Double Bubble, Toil and…

"Why is Buffy kissing Spike? And why is Giles standing around doing nothing as though he can't see it? And Xander and Anya? What are they doing in a crypt at night? They don't go patrolling with Buffy. What's going on here?" Willow's voice was more puzzled than concerned; even though it was obvious her friends were in dire straits.

"You don't remember your spell?" the tall, horned demon in the green robes asked with a frown. "It was excellent. Some of the best vengeance I've seen in years."

"V…vengeance?"

"Why, yes. What else would you call it? The man who refused to listen to you is now blind and can do nothing but listen. The friend who was more interested in finding a vampire than staying with you is now in love with that vampire – a love, which, interestingly enough, he seems to return…" The demon's voice trailed off as he rubbed his chin in thought. "Interesting…."

"I said they might as well get married," Willow mumbled, beginning to see where he was going with this. "And I told Xander he was a demon-magnet. This is all my fault!"

"Exactly!" D'Hoffryn crowed triumphantly. "You managed to wreak appropriate vengeance on each one of them, all by yourself, with no help from a vengeance demon. You are a natural!"

"But my friends… they're being hurt! I didn't want that to happen."

"You didn't? Are you sure?" His amber eyes bored into hers in a manner that left no room for equivocating.

"Well, I mean… I was hurt… and they weren't being very sympathetic, so…. But I didn't mean for this to happen! I mean, Giles – blind? How will he read his books? And Buffy and Spike? That's just ewwwwww!"

"They don't seem to think so," D'Hoffryn commented mildly, gesturing at the viewing portal he'd opened. Spike and Buffy could clearly be seen rubbing their pelvises together while their lips remained locked in what Willow was sure was one of the longest kisses she'd ever seen. She quickly looked away from the two people making out on the floor of the crypt and over to where her best friend and his girlfriend were battling for their lives.

"Well, I didn't mean for every demon in the world to attack Xander!" she sputtered. "I can't believe he's not dead yet. Look at them!"

"I don't believe they are trying to kill him…."

"Well then why are they… oh! Oh goddess!" Her eyes flew to the leader of all vengeance demons and she said, "I've got to stop this! He's already got a demon – One should be enough for anybody."

"Ah yes. Anyanka. Such a loss." He gave a heavy sigh.

"Can you stop them?" she asked suddenly. "Just the demons attacking Xander and Anya. Can you make them stop without my having to break the spell?"

The old demon shook his head. "I could not do that, although I can, perhaps, make their attentions somewhat less… enthusiastic. Thereby decreasing the chances that your friend will be injured accidentally by an overly aroused demon."

Willow looked thoughtful. "Okay, let's do that, then. Just do something so that Xander doesn't get hurt – not physically, anyway."

"And the rest?"

"Oh," she said with firm conviction, "I think I'll leave them to suffer for the way they ignored me. For a while longer, anyway. Let them see how much they like being ignored when they need help."

"So, you are taking my offer, then?" he asked hopefully.

"Oh, no. I don't think so," Willow responded cheerfully. "It looks to me like I can wreak vengeance any time I want to as long as my spell is in effect. I don't think I need you. But thanks for asking. Can I go back now?"

He handed her a business card with flaming letters on it. "Please, keep my card. Should you change your mind, you will always be able to reach me with this."

"Okey, dokie," she agreed, putting the card in her pocket. "Now send me back. I want them to know who did this to them."

With a loud whoosh and a puff of smoke, Willow found herself standing in a crypt where Giles was clinging to the wall with one hand, begging for someone to tell him what was going on. The sounds of violence had ceased and all he could hear now were Spike and Buffy's loud moans of frustrated lust as they tried to restrain themselves in front of the other Scoobies, and Anya's angry shouting as she tried to keep the now obviously amorous demons away from Xander.

Willow looked around in satisfaction at the discomfort on the faces of her friends. She had to admit that Buffy seemed quite happy to be kissing Spike, but a closer look at her friend's lust-filled expression and the vampire's amber-flashing eyes told her that they were finding nothing comfortable about being surrounded by other people. She found herself giggling at their subtle attempts to dry hump without allowing anyone to realize what they were doing.

She walked over to Giles and casually poked him, laughing when he jumped into a defensive posture and flailed around with the piece of wood he was holding, searching desperately for the danger he expected to encounter.

"Relax, Giles, it's only me," Willow said – then winced when he immediately allowed himself to slump against the wall, thereby hitting his own head on the stone.

Note to self – be very careful about saying anything that could be interpreted as a command or wish!

"Willow! Is that you? I cannot see you. I'm afraid I appear to have suddenly gone blind."

"Yes, you have," she said, not unkindly. "I guess that will happen when you tell people you can see their pain and you don't really mean it."

She left the puzzled man leaning against the wall and walked over to where Xander and Anya were surrounded by demons, all pushing and shoving, trying to get closer to the terrified young man.

"I think he would prefer to see you fight for him," she said clearly, then stepped back as the demons immediately began to fight among themselves for the right to challenge Anya. Willow quickly moved the two humans away from the pile of snarling demons and left them leaning against the wall beside Giles.

She then stepped back to the two people writhing around on the floor, oblivious to the demon scrum only a few feet away. Willow watched with interest for a few seconds as the vampire whispered endearments and tried to coax Buffy into leaving with him so they could have more privacy.

When it appeared that Buffy was weakening, and was about to agree to sneak out with Spike to consummate their impending marriage before it actually happened, Willow sighed and spoke.

"Buffy – Spike! Can you stop kissing long enough to listen to me?"

"I'm listening, Willow," Buffy gasped, tearing her lips away briefly.

"I think you'd hear me better if Spike took his hand out of your pants," Willow snapped. The vampire's hand immediately flew away from her body as Buffy sat up abruptly and said, "I'm all ears!"

Willow had to smother a smile at the disgruntled look on Spike's face. He was staring at his hand with suspicion; clearly not sure why he'd so readily yanked it away from Buffy's warm body. Behind her, she could hear Xander and Giles sputtering as they realized what she'd said about where Spike's hand had been.

"Buffy," Giles ordered in his most authoritative voice, "Get away from Spike immediately!"

Buffy's lip came out in a pout and she snuggled closer to the now-sitting vampire.

"Giiiiles," she whined. "He's my fiancé! I want to stay with him."

"Buffy, trust us," Xander put in. "When this spell or whatever it is is over, you will thank us for this."

Willow giggled as Buffy's hand crept behind her back to cup the bulge in Spike's jeans. The vampire growled softly and reached around to pull her back against his chest, nuzzling her neck as he did so. There were gasps from the Scoobies when Buffy tilted her head, giving the former Slayer of Slayers access to her throat, but Spike just continued to nuzzle and lick at her with no trace of evil intent.

Willow couldn't decide which would be more delicious – to let Buffy and Spike have sex and then remove the spell, or to keep them constantly with other people and therefore, constantly frustrated. Since she couldn't make up her mind, she waved her hand and said, "You're coming with us," as she turned to lead the others back to Giles's apartment.

As they picked their way through the cemetery, they saw more demons rushing toward the growing melee taking place in and around the crypt they had just left. Many of them gave Xander long, lingering glances as they went by, but they dutifully went off to join the fight for his affections rather than following him.

Anya was glaring suspiciously at Willow; noting the happy smile on the face that had been so morose so very recently and she felt a growing certainly when Willow met her look calmly.

"You did the spell!" the ex-vengeance demon said loudly. "Willow did this to us. Look at her! She reeks of vengeance!"

"Vengeance?" Xander turned to look at his best friend since kindergarten and frowned. "Why would Willow want to do a vengeance spell on us? We're her friends. We love her."

"Speak for yourself," Spike and Anya muttered simultaneously, exchanging a look of demon solidarity just before Willow whirled and glared at them.

"I don't think Buffy wants to marry you anymore, Spike," she said clearly. "Do you, Buffy?"

"Um..." Buffy looked into Spike's heartbroken eyes apologetically, "I just think I might be too…but…" Seeing the look on his face, she finished quickly, "But I still love you!"

Willow frowned as Spike's face relaxed. "Well, that's alright, then, pet. I still love you too. As long as we're together, it doesn't matter if we're married or—"

"No you don't, Buffy!" the angry witch growled. "You don't love him. And he doesn't love you."

"Well, that's a relief!" Buffy relaxed, but remained close to the vampire who was looking equally relieved.

"Bloody right, it is," he agreed, leering at her and pinching her butt. "Doesn't mean I don't want you though, Slayer. Still want to shag you silly!"

"Right back at you, Vampire," she purred, turning to face him. "What do you say we let Willow lead Giles home and we go find someplace less…crowded?"

"My thoughts exactly!" Taking her hand, he began to pull her away from the horrified group watching them.

Willow stamped her foot in exasperation. "You aren't going anywhere!" she yelled. "Except back to Giles' with us so we can watch you."

"They want to watch us, luv," Spike whispered in Buffy's ear as they froze in place, unable to move.

"Well that's just…ewwww!" Buffy turned her head and glared at Willow. "When did you become so kinky?"

Throwing up her hands in defeat, the witch snarled, "Fine, go do whatever you want. I hope you screw each other unconscious!"

While they took off running to find some privacy, Willow turned to the horrified people watching her and said, "Now, we're going back to Giles' apartment and you are all going to apologize to me for not caring about my pain!"

She marched off in a huff, the three remaining Scoobies trailing behind her begging for forgiveness as they followed her out the gate and down the sidewalk.

Chapter Two

Days later, when Willow had finally tired of the constant tears from Xander and Giles as they repeated over and over again how sorry they were to have ignored her, how much they cared about her and how badly they wanted to help her feel better, she waved her hand and said, "Okay, fine. Apology accepted. Giles, you can see again. Xander, you are no longer a demon magnet—" As Anya recoiled from her boyfriend, Willow rolled her eyes and added, "except for ex-vengeance demons."

When they had all had time to re-orient themselves to normality, and Willow had explained proudly how she had turned down D'Hoffryn's offer to make her a vengeance demon, it suddenly occurred to everyone that they hadn't seen Buffy or Spike since the night they left them in the cemetery.

All eyes turned to Willow and she shrugged. "I said they could do whatever they wanted. She might have staked him by now. That's what she's always wanted to do."

"Any yet, never has," Giles pointed out, dryly.

"Willow, what exactly did you say about them when you put the spell on us?"

"I just said if Buffy was so concerned about Spike, she might as well marry him. Or something like that."

Giles frowned and took his glasses off. "So, you did not say that they were going to fall in love with each other?"

"Well, no, but wouldn't that be a given if they were getting married? I mean, Buffy wouldn't marry someone if she didn't love him." Willow couldn't see the problem and was beginning to get bored with the interrogation.

"Not when it was a spell, it wouldn't," Anya offered. "They could hate each other and they'd still want to get married."

"And you didn't say anything that would make Buffy want to get all groiny with the undead, did you?" Xander's horrified voice showed that he was slowly picking up on what Giles and Anya had already figured out.

"Of course not!"

"Actually, Willow," Anya's voice was hesitant as she noticed the growing anger in the witch's eyes. "You did say you hoped they screwed each other unconscious when we left them in the cemetery."

"Whoops?" Willow began to automatically apologize to the two furious men glaring at her, then remembered her will-be-done spell was still in effect and they needed to be afraid of her, not vice-versa.

"Buffy was more interested in finding Spike than she was in being a good friend to me," Willow insisted stubbornly. "If she wakes up and finds out she had sex with him, it serves her right!"

She glared defiantly at the other people in the room, more than a little surprised at how good it felt to see the new fear and respect on their faces. Although her innate good nature would not allow her to torment her friends indefinitely, she couldn't deny the surge of well-being that went through her.

She faced them with a new confidence, feeling the power flowing through her as she said, "I'm going to break the spell now. Not because I don't want it anymore, but because I'm tired of having to think about every little thing I say before I say it. But, remember, I'll always be able to re-do it anytime I want to."

She muttered a few words and waved her hand. They all stared at her fearfully until she said, "Giles, you're blind again." He gasped, frightened until he realized what she was doing.

"No, no, I don't appear to be. It seems that the spell has been broken and we are no longer obligated to do whatever you say."

"Not unless I reinstate it," she said warningly when she saw the angry expression on his face. Her cold eyes made it clear that retaliation would be in no one's best interest and he gradually relaxed, turning instead to his Scotch.

"What about Buffy?" Xander asked with a whine. "She's still with Spike."

Willow shrugged dismissively. "That's her problem. If she had sex with him, she'll just have to stake him and lie about it. We'll probably never know for sure."

Across town, in a seedy motel, a girl stirred and groaned as she opened her eyes and found them only inches from a vampire's amber gaze. With an "eep!" she rolled away, noticing immediately that she was naked. As she watched, Spike's equally startled expression softened and his eyes went back to their normal pretty shade of blue. He was also naked, Buffy noted, as she grabbed the sheet and wrapped it around her body. Which left his body completely uncovered and still uncomfortably close.

"What…what did we do?" she whispered, horror beginning to dawn on her face.

"We did what the witch told us to do," he answered carefully, knowing that he could be seconds from a dusty ending. "We shagged each other unconscious."

Buffy flashed back to Willow's parting words to them, then back even further to the marriage spell that, even when cancelled, left them still in love and then in lust. She dropped back onto the bed and closed her eyes with a groan.

"Oh. My. God. This is awful."

"I didn't think it was so awful, Slayer." She could hear what could only be interpreted as hurt feelings in his voice and opened one eye to see his lower lip beginning to come out in a small pout.

"I didn't say it was awful, Spike. I said it is awful. Now. Now it's awful. Before it was…okay." She blushed furiously and closed her eyes again.

"Just okay?" he ventured, daring to lean closer and whisper into her ear, finishing with a small nibble on the lobe.

"Don't." Her voice was flat and left no room for doubt. The spell was over and they were back to being enemies.

"Fine," he huffed, standing up and defiantly refusing to hide his nudity. "We're back to hatin' each other, is that it?"

"Of course, that's it," she grumbled back. "What else could it be?"

"Nothing. Nothing at all, Slayer. All is as it should be again. I hate you. You hate me."

"Exactly. Vampire – Slayer. Natural enemies." She refused to look at him as she hunted for her clothing, giving a small whimper of dismay when she found most of it in pieces.

"Oh, this is just terrific. Look at my shirt!" She forgot she was planning to not look at him and her eyes flew up to his as she waved the shirt around. The unguarded look of pure lust that she saw there took her breath away, but before she could tell him to stop looking at her like that, he caught himself, his expression changing as he snarled back, "Well, look at mine! Bloody animal, you are, Slayer!"

He waved his torn-in-half tee shirt at her, trying to ignore the way she looked, all pleasantly disheveled and clearly nude under the sheet she was clutching to her breasts as she fumbled with her clothes. Buffy averted her eyes again, not wanting him to catch her ogling his naked body. A body which, after two days of close inspection, she had to admit was extremely oglable.

She gave up on finding anything but her jeans, and quickly pulled them back on. While she was doing so, Spike had found his own pants and was trying to keep them up using just the zipper.

In her haste to let him free once they got into the motel room, Buffy had ripped the top button off.

They stood facing each other, each clad in the only clothing they had left, their eyes glaring even as their mouths began to twitch. Buffy caved first, the giggles escaping from her tightly clamped lips. Spike's eyes twinkled as he joined her, laughing heartily at the two super powered beings reduced to having to sneak home worn out and shirtless. In no time, the Slayer was holding on to a chair for support as she doubled over clutching her stomach and laughing.

Spike shook his head, a deep chuckle erupting every few seconds as he went around the room picking up small pieces of ripped clothing.

"We're a fine pair," he growled, shaking his head again. He dropped the scraps of cloth in the wastebasket and turned to look at her once more.

"It wasn't us," Buffy replied primly, still holding the sheet across her chest. "It was a spell. It's all gone now and we can go back to…to normal."

"Yes, I suppose we can," he said quietly. "Whatever it was that Red wished on us is gone now."

"Yes, gone. It's totally gone. Not a—" she stopped when she realized what he'd said.

"You think it was Willow?" Her voice was shrill. "Why would she do that to me?"

"How the bloody hell would I know, Slayer?" The anger in his voice was out of proportion to the question and she blinked at him in confusion. "She's your git of a friend. I guess she was really mad at you for something. Or else she thought it would be funny. "

Buffy's face was thoughtful as she sat on the bed. "She hasn't been much with the fun, lately," she mused. "Not since Oz left. In fact she was really upset when I said I had to leave to go look for you…Oh my god! That's it! She was mad that I didn't stay with her and she must have done some kind of spell to make me want to stay with you."

"Remind me to thank her for that," he said with a leer, wiggling his eyebrows at her.

Buffy blushed and said quickly, "No one knows what we did. If we don't tell…"

"Why wouldn't I tell?" he asked with real confusion. "Got your dimpled knees apart – multiple times, I might add. Even had you suckin' on my—"

"You won't tell, because there is such an easy way for me to make sure you don't."

Buffy's expression left no doubt as to her meaning and he cocked his head at her while he studied her face.

"Would you really stake me, Buffy?" The use of her name threw her off and she couldn't help the way her gaze softened. "Could you still do that to me? Now?"

Buffy cleared her throat and stood up again, still clutching her sheet. "Of course I would. You'd still kill me if you could. Wouldn't you?"

They stared at each other for a long minute, hope, fear and something indefinable on both faces. Finally, they simultaneously looked away, neither one mentioning that he never answered the question.

When they got to the door of the room, Spike gently tugged the sheet away from Buffy and silently handed her his coat to put on. She gave him a grateful look and opened the door saying firmly, "Let's go. I have witchy, best friend butt to kick."

Their arrival at Giles's was somewhat anticlimactic as by that time they had gone to Buffy's dorm room and picked up a sweatshirt for her and one of her larger tee shirts that she used for sleeping for Spike. While he watched Buffy brushing her hair and applying make-up in an effort to not look like a girl who'd just spent the previous two days in bed, he found himself deliberately inhaling her scent off the shirt she'd given him and remembering what it was like to be surrounded by that aroma. He hoped the long walk to the Watcher's apartment would give his cock time to relax before he had to face Giles and the rest of the Scoobies.

By the time they got to the apartment, they had rehearsed what they would say should anyone ask where they'd been; they walked in confidently to be met with interested stares of varying intensity.

"I presume you have an explanation for this, Willow," Buffy surprised everyone by taking the offensive. Her voice was pure Slayer, and her friend flinched back in spite of her newly discovered powers.

"I…I…" The memory of what she'd been able to do and the admiration D'Hoffren had for her strengthened her spine and she straightened up and met Buffy's eyes firmly.

"I did a spell to have my will be done. Everything that happened is because I said it would or should. Nothing happened to anyone that wasn't deserved. None of you could make time for me when I was in pain, so I made sure you got to suffer along with me."

She shot a quick glance at the vampire growling softly behind the Slayer and added, "I could have willed you into dust, if I'd wanted to Spike. Instead of saying Buffy should marry you, I could have just said you were dust and she wouldn't have had to leave me to look for you. You might want to think about that before you start growling at me." She met his amber gaze defiantly, daring him to test her newly discovered powers. "Or, I could just wish for the chip to start firing and never stop. How does that work for you?"

The menace in her friend's voice took Buffy by surprise and she glanced at Giles for support. His eyes contained a warning and a promise that they would address the issue at some other time when Willow was not present.

Curbing her own quick temper, and stepping on Spike's foot before he could growl again, she did her best to smile and sound apologetic.

"I'm sorry, Will," she said through gritted teeth. "You're right. Your feelings should have taken precedence over the escape of a dangerous vampire. I don't know what I was thinking."

"He's not dangerous anymore," Willow fired back angrily. "You said so yourself. He's… impotent." An outraged snarl from the vampire sent everyone's eyes toward his shifting face, thus allowing Buffy's embarrassed flush to come and go unobserved by anyone except Willow.

"Or, maybe not so impotent?" she asked slyly. "Exactly where have you two been for the past two days? And why are you still together now that the spell is over?"

Spike quickly launched into their agreed upon story about running into a pack of demons and being held prisoner until just a short while ago when the Slayer was able to break her chains and they escaped.

"Why didn't you leave him there?" Willow inquired with false concern. "The spell was broken. There was no reason to bring him back."

"Giles wasn't finished interrogating him," Buffy said without missing a beat. It had suddenly become much easier to lie to her best friend than ever before. "That is why I went looking for him in the first place, remember?"

"Oh that's right. Recapturing the harmless, chipped vampire was more important than having ice cream with me. I remember perfectly."

The two friends faced off across the room – the one so physically strong, the other with growing magical abilities. The atmosphere was tense for several minutes and Giles went so far as to begin muttering a small spell under his breath, only pausing when the witch shrugged and said dismissively, "Then I guess you'll be chaining him back up in the tub, won't you?"

"Oh for—" Spike's angry snort was cut short by Buffy's hand on his arm. "I came back willingly," he muttered. "Where else was I gonna go?"

"You're going back in chains," Willow said meaningfully. "Unless there is some reason Buffy no longer wants to keep us protected from you, that is… some reason why she thinks you won't try to leave again."

"Come on, Spike," Buffy said grimly. "I wouldn't want you to get loose and eat anybody. Willow, for instance." She pulled the protesting vampire into the bathroom and gestured towards the tub. "I'm sorry," she said softly. "I'm sure Giles will let you loose when she leaves."

"Looks like Red's gone a bit power-happy, pet," he said quietly as he climbed into the tub.

"Yeah, it does. I know this is all about Oz leaving, but…."

"This isn't all about wolf-boy, Slayer. This is about your little friend getting a taste of some power and liking it. You're going to have to watch her from now on. Power's addictive."

He sat quietly while Buffy fastened the chains around his hands and feet, looping them through the pipes and closing the lock with a click.

"Buffy –"

The Slayer shook her head. "Don't," was all she said as she stood up, refusing to look at him. "Just don't, 'k?"

"Never happened, did it?" he asked quietly.

"Never," she whispered, shaking her head as she went out and pulled the door shut behind her. She found herself smothering an urge to go back and climb into the tub with him and shuddered at the wrongness of it all.

The Slayer squared her shoulders and went out to talk to her watcher about what they were going to do with a power-hungry novice witch.

Chapter Three

As Buffy had said he would, Giles reluctantly released Spike from the chains after Willow had left with a still-apologetic Xander and his seething, but quiet, girlfriend. The three unlikely companions sat in the living room trying to decide how they were going to deal with Willow's newly discovered abilities and her obvious willingness to use those abilities against her friends.

Buffy's anger had cooled to the point that she was struggling to defend Willow's behavior, insisting that she had made her comments about all of them without knowing that her will-be-done spell had worked.

"The name of the bloody spell tells you all you need to know about her, Slayer," Spike growled. "MY will be done. She went into it wanting to be in control and she got what she wanted. There'll be no stopping her now."

"As much as I hate to say it, I'm afraid I must agree with Spike," Giles sighed. "It would appear that Willow may not be a good candidate for more magical training. It might be best if she did not become any more powerful and skilled than she already is."

"She's just upset about Oz leaving," Buffy insisted stubbornly. "She would never have done that if she wasn't so unhappy."

"Perhaps not, but now that she has tasted that kind of power, it is very unlikely that she will be uninterested in exploring it more fully."

"Watcher's right, pet. Magic can be addictive and if she liked that little taste of control…"

"But she didn't really hurt anybody! I mean, Giles was blind and that has to suck," she gave him a sympathetic look before continuing, "but it wasn't permanent. And the demons weren't trying to kill Xander exactly." She paused to shudder at what they apparently were trying to do. "And it didn't hurt us. So we were engaged for a few hours. No biggie. It's not like we actually got married and had to go get a divorce or one of those anal things."

Both men stared at her with their mouths open until Giles managed to choke out, "You mean an annulment?"

"Yeah, one of those. We don't need one. Because nothing happened. Nothing weddingish."

"For which Spike should be extremely grateful," Giles said, indicating the frowning vampire. "When Xander pointed out that you may have had… relations… with Spike, Willow disregarded his concerns saying that you would just stake him and no one would ever know."

"She said I would stake him? Because we had sex? IF we'd had sex. Which we didn't, of course." She turned to the vampire and asked, "Did you – do you think I would have staked you for something like that?"

She sounded so offended that anyone could think she would do such a thing that he wisely refrained from pointed out that she had threatened that very thing only a few hours ago.

"No, of course not, Slayer. You wouldn't dust a bloke for doing something he did because of a spell. That'd be like getting brassed off at your watcher because he couldn't see anything, wouldn't it?"

Buffy narrowed her eyes, trying to decide if he was mocking her, but his blue eyes were looking at her innocently, showing nothing but faith in her inherent goodness.

"Well… yes, exactly. I wouldn't do anything like that. Even if there was a reason for it. Which there isn't. Because we didn't."

It was Giles's turn to study her suspiciously.

"I believe we already established that, Buffy." he said dryly, before turning to look hard at Spike.

Who did his best to appear simultaneously both innocent and evil, leering at Buffy as he said, "You've got to admit we were sort of hot and heavy for a while there, weren't we, Slayer?"

His ploy worked, Giles attributing Buffy's angry flush to the vampire's reminder of how they had behaved while engaged and taking Spike's implication that it had never gone beyond that at face value. He settled back, suspicions that his Slayer had indulged in intercourse with William the Bloody allayed for the time being.

Buffy stood up and stretched, saying, "I guess I'd better do a quick patrol and get back to the dorm. Maybe I can talk to Willow and get her to back off the magic for a while."

Spike jumped to his feet eagerly, "Want some back-up, Slayer?" he asked, bouncing on his toes. "I could use a spot of violence – even if it's just watching you pummel some poor demon – before I come back here to be bored to tears by—" Sudden recollection that he was about to insult the man in whose house he was being permitted to hide from daylight, as well as receiving regular meals of warm pigs' blood, made him uncharacteristically careful of his words. "Unless the watcher is going to be home, that is," he amended quickly. "Nothing like a good chat with a fellow Brit to make a bloke's day."

"I have no desire to 'chat' with you, Spike," Giles said tiredly. "I am going to bed shortly. You may sleep on the couch if you like. I do not believe the sun reaches quite that far into the room during the day."

"I don't need any help, Spike," Buffy said quickly. "Least of all from someone who can't hurt anybody."

"I could yell, 'watch out!', " he grumbled. "Come on, pet. We might run into more of those demons and I could at least trip them or something."

Before Buffy could snap at him that she wasn't worried about the imaginary demons, Giles spoke up and said, "That's really not a bad idea, Buffy. As much as it pains me to admit it, Spike could be of some use if you should encounter them again. If nothing else, he could run for help."

Spike's good humor vanished at the reminder that he would probably not be of any use in an actual fight and he growled under his breath at the man's words.

"Fine," she huffed. "I'll take him along in case I have to yell for help. Satisfied?"

Doing her best to ignore Spike's triumphant smirk, she strode out the door waving her 'good-night' to Giles and heading for the nearest cemetery at a good clip, Spike following her with long, ground-eating strides.

They made a quick pass through Restfield Cemetery, finding only one fledgling looking for his first meal. Spike leaned against a crypt while the Slayer toyed with the newly-risen vamp for a few minutes, practicing some new kicks and allowing him to think he was going to be able to taste the blood he could smell pounding through her veins. When she tired of the game, she staked the unfortunate vampire before he even registered that he was in trouble and turned to see Spike watching her with admiration.

"Got to say, pet," he drawled looking her up and down, "you are one amazing Slayer. All that strength and violence in such a pretty package."

She colored briefly before she remembered who was talking.

"That's what Slayers are, Spike. You ought to know, you've fought two of them."

"Actually, pet, I've fought four or five. Only killed two of them." He spoke almost absently as he pushed open the door of the crypt and peered inside. He stepped in, disappearing from Buffy's sight and she followed him to the door curiously.

"What are you doing? And what do you mean you've fought four or five? Why aren't you dust?"

"I'm looking for a place to live," he replied, coming back towards the door to stand in front of her. "And I'm not dust because they couldn't kill me."

"But you didn't kill them?"

He growled before answering. "Bloody watcher of one of the bints shot me in the back with a crossbow – missed my heart, but not by much. One of them just ran when she saw I was winning – I don't think she lived very long. No confidence at all. The third one…." He stopped talking and moved back into the crypt again, shifting into game face so as to be able to see everything. "This would do me nicely," he said cheerfully.

"What about the third one?" In her eagerness to learn more about his past experience with Slayers, Buffy stepped inside the tomb and tried to see what he was doing.

"Don't know about her. I know I hurt her, but she managed to get away from me and into a crowd. Somebody called an ambulance and that was the last I saw of her. Had to leave the city because Dru had one of her visions so I never got to follow up."

"So, you're saying you might have killed three Slayers?" Buffy could not believe he was speaking so casually about murdering her sister slayers.

"Might have. Don't know." He shrugged then turned to smirk at her. "None of 'em were as good as you, though. Nor as pretty," he added, moving closer to her. "Nor as passionate, I'd wager." His voice became deeper and he stepped close enough to hear her heart rate go up.

"You think I'm pretty?" She cursed herself for the stupid question, as well as the tremor in her voice. Memories of the night and day spent together while under the spell insisted on filling her brain with inappropriate thoughts about the lips so close to hers.

"You know I do, luv." His voice was a deep rumble and he ran one hand down her arm softly. "Think you're beautiful…and sexy…and delicious…"

"Don't," she said weakly. "The spell is over. We can't—"

"Yes, we can, Buffy." The use of her name lent a seriousness to his words for which she wasn't prepared. She briefly leaned into him, allowing him to ghost his lips over hers before pushing him away abruptly.

"Stop it, Spike."

"Come on, Slayer. You know you want to."

"My body wants to, Spike. That's not good enough."

"It's good enough for me," he said hoarsely, once again running his hand down her arm.

Buffy shivered and tried to ignore the sensations his cool touch created. "Not for me, it isn't," she said softly.

"I could make it be good enough," he whispered as he ran his lips from her ear down to her shoulder. "You know I could."

She closed her eyes and shuddered as she fought the desire to forget who she was and fall into those lips. She forced herself to remember that this was a vampire who had killed at least two, if not three, of her sister slayers and was proud of it.

"You could – for a while. Then I'd have to go home and face myself in the mirror. And I won't like what I see there." She raised her eyes to his face. "I want to like myself, Spike. I don't want to feel dirty."

Something inside his chest twisted into a painful knot and he suddenly craved to repay her carelessly cruel words.

"Little late for that, isn't it, Slayer?" He struck back the only way he could. "We pretty much covered dirty last night. Or have you forgotten already, whipping me like a racehorse while you rode me home?"

As soon as the words left his mouth, he regretted them. Buffy recoiled from his reaching hand and her face went cold and hard.

"That was an aberration. A spell. I was weak and let you influence me," she hissed at him. "It won't happen again!"

Bollocks! Could I have fucked that up any more?

Even while he was mentally chastising himself for what he'd said, his mouth was digging the hole deeper.

"Whoa! Slayer using multi-syllable words. Is that a fancy way of saying 'I was horny and you were convenient'?"

Buffy's fist met his nose with enough force to knock him down. She glared at him for a second – then whirled and ran out of the crypt, tears of humiliation and anger prickling her eyes.

Chapter Four

By the time she had run most of the way back to the campus of Sunnydale University, nothing was left but a cold anger. Anger at Spike for being able to reach her like that, and anger at Willow whose spell had been the cause of their initial desire for each other.

Buffy slammed her way into the dorm room she shared with her best friend, only to find the novice witch poring over a spell book.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" she yelled, her anger fueling the fear that gripped her. "Haven't you done enough damage?"

Buffy grabbed the book away from the startled redhead and glanced at the cover.

"How to Control Your World and the People in it?" Buffy's voice was shrill. "Are you insane?"

Willow's face hardened as she stood up to face her shorter roommate. Looking down slightly into Buffy's angry eyes, she said with an equal amount of anger in her voice, "I'd be careful what sort of insults I was throwing around if I were you, Buffy. I'm not the one who had sex with a vampire for two days and didn't dust him. Speaking of insane."

"That was your stupid 'will be done spell', " Buffy gritted out. "Your fault, not Spike's."

The triumphant look on Willow's face told Buffy she'd just given herself away and she had to put her hands behind her back to resist the urge to smack the knowing look off the girl's face.

"I knew it!" Willow crowed. "I knew you were lying to Giles. You had sex with Spike. Evil, soulless, in-love-with-crazy-Drusilla Spike. And you think I'm crazy?"

Buffy sighed and let her shoulders slump in resignation.

"I don't really think you're crazy, Willow," she said softly. "I just don't think you really appreciate how close you came to really hurting the people who care about you."

"The people who care about me? Who would they be? Giles, who couldn't be bothered understanding that I was too unhappy to concentrate on his little Mickey Mouse magic lessons? Or Xander? Who was more worried about keeping his demon girlfriend happy than he was about my feelings? Or you? My best friend who promised to spend time with me trashing men and instead ran off to find a harmless vampire? None of you cared about me, or my feelings. Not until you needed me to fix things."

"Things that wouldn't have needed fixing if you hadn't done that stupid spell!"

Buffy's temper was flaring again as Willow refused to admit she had done anything wrong. She stepped closer to the angry witch, her hands clenched into fists at her side. "I can't let you go around casting spells like that, Willow. I'm the Slayer. I have to protect people from danger – even if the danger comes from one of their friends."

"And just what are you going to do about it?" Willow met her glare with a haughty stare. "You need to be careful who you threaten, Buffy. Or I'll have you so busy screwing Spike you won't have time for Slaying."

With that ominous promise, Willow turned her back and picked her book up from where Buffy had tossed it. She settled back onto her bed and returned to her reading, pointedly ignoring the shocked and angry look on her friend's face.

Without a word, Buffy left the room and went straight to Giles', pounding on the door until the sleepy man peered through the peephole and opened it for her.

"Buffy! What's wrong. Is there an apocalypse?"

"There could be," she answered grimly, marching into the room. She stopped in mid-stride when a blond head peeked over the back of the couch at her. Before she could decide how to react, the head disappeared, and she whirled on her watcher.

"What is he doing here?" she demanded.

Giles blinked, still somewhat too sleepy to be alert to the sudden tension in the room.

"I presume he is sleeping. Something I would have thought you'd be doing by now," he said with a hint of disapproval in his voice. "Would you like to tell me what is so urgent that it could not wait until the morning?"

"Willow is reading a book called, 'How to Control Your World and the People in it'," Buffy said quickly, turning her eyes away from the seemingly empty couch. "When I… asked her about it, she said she would— well, never mind. She threatened me and dared me to do something about it."

"Exactly how did you 'ask' her about it?" Giles voice left little doubt that he already knew the answer.

"She probably told her she was a bloody fool and threatened to beat her up!" came an unwelcome response from the still-invisible vampire.

Buffy glared indignantly at the back of the couch, but folded under Giles's questioning look.

"I might have said… or done… something that— But she should have been scared, not all threateny and… and…."

Exactly what did she threaten you with, Buffy?" Giles was now awake enough to realize that no matter what Buffy's behavior may have been, the fact that Willow would challenge her indicated a true shift in the novice witch's confidence in her powers.

"Yeah, Slayer." Spike's head once more appeared over the back of the couch, his eyebrows raised in curiosity. "What did she threaten to do to you that sent you scurrying back to your Watcher for help? Perpetual hangnails? Unmatched shoes?"

Buffy just stared at him flatly until he got the message. He blinked once or twice, then smirked and stood up.

"Really?" he asked with a grin. "Remind me to thank—"

"As you say, it scared me so much I came scurrying back to my Watcher for help." Her glare made her meaning perfectly clear and the grin quickly faded to be replaced by an angry snarl.

"Oh, right. I forgot. Fate worse than death, and all that."

He whirled on the puzzled older man, demanding, "You need to get that witch sorted out before she causes any more trouble."

Giles took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose, muttering, "Obviously I am missing something here, but I strongly suspect it is something I would rather not know."

He turned back to his impatient Slayer saying, "There is not much I can do about this right now. In a few hours I can make a phone call to a coven in England and see if they have any suggestions. In the meantime, I propose we all get some sleep. If you're unwilling to share a room with Willow just now, you are welcome to use my guest room, Buffy."

"What if she tries a spell on me while I'm here?" Buffy's voice was a petulant whine. "Can't you do some magic on her so that she can't do anything to me? Then I could sleep in my own bed, and take a shower, and change my clothes and…"

Giles' cold look cut her off in mid-whine and she sighed in resignation.

"Fine. I'll go to sleep. But if I wake up all… spelly… it'll be your fault!"

"I take full responsibility," he said dismissively as he went upstairs.

Without looking at the still-angry vampire across the room, Buffy followed Giles up the stairs and went into the guest room, throwing herself on the bed to pout. The soft mattress and clean sheets soon softened the pout to a snore as the events of the previous two days caught up with her and she fell soundly asleep.

Downstairs, Spike listened as her heart rate leveled off and her breathing became more regular before throwing himself back onto the couch. As angry as he was at the Slayer's insistence that she wanted nothing to do with him, he knew that it was his fault she'd been so angry.

"Me and my bloody big mouth," he growled to himself as he settled down and tried to go back to sleep. "Had the best shag of my life and bollixed up any chance of repeating it."

Back in the dorm, Willow was scribbling notes as she went through her book, copying down every spell she could find that pertained to controlling the people around her. Anger at Oz for leaving her, jealously over his fling with the wolf-girl, anger at her friends for losing patience with her unhappiness and a strong desire to prove to Giles that she didn't need his help to learn magic all combined to lend an urgency to her work.

When she thought she had written down enough spells that she would be able to avenge herself on her faithless boyfriend, as well as to make her closest friends sorry they had not paid more attention to her, she closed the book in satisfaction.

"Maybe I should try one of these," she mused aloud. "Just to see if they work. It's the middle of the night, so what could it hurt?"

She reviewed the options, discarding the one she intended to use on Xander as inappropriate for late night. It's not like I want him coming over here to apologize again when he's in his pajamas. I am sooo over feeling like that about him.

The spell she'd found to cause Giles to stutter and behave like a child she rejected as being too easy. The one that said it would turn him into himself twenty years ago sounded interesting. She vaguely remembered his "Ripper" persona from the magical candy days and thought it might be fun to see the uptight librarian acting like a juvenile delinquent once again.

That's a good choice! He'll be all bad guy and get in trouble. Maybe he'll even go to jail this time. Yep, that's a good one!

She put it aside for later and turned to the one she had settled on for Buffy.

"That bitch," she muttered. "She probably thinks I was kidding about what I could do to her. Let's see how she likes this. They disappeared for two days the last time. This spell should keep her out of my hair for weeks!"

With great satisfaction, the witch sat down on the floor to work her spells – first the one on Buffy to make her crave Spike again and then the one on the Watcher to take away his adult sense of responsibility.

With the two of them out of the way, I should be able to do whatever I want. I'll bet I can even find a spell that will bring Oz back to me…

As so often happened with Willow's spells, she had managed to miss some important information. The first one being that she had not included Spike in the spell this time. Only Buffy was having her libido magically hijacked. The second one being that she had no knowledge of Ripper's activities when he was young – aside from the delinquent behavior. She had completely forgotten about the demon that he and Ethan Rayne had raised many years ago and assumed she was causing the Watcher to revert to a poorly behaved, but ignorant, ruffian.

Back at Giles' apartment, Buffy awoke suddenly from a dream of cool smooth skin over lean muscles, soft lips and a strong, talented tongue. She sat up, breathing hard and wishing she had some relief for the ache in her nether regions left over from the erotic dream. With no warning or transition, she suddenly remembered that the subject of the dream was only a flight of stairs away and it suddenly became very important that she find Spike and share with him her sudden change of heart about their relationship.

Tiptoeing down the stairs so as not to wake Giles, she made her way silently over to the couch where she could see Spike sprawled out on his back. She quietly knelt beside him and slipped her hand under his tee shirt until she could reach the waistband of his pants. She smiled when she realized that he was still wearing the jeans that she had earlier ripped open and she had only to slide down the zipper in order to reach her objective.

The sleeping vampire gave a groan when her warm hand slid into his jeans and began to stoke him firmly. His hips pushed up into her hand and he murmured in his sleep, "Yes, love. Like that, Buffy.…"

Her giggle at hearing her name on his lips while he slept penetrated the dream he was having and he sat up abruptly, trapping her hand against his cock.

"Buffy?" Half-asleep, he wasn't sure if she was really there or if he was still dreaming.

"Shhhhh," she whispered. "Don't wake Giles. He thinks I'm sleeping."

Now that Spike was awake, she released her hold on his hardened cock and climbed on top of him, pressing her lips to his in an eager kiss.

"Not that I'm complainin', luv, but what brought on this change of heart?"

He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her willing body against his and nuzzling her neck. He was well on the way to removing her shirt when something about her single-minded assault on his body raised a warning flag and he stopped what he was doing to look into her eyes.

"Slayer? Buffy? Talk to me, pet."

"Talk, schmalk. Want kisses."

"I want kisses too, luv, but I'd like to know who I'm kissing. Really don't fancy waking up dusty because you saw yourself in a mirror." The pain in his voice would have been obvious had Buffy not been so lost in the lust spell Willow had placed on her that she couldn't hear anything but "I want kisses too."

"What are you talking about, Spike? You're kissing me. Don't you want me anymore?"

The edge of panic in her voice conquered his desire to just shut up and enjoy what was being offered. He pushed her away and shifted into his vampire face in order see her more clearly. One look into her eyes, vacant of any expression except profound lust, and he realized the witch had made good on the threat Buffy had been unwilling to define in front of Giles.

With a groan, he struggled to both hold her off and contain his own raging libido.

"Want you more than anything, pet. You have no idea. But not like this."

His hand slipped off her arm and she immediately took advantage of his distraction to press her body onto his, nibbling on the skin of his throat while she reached for his throbbing erection again.

"You want me," she gasped, rubbing against him. "I can tell you do."

For a few blissful minutes, he surrendered to the urges sweeping through his body and captured her lips, sweeping his tongue around and tangling with her equally eager one. He allowed himself to enjoy the sensations created by her warm body as she writhed on top of him.

"You're killin' me here, Slayer," he groaned, fighting the urge to rip her clothes off and let her have her way with him. Only the knowledge that she probably would stake him this time gave him the will power to tear his mouth away from hers and force her to sit up.

When she began tearing at his clothing, he realized that he was not going to be able to handle her by himself and he began to shout for Giles.

"Watcher!" he roared. "Rupert, get your arse down here. Now!"

Giles stumbled down the stairs, fumbling with his glasses and the light switch as he got to the bottom. He blinked and shook his head at the sight that greeted his bleary eyes. Spike was standing beside the couch wearing a look that could only be called panicky while Buffy struggled to wrap her legs around his hips. The vampire was holding her as far away from his body as he could, but the fact that she was stronger than he was made it obvious that he was losing the battle to keep her out of touching distance.

The watcher took in Spike's unzipped jeans, his face darkening in anger until he saw Buffy reach down and wrap her hand around the pale shaft visible there. Spike's eyes rolled back in his head and he spoke through gritted teeth.

"She's your bloody Slayer, Watcher. Do something!"

"Buffy!" Her watcher's angry roar penetrated Buffy's lustful preoccupation and she stopped trying to get closer to Spike long enough to turn around and look at him.

"What?" she asked with an angry pout. "I want Spike and he isn't cooperating."

"One of his better decisions," Giles muttered, sending the vampire a look that said he'd best continue being uncooperative. "Buffy take your hands off Spike's… release him. Now!"

She reluctantly pulled her hand from Spike's pants and pouted at the older man. "But I WANT him," she pleaded. "Please, Giles. Why don't you just go back to bed?"

Spike was shaking his head rapidly, only too happy to see that her watcher's presence had somewhat dampened the Slayer's ardor. The other man gave him a questioning look and said one word.

"Willow?"

Spike nodded. "Looks like. It's Buffy, but there's nobody home."

Giles came closer and peered into Buffy's eyes. He saw nothing in there but a vacant, lustful look that kept returning to the uncomfortable vampire. He sighed heavily, beginning to walk towards the telephone.

"I suppose it's late enough to ring the coven now and see what they want me to do. I'm sure they'll be interested in anyone with as much potential as Willow obviously has. Perhaps they will be willing to take her under their wings until she learns to control herself—"

He stopped abruptly, hand still on the phone and a complete change came over him.

"That bloody bitch," he snarled. "I'll teach her to cast spells on my Slayer, in my town."

"Um…Rupert?"

"I think that's Ripper," Buffy whispered, edging closer to Spike while his attention was elsewhere.

"Ripper?"

Ignoring them both, the incarnation of Rupert Giles when he was a member of a powerful cabal of magicians went to his room to get dressed. He was quickly back, wearing tight jeans, a tee shirt and carrying a spell book. Ignoring their staring, he sat down at the table and went through the book quickly until he found what he needed.

When he had found it, he slammed the book shut and stood up.

"As soon as it is light out I will pay little Miss Rosenberg a visit and show her what real magic is."

He looked at Spike and Buffy, who was now back to trying to get her hand into Spike's pants, and said clearly, "Buffy, take your hands out of Spike's pants and control yourself. I will take care of the spell very shortly, but in the meantime do try to remember you are a Slayer and he is a soulless vampire. I should hate to have to turn him into something small and slithery just to prevent you from making a fool of yourself."

Buffy stared at Giles/Ripper with her mouth open.

"But Giles! It's a spell. We can't help it."

"Uh, actually, pet. I'm not under the spell…"

"Then I guess it will have to be your responsibility to prevent my slayer from fucking you in my living room," Ripper said without noticing the shocked expressions on their faces. "Because I'm going to catch some sleep before I give Willow her magic lesson."

He ran up the stairs lightly, moving like a much younger man and Spike stared after him with admiration.

"You know, I think I could get to like old Ripper, there. Do you suppose he's going to stay like that after he breaks the spell?"

"I hope not! He's scary – in a that's-not-really-Giles kinda of way."

"I don't know, pet. I have a feeling there's a bit more to your watcher than tweed and spectacles. Those chains had to come from somewhere— Hey! Stop that! You heard him. No shagging!"

"But I WANT to," she said, pushing her lower lip out in a pout and watching his eyes focus on it. Her tongue came out and ran across her lip slowly, drawing the vampire's mouth closer to hers without his even realizing what he was doing.

"It's going to be a long bloody night, isn't it?" he groaned, pulling back at the last second.

"I don't get it," she said with a whine. "I thought you wanted to have sex again. Now you're all avoidy guy."

"It's not that I don't want you, luv, it's just that I don't want to be taking advantage of you when you aren't… yourself. Not to mention, you'd probably stake me the minute you snapped out of it," he admitted.

"I liked you better when you were in love with me," she grumped, walking over to the couch and sitting down. She drew her legs up in front of her and wrapped her arms around them, resting her chin on her knees. He watched her cautiously for a second, then carefully approached the couch.

"Don't be such a scaredy-cat," she growled. "I'm not going to rape you just because I want you. If you don't want me, I'll just sit here and wait for the spell to wear off. I don't care if you don't want me. It's just a dumb old spell anyway. It's not like I like you or anything."

"Right. Bitter enemies and all that." He surprised himself with the angry edge in his voice.

She shot a sideways glance at him, not sure why it bothered her that her words had seemed to bother him.

"What's your problem?" she asked with some asperity. "You're not the one under a spell that makes you want to do things you aren't even sure you know how to pronounce with somebody you hate."

He cocked his head at her and asked quietly, "You still hate me, Slayer? Even after.…" He waved his hand back and forth between them to indicate their former closeness.

"Yes! I don't know. Maybe?"

"Well, I'm glad you cleared that up for me," he sighed, leaning back against the couch.

"Do you still hate me?" she asked in a small voice.

He looked into her temporarily lucid-appearing eyes and admitted softly, "Not so much anymore."

Before he had time to regret his words, he had an armful of amorous Buffy kissing his face and murmuring, "I knew it. I knew you wanted me. Why are you pretending not to?"

"Obviously not pretending very well," he growled, moving her hand off his growing erection. He settled her onto his lap and wrapped both arms around her to hold her still. To his surprise, she stopped trying to grope him and snuggled into his chest, rubbing her face against his shirt.

"Hey, you're still wearing my shirt. Why didn't you ask Giles for one of his?"

He had no desire to admit that he wanted to keep her scent on him as long as possible and mumbled, "Forgot I had it on, is all. I'll give it back to you soon, Slayer."

"You could take it off now," she said slyly, peering up at him from under her eyelashes.

"Not a good idea, pet," he smiled at her less-than-subtle attempt to get his clothes off.

"It was worth a try," she shrugged and dropped her head back on to his chest, finding, to her surprise that she was enjoying being held by Spike almost as much as she enjoyed having sex with him.

"And a good one it was, luv," he agreed, nuzzling the top of her head and fighting the urge to kiss it.

"I'll come up with a better one," she muttered, tiredness evident in her sleepy voice.

"I hope you do," he whispered against her hair as he felt her drift back to sleep.

Chapter Five

When Ripper came back downstairs in the morning, he found them sound asleep on his couch, Spike slouched in the corner with Buffy curled on his lap. He sneered at the tender scene, one part of him glad that it didn't appear that Spike had taken advantage of the spell; the other, less civilized side, contemptuous of the vampire's self-control in the face of temptation.

Leaving them to sleep, he stepped outside and headed for the campus of Sunnydale University, whistling as he walked through the early morning sunshine. He could feel the power from the spells he had absorbed last night thrumming through his body. He had almost forgotten the adrenaline rush that came with knowing you had powers at your fingertips that most people only dreamed about.

He almost felt sorry for Willow as he contemplated how alive he felt for the first time in years. Only his years of study with the coven, learning to control his power and concentrate on the good that magic could do kept him from wreaking havoc on the buildings and people he passed. The responsible, adult Watcher still inside him carried enough weight to keep the Ripper from running amok and spreading chaos.

He smiled briefly, wondering where Ethan was and if his old friend and lover would ever come back to Sunnydale for another visit. A visit that, under normal circumstances, he would not welcome but that now seemed an appealing idea.

His good mood was spoiled when he got to Buffy and Willow's room only to find it empty. Evidence of the spells Willow had worked was obvious, scattered haphazardly on the witch's bed and he had no trouble picking out the one she'd used on Buffy. It took him only a second to undo the spell; his superior skill allowing him to wipe it out without having to resort to the candles and herbs that Willow had used to set it up.

Without having any idea where the novice witch might have gone, Ripper headed back to his apartment to see if Buffy would have any idea where he might find her. He idly hoped she hadn't staked the chipped vampire when she awoke on his lap. Something about the hyperactive vamp appealed to his love for destruction and he suspected they could have a good time together one evening.

On the couch in his apartment, Buffy was stirring, not really willing to wake up yet, but bothered by the sunlight filling the room. She burrowed into the soft fabric upon which her face was resting, trying to hide her eyes from the sun and steal a few more minutes of sleep. When the soft fabric shifted beneath her head and she felt herself pulled into it by very strong arms, she woke up very quickly, raising her head and looking around warily.

As the events of the previous night came back to her and she realized in whose arms she was resting so peacefully she gave a groan and dropped her head back down onto Spike's chest. A deep chuckle told her he was also awake, and she kept her head buried in his chest as she remembered her behavior during the night and Spike's attempts to prevent her from doing anything she would regret when the spell wore off.

"I take it from your excitement at finding yourself on my lap that the Watcher has managed to break the spell?" His voice was gently teasing and he gave her a little squeeze before letting go so that she could get off. To his surprise, she stayed where she was, mumbling into his shirt, "I'm going to kill her. I am seriously going to kill her."

"It's not that bad, pet," he soothed, rubbing her back gently and trying ignore what her warm breath on his chest was doing to him. "Nothing happened – well except for when you were feeling me up in front of your Watcher – but nothing else. I was a perfect gentleman."

"You were, weren't you?" She raised her head to look at him. "What was that all about?"

"Didn't want to wake up in the Watcher's vacuum cleaner," he said quickly.

"I wouldn't have staked you for something I made you do," she said indignantly. "I don't care what Willow and Xander think. I'm not that unfair!" When he didn't respond immediately, she added, "Am I?"

"Just as soon not find out, pet," he said, gently trying to move her off his lap. Her warm breath on his nipples had awakened all his body parts and he was anxious to move her away before she noticed.

"So, that's the only reason you didn't… didn't.…" She waved her hand in the air helplessly. "Because you were afraid I'd stake you for it? And stop trying to push me off. I know what I'm sitting on and I'm not ready to get off yet."

"Buffy, I spent a very long night trying to convince myself I didn't want to take what you were offerin' so vigorously. I don't think I should have to deal with that kind of frustration when you're not under a spell."

The edge in his voice surprised them both and she flinched a little as he growled in her ear.

"I didn't get much sleep and I'm not in the mood for your bloody dick-teasing."

"I'm not – not – doing that thing. What you said." She looked hurt and he could see anger beginning to spark behind the big eyes focused on his.

He heaved a sigh. "Then what the bloody hell are you doing, Slayer? Spell's over. Nobody's making you wanna crawl all over the disgusting vampire. Just give me some peace, luv. Please."

He let his head drop against the back of the couch and closed his eyes against the confusion and anger he could see in hers. Spike wanted nothing more than to put his arms around her again and bury his face in her neck, but the memory of her cruel words would not allow him to risk it.

Without a sound, she slid off his lap and walked to the bathroom biting her lip in confusion.

Was I teasing? Is that what I was doing? I just wanted to stay there for a minute. I liked being—oh my god! I liked being cuddled by Spike!

She stared at her reflection in the mirror, making a vain attempt to comb out her hair with her fingers and splashing cool water on her flaming face. After using her forefinger to scrub at her front teeth and rinsing her mouth out, she stomped back into the living room full of righteous indignation.

"Listen, you big dope!" she began when she stopped in front of the vampire. "I wasn't trying to tease you. I just liked being held and I wanted to cuddle for a few more minutes. But, I should have known a vampire wouldn't want—"

Her tirade was cut off by Spike's mouth which somehow had become attached to hers when he grabbed her and pulled her back onto his lap. He kissed her until she opened her mouth with a little moan, allowing his tongue to sweep in and tangle with hers. They kissed until Buffy broke it off breathlessly to say with some embarrassment, "I have to back to the bathroom."

She struggled weakly against the arms that once again held her tightly against his chest, mumbling between kisses, "Come on, Spike, I mean it. I have to go back to the bathroom."

"You were just in there," he muttered, running his mouth down the side of her neck and causing her breath to hitch in her throat. "What do you need to go back for?"

"I forgot to pee," she admitted, flushing a bright red. "I was so mad at you, I just came back out here and didn't—"

"Don't care," he said stubbornly, trying to kiss her again.

"Well, you should care!"

"Why should I?"

"Because I'm sitting on your lap?"

"Oh." He stopped kissing her and frowned. "So you are. Okay, pet – go do what you have to do, but try not to forget anything this time, yeah? Not letting you up again."

Telling herself there was no way that having Spike sound so proprietary should be making her so happy, Buffy jumped up and ran to the bathroom, quickly using the toilet and washing her hands. She was just running back towards the eager vampire when the door burst open by itself and Willow stood framed in the open space, her hair blowing wildly around her head.

"Whoa, Red. Having a bad hair day, are you?" Spike tried to make light of the magic visibly crackling around the young woman.

"Shut up, Spike," she said without looking at him. Her gaze was focused on Buffy, just entering the room with a glare on her face.

"You put another spell on me," Buffy growled, sounding much like the creatures she hunted and moving towards her roommate.

"Yes, I did," Willow said proudly. "I'm surprised to see you two on opposite sides of the room, actually. And dressed. Why aren't you naked? And together? You should be humping each other silly by now. I know that spell worked. I felt it!" She stamped her feet in irritation at the lack of respect being shown by the two people glaring at her.

"As usual," Spike drawled, "you screwed something up. You forgot to put the spell on me."

Willow was taken aback for a second, then recovered quickly.

"So? You're a vampire! You know, evil? Willing Slayer. Evil vampire. I can do the math. You should be off looking for someplace to shack up for the rest of the week."

"Sorry to disappoint," Spike said coldly.

"What kind of vampire are you?" Willow was getting more indignant by the minute. She had really been looking forward to catching them in a compromising position and to see them gazing back at her calmly from several feet apart was disconcerting.

"One who knows how to be a gentleman, apparently," Buffy spoke again, moving closer to Spike as she did so. She hadn't forgotten Willow's threats to turn him to dust or make the chip fire continuously.

"So, he's a gentleman," Willow rolled her eyes in disbelief. "I can take care of that." She began to mumble under her breath and Buffy pushed Spike towards the kitchen. "I know you want him. Why aren't you all over him?"

"I guess your spell isn't as good as you think it is," Buffy said haughtily. "I have more self-control than you give me credit for."

She appeared to ignore Spike's sudden coughing fit, although behind her back she made a rude gesture in his direction.

"Well I can fix that too!" Willow's eyes darkened and she began to chant aloud, making swirling motions with her hands. She finished her spell with a flourish and waited for them to respond. When they just stood there, staring back at her with grins on their faces she screamed at them, "What is wrong with you? Why isn't my magic working?"

"I believe I can answer that," came an almost familiar voice from behind her. She whirled to see Giles glaring at her, his own eyes darkened with the power he was pulling from the air.

"What are you…?" Willow pointed her hand at him and tried to throw a magical bolt of lightning, but it got no further than the end of her finger before it disappeared. Her eyes darkened more and she raised her hands over her head, pulling more energy from the atmosphere. "You can't stop me," she snarled. "I'll send you back to your cradle…"

There was no trace of the sweet, shy redhead they were so used to seeing. In her place was an angry witch who was furious at being humiliated and thwarted. She pulled her arms forward and threw every bit of power she had accumulated in her body at the man in the doorway. Energy shot out from her hands and she heard Buffy gasp behind her as it flew toward the waiting watcher. At the last second, he raised a hand almost casually and absorbed all the energy without flinching. He continued to hold his hand up until all the energy had been pulled from the rapidly tiring witch into his own capable hands.

When Willow collapsed to the floor, sobbing with frustration and exhaustion, he dropped his hand and came to stand over her.

"As I believe I pointed out some time ago, you have a long way to go before you are ready to handle large amounts of magic, Willow."

He walked away from the crying girl and over to Spike and Buffy. He studied their faces carefully for any sign of guilt and then turned to the vampire, saying simply, "Thank you."

Spike nodded silently. It was obvious that the Ripper was gone and Buffy's Watcher was firmly back in place. He decided there was no good reason to let the man know that the only reason Willow hadn't caught him having sex with Buffy was due to a basic human need for elimination rather than any self-control on his part. He just said quietly, "Thought for a minute there I was going to be testing how long the chip could fire before it wore out."

Buffy flinched at his calm acceptance of just how much he was at the mercy of anyone who would choose to activate his chip. Pushing that uncomfortable thought to the back of her mind, she looked sympathetically at her sobbing friend and asked softly, "What are we going to do with her?"

"She'll be quite safe for a while. I drained all of her magic. It would take a trained and powerful witch to bounce back from that very quickly. I intend to ask the coven to send someone to train her. I'm afraid she is harboring too much hostility for me to be effective at this point. At the same time, they will be able to track her aura and determine if she is even stable enough to be permitted to learn more."

"Giles! This is Willow! Straight A, straight arrow, nerdy little Willow."

The Watcher just made a face and went into the kitchen asking, "Would anyone besides myself care for a cup of tea?"

"You do understand that your nerdy little friend just went on a pretty impressive power trip, don't you, Slayer?"

Buffy nodded reluctantly, wondering if she should be trying to comfort her friend, then deciding she was still too angry at her to be very convincing. She followed Giles into the kitchen and without comment took out a carton of pigs' blood and poured it into a mug. She put the mug in the microwave and set it warm up to body temperature.

The microwave dinged while Giles was still puttering around with his teapot and she took the mug out carefully and carried it over to the astonished vampire.

"Pet?"

She met his confused eyes as firmly as she could while she stumbled and stuttered, "You were… you were right, about Willow. I should have listened to you. And you were a complete gentleman while I was all ho-bag-Slayer. I'm… I'm.…" She bit her lip and chewed on it, her whole face scrunching up in concentration. "I'm…."

"Sorry?" he teased gently. "Is it really so hard to say?"

"To a vampire? To you? Of course it's hard to say. Anyway, I was going more for 'grateful'," she huffed, but with a smile on her face.

"Either way, I'll take it," he smirked. "Not as if I'm likely to be getting more of either one."

"No," she answered in a more subdued tone. "I suppose not."

A sound from the doorway had them all turning quickly to see Willow standing there, swaying on her feet as she stared at Giles.

"What did you do to me?" Her voice was hoarse and weak from all the crying.

"I did nothing. You did it to yourself. You misused your talent in a fit of petulance and then you attempted to use it against another practitioner without having any knowledge of what you were facing. Novice mistakes, both of them. Mistakes that show a tremendous about of hubris, I might add."

Willow looked at Buffy, then shifted her eyes to the quiet, watchful vampire. Her words were addressed to Buffy, but she never took her eyes off the man with the mug of blood in his hands.

"Why didn't my spell work on you?"

"It did," Buffy said shortly. "Turns out Spike wasn't as interested as you expected him to be."

"Technically not true, luv," he whispered in her ear.

Buffy smacked him away, trying her best not let the blush she could feel emerging reach her face.

Willow frowned at them for a minute then reluctantly turned back to the Watcher.

"So, now what? I can never do magic again?" The desolation on her face would have been heartbreaking had they not all been her victims twice within the past few days.

"Not necessarily," he explained carefully. "I will be speaking to the leaders of a coven in England. One that helped m— one with which I am quite familiar. If they are willing, we will get a mentor for you – someone with whom you are less… with whom you have no prior history. Assuming that your aura does not indicate any inherent evilness to your nature, your mentor will take over your training. The expectation would be that as you gradually regain your power you would also be learning the underlying principles of using magic safely and responsibly."

"I wasn't trying to really hurt anybody," she said stubbornly. "Not really."

"Forgetting for a moment that I was totally blind for some time, and that the younger man you brought back into my life was more than capable of hurting anyone who interfered with his wishes..." Giles paused to allow her to digest what he was saying and to be grateful that when her magic was gone, so was the Ripper, "...what you did to Buffy… and Spike, not once, but twice, was reprehensible."

"Oh, come on, Giles." Willow still refused to admit she'd done anything wrong. "All I did was try to get them to have sex. What's the big deal? I mean, okay, Spike's a vampire and maybe there's kind of a yuck factor—" Spike's "Hey!" went unanswered as she went on with her defense, "but it's not like Buffy hasn't had sex with a vampire before. And Spike's a piggy-wiggy, so I can't believe he would complain!"

As Buffy and Spike sputtered and struggled to be the first to let the newly-drained witch have it, Giles held up a hand for silence and waited for Willow to look him in the eye before responding.

"There is another name for forcing others to have sex, Willow. Whether it is with yourself or with another person. Do you know what it is?"

She shook her head "no", casting a quick glance at Buffy and Spike, but they seemed as puzzled as she was.

"Rape," the Watcher said quietly. "The word you are looking for is 'rape'. Had they not been captured by those demons when you sent them running off to 'screw each other unconscious', or, had Spike not had more self-control than I would ever have expected from a vampire, you would have been raping them just as surely as if you had done it yourself."

"No! No, that's not so. All I said the first time was that they should get married. I wasn't responsible for all that kissage and sticking hands down pants that they were doing! They must have wanted to do it anyway."

"Are you seriously suggesting that these two mortal enemies – the vampire who wanted to make Buffy his third slayer kill and the Slayer herself, had any interest in each other before your spell?"

He was watching Willow intently and missed the speculative looks that Spike and Buffy shot each other before turning back to the conversation in front of them.

With a trembling sigh, Willow gave up the argument. "You're right. I'm sorry, guys." She sent an apologetic look toward the two embarrassed people who struggled to look suitably angry. "I never looked at it like that. I just wanted to keep you busy for a while so that I could work on my spells."

Spike just nodded his acceptance of her apology, sure that if he tried to speak he would give away exactly how not sorry he was that she had worked her spell on them. Buffy glared briefly, then allowed her expression to soften as she remembered how pleasantly satiated she'd been when she woke up next to Spike. She carefully suppressed the memory of how recently she had been willing to experience the vampire's inarguable talents again, without benefit of a spell to blame it on.

"It's all right, Will," she said carefully. "No harm done."

Giles stood and indicated that Willow should follow him into the living room, suggesting that she be nearby when he phoned the coven in case they needed to speak with her. She nodded and with another apologetic smile towards Buffy and Spike, she obediently followed the watcher into the other room, as glad as Buffy was that Giles was unaware of just how far things had gone between the vampire and his Slayer.

Spike stood beside Buffy, unwilling to move away until she gave him some idea what she was thinking. When she shivered and wrapped her arms around herself protectively he mentally cringed and ventured, "Slayer? Pet?"

"I just never thought of it that way. Not until Giles said it. I mean, I wasn't thrilled to know we'd… but I… it was a spell, you know? Now, I don't know how to—"

"It wasn't rape, Buffy." His voice was firm and sure. "Whatever we did, we did it because we both wanted it. I would never, never force myself on you, Slayer. You have to believe me. If you weren't willing, I would—"

"He wasn't saying you raped me, Spike. I don't blame you. I just… It wasn't really us, was it? She made us do it. We didn't really want to, and that makes it—"

"Speak for yourself, pet," he said roughly, daring to touch the side of her face. "I wouldn't give up the last few nights for anything—well, maybe getting my chip out," he admitted with a small shrug, "but nothing else."

Buffy shivered again, this time from the thrill that went through her at the light touch of his hand. She closed her eyes briefly, enjoying his caress, then opened them and fixed them firmly on his as she stepped away.

"You're about to tell me it's never going to happen again, aren't you?"

"The spell's over, Spike," she said almost sadly. "We can go back to what we were a few days ago. Mortal enemies."

"I don't think I can do that, pet. Got too many memories."

"Don't make this harder than it is," she said angrily. "We've already had this conversation."

To her surprise, instead of arguing he stepped away from her and said quietly, "Alright, luv. I won't push you. But if you ever change your mind, you'll know where to find me."

Relieved that he was letting it go so easily, she snarked, "On my Watcher's couch?"

"I'll be sure you get my forwarding address, Slayer," he answered as he followed her into the other room. The smile she sent back over her shoulder was enough to make him vow to follow up his promise, no matter where he went when he finally left the Watcher's home.

The End