen or heard of some of these artefacts. Lots of old magicky stuff here. Xan and I were trying to catalogue a lot of it, and... Buffy! Are you even listening?"

"Hm? What? Yeah! Listening. Vamps. Ancient magic stuff..." Her attention returned to one of the objects on the table, her hand stretching out to grab it. "What's this—"

"Buffy no!" Willow yelled, diving for the blonde's hand. "You don't know what it—"

Her movements too slow, Willow threw up a shield to keep herself and Xander safe from the debris from the explosion that erupted as soon as the slayer's fingers gripped a murky orb.

"—does..." the redhead finished in defeated tones. Willow sighed, opening her eyes. "Xan? Buffy?"

Her friend grumbled as he pulled himself upright again. "Fingers, toes, head, eye—check. All good." He coughed as the smoke began to clear.

"Buffy?" Willow waved the smoke away to move towards the epicentre of the blast, dread for her friend clawing at her heart. "Buffy? You there?"

"Buffster? You okay? Answer me!"

"Buffy?" Hysteria gnawed its way up her throat.

The door splintered open and about a dozen slayers-in-training diffused into the opening, headed up by Kennedy. "What happened? Everyone okay?" The little slayers fanned out with fire extinguishers and the smoke quickly dissipated.

"We're fine..." Xander began.

"But?" Kennedy prompted.

"Buffy—"

"Buffy?" Dawn screamed, skidding to a halt at the top of the stairs.

"Dawn..." Xander dropped his gaze. "She..."

"Xander!" The girl yelled hoarsely, gripping the rail while she scanned the room, waiting for an answer. "Where. Is she?"

"Dawn...Buffy—"

"Isn't here..." Willow interjected in soft awed tones. "Xander! Dawn! She's okay!" Facing the growing audience, Willow couldn't get the words out fast enough. "She's okay! She's just been... transported. I don't know... I don't know where—I can't tell—but she's okay!"

Xander sank to the charred floor and Dawn slumped over the rail. "Thank goodness."

"Now the question is," Kennedy began.

"Where is she?" Xander murmured.


Muttering to himself, Spike strolled through the L.A. Cemetery, thinking of another cemetery in another place, wishing and reminiscing. Flicking his lighter open to light a fresh smoke, he muttered some more against Angel, his soul, his recognition for saving the world, and his hair. "Bloody sod didn't do much more 'n—" Cursing as he pitched forward, Spike managed to tuck and roll to his feet.

"Hey you lazy sodding bugger!" Pulling back a foot to give the offending person a kick, he pulled up short when he noticed the flash of gold hair. "Buff—Slayer?" Cigarette forgotten he squatted next to the slender female body. "'Ey, Slayer. This isn't really the best of places to be catchin' a snooze. Slayer. Can you hear me?" If he'd had a beating heart, it would have been pounding. Instead, his soul hurt and the inability to breath had never seemed so vital. "Buffy!" All hesitations forgotten, he rolled the girl onto his lap and flooded with relief as she groaned, her body warm. "Slayer, what the hell happened? Talk to me. Buffy?"

The girl's eyelids twitched and opened, staring into his own.

"Slayer?"

She looked dazed, searching her peripheral before focusing on him again. "Is that my name?"

"Hn. Very funny, Buffy," Spike retorted, all his old feelings for the girl coming rushing back.

"Wait... which one am I? I..." A frown appeared.

It was mirrored on Spike's face. "You don't remember?"

She gave a small head shake. "You know me?"

"Inside and out, pet."

Her cheeks flushed making him almost regret saying it, and she brought a hand up to brush the hair from her face.

"Wait a minute... What you got there?" Spike grabbed her wrist.

Unclenching her hand from the orb, she noticed it for the first time. "I...don't know." She moved to sit up, wobbling weakly. "I... who are you?"

Helping her, Spike told her. "And you're Buffy. Tuck that thing somewhere safe for now, luv."

"Spike and Buffy."

"That's right, pet," he said with a small smirk, joy rushing through him.

"What strange names."

Choosing not to comment, Spike stood. "Need a hand?"

Buffy grabbed his offer and rose on unsteady feet. "How do I know you," she asked once she'd steadied herself on his forearms.

Pursing his lips at the not-so-easily answered question, he joked. "We had something, you an' me. Bit of the old magic."

Buffy stared at him a moment before replying. "That must be why I'm so attracted to you..." She reached a hand up towards his face, but Spike turned away, clearing his throat to detract from his embarrassment. "We should ah... we should get you something to eat!" His eyes swept over her wounded and confused look, dipping his head in to brush his lips across her temple. "Don't know how or why you got here, Slayer, but it's good to see you." Turning quickly away from the evidence of his impulsive actions, Spike grabbed her hand and lead her back to his house.


"You live here?" Buffy asked, her head craned back to gaze up at the vaulted ceilings.

"Haven't always. Moved up in the world, I have."

"Just you?"

He paused and then turned to meet her questioning gaze. "Yeah. Just me, Slayer. Just me."

"Isn't it lonely? There's so much space..."

Growling to himself, Spike grabbed the bottle of Jack off the hall table to secret into his duster before she saw. "Even not yourself you sure know how to twist the knife in a bloke's back."

"What?"

"Nothin', Slayer. You'll be needin' a place to sleep, yeah?"

"Um. I guess. But I'm not tired right now. Why do you keep calling me 'slayer?'"

Spike froze, waffling between telling her the truth or waiting until she was adjusted. So he settled for sidetracking. "You hungry? Kitchen's that way." And made a mental note to stop calling her 'slayer.'

"I am hungry, actually." He watched her move to the kitchen, now with purpose.

Spike sagged against the door jam to the living room before rushing around, trying to clean house.

"Whoa!"

Perking at the slayer's low whistle, his eyes widened at the implications of that noise. Rushing to the kitchen, he skidded to a halt next to her in front of the refrigerator.

"You really like V8 or something, huh?" Buffy looked at him, pulling a package of bread from the fridge.

"V8?" Spike flicked his eyes towards the bottled blood. "Oh. Heh. Yeah. V8. Love the stuff..."

"Ugh. This cheese is mouldy. Do you eat? Half of this stuff looks like it's never been touched!"

"Oi, no need to be lookin' a gift horse in the mouth now, is there!"

"Huh?"

Spike sighed. "I just did the shopping, alright?"

The girl bent back into the fridge, rummaging until she found enough items to make a sandwich. "Are you hungry? I can make you a sandwich too."

Fighting the grin, Spike shook his head. "No need, pet. I'm fine. I'll just...drink some of my V8." He grabbed a bottle and walked into the living room, flicking on the telly.

"Where are we, by the way," Buffy asked as she walked in with a glass of milk and a highly stacked sandwich.

"This is L.A. Land of Angel."

Plopping onto the sofa next to him, Buffy set her plate and glass on the coffee table before leaning back into the plush. "You mean, 'the angels?' I don't remember being here before. I think I'm from somewhere else."

"Gettin' comfy, are we sla—Buffy?"

She looked up at him, their arms touching, thighs flush against one another. "Hm? You've got a really nice set-up here. It's..." Mouth full of sandwich, her sentence trailed off as she thought. "It's posh."

"Posh," Spike echoed, voice laced with amusement. "Yeah well. 'Spose it is then."

"What are you watching? What time is it, anyway?" The girl propped her feet up on the table, munching contentedly on the sandwich.

Spike caught her profile in his peripheral. "You're really not bothered by the fact that you can't remember who and what you are?"

Buffy turned to look at him. "Nope."

"I could be a complete stranger!"

"I don't think so."

Spike narrowed his eyes. "What makes you so sure of that."

"Well, for one, you're trying to convince me otherwise. They always do that in movies. And," she stared into his blue eyes a moment before answering. "I feel safe with you."

"Safe. Safe?" The vampire threw his hands up in the air. "You've no idea what I am!"

"Well. I'm Buffy. Or Slayer. I don't know which. And you're Spike. I know there's stuff going on that I don't know about. But for now, since I don't remember, as long as I feel safe, then there's nothing to worry about, right?"

He growled. "I'm a vampire. VAMPIRE. You know, blood-sucking monsters of the night?"

She stared at him a moment longer before bursting out in laughter.

As much as the sound soothed his soul, Spike couldn't help glowering at her complete denial of his confession. "'S true, you know."

"Uh-huh. So what are we watching? And you never told me what time it was."

"It's four bloody thirty seven in the morning, pet. Why do you think I stay up all night?"

"Nocturnal. I think I was that way too. It rings right."

"Yeah. You would stay up all night."

"With you?"

"Wha—" The comment caught him off-guard, so he turned away.

"What went wrong?"

"Wrong? What? Slayer, where are you getting these thoughts in your pretty little head."

She shrugged. "Well, you're not being very answery with your replies. So I have to ask the questions. And you called me 'slayer' again."

Spike sighed, reaching into his duster pocket for a smoke, freezing just before the doorbell rang.

"Expecting friends?" She popped another chip into her mouth, crunching loudly.

"No," Spike said sharply. "Stay here. I'll answer it."

"Soo... No friends? Do you have friends? Or just enemies. You seem the type that would have lots of enemies."

Grabbing his head to prevent him from strangling the girl, he bit out. "Yes. No. Just—It's fine. Just stay here," Spike ordered, vaulting over the back of the sofa to head towards the door. "What do you want?"

"Spike! There are some demons at—" Angel broke off. "Is that—"

Spike pushed him back, closing the door behind him. "What. D'you want?"

"Spike..." Angel's voice dropped in warning. "Is that Buffy?"

"What's it to you, peaches?"

Gaping at him, Angel reached past Spike to the doorknob.

Gripping the offending appendage tightly, Spike gave his grandsire a flat grin. "You don't just invite yourself into another bloke's place."

"Spike! What is Buffy doing here? What's she doing here?"

"Leave off, Angel."

"Why did she come?"

"I don't know why I came," a light voice came.

Both males whipped their heads towards the source: a blonde head poking out the window.

"Buffy!" Spike cried, knowing he shouldn't have expected her to listen.

"Buffy!" Angel's eyes widened with shock. "You..."

"I know you," Buffy climbed the rest of the way out the window and trotted over. "But I don't think I like you."

"What?"

Sighing again, Spike explained, "She doesn't remember who she is."

"Really?"

"Don't sound so hopeful, peaches," Spike groused in warning.

"I wasn't!"

"So are you friends?" Buffy folded her arms across her chest.

"Kind of," Angel admitted at the same time Spike emphatically said, "No."

"Right... Must be family then."

The two men stared. "Kind of scary," Angel whispered to his sired grandson.

"Mm-hm..." Spike opened his mouth to say something more but was cut off by a wild shrieking noise. "Bloody hell... You stupid git, what did you bring along with you?"

Angel drew a sword, still looking into the darkness where the shrieking was originating. "I was just coming to you to see if you wanted to give me a hand with some demons?"

"Now he asks," Spike muttered, sauntering over in front of Buffy. "You may want to get back in the house, pet. They won't get past Captain Forehead and myself."

"Demons?" The girl tilted her head at the thought. "They're real?"

"Of course they—Spike! What didn't you tell her!"

"Everything! Nothing! None of your bloody business!"

Angel glared at the other man. "Go on to the house, Buffy. You'll be safer there."

Pursing her lips in thought, Buffy turned and casually headed into the house. "Men..."

"Didn't think the bint would listen," Spike muttered. When about a dozen demons filled the front yard, however, a grin spread across his lips. "Angel! You shouldn't have!"

"Yeah, well... Want a sword?"

"Got one."

"Not that, you idiot."

"Nah. Use my fists like I always do. You buggers going to come at us or what?"

"Two against eleven?" A demon rasped.

"Make it three."

"Buffy!" the men exclaimed in unison before sharing a glare at the other. "Get back in the house!"

"I think I'm supposed to be out here," the girl replied, holding a crossbow and a sword she'd looted from Spike's house. "Besides. This kind of looks like fun."

"Fun? You think this is fun?" Angel flicked his eyes between Spike, Buffy, and the demons. "What kind of girl are you? Well. If you weren't the Slayer..."

"Right! It's a good old brawl! Bring it on!" Spike cheered.

The demons rushed forwards not giving either of the boys a chance to chastise the girl further. Angel and Spike scooted back to back, slashing and punching through the ranks.

"Buffy! Come this way!" Spike called, scooting towards her, trying to attract the attention of the demons headed her way.

"Spike, you idiot! Why did you let her stay out here?"

"Me! It was hardly my fault then, was it! She never listened to anything either of us said anyway!"

"Would you two stop arguing and start focusing on those demony things! I'm fine!" And she was. The fight ended quickly, Buffy taking care of her fair share of demons.

Angel made the first move, moving to her quickly. "Buffy!"

"Geeze... I get that that's my name already!" She backed away from the physical contact.

"Bloody hell! Angel! Why'd you have to bring this mess to my doorstep. Now I have to clean up after your mess and..." Spike trailed off, kicking one of the demon corpses.

"So when you said 'slayer,' did you mean this type of stuff?" Buffy asked, looking past Angel's shoulder to the other vampire.

"Yeah... well. Kind of. Let's go inside. The poofster here can clean up the mess," Spike returned, brushing past him to grab Buffy's hand.

"So you guys really like each other then, huh?"

Spike ignored her as he crossed the threshold of his house and dropped her hand. "Put the weapons away."

"Are you going to answer my questions now?"

"Questions?"

"Yeah! All this slayer-y business and stuff. You know. Give me answers?"

Spike groaned, dragging a hand over his face. "Geeze, Buffy. You'd think—no, never mind. With you, one never knows what to think."

"I don't think that's a compliment."

Spike's expression softened as he stare at the girl. "No, you're right. Sorry, pet. I'm just..."

"Possessive," Angel supplied darkly as he skulked past him into the kitchen.

"Watch it, peaches," Spike growled.

The sound of water running was his only reply.

"Oi!" He tried again. "You better get gone before the sun starts comin' up."

"The sun?" Buffy echoed.

"Yeah. Vampire, remember?"

"Oh. Right. Thought you were joking."

"Sunblisters don't lie, luv."

Buffy shrugged and went back into the living room where the TV was still on. Spike followed. "You don't seem surprised by all of this."

"If by 'this,' you mean surprise demon attacks in the wee hours of morning, then no. No surprisey. It seems... familiar."

Snorting, the vampire plopped himself on the couch next to her. "It should. This is what you did for a living. Buffy the vampire slayer."

"But if I slay vampires, what about you and Angel?" She leaned her head over on Spike's shoulder, staring blankly at nothing.

Choosing not to comment on her strange lack of self-guarding around him, Spike continued, "That ponce you've already killed once, but unfortunately, the PTB don't like him staying dead. Granted, he did save the world a time or so, but so did I!"

"PTB?"

"Powers that be. I saved the bloody world and all I got was—"

"A t-shirt?"

"Ha, ha. No. All I got was roasted and ghosted. And then I was un-ghosted, and still never got my proper recognition," he groused. "Not even from..." His eyes flicked to the top of her head and then shook his own.

"Not even from me?"

"From you? Why would I want recognition from you, slayer?" Spike scoffed quickly.

Scrutinising him, Buffy relaxed again and shrugged. "I seem all intuitiony today."

"That's not a word."

"So why don't I kill you?"

"Kill me? You'd rather kiss me," he retorted.

"Would I?"

"Stop playin' games."

Angel walked in, collapsing into a laz-e-boy, eyeing the two. "What's this?"

"Didn't I tell you to leave?"

"Sun's coming up," the other man replied casually. "Guess I'll have to wait until nightfall."

"Like hell! I could just push you outta here and you'll just have to run for it!" He jumped to his feet.

"Give it a rest, Spike. Where's your phone?"

"How about 'could I borrow your phone please,' like a proper guest. Don't just be invitin' yourself to my stuff."

Angel just stared. "Your phone?"

"In the bloody kitchen. You probably walked right past it, you stupid ponce."

Buffy giggled behind him. "Manly man possessive!"

"Shut it, pet."

"You shut it!" Buffy yanked the back of his duster, causing him to fall back ungracefully bringing a small smirk to Angel's lips.

"I'll go make my call."

"Yeah, then get out of here!"

Buffy yawned, stretching her legs out on the couch and leaned against his side. "It's morning, right? That's when you usually sleep. How about we take a nap, and then you can do more explainy stuff later."

Before Spike could formulate some sort of appropriate response, the girl was asleep on his side, a small smile tilting her lips upwards.

"So what's going on? Why is she here, and why doesn't she remember anything?" Angel asked, sauntering back into the room.

Sighing, the younger vampire dropped his head onto the back of the couch. "I dunno. I've no idea why she's here, and I've no idea why she's got amnesia. Though I 'spect it's got something to do with some orb she was holdin' onto when I found her."

"Orb? Where is it?" Angel leaned forward with interest.

"She's got it. I don't want to disturb her."

"Spike, this could be important!"

"Shh! Don't talk so loud; she's sleeping."

Angel leaned back, an amused grin crossing his face. "I forgot how badly you're in love with her."

Spike only glared. "What about you, peaches? All hopeful earlier? Thinking maybe you were going to get your soulful little hands on her? Tried that several times. Not going to work, remember?"

The amusement leeched out of his face, Angel gave him a reproving look. "No need to get possessive. I've done my time with her, Spike. I know it's not going to work."

"You do? I mean... Of course you do. Didn't work the first time. Or the second time. Or the third... Bloody hell, mate, you got bad luck."

"Keep talking, Captain Peroxide."

"Oi! Watch it!"

"Shh! Don't talk so loud; she's sleeping," Angel mocked.

"Stupid ponce," Spike muttered.

"So she's got an orb, no memory, and apparently, a lot of affection for you."

"Yeah..."

"Don't look so smug!"

"Well 's not you she's nappin' on, is it?"

"This isn't solving our problem, Spike."

"Our? There's no problem here, mate."

"That's called denial."

"I can't sleep if you boys are arguing..." The girl cracked an eyelid, to send a glare in their direction.

"Sorry, pet."

"What do you remember, Buffy?"

"Can we talk about this later? Sleepy."

"Let 'er sleep. Since you're not going anywhere, what with the sun comin' up and all, we may as well all take a nap. Wait 'til sunset?"

Buffy nodded while Angel mumbled agreement. Decisions made, Angel stretched his legs out and folded his arms across his chest in a long-practiced sleeping position, Buffy resettling herself against Spike's side, aforementioned vampire dropping his head back against the back of the couch and stretching one arm out one way, the other curling around Buffy's waist.


Buffy woke first. Disentangling herself from the blonde vampire, she sauntered to the window, stretching in the remnants of the early evening sun. A glance at the clock told her 7:03. A glance at the dark-haired vampire gave her a chuckle as he had curled onto his side. A glance at the blonde had a brief rush of affection run through her. Slipping out the same window she had the previous night, Buffy stretched again and turned to face the sun. The house Spike lived in was rather isolated from everything else. The lights of a city in the distance, L.A. she supposed, were beginning to shine. From somewhere she remembered that the lights of Los Angeles were supposedly able to be seen from space. She shrugged and looked up at the house. It was a massive thing that probably belonged to a rich person. And Spike was not rich. Stolen? A smile tugged at her lips. In the scheme of things, it wasn't too far-fetched. Another shrug was given to her lost memory. She felt safe here. These men cared for her. She would be kept safe. Not that, it seemed, she couldn't take care of herself. That was pretty cool. Apparently she was pretty bad-ass.

There was some purpose for her being here, she gathered. Something tugged at her mind, something that she needed to do, to fix, to accomplish.

"Buffy?"

She whirled. It was the dark one. Standing in the window, just in the shadow. The sun's light was fading anyway.

"What are you doing out there?"

Fiddling around for an answer, she shrugged.

"Do you remember anything?"

Instead of answering, she shuffled back towards the window.

"I'll take that as a no?"

Hopping back through the window, she brushed by him, looking to Spike. "I don't remember anything. Not a thing. Nadda. Zip. Zilch."

"Yeah. Got the picture... So... Where's this orb that you had? I can take a look at it, and we could head into the city and see if my people know anything... Do some research. We've got lots of books and—"

"Listen. No offense and all," she whirled on him "but I think you should maybe butt out of what's not your business."

Angel blinked. "Buffy, I didn't mean—"

Rolling her eyes at the wounded look, she stalked across the room to the hall table where the orb was sitting. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally comfy with you being around here, but I know you want to help."

"Me? You're uncomfortable around me, but you're okay with Captain Peroxide?"

Before Buffy could get her reply out, Angel was gripping his head muttering a curse while a baseball fell to the floor.

"I heard that you git."

"Good aim—ugh!"

The boys cried her name in unison, Spike leaping off the couch to her side as Buffy sank to the ground, images of flames filling her mind. "What's wrong? What's the matter, Buffy!"

She groaned, gripping her head. "Fire...!"
"What do you—water? What do you need? Does she need water? I don't know! She—Buffy! What—"

"SHHH!" The flames in her head subsided as the worried chatter died down. Blinking and giving her head a shake, Buffy hesitated and then stood. The boys did like-wise.

"What just happened?"

"You a'right, love?"

"I'm fine. I'm fine, just stop hovering. It was just a vision...thingy."

Exchanging looks, Angel said gently, "What was in your vision?"

"Ah, it was just... I couldn't really tell. There was a lot of fire."

"Well we've had enough of fire, haven't we," Spike muttered, guiding her to the sofa.

"Really, I'm fine. I..." When Angel had left the room, she continued in a low murmur, "I think it was something that already happened."

"Well at least it's not the future," Angel quipped, handing her the glass.

"You heard me?"

"Vampire."

"As if that explains everything."

"Doesn't it?" He gave her a smug grin.

Spike snorted and Buffy sighed, holding up the orb. "Don't touch it."

Both men leaned in to see the orb better, Spike speaking first. "Looks like one of them cheap carni crystal balls."

Angel grunted in agreement. "You don't know anything about it?"

"Nope."

Then the phone rang.

"You gonna get that?" Angel said when Spike didn't move.

"Oh. Right. My place." He vaulted over the back of the couch and ducked into the kitchen.

"Buffy," Angel turned to her while Spike was away. "I've never seen this before. I don't know if we'll be able to find out what it is with just the description."

"I know someone who was really good at research..."

"Buffy, I don't want you to be uncomfortable around me," he rushed out. "I really care about you,and I want you to be safe. You're very important to me. And I would never knowingly hurt you."

At this last statement she looked up. "Really? 'Cause I think there's some part of you that would."

He immediately looked guilty. "Well—"

"And this is why I don't trust you."

"Oi. Angel. Phone for you. It's Gunn."

The two men traded spaces, Spike muttering, "Even in my own place the phone's not for me..." A sidelong glance to the blonde told him nothing. "Listen... Buffy. Pet. There are probably some people who are pretty worried about you."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. You've got some pretty good friends. And I bet they're goin' mad trying to find you." She continued to stare at him blankly. "Well, I—"

"Spike! There's a situation downtown. I have to leave. But I'll be back to help you figure this out."

"I can figure things out on my own, you know, you big poof," Spike muttered.

Looking between the two, Buffy stood. "Why don't we come along."

"What!" the two vampires exclaimed in unison.

"What? More hands are better, right?" She brushed between them, plucking Angel's shirt and grabbing Spike's hand. "Let's go!"

It was that way that Buffy, Angel, and Spike all found themselves in Angel's car speeding down the highway into the city.

"So what are we fighting this time?" Buffy asked cheerily, sword and crossbow propped across her knees.

"You should not be fighting anything," Angel grumbled.

"Why not?" Buffy chirped. "I'm obviously capable. And if I'm this Slayer person, then why shouldn't I join in the fun?"
"Yeah, Angel, why shouldn't she join in the fun," Spike quipped. "And why am I in the sodding back seat?"

"Shut up, Spike."

"Is it because I'm a girl?"

"What? No... No! No, it's—"

"It's because I'm a girl," Buffy interpreted flatly.

Spike chuckled, flipping open his zippo to light a fresh cigarette.

"Spike, stop laughing. No. Buffy, it's not—"

"You better just shut your gob now, mate."

Angel grumbled as he pulled up hard next to the curb. "We're fighting vamps here, as well as a couple of Pushton demons. Don't let them spit on you. Look alive, and Buffy? Don't get hurt. Spike, if she gets hurt, it's your fault."

"What? That's not..." Angel had already hopped out of the car and was gliding into the building, his duster fluttering behind him. "Even the wind likes the giant poof. I feel like I'm always gettin' the short end of the bloody stick."

"Don't worry," Buff reassured. "I like you better."

Spike ducked his head and hustled after his grand-sire, choosing not to voice how much that did actually mean to him. "Just watch your head, Slayer," he muttered gruffly.

Tilting her head slightly as she watched the blonde vampire sidle into the building, she smiled and trotted after him. It was dark inside. This, however, should not have been a surprise. Vampires and other evilly things liked the dark. "Halloooo? Vampi—"

"What are you doing?" Angel hissed, hand suddenly over her mouth.

"Mmf cng hmm bss—it seemed like made things easier..." Buffy finished as the hand came away from her mouth. Looking around into the blackness, she picked out the white of Spike's teeth and the lightness of his hair.

The man laughed. "May as well come out, you demons of the night! The Slayer's asking you nicely!"

"Spike..." Angel sighed. "You idiot."

Hefting the crossbow, sword slid into her belt, Buffy grinned as the adrenaline seeped into her blood. "The stakes are raised!"

Angel groaned. "That's the best you can do?"

Buffy ignored him, shooting an arrow off into the blackness. A pleased grin as a cry rang out and dust fluttered to the floor. "One for me!"

"Well then. 'Bout time for me to enter the fight then!" And then Spike was charging off into the darkness. Angel dashed away, but she heard him close by.

"Thisss one issss humansssss," a voice hissed near Buffy's ear.

"No kidding!" She retorted, spinning towards the sound.

"And she's the Slayer they said?" a rough voice dripped with derision.

"Yeah! I am!" She said bravely, not feeling very brave. "And who are you two? Shadows of the night?"

"Yessss... We are ssssshadowssss. And you, Sssssslayer, are deadsssss!"

Then she was on her back, the air knocked out of her, hands scrambling for the sword that had cut through her belt and lay a few inches out of reach. Hands came down on her throat and she gave a strangled shout with the last of her breath, flailing wildly.

"Buffy? Buffyyy!" Angel was shouting, running towards her, but with a feral growl, the weight was already gone, Spike slamming the demon to the ground. She looked away as he tore into its throat.

"Buffy, are you okay?" Angel bent down, worry written on his face. The scene was familiar. She squinted at him, ignoring the offered hand and dusting herself off.

"Peachy. There was another vampire around here..."

"Got it." Spike's voice next to her shoulder made her jump. "Sorry, Slayer," he continued, his voice flat. "You a'right?"

"Fine... Spike...?" Angel headed off in pursuit of running feet. Spike's back to her, Buffy stepped closer, reaching out to touch his shoulder. "Spike are you okay?"

"Fine, Slayer. We got business to finish here."

Screwing up her face, Buffy stepped away. "What's got you all snarly?" She bent to pick up her sword and crossbow. "Thanks for saving my life. Maybe you shouldn't have." And then she was pinned to one of the pillars, Spike's face very close to hers, teeth (non-vampy teeth) bared.

"Stop. Talking. Slayer."

"Why don't you ask me nicely?" she retorted. "And learn to say my name!"

"You don't even know your name."

"Yes I do! I'm Buffy!"

"And what if you're not? What if that's just a name I told you?"

"It's not," the girl scoffed, pulling slightly but going nowhere. "The other guy called me that too."

"I planned it. I paid him off."

"No you didn't," she said lowly, no longer finding the situation funny. "What's wrong with you?"

"Wrong? Wrong. Wrong with me? Slayer, you're the one that's messed. You don't even know what you're doing here. You're a far ways from home, and you're in the company of vampires and demons. That spells trouble to me, yeah?"

"Did I... Did I make you angry somehow?" Buffy looked into his blue eyes, nibbling on her lip while she waited for his answer.

Spike released her, stepping back, all anger leaching from his face. "You looked away."

"What?"

"You looked away, Slayer," Spike said louder, feeling stupid. It wasn't her fault. It wasn't like she was the same Buffy. She was some cheerful version of a perfect self that wasn't really real. She didn't know him.

"I looked a—"

"That's what I said!"

Buffy's eyebrows shot up at his outburst. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "I'm sorry. I didn't..."

He shook his head. "Nah, it's stupid. I should have... I should have expected it. I—"

"Well, I mean it is kinda gross when you rip a demon's throat out. And uh..." Gesturing at his jaw, "You got a little..."

"Wha—Oh!" Ducking a 180, he hurriedly wiped the blood and other off his face. "Better?"

"Mm. Yeah." She shuffled a little, waiting for him to say something.

Spike looked anywhere but at Buffy, waiting for her to say something. Finally he sighed. "Buffy, I was—am—in love with you. Still in love with you. Have been for...well. For a long while. When I said we had history, I meant it. We've done the song and dance, but it never ended right. You died, I died. I came back ghosted. You came back... Well. You'll remember eventually. I just wanted you to know that I love you. Still do. I mean to do right by you. Take care of you. Until you remember. Not that you can't take care of yourself, love, but I'll be at your back. Just like old times. And I'm not expecting anything from you. So... So don't worry about that."

"Um... I—b"

"Hey! Hey! Are you two going to stand around and twiddle your thumbs? Let's go!" Angel interrupted from across the warehouse.

"Dammit," Buffy muttered. "We need to have words. 'Cause those were a lot of words that give me a lot of things to think and say." Glancing sidelong at the vampire, she thought he might be blushing, but it was almost impossible for her to tell in the darkness. He muttered something back.

"Let's go you two!" the older vampire encouraged sharply. "I'm hungry!"

"Awright, Captain Tightpants," Spike drawled, trying hard to saunter as he walked rather quickly away. Behind him, Buffy giggled and after a moment, her footsteps followed him.


Back at Spike's house, Buffy collapsed onto the couch, Spike slinking up the stairs claiming a need to bathe. She let him escape. For now. Flicking the TV on for some background noise, punching it off a moment later, Buffy sighed into the silence, unsure of what she wanted. There had, of course, been something between Spike and herself. She must have had something for Angel as well, because when he thought she wasn't looking, his eyes focused on her with a needy hurt that probably wouldn't ever leave. Spike's eyes betrayed all of the need and fire that the right tilt of her head brought on. And when she smiled, his eyes got a smouldery look that made her shiver and want to be closer to the vampire. So she smiled more often.

Crawling over the back of the couch, she wandered into the main hall in search of the orb that she'd had with her. Turning the object over in her hand when she found it, it rested warmly in her palm. Buffy jumped at the thump she heard upstairs, dropping the orb on the faded chinese carpet. "Spike?" And then Buffy was running upstairs, burst into the bathroom, pulling up short at the sight of a rather pale butt sticking up in the air, the vampire scrabbling for the soap, blood dripping down his chin from a cracked lip.

He looked up, blue eyes wide as Buffy slapped a hand over her mouth so she wouldn't let the guffaw escape. Instead she squeaked, eyes watering up with held-back laughter.

"Slayer. Say anything and you die. I'll suck you dry."

Buffy snorted. And then lost it all, bending over as she shook so hard she made no noise.

"That's right, Slayer. Laugh it up. Just keep laughing, 'cause I'll just—"

"W-what!" Buffy managed to gasp out. "Just what?"

Standing up as if it were no small feat, Spike crossed his arms over his chest and fixed her with a glare. "It's not a big deal. Just keep laughing."

Catching sight of his pride, she flushed and looked away, giggling intermittently. "Your lip is bleeding..."

"My lip..." He licked it and then bent to pick up the soap. "Just go on downstairs, Slayer. I'm fine. No need to get yourself all huffy."

"You're the one that looks "huffy" if you ask me..." Buffy muttered.

"No need to point it out!" He turned quickly, hopping back into the shower to cover himself. All he managed was to slip on the slick tub surface.

Buffy lunged, catching him under the arms so he doesn't make a fool of himself a second time. "Maybe you just weren't meant to be clean..."

Spike opens his mouth, but Buffy continues, "Though I do like the look of you all clean... And I just said that out loud, didn't I?"

Spike sighs, deep and regretful. "Buffy, you... you can't do this to me, luv. I can't... You don't remember what happened last time—I was a pig. A horrible rotton git. You need to go."

Biting her lip and looking down as he pulled from her grasp, Buffy's mind raced. This was the important part. But what was she supposed to do?

"Oh don't look like that, pet. You haven't done anything wrong."

"But I haven't done anything right, have I," Buffy asked, quite sure that she was right.

"It's not—" His words stopped then. But not because he wanted them to... They stopped because Buffy was kissing him. He groaned into her lips, hand fumbling for the knob to the shower to turn it off, his other snaking around her waist and pulling her flush against him despite the fact that he's soaking wet.

She grips his shoulders like he's a life-line, and maybe he is. She's without memory, and he's the only thing that's really important right now, so she loops an arm around his neck, still kissing him, waiting until she's out of breath before she pulls back. She's half-soaked by the time the water's off, and his groan only fuels her onward. Spike lifts her up and carries her in his arms to one of the bedrooms, muttering about how its never used, sheets are clean, and other nonsense words as he nuzzles her neck, licking the hollow there. "Spike, wait—" Buffy panics, blurting the words out as he sets her down on the bed, his arms two pillars between the two of them.

"What?" He blinks at her blearily as if coming out of a spell. "Wait what?"

Wait what. What is she waiting for. She bites her lip, the heat already sinking to between her legs, needy and making her squirm a little. "Um. Condom!" She rolls her eyes inwardly at her literary genius.

Spike chuckles though, slipping a hand under the hem of her shirt. "Don't need one, luv. Vampires can't have kids."

"O-oh..." she breathes as his hand cups her breast, slipping inside her bra. "Well, in that case... What are you wai—aah...waiting for..."

Spike bent down on one elbow, his free hand sliding down her body to between her legs, pressing softly before unzipping her jeans. He kissed her softly, Buffy's hands tangling in the short curls at the nape of his neck.

"Spike," she keened, lifting her hips against his hand. "You have to..."

"Have to what, pet?" He nuzzles her neck, pushing her jeans down. She kicks them off obligingly, wrapping them around Spike's waist.

"Dammit, don't make me say it..." she groans, pulling his head down for a kiss, flicking her tongue boldly against his lips which he opens, his own tongue swooping to battle with hers. And then she can't breathe again. "My shirt... You should... take it off..."

Spike groans but leans back a little to pull the shirt off her. Buffy fumbles with her brastrap, finally yanking the thing off and then pulling him close to her, sighing as her nipples brush against his chest. His fingers dance down her sides making her squirm against him.

"Stop," she gasps, dragging her nails down his back.

"Stop—b" Spike's look is close to aghast as he jerks back, but can't really with her arms around him. "Buffy, I'm getting mixed messages here, pet, you have—"

"Stop being gentle," she pleads quietly, burying her head in the crook of his neck. "Stop being gentle... I need you... I just need you."

So Spike growls and kisses her hard, thrusting into her. She chokes his name out as she arcs against him. And she holds on as he settles into a rhythm, matching him thrust for thrust, shaking with tearless sobs as she holds on as tightly as she can. Just holding, holding and pouring her heart into him as he takes her hard like she asked. Like she wanted. Because he would do anything for her. Anything at all. He would walk into the sun for her except for the fact that he wouldn't because then he wouldn't even be able to see her anymore. And that would be worse. Mewling needily, Buffy takes a quiet pride in the noises, knowing that she's the only one to whom she can be needy. He's the only one who will not take her neediness as a sign of weakness, but instead coddle her and be forever at her back when needed.

The heat built until she was panting, pulling at his hair, raking her nails across his back, knowing now that he liked it. The memories came sweeping in like the rush of the tide on the beach and all Buffy could do was ride them out like the orgasm that swept through her, Spike grunting her name, head buried in the crook of her neck.

They stayed in that position, breathing heavily, Buffy unworried about her blood, knowing Spike would never hurt her like that. She smiled, her arms draped across his back snugly to keep him from moving yet.

"Buffy..."

"Mm, yeah Spike?"

"Care for a shower?" her muttered against her hot skin.

She giggled, then sobered, thinking of how worried Willow, Xander, Dawn, and the rest of them must be. "Yeah. Quick though. 'Cause then this Slayer's gotta get moving."

He pulled back at the confident tones in her voice. "What do you mean? Where are you going?"

"Well, I have to go back to Scotland."

"Scotla—You remember?" His eyebrows shot up, hurt leeching into his eyes and voice.

Tracing his cheekbones, Buffy smiled. "Yeah. Or at least let the gang know I'm alive. You know. I should call them before we shower."

Spike looked away as he pulled out and sat back. "Oh. Right. Mobile on the table downstairs then... I've probably got a spare dressing robe or something... Or... the sheet. Could use the sheet. Or...naked. Just the two of us, right pet?"

Buffy laughed, sitting up to cup his face. "You have anything important here?"

He couldn't see what she found so funny. "Course I have! I've got my house, I've got..."

Buffy arched an eyebrow. "You've got...?"

"Fine. So I haven't got much then. What's your point?"

Looping her arms around Spike's neck, she pecked him on the lips. "Care to come with me to Scotland? Leave all this behind and come live in my castle? Be my 'willing slave?'"

Gaping at her a moment, the vampire quickly recovered his cool. "Sorry, Slayer. Can't do that. I've—"

"A big empty house, a cranky grand-sire, and no lover?" Buffy supplied.

The vampire looked a little wounded at her harsh judgement, then, "I'm not so sure, Slay—"

"Buffy. I'm Buffy, Spike. You can call me by my name. Do you not want to?"

"No! No, I mean, I do. I..."

"What are you waiting for?" Her own question got caught in her throat. She smiled slowly, understanding dawning. What he had always waited for, of course. "Spike. William. I love you. For real."

"What...?" Was all he managed to stammer. "Did I die again? Is this even real?"

Wrinkling her nose, the girl frowned. "I guess it does seem a little romance novely, huh?"

Spike laughed and pressed her back to the sheets, kissing her hard. "Right then, Slay—Buffy. I'll accept your offer to whisk me away to some foreign country of heathens to be your sex slave."

Buffy laughed. "I'll even let you out once in a while!"

"Not too often, I hope," he crooned, pausing.

"Something wrong?"

"No, just, how come it was now you regained your memories?"

"I... It was because of the orb."

"You know what it is?"

"The Orb of Second Chances. Cheesy, I know. I remember seeing it in one of Giles' books and thinking the same thing. But it..." She looked down. "It gave me a second chance with you. Like, a do-over. 'Cause we didn't do it right the first time."

Spike's expression bespoke his doubt. "That's awful convenient..."

Buffy shrugged. "Turns out, yeah. It was. But then again, it lead to great sex, didn't it? Wouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth..."

Spike smirked. "You are one dirty girl, Buffy Summers. I think you might need to bathe."

The girl laughed, her head tossed back. "Yes. I think so. Let me give Xander and Willow a call, then I'll join you, then we can pack and book a flight to Scotland. Sounds good, yes?"

This time that he smiled at her, it was soft and full of all of the old affection that she remembered. "That sounds perfect."

"I can introduce you to Nessie."

"Nessie?"
"The Loch Ness monster, of course." Buffy grinned.

"Right... Too bad we're old friends..." And Buffy's response quickly dissolved into giggles as Spike nibbled at her neck, dancing light fingers up her ribcage, happy. Finally happy.