Chapter Notes:

Thanks for reading! Only one more chapter after this in this episode...eeep! How the heck is that gonna work for a HFN ending? Trust me, it will. There is more to this series, never fear! And I can assure you the next one will be less frustrating.



Spike bolted down the shaded front steps, his anger and jealousy driving him forward, only to realize he didn’t have any protection from the late afternoon sun—not a quilt or that big beach umbrella of the Slayer’s, not even his duster. He stormed to the end of the walk, staying beneath the cover of the trees, and began to pace along the edge of the shade like a caged lion. A fag was between his lips without him even thinking, his lighter flaring to life with an angry turn of the flint.

“Bloody ungrateful bitch,” he growled as he strode back and forth in his wall-less prison, taking deep inhalations of the mentholated smoke. “What the bloody hell more does she want? Give ‘er space, he said, let her come to you, he said,” Spike mocked Oz’s advice. “Working like a bloody charm that is! Sittin’ about waiting on the bloody wildcat to come to me and a sodding vulture swoops in and just scoops her up!

Denny,” he scoffed. “What the hell kinda name is Denny? Sounds like a poofter, if ya ask me. Don’t see Denny getting her favors from the sodding Council. Don’t see Denny fighting off crackbrain vampires. Don’t see Denny taking a bellyful o’ bullets,” Spike continued to rant.

“He’s nice,” the vampire sneered, raising his voice a few octaves to mimic Buffy. “What the blood fuck does a Slayer want with nice?” he demanded of the trees. “Nice’ll get her one thing—sodding dead. Bloody ungrateful bitch is what she is,” he repeated with a growl, tossing his first cigarette down as it began burning the filter, and digging out another one. “Nice my aching arsehole.”

Clenching his jaw, Spike surveyed at the manhole cover just a few yards down the street, then up at the sun that stood between him and freedom. The shadows were lengthening as the sun dropped toward the horizon. The tall trees in the area stippled the pavement with long fingers of shade, breaking up the splotches of sun. “Sod it,” he spat, ducking his head, and making a run for it.

* X-X *

Buffy didn’t stop in the kitchen, but went out the back door and ended up in the training room. She slammed her books down on the table next to the stereo, flipped on the power and turned the volume up to 11. ‘Kryptonite’ began blaring from the overtaxed speakers, the bass thrumming in her chest along with her heartbeat. She grabbed a hairband and gathered her hair into a ponytail, stomping over to the heavy bag in time to the music.

(Kryptonite, Three Doors Down:

You called me strong, you called me weak
But still your secrets, I will keep

“Stupid,” she grunted, slamming her fist into the canvas and sending the bag swinging on its chain.

You took for granted all the times, I never let you down
You stumbled in and bumped your head

“Shirty,” she growled, smacking the bag as it came back at her.

If not for me then you'd be dead,
I picked you up and put you back on solid ground

“Stubborn,” Buffy continued, matching her word to another brutal strike of the bag.

If I go crazy, then will you still call me Superman?
If I'm alive and well, will you be there and holding my hand?

“Vampire!” the Slayer roared, adding a powerful kick to the mix, sending the bag swinging nearly up to slap the rafters before it arced back down toward her.

I'll keep you by my side with my superhuman might

Her emotions were a whirl of fury and guilt, disappointment and indignation. Spike didn’t own her! He wasn’t even her boyfriend. He was... she had no idea what he was. ‘Friend’ didn’t seem to cover it anymore, but just what the right word was, she had no idea. “He’d probably have some stupid word no one’s ever heard of... but it’s in the OED,” she sneered, battering the bag with all her strength, taking every bit of frustration out on it.

And why did he look so hurt and angry about her having a date, anyway? Did Spike think she was gonna sleep with Denny on a whim when she wouldn’t sleep with him? “As if,” Buffy grumbled, kicking and punching the sand-filled canvas. It wasn’t that simple, no matter how much her traitorous body wanted it to be. Faith’s words bounced around in her brain, ‘one trick wonder’, followed closely by Angel’s, no, not Angel’s, Angelus’, she corrected herself, ‘Like I really wanted to stick around after that. You got a lot to learn about men, kiddo. Although I guess you proved that last night. You were great. Really. I thought you were a pro.’

Except Angel had never retracted his soulless-self’s words. He’d never once said he didn’t mean them, that they were untrue, that he’d lied. He’d never even brought up that horrible night to her since his return from hell. Not once.

Buffy kneed the bag in the groin as tears stung her eyes. “Asshole,” she growled, backhanding her silent opponent across the face. “You too, Spike,” she added with another furious kick.

Maybe she should just become a nun. That prospect was suddenly becoming more and more appealing.

* X-X *

Buffy looked up, pulled from the War of 1812 back to present day when someone opened the door to the training room. After completely exhausting herself with the punching bag, she’d settled into a corner of the blue mats with her book, and had actually managed to get some notes down about the ‘Second War of Independence’ which may or may not be helpful when the test came around. Her hopeful heart gave a little skip thinking it might be Spike, but she should’ve known it wasn’t—none of the telltale tinglies danced down her spine. Her second thought was that it might be her mom letting the furry Spike in; maybe he’d gotten tired of lounging in the house guarding the floor against dropped snacks, and asked to come out.

Neither thought was right.

Buffy sighed when the president of William the Bloody’s fan club strode in, followed by a bored-looking Faith. Right. Sparring practice tonight. Buffy sighed and marked her place in the textbook before pushing up to her feet.

“Yo, B, how’s tricks?” Faith asked, sauntering over to the punching bag and giving it a little tap.

Buffy narrowed her eyes at her sister Slayer. Was she trying to be funny given what she had been doing the last time she’d seen her? Or was she just trying to get her ass kicked?

“You’d probably know better than me—seeing how you have so many more tricks under your belt,” Buffy retorted walking over the soft mats toward the other two women.

“You still sore about that?” Faith asked, eying the pile of sand that had leaked out of the punching bag, forming a hill of fine, white dust on the floor beneath it. “Told you, not trying to poach your pet vampire—but really, how many do you need?” she inquired, turning to look at Buffy with a smirk. “You aren’t even playing with ‘em, B. You’ve got ‘em up on shelves like those frilly porcelain dolls my gran used to have. You could at least take them out of the box and have a little fun. God knows you could use it.”

Buffy glared at Faith. “What I do with my vam— with my... with... What I do is none of your business,” she declared, striding over to the table in the corner and dropping her books. “I think we’re supposed to be sparring—let’s go.”

“Now, what I suggest is—” Lydia began, but it was already too late, Faith had kicked off her shoes and the two Slayers had started taking swings at each other, moving onto the ratty, blue mats. “I say! This is sparring, not mortal combat!” the Brit called, moving up to the edge of the sea of blue as Buffy swept a leg out at Faith’s shins. Faith leapt over the kick, coming down with hard jab at Buffy’s chin, but the blonde rolled away before it connected, coming back up onto her feet out of reach of the other Slayer. The girls circled each other, bouncing on their toes, fists ready to strike, looking for an opening.

“Shouldn’t you at least put on head gear?” Lydia asked worriedly.

Faith and Buffy both snorted in response. “Vampires don’t let you put on headgear,” Buffy retorted, keeping her eyes on the other Slayer. Faith dropped her right shoulder, a sure sign she was going to lead with a jab. Buffy ducked to Faith’s left and landed a body blow, sending the brunette stumbling back. Buffy followed her, raining down jabs and hooks, but she was driven back by a roundhouse kick from the other girl.

They both backed off, still bouncing, still watching the other warily, both breathing hard. Faith grinned as she wiped a trickle of blood off her split lip. “Nice hook. You’ve been practicing.”

“You haven’t,” Buffy shot back. “You still drop your shoulder.”

“More to life than Slayage, girlfriend. I’ve been having fun,” Faith replied conversationally as they continued circling each other, fists raised into guard, looking for an opening.

“I heard. Limp Bizkit? Seriously?”

Faith grinned. “Trust me, they weren’t that limp... well, they were when I got done with them.”

Buffy faked a kick to the knee, coming around instead with a haymaker to the face. Faith managed to block the punch at the last moment and land a vicious jab to the ribs for Buffy’s trouble. That was gonna leave a bruise. They both backed off again, circling.

Buffy’s eyes went wide. “All of them?” she asked as if nothing had interrupted the conversation.

“And a couple of the roadies too,” Faith bragged.

Buffy shook her head, her face pinched in disgust.

“You need to loosen up, B! Geez! You’ve got two hotties following you around like horny puppies, and you’re too tightly wound to get your dirty on. You need to live a little before you die.”

“You recall hearing that getting ‘my dirty on’ with Angel leads to badness, right?” Buffy wondered.

“Yeah, sure once, but you must really have a high opinion of your skills if you think that’s gonna happen a second time. I mean, only got one cherry to pop, little miss virgin sacrifice. Let’s face it, B, after that you’re just another prude with a stick up your butt. You couldn’t find a ‘happy’ if it bit you in the ass.”

Rage bloomed inside Buffy, fueled by her own fears and doubts. Red flashed across her vision and she charged forward, slamming into Faith with every ounce of fury-driven strength she had. The two Slayers tumbled onto the ground, fists flying. The soft mats cushioned their fall and subsequent struggle as each one tried to gain the upper hand, Buffy pinning Faith down only to be kicked off, then Faith diving atop the blonde, who rolled to the side and dislodged her.

“Girls! Miss Summers! Miss Lehane!” Lydia exclaimed in panic as the two Slayers raked at each other’s eyes, yanked each other’s hair, and rained down powerful blows on the other’s flesh.

And then, as suddenly as it began, the two Slayers broke apart, scrabbling to their feet and drawing stakes from who-knew-where. They were both gasping for air as they turned toward the open door of the garage, weapons raised, bodies tense, ready to spring.

Spike sauntered in, thumbs hooked over his belt, fingers splayed beneath, framing the prominent bulge that pressed against his fly. “Don’t stop on my account,” he drawled with a lecherous smirk. “Though I wouldn’t object to you ladies losing some o’ those togs. Come to think on it, a bit of oil might make it that much more interesting.”

Buffy lowered her stake, Faith following suit a moment later. “You’re a pig, Spike,” Buffy ground out, wiping blood from her mouth. She ran her tongue along the inside of her lip, finding a gash where her teeth had cut into the tender flesh when Faith had elbowed her in the mouth. She looked over and was happy to see Faith doing the same, and she had a nice shiner already swelling her left eye.

“I must say,” Lydia huffed. “This is not proper training at all. You could’ve seriously injured each other! Is this the type of training Mr. Giles encourages?”

Faith snorted and tucked her stake away. “Just having a little fun, Miss Marple. Right, B?”

Buffy shot Faith a withering glance from the corner of her eye before agreeing, “Sure, just a little fun.”

“See?” Faith continued, waving a hand at her sister Slayer.

Lydia made a skeptical face. “It looked like anything but a ‘bit of fun’ from my perspective.”

“I hear there’s something in the water around here that puckers everyone’s ass,” Faith contended, looking at Lydia. “You might want to lay off so you can tell the difference next time.”

“Looked like a brilliant bit o’ fun to me,” Spike put in appreciatively, letting his eyes drift over Faith, head to toe, in a slow, sultry caress. “’Course, I never drink water.”

“Now that’s my kinda man,” Faith purred, flashing him a wicked grin. She preened wantonly under his heavy gaze, acting as if she were simply stretching, rolling her shoulders, arching her back, and lifting her arms above her head, accentuating her figure to the fullest.

A jealous fire ignited in Buffy’s belly, spreading up like a towering inferno of green flame, licking her heart with bitter, acrid sparks. Her scowl deepened, if that was possible, and the grip she had on her stake tightened until her fingers ached, though just who she wanted to shove it into was a toss-up. The irony of it didn’t exactly escape her, but it was a distant, irrelevant notion that she resolutely ignored.

Lydia seemed to be almost as annoyed as Buffy, and for the first time Buffy felt a small connection with the woman, but not enough to take her off the ‘possible staking targets’ list.

The Council woman cleared her throat. “Yes, well, be that as it may, I believe it would be wise to see just where your skills stand so that I may pass on training recommendations to the new Watcher. May I suggest we begin with the crossbow and then move on to the throwing knives...”

“Booorring,” Faith droned. “Up close and personal is how I like my... slays.”

Spike grinned wolfishly. “Only way to slay, if ya ask me,” he agreed, his voice dripping with sex wrapped in bacon.

Buffy rolled her eyes and stalked over to the weapons’ rack. She grabbed up the nearest crossbow and had a bolt notched in a moment. In a blink, she turned back around, raised it, and fired, straight at Spike’s heart.

Lydia let out a girlish yip of surprise, her eyes wide in horror as the arrow whizzed past her. Her head whipped around, following the trajectory, expecting to see dust, or at least a bleeding vampire with a wooden bolt protruding from his chest. Instead she found a smirking demon, the arrow clasped tightly between his palms, stopped just an inch above his left pectoral. When a trio of throwing knives whistled past the British woman a fraction of a moment later, she instinctively ducked and called out a warning, but Spike had already stepped to the side and the knives embedded themselves harmlessly into the wall behind him.     

“Nice shot, luv,” Spike drawled, tossing the bolt back to Buffy. “Seem to be gettin’ your mojo back. Nearly on target for the heart.”

“Not ‘nearly’,” Buffy argued. “Keep your hands down and I’ll show you,” she threatened, snatching the arrow from the air, nocking it back into the crossbow, and raising it in one smooth motion.

Spike chuckled darkly. “Been there, done that, got the tattered t-shirts t’ show for it.”

“Cos you know I’m right,” Buffy huffed. “Not ‘nearly’.”

Spike grinned a playful Big Bad grin and gave a shrug. “May o’ been closer than I thought,” he admitted.

Buffy rolled her eyes then turned and, with barely a glance, she fired into the target on the opposite side of the room. It hit with a loud thud of impact and stuck right in the middle of what used to be the bull’s eye.

She dropped the crossbow and turned back to the still gobsmacked Council woman. “Exhibit A: Crossbows and throwing knives are useless unless you’re up against a slimy slug demon or some other really dim monster with a target painted over their hearts. For them to work with a vampire, you’d have to run across a clueless fledge or catch them completely off-guard. Which, by the way, is practically impossible, with their creepy smelling and Superman hearing.”

“Are you sure Superman has super hearing?” Faith wondered idly, unimpressed and unconcerned by the display.

“Of course he does, he’s Superman!” Buffy insisted with a derisive huff. “Everything about him is ‘super’.”

“Everything, huh? Sounds like someone I need to meet and get to know intimately,” Faith replied huskily.

“Of course you would,” Buffy grumbled with another eye roll.

“Superman’s a Nancy boy,” Spike asserted, running a hand down his chest and over his abs to settle pointedly on his belt buckle. “Slayer needs a little monster in her man, if ya ask me.”

“Pretty sure no one asked you,” Buffy muttered darkly as Faith eyed the blond ravenously. “What are you doing here anyway?” she demanded of Spike.

He pulled his come-hither gaze from Faith and settled it on Buffy. “The Council bird asked me to make an appearance.”

The ‘Council bird’ was on the verge of hyperventilating, looking like she might pass out, her bright blue eyes huge behind her glasses as she looked from Buffy to Spike. “You... he... You...” she stammered, unable to form a coherent thought.

“And you just came? Just like that?” Buffy demanded, crossing her arms over her chest and glaring at him. That jealous green flame was still curling around her heart, burning her from the inside out. And she was still mad at him about something... what was it? Oh... Denny. Well, crap. Buffy clenched hands into fists, inexplicably angrier than ever.

Spike shrugged and tucked his other thumb over the buckle, a matched set. “Seemed the polite thing t’ do,” he explained nonchalantly before turning burning blue eyes back to Faith. “Had nothing to do with seeing two Slayers face off being a vampire’s wet dream.” That much was true, though he’d nearly forgotten the whole thing, furious as he’d been with the sodding Slayer. It was only two Felis demons growling and extending their claws at Willy’s that had reminded him of the request Lydia had made the previous night. Even then he’d nearly ignored it—let bloody Denny get the Slayer new weapons, a clothing allowance, and a proper salary—which was why he’d been late. The cock-stiffening thought of two Slayers going at it... well that had been his undoing. He might never get another chance to see that again.

“You shot a crossbow at him!” Lydia exclaimed, suddenly finding her voice, though still looking flabbergasted.

“Wow, are you sure you aren’t a Watcher, cos, gotta say, excellent observations skills there,” Buffy chided.

“You shot a crossbow at him!” the woman repeated, apparently stuck on some sort of incoherent loop.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “You get an A-plus on the overstating of the obvious. Keep this up and you’ll get a cookie.”

“But you shot a crossbow at him,” Lydia repeated, now sounding indignant.

“You wanted to start with crossbows and throwing knives. I was just following orders,” Buffy said with a shrug.

Lydia blinked. “Do you generally target your allies in your training? You might’ve...” The woman swallowed a gasp as she saw her interview, and her subsequent promotion, fall to dust in her imagination. “You might’ve dusted William the Bloody!”

“Yeah, and?” Buffy replied flatly. “Isn’t that my job? I bet Travers would give me a cookie if I did that.”

Lydia began to splutter again, no words forming as she looked between the two blondes.

Buffy rolled her eyes in exasperation. “He wasn’t in any danger, geez! I thought you Council types would be a little better informed about vampire abilities,” she scoffed. “Christ, maybe if you actually read some of the diaries you stole, you’d know the Master pulled that same ‘catch the flying arrow’ trick on me—it’s how I came down with that case of extreme deadness.”

“And you simply assume that William the Bloody had the same capabilities as the Master?” Lydia demanded.

Buffy looked at Spike, her eyes unreadable—some combination of pride and fury flashing in their emerald depths. “Spike’s better than the Master. I dusted the Master.”

Spike grinned, catching his bottom lip with his teeth, and rolled up onto his toes then back on his heels. “Never a truer word spoken,” he agreed, sniffing smugly. “Bested two Slayers in my day, and came to a stalemate with a few more besides. What’d he ever do? Thrall one and barely have a taste ‘fore leaving her to drown? Couldn’t even manage that properly, the pillock.”

“Of course, stalemates can still be broken, the night’s young,” Buffy grumbled threateningly.

“That it is, luv, that it is,” Spike purred, sauntering over to the weapons’ rack and retrieving two of the long, wooden staffs. “Time to get up close and personal.”

Buffy straightened, fully expecting him to offer one to her, but instead he turned and tossed it to Faith. Buffy glowered, her entire body tensing again with barely restrained anger. At this rate, her face—not to mention her body—was going to freeze this way, just like her mother had often warned might happen when she was a kid.

“Think it’s time to have a bit of the rough and tumble with the new chit,” Spike rumbled, pleased with the visceral reaction that he had elicited from his Slayer. Two can bloody well play this game. ‘Denny can suck my fucking prick.’

Faith caught the weapon with a feral grin. “Now you’re playing my tune,” she boasted, twirling the staff easily. “Come and get me, big boy,” she challenged shamelessly, moving back onto the blue mats.

Buffy glowered at the other Slayer, her hands curling into impotent fists. ‘My vampire!’ her mind screamed, the fire behind her eyes flaring up in shades of jade and emerald with touches of flinty granite thrown in. Damn it! How had she’d gotten here? Gotten to be nothing but an angry bystander watching as Faith twitched her hips and lured her vampire away. Buffy swallowed the hot, salty tears of frustration that wanted to fall along with the desire to pummel Faith’s smug face into a bloody pulp. She, Buffy, had chosen this, hadn’t she? She’d said no. She’d run away. She’d decided that her heart and her body had to go together. She’d made her bed, now apparently Faith and Spike would be the ones sleeping in it. Or probably doing something much more energetic than sleeping in it.

“This isn’t the schedule I’d contrived for this evening,” Lydia complained as Spike stalked forward after the dark Slayer, his tongue curled tauntingly against his teeth, his own bō whirling in his hand.

“Welcome to the Hellmouth,” Buffy growled bitterly as she leaned back against the wall and watched her heart shattering with every step Spike took away from her and toward Faith.

“Why does everyone keep saying that to me?” Lydia wondered in exasperation.

Buffy snorted, keeping her eyes trained on the Slayer and the vampire who’d begun feeling each other out—figuratively, for now—with their weapons clacking in rapid-fire jabs and parries. “The sooner you figure out that plans are nothing but cannon fodder around here, the better off you’ll be, Lucinda.”

“Lydia. My bloody name is Lydia!” the woman screeched at Buffy, her proper, BBC accent slipping dangerously.

Buffy just smiled malevolently, never looking over at the exasperated blonde, her eyes locked on the other blond in the building. Spike moved like a wraith, like a sleek, graceful, deadly panther. There was no wasted motion, no hesitation, no uncertainty in his actions. There was a wicked grin plastered on his face as he took every attack Faith threw at him and blocked them easily. The sound of the staffs smacking together filled the room, rebounding off the bare walls in low booms. Spike’s chuckling laughter was a deep accompaniment to the irregular beat, while Faith used her breath to taunt the vampire, tossing out innuendos and insults in equal measure.

Buffy’s lips quirked. Faith wouldn’t distract Spike with that. Buffy should know—it had never worked for her. She shook her head, letting her eyes slip to the other Slayer. The brunette telegraphed too many of her moves; she was dull and slow compared to Spike. If this had been a real fight, Spike would kill her. She’d be his third notch. Not that Faith would be a pushover, but she just wasn’t the honed blade that Spike was. Too much time making Bizkits limp and not enough time training. The natural instinct was there, the strength certainly wasn’t lacking, nor the desire, but there was just some small something that was missing from the less experienced, less dedicated Slayer, that final piece that brought it all together into a razor’s edge.

Buffy turned her attention back to Spike. He leapt easily over a low kick Faith had thrown, trying to take his legs out from under him, then lithely ducked a high arcing sweep of the bō meant to crack his skull. He was still chuckling, seeming to be expending no more energy than if he’d been on a leisurely stroll as he countered her attacks, getting Faith more and more frustrated, and more and more careless with her attempts to take him down. Buffy smirked, realizing exactly what he was doing—making Faith wear herself out with attacks while he just parried them, ducking and weaving away from high blows and hopping over the low ones—laughing in a low, rumbling snigger the whole time.

Buffy couldn’t help being mesmerized by the grace of his movements. He was like a deadly dancer, shifting left and right, dodging and bending, swaying like a cobra, biding his time, waiting to strike. His weapon seemed to be an extension of himself, twirling easily in his long-fingered hands, changing directions within the space of a heartbeat to meet one of Faith’s increasingly awkward attacks. Buffy had heard the term ‘poetry in motion’ before, but had never experienced it so fully as right now, watching the master vampire. Even the ice skaters she’d admired so fervently as a child didn’t have the fluidity or elegance of the Slayer of Slayers.

Spike was in his element, and that was a big part of Faith’s problem. She’d let him choose the weapon, something he was clearly more adept with than she was. She was letting him lead the dance, while making her think she was in charge. She was letting him steer her to her death... or, since he’d not ended the truce, to her defeat, at least. And Spike hadn’t even called his demon forward yet.

Faith was getting desperate, and it was showing, but Spike was getting overconfident, and it made him sloppy. The Slayer feigned a jab with her weapon to Spike’s ribs and when he moved to block it, she adeptly changed directions and caught the vampire under the chin with a resounding blow. Spike’s head snapped back and he flopped onto his back, shaking his head, clearly trying to scatter the stars from his vision.

Buffy held her breath as she watched Faith bring her weapon down like a club right at Spike’s forehead, but he rolled at the last moment and the wood bounced harmlessly off the mat. Another strike from the Slayer, another roll from the vampire, again and again, until, finally, Spike rolled back toward the attacking woman, taking her off guard. Faith had to jump over him to keep from being bowled over like a ten pin and, by the time she turned back around, Spike was on his feet.

“Nice shot, luv,” he conceded, licking a trickle of blood from his lips, grinning his devilish grin. If he wasn’t back to his full faculties, he was putting on a show of being unhindered by her shot.

“More where that came from, stud muffin,” Faith assured him as the click-clack, attack and block, of the wooden weapons began again.

Buffy couldn’t help feeling a swell of pride in her vampire. It washed over her like a warm tide —a lesser vamp would’ve been defeated by that blow. Then her jaw clenched—not her vampire. Not hers at all. ‘Not if you don’t fight for him!’ one of her helpful inner-voices insisted—the one driven by her heart.

‘He doesn’t want my heart!’ her logic-brain argued back.

‘Oh, please! Stop being denial-girl! He cares about you or he wouldn’t have come.’

‘Yeah, he cares—as a friend. A fuck-buddy, maybe! But that’s it!’

‘Are you seriously this stupid? He jumped in front of a gun for you—that wasn’t for Giles! He saved your mom for you! He’s here because of you! He could’ve left, he could’ve broken the truce—he’s healthy now— you heard Giles. There’s no reason for him to keep the truce now, except for you.’

‘What if you’re wrong? You’ve been wrong before!’ logic demanded of her heart.

‘What if I’m right?’ her heart retorted. ‘And you just stand by and let Faith take him away from you?’

Buffy pulled herself from her ruminations, refocusing on the fighting pair. As she knew would happen, Faith was losing. Spike had taken her down. Faith was on her back on the soft mats, the vampire pinning her down with his hips. He was still laughing, returning the taunts she’d thrown at him earlier. One of his elegant hands was wrapped around her throat, the other was holding one of her arms above her head in an iron grip. His demon had emerged now, grinning down at her with those deadly fangs, his eyes glittering an unearthly gold. Faith was still fighting, struggling to pull his hand from her throat as she gasped for air, trying to buck him off with vicious jerks of her hips. All her efforts only made Spike press down harder, grinding his body against hers, squeezing her throat just that much tighter in his vise-like grip.

“Reckon this makes you number three, pet,” Spike purred, lowering his fangs toward Faith’s carotid, which was hammering valiantly, trying to keep blood flowing, keep her conscious and fighting.

His fangs were inches from her burning skin when the struggling Slayer finally managed to slip the stake from behind her back. Faith mustered the last of her strength, barely holding on to consciousness, as she drove the deadly wood toward the vampire’s chest.


* X-X *


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Chapter End Notes:

Eeep!! That’s not good! Do you still trust me? innocent

Thank you so much for reading and for your patience as I try to catch up with your wonderful comments! RL things are starting to slow down a little for me, so hopefully I’ll get caught up soon. I love reading all your notes! They keep me incredibly inspired!

As always, my undying gratitude to my wonderful beta readers and friends: All4Spike, Paganbaby, and TeamEricNSookie. Holi117 has switched to a pre-reader, which I’m so happy she’s finding time for that. All mistakes are mine because I keep fiddling with stuff. If you see any, PM me and I’ll fix it.

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