Buffy and Spike are in for the surprise of a lifetime when an enigmatic Watcher travels from the future to enlist the help of the Scoobies in retrieving a mysterious weapon that has been stolen from the future Slayer. But when the true nature of the weapon is revealed, Buffy is forced to consider a shocking future with a vampire she loathes—or does she? Set in Season Five, after Family.

Rated M for eventual smut.

Disclaimer: The story is mine, but the characters aren't. Buffy & Co. belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.

Ahead of Her Time

Chapter 1

No worries tonight. Well, not totally true. There were plenty of things to worry about. But she wasn't going to. She would not worry about her mom, or about her sister-slash-mystical key thingy, or about the superstrong diva bitch who was after Dawn. Nope, tonight she was non-worry girl, just out for a nice, relaxing, action-packed stroll before bed. At least, she had hoped for the action-packed part of it, but action just didn't seem to be making an appearance. Come on, she thought. Baddies? Come out, come out, wherever you are.

But no one seemed to want to play. Or, well, die. The night was mostly quiet, nothing but the sound of her footsteps and the crinkle of leaves beneath her feet. The soft breeze caused slow tinglies up her arms and along the curve of her spine. Except…the tinglies. Not so much from the breeze, apparently, and more from the annoying vamp that was…she turned her head, looked behind her, eyes scanning the line of trees along the perimeter of the cemetery…right there.

"Spike," she said, making no effort to hide the irritation in her voice. "The stalker routine is getting old. What do you want?"

He stepped out from behind a tree, predatory, cigarette in hand, smoke curling lazily around his head. "Slayer," he growled.

"It's late, I'm tired. I'll only ask one more time." She wasn't tired, and it wasn't that late, but she wasn't in the mood for company. Unless it was the kind she could stake. Well, technically, she could stake Spike, but he couldn't even fight back, so where was the fun in that?

"What?" he shrugged. "It's a free soddin' cemetery, isn't it? Not like I even knew you were here. Not like I could smell the stupid vanilla lotion or the disgusting coconut shampoo or your little racing heartbeat or, or anything at all. Just out for a smoke and a walk, hoping for a little spot of violence before bed, which I'd wager is exactly what you're doing out here."

"Eww, no. I don't smoke."


"No smoking. Just walking. Walking alone."

"Oh, left Captain Cardboard snug in bed, did you? You know, if I didn't know better, I'd say you've got an itch that wanker just can't scratch." Buffy looked down. She had, actually, left Riley asleep in bed in his apartment while she crept away for some nighttime action. She felt guilty about it, but she couldn't sleep, and he'd been all content and snoring, with his arm wrapped around her like a vise. Holding her too tight, pulling her too close. She'd had to get away.

Spike's blue eyes looked her up and down, his lips curving into a suggestive smile. "Course, I'd go a round with you, if you want. Give the girl some action." He dropped his cigarette on the ground and crushed it beneath the toe of his boot.

"What? No!" A hot flush crept into her cheeks, and she felt the tinglies spread all over her body. Stupid Spike tinglies, different from the others. She could pick him out blindfolded in a room full of vamps. Not that she'd want to be blindfolded in a room full of vamps. Not that she couldn't handle herself, if she were to suddenly find herself blindfolded in a room full of vamps. Focus. "No…round-going, no itch-scratching, and no…action."

He chuckled. "Meant sparring, pet. A little fist and fangs, well, just fists for you, although, if you have something else in mind, I'd be…happy to oblige."

She was too embarrassed to look him in the eye, so she ignored that last bit and studied his black t-shirt instead. "Please. With your little chip problem? You couldn't even slap my wrist without giving yourself a migraine."

"Actually…" he threw his punch before she could even think, her hand instinctively snapping up to stop his fist just before it connected with her jaw. Her small hand gripped his larger one, frozen, as the air around them seemed to crackle with possibility.

"What the hell was that?" she demanded. There was no way his chip had malfunctioned. He'd be trying to kill her already if it had, right? Not making with the small talk?

He smirked. "Something I learned recently. Seems the chip doesn't fire if I know I can't hurt you. Knew you'd stop me, see?"

"Do it again," she said, amazed, and also more relieved than she'd like to admit. He kicked his leg up toward her head, and she ducked easily.

"Sort of fun, yeah?"

"Again." He threw another punch, which she again intercepted.

And instinctively returned.

He didn't even know why he was surprised to suddenly feel the snap across the bridge of his nose. "Apparently not fun," he grumbled, feeling the blood start to seep onto his face and wiping it with one arm.

"Oops. Reflex," she said, though she was shaking her arm out as though she'd really like to hit him again, to go all night, that first punch just enough to get her blood flowing. He could hear it pumping away, just beneath that salty skin of hers, could smell her, even through the new distraction of his own blood. Vanilla, and coconut, the light aroma of Slayer sweat, and oh…the best smell on the whole bloody planet. Arousal. Hers. Could he be the cause of it? No, probably just the hint of the fight. Got her hot and bothered every time, though she'd never in a million years admit it. Still, he was worked up good and proper now. It made him want to encourage her, taunt her into beating him into a right bloody pulp, just for those delicious smells. He'd have to find himself a fight somewhere for sure, if she wouldn't take the bait. Then maybe Harm would be out of the crypt, and he could get a good wank in before she turned up…or, maybe she'd be there, and he could get himself a half-decent shag. Bint wasn't bad in the sack, if he kept his hand over her mouth while they were going at it. Good thing she didn't need to breathe, or he probably would have killed her by now. Which really wouldn't be a bad thing, now that he thought about it. But as long as that mouth was shut, he could close his eyes and stroke that long blonde hair and pretend it wasn't Harmony's icy cold body beneath him at all, but his fiery golden Slayer's. All heat and muscle and sweat and…fuck, he'd gotten himself hard just thinking about it.

"Well, that was just rude," he said. "Got me all bloody now."

"Whiner," she muttered. "Some sparring partner you are."

"Didn't know we were dancing yet, is all."

"We aren't dancing, Spike. We aren't anything. I am finishing my patrol, and you are going away."

"Oh, in a hurry to get back to Soldier Boy, now?" He eyed her up and down when she didn't respond. "Didn't think so."

"Goodnight, Spike."

"I could patrol with you, you know. If you want."

"Goodnight, Spike."

He watched her walk away, golden hair bouncing along her back, small shoulders straight, the picture of absolute beauty and righteous indignation.

"Love you, Buffy," he whispered, as she rounded the corner and disappeared into the night.