PROLOGUE

The Wolfram and Hart jet was waiting to fly them back to L.A. but Spike had a lot on his mind.

"Peaches, I've been thinking…" He said.

"That's never good." Angel muttered.

"I'm not coming back."

"What? Is this about Buffy?" Angel asked.

"No. Well, yes but not the way you mean. Look, there's nothing for me in L.A. or here, for that matter. You've moved on, you've got dog girl, you shouldn't still be chasing Buffy. Buffy's moved on, with the soddin' Immortal. Bloody hell, even the li'l boy's dating. Girls of all things; didn't see that coming. And Buffy, she must have known we were in that club and she couldn't get out fast enough.

"You heard what the li'l boy said, 'Buffy loves you both..' but she wasn't going to face us, either of us. She's moved on, it's time I did, too."

"Have you finished?" Angel asked.

"Yeah."

"I can't force you to come back but I thought you'd decided to stay with us."

"That was before. The stuff with Fred, after that, it was over for me. I know I said it felt right, to stay but it feels wrong, now. I would have given my life to save her but we didn't get the option. Now Illyria's walking around and you lot treat her like a new part of the team. That place'll kill or screw up all of you, before it's finished, probably why they're letting you run it… I'm clearing out, before it gets round to me."

"You're right." Angel said and Spike looked at him as though the world had ended. "Don't." He said, as Spike opened his mouth to say something sarky. "There's only two of us. Vampires with souls." He clarified, "We really shouldn't be in the same places, together."

"Like royalty; kings and their heirs never travel together."

"Yeah, that's us, vampire royalty. Two targets, instead of one. Do you need anything, money…?"

"Nah, I'll be fine. See you around." He walked away.

"We'll miss you," Angel murmured, as he watched Spike leave.


CHAPTER ONE

It was full dark when he walked silently down the gangplank, moving with all the stealth and grace of a deadly predator; which, of course, he was. It was meant to be summer but the rain, which was just starting to get heavy, was cold. He looked up at the sky.

"Welcome home, Spike." He muttered to himself.

"I was going to say that." The voice was feminine and tinged with mock childish disappointment.

"And who might you be? Welcoming committee is it?" Spike asked, turning to the dark doorway where the young woman was standing.

"You could say that." She stepped out of the shadows, with an air of caution, as if she thought she'd spook him. Spike breathed in deeply, scenting her.

"You're a slayer."

"Yes. I'm your bodyguard while you're in England."

"Bodyguard?" His voice incredulous, "Whose bright idea was that?"

"After what happened to you in L.A. the Council felt..."

"Bloody Watchers council, what do they care?"

"An ensouled vampire in a world full of slayers? No way that that can go wrong. When they heard you were coming, they thought someone should make your stay as easy as possible. We don't want any more misunderstandings."

"How did they know I was coming?"

"Seers. Look, we can talk in the car, it's dryer." She gestured to where a black limo was parked, a damp looking chauffeur poised by the doors. Both looked out of place, parked at the docks.

"Any reason why I should trust you?"

"Spike," She said, with an exasperated sigh, "It's pissing down with rain and we've got a long way to go before dawn, now cut the bollocks and get in the sodding car."

"Well, when you put it like that," he said, following her lead, "I never could resist proper English spoken by a posh bird."

There was plenty of room in the back of the car and the young slayer shrugged out of her wet raincoat, giving Spike a better look at her. She had short dark hair and a slim figure, a delicate, almost elfin quality that instantly attracted him. He felt a strong surge of lust as he looked into her blue/green eyes.

"Lily." She said, holding out her hand to him. He took it, briefly and felt an almost electrical crackle at the touch of her skin on his. She picked up a large brown envelope from the seat and handed it to him.

"Practical things first," She said, "In here's everything you need to establish your identity in the modern world. You just need to provide specimen signatures and look into the web cam, there."

She gestured above her head and he looked, instinctively. "We've set you up with diplomatic immunity, so the police can't touch you when you break the law."

"When I break the law." He said, with a dry laugh.

"We're anticipating that happening quite a lot." She smiled, counting off on her fingers. "Speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, riding a motor bike without a helmet, driving while intoxicated, carrying deadly weapons..."

"Hold on, you're a slayer, how do you get round that one?"

She took a few items out of her pocket.

"Perfume spray bottle - full of holy water, pencil - custom made, from hardwood; makes a good stake, rape alarm - it's meant to make a noise but actually..." She activated it and, instead of an ear splitting shriek, a vicious blade shot from the end. "Flick knife, illegal in this country but sometimes nothing else will do."

"I'm guessing slayers got organized."

"Yeah, Rupert Giles heads up the new council and Buffy runs the slayer college, in Rome."

"And the gadgets?"

"Andrew Wells, geek extraordinaire. Fancies himself as 'Q' from the James Bond films; on the days when he's not a nineteenth century literary giant or an extremely annoying film maker."

"When he came to L.A… Giles had told Wesley he was sending his top man."

"That's Giles-speak for 'expendable'. What happened to you in L.A. was..."

"Could have been worse." He said, firmly.

"If she'd been sane, it would have been. I've got to make sure nothing like that happens here."

"I'm sure no one on the council would care."

"The council's different now, more flexible. The younger element makes them less stuffy and the ones that know you personally, don't see in black and white. You are totally unique. You have a soul. You've saved the world, more than once. It would be a disaster if you were killed."

"Heard of Angel, have you?"

"No comparison, he was cursed, you fought for your soul, not the same thing at all." She dismissed Angel with a flick of her hand.

"Also, he's dust. I felt him go a couple of months ago. Do you know what happened?" Spike said, his voice tinged with regret.

"He ran into trouble with the senior partners of that law firm in L.A. No one knows the details but a lot of people died."

"How did Buffy take it?" Spike asked, wondering if Angel's precious Shanshu had happened and he and Buffy were finally together.

"I don't know, I've never met her."

"Not been to the college, pet?"

"It's not compulsory, so, no."

"Watcher training you?"

"Watcher's are a bit thin on the ground, these days."

"Some bodyguard." Spike muttered.

"Not so much in the physical sense, more to make sure that no other slayers have a go at you. I can fight, though." She said, firmly, as if challenging him.

"So, where are we heading?" He asked, thinking that it might be fun to take her up on it. He hadn't felt this drawn to a woman in a long time.

"The ancestral pile. We have a large cellar and it's been completely kitted out with you in mind. Speaking of which," she gestured to a small fridge, "Can I offer you anything?"

'Yeah, you - naked and chained across my bed, whimpering and begging me as I slide my…'

"Spike?"

She'd opened the fridge to reveal various alcohols and a blood pack.

"Sorry pet, miles away; I'll take a bloody J.D." He said, wanting to test how squeamish she would be about him drinking blood. She nodded, mixed it and handed it to him, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. He sipped it and found it mixed just the way he liked.

"Human?" He asked, savouring the taste.

"Yes, we buy it in. I had some medical problems before I became a slayer, we never cancelled the order. No one questions our need for it. Any surplus, we sell at cost to the local demon bar. It's medical grade, so it's clean. If I ever need a transfusion, we have it on hand."

"You could make a big profit on the stuff."

"The owner's a friend and the local vamps who drink there are staying out of trouble. It's not like we need the money."

"Speak for yourself, pet."

He'd just spent months bumming round Europe and had had to stow away on a cross channel ferry, to reach England; he could have used some cash.

"We've already set you up a bank account to cover any expenses. The card and pin are in the envelope. There's a hundred in the account for any essentials you might want straight away, and a further fifty goes in on the first of every month. Obviously all your living expenses are covered, so it's just fun money."

"Severely limited fun, by the sound of it."

"I don't know what you were getting at Wolfram and Hart but with the current exchange rate, fifty grand in pounds is around seventy grand in dollars! If you're telling me you can't have fun with that much cash, well, you've been spoiled."

"I'll try to manage." He said, not wanting her to realize that he'd thought she was talking pounds and not thousands of pounds. He really hoped that this wasn't some kind of trap, or worse, a joke.

It wasn't a joke, anyway. The 'ancestral pile' turned out to be a small stately home, in reasonably good repair, considering it wasn't open to the public.

"If we opened our doors, then any vampire could just walk in here." She explained as they walked up the steps to the main doors. The doors opened as they got to them, Lily stepped over the threshold.

"Come in, Spike." she said, making it sound like a normal courtesy, for the benefit of the young maid who had opened the door. "I'll show you your room."

She led him up the stairs, and down a hallway to a pleasant suite of rooms.

"Very nice but aren't cellars usually below ground?"

She smiled and led him to a connecting door.

"The staff think that you're my lover, a bit of a scandal but a good smoke screen for what you really are. These rooms connect with mine," She led him into her rooms and to a large built-in bookcase. She showed him the switch that opened a section and revealed a spiral staircase, leading down.

"This has been here since the house was built. It's always good to have an escape route."

"There's another way out, then?"

"Yes, into what was the main stable block. You could come down here, through the cellar, out to the stables, grab a horse and go. You still can, we keep the cars there now."

He followed her down, feeling slightly nervous, this was starting to feel wrong. The Initiative had been set up like this and although he was fairly certain he could take Lily in a fight, he had no idea what kind of back up she might have, waiting in the cellar. The trauma of losing his hands, in L.A. had made him wary around slayers who weren't Buffy, he realized. He was tensed and ready to fight but he would give her the benefit of the doubt - for now.

Ahead of him, she swung a door open and walked calmly through. Spike paused, drew a deep breath in through his nose and, scenting only her, followed.

It was a good sized room, a lot like the downstairs of his old crypt in style. Subtle electric light instead of flaming torches and candles, expensive looking rugs on the walls. There was a king size bed with lavish looking black satin sheets and decorative wrought iron, that begged to have chains added.

"It got converted into a bomb shelter in the eighties. It's very secure, sound proof, radiation proof and, of course, sunlight proof. None of the staff know it's down here, they think you'll be staying in the room upstairs." She handed him a bunch of keys. "The fridge is well stocked but if you need anything, there's a phone by the bed. Deliveries will come by dumb waiter." She gestured to a small square door on the wall. "You've also got full broadband, HD TV, a gaming console, stereo…"

"Can I leave?"

"Not yet,"

"You gonna stop me?"

"No but the sun'll be up in a little while. What's wrong, don't you like it?"

"Very nice, as cages go."

"Cages? I've just given you the keys!"

"And I suppose those are decorative." he pointed to the nearest wall. Manacles on chains hung from it.

Lily blushed and something about the innocence of it made Spike want to scare her a little. He took her hand and led her to the wall. "Tell me that these aren't for me." He said, silkily as he fastened one of the manacles to her wrist.

"W w well, yes but only in the recreational sense." Lily stammered, blushing even more. "I understand that you have, certain…needs."

"Got needs have I, pet?" He said, enjoying her embarrassment as he chained her other hand. He undid the first three buttons of her dress. "Do you know what I need, right now?"

She shook her head as his face changed, his eyes yellow and his mouth full of fangs.

"Right now," he growled, "I need slayer blood." he pulled the dress down, slightly, to expose her neck. He had no intention of feeding but he wanted to see her reaction. To his shock, she turned her head away so that even more of her neck was exposed to his hungry gaze. He breathed her in. The scent of her was both familiar and exciting.

"You're aroused. You actually want me."

"Yes," She turned to look him in the eye. "I want you, Spike."

'Buffy's moved on.' He thought, 'I can too'. The scent of Lily's arousal was overpowering, as he ripped her dress open the rest of the way, buttons flying. All she had underneath was a tiny pair of white lace panties which he tore to shreds.

He kissed her, hard and she responded, their tongues exploring as his hand stroked lower to her hot, moist centre. He slipped a finger inside, causing her to gasp and push against him, her tightness making him harder still. The tip of his finger grazed her maidenhead.

A virgin. It didn't seem possible, how old was she? He took his hand away and stopped kissing her. She whimpered her disappointment.

"We need to talk." He said.

"Later, I promise but please, don't stop."

"Are you sure?" He didn't want her chained like this for her first time. He wanted it to be special.

"Oh god yes." she said, with a vehemence that tugged at his memory.

"You trust me not to hurt you?"

"No, I trust you not to harm me."

He nodded at her understanding and wrapped one hand around her throat, squeezing, gently, until the pressure caused her to black out.

Moving fast, he supported her weight across his shoulder while unlocking the manacles. He carried her to the bed and laid her on it, positioning her carefully. In the top drawer of the bedside cabinet, he found handcuffs which he used to fasten her hands to the bed head.

Stripped of his clothes, he knelt between her legs and began exploring, with his tongue. He flicked at her hard little clit, holding her legs, as she writhed her way back to consciousness. She moaned and whimpered as he sucked on her hot little pleasure centre, feeling her orgasm building. As it hit, he pushed his finger all the way in, breaking the barrier with his sharp, black varnished fingernail. She screamed her ecstasy as he added another finger, stretching her for what was to come.

When she had calmed, a little, he took his fingers out of her and sucked the blood from them. The taste of virgin slayer blood caused him to harden even more. He put his tongue inside her and collected every last drop. She felt so tight around his tongue, he couldn't wait to slide his huge erection into her.

He trailed his tongue up her body to lavish it on her hard little nipples, his hand teasing her opening. He wanted her to beg for it, to be so desperate, that the pain of it would mean nothing. He trailed his tongue higher until they were kissing again, the swollen tip of his manhood rubbing against her slit.

"Are you ready for it?" He asked, when she broke for air.

"Yes," she gasped, "please Spike, I need you inside me, every inch of you, please…"

He slowly slid the tip into her, intending to take her gently, tenderly, for her first time. He buried the images of the other virgins he had taken in his long life. So many, taken with violence for Drusilla's amusement, their hot tears on his face as he drank his fill from their throats, his ecstasy as Dru licked their blood from his manhood. Occasionally, she would cloud their minds, so that they believed that they wanted whatever was done to them but, until Lily, he had never had a truly willing virgin. The romantic in him wanted this to be like a wedding night. There wasn't much he didn't know about the pain/pleasure sexual response in women and slayers healed fast. This was going to be wonderful.


Lily awoke with her head on Spike's chest, his arm around her. His pale skin was cool beneath her cheek, she kissed him.

"That was worth waiting for."

"Do I know you?" He asked.

"I'm Lily, we met last night." She replied, raising her head to look at him. Just the sight of her eyes, the pupils dilated, her gaze intense, made him harden again.

"No, I mean before that. I feel like I know you."

"After the day we've just had, you do know me."

"Were you saving yourself for someone special?"

"Mmmm." She murmured her assent, kissing her way across his chest.

"Won't he be angry?"

"Well, he has got a bit of a temper, and he has been known to stake vampires…" She looked up at him, her eyes full of love.

"Why me?" Spike asked.

She lay her head back down and began to speak.

"I was sixteen when the dreams began."

"Dreams?"

"Yeah, these were a little different to slayer's prophetic dreams but I wasn't a slayer, back then.

"I was kneeling, half naked, in a cave. I'd been beaten and violated but knew that I had won. I felt triumphant and ready for my prize and this demon put its hand on my chest and the pain was unimaginable. The thing that I had fought for, yearned for, wanted more than anything, was terrible beyond endurance. And I was stuck with it.

"You know what I felt, don't you?"

"When I got my soul back." Spike said, softly.

"I felt what you felt, when you felt it. I was in a coma, 'dreaming' your life, until Willow's spell made me a slayer."

"All of it?"

"Everything you saw, did, thought, felt. Doesn't anything good ever happen to you?"

"Today's been pretty good." He said, stroking her hair.

"I woke up screaming your name. I wanted to go to Sunnydale, or what was left of it and find you. I knew that you weren't completely gone."

"So what happened?"

"It was reported as a massive earthquake. Hardly any loss of life because most of the population left in the days leading up. The miracle of Sunnydale, they called it. They had experts on, talking about people's instinctive avoidance of disaster, how trains that crash statistically carry less passengers than when they don't crash. People have bad feelings and don't get on, that kind of thing."

"I've heard that."

"Anyway, that was the theory. The entire town had a bad feeling and left."

"That's pretty much what happened."

"I know. Anyway, it wasn't a place you could visit, deemed unsafe and, after my initial shock of waking, I could feel that you were at peace, so…"

"I don't remember."

"Nothing?"

"To me it was instantaneous, I was burning up in the hell mouth and then I was in Angel's office at Wolfram and Hart. I feel naked."

"What?"

"You've been inside my head, you know everything, I feel exposed."

"I don't know everything, only what you felt and thought during that time."

"Why aren't you afraid of me?"

"Because I've been inside your head."

"That should make you afraid."

"It makes me admire you."

There was a bleeping sound from the dumb waiter. Spike slid smoothly out from under her and crossed the room.

"I ordered breakfast, while you were sleeping." He said, bringing the tray and setting it down on the bedside table.

They feasted, in bed together and Spike opened the brown envelope that was addressed to him. In a brief note he was asked to complete the required forms for ID and also invited to meet Lily's father. He opened the first envelope and smiled when he read the name that Lily had given him. Spík Cendri.

"Set you aflame do I pet?" He asked, as he signed his new name on various forms.

"Always." she replied, with a smile.

"You didn't want to go with 'William', then?"

"You don't think of yourself as William, you think of yourself as Spike. I changed the spelling to make it look foreign. You won't have to use it very often, it's just in case."

"It's alright, I like it. Now, why does your father want to see me?"

"He's just curious to meet you. The whole slayer thing was a bit of a shock to him and you being a vampire…"

"I get it, will he have a stake?"

"No, of course not, he's a very supportive parent." She laughed. "I don't know about you but I need a shower."

She headed to a door in one corner of the room and Spike went with her.

"We didn't have a two way link, did we?" Spike asked, as he tenderly soaped her.

"No, I don't think so." She decided to put him out of his misery. "The reason I'm so familiar to you, is simple; we're related."

"What?" Spike spluttered, dropping his hands from her.

"Only distantly." She said, reassuringly, "I'm descended from your uncle on your mother's side."

"Uncle Henry?"

"Yeah, he was my great-great-great-great grandfather."

"I should have recognised the place, I was here once, when I was a child."

"The allowance you're getting, was set up by your uncle, after your father died. It's had a long time to mature."

"My father set one up, too."

"That's how we knew that you'd survived. When you and your mum disappeared, it was assumed that you'd taken her abroad, for her health. No one believed that you could have had anything to do with the murder of your servants; a few years later, there was speculation that they may have been Jack the Ripper's first victims. Anyway, you were still using your money, abroad. The lawyers figured that you married and just never came back."

"When did you realize?"

"That you were a vampire and family? While I was dreaming you. You were a little insane, for a while and you dreamed about your childhood, your turning, your mum…"

"Don't." He said, his voice full of pain.

She pressed her wet, slippery body against him and kissed him as she rubbed soap into him.

"I can't help but love you," She murmured, just loud enough for him to hear. "But you don't have to love me."

Spike said nothing, just kissed her harder and held her tighter.

An hour later he was knocking quietly on the library door.

"Come in." Said an aristocratic voice.

Lily's father was more or less what Spike expected. He was about the same age as Rupert Giles and had a similar air about him. Spike expected this to be a frosty meeting.

"Come on in, my boy; have a seat. Drink?" Sir Robert said, warmly.

Spike blinked in surprise at this turn of events.

"Thank you, sir." He said, his good upbringing reasserting itself.

"Robert, please. You're family."

"You don't mind that I'm a vampire?"

"Yes and no. There are some things we need to discuss." He handed Spike a glass of very fine single malt whiskey and they sat together, like civilized men. Sir Robert cleared his throat.

"I presume that you have just spent the last ten hours, repeatedly violating my nineteen year old daughter."

Spike choked on his drink.

"What makes you think that?" He croaked, his vocal cords burning from the whiskey.

"According to the kitchen, you ordered 'champagne breakfast for two' for six o'clock this evening. Very romantic; nice touch."

"I thought so." Spike murmured, carefully sipping his scotch.

"You have to understand my concerns, this whole slayer thing came out of nowhere. Lily was a normal, healthy teenager; then one day she couldn't be woken up. Not a coma, not really; she was just asleep and dreaming. I hired a nurse and kept her out of hospital but the injuries…"

"Injuries?"

"She didn't tell you?"

"About the dreams but.."

Sir Robert handed him a stack of photos. The first showed Lily lying in bed, hooked up to various machines, an I.V. in her arm. The picture was shocking to him because she was stripped to the waist and there were deep, bloody slashes across her left breast. He remembered trying to cut out his soul, at the beginning. He had been insanely convinced that it lived in his chest, near his heart and if he cut deep enough… He shuddered at the thought of Lily enduring that. The next photo showed her suffering extensive burns to her chest, arms and face. Guilt swept over him, another self inflicted hurt that he had inadvertently visited on her. Relieved that Willow's spell had woken Lily up, before he had burned in the hell mouth, he handed the pictures back without looking at the rest.

"Then, the harbingers came." Sir Robert continued. "To protect her, I evacuated the staff and watched over her myself. I moved her to the cellar because it was easier to defend. Rupert Giles had told me what to expect."

"You're a watcher?"

"No. We were at school together; I never liked him - cold, ruthless bastard but I knew he was into this stuff, so I got in touch. He told me Lily was a potential slayer and that she was in danger."

"How did you stop them?"

"They stopped coming after a while but they were easy enough to deal with."

"Protection barrier, witchcraft?"

Sir Robert laughed.

"No, my boy, I shot them."

"How many?"

"Forty-seven. They didn't all come at once, of course; they made it easy, two or three at a time. They're buried out there." He gestured to the window. In the garden was a large rockery - boulders and earth with a scattering of plants. "For the first year, nothing grew, but now…"

"No one thought it strange that you were burying bodies?"

"Of course not, I hired a marquee and a JCB and had some very expensive boulders delivered. Misdirection is the key. Being filthy rich helps too, of course.

"My point is, that I am very protective of my daughter. I lost her mother nine years ago, so it's just been the two of us... Now, she's informed me that she needs to be with you and you come from a good family." He smiled, "You have class, breeding and strength of character, so I accept her choice. You seem to accept it too…"

"but?"

"She's my only child and will inherit everything but only on condition that she produces an heir. I don't care how, so long as she's discreet. Do you have a problem with that?"

"No sir."

"Good, welcome back to the family."

He shook Spike's hand with what felt like genuine warmth and left Spike feeling slightly dazed. Lily was waiting for him outside the door.

"How did you get on with him?" She asked.

"Better than I expected. Now, what do you do for fun around here?"

"I'll show you around."

"Is there a hell mouth?"

"I'm afraid not. You won't be bored though, we have a multi-dimensional hot spot."

"And what's one of those, when it's at home?"

"It's like a weakness between dimensions, not really a gateway but things come through sometimes."

"Bad things?"

"Sometimes very bad things. C'mon, I'll take you there."