Setting: rewrite of end of Season 6 /Season 7 and goes seriously AU. Spike does not get his soul. Having a soul is highly overrated in my eyes. He did leave Sunnydale for Africa to get his chip removed instead, though. Therefore he doesn't go through the whole "hearing-voices-must-be-crazy" period. Tara is alive, I liked her too much, so let's just pretend Warren wounded her so badly Willow thought she was dead, and still went on a dark magick rampage. No potentials/First, but Caleb and the über-vamps show up later (I needed a cool baddie)... My muse may not always respect timelines of the Whedonverse. Deal with it.

This story is rated M for a reason. And a very good one at that. Expect blood, sex… sometimes mixed together. Proceed with caution.

Disclaimer: I own nothing but the characters created especially for this fic. I will sometimes steal plotlines and quotes, but it's okay because I'm not making money from it. Joss rocks.

Chapter One – New In Town

"Heard you're new in town

Want someone to show you round

Well no-one knows this place just quite like me

Well I don't hang with the crowd

Where I go, we're dressing down

I'll take you where the music plays for free

So don't rely on people you meet

Cause no-one is safe in these streets."

Little Boots, "New In Town"

Kevin stumbled out of the Bronze and waved his friends goodbye. No way was he driving in this state, so he started to walk. It was a good night for it. The sky was clear and filled with stars, and the air was warm. Unusually warm, actually, even for late September. But he was not about to start complaining.

Town center was quite busy, which was normal for a Saturday night. Everywhere, bars and restaurants had installed tables and chairs on the pavement, and Kevin smiled at all the couples groups of friends who were talking loudly, some laughing, some even singing. Night life at its best.

And yet, amongst all the noise, he somehow heard her…

A "hello" barely above a whisper, coming from an alleyway. He turned his head towards the sound. The first thing he saw was her silhouette, dark and perfectly shaped, like a paper cutout. A shape of flawless womanly perfection.

She was leaning against a wall. She did not need to say anything else. Kevin's legs started to walk towards her of their own free will. It never occurred to him that it might be a bad idea, that he didn't know this woman nor that she might be dangerous. She retreated further down in the alley, and he followed closely. He came closer still and could see a little more of her. She had dark hair and was dressed in a simple tank top and tight pants, all in white.

An hour later, if he had been capable of giving a statement, he would not have remembered much. All he could look at was her eyes, shinning in the darkness. Like two stars in the black pool of her silhouette.

It felt like a dream. Everything around them seemed blurred and unimportant. Something at the back of his mind was ringing a good dozen alarm bells, but the little devil on his shoulder just told him to enjoy the moment. Girls these days don't come along this easily…

When she grabbed him by his shirt, he did not care. When she slammed him back against a wall, and probably broke a couple of his ribs, he did not care.

When she dropped to her knees and started undoing his jeans, he did not care… about anything else. Then her tongue started to work up his length, and he was sure he had died and gone to heaven.

He had not died. But two minutes later, as his skin started to turn to liquid and he tried to scream, he realized in horror that he was about to…

The scream never passed his lips.

_…-=(~/\~)=-…_

I am NOT going to sleep with him again… never ever ever ever… I am not going to… oh dear God, who am I kidding?

Buffy was supposed to be patrolling, and she was indeed walking at night in a cemetery. However, patrolling would normally involve some sort of attention-paying to your surroundings… and that was not the case…

For what occupied her mind was a certain blonde vampire, recently back on the Hellmouth scene. Home sweet home indeed! As if her life was not complicated enough, now she had to deal with a chip-free enamored serial killer…

Still she couldn't stop her mind from telling her that the night was still young, that Restfield was not so far away (ok, on the other side of town, but that didn't seem so far tonight…), that it seemed to be quiet all around and that she needed some action… Any action, really…

Whoa, Buffy's mind, don't even try to go there! Thin ice on dangerous territory here!

She was not going to Restfield… She was not going to his crypt… she was not going to tear his clothes off… AAARGH! I need help!

Ever since Spike had come back to the Hellmouth without the chip, Buffy had been in a near-constant state of panic, with a large side order of longing. He had told her he had thought getting the chip out of his head would help things, but it only seemed to make them worse. He had thought he could properly help her with her calling if every hit to a human didn't hurt like hell, but instead everybody in the Scooby gang was afraid of him. More than usual.

Everybody except Buffy.

Sure, she was worried about what he might do, to her friends or anyone else. But she was not afraid of him. She knew she should be, after what happened in her bathroom. She should be angry too, and in a way she was. But she also remembered the whole feeling of helplessness that had seized her throat when she had found his crypt empty.

As a result, she was torn between what she felt and what she thought she should feel.

Okay, pros: loves me, will never leave my side, great fighter, demon in the sack (in a really really good way), always looking out for me, kisses like a god…

Cons: fashion-challenged, evil, friends hate him and will never speak to me again, evil, drinks waaay too much and too often, evil, heavy smoker, evil, tried to rape me… did I mention evil?

So yeah, the pros were largely outweighing the pros… but why was she making a list anyway? It's not like she was considering going back to him… EVER… right?

There's NOTHING to go back to! We never had anything! You Slayer, him vampire, evil vampire: NOT relationship material… why am I even thinking about this? Why did I even think up that word? What the hell is wrong with –

Oh.

She was in front of his crypt.

Without even realizing it, she had walked all the way to Restfield and to Spike's crypt. She had absolutely no idea how.

Okay, Buffy's mind. You have issues. Serious ones. Seek professional help.

Later.

_…-=(~/\~)=-…_

Spike was sitting in his comfy chair, watching TV. He was thinking about going patrolling later. Scratch that: he was thinking about running around every known cemetery in Sunnyhell in the hope of finding the Slayer, and somehow show her what a great asset he is to her life, preferably with a brawl against nasties involved, and try to make up for the horrid moment that had happened a few weeks ago.

Just to think of it made Spike's stomach squirm. He tried not to think of it too often, as it would often bring tears. What he felt was beyond shame and self-loathing.

His first instincts had been to leave and never come back. Get the chip out, then roam the world as William the Bloody once again. Forget about Sunnyhell, forget about the Slayer, get himself a new gang and paint the world red. It had been a good plan. A well-thought one. And it could have worked…

… if every waking (and sleeping) moment wasn't filled with her.

Her eyes. Her skin. Her touch. Her smell. And the absolute impossibility of ridding his mind of it all.

And the annoying little voice at the back of his head whimpering how if he made an effort, maybe he could make things right… just maybe…

He had to try.

For her.

Bloody whipped poofter is what I am, he thought. But even an unbeating heart has its reasons…

With a growl, he got up and switched off the TV.

He was going to grab his coat when he felt it. Her.

He spun around, and sure enough, there she was. He hadn't even heard her come in. Standing by the crypt door, she was standing dressed in black and a long white jacket, hair untied and covering her shoulders.

He loved it when her hair was loose. Like a luminous halo around her gorgeous face.

But the look in her eyes… so lost…

"Hi", he said softly, unable to articulate anything more.

After a moment, she answered. "Hey."

They just stared at each other for what felt like hours… drowning in each other's eyes.

"How…"

"You…"

Normal people would have laughed at the involuntary interruption of the other's, laughed then maybe fidgeted and talked about the weather.

They were not normal people.

Like in a dream, they closed the distance between them and their lips crashed in a furious kiss.

Oh, it was fire and brimstone indeed, that kiss! Their tongues danced together in familiar yet almost forgotten movements, rejoicing in each other's taste. Soft lips wrestled, both tender and impatient, getting all the contact they could. Their arms locked themselves around the other's neck, back waist, unwilling to stay in one place, pressing their bodies together to the point of near fusion.

Both lovers would have given anything at that moment for that kiss never to end…

But nothing is ever as easily obtained.

Buffy suddenly broke the kiss and stared at Spike with tears in her eyes.

"I'm sorry, Spike… don't hate me…"

She turned and ran out of the crypt, leaving him with just the ghost of an embrace… He stayed like that a few moments, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Then he just fell to his knees and punched the floor with a growl.

_…-=(~/\~)=-…_

Buffy kept running until she saw the cemetery gates. She leaned her head against the cold metal bars and let the tears flow freely.

It was so wrong! Because of what he what, what she was, what he had done to her! Just wrong!

I'm sick… sick sick sick…

"Don't hate me"? He should hate me! That would make things so much easier for both of us! Better if we went back to our killing-each-other ways! Like it's supposed to be!

But… but I don't want him to…

Her mind and her heart were waging war inside of her, tearing everything in their path. It was a wonder she did not bleed…

However, something had smelled her blood anyway…

"Ssslaayyeeer…."

Buffy straightened up quickly and wiped her face. A vampire had managed to sneak up on her and was standing just a few feet away, in full game face and grinning. Damn, I should have felt him ages ago…

"You're her, right? The Slayer? Heard of you…"

Oh, buddy, you so picked the wrong night…

"Oh yeah? Heard that I was gonna wipe your headstone with your dust too?"

The vamp was clearly looking for a witty reply, but Buffy didn't leave him the time. She lunged at him and managed to land a couple of blows before he could react. He punched her back and tried to land a kick, but she dodged it with ease. She got her stake out of her jacket and tried to drive it home, but missed when the vampire jumped backward.

She was there when he landed, and kicked his legs so he would fall. He stumbled down on his legs and she tried to land another kick in his face, but he caught her foot in mid-flight and twisted it. Buffy lost her balance and fell flat on her back, loosing grip on her stake…

With another jump, the vampire was on his feet. He walked cockily towards her. Buffy scrambled the grass for her stake, and found it… several feet away…

He leered at her.

"So that's supposed to be the best Slayer ever? Looks like you're off your game!"

"You tried the best? Then try the rest!", said a voice behind him.

Out of nowhere, a fist sent the vampire flying. Buffy blinked a couple of times. A young woman had suddenly appeared in the cemetery, and was standing between her and the floored vampire.

"Hi, you're Buffy, right? Sooo pleased to meet you!"

Before Buffy could even think about greeting her back, the vampire was back on his feet. But apparently that wasn't a problem, because the woman was punching him again, once on each side of his face, and ended with a kick to the chest that sent him several feet away…

Buffy stared at her. She looked a little older than she was, had smooth palish skin, huge doe's eyes and sleek dark hair cut in a bob that gracefully flew about with her every move. Oh, and a mouth full of perfect teeth. She knew that because, although the mysterious brunette was battling a creature from hell, she was grinning from ear to ear.

The vamp, clearly taken aback by the apparition, did not know how to react or where to look. Instinctively, he just launched himself at her, all fangs out… and landed on the stake she had just brandished.

The newcomer found herself covered in vamp dust, and coughed a couple of times while brushing herself off. Indeed, as Buffy caught herself thinking, it would have been a shame for that outfit to be damaged or stained. She was wearing a super-stylish shiny purple padded jacket Buffy was instantly jealous of, and those sleek flowy black pants had to be designer label.

The newcomer turned to Buffy, who was still on the ground, staring.

"You okay down there?" the stranger asked, still smiling.

"Erm… yeah, I-I think so."

"Nothing broken? Split? Maimed? I'm only asking because you haven't moved…"

"N-no, as far as I'm aware I've got every bit in its place. Which is more than I can say for that vamp…"

"Haha! You're funny! I like funny! Look, I didn't mean to cramp your style or anything, it just looked like you needed a hand…"

"It's okay, the hand was welcomed. Thanks, by the way."

"No biggie. It's all part of the gig, right? I mean, he obviously took you by surprise, and since I was there, it's kinda like the oath for the doctors, ain't it? Help whenever or wherever…"

"Gig?"

"Well yeah… oh, I know, I shouldn't call it that, but it's like 'a rose by any other name', I'm not being disrespectful – "

Buffy raised her hand. "Sorry to interrupt the word vomit, and not that I don't appreciate the rescuage, but can I ask one question?"

"Sure! Fire away!"

"Who the heck are you?"

The stranger gawked, then laughed.

"Oh gosh, I'm so sorry, I didn't introduce myself! I'm Gayle, Vampire Slayer. Friends call me Mama."

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