I sighed in disgust, flopping down onto my bed after getting home from work. It had been an exceptionally long day at the Sunnydale diner at which I was employed. With a great effort, I kicked my black high-heels off my feet and flung them carelessly across the room. Brushing my emo-bangs out of my eyes, my vision darted from one poster on my slanted ceiling to another: Heath Ledger as the Joker, Queen, Orlando Bloom as Legolas, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. On my walls, the images ranged: Sweeney Todd, Sherlock Holmes, Jessica Galbreth artwork, Kiss, the Sweet Transvestite from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, several crews from Deadliest Catch, among other things. Groaning, I closed my eyes.

I had to see him.

I had to see Spike.

The only person I knew I could talk to at eleven o'clock at night without getting shot on sight. For some reason, he actually seemed to enjoy listening to me vent about my petty little problems with customers. He really didn't seem to mind, which never ceased to amaze me. I must admit: for a vampire, he sure had the patience of a saint.

Sitting up, I changed out of my work clothes and into jeans and an Ozzy Osbourne t-shirt, laced up my The Who Converse high-tops, grabbed my iPod, pulled on my black leather jacket, and headed for the cemetery.

Only a woman can break his spell
Pure in heart, who will offer herself
To Nosferatu

Ah…"Noseferatu" by Blue Őyster Cult, off the album Spectres. Excellent song, but not the best to listen to when walking alone, at night, in a cemetery. Especially one that I knew for a fact to be home to numerous vampires. Though (and maybe this is just me) it didn't bother me in the least.

There was a dense, eerie fog encasing the tombstones, only lasting about two feet into the air. After that, it dissipated into the onyx night sky. The only light to speak of was provided by the luminous half-moon and the tiny diamond stars. For a long while, I wandered in this surreal dreamscape, drifting from tombstone to tombstone aimlessly. Then I saw him, leaning against the side of a mausoleum with a very James Dean-esque air about him.


He was clothed entirely in black, right down to his signature leather jacket. His pale skin seemed to have a supernatural lustre in the moonlight, as did his "Billy Idol" bleached hair (once, when I mentioned the latter using that phrasing, he informed me that Billy Idol stole the look from him.) his icy blue eyes locked gaze with my hazel ones, and he smiled gently.

"Genevieve, love," he said as I began to walk toward him, "why're you out so late? Self-searching stroll in the cemetery to 'Dust in the Wind'?"

"No, actually," I replied, starting to shut my iPod off. "Spike-searching stroll in the cemetery to 'Vampires Will Never Hurt You'."

Chuckling and hugging me, he agreed, "That they won't, at least not while I'm around." Letting go of me, he inquired, "So what brings you over to my neck of the woods this time? Bugger of a day?"

"My boss is a dick," I muttered, pulling a pack of cigarettes out of my pocket.

"I thought you quit!" Spike scolded as he watched me remove one from the pack.

After lighting the cigarette with my Aerosmith Zippo, putting the lighter back in my pocket, and inhaling deeply, I answered, "So did I."

"That can kill you, you know," he mused.

"So could you, if you wanted to," I smirked, flicking some ash from the end of the small tube. Silently, I watched as the glowing embers hit the ground and faded away.

"Look at me, love," Spike commanded, his tone of voice dark and serious.

My head refused to turn.

Realizing this, Spike placed a hand on the side of my face, and gently turned it to face him. As I looked at him, I saw that his expression had grown stern.

"How many times do I have to tell you?" he implored, moving both hands to grasp my shoulders. "I'd never drain you, not even if I had to. I'd sooner go skinny-dipping in holy water than bite you, and you know it. You know bloody well I wouldn't harm you."

I smiled sheepishly and took another drag off my cigarette. A silent tear began to roll down my cheek, followed soon after by a renegade waterfall. Before I knew it, I was pressed up against Spike, his arms wrapped tightly around my shaking frame.

"Good Lord," he said, shushing me and sitting down with me on the cool grass. "You're crying now? What the bloody hell did I say?"

As we rested our backs against the side of the mausoleum, I buried my face in his shoulder and sobbed, "That's so sweet!"

He laughed slightly, tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear, and tenderly kissed my forehead. Wiping away a tear from just beneath my eye, he muttered, "You're an emotional train wreck, have I ever told you that?"

Not knowing what else to do, I laughed and said, "It was a bitch of a day."

"I could tell."

About a minute of complete silence passed, during which I killed my cigarette. Sighing deeply, I reached for the pack in my pocket. Almost instantly, Spike's hand shot out and landed on top of mine, pinning it to my thigh.

"Do you need a drink?" he inquired, raising his eyebrows.

I rolled my eyes. "I get it: I can't ruin my lungs, but I can ruin my liver?"

He smirked. "You look like you could use a drink."

I scoffed. "I feel like I could use five, actually, but there's no alcohol at my house."

He playfully elbowed my ribs. "You wanna go to The Bronze?"

"Please," I responded, "no. If I go to The Bronze, I'll get shitfaced, get picked up by some creepy dude I don't know, and wake up tomorrow morning in a strange apartment with a bad STD."

Spike snickered.

"Besides," I added, glancing down at my wardrobe, "I'm not exactly dressed for The Bronze."

Shrugging, Spike speculated, "I'm sure there are plenty of other bars to go to."

Indifferently, I muttered, "I still run the risk of the creepy dude with the STD."

"Tell you what," he began, wrapping an arm around my shoulders, "I'll take you to a little place I know; very low-key, run by a vampire. You'll probably get shitfaced, but as for the creepy dude with the strange apartment and the STD, don't worry."

I gave a tired laugh. "Don't tell me there aren't any creepy dudes at a bar run by a vampire!"

Rolling his eyes, he replied, "Of course not. That's a bloody lie if I ever heard one. Now, what I was going to say was: I'll take you to the bar; I'll take you back to your place, safe and sound; if you want, I'll stay with you the entire night; and, when you wake up in the morning, I'll be there."

"During the daylight?" I inquired, cocking my head. "Isn't that a little suicidal?"

"Nonsense, love," was his answer, as he waved the question away. "Your house has excellent blinds. Won't let a shred of sunlight through if drawn all the way. Besides, if worse comes to worse, I can just find a dark room to hide in until evening."

"True," I agreed distantly.

"Well?" Spike probed, nudging my arm. "What do you say?"

After a few moments' deliberation, I answered, "Fire up the Harley, love. I'm game."