SUMMARY: After surviving Los Angeles, Spike has relocated to Cleveland to start over.


PAIRING: Spike/Buffy


DISCLAIMER: All BtVS characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy Productions. Lyrics in this chapter are from "Human Fly" by The Cramps.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my first fanfic, though I've been a very grateful reader throughout the years. It will eventually be Spuffy, but I will concentrate mostly on Spike himself as I find him to be an incredibly dynamic character. I hope I do him justice, and that this trip is enjoyable! At this point, I'm not sure how many chapters this story will run. I welcome any comments! Thank you for reading! :)

Prekian demons, Spike thought. Who'd have guessed?

He kicked off his boots and reached for a smoke. It would be interesting to see how the news followed up on the aftermath. The Cleveland police department was being pummeled for this latest rash of murders. So far the public consensus indicated it was a group of teenage satanists. Spike laughed to himself as he slipped a Cramps record onto the turntable. If it wasn't satanic, it was gang-related. He thought back to how everything in Sunnydale was reported to be due to PCP. At least Clevelanders had some clue that they were living in a demonic hotspot. The ritualistic slayings had tipped him off. Too clean to be a group of kids. Rumblings in the local demon bar had everyone on edge. When his buddy Gar was unsettled, Spike knew something was up. A Kailiff demon, Gar didn't scare easily. Not at all.

It only took Spike a few hours to track down the beasties. A pack of five Prekians, likely on their way out of town. But it had been a slow week for Spike, and there was no way he'd let this rare opportunity pass him by.

Now he was feeling the effects of the fight. Five-on-one, weaponless against their carved blades, Spike pulled out olympic-worthy moves to best them. It was an intense battle, certainly rash and stupid, and it lit that fire inside him he remembered from those early years of being a vampire. All fists and fangs. He shouldn't have gone into a fight like this with out Gar, at least, but it had been a long time since he really let his demon out, and he felt he needed to. Good for the soul, he smirked, knowing that meant more than a couple things to him. (The soul you got for her, his unbeating heart whispered.)

He cranked up the stereo louder, stretching the kinks out of his now-achey muscles.

I got a garbage brain

It's drivin' me insane

And I don't like your ride

So push that pesticide

And baby I won't care

Cuz baby I don't scare...

Spike inhaled a deep breath of cool night air. It really was too early in the season to have the windows open, but he liked the scent of the thawing lake. It had the fragrance of an old fishmonger's shop, like he remembered from when he was human. Springtime in Cleveland was the time of the "fishpocalypse," as he heard the college students describe it. The shoreline would be deep with dead fish, their silver bellies bloating in the sun. Lake Erie's sudden winds would carry the rotting scent all along the coast, together with the thankful sounds of hungry seagulls. Cleveland was a place of such dichotomy, constantly confirming that he chose his new home well.

He lucked out when he had arrived in town. Finding a cheap flat above an old Italian restaurant on the west-side gave him a perfect spot to keep up on all the action. His only neighbor was deaf, and the building next-door was a nightclub called The Phantasy. He could make all the noise he wanted at all hours of the night and no one would complain. The woman who owned the restaurant was elderly, and she gave him a good rate on the apartment in exchange for a helping hand. He also didn't need to steal much anymore with the wage (though small) he was paid to be the Phantasy bouncer. It really was a nice set-up.

All that was missing was Buffy.