Note: Hey thanks for reading guys! Here is third chapter!


Three

Buffy plopped onto her bed with a stack of brochures she had collected from the martial arts places downtown. She picked up one of the many karate brochures and absently scanned it, her eyes drawn to the glossy pictures of kids and teenagers happily bowing to their sensei in their crisp white outfits and brightly colored belts. They were so happy, clean and disciplined, she thought. She smirked as Spike's words came back to her, in all their irritated British glory.

"No matter what the color of their sodding' belt…" she quoted to herself, an amused grin etched on her face. She affected the accent, and giggled when it came out sounding ridiculous. She wondered what 'sodding' meant and if Spike had any colored belts in karate. It'd probably be black, knowing him.

Buffy frowned at herself. Knowing Spike? She snorted at herself. Right, three meetings didn't equal any type of knowage at all. Especially when one time was him getting arrested and winking at her. God, the nerve of him. Spike was distinct in manners, speech and action so anyone, not just her, would remember him.

Buffy tossed the karate brochure aside and picked up a kendo brochure. She wasn't even sure why she'd even went into this one: she was sure she wouldn't be using any type of sword, bamboo or steel. She had to admit the whacking people with long bamboo sticks with a serious face looked kinda fun, and she even liked those long robes they wore. Plus, it was very samurai, and if those samurai movies that Xander and Riley went gaga over were anything to go by, they were a pretty tight bunch.

The door opened and Willow walked in, a bag of potato chips in hand. She promptly sank onto the bed next to Buffy and picked up a brochure, which proudly presented its reader with the Matsumoto School of Ninjutsu. Willow crinkled her nose. "This has to be fake. You know, no one really knows who or what the ninjas really were. Or how they were trained. Or even if they were really real. I doubt that they had a nifty scroll of Ninja secrets for people to learn."

"Thanks for the history lesson, Will," said Buffy, putting down the kendo brochure, "No ninja school for me. Though Ninja-Buffy sounds pretty awesome." She let out a sigh and dropped to her elbow, her face propped on her hands. She looked down at the pile dejectedly. "There's so many of them! And how do I know what they teach you is…you know…usable a in real fight? Not that I plan to get into one. But, if I get into one."

Willow looked at Buffy sympathetically. "Maybe you should start with basics? Like how to punch or kick properly. Cause wow, heard it was pretty painful to punch someone. Or how to disable your attackers! Like we do in P.E, but more pro, you know? You can find someone who can teach you the basics?"

Buffy frowned, "Maybe." Her mind flashed back to Spike and his oddball offer. "Like from someone experienced in fighting?"

"Yeah," Willow agreed, "Well, not just fighting. But with skills too."

Spike did say he knew a lot, if she were to take his word for it. Buffy shook her head at the thought. No way was she taking up his offer. The man was a creep and a criminal! And stinky. Very stinky and probably had very bad lungs. Didn't he know smoking was so not cool anymore? And lung cancer and hacking coughs aside—Hello! Yellow teeth and tobacco breath are big turn offs for girls!

And please, that hair? Buffy strummed her fingers absently on the bed, thinking about that blinding white color and trying to beat down the like that was creeping into her thoughts at the memory of the hair. She grudgingly admitted to herself that it was sorta cool. It had an edgy, in your face and don't-give-a-fuck about offending your proper senses vibe, and wasn't that always exciting? And it matched so well with his snide smirk, the long black leather coat and boots. It was a Look. Gotta hand it to him—the Look worked for him, even if it was a bit Billy Idol. Of course, there was the matter of his blue eyes. God, she could wax poetic about how blue blue could be. She's seen blue before, but not on this scale. It had to be his pale skin and white hair that accentuated them, and it didn't help he had those cheekbones that just held led up to those—

"Hellooo? All well in Buffyland?"

Buffy blinked and looked at Willow, startled. "Huh?"

"Looked like you took a little trip there, Buffy," said Willow, smiling knowingly at her, "Where'd'ya go?"

Buffy's face was tinged with the slightest shade of pink when she realized she exactly where she had gone. "Uh…nowhere. Just thinking."

"Anything interesting?"

"Oh, no. Nothing interesting."

"Ah, that's why you went all catatonic there for a second?" Willow teased.

Buffy shot the redhead a wry grin. "I did not! Really, Will, it was nothing. Just me spacing out. Anyways, all this martial arts stuff is making me hungry. Think there's some leftover pizza in the fridge…"

"Are you coming to see the Dingoes tonight, Buff?" Willow asked as Buffy bounced off the bed.

"Bronze?"

"Yup."

Buffy smiled, twirling her hair into a loose bun. "'Course. I don't think Riley can make it though. He told he's got some stuff to do for West Point."

"Then it's just us girls!" Willow frowned as a thought occurred to her. "And Xander."

"And Oz."

"Oz doesn't count because he's playing."

"Point taken. So us girls! And Xander."


Spike took his usual seat at Willie's. The place was quiet in the afternoon, and its usual circus of less than savory characters was reduced to a few guys playing pool off in one corner. They pay Spike no mind when he came in, though one or two glanced at him in acknowledgement. It was honestly more than Spike would have liked, but he had been in Sunnydale for half a year now, and no one had tattled on him yet. Of course, it probably meant they didn't know who the hell he was to tattle on, and it was going to stay that way.

Willie, on the other hand, knew. Not because Spike told him, but the bartender, in true bartender-y fashion, knew a lot and heard a lot. He was deeper in the underground than Spike gave him credit for. He knew Spike by name, and quickly assured him upon their first meeting that he had no desire to call upon Spike's dangerous relations to Sunnydale.

"Spike," Willie greeted, "You're back."

"What, was it common knowledge I got hauled off or somethin'?" Spike grumbled.

"Well, you only got yourself cuffed in public," Willie answered dryly, "In a hospital, no less. I thought you were supposed to try not to draw attention. Besides, I'd notice you'd gone if were just dead in a ditch."

"Don't I feel loved…" Spike deadpanned, "Sure it's not because I'm your cash cow?"

"What can I say," Willie answered, shrugging, "I take care of my cows. The usual?" Spike nodded. "Speaking of cashing the cow, Spike, I don't doubt you've put yourself back in already?" He poured in a shot of Jack for his said cash cow.

Spike flashed him a smirk, "'M back this weekend, mate."

"Good. Have to admit. It was getting a bit dull without you."

"Yeah, I s'pose it is," Spike said, picking up the small shot glass and gazing at the amber liquid, "So, Clem told me: Glory's in town."

Spike glanced up at Willie in time to see the bartender tense, and his eyes glaze for a moment with fear.

"Rumor," Willie growled, "Has to be."

"Right. Nothin' for her here, is there? But, rumors about Glory aren't to be taken lightly. No one wants her to be in their town…unless you're doin' business with that crazy bint. So, I wanna know straight up: is she really in town?"

"Can't say, man. Why, you thinkin' about hightailing it outta here?"

Spike shrugged. "Might have to. Can't risk her seeing me and blabbing. And she would, you know—she knows they want me back, if not dead."

"Well, remember to pay off your tab before you leave."

"Thanks ever so for your concern." Spike downed the shot quickly and slammed the glass down, and motioned at Willie for another.

"So you really don't know if and why Glory might be here?" asked Spike.

Willie shrugged, pouring in more of the spirit into the glass. "Glory ain't the type to do things logically in the first place. The girl is messed up in the head. One time, she personally fucked up that one new recruit in the Family, just 'cause the kid was making eyes at her and she thought he was ugly."

"Now, heard that was an urban myth, mate," said Spike, shaking his head, "Doubt the Brothers would stand for her goin' postal on their boys."

"She's their sister, and she's Glory—not just anyone. Anyways, afterwards, she got herself in a tizzy 'cause her Jimmy Choo heels broke after she was done."

"That I can believe to be true," said Spike with a humorless chuckle. He had first hand experiences with crazy birds.

"Crazy and unpredictable, that one." Sighed Willie, "Even her brothers don't wanna deal with her. She could be here for anything—to off someone, or to open shop or just to fuckin' go shopping."

"Well, whoop de doo for me then. Bint decides to go shopping and I have to run away. What the hell is here to shop for in this miserable place anyways?" Spike growled, "Bloody hate this."

"Just lay low for awhile, Spike," Willie advised, "I'll keep you informed."

Spike nodded sullenly, and downed the shot of the liquor. He really might have to uproot, and just when he was finding Sunnydale to be more interesting.


A few days passed since Buffy's last saw Spike in front of Grana's. It was infuriating, because every time she considered a karate place or a tae kwon do place, his stupid voice kept intruding on her, insulting the teachers or the griping about the 'poncy wannabe dojos'. She didn't even know why his voice was in her head at all—sure it was sorta sexy, 'cause British accents were completely hot (except when it was Giles or someone equally old and stuffy), and combined with his light baritone—well, it was very sexy indeed. And it wasn't fair, because he was all 'rebel without cause', with all that leather, that eyebrow scar and gelled white hair and chipped black nail polish and god, why did she even remember his fingernails?

She really had no chance.

Buffy growled at herself. Bad boys were just that, bad. Sexy, but needed to stay far away from her. Besides, she didn't even know why she was getting that flustered—she had Riley, who was everything a girl could want: smart, caring, sweet, loyal and responsible. Perfect boyfriend material.

Of course, that didn't mean that Buffy couldn't appreciate the salty goodness of others, especially someone like Spike, who in no way would be more than someone to…look at. Nope, absolute no threat to Riley at all, and Buffy doubted she'd be seeing him again. Three times wasn't the charm, obviously. So she allowed herself some reprieve for lingering on the bleach-headed man—and linger she did for all those days

And perhaps by the sheer power of her just thinking about him, he appeared again one evening, just passing by the Espresso Pump in all his punk-leather glory. Buffy wondered why she's never noticed him before. She stopped listening to Xander's and Anya's argument and watched him out of the corner of her eyes, as he stepped into the café. For a moment, Buffy thought he was coming towards her, but he barely seemed to notice anyone, much less her. He seemed distracted, frown lines marring his otherwise perfectly (and enviably) smooth skin. He obviously exfoliated.

She rejected the thought of greeting him, remembering that they weren't exactly on that friendly of terms, and she didn't want to the job of introducing him to Xander and Anya.

Buffy heard the angry shouting first, though she didn't make out the words. Buffy turned and a dark haired man came running into café. Half the Espresso Pump hushed and looked at the man oddly, who was searching the café with 'Shining'-grade craze in his bloodshot eyes. Buffy sensed danger, and quickly got to her feet. She saw the man's attention fixate on Spike, who grumbled under something under his breath.

The man let out another feral yell and charged at him, and Spike rolled his eyes. He deftly caught his attacker and smashed his head into the condiments counter. Screams erupted from the other customers, and several people stumbled away from the ensuing fight.

Spike's attacker managed to get back on his feet, and fished something out of his pockets. Buffy gasped when she saw the flash of silver of a pocket knife.

"Oi, mate," Spike growled, "This ain't the place for this."

"You don't get to talk to me like that, Spike."

Spike sneered, "You wanna do this, Klein? You really want to? You think I can't beat you to pulp again?"

"Xander," Buffy hissed, "Dial the police."

Xander was stunned, but he managed to nod and brought out his phone. Anya clung to him, but there was more disapproval from her than fear, as if she found what was going on rather irritating.

Buffy turned her attention back Spike, who was regarding Klein with irritation, obviously not seeing the man as a threat at all. His eyes eventually refocused to look beyond Klein, and met Buffy's, who tried not to look so anxious. His eyes widened a bit in recognition, then become steely with determination. He turned back to Klein. "This ain't a place for a fight, you daft git."

Klein didn't seem to agree. He lunged at Spike, slashing the air between them menacingly. Spike slid out of the way, his movements minute and controlled. He caught the arm with the knife and twisted it, so that the man let out a painful yelp and dropped the weapon. Spike kneed him in the stomach and swung a blow to his head. Klein crashed to the floor in a pathetic, unconscious heap.

"Idiot," Spike growled, "Just wanted a bloody coffee. But no…couldn't wait…had to attack me in fucking public…"

Buffy stared at the defeated man, stunned. Particularly at how fast Spike had dispatched him, his actions deft and small. It was sort of anti-climatic.

"You alright, Goldilocks?"

Her eyes snapped up to Spike, who was in the process of lighting a cigarette. Buffy noticed not a single strand of his hair was displaced in the fight, and not a sweat was broken (If sweat could be broken, that is. It was such a weird saying). It was…impressive, if anti-climatic.

"Yeah, I am," Buffy answered, taking measures to make sure her voice didn't come out weak, "Are you?"

He smirked at her. "That was nothin'."

"Huh," was all Buffy could manage at that point before the rest of the café started coming back to life around. Xander called out to Buffy, and she turned around, seeing both him and Anya relaxing back into safety.

"Police is on their way," said Anya.

When she turned back to Spike, he had gone. She caught sight of the tail end of his coat as he exited the Espresso Pump compound. Without another thought, she shot after him, ignoring Xander when he yelled after her.

Buffy turned the corner and saw Spike's retreating back, the white smoke of his cigarette trailing after him. "Hey! Spike! Wait!"

Spike stopped and turned around. He grinned when he saw her, that an amused, self-satisfied grin she first glimpsed in the hospital. "Well if it isn't the bitsy warrior…"

Buffy stopped just a few feet from him. "Why are you leaving?"

"Cause I figured I wasn't gonna get my coffee now," he answered with a shrug.

Buffy couldn't decide if he was being serious or not.

"But, the police…"

"And there's that too," he agreed with nod.

"No, you have to report to the police, about the guy who attacked you. Who was he by the way? He looked insane! And why are you always getting into fights?"

Spike lifted his scarred eyebrow at her, looking like he wanted to tell her off. He took a drag from his cigarette, his eyes never leaving her as he did, making feely Buffy antsy under his scrutiny. Finally, he answered: "You know the coppers and I aren't exactly chums, pet. There are enough witnesses around to get his ass hauled. And that was Klein, bloody stupid idiot whose fragile ego got broken when I upped him in a...erm…a fight, and he decided he wants to fuck me up in revenge. There's a bit of story to that, but nothing too interesting. And for your last question, luv—I say why not?"

Buffy was mildly surprised that he answered her at all. Suddenly, she became painfully aware of the fact that she had run after him, against better judgment, and wasn't sure what exactly she wanted. It wasn't like she really cared if he reported to the police or not; she just didn't want him to disappear again, not after that. "Oh," she said, "Well, it was impressive."

Both of Spike's brows shot up in surprised, and he looked thoroughly flattered. "Is that so?"

"Yeah. I mean, you barely moved and you beat him down," she continued. Ah, now she knew where she was going with this. She let out a long breath, "You said you'd show me the ropes? Is that offer still standing?"

Now he looked positively stunned. "'Course it is, luv."

Buffy froze momentarily. It was still standing, she realized…so, she can take this, couldn't she? God, her mom would freak and Riley would freak even more. Somehow that made it even more appealing, and she drew strength from her new found rebelliousness. "Then teach me. I'll hire you."

"You serious, pet?"

"Yeah, of course I am. After your little spiel about how bad those 'poncy wannabe dojos' are, whatever that really means, I've gotten all paranoid about it," Buffy sighed, and crossed her arms over her chest. "You said you knew, and you were impressive. So I'll hire you. But you have to…" She trailed off, suddenly taken aback by the expression forming on his face; she felt her heart speed up a tiny bit.

The smile that grew on Spike's face was positively leg-weakening, Buffy realized in panic. He couldn't do that, she protested to herself, he couldn't be all hard and edgy and punk and pull out a smile like that. It was warm, and reached his eyes, which lit up with amusement and delight, like a child taking in his birthday present. His expression held none of his usual smirk, and she found it was startlingly handsome on him. Buffy realized in surprise how happy her proposal seemed to make him, and she felt both anxious and flattered by the reaction.

"I'm not gonna be cheap, you know," he said finally, suddenly becoming interested in his cigarette, which he was absentmindedly rolling in his fingers. Buffy was left feeling a little flustered.

"I-I know. I'll pay the same rate as the dojos."

"Good," he muttered, glancing up at her discreetly, "Uh…when do you want to start?"

"Um, Saturday? Tomorrow?" Buffy replied, feeling more emboldened by the passing second, "Noon?"

"Hm, no can do Saturday, luv."

"Alright, Sunday? Around noon?"

"Sunday noon it is."

"Good. Though I dunno if there are any places we can go to. Like training rooms? Do you know any?"

"Got one in mind."

"Good," Buffy nodded, "I'll meet you at the Espresso Pump and go from there. So…uh, see you then, I guess. Yeah…" Could she have ended on a lamer note? she groaned to herself.

Spike said nothing, and once again was looking at her curiously, though he didn't seem as amused or snarky this time, just pensive. Finally, he nodded and said, "See you later, then, Goldilocks."

Buffy let out an irritated sigh, and very pointedly said, "Buffy."

He blinked at her. "Wha?"

"Buffy," she repeated, her voice firmer, "You can't have forgotten my name already."

He chuckled lightly, shaking his head a little. "No, Goldilocks, I haven't forgotten."

She rolled her eyes. "I've have a name, Spike, use it."

He only smirked at her. "See you later, wee warrior Buffy." And he turned and walked away from her, leaving her glaring at his back. She wasn't sure she liked that new nick name any better than the other ones. But hey, at least her name was part of it; that had to count for something.


He had no idea why he said yes. Bleeding fuck, he messed up there didn't he? Teach a little SoCal girl fighting? Recipe for disaster, that. And with the threat of Glory and his might having to leave, this arrangement was just a bad idea.

The worst part? He was actually looking forward to Sunday. He made excuses for himself: it was something different, and he was always a sucker for things that broke his usual routine. The money was good, and job was gonna be easy. Teach her to punch and kick a little and the chit'll probably be satisfied. He figured the confrontation from a week ago scared her into this.

And if he were being honest to himself? Lil' Buffy got his blood going the day she dismissed him with an adroit roll of her pretty big eyes, and she stayed at the back of his mind the moment he saw her beat down the drunk. Small and fierce and brave she was, and absolutely golden. And she wanted to be fiercer and braver, the little chit, and unabashedly followed him and asked him to teach her. Yeah, he really liked this Buffy, and he was going to enjoy his new job.


"Wow," Willow exclaimed, "Buffy, you're like a trouble magnet this week."

Buffy sank further into her bed and nodded. Willow had come over after all the excitement at the Espresso Pump, mainly to offer her emotional support and help finish AP English Lit homework. Xander and Anya had gone home after some hot chocolate therapy from Joyce. Riley didn't know yet, as he was still out of town, and Buffy was glad for it, especially when she was feeling very guilty about striking up that deal with Spike.

"And this Spike guy again, huh?" said Willow, sitting down on the bed facing Buffy, who had reached for Mr. Gordo and was fretting with the pig's ear.

Speaking of Spike…

"Wills…" Buffy started anxiously, "I think…I think…I did something really stupid and dangerous and sorta completely impulsive…"

Willow looked at her with raised brows. "Sorta completely?"

"Yeah…you know Spike?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, I left out the part that when I went after him…I asked him to…teach me to fight…" Buffy looked up at her best friend with a guilty expression.

"You did? Er…Buffy, isn't that a little dangerous? I mean, what if he turns out to be all 'grr' and dangerous? Especially, if you're gonna be alone with him, getting…physical."

"I know I know!" Buffy exclaimed, "I just…I dunno why. I thought he was cool and and, he was so impressive, Wills, you should have seen him, and I've been want to learn and he's been in my head all week so…" There was no way she was going to tell Buffy that the first time she met Spike, he was getting arrested—she didn't even want to remind herself. No one even knew that he had been in the alley with her.

"Whoa there," Willow said, waving her hand, "Awful sentence aside Buffy…he was in your head all week?"

Buffy looked even more guilty then, and shrunk dejectedly further into her bed.

Willow's eye widened with realization: "Buffy, are you crushing on Spike?"

"NO! I'm not!" Buffy cried out in alarm, "No crushing happening, not on Spike. No way. Uh-uh."

Willow grinned teasingly. "I think there's an expression for this…right 'The lady doth protest too much, methinks'."

"I doth not," Buffy protested petulantly, pouting, "If anything, I'm just appreciating his finer…qualities. But no real crushage. But wow, he's hard not to appreciate."

Willow nodded and made a muffled nose of agreement, which earned an amused look from Buffy.

"Hey, I have eyes too," Willow muttered, "He's got some serious cheekbones."

Buffy giggled. "Yeah. Well, in case he does turn out to be an axe murderer, then at least he was a pretty axe murderer?"

"Pretty, huh?" laughed Willow.

"Very pretty. Wait for my phone Sunday? Just in case I need to be rescued from his underground cellar of doom?"

"Hopefully his underground cellar of doom has good cell phone reception."

Buffy let out a groan as reality hit her again. "Agh, Wills, this is stupid and dangerous isn't it?"

"Then don't go? Tell him you changed your mind?"

Buffy pouted. "But…I kinda want to."

Willow giggled. "That pretty huh?"

"That good," Buffy corrected, with a roll of her eyes, "Skill wise. You know, I'll just have to take this risk. Sure it's stupid, but what's life without a little danger?"

"Not even a Disney film," Willow answered sprightly, "And I'll mind the phone."

"Thanks Willow."

"Sure. And…are you gonna let Riley know?"

Buffy cringed and picked at Mr. Gordo's snout. "Uh…maybe…not right away."

"Well, it's your choice," said Willow, shrugging, "Can't imagine him too happy about it, though, but if it makes you happy, and Spike doesn't turn out to be a creepy axe murderer, I say it's all green from here."

Buffy smile appreciatively at her friend. "Thanks Wills. Again. You're so the best. And I'm going to miss you when you go off to your fancy university in London."

"Me too, Buffy."

Both girls sighed, their expressions doleful yet wistful. Buffy bit her lips, her mind still fretfully dwelling on Spike, though with no particular line of thought or anything. It was funny—as anxious and scared as she was, Buffy looked forward to their first class.

Willow looked at Buffy after moment. "So? You ready analyze the craziness of Cathy and Heathcliff?"


Note: Sorry if you feel things might be moving a bit slow, but just bear with me? Yeah? Thanks for reading!