AN: The story takes place in the same universe as the season 4 episode, Superstar. It's a look at some of the major B/S events from canon, but taken through the lens of a universe where Jonathan is the biggest superhero around.

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The first time she saw him, he was coming out of the shadows, clapping and smirking. She may not be the most experienced, but she can still tell when she's facing down a vampire. Usually. And this guy had power rolling off him in waves. No way she would be able to take him on alone.

"Guys. Call Jonathan." Willow and Xander exchanged a look, but they ran back inside anyway. It's nice to know she can still work as a leader in the absence of the Big Gun.

Creepy Vamp watched them go, and continued his slow approach. Buffy's hand tightened on her stake.

He smirked. "Relax, love. You and I? We're not going to fight."

She looked him steadily in the eye, exuding confidence she didn't feel. "Oh yeah? Why's that?"

He stopped directly in front of her and chuckled slightly. "Because you're not worth dirtying my hands over."

Okay now that was just uncalled for. "Excuse me?"

He laughed again. "Don't get me wrong. I'll kill you eventually. But see here," he began to casually circle her, "I've heard that you're not the big threat in this town. Heard that particular honor goes to a git, calls himself Jonathan." He completes his circle, stopping in front of her once again. But he's closer now; close enough to lean forward and whisper in her ear. "That's right, isn't it? That's who you sent your little friends after?"

Buffy squeezed her eyes shut, and swallowed hard. Every nerve ending in her body was on red-alert and screaming at her to punch him, or run away, or do something beside stand still like some kind of victim.

But she's not the one who's used to having up close and personal conversations with older vampires. Buffy takes care of fledglings, minions, lackeys. Jonathan is the one who negotiates. So she remained motionless- except for the slight trembling- and let Creepy Vamp stand a breath away from her neck, and oh god, was he smelling her now?

"You're pathetic." His voice is gravelly and low and it tickles her ear. "And one day, after I've gotten rid of Mr. Can-Do, when you're all this town has left, I'll slip in-" His head dropped, angling toward her neck. She didn't move. His tongue slid out and licked a path up her neck, over her rabbit-quick pulse, and came to a stop right below her ear. "-And drain you dry. You won't stand a chance."

The worst part? He was right.

He backed away, grinning. "Tell your boy I'm looking forward to Saturday."

"What's happening Saturday?" He voice didn't shake, it didn't.

"I kill him."

On Thursday he came bursting into the school through the windows, a full two days ahead of schedule. Jonathan sized him up in that calm way Buffy had always admired. "What happened to killing me Saturday?"

"What can I say? Couldn't wait. Faster I get the main course out of the way, faster I can get to dessert."

The leer he sent Buffy over Jonathan's shoulder was positively the filthiest thing she'd ever seen.

Later, as she pulled Jonathan to his feet, she decided that cracking Spike across the head with an axe was the single most satisfying experience of her slaying career. Even if he did get away.

That's the way it goes. Spike turns up, fights Jonathan, antagonizes her, and when the opportunity presents itself, he mocks Angel for not only taking up with a slayer, but for taking up with the most pathetic slayer in history. Spike's words obviously. Angel would never call her pathetic. They follow the pattern until the day that Buffy proves she and her inborn superpowers aren't completely useless after all, thank-you-very-much, by dropping a church organ on him.

….

Of course, just when her life was at an all time low, Spike came sailing back into it, and words cannot express how much she did not have time for this. Jonathan and Giles were locked away somewhere in her evil ex-boyfriends mansion of doom, the police were after her for murder, Kendra was dead, Willow was in the hospital, and a dweeby little demon with the worst fashion sense she'd ever seen had just told her that she was the only person in the world who could save it.

"Hello poppet."

"What do you want Spike?" Buffy would like to believe that somewhere out there, in a world vastly different from this one, a braver, better version of herself was beating him to a pulp for daring to show up here, walking on his own two feet. But the version of Buffy that was her had never fought him, not really, the organ thing was just a fluke, a case of being in the right place at the right time, and besides, she was just too tired to fight right now.

"I want to help you."

She couldn't help it. She laughed. At least he had enough sense to look insulted.

"Why on earth do you want to help me Spike?" She sighed. "Jonathan's good as gone. Isn't this the opportunity you've been waiting for? Your chance to kill the most pathetic slayer in history?" Her voice cracked on the word pathetic, and she hated herself a little for it.

Spike shifted in place and lit up a cigarette. "He's still alive you know. Watcher too. And yeah, on your own you're just about the sorriest thing I've ever seen, but with the right help? We could maybe distract your monster of an ex, long enough for the bite-size hero to jump in and save the world's collective arse."

If Jonathan were there, he'd be demanding a reasonable answer for Spike's sudden turn-around. But Jonathan's not there, and Buffy had never felt so alone.

Spike's was surveying her over through the smoke from his cigarette. He reached up and started to toy with the ends of her hair.

"Come on darlin'" he intoned, eyes narrow, voice low and almost threatening. "We both know if you walk in there alone, you won't be walking out." His fingers brushed up to her neck to rest against the place he'd licked her when they met. "Least not in the daylight."

A tremor of horror shot through her, and she jerked away from him. The bastard just stood there and grinned.

"Give me one good reason to trust you Spike. Just one."

Please please have a reason any reason I can't do this by myself I can't I can't I can't-

"I'm all you've got."

Thank you.

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The next time he waltzed into her life, she was sitting in the kitchen with her mother, debating the pros and cons of going out of state for college.

Buffy was right in the middle of explaining, "Mom! I have to stay here and patrol! I have to take care of the small things, so Jonathan can concentrate on the big stuff! It's important!" When all of a sudden Spike came barging through the back door and headed straight for her. Her mom screamed and scrambled back toward the dining room, but Spike ignored her in favor of pulling Buffy off her chair. He wrapped his hands around her upper arms and squeezed.

"Ow! Let me go!"

He paid her no attention, instead pivoting them on the spot and slamming her against the sink. He was so close to her, their noses were practically touching and she felt a familiar fear trickle down her spine.

He's evil, pure evil, and just because he didn't kill her last year doesn't mean he won't kill her now.

When he opened his mouth though, she nearly choked. "God, Spike! What did you do? Drink an entire distillery?"

He responded in the form of a menacing growl. "So what if I did? It'd be your fault." He shook her. "Just like it's your fault she left me!"

He shook her again, harder this time, and slid into game-face. Before she could gather her wits enough to knee him in the groin and run, he dropped his ridged brow to rest against her forehead.

She didn't squeak. No siree, she did not squeak. Because she's the slayer damn it, and the slayer doesn't make noises that can be categorized as a squeak. Not even if her enemy is drunk and pressing his head against hers, and pinging her special alert senses so hard she feels like she's going to have to crawl out of her skin.

Air sawed in and out of Spike's nose, and his fingers dug into her arms, leaving, she was certain, ten perfect bruises.

He started to speak in a tone that Buffy recognized as his 'I am vampire hear me roar, but not literally because this is much scarier' voice. Cold, measured, calculating. "It's your fault because-"

Joyce screamed again. Funny, Buffy had nearly forgotten she was there. Spike let her go, and whirled around. Buffy followed her mother's horrified stare to the door. When she realized Angel was standing in her open kitchen door, she nearly broke with relief.

Spike looked angry for a split second and then he giggled. Buffy had just enough time to think that it was the most demented giggle she'd ever heard, before Spike was standing behind her, one hand wrapped in her hair, and the other banded across her sternum. She struggled against him, but he gripped her tighter. Her mom looked like she might be passing out soon, and Angel was standing on her back porch looking horrified. Why wasn't he doing anything?

"Buffy! Invite me in!" Oh, right.

"Come in! Comeincomeincomein!"

She twisted again, and managed to wiggle away from Spike, just in time for Angel to grab him by the throat, and slam him onto the island. Joyce was watching from the doorway with her hand over her mouth, and as Buffy passed in front of her she could hear her muttering "Oh god. Oh my God. Ohhhh my God."

Buffy shot her a sympathetic look and continued on her quest to find a wooden spoon. Once she'd retrieved it from the drawer, she marched back to where Angel was holding Spike down and poised the pointier end above his heart.

"Wait!" He croaked.

"No!"

"Willow!"

She froze. "What about Willow?"

"I've got the witch, stashed away somewhere. Boy too. Impale me on a utensil, goldilocks, and you'll never find them."

"Willow's a witch?"

This wasn't what she was cut out for. Sure, sometimes she wished Jonathan would leave her in charge, but the last time responsibility fell on her shoulders, she wound up watching as the man she loved was sent to hell. All because she hadn't figured out a plan fast enough.

"We need-"

Angel's eyes never left Spike's face. "Go call him. I'll keep our guest here comfortable."

Five minutes later, Buffy was striding back through the dining room, the phone held loosely at her side. Joyce caught her arm as she passed, whispering, "Buffy! What is going on? I thought Angel was evil, and now you just let him into our home like it's nothing? And what's this about Willow?"

"Mom." Buffy cut her off. "Just hold on a sec okay? I'll explain in a minute." She continued on to the kitchen, where Angel still had Spike pinned by the throat. He looked up when touched him on the arm.

"What'd Jonathan say?"

"Cordy and Oz came to find him when Willow and Xander didn't show up for bowling. He said they took Oz's van to get Giles, and Jonathan has been out looking. He says to take Spike and meet him at the magic shop. It looks like there was a disturbance there earlier."

Spike twitched and made a garbled noise from his place on the island. Angel slammed his head against the surface, but other than that, they ignored him.

"Can you take him?" Buffy glanced over her shoulder in the direction of the dining room. "I should probably stay here, talk to Mom. She's pretty freaked."

Angel nodded and hoisted Spike to his feet. "Of course. It's probably safer you stay here anyway. It could get dicey. Better to let Jonathan handle it."

"Exactly." Buffy agreed, even as she felt a familiar, if illogical, jolt of resentment.

Spike sneered. "Yeah Slayer. Best to leave vampire killing to the professionals."

He reached out and tapped her on the nose. Buffy flinched, and Angel yanked him toward the door.

"You don't get to touch her."

As they jostled out the door, she could just barely make out Spike laughing and saying, "What and you do?"

How Spike managed to escape between Revello and the magic shop was a mystery. Buffy never asked, and Angel never told.

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Two days before Thanksgiving break, while Willow was out being cheered up by Jonathan at a party Buffy wasn't cool enough to be invited to, someone knocked on her door. Without thinking she called out, "Come in!" And who should appear in her room but Spike?

Perfect timing too. The thing she was planning on being most thankful for was the fact that she hadn't had to fight him when he showed up a few weeks ago. He'd gone straight for Jonathan and Buffy had never even seen him.

She sat straight up on her bed, poised for a fight, but Spike just stood there looking bemused.

"You just yell out 'come in' to whoever knocks on you door? You are the most pathetic slayer in history."

Buffy leapt up, readying herself to make a break for the door. "H-how did you find me?"

Spike stood in front of the door, his eyes never wavering from her. "This new contraption. Pretty sure they call it a computer? Ever heard of it? Can find anyone on one of those. They're bloody brilliant."

Stupid school officials. What ever happened to keeping things under literal lock and key? Knowing Spike though, he would've just broken the lock.

"So" she's edging toward the door now, convinced she's being stealthy, "Why did you come looking for me? Why not Jonathan?"

Spike twitched, but made no other indication that he may have noticed her movement. "Here's the thing gorgeous. I had what you might call a rather unpleasant day, and I'm in dire need of a pick-me-up. Congratulations. You win tastiest treat in Sunnyhell. Of course I'd prefer it if your blood was battle-hot and really pumping, but oh well. What can you do?"

And with that he charged straight for her, grabbing her shoulders and propelling them both onto her bed. Buffy screamed but Spike brought one hand up to cover her mouth. She bit it, but that only seemed to spur him on.

So this was how she was going to die. Buffy Summer's history's worst slayer, was going to die trapped under one of history's worst vampires, all because she was stupid enough to invite him into her room. Maybe the next girl called would develop into someone worth the title.

She went limp, and waited for the bite. It never came. Instead, Spike flew off of her, gripping her head.

"Aghhh! Fuck!"

He was advancing upon her again, yelling something about government funding, when several things happened at once. The lights went off, something exploded in the hallway, and several students began to scream. Somehow, in the ensuing scuffle, Willow ended up on the floor of the dorm next to Buffy, and Spike slipped away into the night.

When he shows up at her Thanksgiving dinner, she thinks she should be more surprised.

She'll never tell anyone, but for the first few days Spike is chained to Giles' bathtub, she harbors the secret desire that he'll start to be nicer to her. After all they're kind of in the same boat now, what with all the pent up violence and the feelings of resentment. It would be nice to talk to someone who understood.

Lately, Jonathan's been getting on her nerves with increasing frequency. He was amazing. Everyone thought so. Did he really need to prove it by having Swedish twins move in with him?

But Spike had to be his usual defiant self. He got worse. He'd let her feed him, and babysit him when Jonathan wasn't around, but her threats just led to laughter, he refused to answer any questions she asked, and every time they were in the same room he tracked her in a way that made it impossible to forget that he was a predator and she was his favorite prey.

The situation didn't improve when he finally moved out. He took to following her around on patrol, or jumping out at her from behind the bushes. He didn't really frighten her, not anymore, but it was still damned annoying. And then he suddenly stopped, and the only times she ever saw him were when she accompanied Jonathan on a fact finding mission.

It wasn't until they were making the rounds, looking for word on Faith, that she thought to ask Spike about it. Jonathan was standing in a corner of the crypt, talking into a cell phone in hushed tones and Spike was sitting on his sarcophagus, staring at her like she was prime-rib.

"Not that I'm complaining, but how come you don't try to scare me anymore? Finally get bored?"

He scoffed. "Hardly. Your big protector over there came in and had a word with me about it a few weeks back. You know, I never pegged you as the type to let someone fight your battles for you. Oh wait. Yes I did."

She tried to glare threateningly, but from the quirking of his lips she had a sinking feeling that she'd failed. "I didn't ask him to do that! I'm not afraid of you!"

He tongued his front teeth and a lazy grin spread across his face.

"That so?"

Buffy crossed her arms. "Yeah, that's so."

"He was just looking out for you then? Best interests at heart and all that?"

That statement really shouldn't rankle her as much as it did. Jonathan always had everyone's best interests at heart. It was part of what made him such a strong leader. Buffy told Spike as much.

"And how does he know what's best for you?"

"He's Jonathan. He knows what's best all the time. If he didn't he wouldn't be Jonathan!"

Fire lit behind Spike's eyes, and for a minute she thought he was going to try and hit her, even with the chip in his head. But then a curtain dropped across his face and he shrugged. "I've decided something. You're so obsolete, I'm not even going to bother remembering your name from now on."

She shook her head. "Huh?"

"Buffy! Let's head out! Riley thinks The Initiative might have picked up a beat."

Buffy followed Jonathan from the crypt, trying to ignore Spike as he shouted merrily behind them. "Bye Jonathan! Bye Betty!"

…..

The situation came to a head shortly after Faith cleared out for good. Buffy had been on edge all day, and Jonathan was driving her crazier than usual, and now Spike was standing there calling her a sidekick, and she had absolutely had it.

"Shut up Spike!"

"Ooh, ooh, ooh! Semi harsh language from Betty! You're feisty when the big guy's standing beside you." He sighed and reached out to her. "Someday sweet slayer, I

would love to take you on." His hand traveled from her hair to her throat, but she didn't flinch away. "See you face the evil alone for once."

His hand slides even lower, and Buffy has just enough time to think that having his hands on her may be nothing new, but that certainly was, before Jonathan was batting him away.

"That's enough of the creepy small talk! We're looking for a monster."

She tuned them out. She already knew what the monster looked like. Instead she thought about how incredibly wrong it was that Spike thought he could manhandle her any time he pleased. She thought about how annoying it was that over the past few years, her tiny leadership role had shrunk into nothing. She sacrificed herself to Master, even if it was Jonathan who had destroyed his bones, she'd saved him from Spike at Parent-Teacher Night, and if it weren't for her, Jonathan would be nothing but a stain on Angelus' carpet. She'd been important once, and she could be again.

"We're not getting anything out of him." Maybe you aren't.

Spike's back was against the crypt again before he knew what hit him.

"Hey! What are you doing? You're not supposed to do that!"

No she wasn't. But it was high time someone else did a little touching in this relationship. So she held him steady, and threatened him, feeling more herself than she had in years.

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Now that the spell is over, she can barely remember what life was like in that reality. The few days where it was real stick with her, but everything else fades away, slipping back behind her real memories.

Sometimes though, right before she falls asleep, or when Spike looks at her a certain way, she'll experience an odd sort of déjà vu. Not quite a memory, more like a dream she doesn't fully remember. A flash of his fingers in her hair, or his tongue on her neck, and then it's gone. She shivers, and tells herself it's with revulsion.