Title: Tainted Blood

Author: Corri

Email: Corrielle@yahoo.com

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Up to "Normal Again"

Summary:  Set directly following the events of "Normal Again."  Spike is sick, and when the gang finally figures out that only Buffy can save him, she has to decide how valuable Spike is to her. 

Disclaimer:  I do not own any of these characters.  They belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and UPN.

Feedback: Please!  

Author's note: This is my first actually FINISHED Buffy Fanfic. It's more of a Buffy/Spike

friendship piece than an actual romance

Prologue

            The tiny shadow made its way through the cemetery, blending in with leafless trees and praying angels that watched over Sunnydale's dead.  Any who saw her might have taken her for a ghost, a child-shaped wraith haunting the place where she was buried.  Aurianne liked that.  Picking her way among the tombstones, she recognized the crypt that had been pointed out to her on the previous evening.  As she had expected, the door was locked.  No matter.  Aurianne took a set of tools out of the pocket of loose-hanging jacket and went to work on the lock.  In seconds, the door swung inward and the girl put her lock-picking kit back in her pocket, a triumphant smirk on her face. 

            Every sense extended to its utmost, she stepped into the crypt.  Finally, satisfied that her information had been correct and the crypt's inhabitant was really gone, she set about finding the trap door that led into the actual living quarters.  It wasn't hard to find.  Not too bright, this one, she thought.  It almost took the challenge out of breaking in.  Almost. 

            She opened the refrigerator and stifled a laugh.  There was blood, of course, and in front of that a few bottles of beer, and... ice cream? What on earth did a vampire need ice cream for?  Maybe human blood tastes sweeter with all that sugar in it, Aurianne thought, and decided to give it a try sometime.  There were always plenty of unsuspecting teenagers hanging around ice cream parlors that would be perfect targets for her 'lost little girl' ploy.  I'm older than they think, she thought defensively.  Though she looked nine or ten, Aurianne had been twelve on the day fifty years past when she had wandered into the clutches of a vampire with a taste for children.  Her name had been Jodie then, but that was no name for a daughter of the night. Luckily for her, her sire had seen her potential.  She was small, quick, and intelligent, as well as being good at getting into small places.  Exactly the kinds of skills the Order needed. 

            Quick, nimble hands grabbed a bag of blood from the supply.  Humming to herself, Aurianne produced a syringe from yet another pocket and gently injected its contents into the bag.  She carefully pulled the needle out and spoke the words of a regeneration charm.  The hole in the bag closed itself up as if it had never existed. 

            Her job done, she took a second look around the apartment.  She was curious.  Someone wanted the blond vampire who lived in this crypt dead, and, in her mind, they had come to just the people to pull off the job.  The Order of the Red Thorn was known for its efficiency and its thoroughness in matters such as these. 

There wasn't much to see.  A beat up television, obviously secondhand, a mattress with a couple of blankets on the floor, an armchair, a couple of old lamps, a beat-up table, and a bookshelf were the only things in the room.  It looked as if the whole place had recently been trashed and the owner was only beginning to get things back into shape. Pathetic, she thought.  I'm probably doing this guy a favor!  She'd heard stories about this vampire, and she had to agree with whoever wanted him dead.  Anyone who would turn on his own kind and side with the enemy deserved no less.  

After placing her calling card where someone would be sure to find it later, Aurianne let herself out, shutting the door behind her.  She heard it lock with an audible click, and giggled.  Her victim would never suspect that she had been there, and wouldn't think twice about drinking the red death that now rested behind his beer bottles.