To Saving The World
Saber Shadowkitten

Disclaimer: Joss created BtVS; White Wolf created Vampire, the 
Masquerade; Merideth Brooks & The Muppets hold the lyrics; and 
nothing else is mine except for the original characters. If you 
want to borrow them, just ask. 

Journal of William Longstreet, 7 July 1999

Been called up by the big guns for some bloody reason. Probably to 
give me a new assignment, seeing as how the Sunnydale one is now 
complete. That Mayor bloke was a bloody nuisance, but the Slayer 
and her chums managed to defeat him, with a little hidden help 
from yours truly. Luckily, he wasn't an Antediluvian Cult member 
planning on laying waste to the world as they tend to try and do. 
Just some schmuck with too much time on his hands. I'd hate for 
Gehenna to come about because of that sod.

So far this summer, I've come across each of the major clans of 
the Kindred, which is strange. I suppose spending June on a 
college campus as large as ISU, a vampire is bound to run into 
I met up first with a Brujah. He was easy to spot, leading a pack 
of mortals and other Brujah on some anarchical protest. The term 
"rabble rouser" had to come from some place. What was funny was 
that this Brujah was hanging around with a Gangrel. She was cute, 
if you go for the wild, animalistic look with the temperament to 

Ran into a Tremere while I was flirting with dinner. He was doing 
some sort of mumbo jumbo sorcery over the computer. Typical 
Warlock. I ended up having to eat elsewhere.

Met up with a Malkavian while I was roaming the campus a week 
back. He gave me that weird look I use to get from Dru when she 
was talking with her dolls. Don't like those Lunatics. The 
Nosferatu, either, with their disfigured faces. They are just too 
bloody creepy.

And, of course, I ran into many Ventrue on Greek Row. Those Blue 
Bloods sure do know how to throw a party, despite their thinking 
that they are better than the rest. But, without some clan to take 
charge, the Camarilla would fall apart, then where would we be? A 
lot of vampires running around without any structure, like the 
Independents. That could get annoying real fast.

I'm glad that Toreadors aren't running the show. I can't imagine a 
bunch of artsy fartsy pansies sitting around talking about the 
latest fashion or what not rather than what needs to be done. I 
may be a Toreador by blood line, but I know where to draw the 
line. It helped that I was instructed to be in the Sabbat sect 
once Angelus disappeared. Footloose and fancy free, I was, with no 
limitations of the Masquerade, no reason I had to hide the fact 
that I was Kindred, a vampire. 

End Entry

Transcribed by Maria Valasquez, 7/7/99 

"Thank you, Maria." *Snap.*


"You've done well, William."

"It's my bloody job to do well," Spike snorted, rolling the 
compliment off of him like a bad vibe. He tapped his finger on the 
edge of his chair, his black polished nail making a click, click, 
click in the semi-dark conference room. 

"Tell me of your report from Sunnydale," Christoph instructed, 
templing his fingers together at the opposite end of the table. 
The elder vampire, with his long blond hair and perfect features, 
was reminiscent of a Norse god. A Ventrue and the leader of the 
one of the many Gehenna Cults was not one to be kept waiting, 
especially on the importance of preventing Gehenna, the 

"Three attempts," Spike said. "First through a big blue smurf, 
better known as The Judge."

"I trust that he was dispatched?" Christoph inquired.

"The Sabbat Slayer and her chums made mincemeat of him," he 
replied. "I really had to put on a bloody act while he was being 
assembled when I wanted to keep him separated for obvious reasons. 
Cor, that pissed me off. Being stuck in that bleedin' wheelchair 
didn't help matters, either."

"The things one does for love," Christoph surmised. "I am glad it 
did not cost your position. I would have been displeased, 
especially since we had so few good Kindred Cult members in the 
Sabbat sect. However, do go on."

Spike continued without a second thought. "Second, Acathala. That 
bloody Ravnos curse on Angelus broke. At first, I thought he was 
back to his good old, guilt-free, Toreador self; then he started 
to loose his fucking marbles and I knew those Rom bastard Kindred 
had to be Antediluvian. I made a deal with the Slayer, the world 
didn't go to hell and the big rock was destroyed by the Slayer's 

"And what of Angelus?"

"Re-cursed," Spike answered. "He's back to being a "Banker" again. 
That whole guilt thing has got to be a bloody nuisance. But on the 
whole, he's normal. Well, as normal as the wanker ever was to 
begin with. As long as he doesn't get a happy, the Ravnos curse 
won't be broken again. I'd hate to have to kill the git; he is my 
sire and was, for a long time, my friend."

"But you will if it comes down to preventing Gehenna." It was a 
statement, not a question.

"As I told the Slayer, I like this world. Why do you think I 
became involved in the Cult to begin with?" Spike said. "Third was 
the Mayor of Sunnyhell, of all people. Helped the Slayer and her 
merry men stop the ascension, though they don't know that. Now, I 
bloody well doubt you dragged me all the way up here just for a 
report, so let's get on with the show already."

"You are correct, William," Christoph said. "First, I must confirm 
that you and your Toreador lover are no longer together. Is this 

"Yes," Spike answered, somewhat sullenly. Torturing Drusilla 
hadn't worked, and he couldn't give up the secret that the reason 
he teamed up with the Slayer was because of his ties with the 
Gehenna Cult. Finally, he called it quits and left her in the 
hands of a capable, and equally insane, Malkavian.

"Very good. Then your involvement with the Sabbat is at an end. I 
have need of you in the Camarilla - the closer to the conclave, 
the better," Christoph told him.

Spike sighed and dug out a cigarette. "Any particular Domain?" 

"It has come to my attention that Angelus has been asked to be 
Primogen for the Toreador clan in Los Angeles. If you trust him, 
then try to get into that Domain. But do not tell him of your ties 
with us, for if the Ravnos curse goes into effect, it could result 
in dire consequences for the Kindred and mortals alike," Christoph 

"Yeah, yeah, I know the bloody drill," Spike said. "It's not going 
to be easy, not after all these years in the Sabbat."

"I have complete faith in you, William," the elder Ventrue 
replied. "Which is why there is a second part of your new 
directive, aside from having a Cult member in a position of 
influence in the Camarilla."

"Do tell," Spike said.

"The Omega Virus," Christoph told him. 

The cigarette almost dropped from his mouth. "Fuck," he swore, his 
mind turning over this new bit of information. The Omega Virus was 
specifically created by the Antediluvian Cult to wipe out the 
Kindred and assist in bringing about Gehenna. It had to enter the 
bloodstream somehow, then was similar to mortal AIDS. It destroyed 
a vampire from within. 

"It has been spreading within the Domains, which is why your sire 
has been asked to be Primogen. We fear that there may be an 
Antediluvian in that conclave. The Prince fears for all those 
under his control," Christoph explained.

"What's the blighter's name?" Spike asked, trying to formulate a 

"Xavier DuPrey," he replied. 

Spike looked surprised. "Xavier's the Prince? No wonder Angel's 
been asked to be Primogen by the Toreador in the area. Cor, it 
should be a bloody snap to get into the conclave in his Domain."

"I take it you know of the Prince?"

"Oh yeah, Xavier, me and Angel go way back, to before Dru was with 
us," he said. "We had a lot of fun in London together."

"Excellent," Christoph said. "I will expect you to report as soon 
as you retain a position and then on any information regarding the 
Antediluvian situation."

Spike stood, knowing a dismissal when he heard one. "Right. Well, 
be seein' you," he said, giving the elder vampire a jaunty salute, 
then left.

Twenty minutes later he threw himself into a chair at the motel he 
was staying at, his mind in awhirl. If there was a mole of sorts 
in Xavier's conclave, what's to stop there from being one in every 
conclave in each Domain? And if that was the case, the apocalypse 
could be closer than he liked. He needed to get to Los Angeles and 
do what he pledged to do when he joined the Gehenna Cult.

Save the world.

Part One

"Spike, what are you doing here?" Angel snarled at the peroxide 
blond vampire leaning against the doorway to his temporary home. 

"Now, is that a way to greet your old mate?" Spike asked, taking a 
drag off of his cigarette. Angel glared at him. "Let's walk."

Angel narrowed his eyes, then nodded, falling into step next to 
his childe. They walked in silence for several blocks before he 
asked, "What's going on, Spike?"

"I hear Xavier's Prince here," Spike replied. "And that you've 
been chosen Primogen for the Toreador clan in the city."

"What of it?" Angel asked.

"Let me be your Whip," he said.

Angel looked at him in surprise. "You want to what?"

"You heard me, you sod," Spike scowled. 

"Why the hell would you want that? What would Drusilla think, your 
going back under the Camarilla? And what makes you think I would 
trust you as my assistant?"

"I haven't been in the bloody Sabbat for over a year," he replied. 
"Drusilla is shacking up with a Malkavian, good riddance, and you 
an' me were mates once. I thought with Xavier, me an' you in the 
conclave, it'd be like the good old days."

"I never figured you much for government, Spike," Angel commented 
snidely. "Running for office?"

"Well, you know me. Always full of surprises," Spike said. He 
flicked his cigarette away, then shoved his hands in his pockets. 
"Listen, mate, I'm bloody serious about this. Chalk it up to being 
lonely or whatever you want, but let me do this."

Angel studied him as they paused on a busy street corner, waiting 
for the light to change. "Have you kept in contact with any of the 
clan here?" he asked.

"Most of them," Spike answered, glancing up at his sire. 

"If no one protests...too much, I think we can give it a shot," he 
said. "I'm meeting with Xavier in about an hour. Bet he'd be 
interested to see you."

Spike nodded and they continued their way back towards Angel's 
place. Inwardly, the vampire was relieved. He was in, as soon as 
he got the go ahead from the Prince. Luckily, he wasn't lying when 
he said he'd kept in touch with the clan in the city. And he knew 
most of them wouldn't care, most Toreadors didn't want to involve 
themselves in clan politics anyway. Too much business and not 
enough culture. 

"How's the Slayer?" Spike asked, starting up a new conversation. 
"I hear that there was a big party on graduation, of all days. 
Must have been a ball." More like a rave, since he was there to 
see it first hand, but he wasn't going to say that.

"Since when do you care about Buffy?" Angel said. 

"I don't -- just making polite chit-chat," he replied. 

"Buffy's fine," Angel answered. "She's at her father's for the 
summer here in LA."

"I take it you two lovebirds are still doing the 'friends' thing," 
Spike said.

"No, we gave up on that soon after you left," he replied. "We have 
a relationship, of sorts." Angel frowned. "With lots of 

"I'd imagine so," Spike commented. "Bloody Ravnos."

"Couldn't agree with you more," Angel replied. 


"Will!" Xavier greeted jovially as he met them in the foyer to his 
large mansion. The tall Frenchman gave Spike a big hug and kissed 
both cheeks. He was Angel's height, though slender, with shoulder 
length dark hair, dark eyes and chiseled pale complexion. If both 
Spike and Angel had been combined into one vampire, he would look 
like Xavier DuPrey. "It's been too long, my friend."

"That is has, Xavier," Spike replied. He looked pointedly around 
the entryway. "Looks like you've done well for yourself."

Xavier laughed, his hair falling behind his shoulders as he threw 
his head back. "You could say that, Will. So, come in, come in. 
Tell me about you. Staying in trouble, I presume."

"Always," Spike said. "Did you hear I've turned over a new leaf? 
Time to get back in the thick of things and all that rot."

"Will, the day you turn over a new leaf is they day you help the 
Sabbat Slayer save the world," Xavier joked.

Angel barked out a laugh as Spike's ears actually turned red from 
embarrassment. "Yeah, well, it happens," the blonde vampire 

Xavier arched a dark brow at his two guests. "Angelus, what are 
you laughing at?"

"Spike did help Buffy prevent the world from going to hell," Angel 
told his old friend. "Bashed me over the head with a crowbar. 
Remind me to get back at you for that, Spike."

"Bite me, poof ball," Spike shot at Angel. His sire only chuckled. 
"Listen, Xav, the great hairdini here says I can be his Whip if 
you give the go ahead."

"I can't do that, Will," Xavier shook his head. 

Spike frowned, a hurt feeling forming in the middle of his 
stomach. "Why the bloody hell not?"

"Because I want Angelus to be my Seneschal," he replied. Angel 
blinked in surprise as Xavier looked over at him. "I need someone 
I know and can trust in my corner, Angel."

"Of course, Xavier," Angel told him. "I'd be honored to by your 

"That means you, dear William, can choose to be Primogen for the 
Toreador clan if you so desire," Xavier said to Spike. "You are 
the next oldest in the area, you are my friend and Angelus' and 
I'd wager that the rest of the clan in this area could care less. 
After all, they wanted Angie to be Primogen."

"Up yours, Xav," Angel said.

Spike's mind was reeling. **This is bloody perfect. I couldn't 
have wished myself into a better position within the conclave. 
I'll have to put up with a bit more politicking than I'd wanted, 
but my job is more important to piss this opportunity away,** he 
thought. "I'll do it, s'long as there's no objection from the 
peanut gallery."

"Wonderful," Xavier said, throwing his arm around Spike's leather-
clad shoulder. "We'll get right on it. I'll have Maurice show you 
to your suite in the north wing. Angie, baby, I have one for you, 
too, in that wing." He led the two vampires further into the 
mansion. "Just think, the Three Musketeers together again."

"Not with the Musketeer talk again," Angel complained. "I thought 
I'd finally beat that out of you."

"I get to be Porthos this time," Spike said, their voices fading 
as they left the great hall. "He always got the good wine and 

Part Two

The suite that made up Spike's quarters was the size of a small 
apartment. It had a living room, kitchenette with table and 
chairs, two bedrooms and a bathroom that interconnected them. 
Seeing as he didn't have a lot of things, it was easy to move 
right into the mansion.

He'd been there for two weeks now, having been accepted by the 
clan in the area as Primogen. It helped that those he had kept in 
contact with were the more respected members of the Toreador clan, 
such as club owners and art dealers. Plus, none of them wanted the 
job and were grateful to pass it onto him. If it wasn't his new 
assignment for the Gehenna Cult, he wouldn't want the job, either.

He was lucky as to not have had his first conclave meeting yet 
with the other Primogen and Xavier, but not so lucky as to all the 
general wants and complaints he'd received. Angel had laughed at 
him when the first batch of faxes came in, glad to have passed the 
job onto someone else, as well. Of course, no one realized how 
difficult it was going to be for him to read all the messages and 
he wasn't about to let on that fact, either. 

"Doesn't anyone use the friggin' phone anymore?" Spike cursed as 
he stabbed at the keys on the laptop. Email was the new 
'fashionable' communique and his sire had cheerfully provided him 
with a computer and cell phone for easy access. Ever since then 
he'd been trying, mostly in vain, to operate the thing, not 
including the time it took for him to read the contents of the 
email and peck out a reply. With a growl, he slammed the top shut 
and pushed away from the table, his chair making a loud squeak on 
the marble tile. He looked down at the multiple scratch marks on 
the floor because of this oft repeated action and swore again. 
"Xavier is going to have my bloody head."

Grabbing his pack of smokes off the table, he stuck them in the 
front pocket of his green t-shirt, then put the laptop and cell 
phone, both still on, in the travel case and slung it over his 
shoulder. Perhaps he could bash Angel over the head with it 
several times, then take a quick trip north to beat on Christoph 
for giving him the assignment. Mostly, though, he knew if he 
didn't bring it with him, he'd never get anything done and his 
whole assignment would go to hell. Although that prospect wasn't 
looking too bad right now.

Exiting his suite, he almost ran into one of the vampires whom he 
wished to do bodily harm. "Angel, you old fart," Spike greeted. 
"Just the wanker I wanted to kill."

"Spike, grow up," Angel retorted, pushing past his childe and 
heading out of the wing. 

Spike trailed behind him, his curiosity peaked as to what was the 
older vampire's hurry. "Where you off to, mate?"

"If you must know, I'm going to meet Buffy," Angel replied over 
his shoulder. 

"Sounds like a load of fun," he said. "Wouldn't mind a bit of 
violence right about now. Mind if I tag along?"

Angel paused and looked at Spike, wondering what was going on in 
his head. "Since when are you so hard up for entertainment you'd 
choose to go with me?"

"Can't a bloke do something without there being a grand scheme 
behind it?" Spike replied. "I'm bored and frustrated and you're 
always good for a few laughs."

"Fine, come on," Angel sighed. "But we're not stopping on the way 
for snacks."


Twenty minutes later found the two vampires weaving their way 
through a crowd of patrons at a club reminiscent of the Bronze. 
"Behave," Angel warned Spike, who was on his third cigarette since 
the walk over, as they approached the table where Buffy was 
seated. He grabbed the smoke from the blond's mouth and tossed it 
to the ground, stamping it out beneath his foot. 

Spike scowled at Angel, but before he could reply they'd arrived. 
"Hi Angel and...Spike," Buffy said the second name with a mixture 
of confusion and distaste. She gave Angel an 'explain now or find 
yourself being vacuumed' look. 

"He has a desire to be beaten. Severely," Angel told her with a 
smirk to his companion. 

"Oh really," Buffy said, arching her brow at Spike. 

Spike's scowl deepened and dug in his pocket for the pack of 
cigarettes. He jerked the pack and one popped up, and he pulled it 
into his mouth. Buffy, however, had other ideas about his lighting 
up and she snatched it from him and broke it in half. "Hey!"

"No smoking around me," she told him. "And behave."

"Why does everyone think I'm not going to be good?" Spike asked. 
Buffy and Angel just looked at him. "Fine. I promise I'll behave. 

"Thrilled," Buffy scoffed. "I know I'm going to regret this, but 
you can sit. But don't forget, I have a stake and know how to use 

Spike took a seat and growled when the laptop chirped 'You got 
mail' at him from inside the carry case. His sire gave him another 
smirk, getting comfortable next to his somewhat girlfriend. 
"Wanker," he said under his non-existent breath, setting the case 
on the table. Buffy gave him a curious glance and Angel leaned 
over to whisper in her ear, then the two got up to dance.

He opened up the case and laptop, brushing his thumb across the 
touchpad to take it out of standby. He looked at the number of new 
messages in the bottom left corner of the screen. There were two 
digits worth. "Cor, I am going to rip Christoph's eyeballs out and 
use them in my martini," he grumbled as he scrolled down the list 
of message subjects, seeing if anything shouted out to him. He was 
so engrossed in trying to decipher the words and muttering at the 
screen that he hadn't noticed anyone's approach until a startled 
gasp broke his concentration.


Spike turned his head to see Willow standing behind him, hand to 
her chest in fright. "Hello, Willow," he greeted, then turned back 
to talking to the laptop. "Bloody hell, what do you mean 'mail not 
de-' whatever? Why can't you pillocks just pick up the bleedin' 
phone and ring me?"

Visiting for the week with Buffy while her parents were in Europe, 
Willow had been at the bar getting a drink when Angel and Spike 
had arrived. Her eyes darted around the club and she saw the 
couple dancing. They waved at her and when she pointed at Spike, 
Buffy shrugged. "Spike, what are you doing here?"

"I'm using the friggin' computer, what does it look like," he 
growled, not moving his eyes from the keyboard as he poked with a 
single finger at the letters. "I hate this bloody useless 

Willow couldn't help but laugh as the memory of Giles saying 
something similar to that came forth. Spike looked over his 
shoulder at her and she immediately stopped, a combination blush 
and pallor spreading over her skin. "I wasn't laughing at you, I 
was laughing at what you said. Not that what you said was funny, 
it just reminded me of what Giles said about the computer. Not 
that you remind me of Giles. You're a lot younger...wait, you're 
older, as in very old, as in a vampire, as in you could kill me 
right now and I think I'll stop before you do."

Spike stared at her with his ice blue eyes for a moment, then 
started to laugh, making Willow more nervous. "Don't worry, luv, 
I'm not going to kill you," he told her. "I promised to behave."

"Um, good," she replied. "I think I'll, uh, drink my drink now."

"You do that, pet," he said, turning back to the keyboard. 

Willow stayed as far from him as she could get as she sat down. 
When he started cursing at the laptop again, her curiosity was 
peaked. Unable to help herself, she moved closer to look over his 
shoulder at the screen. "You only need to forward the message 
again," she said without thinking. 

"Do what?" Spike asked, looking over at her.

She blushed. "Oh, um, just click on the forward message button and 
type in the address," she told him.

"You know how to use this bloody thing?" he said. 

"Uh, y-yes?" Willow replied. "You could say that."

For the first time in his long life, his begged. It was pitiful, 
but he was at the end of his rope. "Will you please help me?" 
Spike asked. "Before I bloody well go insane. Please?"

Willow's eyes were huge. "You're asking me for help? Me?"

"You don't see anyone else standing here, do you?" he scoffed, 
then groaned. **Alienate the girl, why don't you,** he thought. 
"Yes, I am asking you for help."

"O-Ok," she agreed, pulling the laptop over in front of her. 
"Where do you want this to go?"

"I have no clue," Spike admitted. He gestured uselessly at the 
machine as he stood, then dug out a cigarette and put it in his 
mouth. "It was suppose to be a general message to the list or 
whatever you call it, telling them that their problems and what 
not will be dealt with as soon as I bloody well get to them." 

"Do you want it to go to any of these people who sent you new 
messages?" Willow asked, her finger moving over the touchpad with 
practiced ease. 

"Can you do that?" he replied, lighting the cigarette, then 
leaning over her shoulder.

"Of course," she said. "Now, where's your original message?"

"In that thing," he said, tapping the word 'drafts' on the screen 
with his finger. "At least, I think it was in there. Bloody hell, 
why can't the gits just use the friggin' phone?"

She tried not to chuckle, but it came out anyway. "Sorry. Er, hmm. 
I need to ask - do you mind if I see the email or not?"


"Well, when I click on it, the message will appear and if you 
don't want me to see it, I need to...not look," Willow explained. 

Spike thought about that for a minute. The thing about working 
under the rules of the Camarilla stated that a vampire kept up the 
Masquerade no matter what and breaking that rule was punishable by 
death. Then again, the red head in front of him already knew all 
about the Kindred through her association with Buffy...and he wouldn't be technically breaking any rules. Plus, he 
really wanted the help before he poked out his eyes. "You can 
look, pet. In fact, if you see any mistakes, feel free to fix 
them," he finally said. **Might as well get all the help I can.**

Willow nodded and pulled up the message.

All maters will be takin kar of in the order resevd.

Spike, Primogin Toreador 

She frowned, glanced up at the vampire over her shoulder, then 
back at the screen. "Um, Spike. If I suggest something, will you 
eat me?"

"No," he chuckled. "Although I've never heard anyone asking me 
that before."

"Uh, well, how about this for a message instead: Ladies and 
Gentlemen," she said as she typed. "I have received your email and 
will be reviewing each one in the order they were received. I 
shall respond to each as time permits. Thank you. And then we put 
your name and then your title. You have a title?"

"Yeah," Spike replied offhand because his mind was focusing on 
what she'd just put together in a matter of seconds which took him 
a half-hour to do. And the speed she typed was phenomenal. Plus, 
her message sounded much better than his did. 

"What's a Prim-o-gin?" Willow asked. 

"What?" he asked, snapping back to reality. 

"Prim-o-gin? And what about Toreador? Unless I shouldn't be asking 
you this. I shouldn't, should I. Oh boy, now I'm toast," she 
rambled nervously.

Spike chuckled again and took a seat, tapping the cherry on his 
cigarette onto the floor. This little red head was certainly 
amusing and inquisitive. He wondered if she was like this when 
he'd kidnaped her way back in November, but everything during that 
time was clouded because of his drunken haze. "Well, luv, a 
Primogen is sort of like a member of Parliament. I'm the 
representative of the Toreador clan for LA."

"Clan? As in a clan of vampires?"

"It isn't a clan of knitters," he replied. 

"Does Buffy know about this clan?" Willow asked, her eyes wide as 
she looked at him.

"No, pet, she doesn't," Spike said. "And you aren't going to tell 
her, either. She doesn't need to go after those under the 
Camarilla, although she'd be hard pressed to find them."

"Why? And what's the Camarilla?" 

"The Camarilla is a sect of vampires who follow the rules of the 
Masquerade," he explained. "Don't let mortals know vampires exist, 
don't kill unless necessary when you feed, keep your human mask on 
at all times in public, that sort of thing. Angel is a perfect 
example of a Kindred who lives by the rules, although with the 
Ravnos curse on him, he's a farmer rather than getting blood 

"Angel's a farmer?" Willow said. 

"Farmer. Banker. A vampire who drinks animal blood or from blood 
bags," Spike told her. 

She nodded in understanding. "Ok, so Angel follows all these 
rules. Do you?"

"Now I do," he answered. "I didn't when I was in the Sabbat sect. 
That's the group of vampires that the Slayer goes after. The sect 
doesn't care if mortals know about them or not." 

"What's your job as Primogen?" Willow inquired.

"Mostly getting email and faxes because no one will pick up the 
bloody phone," he grumbled. She giggled, then covered her mouth in 
fear and he smiled at her. "You can laugh, pet. I told you I'm not 
going to eat you."

"Sorry," she said. "Um, one more question. You said you're 
Primogen for the Toreador clan. How many clans are there?" 

"Seven under the Camarilla, thirteen if you count the Independents 
and those exclusively in the Sabbat," Spike replied. His eyes 
darted around the club, looking for examples. "You see that 
scruffy looking bloke by the door?"

"The one with the shaggy hair?"

"That's the one, ducks. He's a Gangrel. They're very...wild. 
They're mostly bikers or gang bangers," he said. "That one over by 
the bar, the one with the suit and pinkie ring with the pentagram? 
That's a Tremere. They're sorcerers, wizards and the like. 
Annoying sods mostly."

"What about Angel?"

"He's a Toreador," Spike answered.

"Which is why you're one, too," Willow surmised.

"Right. And that wanker that's heading right for us is a Ventrue. 
Think rich snobbery and you'll have that clan pegged," he said. 

"Will, are you telling tales?" Xavier asked as he walked up to the 
table. "Has my old friend been flirting with you? If so, don't 
take it personally. He flirts with all the pretty skirts and a few 
of the fellows, too."

"Willow, this is Aramis. Ignore him," Spike said.

Xavier clucked his tongue as he picked up Willow's hand. "Now, 
now, Porthos, no need to get in a tizzy. Actually, my name is 
Xavier DuPrey, fair lady."

"Willow Rosenberg," Willow returned as he kissed her hand. Spike 
snorted in derision. "Did you guys just call each other the 
Musketeer names?"

"Call twinkle toes over there Athos and see what he does," Spike 
suggested with a grin.

"Will, you shouldn't mock Angel like that," Xavier said, sitting 
down in a vacant chair. "That's my job."

"Will?" Willow said, confused as she looked at Spike. "Oh! Will. 
William the Bloody. I get it."

Xavier arched a dark brow at the peroxide blond. "William the 
Bloody, eh? I thought it was Longstreet." 
"You have a last name?" Willow said in surprise. "I need to tell 
Giles so he can put it in the Diaries. What about Angel? Does he 
have a last name, too? Well, of course he does. I meant, do you 
know his last name? Buffy doesn't know his last name, and they're 
together. Although not in the together sense of together. Um..." 

"Is she always this curious?" Xavier asked Spike. 

"So far as I know," Spike replied, giving the hacker a wink. 
Willow blushed. "Peaches last name is Brennan, pet." 

"Angelus Brennan," Willow said, sounding out the words. "Spike 
Longstreet. That sounds funny." 

"It does at that," Xavier agreed. "Why he picked that ridiculous 
monkier is beyond me." 

"Sod off, Xav,"Spike said. "If you must know, Dru gave me that 

"That explains it then," Xavier said, motioning with his finger by 
his temple in the universal 'looney' sign. Willow giggled. 

"Xavier, was there something you wanted or did you just drop by to 
annoy me?" Spike asked. 

"Meeting, tonight, midnight," Xavier said, all business. "Bring 
any complaints you have to the table." 

"Bloody hell," the blond vampire cursed quietly. He brought his 
hands up and began to massage his temples. "I'm not ready to meet 
with the conclave yet, Xavier." He raised his eyes and saw the 
look he was receiving from the other vampire. "Oh, don't worry 
about Willow. She knows all about us." 

"Did you tell her?" Xavier asked in a deadly voice. 

"No, I did not," Spike said, glaring at him. "She knew about the 
Kindred before I even met her, so you can put away your pearly 

"Is this true, my dear?" the French vampire asked Willow. 

"That I know about vampires? Yes," Willow said. "I didn't know 
there were so many different kinds though. I just thought you all 
were a bunch of demons who eat people like me for breakfast. Is it 
called breakfast if you eat it at night? But Spike said he 
wouldn't eat me and for some dumb reason I believe him. Plus, 
Buffy's right over there with Angel and she'd stake him for 

Xavier laughed loudly, uncaring of the stares he received. "Will, 
old boy, I underestimated you. You sure know how to pick 'em." 
With that, the Prince of Los Angelus got up and left. 

"I think I'm getting a bleedin' headache," Spike muttered. "If he 
wasn't the Prince, I'd box his ears in. May still do it, the night 
is young." 

"Spike, you're muttering," Willow said without thought, turning 
her attention back to the computer. "Now, about this message..." 

Spike's head suddenly shot up and he really looked at her, an idea 
forming in his head. "Willow, how about a proposition?" 

"Er, I-I don't think I'm your type," Willow stammered, turning 
bright red. "I'm short and have red hair a-a-and I'm human." 

He let out a big laugh. "Cor, Willow, no. I didn't mean that sort 
of proposition. I was wondering if you'd be willing to help out a 
poor vampire with his new job." 

"Doing what?" she asked, curious. 

"You can be my Whip," he replied. "It's like a personal assistant. 
Read email, reply to messages, save me from bashing my head 
repeatedly against a hard wall, crap like that." 

"Um, I don't know..." 

"I'll pay you," Spike said, really liking the idea of help. "And 
you can have free room and board for however long you work with 

"But I'm only visiting here for a week," Willow said. "And in 
August...well, I don't know what I'm doing in August." 

"How 'bout this, luv. Try it out for the rest of your visit and 
then we'll see," he suggested. He did something he hadn't done in 
a long time at that moment - he crossed his fingers for luck. 
**Say yes, please say yes.** 

"Well, if I can still stay with Buff-" 

"No problem, anything you want, pet," Spike cut her off, a huge 
smile on his face. "We need to get started right away for this 
soddin' meeting tonight. Don't want to go in the new vamp looking 
like a wanker. Want to work here or at my suite at the mansion? 
Come to think of it, we'd better work there so you can see all the 
bloody faxes and memos I got. Remind me to pound Angel's head in 
next time he smirks at me for taking this friggin' post..." 

Willow's eyes had widened and her mouth dropped open slightly as 
he went on...and on. **What have I gotten myself into now? 

Part Three
"Watch this," Spike said conspiratorially as he and Willow 
approached Buffy and Angel. The couple stopped dancing and turned 
to them. "Athos! Got a bit of news from on high."

Angel's reaction was immediate. His hand snaked out and grabbed 
the back of the blond vampire's head, yanking him until they were 
practically nose to nose. "How many times are we going to go 
through this? Don't call me that!"

In response, Spike kissed him on the lips. "Whatever you say, 

The older vampire shoved him away and wiped his mouth with the 
back of his arm. Willow had her hand up over her mouth, trying to 
stifle her laughter as Buffy gave the pair a curious look. Spike 
turned and winked at the red head, then returned his attention to 
Angel, a serious expression on his face. "Xavier popped by. 
Midnight Madness," he told his sire.

Angel nodded. "Don't be late."

"Me?" Spike said, trying to give him an innocent look. "I'm never 

"Right, and I'm the Pope," Angel scoffed.

"Actually, I think his eminence gets laid more than you do, mate," 
Spike replied with an evil smirk. At Angel's look, he figured it 
was time to cut his losses and run. "I'll bring Willow back after 
the meeting, Slayer. Adios, amigos." He turned and took Willow's 
arm, quickly walking away from the couple before they could stop 

Once out of the club, Willow let her laughter come forth. "Spike, 
that was so mean - the Pope gets more than Angel."

"It's the truth," Spike shrugged, dropping her arm and digging out 
yet another cigarette. He frowned down at the empty pack. 

"How are we getting to..." Willow started to ask as he flagged 
down a taxi, then opened the door for her. 

"Your pumpkin, milady," he said, giving a mock bow. He climbed in 
afterwards and gave the address to the driver. Ten minutes later 
the hacker was gawking up at the mansion as he paid the driver. 
"Hasn't anyone told you that you can catch flies that way?"

"What?" Willow said, barely turning her head to him. Then she 
caught what he said and her mouth clamped shut. 

Spike chuckled. "Come on, and stick close. There's lots of people 
in here who'd love to sink their teeth into you."

"That's reassuring," she mumbled as she followed him into the 

The sprawling home had three wings, plus a central part that 
connected them. The north wing was a series of suites for guests, 
the east wing was where Xavier made his home and the west wing 
held everything else, including the kitchen, dining room, grand 
ballroom, game room and conclave meeting room. Spike led Willow 
through the great hall up a sweeping staircase to the second 
floor, then down the long, ornate hallways to his rooms. 

"Angel is four down," Spike told her, gesturing further down the 
hall. He opened the door and let her proceed him. "And this is 

Willow looked curiously around the room, noting the piles of 
papers stacked haphazardly over any available surface. CDs were 
scattered on the floor in front of the stereo, a teetering pile of 
videos sat on top of the television and empty cigarette packs 
could be seen all over. She shook her head and moved further into 
the suite, stepping over a pair of boots and heading for the 
kitchen table where Spike was unpacking the laptop again. She 
started to giggle when she saw a lone sock looking like it was 
trying to make a break for it from an open bedroom doorway. She 
stuck her head inside and saw clothing scattered all over the 
place, as well as more papers and miscellaneous junk. It was 
official -- Spike was a slob.

"Alright, how do you want to do this?" Spike asked, picking up a 
cigarette pack on the table. He frowned when he found it empty. "I 
have..." He looked at the clock on the wall. "Roughly two hours 
until this meeting."

"First, tell me more about this meeting, so I know what you need 
to have," Willow said, skirting around a tower of cans to the 
kitchen table. She took a seat and moved the laptop in front of 
her after clearing a spot. 

Spike opened a cabinet and pulled out an open carton, scowling 
when he found it empty of cigarettes, too. "This meeting is where 
all the head yo-yo's of the seven clans under Xavier's rule get 
together and...uh, meet."

"Hence the definition of meeting," she sighed, tucking her hair 
behind her ears. "What do you do at these meetings?"

"How the bloody hell should I know?" Spike replied, opening the 
small oven door and looking inside. "Ha, found you." He reached 
inside and pulled out half a pack of cigarettes. He popped one 
into his mouth and quickly lit it.

"Those things will kill you," Willow said before she thought. He 
gave her a look. "Uh, never mind. Back to this meeting..."

"Wait, I think I have a book or something around here," he said, 
eyes darting around the suite. He moved into the living room part 
and started moving piles. "Nicolas gave it to me when I became 
Primogen. He's the Nosferatu grand poobah, lives on the first 
floor somewhere." He lifted up the couch cushions and looked under 
them. "Those blokes are a fright for sore eyes. They have a face 
only a mother could love, and that's iffy. But they sure do keep 
good records and stuff like that."

Willow was watching him as he searched, wondering how she got 
herself into helping him. **Face it, Willow. You're too nice for 
your own good,** she thought. **Either that, or you're just plain 

"Here we go," Spike said, pulling a thin book out from under the 
couch. He wiped off the cover on the side of his leg as he stood. 
"Supposedly this tells about the purpose of the conclave, a little 
about the Camarilla in general and the clans under it."

"Haven't you read it?" she asked as she took it from him.

"Yeah, right," he replied, blowing out a puff of smoke. "When do I 
have the bloody time to do it? I haven't even gotten through the 
first batch of faxes Angel foisted off on me as soon as he could, 
the pillock."

"What's Angel's job, then?" Willow said, skimming the table of 
contents. She noted that it was handwritten and the script was 

"He's Seneschal," Spike answered. "Sort of like a trusted advisor 
and back watcher. Don't tell poofboy this, but I'm glad Xavier has 
him in that position, what with the..."

"With the what?" Willow asked after he left the sentence dangling.

Spike studied her silently, the smoke from his cigarette curling 
up towards the ceiling. He debated on how much to tell her, 
especially since she was on a trial basis as his Whip. Plus, there 
was that whole secrecy thing to the Gehenna Cult to follow. Making 
up his mind on telling her a half truth, he pulled out the chair 
next to her and sat backwards on it. "There's always attempts made 
on the Prince's life, or unlife as it were. Some Kindred wanting 
to get into his position, to rule the Domain their way."

"So Angel's secret service," she said. "Does he get to wear one of 
those ear things and never smile? Well, he doesn't smile much 
anyway, so it wouldn't be too hard for him and he could have that 
whole Kevin Costner thing going, except that Xavier isn't Whitney 
Houston and he's, well, a he."

"Basically," Spike chuckled. "Why don't you go ahead and read that 
while I gather up all the faxes and crap for you. I know I wrote 
some notes as to their importance on the top of some..." He 
trailed off as he stood and went into the bedroom.

Willow had already turned her attention to the book, her mind 
itching to absorb the knowledge it contained. **What is the 
Camarilla?** she read. **The Camarilla is a sect of vampires who 
strive to maintain the Masquerade in order to ensure the safest 
and most profitable existence possible for its members. Those that 
pledge their allegiance to the Camarilla agree to follow the rules 
of Traditions, first and foremost being that of the Masquerade -- 
do not allow mortals to know of Kindred existence.**

Spike returned to the kitchen area and put a large stack of papers 
on the table before heading into the living room to gather more as 
she continued to read. **The second Tradition is that of the 
Domain. Most Domains are run by a Prince and include areas of a 
city or certain industries. The Prince is the ultimate authority 
and is in control of the other four Traditions -- Progeny, 
Accounting, Hospitality and Destruction. A Kindred must get the 
Prince's approval to create childer (Progeny) and that sire is 
responsible for the fledglings actions (Accounting). It is the 
responsibility of those Kindred not from the Domain to introduce 
themselves upon entering (Hospitality), whether it be for a visit 
or to set up residence. Finally, the Prince has the right to call 
a blood hunt upon any Kindred (Destruction) in violation of the 
aforementioned Traditions, especially that of the Masquerade.**

"Ow, bloody hell," Spike cursed, sucking on his finger as he set 
another pile on the table. "Damn papercuts."

Willow giggled, then went back to the book. **The Primogen are 
chosen members of each of the seven clans in allegiance with the 
Camarilla as representatives for that clan within the Domain. They 
meet periodically at a conclave meeting where problems or concerns 
are discussed with the Prince, blood hunts are decided upon and 
information is passed along in regards to politics or decrees. 
Each Primogen are allowed a Whip for assistance in the affairs of 
the post. They may sit in on conclave meetings and have the use of 
all the resources available to the Primogen.**

Spike suddenly growled, making her head shoot up in fright. He 
sent her a sheepish grin. "Sorry, luv. I forgot about something," 
he said, walking over to the phone on the wall. He picked it up 
and dialed three numbers. "Maurice, you know about the...I 
need...Right, thanks."

"I think I know enough to get started," Willow told him, closing 
the book. "Why don't you go through the faxes and sort them into 
piles. Make one for complaints, one for permissions and one for 
things you don't know how to classify."

"What are you going to do?" Spike asked, looking at the table 
which was now filled with papers.

"I'm going to go through the email and do the same thing," she 
replied. "Then, I'll filter through them and draft you a report-
type thing in..." She glanced at the clock. ..."an hour and a 
half. Oh boy, it's going to be a really rough draft. Like 
sandpaper. Or bark."

Spike gave her a funny look, but she was already immersed in what 
was on the computer screen. Picking up the first fax, he set about 
doing as she asked. Ignoring the area about who it was from, he 
focused on the main body of the message. **This is going to take 
bloody forever,** he thought as he struggled to decipher the 

After half and hour, the blond vampire scraped the chair across 
the marble tile making Willow glance up at him with a questioning 
look. He ignored her and went over into the living room, sitting 
down on the floor in front of the stereo. She looked around the 
laptop and saw one semi-large pile and two piles with at most four 
pages each. There was a knock at the door and Spike stood to 
answer it.

"Hello, Maurice," Spike greeted, allowing the vampire butler to 
enter the room. 

"Sir," Maurice returned, holding a garment bag in one hand.

"I'll take that," Spike said, but Maurice avoided his hands.

"That's quite alright, sir," he said. "I shall hang it in the 
closet. Knowing you, it would end up under the bed and ruin all my 
hard work."

Willow snickered, bringing the attention of the two vampires on 
her. "Sorry," she said, ducking her eyes.

"Maurice, this is Willow," Spike introduced as they headed further 
into the suite. "Willow, Maurice, the all around pain in the 

"Actually, my title is butler," Maurice corrected. "You hold the 
honor of being called the 'pain in the arse.'" Spike glared at him 
as Willow giggled again. "Hello, Miss. It is a pleasure to make 
your acquaintance."

"Um, hi," Willow replied, smiling at him. She couldn't help but 
think of Ben Kingsley as she took in his proper suit and tie, his 
calm demeanor and his subtle jibes at Spike. 

"And how did you manage to become roped in by Master William? He 
did not use that dreadful line of showing you his etchings, did 
he?" Maurice asked. 

"Watch it, Maurice," Spike growled.

"No," she laughed. "He asked for help with the meeting tonight and 
I said yes, which was pretty dumb. Not the meeting. Spike. Oh, I 
don't mean that Spike is dumb. That is..."

"I understand, Miss," Maurice interrupted. "Although I would have 
gone with your first assessment of Master William." He winked at 
her, then turned to Spike. "Now then, sir, if I could have a 

Spike trailed after Maurice into the bedroom, where the butler 
hung the bag in the closet after kicking several piles of clothing 
out of the way. "Before you say anything, I know she is mortal and 
knows about the Masquerade. She's already met Xavier and has his 
seal of approval," the blond vampire said.

"Very well, sir," Maurice said. "I take it, then, you are hoping 
she will become your Whip?"

"How did you...never mind," Spike finished. "You seem to know 
every friggin' thing that goes on here."

"That is my job, sir," he replied. "I shall leave you two now to 
finish preparing for the conclave meeting. Do not be late."

"Why does everyone think I'm going to be bloody late?" Spike said, 
following him out of the bedroom.

"Because we all know you, sir," Maurice replied as he walked over 
to Willow. "Good evening, Miss. Shall you require anything, dial 
542 and I shall see if I can be of assistance." He leaned down to 
whisper, "I suggest you set that clock on the wall fifteen minutes 
ahead. Master William has yet to be on time since I have known 
him. It use to annoy Master Xavier and Master Angelus to no end."

"O-ok," Willow stammered. 

Maurice straightened and headed for the door. "Good evening, 
Master William. I shall see you at midnight."

After the door closed, Spike sighed and ran his hand through his 
hair. "I hate this stupid assignment," he muttered.

"He seems nice," Willow commented as the vampire went back over to 
the stereo.

"He's an annoying know-it-all who has nothing better to do with 
his unlife than make fun of me," Spike replied. "At least the sod 
didn't ask if I needed help tying my shoes this time." 

"How long have you known him?" she asked, curious.

"Too long," he said with a smirk. "He was with Xavier when Angel 
and I met him. I think he was Xav's manservant when he was still 

"Is Xavier older than Angel?"

"Yeah, but not by much," Spike replied. He selected a CD and put 
it in the changer. "It always dug at hairboy that Aramis was 

"Um, why do you call each other names from the Three Musketeers?" 
Willow asked. She silently got up and pushed the minute hand on 
the clock ahead fifteen minutes.

"Xavier would be able to give you the long winded story," Spike 
said, digging under the couch cushions again for the remote. "In a 
nut, he read the book and got all talley-ho about the 'all for one 
and one for all' crap. He started to call Angel 'Aramis' and the 
whole name calling thing got started. This time, though, I get to 
be Porthos instead of him and Angel gets stuck with Athos, the 
serious, brooding Musketeer."

"So it's basically a big inside joke," she summed up. 

"And it drives Angel looney, so we try to call each other the 
names often," he replied with a grin. 
He found the remote and hit play, then joined her again at the 
kitchen table. "Now, where was I?"

"Making piles," Willow replied.

"Right, well, as long as I wasn't making puddles..." 

Part Four

Spike glanced up at the clock and started swearing -- in Spanish. 

"What? What is it? What's wrong?" Willow asked as the blond 
vampire shoved back the chair and hurried out of the room. They 
had been working comfortably to the loud music blaring from the 
stereo and she had finally thrown together an extremely rough copy 
of things that needed to be brought up at the meeting. 

She picked up the remote as she stood, hitting stop and walking 
towards the bedroom. "Spike, what is i-oop," she barely had time 
to duck as clothing came flying at her. He was systematically 
picking things off the floor and tossing them over his shoulder. 
"What are you doing?"

"I'm looking for my bloody towel," Spike growled. 

"Um, wouldn't it be in the bathroom?" she suggested.

Spike stopped and looked over at her. "Good point," he said, going 
into the bathroom and closing the door behind him.

Willow shook her head and returned to the small kitchenette. She 
was moving the piles around on the table and happened to look up 
at the clock. Then, she giggled. "Good thing Maurice told me to 
set the clock ahead." 

She was amazed that she'd been with Spike for a little over two 
hours now and, not only had he not even attempted to kill her, he 
was altogether friendly if not downright fun to be around. 
Although they had mostly worked -- well, she mostly worked, he 
smoked and cursed and mumbled incoherently to himself - they had 
chatted about general things like television and music. 

She heard a knock on the door and went to answer it, surprised to 
see the vampire on the other side. Even more so surprised by the 
clothes he was wearing. "Angel, hi! You look great."

"Thanks," Angel replied, giving her a small smile. "How are you 

"Um, fine," she said, unsure of how to answer his question. 

"He's kept his teeth to himself? No reason for me to beat him 

"Er, no."


Willow stared in amazement at her friend. "Angel, you joked. You 
made a joke. You never make jokes. Or talked so much. To me. And 
you don't seem too worried that I'm here with Spike. Should I be 
worried about that? You're not Angelus again, are you? Oh, that 
would be bad."

Angel laughed, surprising her again with the richness of its 
sound. "No, Willow, I'm still Angel. I'd actually be more worried 
about Spike's being with you, after what he pulled last November. 
But I know he won't do anything to hurt you. Annoy you, yes. Hurt 
you, no."

"Wait, how do you know he won't hurt me?" Willow asked. "He could 
be setting up a devious plan."

"Several reasons," Angel said. "First, he wouldn't have told us he 
was going to bring you back to Buffy's after the meeting. Second, 
he actually told us you two were leaving. Third, Maurice called 
when you got here. And finally, he called again when he verified 
that Spike wanted you for his Whip, which means he needs your 
help. That's a pretty powerful position. You basically have Spike 
in the palm of your hand."

"But I haven't decided that I want to be his Whip," she protested. 
"Although it has been interesting. Say, do you get to wear an ear 
thing like Kevin Costner?"

"Do I what?" he asked, confused.

"Uh, never mind," she replied. "Do you want to come in and wait?"

"No, if I did that, then I'd be late to the meeting," Angel told 
her. "And I'm never late."

"Well, ok. I, um, guess I'll see you later," Willow said.

"Actually, I'll see you at the meeting," he replied.

"What? No, no, no. I'm not going to any meeting. I'm only rough 
draft girl," she said quickly. "Besides, you're all dressed up. 
Look at me. I'm not. I'm dressed down. I'm dressed for not going 
to meetings."

"Spike's going to want you to go," Angel told her. "In fact, he'll 
probably beg you to go. Hmm, maybe I should stick around just to 
see that."


"I'd better go before the temptation is too great," he said, 
giving her another small smile. Then he turned and walked down the 

Willow closed the suite door and leaned heavily against it. She 
wondered for the tenth time how she managed to get herself into 
this situation. And to have Angel not worried at all about her 
being with Spike! Not that she was too afraid of him anymore, 
herself. Straightening, she brushed her hands over her long, 
flowered skirt and off-white blouse. **Well, I'm not that badly 
dressed. Maybe if I run a comb through my hair...wait, I'm not 
going to the meeting! It's a vampire meeting. With vampires. 
Although I already know Spike. And Angel. And I sort of know 
Xavier. And Maurice. Stop it! I am not going!**

"Willow, can you help me tie this bloody thing. Cor, I am going to 
shove it up one side of Christoph's nose and pull it out the 
other," Spike grumbled as he came out of the bedroom.

Willow froze, her mouth dropping slightly open at the sight of 
him. "Spike, you-you-you're wearing a suit!"

"I am?" Spike mocked, wide eyed. "Why didn't someone tell me?"

Broken out of her amazement by his words, she scowled as she 
walked over to him. She picked up the two ends to the patterned 
tie and began working on a Windsor knot. "Chin up," she said, then 
pulled the tie into place.

"Tight enough there, pet?" he choked out, pulling at his collar 
after she'd stepped away.

"Don't pull," Willow scolded. "And button your jacket."

"Yes, mum," Spike said, earning another glare. He buttoned the 
jacket and struck a pose. "What do you think? Cover of GQ, right?"

"More like MAD magazine," she replied saucily, then turned bright 
red and quickly walked to the kitchenette in the wake of his 

"Really, luv, do I look ok?" Spike asked seriously. "I hate these 
stupid monkey suits. Give me a pair of trousers and a t-shirt and 
I'm game."

Willow took her time in looking him over. The suit was tailored to 
perfection, the jacket tapering slightly at the waist in a dark 
navy. His starched white shirt was a perfect contrast with the 
dark material, the maroon and navy tie making him look nothing 
like the killer she knew in Sunnydale. Then again, he hadn't been 
acting like the Spike she knew, either. "You look good, Spike. 

"Damn. And I was going for childish and immature," he replied, 
running his fingers through his damp hair. He glanced at the clock 
again. "Damn, I'm late."

"No, you're not. You still have five minutes, clock's fast," 
Willow told him as she picked up the handwritten notes she'd made. 
**Gonna have to get a printer,** she thought absently as she 
leafed through them. "This is really pretty sketchy, but it should 
be enough for this meeting at least. I put what I thought was the 
most important issues on top-"

"Come with me," Spike interrupted her.

"No. That's ok. I'll wait here," she said.


Willow looked up at his soft, hopeful tone. His blue eyes where 
pleading her to go with him and he looked somewhat vulnerable. 
"Spike, why do you need me to go? I have everything written out 
nicely for you and-"

"I can't read," Spike said, admitting his problem for the first 
time to anyone. He dropped his head and scratched at the black 
polish on his thumb. "I don't want to make a bloody fool out of 
myself. I'm the new chap on the block as it is, and I got the post 
because I'm friends with the Prince and the Seneschal is my sire. 
Talk about friggin' nepotism."

"Um, that would be favoritism," she said. He raised his eyes to 
her. "You're not related to either of them by blood. I mean, by 
genes and DNA and...uh, stuff."

"Hell," he growled, grabbing his last pack of cigarettes off the 
table. It was empty. "Damn it! Who does a mate have to kill around 
here to get a bloody fag!" He grabbed at his tie and tugged on it, 
spinning so his back was to her, fists clenched at his sides.

Willow walked around in front of him after a moment and started to 
straighten his tie. "If you keep pulling on this, we're going to 
be late," she said. "And we don't want Maurice to be right, 

Spike stared down at her incredulously. "You mean you'll come with 

"After all the hard work I did, you bet I want to go," she 
replied, giving him a smile.

"Well, then we'd best be off," he said, grinning at her like a 
schoolboy. Then, he got a very deadly look on his face. "What I 
told you goes no further than this room, or, make no joke of it, I 
will kill you."

"I won't," Willow promised, swallowing nervously. "We should um, 
go now."

"Right," he agreed, gesturing back to the kitchen table. "You 
grab...whatever and I'll...stand here while you do that." She 
laughed, breaking the tension as he hoped. He glanced at the clock 
once more, subtracting in his head. 

For once, he was going to be on time.

Part Five
Maurice was standing outside the door to the conclave meeting room 
when Willow and Spike arrived. The vampire butler looked like he 
was in shock. "Master William, Miss Willow," he said. He pulled 
out an antique pocket watch, looked at it, then held it up to his 
ear before looking at it again.

"Alright, Maurice, that's about enough of that," Spike grumbled, 
pulling on his collar.

"I pushed the clock ahead," Willow confided in Maurice. 

"Ah, that explains it," Maurice said. "I have a chair set up for 
you, Miss. And don't let the other doggerel get to you. If Master 
William wishes you to be his Whip, then you more than meet the 
expectations for the position." He leaned closer to the red head 
to whisper, "Master William never asks or wants assistance."

"Are you through, Maurice?" Spike said. "I would like to get to 
this bloody meeting sometime."

Maurice winked at Willow. "They will not start without you, Master 
William. Fear not."

Spike looked like he was about ready to strangle the older 
vampire, so Willow took his arm and prompted him inside the 
meeting room. The room itself was large and decorative, with a 
long table sitting in the middle of it. Chairs lined each side, 
with other chairs set up slightly behind the ones at the table. 
Xavier and Angel were at the head of the table and there several 
other vampires standing around chatting with each other.

"Spike, you're here," Angel said in surprise, bringing up his 
wrist to look at his watch. 

"Will wonders never cease," Xavier commented.

"I'm not always late," Spike scowled at them. "I've been known to 
be early for several things."

Xavier looked over at Willow and she could see a mischievous 
twinkle in his eyes. "Yes, you were early for the Duchess' party 
and got us kicked out."

"You couldn't wait two days for St. Vigeous and ended up losing to 
Buffy," Angel added.

"You got toasted at that pub in the square nice and early, then 
almost got yourself killed," Xavier continued.

"Drusilla always complained of pre-ejaculation," Angel finished 
with an evil grin. Xavier burst out laughing, causing all eyes in 
the room to turn to him.

"I am going to hurt you, Angelus," Spike said quietly, his hands 
clenched at his sides. He looked down at Willow and saw that she 
was blushing, but her eyes held laughter. "Anything you want to 
add, Witch?"

"Um...n-no," Willow said, growing nervous. Her eyes darted around 
the room and she saw the other occupants staring at them, making 
her even more uncomfortable. One of them was heading their way and 
she swallowed, unconsciously taking a step closer to Spike. The 
vampire was extremely tall, well dressed, and had a face that was 
a combination of a drawing she'd seen of the Master and Sloth from 
The Goonies. 

"Hello, Will," Nicolas greeted, extending his hand. 

"Nicolas," Spike returned, shaking the Nosferatu's hand. "I'd like 
you to meet Willow. My Whip."

"Yes, so I have heard from Maurice," Nicolas said, looking down at 
Willow. "How do you do, Miss."

"Hello," Willow said, gripping the things in her hands tighter. 
When something refused to bend, she looked at her pile and saw a 
thin, black, hardcover book. "Oh! You're Nicolas!"

"That is correct," Nicolas replied, giving her a questioning look. 

"This book is beautiful," the red head gushed, showing him what 
she was talking about. "I haven't gotten to read all of it yet, 
but so far it's great. You really know how to say a lot in a few 
words, and your explanations were really easy to understand. And 
your penmanship, wow. It's perfect. Did it take a long time to 

Nicolas smiled genuinely, showing off perfect teeth in complete 
mockery of the rest of his face. "It did not take long, Willow. I 
have many others. If you would like, I would be happy to show them 
to you."

"Nicolas, keep your etchings to yourself," Spike suddenly growled, 
moving even closer to Willow. He was not about to let the beanpole 
alone with her. She was his assistant and she wouldn't have time 
for that sort of thing. Or so he told himself.

Xavier interrupted. "Gentlemen, Ladies, if you would please," he 
said, gesturing to the chairs.

"I shall speak with you more later, Willow," Nicolas said, then 
moved to his own seat.

Spike pulled on his collar again. **I hate this,** he grumbled 
mentally, pointing Willow to her place, then taking his chair. 
**Christoph is going to get an exploding cake in the mail.**

"I call this meeting to order," Xavier began, the room falling 
into silence. "First order of business is introductions. Angelus, 
whom you have all met before, has recently become my Seneschal. 
Therefore, the position of Toreador Primogen became available and 
has been filled by Angelus' childe, William Longstreet, the next 
oldest member of the clan in the area. Will."

Spike flashed everyone a cocky grin. "Call me Will, call me Spike, 
but don't call me Shirley," he said. Angel shook his head in 
sorrow that Spike was his progeny and Xavier covered his smile 
with practiced ease. "First off, I hate ritual. The less of it, 
the better. In fact, if we can cut this meeting off by one, I'll 
be a happy camper. There's a football match on the telly that I'd 
like to see. Second, I would like to introduce my Whip, Willow."

"Now hold on a minute," one of the vampires at the end of the 
table said. 

"Jason, what is it?" Xavier asked.

"She's human. I can smell her from here," Jason sneered. Dressed 
as all the others in suits, the vampire was short and stocky, his 
hair was in a buzz cut and he had earrings running up both ears. 
"She is cute," Laura stated. The female vampire pushed her long, 
black hair over her shoulder and looked at Willow. "Like a little 
china doll."

"I don't care if she's cute, Malkavian," Jason snarled. "I want to 
know why she's here and why his royal highness hasn't done 
anything about it!"

"I second that," Antonio said. He smoothed down his tie and 
readjusted the pentagram necklace so it lay perfectly in the 
center of it. The Italian Tremere gave Spike a disdainful look. 

"Listen, you sods, because I'm only going to say this once. I've 
known Willow for two years now, Angel's known her for three. She's 
known about the Masquerade and the Kindred for over three years 
and has fought against the Sabbat sect for all of them, while 
keeping the fact that we exist a secret from the other mortals," 
Spike said, his gaze icy as he met each of the others eyes. "Now, 
I have chosen her to be my Whip and she is under my protection. If 
any of you get any ideas, I will skin you with a vegetable peeler, 
then lock you in a room and make you listen to Barney until your 
bloody head explodes. Got it?"

"Anyone else?" Xavier asked. "Nicolas? Trey?"

"I don't care," Trey stated, turning his extremely wolf like gaze 
upon the hacker. He looked very uncomfortable in the suit he was 
wearing, his unkempt hair hanging around his face. The Gangrel 
continued, "As long as she don't spill, I won't gotta kill her."

"I think Willow will be a fine Whip for Will," Nicolas said. "I 
find there is nothing wrong with her being a human, and she has 
exquisite taste."

Willow got the quick impression that the Nosferatu was flirting 
with her and she ducked her head, nervously tucking her hair 
behind her ears. Under her lashes, she looked at the two others in 
the room sitting behind the female vampire and the Italian one. 
**They must be Whips, too, like me. Wait, when did I decide? I 
don't remember deciding. I don't even like Spike. Although, he is 
kinda funny and he does need the help, considering he can't read. 
How could he have lived this long and not learn how to read? It 
must be horrible,** she thought, then turned her attention back to 
the conversation.

"Angelus, your opinion," Xavier asked.

"If Spike chose Willow, I see no reason why we should prevent him 
from using her as his Whip," Angel said. "Plus, as he so 
eloquently put, Willow has known about vampires since the 
Sunnydale Harvest in 1996, before I even met her. She has kept the 
secret of our existence thus far, especially mine, since I have 
had the most contact with her while working against the Sabbat in 
that area."

"And I, as representative of the Ventrue clan, also feel that 
William's choice is alright," Xavier said. "Shall we vote? Those 
who oppose Willow for the position of Toreador Primogen Whip?" 
Jason and Antonio raised their hands. "Those in favor?" Angel, 
Spike, Nicolas and Xavier put up their hands. "Abstainers?" Trey 
raised his hand. "Laura, your vote, please."

"I like her, she's cute," Laura replied. 

"Then it is decided, five for William's choice, two against and 
one abstainer. Congratulations, Willow and welcome to the 
Camarilla, Domain Los Angeles, where all clans are treated equally 
and with respect," Xavier said to her. "Now that the preliminaries 
are out of the way, let's get down to business. Antonio, clan 
Tremere has the floor."


Willow had never been so fascinated in her life. The meeting went 
on for close to two hours, moving from clan Primogen to clan 
Primogen to discuss any problems they were having within the 
Domain. Antonio's Whip, she learned, acted like a personal 
secretary. She took notes and handed the Italian vampire his 
papers without even being asked. She never spoke and her eyes 
rarely lifted from her stenopad.

Steven, on the other hand, was the one who spoke for Laura. The 
Malkavian Whip presented the complaints of the clan, most of them 
on the strange side, in a precise, orderly manner as the female 
vampire sat like the Queen. She suspected this was because, as 
Spike had informed her, that particular clan was made up of the 
insane. Spike had also told her that because all clans were 
allowed representation, Xavier had provided the Whip to the 
Malkavians. Steven was a Ventrue and obviously relished having the 
power, even though it was for a group who didn't have all their 

Spike was the last clan Primogen to speak, being the newest member 
of the conclave, and she learned what working with him would 
entail rather quickly. She was to be a combination of the other 
two Whips, prompting Spike with her notes and answering questions 
that he deferred to her. Back in the suite, they had briefly gone 
over what each of the problems or complaints were as she drew up 
the rough report and she was amazed at his memory, especially 
since the music had been blaring at near ear popping levels. She 
realized that was how he managed to get along all the years 
without being able to read very well. 

When the meeting finally drew to a close, she had learned that 
Angel basically lurked. That seemed to be his primary job, unless 
he was asked a specific question. She gathered by the conversation 
between him and Xavier afterwards, that he worked more one on one 
with the Prince of the city. 
She had also learned that, despite having an organized government 
type operation, the vampires under the Camarilla were still 
vampires -- they were demons who fed off of humans to survive and 
many of them played sick games with mortals. The only difference 
was that they wished not to take over the world or the human race. 
They wanted to blend in and live as comfortably as possible, which 
was why they kept up the Masquerade.

"So, Miss Willow, did you enjoy your first meeting?" Maurice asked 
her as she waited for Spike.

"It was really interesting," Willow replied. "I think I got an 
understanding of the different clans and the rest was just like a 
student government meeting, with Xavier as the president."

"He has a bit more authority than that," Maurice said. "But you 
are basically correct in your assessment. By the way, you did an 
excellent job in helping Master William. No one was able to 
perceive that he is illiterate."

Willow blinked at him in shock. "You know? I didn't tell you, did 
I? Because if I did, Spike is going to kill me and I don't want to 
be dead. I like my blood right where it is."

"No, Miss, you did not tell me," he replied. "It is simply my job 
to know these things. Plus, you don't honestly think that after 
picking up after Master William for decades I would not notice?"

"True," she said, looking over at the blond vampire in question. 
"Has Spike always been that messy?"

"Yes," Maurice said. "Whereas both Master Angelus and Master 
Xavier are both neat to the extreme. After awhile, I tended to 
just pick up Master William's things and throw them into his 
chamber and turn a blind eye to the slovenliness of his room. 
Although, it was more because I was afraid something would reach 
up and grab me, like the garbage masher creature in Star Wars, 
that I avoided going in there."

Willow laughed. "What happened once Drusilla got there?"

"Sadly, Miss, Master Xavier and I both departed Master Angelus' 
company at that time," he told her. "Master Xavier wished to 
travel here to America and Master Angelus wished to stay in 
London, so we parted at that juncture. It has only been a few 
years since we met up again with him."

"Maurice, are you filling Willow's head with stories?" Angel 
asked, coming up to them.

"Only glowing ones, Master Angelus," Maurice replied solemnly.

"I'll believe that when pigs fly," Angel said. "Willow, are you 
ready to go?"

"I thought Spike was taking me home," Willow said.

Angel looked at her in surprise. "Do you want him to?"

"Well, I thought that was the plan," she replied, confused by his 
question. "Unless I got the plan wrong? Or he doesn't want to take 
me home. He doesn't, does he. Does this mean he doesn't want me 

Maurice chuckled. "No, Miss, Master William is undoubtably 
delighted with your assistance. Isn't that right, sir?"

"Isn't what right?" Spike asked, joining the three. He gave Willow 
a half-grin. "Ready to go back to the Slayer's, Willow the Whip?" 
In response, she yawned. "I take it that's a yes."

"Sorry," Willow said. "I guess I am pretty tired. We haven't 
pulled any all night research parties since before the Mayor..."

"Did the rumba on graduation. I know, I saw your little group 
working," Spike finished. Then he mentally cursed himself for 
revealing that little bit of information as Angel and she looked 
at him with surprise. **Great going, pillock. Next you'll be 
telling her you've saved the world more than the Slayer has. That 
would really ruin my reputation.**

"Yeah," she replied. "Um...I guess I'll see you, Maurice."

"Goodnight, Miss Willow," Maurice said, giving her a slight bow. 
"I shall try to stock the refrigerator in Master William's suite 
for you. That is, if I can find it."

"Shove it, Maurice," Spike said, leading her out the door. "Come 
on, Willow. Let's go before he can insult me even more."

"It wouldn't be too hard," they heard Maurice call after them.

"One of these days, I'm going to rip his tongue out," the blond 
vampire muttered.

"No, you won't," Willow said knowingly. 

"Probably not," he sighed, rooting around in the inner pocket of 
his jacket for a cigarette. He grumbled to himself when didn't 
find one. A Mercedes was waiting outside the front door for them 
and he held the door open for her. "In you go."

"Wow, nice car," she commented after they'd gotten under way. "Is 
it yours?"

"No," Spike replied. "It's one of Xav's many, many autos." They 
drove in silence for awhile, the blond vampire easily maneuvering 
through the heavy Los Angeles traffic even this late, or early in 
the morning. Finally, he asked, "Willow, are you still willing to 
help me?"

"I think I can do that," Willow said. "Until Friday for sure, 
because that's when I'm suppose to be going home."

"Friday is only two days away," he pointed out, a small pout 

"I know," she replied. "But you said this was a trial, right? To 
see how I liked it."

"Yeah, it's a trial," Spike sighed, pulling up outside Hank 
Summers' residence. He shut off the engine and climbed out of the 
car, rounding it to open her door. "Here we are, safe and sound as 

"Thanks," Willow said. He escorted her to the front door as she 
studied him from the corner of her eye, noting his somewhat 
troubled expression. "Um, what time tomorrow? And where do you 
want to meet?" She almost giggled at the happy smile he gave her.

"I'll have Maurice send someone around to collect you about four, 
is that ok?" Spike said. "There are a few human servants running 
around the mansion, used in the daytime."

"Ok," she replied. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow, then."

"Dead cert," he said. The door opened then and they both turned to 
see Buffy standing there in silk shorts and a sleep shirt. "Why 
Slayer, do you always greet people at the door in your pjs?"

Buffy ignored the question in favor of looking him over from head 
to toe. "Spike, you're wearing a suit."

Spike looked at Willow. "What is it with you people and your 
amazement with my attire?"

"Because we all thought you only had one set of clothes," Willow 
replied with a slight grin. "Just for the record, you clean up 
nicely, as Maurice said."

He scowled playfully at her. "Until tomorrow, pet," he said. 
"Nighty-night, Slayer. I'll be sure to tell Angel about how 
revealing that little ensemble is, in great detail. That should 
give him a hard on for a week." With that, he turned and sauntered 
down the walk to the car.

"Boy, would I love to be a fly on the wall to hear that 
conversation," Willow commented to Buffy as the peroxide blond 
vampire drove off. "I'll have to ask Maurice for the details 
tomorrow night."

"You sound like you had fun," Buffy said worriedly. "With Spike. 
How wrong is that?"

"It's not wrong. Spike's a lot of fun. When he's not trying to 
kill us, that is," Willow replied. "And you'll never believe what 
happened! Angel told a joke. A couple of them. They were so mean, 
especially the one about early emissions..."

Part Six

**I cannot believe I've actually agreed to do this,** Willow 
thought to herself as she hung up her clothing that she had picked 
up in the closet. **I'd say it was the Hellmouth's fault, but I'm 
not in Sunnydale, I'm in Los Angeles. Unless LA has a Hellmouth, 
too. But what would it be called? La Boca del Infierno Dos? Or 
Tambien? And how come Spike can speak Spanish so well?**

She shook her head and continued to unpack. **You should have let 
Buffy talk you out of this. Why didn't you let her talk you out of 
this? Helping Spike was one thing -- ok, it was a big one thing 
that I should have my head CAT scanned for. But taking up his 
offer of free room and board for the rest of the summer? Face it, 
Rosenberg, you have finally succumbed to the looney farm.**

"Settling in alright, Miss Willow," Maurice questioned from the 
doorway of her room. 

"Yes, Maurice, thank you," Willow replied with a smile for the 
vampire. She really liked him, especially since she spent a lot of 
time swapping stories with him over the past two weeks she'd 
worked with Spike. Having extended her stay with Buffy, although 
some extreme late nights ended with her staying over, she was able 
to put off deciding what to do about becoming the blond vampire's 
Whip. But, she had finally broken down and said yes. It had 
absolutely nothing to do with his pleading blue eyes or the 
chocolate covered cherries -- without the creme, a hard to find 
commodity - he'd given her one night as a thank you. None what so 

"I have sequestered away rations for you in the kitchenette. A 
word of warning, do not let Master William fiddle with the stove," 
Maurice said. "If the pilot light goes off, call me. Please. In 
fact, don't even let him near it when you are cooking something."

"I take it Spike doesn't have much luck with stoves," she 

"More along the lines of him lighting himself on fire," he 
replied. "He's done it before. Three times to date. But, then 
again, there was that period of time where we were not living with 

Willow laughed, picturing the shock on Spike's face when he found 
himself on fire. "I'll remember."

"Very well, if you do not need anything...?"

"No, I'm good," she told him. "I'll see you later for our nightly 
'make fun of Spike and Angel' session."

"Yes, and I do have quite a doozy to tell you about Master 
Angelus, Master William and a bag of marbles," Maurice said. 
"Until later, Miss."

"Bye," she said. The vampire butler smiled and left her to finish 
her unpacking. The room was surprisingly clean, considering the 
rest of the suite, but she had an inkling that Maurice had sneaked 
in and tidied up for her after her first night staying over. 
Wondering where her new roommate was, she pushed her suitcase 
under the bed and moved into the main part. "Spike? You here?"

"Ow! Bloody hell," Spike's voice came from his bedroom. 

Willow walked over to the open doorway and peeked in. He was 
nowhere to be seen, but maybe the clothes monster grabbed him and 
he was now buried. Giggling at her thoughts, she ventured further 
into the room. "Spike, where are you?"

"I'm trying to get this stupid, bleedin'...ouch! Dammit!" 

She found him, or rather, found his legs. With a laugh, she walked 
to the other side of the bed, bent and peered at him. "Problems?"

Spike growled at her, halfway under the bed as he tried to pry 
something off the bed springs. "You could help."

"I could," she replied. "But then I wouldn't get to make fun of 

"Ha bloody ha, ducks," he said. "Now get your scrawny chicken arms 
down here and help."

Willow shoved a bunch of clothes out of the way, then squirmed 
under the bed on the opposite side. "Chickens don't have arms. 
They have wings."

"Willow, shove it," he told her. "Just help me get this..." His 
hand slipped and scraped against the spring. "Ow!"

"This wouldn't have happened if you were a little neater," she 
said. She could hardly believe that she was under a bed with Spike 
and teasing him. Tambien for sure. "Geez, Spike, are you sure you 
want this? You could just pull a clean pair out of the drawer, or 
pick up a pair off the ground."

"No, I need this friggin' one. I have to give my re- I have a date 
and that's one of my lucky socks," Spike replied.

"You have lucky socks?" Willow began giggling wildly, her nimble 
fingers untangling the sock from the spring. 

"Shut up," he growled. "Just give me the bloody thing."

She passed him the newly freed sock, still laughing and watched as 
he wiggled out from under the bed. She stayed there several 
moments while she continued to yuck it up, her mind dying to tell 
Maurice of this little revelation. Of course, he probably already 
knew, but it was so funny. 

"Willow, are you done yet?" Spike asked.

"Nope," she replied, giggling. She let out a loud squeal as she 
found herself suddenly yanked out from under the bed. She rolled 
over to see the blond vampire scowling down at her, which only 
caused further laughs. "I can't wait to tell Buffy. And Angel. And 
Xavier. And Nicolas. Maybe I'll rent one of those airplanes and 
have them-eeii!"

The hacker was abruptly buried under a pile of dirty clothing that 
was unceremoniously dumped on her prone form. She felt more and 
more being stacked upon her and knew that it would take weeks to 
dig herself out. She pictured herself in khaki's and a pith 
helmet, battling the undergrowth of clothing and promptly burst 
into another fit of giggles. 

"Bye, little Witch," she heard Spike's very muffled voice call to 
her. "I have a date to go on."

"Word of advice, don't tell her about your lucky socks!" Willow 
yelled out to him. She heard the door slam in response. 


Spike shifted on his feet, transferring the pay phone receiver to 
his other ear. "So far nothing," he was saying into the phone. 
"Not that I've had much friggin' time to search, what with all the 
bloody work that was piled on me."

"But you have obtained a position within the conclave, as Primogen 
no less," Christoph said over the line. "That in itself is 
excellent, William."

"Well, if it wasn't for Willow, I probably would have been laughed 
right out," he replied. "That song was dead on -- thank heaven for 
little girls."

"Tell me more about this Willow," the Ventrue Cult leader said. 
"Can she be trusted?"

"Of course she can be trusted, what kind of wanker do you take me 
for?" Spike snapped. "I'm not going to let a pair of luminous 
green eyes get me to spill my secrets, like a sexy, redheaded Mata 

"Red hair, green eyes, sexy," Christoph commented. "Anything else 
you wish to divulge?"

Spike reigned in his temper, glad he was wearing his lucky socks 
to help him. It wouldn't do to get technically his boss angry with 
him and he knew that the Ventrue's reach was far. He would not 
hesitate to destroy a vampire if he posed a threat to the Gehenna 
Cult. "She's intelligent and has been a great help to me in 
keeping my cover. She knows nothing of my ties to the Cult and 
will not know. She is my Whip and that is all."

"Very well, William," Christoph said. "I wish a progress report 
every two weeks unless you make inroads as to your second 

"Fine," Spike replied. "Have a good one." He hung up the phone 
before adding, "Pillock." Checking the coin return for change, he 
made his way out of the phone booth and started his long trek back 
to the mansion. He wouldn't chance taking a car, for that would 
make him easier to spot and follow. As it was, he double checked 
that he didn't have a tail every few blocks. He stopped at a 
convenience store on the way back and picked up a carton of 
cigarettes, lighting a fresh one. Willow didn't like him to smoke 
that much when they worked and he had to get his fix when he 

He wondered if the little Witch was in the kitchen telling stories 
with Maurice again. Probably. He found her there more often than 
not in the late afternoon after she'd been picked up at the 
Slayer's. The household staff and others who lived there had taken 
to the red head, despite her being human. He growled to himself 
when he thought of Nicolas and his more than friendly flirting, 
which Willow returned with ease. He wondered when she grew up. He 
could have sworn she was the shy, coltish sort.

Coming in through the back, Spike found her just where he 
suspected, sitting with her legs under her at the small table. She 
was talking animatedly with Maurice, Angel and Xavier. "Wonderful, 
the whole bloody Muppet cast together," he mumbled as he 

"Spike, hi!" Willow greeted cheerfully with a giggle. "I managed 
to foil your fiendish plot to leave me for the clothing gnomes to 
finish off."

"Bugger," he sighed dramatically. "And I paid them extra."

"How was your date, Will?" Xavier asked, a devilish smile on his 

"Yeah, Spike, fill us in," Angel added, leaning back in his chair 
with his hands clasped behind his head. "Male or female?"

"Living or unliving?" Xavier said.

"Did she have all her body parts?" Angel asked.

"Or more than her fair share?" Xavier continued.

"Good one, Xav," Angel told his friend.

"Thank you, Athos," Xavier replied.

"Alright Statler and Waldorf," Spike interrupted. "Shove it up 
your holes."

"But then we couldn't have fun at your expense, Porthos," Xavier 
said, batting his eyes in an overly dramatic gesture.

"Unlife wouldn't be worth living if we had to stop," Angel added 
with a smirk.

Spike looked at Willow and Maurice, both of whom were trying to 
contain themselves. With a snort, he bypassed them and left the 

"Think he's mad?" Willow asked, watching the blond vampire's 
retreating form.

"No, Miss," Maurice told her under Angel and Xavier's laughter. 
"He will be formulating a plan to get back at these two cackling 
ninnies. I've seen it happen before. And had to clean up 

"Well, I'm gonna head up," she said, standing. "See you guys 

"Bye Willow," Angel said. "Tell Spike I asked if his lucky socks 
worked or not."

"Probably the only thing on him that's ever been lucky," Xavier 
commented. The two vampires started chuckling again as she left.

Willow smiled to herself as she made her way from the north wing 
to the main part of the mansion, then up the sweeping staircase to 
the second floor. At the top, she paused and looked back down, 
admiring how the great hall flowed into the ballroom. She could 
picture lavish parties being held, with women in ball gowns and 
men in tuxedos. A small orchestra would be set up in one corner, 
playing music of old as couples waltzed, champagne flowed and 
everyone talked with uppercrust accents about polo and Wallstreet. 

Continuing down the halls with a happy bounce to her step, she 
wondered if Xavier ever held a ball. From Maurice, she learned 
that they had been here since the late nineteenth century in this 
very mansion. Xavier had worked his way into the position of 
Prince rapidly, taking control of the city with diplomacy and 
strength. She'd have to ask later about that.

Opening the door to the suite, Willow was immediately bombarded 
with loud music that had seeped out into the hall. With an arch of 
her brow, she looked questioningly at the blond vampire seated on 
the couch, his feet hanging over the end of the arm, smoking. He 
gave her an innocent shrug as the words to the song caught her 

You put de lime in de coconut You drank 'em bot' togedder Put de 
lime in de coconut Then you'll feel better Put de lime in de 
coconut Drink 'em bot' up Put de lime in de coconut And call me in 
the morning 
She closed the door behind her and snatched the remote off the end 
table, turning down the volume. "The Muppets?" 

"I had an urge," Spike replied. "Have fun while I was out?" 

"Yeah," she said. "I didn't know Angel could talk so much. He's a 
motor mouth! And he taught me some really neat swear words in 

"That's nice," he interrupted. "What say we skip the song and 
dance and get down to work, eh?" 

Willow frowned as he rolled off the couch and walked towards the 
kitchenette. **Did the lucky socks not work? Oh, bad Willow,** she 
thought as she went to join him. "So, how was your date, anyway?" 
If she didn't know better, she would swear her voice was tinged 
with jealousy. 

"A laugh a minute," he answered. "Now, get on that stupid machine 
and read me my email." 

"Yes, sir, Spike, sir," Willow saluted, turning on the computer. 

He scowled. "Since when did you get so saucy, little Witch?" 

"Since I found out you were a slob who knows whom Statler and 
Waldorf are by name," she replied. "Since I found out you mutter 
to yourself in Spanish sometimes, for some odd reason. Since I 
found out that you watch Gigglesnort Hotel at 5:30 in the morning 
wearing nothing but Mighty Mouse boxers that read 'Here I come to 
Save the Day' while you eat Booberry cereal." 

Spike was actually blushing by the time she finished. "Yeah, well, 
I know that" Willow arched her brow again. "Have a 
hole in your yellow socks," he finished. **Now that wasn't lame.** 

"And I don't eat Booberry cereal." 

"Oh, yeah, that's right," Willow said. 

"Yeah, that's right." 

"It's Count Chocula."

Part Seven
Spike was having a day. He actually had a button somewhere that 
read that very statement and it would be entirely appropriate for 
him to wear it. The day started out normal enough. He and Willow 
had gotten into a routine of sorts over the past two weeks she'd 
been living with him. At 5:30 in the morning, she'd crawl out of 
her room to join him in front of the television wearing slippers 
that looked like giant bear feet and eat a bowl of Lucky Charms. 
Then, they'd both go to bed for most of the day.

Usually, she was awake and down in the kitchen chatting with 
Maurice by the time he rolled out of bed. He would get cleaned up; 
go out hunting and while he was out 'accidentally' run into the 
other Primogen to subtlety grill them about the Omega Virus and 
the Antediluvian Cult, thus working on his secondary job; then 
he'd return to the mansion and collect Willow, where they would 
return to the suite and work. Afterwards, they'd watch television 
or a video, then the hacker would go to bed only to be up at 5:30 
to start the cycle over again.

Imagine his surprise when he opened the door to the bathroom 
connecting both rooms to find Willow singing quietly along to the 
music coming from her headphones, eyes closed, and up to her nose 
in bubbles. 

Spike's jaw dropped to the floor as he took in her flushed face as 
she lay her head back on a rolled up towel. His mind immediately 
conjured up exactly what she was not wearing under the bubbles and 
what she would look like glistening with the soap and water when 
she exited the tub. He knew he had to move, had to leave the 
bathroom before he made a complete fool out of himself, but he was 
rooted to the spot. 

She lifted one soapy arm and he watched as the bubbles slowly ran 
down it as she reached for something above her head on the low 
shelf that lined the wall. He swallowed heavily and took a step 
backwards, hitting the doorknob with his backside. He yelped in 
surprise, then practically flew from the intimacy of the bathroom 
before she knew he was there, closing the door tight behind him. 

He leaned back against the newly closed door, eyes closed as he 
tried to regain some semblance of control. He told himself over 
and over that the nymph in the tub was Willow, not some sexy 
goddess handed to him on a cloud of bubbles. It didn't help. With 
a growl, he threw some clothes on, wincing at the tightness of his 
jeans and quickly left the suite. 

And promptly ran into Angel.

"Woah, Spike, what's the hurry?" Angel asked. "Willow send you out 
in the hall because you've been a bad boy?"

An image of Willow scolding him for being a bad boy appeared in 
his mind and Spike visibly shook from the eroticism. Angel took 
this the wrong way, becoming concerned, especially with the threat 
of the Omega Virus hanging over all vampires. "Spike, are you ok?"

"I'm fine, mate," Spike ground out. "Just need a spot of fresh 

The blond vampire pushed past Angel and walked stiffly down the 
hallway. The older vampire's eyes widened when it dawned on him 
what his childe's problem exactly was. "Oh boy," he said quietly. 
"As Buffy would say, this is so not good."


After finally managing to garner his rampaging hormones, Spike 
returned to the mansion and made his way back to the suite, 
intending on getting right down to work. However, this time, it 
was Maurice whom he met in the hallway.

"Ah, Master William, I have just informed Miss Willow there will 
be a conclave meeting tonight at midnight," Maurice said. "I shall 
bring up a newly pressed suit for you later this night."

"Swell," Spike replied, wondering yet again how he managed to get 
himself into this sort of situation. **Because you like what's in 
this world,** his thoughts told him. **Especially little redhead 
Witches who like to take bubble baths.** 

Thanking the butler, he entered the suite to see Willow sitting at 
the kitchen table, already hard at work. "Did you hear? Meeting 
later," she said in lieu of greeting. "This time, we're not so 
rushed. I already have everything organized, now we just have to 
decide..." She trailed off as the blond vampire seemed to ignore 
her and go into his bedroom. "Well, that was rude."

Spike had heard her, but he wanted to be reminded of why he wasn't 
going to become involved with anyone, even if it were for just a 
quick shag. And somehow he knew it wouldn't be a quick anything 
with Willow, because he really liked her. The last time he started 
out really liking someone, he ended up with her for just under a 
century and everyone seemed to know how that disaster tore his 
heart to pieces. 

"Damn, where is it," he growled, sifting through the items in the 
change dish on the night stand. "It should be right here. I know 
it was right here." He started to panic, the change and other 
things being shoved roughly out of the dish. Not finding it, he 
threw the dish across the room, where it hit the wall with a loud 
thud. He dropped to his knees and began to look around the night 
stand on the floor. 

"Spike?" Willow said cautiously from the doorway. "What's wrong?"

"I can't find it! It has to be here, I know it has to be here. 
Where the hell did it go?!" Spike was losing control of his 
emotions, a rarity unless it was anger or he was smashed. But the 
emotion that was rearing its ugly head now was fear. Fear that he 
lost the item that meant the most to his undead heart. "BLOODY 

Willow quickly crossed the room and put her hand on his back, 
trying to calm him. "Spike, what are you missing?"

"My necklace," he said, his voice slightly choked. He looked up at 
her with fearful eyes. "It's a penny, a 1899 American penny on a 
chain. Dru gave it to me on our first anniversary alone." He went 
back to shoving things around on the floor. "It has to be here. 
That's the only thing I put in a specific place..."

"Wait," she said, crouching next to him and grabbing his wrists. 
He glared at her, but she continued undaunted. "We'll do this 
slowly and systematically so we don't miss any inch until we find 
it, ok?"

Spike nodded, forcing the panic back down where it settled heavily 
in the pit of his stomach. What was he going to do if he couldn't 
find it? He and Drusilla may not be together anymore, but he still 
loved her. No one can just shut off a love that was nurtured for 
all those years. Even if he was starting to like someone else.

"Now, what does the penny look like?" Willow asked.

"It's about the size of a quarter," he answered. "Copper. And the 
Liberty face is wearing off."

"And where do you normally keep it?" 

"In the change dish on the night stand," he replied. "Always right 

"Then we will start over here and work our way around the room," 
she told him. "And don't just shove the clothes aside. Pick each 
up and shake it out before tossing it on the bed." Spike nodded 
again, and she squeezed his wrists lightly. "We'll find it."

As instructed, they slowly began to search for the missing 
necklace. Working in silence, the task was arduous because of the 
amount of clothing and other stuff on the floor. Just as he was 
about to give into panic again, he heard a shout of glee coming 
from under the bed.

"Found it!" Willow called out to him, inching backwards. "It was 
behind the bedpost, right where we couldn't see it." She pushed up 
to her knees and held out the necklace. "Voila!"

But Spike didn't take the necklace from her, he took all of her 
into his arms and hugged her. "Thank you," he whispered into her 

"You don't need to thank me," she replied, her arms moving around 
his waist to hug him back. "I have a guitar pick from my ex-
boyfriend, Oz, that he said he used the very first time he saw me. 
I wouldn't want to lose it, either."

Spike loosened his hold on her enough to lean back and look at 
her. "You are a wonderful person, little Witch. Don't you ever 
forget it," he said. Willow started to blush and he chuckled. 
"Come on, we'd better get to work. Can't be late, now, can we?"


They worked together with friendly banter until it was timed to 
get cleaned up to go downstairs. Then, armed with the nicely 
printed out papers, stenopad and a pen, they made their way to the 
meeting -- on time.

"I think you are having a positive effect on our Master William, 
Miss," Maurice commented at the door. "Twice in a row, he is on 

"It's the Power Rangers watch I gave him," Willow joked. "Why no 
one thought to just give one to him is beyond me."

Spike rolled his eyes and dragged her into the room away from the 
chuckling butler. They took their seats and went over the report 
together until the meeting started. It was much the same as the 
last time, with Antonio starting and then moving around the table. 
But halfway through Nicolas' turn, Willow noticed something out of 
the ordinary. Turning to a fresh sheet on her pad of paper, she 
wrote something in large, printed letters and handed it to Spike.

The blond vampire glanced at her, then looked down at the pad. 
**W-wat-watk the TW,** he read to himself, sounding out the 
letters to the first word in his head. Whatever it was, it had 
something to do with the Tremere Whip. Willow had devised an 
abbreviation system in order for him to easily read the report. TP 
was Tremere Primogen; TW - Tremere Whip; MP - Malkavian Primogen; 
MW - Malkavian Whip and so on. 

He glanced up at the brunette secretary-like Whip, being careful 
not to be too obvious. If Willow had passed him a note instead of 
whispering to him, it must be something she didn't want to bring 
attention to. The female vampire usually sat taking studious 
notes, rarely raising her eyes from the stenopad throughout the 

She was raising her eyes now.


Looking right at the two wineglasses sitting on the table in front 
of Xavier and Angel.

*Oh hell,* Spike thought. He needed a distraction and he needed 
one fast before either of his friends drank from those glasses. 
His brain turned frantically as he tried to come up with something 
so as not to cause suspicion. Looking at the pad of paper still in 
his hand, he reached back and snatched the pen from Willow and 
turned a fresh page, writing as quick as he could.

Willow took both pen and pad from him as he passed them back and 
looked down at the note. **Fak big pan,** she read. **Ok, that 
makes no sense. Sound it out like he does, Willow. F-A-K. Fake. 
Fake big pain?** She glanced up to see him casting a quick glance 
at her, then at the Whip. Her intuition about the female Tremere 
must have been dead on as she realized exactly what he wanted her 
to do. 

Swallowing nervously, she quietly stood after closing the pad and 
made her way around the back of Xavier, as if she were just 
leaving to use the restroom or something similar. Halfway to the 
door, she started the performance. With a small, fake cry, she 
grabbed her stomach and fell to her knees, curling over herself.

The reaction of the others was exactly what Spike wanted and he 
silently cheered at Willow's actions. Angel was at the red head's 
side in an instant, Xavier right behind him. Pretending worry 
himself, he grabbed the two wineglasses off the table. "Angel, 
over here," he said as he set the glasses down on shelf behind 
Willow's chair.

Willow whimpered as Angel picked her up and brought her over to 
the table. She hoped she wasn't over doing it. He set her gently 
down upon the wood surface and she wondered what she was suppose 
to do next. 

"Maurice-" Xavier said, but the butler had already gone to phone 
the doctor. 

"Willow, what is it?" Angel asked. 

"Maybe we should bring her upstairs," Spike suggested, moving 
Angel out of the way to pick Willow up. The second her head became 
close to his mouth, he whispered. "Say no, you're ok, put me 

"No, Spike," Willow said. "I'm- I'm ok. You can put me down."

"But-" Spike protested.

"Put me down, Spike," she repeated.

Spike turned as he was setting her on her feet so they were facing 
her chair. "Stagger, grab glass and hide it," he whispered in her 

Willow took a step forward, eyes on the single wineglass on the 
shelf. She faked stumbling as if she was weak, putting one hand on 
the shelf and one over the top of the glass. "Woah," she said.

"You're not fine," Spike said, moving next to her to pick her up 
in his arms again. She held onto the glass as he lifted her, 
pulling it up under her loose sleeve. He saw that the second glass 
was missing and his eyes darted to Trey and Nicolas, who were both 
standing nearby. **Cor, no,** he thought with pain as he saw the 
nearly empty glass in Trey's hand. **No, no, no!**

He grit his teeth, then turned with Willow in his arms, heading 
for the door. Angel followed behind them, as did Maurice when they 
reached the bottom of the stairs. He needed someway to get rid of 
his companions when they got back to the room. "Willow," he 
whispered. "Have female problems of some sort."

Willow blushed, holding onto the wineglass tightly so as not to 
spill it. She wondered what the grand production was about, but 
was willing to wait for an explanation for when they were alone. 
Something about the way Spike was acting told her there was, in 
the words of Sherlock Homes, 'something afoot.'

Maurice pulled ahead of them and opened the door to the suite. 
Spike took her to her room and went to lay her on the bed, but she 
protested. "No, bathroom," she said, meeting his eyes. He nodded 
and carried her in there, then set her on her feet. "Out."

"Willow, I think-" Spike began.

"Out. I'm not sick," she said. "And close the door behind you." 
Spike left, shutting the door as directed and the hacker looked at 
herself in the mirror. **Now what?**

On the other side of the door, Spike had to compose himself before 
facing the other two vampires. "I don't think Willow is sick, 
mates," he said, giving Angel a pointed look. "If you know what I 

Angel immediately looked uncomfortable. "Oh. Buffy" He glanced at the closed bathroom door. "I'm 
going to go now."

Spike held his chuckle as his sire practically dashed from the 
room. Now all he had to do was get rid of Maurice. "Maurice, could 
you get our things from the meeting room? And Willow may be 
needing some pills or something."

"I shall get right to it," Maurice replied, turning and leaving 
just as quickly. 

As soon as he heard the outer door close, he let out a laugh. 
Knocking, he cracked to bathroom door. "Coming in," he said, then 
entered, his blue eyes dancing with excitement. He turned on the 
water faucet full blast before saying, "Cor, luv, you were 

"Perfect? They're all going to think...well, I don't know what 
they'll think, but they'll think it. About me," Willow replied. 
"Now, why did I just humiliate myself like that? And what's so 
important about this glass. And why do you have the water going?"

"The walls have ears, pet," Spike replied, picking up the glass 
and holding it up to the light. He got a pensive look on his face. 
"I bloody well hope the one Trey drank didn't contain the virus."

"Virus?" Willow asked. Then, her eyes grew wide. "Someone tried to 
poison Angel or Xavier?"

"We'll find out as soon as I get this to..." Spike trailed off and 
looked at her. "Someone to analyze it." He set the glass on the 
sink. "I'm going to be gone for a bit and I need you to keep up 
with your act for the rest of tonight. If anyone asks, I went to 
the store for you."

"Ok, but when you get back, I want an explanation," she said, 
folding her arms over her chest. "See my resolve face?"

"Fair enough," he replied, knowing he wasn't going to really tell 
her anything that wasn't general knowledge. "Now, you get in bed 
and act female."

Willow shook her head and left the bathroom as Spike went through 
the other door into his room, then into the kitchenette. He took 
out a sandwich bag and rubberband, then went back to the bathroom 
and covered the glass. Slipping it into the pocket of his charcoal 
grey suit, he returned to the hackers room to see her sitting on 
the bed, reading a book. "I'm off."

"While your out, you might as well get me some Midol and tampons," 
she said without raising her eyes. "Tampax, slender, easy glide 

"Right," Spike replied uncomfortably. "Uh, bye."

As soon as she heard the door close, she dropped the book and 
covered her face with her hands. **I cannot believe I just did 
that. With a straight face,** she thought. **Then again, serves 
him right for making me have 'female problems.' Ugh. I'm never 
going to be able to look at those people again.**

Part Eight

Spike waited on the corner of Devon and Cumberland as instructed, 
a bag of the items Willow requested in on hand and a bag with the 
glass in the other. A motorcycle came up the street wearing the 
foretold white helmet with a red stripe down the center. Making 
sure he held out the right bag, he moved parallel to the street 
and the motorcyclist snatched the bag from his barely outstretched 

"Hey, my bag!" he shouted as the driver quickly left. "That prick 
nabbed my bag!"

People ignored him as he began grumbling to himself, playing up 
the typical LA victim of snatch and run. It helped that he was 
still dressed in his business suit, giving him more credibility 
for a theft. He started on his way back to the mansion, planning 
on catching a cab near a convenient store to add to his cover.

He had spoken to Christoph on the phone, using the emergency 
number he had never used. The Ventrue Cult leader had arranged the 
pick up and informed Spike on what to do about both the Tremere 
Whip and the Gangrel Primogen if indeed he ingested the Omega 
Virus. If the glass of bloodwine contained the virus, he was to 
somehow secretly capture the Whip and she would be taken by the 
Gehenna Cult in order to extract information from her. If Trey had 
become infected by the virus, he would know within two weeks, 
because the vampire would be dead by then. Either alive or dead, 
he was to report back to Christoph with the Gangrel's condition.

He was actually hoping the female Tremere was the mole, because he 
loved the action part of the cloak and dagger routine. Violence 
for a cause was more fun in his book than violence for no reason. 
Unless he was pounding on his sire, then absence of reason was 
just as good. He hailed a cab at the store and hummed the James 
Bond theme tunelessly on the ride to the mansion.


Willow wondered where Spike had disappeared to. He had been gone 
for three days, just up and leaving without explanation after 
she'd received a strange email message which she read to him. 
Since then, she'd been alone in the suite, doing both of their 
work and entertaining herself. The place seemed very empty without 
his presence and the constant litany of curses, in English or 
Spanish. It also wasn't as much fun waking up at 5:30 in the 
morning to sit by herself to watch Gigglesnort Hotel. But she 
didn't want to admit that she missed him. She chalked it up to 

After the performance at the conclave meeting almost a week ago, 
he'd given her a sketchy explanation for his actions, including 
all the details he knew on the Omega Virus. The virus had struck 
Trey and she got to see first hand what it did to vampires. The 
Gangrel looked like a very old man, all skin and bones, with his 
body caving in and his eyes a dull yellow. Angel told her he 
wouldn't live much longer and it saddened her. She may have not 
known him very well, but she hated when anyone suffered. Plus, the 
thought that Angel, Maurice, Xavier or Nicolas could get the same 
sickness frightened her. The thought of Spike getting it made her 
feel even worse. 

Sighing, Willow laid out the dress she was to wear. Xavier had 
gone and thrown a ball because she asked if he'd ever held one. 
The mansion was going to be filled with people, both human and 
vampire, and the servants had been scurrying about all day 
preparing. The orchestra had arrived a few hours ago and she 
ventured downstairs to listen to them warm up.

The ballroom and grand hall had been polished and shined until 
everything gleamed. Tables had been set up around the edges of the 
ballroom, covered in white linen table cloths with small, silver 
statues as centerpieces. A huge champagne fountain had been set up 
on one side, with glass flutes standing in perfect rows around it. 
A bartender was set up in the far corner to offer other beverages 
besides champagne, and she saw that he was fully stocked for any 
drink requested, including bloodwine. 

The ball was to be a lavish affair and she couldn't understand why 
she didn't feel more excited about it. Moving around her bedroom, 
she began to get dressed. Everything had been provided by Maurice, 
to which she blushed when she opened the box of undergarments, but 
had thanked him profusely. Everything was exquisite and 
undoubtably expensive, however she knew if she protested, Xavier 
would scold her for being an old maid when she was only eighteen.

She slid on the bodice of her undergarments first, the pale green 
material snug around her as it lifted her breasts, creating more 
cleavage than she normally had. She slid on her silk stockings, 
hooking the garters to the tops, then pulled the matching pale 
green panties over them. After dabbing on a bit of perfume, she 
carefully put the dress on, then looked in the full length mirror 
in the corner of her room.

Her lips curled up as she saw herself. The dress was the same pale 
green shade, with long sleeves and a scooped neck that showed just 
enough cleavage without making her uncomfortable. It was snug 
around her torso and waist, the back a series of criss-cross ties 
over the material, with a tie at the end that pulled the dress 
nicely over her curves. The rest of the dress was straight, a high 
cut slit up one leg that allowed her to move freely. 

Glancing at the clock, she saw that the ball was already underway. 
She put on her semi-heeled shoes, touched up her lipstick, then 
gave herself one last glance in the mirror. "It'll be fun," she 
told her reflection. Her reflection, however, didn't answer.


Spike could have been knocked over with a feather when he saw 
Willow at the top of the sweeping staircase. Having checked in 
daily with Maurice about the red head, he'd learned about the last 
minute ball that evening. Instead of returning to the mansion to 
change, he went to the exclusive men's shop the butler recommended 
and was fitted with a new tuxedo right there. Then, he cleaned up 
at the hotel he was staying at and caught a ride back into the 

"If you weren't a vampire, I'd tell you to breathe," Buffy said 
from next to him. Angel had her arm in his and both were looking 
up the stairs at Willow. "I can't believe I'm about to say this, 
but what are you waiting for, Spike? Go get her."

Angel gave the blond vampire a slight push, snapping him out of 
his daze. Spike did not turn his head or say anything as he made 
his way over to the stairs. "Spike's in trouble now," Angel told 
Buffy. He watched as his childe hesitated near the bottom and 
Willow saw him. "Big time."

Willow stared down at the vampire at the bottom of the steps. **Oh 
my,** she thought, drinking in his tuxedo. The black short coat 
with tails was over a white shirt and black cummerbund. His black 
bow tie and the crisp, pleated pants finishing the outfit. **Oh 

Lifting her skirt with one hand, she put the other on the railing 
and slowly walked down the stairs until she was standing one step 
above Spike, so they were eye level with each other. "Hi," Willow 
breathed. "You're back."

"And you're beautiful," Spike replied in a whisper. 

A blush stole up her cheeks. "You are, too. Not beautiful. 
Handsome. Very handsome," she said, then gave him a mischievous 
grin. "Are you sure you're Spike?"

Spike laughed and held out his hand. "Willow, will you allow me 
the honor of accompanying you to the ball. I hear it is to be the 
affair of the season," he said in a highbrow British accent. 

"Certainly, kind sir," Willow replied with the same accent, 
placing her hand over his. "But I am afraid I must warn you, my 
dance card is almost filled."

"I know," Spike said normally, a twinkle in his blue eyes as he 
led her into the ballroom. "I'm the one who filled it."


Willow was floating on cloud nine. She and Spike had danced and 
drank champagne and danced some more, stopping every so often to 
talk with some of he other guests. She'd only gotten to talk with 
Buffy for a few minutes before she was dragged out to the dance 
floor again by her overly cheerful roommate. She wondered why he 
didn't want to take a break, but she wasn't protesting. Not one 

Spike knew exactly why he wasn't going to take a break. He didn't 
want to let go the feeling of Willow in his arms as they danced. 
It was exquisite torture to him, the hint of cleavage, the flash 
of her leg, the perfume mixing with her own unique scent 
overloading his brain. His attraction to her had increased 
hundredfold when he saw her standing at the top of the stairs. He 
was lucky he could form a coherent sentence.

"Boy, it's getting hot in here," Willow said as the orchestra 
ended one song before starting up another.

"Would you like to step out for a breath of air?" Spike asked, 
then scowled. **Listen to me, I sound like a bloody idiot.**

"Sure," she agreed, taking his arm. They wove their way through 
the people and out an open side door. They walked for awhile in 
companionable silence, enjoying the night air and the sounds of 
the orchestra spilling out of the mansion. "I'm having fun."

"You say that as if you didn't expect to," Spike commented.

"I didn't," Willow replied. "Because I didn't think you were going 
to be here. And I just said that last part out loud. Oh boy."

Spike stopped walking and turned so he was facing her. "Did you 
mean it?" he asked seriously.

"Yes," she replied honestly, looking into his eyes. Time seemed to 
slow down as Spike brought his hand up to brush her cheek. The 
world fell out of focus as she unconsciously licked her lips, 
causing his gaze to dart to them, then back to her eyes.

"You are so very beautiful," he murmured. Then, he bent his head 
and gently pressed his lips to hers.

Part Nine
It didn't matter that the kiss was gentle, because the shock that 
went through them both was electric. Spike's hand slid behind 
Willow's head as she moved her hands around his waist, bringing 
her against him. They couldn't seem to get close enough as their 
tongues met, chasing each other back and forth as the kiss 
deepened. Uncontrollable were their emotions and the feelings 
coursing through them from weeks of hidden attraction for one 

Reality in the form of voices intruded on them, and they broke 
away. Luminous green eyes stared widely at ice blue ones, neither 
of them knowing what had just happened, but neither of them 
caring. "Willow, if I don't step away from you now, I'm going to 
take you up those stairs and make love to you all night long," 
Spike said in a low, hoarse voice.

"Please do," Willow whispered breathlessly in reply. He growled 
deep in his chest and captured her mouth again, pulling her flush 
against him. When he let her go, she was panting heavily and her 
face was flushed with sexual excitement. 

Taking her hand in his, Spike led her through the kitchen 
entrance, around the many cooks and servers and through the north 
wing. When they finally reached the suite, she was barely in the 
door before he picked her up in his arms, kicking the door closed 
with his foot. Willow laughed delightedly as he carried her into 
her bedroom. Once there, he slowly set her to her feet, his eyes 
burning into hers, causing her heart to race. 

Their lips met again, tasting and teasing each other as hands 
roamed over their clothing. Willow pushed the jacket off of his 
shoulders and it fell to the floor as her fingers found the hook 
to the cummerbund and undid it. Soon, it joined the jacket on the 
floor as did his bow tie and the shoes he toed off, their mouths 
never parting.

Spike found the hidden zipper in the back of her dress under the 
ties and pulled it down. He could hear her heart pounding as he 
pulled the dress down her arms. She stopped working on the buttons 
of his shirt in order to pull the garment over her hands, then it 
pooled on the floor around her feet as she went right back to her 

Willow never wanted anything more in her life than she wanted this 
man right here, right now. There was no planning, no hesitation, 
no little voice in the back of her head asking her if she was 
ready. This time she knew. And she was not to be put off by 
something as stubborn as a set of buttons. Shoving the shirt down 
his arms, she yanked the last one until it popped and it fell to 
the floor. She growled into his mouth, frustrated, when she found 
not bare skin but an undershirt. She plucked at it with her hands, 
wanting it off.

He finally broke the kiss, both of them panting, as he drew the 
undershirt over his head. Then, he swallowed heavily as he saw her 
in the pale green teddy and stockings. Her skin was flushed with 
desire, her breasts heaving, stretching the material enticingly. 
Any moment now, he was going to explode into a cloud of dust 
because of the fire he felt from just looking at her...

Part Ten

The two new lovers lay side by side, staring up at the ceiling. 
Their thoughts were whirling, but unknowingly almost exactly the 

**Oh goddess, oh goddess, oh goddess,** Willow thought. She had 
sex with Spike. Twice! Sexy, smart, clever, silly, adorable 
William Longstreet, a.k.a Spike - the vampire. And she liked it. 
Very, very much.

**Sweet mercy,** Spike thought. He had shagged Willow. Twice! 
Beautiful, intelligent, witty, funny, wonderful Willow Rosenberg, 
a.k.a. his little Witch - the human. And he enjoyed it. Very, very 
much. Then why was he laying there like a ninny?

Turning on his side, he propped his head on his arm and looked 
down at her. "Willow?"

"Yeah," she squeaked, a blush staining her cheeks as she met his 

"Listen, we're both adults-"

"Well, I am. I'm not too sure about you," she interrupted.

Spike's eyes widened at her sass and he let out a chuckle, 
breaking the tension in the room. "Cor, luv, you are a silly 
little Witch."

Willow had no idea what prompted her to say what she did next, but 
say it she did. "And you're a silly not so little Spike."

"Is that so?" Spike replied, arching his brow. He used his free 
hand to run down the center of her body, brushing the top of her 
curls before returning back up. He could feel his not so little-
ness stirring again, and he cocked his head to the side. "Up for 
another round, pet?"

Spike's hand had left an indelible burn on her skin, her body 
becoming aroused again. "If you mean dancing, no. I'd rather stay 
here with you in bed," she replied.

"Good," he answered, lowering his head to capture her mouth in a 


Willow woke up to find herself pressed snuggly against a cool 
body, an arm around her waist. Her eyes widened as all that had 
happened hit her again, the images flashing in her mind. 
Panicking, she extracted herself from Spike's arms, getting out of 
bed and throwing on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. She glanced at 
the clock, then immediately decided that she didn't care about the 
time as she practically bolted from the suite.

She ran down the hall and knocked loudly on Angel's door. When the 
sleepy vampire answered it, she pushed past him into his suite. "I 
need to use your phone. I need to call Buffy. I need to get my 
head examined!"

"Willow, what is it?" Angel asked, concerned.

"I am an idiot! A complete moron. I'm worse than Xander on his bad 
days! I should be locked up for my lunacy," Willow said rapidly. 
"I should stop talking to you and call Buffy."

"Buffy's right here," Buffy said, coming out of the bedroom.

Willow gasped when she saw her best friend. "Oh! You're here. 
You're here! With Angel. In-in his bedroom. Doing things. Buffy, 
you're not suppose to be doing things with Angel! His soul. Oh no, 
can this get any more bad?"

"Willow, calm down," Buffy told her, gesturing with her head for 
Angel to disappear. The vampire nodded and moved into the second 
bedroom, shutting the door behind him. "I'm sleeping in the spare 
bedroom, not with Angel."

"Oh, well then I guess it's ok," she replied. "No, it's not ok. 
Vampires and sex is bad. Bad."

"Let me guess, you and Spike?"

Willow blushed bright red. "Three times," she mumbled. "I can't 
believe I did it. Well, I can, considering that I did. But he-he's 
a vampire. I'm not. He has no soul. I do. He's a bloodsucking 
fiend! And I had sex with him!"


The phone rang on the night stand not half a second after Willow 
had left. Spike knew instantly when she had moved from his arms, 
but allowed her to continue to think he was asleep because he 
sensed her panic. He hadn't expected her to leave the suite 

Growling to himself, he grabbed the receiver. "What?" he snapped.

"Alpha one omega, Mr. Longstreet," a mechanical male voice said on 
the other end, then disconnected.

"Bloody hell," Spike swore, swinging out of bed and slamming down 
the phone. He went into the bathroom and threw on the faucet, 
rapidly washing himself with a soapy washrag. There wasn't time 
for a shower as he hustled into his room and threw some clothes. 
He opened the bottom drawer of his dresser and pulled out a metal 
box after he was dressed. 

Opening it, he retrieved something that he rarely used, preferring 
to follow the old ways of hand to hand combat. He checked the clip 
in the semi-automatic, then tucked it in a hidden pocket in his 
duster. He grabbed two more clips and stuck them in there as well, 
then went into the kitchen and scribbled a quick note to Willow.

Keys in hand, he left the suite in a record three minutes. 


Angel heard her exclamation and threw open the bedroom door. "I'm 
going to kill him," he stated, moving to the door.

"Huh? Angel, why?" Willow said as Buffy moved quickly, trying to 
put herself between her pseudo boyfriend and the door, but she was 
too late.

"Angel, stop," Buffy said, trailing after him. Willow ran up 
behind them just as the older vampire stormed into her suite.

"Where are you, Spike?" Angel called.

Willow frowned when he didn't answer. Walking past Angel, she went 
into her bedroom to see it empty. "Spike?" She continued through 
the bathroom into Spike's bedroom, but he wasn't in there, either. 
"Spike, are you here?"

"Hey, Wills, there's a note for you. I think. It's really, really 
messy, but it's signed by Spike," Buffy said as Willow exited the 
bedroom. She quickly took it from Buffy and read it.

Had to go

"He says there was an emergency and he had to go," Willow said 
quietly. Her eyes filled with tears and she forced herself to keep 
them from spilling. "Um, do you guys mind if I go in my room now?"

"No, we'll leave," Buffy replied, ushering Angel out the open 
door. "I'll be here the rest of the day, if you want to talk."

"Thanks," Willow told her. Buffy nodded and shut the door. The 
hacker walked slowly to her room and climbed into the empty bed, 
letting the tears fall. She grabbed the pillow Spike had been 
using and hugged it to her, silently wondering if he had left 
because of her.


"I cannot believe you let her escape!" Spike yelled as he paced. 
Those that had been at the apartment where they Gehenna Cult had 
been holding the interrogation of the Tremere Whip were scared 
that they were about to lose their unlives. "Of all the bloody, 

Spike spun and grabbed one of the guards by the throat, rasing him 
off the ground. As the Cult member who had led the offensive 
against the Whip, he was in charge of the entire operation - from 
her capture to her interrogation and now it was to be for her 
retrieval. If she got to her fellow Antediluvian Cult members, 
each of those present in the room would be exposed.

"Now, how long has she been gone?" Spike asked in a falsely calm 

"Four hours," the guard in his grip croaked. "We evoked A1O as 
soon as we found her gone."

"She couldn't have gone far, what with the sun," he surmised. 
"However, all she needed to do was get to a FRIGGIN' PHONE!" He 
emphasized his words by squeezing harder, the guard now clawing at 
his hand in pain.

Spike dropped him and spun on his heels, his mind working rapidly. 
"Sunset is in twenty. I want teams of two to sweep the area. Let's 
hope she didn't get to a phone, people, or we're all dead."


Willow was depressed. She sat in the kitchen, absently tracing a 
pattern on the table with her fingers. Spike had been gone for 
close to a week, with no word as to where he was or when he was 
returning. Even Maurice found his behavior strange, having talked 
to the blond each day he'd been gone before the ball.

"Miss Willow, do not fret. Master William shall return soon," 
Maurice said, joining her.

"I'd like to believe that," Willow replied sadly. "But it's been 
six days. Six days since we...we..."

"Were intimate," the vampire butler finished. She nodded. "I am 
sorry, Miss. I wish I had some way to make it better."

"That's ok, Maurice," she said, rising from her seat. "I'd better 
go and get dressed. I'm suppose to meet with Antonio in a little 

Maurice watched the red head depart, slowly shaking his head. 
"Master William, you had better have a good excuse for not being 


Spike was shoved into the room, falling to his knees as he bit 
down his cry of pain. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see 
his duster on the floor where they'd pulled it off his shoulders 
five days ago. Five days of trying to break him, of excruciating 
pain and hunger. But he never spoke.

He also never screamed.

Silently thanking Angelus for his cruelty over the years and then 
again when he had lost his soul, he focused on the one part of him 
they could not hurt - his mind.

"You are a strong one," the familiar voice said from behind him. 
"Rarely has anyone lasted for more than three days, but you 
Spike." Antonio, the Tremere Primogen stepped into his line of 
sight. "You have lasted for five. Most impressive."

Spike didn't reply, surveying the ten other vampires in the room. 
He had guessed that the Italian vampire was an Antediluvian Cult 
member, but had no proof. He had been trying to break the Whip, 
but had only one day to work on her before she escaped. 

"But I wonder how much longer you will last when we start on the 
redhead," Antonio continued. He chuckled when Spike's head snapped 
up. "Ah yes, fair Willow. Such soft skin, such fiery hair. And 
she's a natural redhead, too."

Spike vamped in both fury and fear, launching himself at the 
vampire. The others in the room reacted swiftly, grabbing him and 
throwing him across the room. He landed in a heap on his duster, 
the pain in his body not even remotely comparing to the pain of 
the thought that Willow had been captured.

Antonio laughed delightedly at the blond. "So, William 
Longstreet," he sneered. "If you tell us what we want to know, 
we'll let your little Whip free. If not...well, I'm sure I can 
find some way to amuse myself. She does have the tightest..."

A deadly calm settled over Spike at the vampire's words. 
Everything slowed as he turned his head, his battered human mask 
in place, and pinned down Antonio with his cold stare. The Italian 
faltered slightly, his laughter trailing off as the first bullet 
erupted from the.45 in the blond's hand.

Spike had no expression on his face as he rapidly unloaded the 
clip between the vampires in the room. He whipped a new clip out 
of the same hidden pocket and barely paused his firing as he 

He rolled up to his feet, ignoring the ten vampires on the ground, 
each with their kneecaps expertly blown off. Antonio was the only 
one with which he was concerned. The dark haired Tremere was 
gasping in pain, bullet holes littering his body. He let the newly 
emptied clip drop out of the gun, hitting the downed vampire as he 
patiently put in the last one. He chambered a round, then put the 
cold metal to Antonio's forehead.

"Where's Willow?" Spike asked quietly, his eyes blue chips of ice.

Antonio managed to grin, despite his predicament. "Thank her for 
the fuck," he replied.

Spike pulled the trigger.

Part Eleven

Painfully straightening, Spike picked up a chair and broke it, 
grabbing one of the wooden legs. He went from vampire to vampire, 
including the escaped Tremere Whip, staking each one with little 
effort until there was nothing but dust and a forever unhealable 
vampire body left in the room. 

He returned to his coat, sliding it up over his ripped up arms. He 
winced when the leather hit his bare back, but did not utter a 
cry. Pocketing the stake and gun, he made his way out of his 
prison and into the night.


Tears coursed down Spike's face as he stared out the window of the 
cab. Undoubtably, his Willow was long gone. He wouldn't put it 
past Antonio to have taken her, the Antediluvian Cult members 
always being cruel and unscrupulous. Pain radiated from his heart, 
overwhelming the physical pain from his torture. Part of him 
wished that he had let Antonio kill him, the other part was glad 
that he had avenged her by killing the Tremere.

The cab arrived at the mansion and Spike instructed the driver to 
wait. He stumbled up the fancy steps to the front door and pressed 
the bell. Taking a deep, unsteady breath, he forced himself to 
prepare to face those inside.

"Dear Hell, Master William," Maurice gasped upon opening the front 

"Be a mate and pay the cabbie," Spike said, forcing himself to 
walk forward into the mansion. He headed straight for the stairs, 
wanting to get to his suite before he broke down completely, both 
physically and emotionally. He knew he shouldn't have gotten 
involved with Willow, the pain he was feeling echoing the pain 
Drusilla had caused him. 

He was halfway down the hall when the first sob overtook him. He 
fell heavily against the wall, uncaring of his injuries as he 
clenched his stomach. His Willow, his little Witch...

"NO!" Spike screamed hoarsely, spinning and driving his left fist 
into the wall, breaking both. Someone ran and caught him as he 
began to fall to the ground.

"Spike, what happened?" Angel asked, putting his arm around the 
younger vampire and helping him down the hall.

"Willow," Spike choked out, but couldn't say anymore as his throat 
closed up.

"What about her?" Angel said, opening the door to Spike's suite. 
When he saw his childe's pain filled face, he decided to put off 
questioning for later.

He led Spike to his bedroom, stepping over the piles of clothing 
until they got to the bed. Then, he carefully removed the blond's 
duster, wincing when he recognized the marks of torture. Without 
hesitation, he unsnapped Spike's ragged jeans and pulled them down 
over his bare and cut up feet.

Carefully, Angel got him into the bed at the same time as Maurice 
entered the room. "I have brought the first aid kit, Master 
Angelus," Maurice said, holding a cooler in one hand and a medical 
bag in the other. 

"Thanks," Angel replied, taking the items. He opened the cooler 
first and took out the container of fresh blood. Gently, he helped 
Spike to sit up enough to drink, studying him carefully. Someone 
had done a good job on his childe, and it angered and confused 
him. Who would want to torture Spike and why?

Spike forced himself to stay conscious, needing to tell Angel 
about Willow. "Angel," he said, his voice rough. "Willow, 

"Shh," Angel quieted him. "Tell me later, Will." He used the old 
name with affection and concern, then watched as Spike slipped 
into unconsciousness.


Spike heard a voice speaking near him as he swam back to 
consciousness. He concentrated on that voice, allowing it to pull 
him awake. 

..."then Xavier asked exactly what type of bug crawled up Angel's 
butt and if it itched. I suggested a dung beetle and got boo'd out 
of the kitchen. I wish you could have been there..."

He opened his eyes slowly, afraid that he was hearing things. When 
he could focus, he turned his head and saw the most beautiful 
sight in the world.


"Hey, you're back," Willow said with a large smile. "Xavier said 
if you didn't wake up soon, we'd use you as a pinata."

"Willow?" Spike questioned. He reached out, not sure if she was 
real. She took his bandaged hand in hers and he felt tears spring 
into his eyes. He pulled her abruptly onto the bed, wrapping his 
arms around her and holding her close. "I thought I'd lost you, 
little Witch."

"No, I've been here the whole time," Willow started, confused and 
emotional that he was awake. "You, on the other hand, were gone 
for days! Where did you go? Why did you go? Was it me? Oh goddess, 
it was me, wasn't it."

"Willow, shut up," Spike said suddenly. "Just let me hold you for 

Willow's jaw clacked shut, her eyes wide at his abrupt silencing. 
She had so many questions, so many worries that he needed to 
assuage. She felt him place a kiss on her head, then rest his 
cheek on her hair. She decided her concerns could wait.


"Well, isn't this a cozy picture," Xavier commented from next to 
Angel in the doorway to Spike's room. 

Spike didn't even open his eyes. All he did was raise his hand and 
give him the finger. Willow, however, was only prevented from 
bolting upright by the tightening of the blond vampire's arms 
around her. 

"My, my, Porthos. Getting rude in your old age," Xavier said, 
walking into the room. 

Knowing that Xavier wouldn't be leaving anytime soon, Spike opened 
his eyes and gave the vampire a tired look. "What do you want?"

"Why to play nursemaid, of course," the Prince answered. "I do so 
love getting into that white uniform and touching my patients in 
all sorts of places."

"Xavier, you're perverted," Angel said, sitting down on the 
opposite side of the bed.

"That I am," Xavier conceded. "But a well liked pervert."

"Says who?" Willow ventured quietly. She felt Spike's rumble of 
laughter beneath her cheek and smiled. 

"See what happens when you disappear, Will. Nothing but insolence 
from your Whip," Xavier said, pretending to be affronted.

"Speaking of disappearing," Angel prompted.

Spike groaned mentally, trying to dig out of his overtaxed and 
tired brain a good lie. Then, he found one that couldn't be 
disproved. "Dru got herself in a bit of a pickle and I had to go 
bail her out," he told them. He felt Willow tense in his arms and 
he cursed at himself, but continued the lie. "Of course, my 
actions on her behalf weren't welcomed with open arms."

"You mean that Drusilla did this to you?" Angel asked skeptically.

"No," Spike said, knowing that Angel would see through that lie 
immediately. "Bunch of Tremere." That was at least the truth.

"So I take it she's fine and dandy?" Xavier said.

"Peachy," he answered. "And happily back with her Nutty Professor. 
Those two are so bloody cute, it makes me want to heave." He felt 
Willow relax onto him again and filed that away for later. 

"I shall instruct the band to strike up 'Hail, the Conquering 
Hero,'" Xavier said. 



"Do something useful. Go find a stake to throw yourself on," Spike 
told him.

Xavier chuckled and stood. "That is my cue to depart. Fare thee 
well, Porthos. Athos. D'Artagnan." The vampire Prince left the 
room in his normal proud stride, exiting the suite.

"I'm gonna go, too," Angel said, rising. "Do you need anything?"

"To have my bloody head examined for helping Dru," Spike replied. 
"But nothing else I can think of."

"Ok. See you later," Angel said, then left as well.

"Looksch like itsch just you an' me, kid," Spike joked in a really 
bad Bogart impersonation. 

Willow groaned at him and sat up, twisting so she faced him. "That 
was really pathetic, Spike. Are you sure you didn't get hit in the 
head too many times?"

He tilted his head to one side, studying her. "What's wrong, luv? 
You don't look like your usual Witchy self."

"You tell me," Willow answered seriously. 

"I'm sorry, pet," Spike said after a moment. He sighed and closed 
his eyes. "There are some things that I just can't tell you about. 
I wish that I could have stayed there all day with you in bed, but 
if wishes were nickels..."

"You'd still be poor," she finished. She climbed out of his bed 
and headed for the door. "I have some work to do. You just rest 
and get better, ok?"

Spike opened his eyes and watched her leave, a sadness hanging 
around her shoulders. For the first time since he became a member 
of the Gehenna Cult, he hated it. Turning on his side, he cursed 
whatever higher power gave him a conscience and forced himself to 
go back to sleep.

Part Twelve

"Willow," Spike called, heading to her room a few days later. The 
comradery between them had been strained as he healed. They still 
joked and worked together, but there was an underlying tension. 
And he knew it was his fault. He'd give anything to turn back the 

"Willow, can you help me with this friggin' mem-" He cut off his 
sentence when he saw her, the paper in his hands wrinkling as he 
clenched it. 

The red head was facing him, eyes closed, wearing nothing more 
than a blue sports bra and running shorts. Her hair was loose, her 
feet bare as she danced to the music coming over the headphones, 
the walkman held in one hand. She sang along to the words, moving 
her body in time with what she could hear. 

"I'm a bitch, I'm a lover, I'm a child, I'm a mother, I'm a 
sinner, I'm a saint, I do not feel ashamed. I'm your hell, I'm 
your dream, I'm nothing in between. You know you wouldn't want it 
any other way." 

Spike was having trouble swallowing as she wove an intricate 
pattern with his arms, her pelvis making erotic figure eights as 
her head moved to the beat.

"I'm a bitch, I'm a tease, I'm a goddess on my knees. When you 
hurt, when you suffer, I'm your Angel undercover. I've been 
dumped, I'm revived, can't say I'm not alive. You know I wouldn't 
want it any other way."

The instrumental part must have come on, because she stopped 
singing but not dancing. He needed to move, to do something 
besides stare at her. But he was glued to the spot as she started 
turning in a circle. Now, her back was to him and the paper in his 
hands ripped in half as she wiggled her butt. "Cor," he whispered, 
his eyes trailing down to her feet and slowly back up again.

Then, he saw something on her lower back that made the world drop 
out from beneath his feet. Prompted into action, he was at her 
side in two long strides, stopping her with his hands. She let out 
a loud yelp and tried to spin, but he held her still as he looked 
at the mark.

"Spike, what are you do-" Willow started to say, but the vampire 
released her as suddenly as he grabbed her, tearing from her 
bedroom and out the door. She followed him just as rapidly, 
wondering what had gotten him worked up. She hit the top of the 
sweeping staircase as he ran across the great hall towards the 
front doors. "Spike! It's daytime! Wait!"

Spike threw open the doors and ran outside, protected from the sun 
by a cement overhang that covered the drive. He got as close to 
the edge of the sunlight as he could and looked up into the clear, 
blue sky. 

Willow dashed out the door, a frantic look on her face. "Spike, 
what are you doing, trying to get yourself fried?!" She grabbed 
his arm and dragged him towards the door. "Get inside you stupid, 
idiotic jackass!"

He looked down at her, an odd expression on his face. "Willow, I 
need to know. That mark on your back, what is it from?"

"Mark? You mean that funny looking birthmark? I was born with it," 
she replied, closing the front door firmly behind them. "Now, 
what's this all about. You ran outside, in the day. I think I've 
aged fifty years in less than a second. I should stake you, that's 
how mad I am and where are you running to now?" Spike was 
sprinting towards the stairs again and she had no choice but to 
follow. "Glad I wore this outfit," she muttered as she traversed 
the stairs.

When she got back to the suite, he was at the kitchen table, 
writing something on a piece of paper. "Spike, enough with the 
running," she panted, walking over to him. 

"I need you to follow this exactly, no questions," Spike told her. 
She opened her mouth and his head shot up. "No questions."

Willow nodded, then accepted the paper from him. There was a phone 
number at the top with G1 under it. The rest of the instructions 
were simple once she translated from Spike. It only read 'pay 
phone.' She raised her eyes to him and he handed her a pocketful 
of change. Suddenly, certain things he'd said came back to her 
like pieces to a puzzle. He couldn't tell her some things, his two 
mysterious disappearances, the bizarre email message that prompted 
the first one, the wine glass. **Is Spike a spy?**

Putting off her questions, she quickly went into her room and put 
her socks and shoes on, then was out the door without a word. 


"Um, hi," Willow said into the receiver of the pay phone. "I was 
told to call this number and, er, tell you G1?"

"Hold please," the female voice on the other end told her.

"O-ok," she replied, looking out the windows to the booth 
nervously. She was very confused and a little scared. It was a 
good possibility that Spike was a spy. Her Spike, the vampire that 
made her laugh and her toes curl. The same man who had become her 
lover nine days ago, then disappeared. And when he finally 
returned, he was beaten and bruised.

"Yes, who is this?" a new, male voice came over the line, breaking 
into her thoughs. "And how did you get this number?"

"Uh, Willow," she answered. "And Spike told m-me to call and tell 
you G1, although I don't know what it means. And I had to go to a 
pay phone and it's daytime, or I bet Spike would have, er, come 
out and called you himself."

"Spike? You mean William Longstreet?"

"Yes," she replied.

"Listen closely," the man said. "Tell William station G; circular 
route; no harm, no foul. Got it?"

"Station G; circular route; no harm, no foul," Willow repeated. 
"Any-anything else?" But the tone coming over the line meant that 
the man had already disconnected. She hung up the receiver and 
tucked Spike's note in her pocket, then made the long trek back up 
to the mansion.


The smoke was heavy in the air when Willow entered the suite. 
Before she could say a word, Spike grabbed her arm and dragged her 
into the bathroom, shutting both doors. Then, he turned on the 
faucet full blast and faced her with an expression that she 
couldn't decipher. "Well?" he said.

"I'm suppose to tell you station G; circular route; no harm, no 
foul," Willow repeated the message. 

Spike ran his hand through his short hair. "Ok, I need you to pack 
your backpack with a few days worth of stuff. Clothes and what 


"I'll explain later," he put her off. "Once you're packed, come 
back in here and turn on the faucet." With that, he shut off the 
water and went through the door into his bedroom. He didn't wait 
to see if Willow did as he told her, knowing that she would. 
He went over to his dresser and opened the top drawer, reaching up 
under it to pull a quarter inch thick, black book out of its 
hidden spot. Then, he retrieved the metal box with the.45 and 
reloaded it with a fresh clip. All the while he was doing this, he 
tried not to think of what the mark meant for both himself and the 

He heard the faucet go on and he brought the items into the 
bathroom with him. Willow was sitting on the toilet seat, hugging 
the backpack to her with a scared expression. She stared up at him 
with her luminous green eyes and he swallowed heavily. **Remember 
the Alamo,** he thought for no reason as he took her bag from her. 
"You can read this when you get there," he told her, sticking the 
black book in it. 

"Where am I going?" Willow asked, tucking her hair behind her ears 
and looking at the gun on the sink with trepidation. 

"You're going to take a cab, which I've already called for, to the 
convenience store on Marshall," he replied. He picked up the gun 
and looked at her. "When your facing away from the store, go right 
and keep walking until you get to MacArthur's Park Cafe. Go inside 
and find a waitress named Janice. Tell her that you're waiting for 
the last train to Clarksville, then follow her." 

"Um, Spike, you're making me really scared," she confessed. 

"I'm sorry, little Witch," Spike said, crouching down in front of 
her. He held up the gun. "Do you know how to use one of these?" 

"No, and I don't want to know," Willow replied. "They're bad, I 
could hurt someone, I could get hurt." 

"I need you to take this, Willow," he said seriously, pressing the 
cool metal into her hands. "All you have to do is move this safety 
button and pull the trigger." 

"But I don't need it," she protested. "I'm just Willow. Why would 
I need it? Spike, what is going on? I'm past the scared point and 
am now entering terror. Terror is not good. Gives me hives." 

Spike took the gun back from her and set it down next to him, then 
took both her hands in his. "This is important, ducks. I promise 
I'll explain when I get there after dark, but you need to go now, 
ok?" Willow nodded. He scooped up the.45 and stood, shoving it 
into her backpack and zipping it up. Then, he handed the bag to 
her and turned off the faucet, leading the way out of the bathroom 
to the door. 

"I'll see you later, right?" Willow asked at the door, backpack 
firmly on her shoulders. She couldn't help feeling that something 
awful was going to happen and they'd never had a chance to resolve 

In response, Spike traced her jaw with his finger, then pushed his 
hand into her hair and bent his head to capture her mouth. The 
kiss was hard, with the feelings they'd both been bottling up and 
that of the unknown danger approaching making it all the more 
intense. When he released her, he forced himself to step back and 
open the door. "Be careful, little Witch," he whispered. 

Willow nodded again and left the suite, walking quickly down the 
hallway for the waiting cab outside. He continued to stand there, 
one hand gripping the door as he watched her walk out of sight. 
Then quietly, he said to the empty hall, "I love you, Willow." 

Part Thirteen
Willow looked around the empty room that was part of the series of 
small apartments above the cafe. She'd done exactly as instructed, 
walking from the convenience store for what seemed like forever in 
the late August Los Angeles heat until she reached MacArthur's 
Park Cafe. Then, she'd found Janice, gave her the cryptic song 
lyric and was escorted to this room where she was suppose to wait 
goddess knew how long with nothing but her backpack and a straight 
backed chair for company.

It didn't help that every little noise made her jump, her head 
spinning as she tried to discern where it had come from. "Oh 
goddess, Spike, please hurry," she whispered as her eyes darted to 
the only door, then to the sunlit window that led to a rickety 
fire escape. She held the backpack in her lap and could feel the 
outline of the.45 under the material, which did not give her 

"Ok, Willow, you need to calm down," she told herself after a loud 
crash of dishes falling downstairs made her heart leap. She closed 
her eyes and willed her body to relax, focusing on the red room 
that began the an Alpha meditation. Soon, she had gone through all 
seven 'doors' of the meditation and she felt clearer and more in 

Opening her eyes, the empty room seemed less threatening, the fact 
that she was alone less worrisome. Spike would be joining her as 
soon as the sun went down, so all she had to do was wait. Thinking 
of waiting, she remembered the book the blond vampire had put into 
the backpack. She decided to move to the window and sat on the 
open sill before digging the book out of her bag. Then, with her 
legs crossed Indian style, backpack in her lap, she began to study 

Embossed on the cover, black on black, was the title which she had 
almost missed. "The Book of Nod," she read aloud. She flipped 
through the pages, noting that it wasn't a published book and that 
it contained three separate sections: The Chronicle of Caine, the 
Chronicle of Shadows and the Chronicle of Secrets. She glanced out 
into the sunny day, then began to read.

The Chronicle of Caine was about the creation of the first 
vampire, Caine. She remembered the passages about him and his 
brother, Abel, from her early study when she went to Temple. Caine 
had been jealous of his brother and had killed him, thus causing 
his father to exile him. The chronicle went on, detailing his 
transformation to a vampire, of how he came to make more Kindred 
and Jyhad that followed. It also showed how the different clans 
came to be and of why the need for the Masquerade. 

The second chronicle, or The Chronicle of Shadows, reminded her of 
Nicolas' work. It explained the different clans as well as a few 
laws and commandments. The main difference was, however, that all 
that she had read thus far had been written in verse. The last 
page of the section was a list of proverbs and a she had to laugh 
at a few of them. "'To rid yourself of an enemy, outlive him.' Not 
too hard if you're a vampire and the enemy is not."

Shifting, she got a little more comfortable and turned to the last 
section, The Chronicle of Secrets. As she turned the page, the 
words seemed to jump out at her. "The signs of Gehenna," she read. 
She knew that Gehenna meant the end of the world, the destruction 
of all beings on the face of the earth. As she continued to read, 
she realized that this part was like one of Giles' books of 
"'And the Dark Mother herself will be brought forth and there, in 
the valley of Enoch, will there be a battle a duel of Dark Father 
and Dark Mother. The Demon Queen will bite deep. The Damned King 
will bite deeper. We will not know the thing which will happen, 
but the sky will tear apart, and the earth below and the forces of 
Hell will pour up out of the ground,'" she read, then shuddered. 
"That almost sounds like the Hellmouth opening. Or with Acathala."

Turning the page, she continued, "'On the Third Day, there will be 
silence. The crows will feed on the carrion, plague will dance 
amongst the ruins. The last of the Wild Ones will leave this 
place. The last of the Moon-Beasts will fight and fall and the 
Antediluvians will make for themselves an Empire of Blood. They 
will rule with iron talons. They will wrench the hearts of all 
still alive and the full sum of the earth's living will come and 
live in the Last City, called Gehenna. And there will be a reign 
of one thousand years, and there will be no love, or life, or 
pity. The mighty will be as slaves. The virtuous will be made 
foul. Every good gift, and every perfect gift will be tainted by 
the Father of Darkness, whose power will come from the nether 

The sun began to dip in the sky, slowly descending as day bled 
into night. "'When the snows consume the earth and the sun gutters 
like a candle in the wind, then, and only then will there be born 
a woman, the last Daughter of Eve, and in her there will be 
decided the fate of all,'" Willow read, mentally noting that the 
last Daughter of Eve would be the last human being to be born and 
that this chronicle was predicting nuclear winter. 

She started to read the next verse, then paused, her eyes widening 
before she read it again. "'And you will not know this woman, 
except by the mark of the Moon on her, and she will face 
treachery, hatred, and pain. But in her is the last hope.'"

Willow looked up as the final bit of daylight disappeared into the 
horizon, the realization of Spike's actions settling heavily upon 
her. "Oh goddess."


She didn't know what alerted her to the danger. She had been 
sitting on the window sill, waiting for Spike to arrive, studying 
The Book of Nod in the street light coming from outside. Perhaps 
the goddess had been watching out for her, or perhaps living with 
the dangers of the Hellmouth day in and day out over the past 
three years had honed her senses, but either way she knew that the 
person on the other side of the door was not a friend.

Quietly, Willow slipped the book into her backpack and pulled out 
the gun. Just as silently, she levered herself out the window onto 
the fire escape and slid the bag over her shoulders before 
leveling the.45 at the door. Her breaths were coming in short 
pants as her heart raced. She wanted to bolt, to tear down the 
rickety stairs and run until she collapsed, but the need to see 
her foe seemed to be more important. Why, she did not know. 

The door to the empty room opened slowly and she pushed up the 
safety as Spike had shown her. The man who entered the room was 
unfamiliar to her, but did not make him any less dangerous, 
especially since she could see he held a gun, as well. His eyes 
darted around the room and he spotted her, his expression feral in 
the street light. 

Willow squealed as he raised his gun and she closed her eyes and 
squeezed the trigger at the same time he did. His shot clipped the 
window sill next to her head, chips of wood flying outwards as she 
fell backwards from the recoil of her action. She felt as if she'd 
gone deaf from the loudness of her firing and she was lucky she 
held onto the gun as she scrambled to her knees. Another shot rang 
out, hitting the metal of the fire escape and she screamed. 

Not bothering to aim, she started firing wildly into the room with 
her two hands clutching the gun tightly, her hands barely above 
the window sill. Each shot made the.45 jerk in her hand, but she 
did not fall backwards. She continued to fire until another bullet 
from her attacker whizzed by her ear, a sharp stinging sensation 
causing her to turn and crawl down the stairs head first until she 
got to the next landing. Then, she stood and ran, her footsteps 
banging loudly on each metal step until she got to the street.

Gun still in her hand, she tore around the corner of the alley and 
onto the crowded Marshall Street. Her only thought as she pushed 
her way through the throng of people was of Spike. Not because he 
would protect her, but because she might die without getting a 
chance to tell him that she was in love with him. 


Spike was halfway to MacArthur's Park Cafe when he saw her running 
straight for him. Eyes widening at the panic and fear that was 
written on her face, he sprinted towards her. "Willow," he called, 
getting her attention.

Willow threw herself into Spike's arms when they met, tears 
streaming down her face. "He tried to shoot me. Oh goddess, Spike, 
he tried to kill me and I shot at him. Lots of times," she 
babbled, holding onto the vampire tightly.

"Come on," he said, flagging down a cab. They got inside and he 
gave the driver an address, then pulled the hacker into his arms, 
holding her close as she stifled her sobs. Ten minutes later, he 
threw some money at the cabbie and escorted her into a parking 
garage. He picked a car at random and broke the window.

"What are you doing?" Willow said as he unlocked the door.

"We're getting out of here," Spike replied, pushing her slightly. 
She quickly climbed across the front seat to the passenger side. 
He followed her and hot wired the car, then drove calmly out of 
the garage.

Half an hour later, they were on the Pacific Coast Highway heading 
north. "Where are we going?"she finally asked after she'd calmed 

"To a cabin I keep in case I want to get away," he answered, 
checking the rearview mirror often for a tail or the police. "I 
usually go there to hide out because I want to, not because I 
bloody have to."

"I'm sorry," she said, looking down at the gun still clutched in 
her hand.

"No, luv, I'm sorry," Spike told her. He reached over and put his 
hand on her leg, giving it a brief squeeze. "I should have come 
with you, or better yet, not let you leave at all."

"Then why did you?" 

He took an unneeded breath and let it out slowly. "Because those 
were my orders," he said, glancing over at her pale and tear 
stained face. 

"The phone call," she said with semi-understanding. "Does this 
mean that you are a spy?"

Spike chuckled humorlessly. "Of sorts," he replied. "Did you have 
a chance to look at The Book of Nod?"

"Yeah," Willow answered. "I read the part about the mark. Do you 
really think that I am the last Daughter of Eve?

"No," he said. "But it is possible that she will be a descendant 
of you."

"Oh," she replied, leaning her head on the window and staring out 
blindly. After a few minutes of silence, she asked, "If you're not 
a spy, what are you?"

"I am a member of the Gehenna Cult," Spike answered, maneuvering 
off the highway. He could be killed for telling her, but he no 
longer cared, especially with the attempt on her life. She had 
become his first priority and anything she wanted to know he would 
tell her. "The Cult is a secret organization of vampires and some 
humans and other creatures who are dedicated to saving the world."

Willow turned her head and looked at him. "But I thought you tried 
to destroy humanity with the Judge?"

"No, that was Drusilla and Angel," he corrected. "Dalton had found 
a manuscript one day detailing the locations of the pieces of that 
bloody smurf and started to gather them. I had to go along with it 
because my cover at the time was as a big bad master in the Sabbat 
Sect. Remember, pet, that my involvement with the Cult is a 

"But why?" 

"Because there are those out there who would like nothing better 
than having hell on earth," he answered. "They're usually members 
of the friggin' Antediluvian Cult. Antonio and his Whip were both 
members of that."

"Were?" Willow said.

"I killed them," Spike replied. "Well, I killed the Whip. Antonio 
I left with half his brain blown out that night I came back to the 
mansion, thinking you were gone."

"Oh...oh!" Willow exclaimed. "No wonder he didn't meet me." After 
a moment, something else dawned on her. "He's the one who hurt 
you. But why?"

"To find out the other members of the Gehenna Cult were," he 

"Bastard. May he rot in hell like the pillock he was."

"Willow," he gasped. "What language. I see that I've taught you 

Willow giggled despite the situation. "I bet you say that to all 
your pupils."

"Nope," Spike replied. "Only sexy, red headed ones who can make an 
undead man's heart pound in his chest."

"And how many of those do you have?"

"Oh, about a dozen."


Part Fourteen

The cabin was literally in the middle of nowhere. Towering pines 
were all that was visible in every direction. A dark brown 
building to match the surroundings, with no visible wires or 
tanks. They had stopped for provisions close to an hour before 
arriving, and the remainder of the drive had been spent in 

Willow looked around tiredly as Spike brought the grocery bags 
into the small kitchen. The main floor of the cabin was open, with 
all the normal amenities, including an entertainment center. She 
smiled when she saw the stack of videos falling out of a cabinet 
and a few scattered, empty cigarette packs. There was a bathroom 
in one corner and a set of stairs that led up to the loft in 

Slowly, she climbed the stairs and dropped her backpack on the 
floor as the double bed beckoned to her. The loft held only the 
bed, two night stands and a small dresser, all of which were 
conducive to a single person living at the cabin. She leaned over 
the balcony to look down at Spike. "Where are the sheets?"

"Bottom drawer," he replied. 

She nodded and began to make the bed. Once done, she collapsed 
upon it face first, not bothering to remove her clothes. She was 
somewhat conscious when she heard him come up the stairs and 
whimpered when he turned on the lamp. 

"Come on, luv," Spike said, pulling off her shoes and socks. 
"Let's get you into bed right proper."
He helped her sit up, then removed the rest of her clothing. 
Digging through her backpack, he found her nightshirt and put it 
on her, then tucked her under the covers.

"Spike?" Willow said, her lids heavy.

"Yeah, pet?"

"Will you hold me?"

"You never have to ask," he replied, stripping down to his boxers 
and climbing in the bed next to her. She curled up against him 
after he switched the light off. Soon, the only sound in the cabin 
was of her steady breathing as they both drifted off into sleep.


"Spike?" Willow called, sitting up. She had woken a few minutes 
ago to find the other half of the bed empty and had panicked 
slightly. She was still shaken up over the events that occurred 
earlier and needed reassurance that everything was to be alright. 

When she didn't receive an answer, she crawled out of bed and over 
to the loft railing. Looking down, she could see no sign of him. 
The only light in the cabin was coming from a single night light 
plugged into an outlet in the kitchen. "Spike?" she called out for 
a third time, her voice rising with worry. She hurried down the 
stairs and checked in the bathroom and on the couch. No one.

Opening the door, she stayed just behind the invisible barrier and 
peered out into the night enshrouded forest. She was afraid to 
even stick her head out, afraid that there would be someone next 
to the door waiting to kidnap or kill her before she could blink. 
The man earlier that evening had been a vampire, she'd seen his 
ridged face, and from what Spike told her, figured there had to be 
a leak of sorts in the Gehenna Cult which meant that they could 
know where the cabin was. Which meant that Spike could be dead. 

"Spike!" Willow yelled out the door as loud as she could, her 
thoughts having taken that horrible turn. "SPIKE!" 

Spike was halfway up the steps to the cabin when the red head 
threw herself in his arms. "What is it, Willow? Are you alright? 
Did something happen?" he asked in rapid session, his eyes darting 
around the shadows.

"I thought someone took you and you were dead," she cried, holding 
him tightly.

"Cor, no, luv. No one knows where we are," he told her as he 
picked her up and brought her into the cabin. Shutting the door 
behind him with his foot, he brought her over to the couch and sat 
down, with her in his lap. He held her close, rocking her slightly 
against his bare chest. "I had to run out for a bite before dawn, 
that's all. I had expected you to still be asleep when I returned, 
because I planned on rejoining you in bed." 

The last part was said with a teasing note in his voice, causing 
her to raise her head. "And just what do you think was going to 
happen in that bed, buster?" Willow said, the tear tracks bright 
against her face from the night light. 

"Well, I was hoping for a few sheep to miss the fence," Spike 
teased. "Then I could have breakfast in b-mmmp." 

His sentence was cut off by Willow smashing her tear soaked lips 
onto his, her mouth plundering his mouth as she wrapped her hands 
around the back of his head. Her short nails dug into his scalp as 
the kiss intensified, all of her feelings of the past few days 
pouring into it. Fear, love, sexual tension, the unknown. Each of 
which prompted her to let go of his head and pull off her 
underwear before she straddled his jean-clad lap right on the 
couch, their mouths never parting.

Spike had been surprised at first, but her burning lips against 
his brought forth everything he'd been feeling for the past few 
days. Love, hate, sexual tension, fear, anger. All of this coursed 
through him, causing him to push his hands up under her night 
shirt and hold her close, his cool fingers against her heated 


Willow collapsed upon him, burying her face in his neck, holding 
him close. His arms encircled her again under her shirt, the 
material the only thing preventing them from sinking into each 
other as he brought his head down and kissed her on the side of 
her neck. "I love you, Willow," he whispered, so quietly she would 
have missed it if not for the proximity of his mouth to her ear. 

She raised her head and looked into eyes that reminded her of a 
blue sky reflected on a sheet of clear ice. "Oh, Spike, I love 
you, too," she told him, tears of happiness filling her own. "I 
was so scared that I wouldn't get to tell you."

Spike was startled. He never expected for her to hear his 
confession, and he sure as hell didn't expect her to return his 
feelings. He raised a shaking hand to her cheek and she nuzzled 
into it. Sitting up straight, their bodies still joined, his lips 
met hers in the sweetest kiss he'd had in close to one hundred 


"Any more?" Willow prompted the next evening. They had returned to 
bed shortly after their admissions and made love until dawn, then 
slept the day away snuggled together as close as they could get. 
Spike had made her 'breakfast' and she saw first hand how he 
almost lit himself on fire. Now, they were sitting at the small 
kitchen table as he regaled her with stories about the many times 
he saved the world.

"You know the other ones, luv," Spike replied. "The Judge, 
although I wasn't much help in that being stuck in the bloody 
wheelchair." He frowned over the memories. "Teaming up with the 
Slayer to stop Angel from opening Acathala. Didn't do too much, 
then, either. I was too busy trying to get Dru out, as promised. I 
really should have stuck around."

"You did what you thought was right," she said. "Plus, I don't 
think Buffy would have wanted you there, especially because of 
what happened."

"What did happen?" he asked. "Poopsy never told me."

"I gave Angel back his soul just as Acathala opened," she 
answered. "She had no choice but to send him to hell.

Spike's eyes widened, a pang of remorse in his undead heart. His 
sire may be a bone of contention in his unlife, but he didn't 
deserve that. "Cor, that's harsh."

"Yeah. Buffy ran away and didn't come back until almost a month 
into school. I didn't even find out that the curse worked until 
Faith showed up in Sunnydale four weeks after she got back," 
Willow said, giving him a sad look. "I don't know how she managed 
to stay alive. The guilt and grief would have driven most people 
to suicide."

"Buffy is the strongest Slayer I've ever met, and I don't just 
mean physically," he told her. "She's got something in here..." He 
put his hand over his heart. "That makes her better. I'm glad I'm 
not on her shit-list any more, because sooner or later she'd get 

"I'll protect you," Willow said, reaching across the table to pat 
his hand.

"And who's going to protect me from you?" Spike asked with an arch 
of his scarred brow.

"Nothing, if you keep saying things like that," she replied with a 
sweet smile. "I can levitate a mean pencil."

"I know, I've seen it," he said.

"When?" she asked, confused.

"When you were searching for a way to defeat the Mayor," he 
replied. "I popped up through the tunnels to leave that green 

"That was you?!" Willow said. "We couldn't figure out how that 
book got to the library for the life of us. Goddess, we must have 
puzzled over that for a good ten minutes before we realized we 
shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. Or a gift vampire, I 
guess. That's what you meant that night of the first conclave 
meeting when you said you saw us pull that all nighter. Wait, you 
were helping us?"

"My job, remember?" Spike said.

"Oh yeah," she replied. "Color me blond and call me Buffy."

Spike burst out laughing at her insult to her best friend. "Cor, 
pet, don't let the Slayer hear you say that or you'll be wearing 
your bottom lip over the top of your head."

"Um, eew," she said. "That's a graphic picture."

"I can paint a few more for you, if you'd like," he replied with a 
devilish smile.

"That's ok, Spike," Willow told him. "You keep your sick, 
disgusting, evil, demented, gross, perverted, vomit inducing..."

"You can stop any time now, little Witch," Spike said. She gave 
him a grin and stuck a bite full of food in her mouth. "Anything 
else you want to know? I'm going to have to run to town in a few 
to make the calls."

"Yeah, how come there's no windows in this cabin?" she asked.

"I built it that way," he replied.

Willow's eyes widened. "You built this place? Yourself?"

"All by my bloody lonesome," he answered. 

"How long did it take? What did you use? How come it's so nice?" 

"Two months, trees and I'm not going to dignify that last one with 
an answer," Spike said, scowling at her. He stood and took her 
empty plate to the sink. "While I'm gone, don't go outside. There 
are a lot of wild animals out there that would be happy to gobble 
you up, and that's my job."

"I don't see why I can't come with you," Willow complained, 
walking over to him and wrapping her arms around his waist and 
laying her head on his back. 

"Because the townies know me, you'd stick out like a red thumb," 
he answered as he washed the dishes. "I don't want anyone knowing 
where you are, not with the leak." They had both come to the 
agreement that there had to be a leak inside the Gehenna Cult that 
needed to be dealt with before she would come out of hiding. Of 
course, with college classes starting in a week, that put 
additional pressure on the situation.

"Fine, I can take a hint," she sighed. She let go of him and 
wandered into the main room, picking up the remote off the floor 
behind the couch. "Just remember to call Buffy or Angel and tell 
them that I'm safe."

"I will," he replied, drying off his hands and coming up behind 
her. He turned her in his arms and placed a soft kiss on her lips. 
"I'll be back in a few hours, ok?"

"Ok," Willow said. She watched as he went over to the cabin door 
and opened it. The dark sky beckoned to the night creatures to 
come out and play. "Be careful."

"Hey, it's me," Spike replied with a cocky grin, then shut the 
door behind him.

"Isn't that what Han Solo said before failing his sneak attempt on 
the Stormtroopers in Jedi?" she muttered to the closed door.

Part Fifteen
"Christoph, you have a leak, you stupid pillock," Spike growled 
into the pay phone at the small town store. "Willow almost got 
killed. Luckily, only her ear was barely grazed, or you would have 
had a very friggin' pissed off Toreador on your arse."

"I know, William," Christoph's voice came over the line. "All of 
those involved in the G1 call have been dealt with in the proper 

"Do you think that's going to bloody appease me?" he said with 
venom. "Anyone could have overheard along the chain of command! 
Christoph, she almost died."

"You have feelings for this human," the Ventrue stated. "Does she 
know of your ties to the Cult?"

"Of course she knows, someone tried to FRIGGIN' OFF HER!" Spike 
yelled into the receiver. 

"William, calm yourself," Christoph said. "I understand the 
circumstances to which she has become knowledgeable of the Cult. 
And because you feel she falls under G1 status, it was only a 
matter of time until she would know."

"I am so glad you approve," Spike replied snidely. "I'd hate for 
someone to come and kill her."

"You are now assigned Protector," Christoph instructed, ignoring 
the remarks. "And as such, no further contact with the Cult will 
ever be made, your previous assignment is reneged and your pledge 
to the Cult shall be centered around this human. Good luck, 
William Longstreet. It has been a pleasure having someone like you 
on our team. May God have mercy on you when Judgement Day comes." 
With that, the leader of one of the branches of the Gehenna Cult 
forever cut ties with Spike.

Spike hung up the phone and leaned his head on his arm against the 
privacy wall. He needed to calm down and digest what he had been 
told. As Protector, it was his sole duty to ensure that Willow 
stayed alive and had many children in order to continue her 
bloodline. There were several Protectors all over the world, had 
been since the Gehenna Cults started. Anyone who bore a mark of 
the Moon garnered a Protector, whether that person was 
knowledgeable or not. As long as they lived to have multiple 
descendants, the Protector did his or her job. 

Which meant that someone would have to father Willow's children, 
because he could not.

That depressing thought settled heavily on him as he picked up the 
receiver again and dialed the mansion. "Maurice, get me Angel," he 
said, interrupting the butlers rapid questioning. He waited, 
scraping at what little nail polish was left on his thumb. 

"Spike, where's Willow?" Angel asked upon picking up on the other 
end. "She was suppose to meet with Buffy..."

"The little Witch is with me," Spike replied. "I need you to 
resign me as Primogen, effective tonight."

"What? Why?" Angel said. "Spike, is something wrong?"

Spike chuckled humorlessly. "You could say that," he answered. 
"Now I know how you feel about being so close to the Slayer, yet 
are unable to have her."

"Tell me," his sire prompted, concern lacing his voice.

"Willow and I will be gone for a bit, so tell Buffy not to worry 
and to pass the info on to her parents," Spike replied instead. 
"Eventually, I'll have you ship us some stuff from the suite..."

"What, are you two having some little lovers holiday?" Angel 
interrupted sarcastically.

"For once in your bloody unlife can you not be your jagoff self 
and help me!" he started to yell again, his emotions getting the 
better of him. "Willow almost got killed the other night and now 
I'm her Protector, which means that despite how much I love her, 
it doesn't matter because I can't have friggin' children!" By now, 
tears were streaming down his face, and his sharp gasps rang 
clearly over the line. "Cor, Angelus, I love her so bloody much. I 
didn't think I'd ever love again after Dru..."

Several hours away, sitting on the edge of his bed in his suite, 
Angel's heart broke for him. Souled or unsouled, Spike was the one 
who meant the most to him of all his childer. Hand clenching the 
receiver, he forced his own confusion and sadness down to speak 
soothingly. "Tell me what you need and I'll get it to you," he 
said softly.

"We're in Ventucopa," Spike said in a harsh voice. "Bring whatever 
you think Willow would want, including more clothes. There's no 
phone at the cabin, but I bet she'll want to use the computer. 
Can't use that cell phone, because the number is too well known. 
Cor, I don't know, Athos. You just pick stuff. The only thing I 
want is my necklace on the night stand."

Angel caught the dreaded Musketeer nickname and knew Spike was 
pulling himself back together. "It's too late to head out tonight, 
but I will as soon as the sun sets tomorrow," he told the blond 
vampire. "Take care."

"Tell that pitiful excuse for a butler that Willow sends her 
noggin', whatever the bloody hell that means," Spike said. They 
said goodbye and he hung up the phone. Wiping his face off with 
the back of his hand, he made his way to the stolen car and back 
to the cabin.


Something was wrong. Spike entered the cabin and narrowed his 
eyes, wondering why things seemed off. "Willow?" he called.

"Up here!" Willow called back from the loft.

"There's something wrong here," he said, his eyes darting around 
the cabin. 

Willow's leaned over the banister, her bare feet peeking over the 
edge. "The cabin is clean, silly," she teased. "That's what's 

She was right. The cabin was immaculate. No more empty cigarette 
packs laying about, the surfaces were dusted, even the throw rug 
looked vacuumed and he only had a dustbuster. "It's clean," he 
said in amazement.

"Spike, I think you need to have your eyes checked," she said down 
to him. "While you're at it, get your head examined, too. Maybe 
that pea brain of yours rolled out your ear again."

She squealed as he tore for the stairs, rounding the other side of 
the bed as far from him as she could get. Of course, it wasn't 
going to help, considering the only way out was past him and down 
the stairs. But she had an idea to get him away from his thoughts 
of revenge.

"Pet, that wasn't very nice," Spike mock scolded, slowly stalking 

"Yeah, but this is," Willow replied, then pulled her shirt off, 
leaving her quite naked. 

Spike froze, his pea brain now resembling pea soup. "Cor, luv, you 
don't play fair."

Willow smiled seductively at him, then laid across the bed on her 
side, her head propped in her hand. "But at least I share my toys 
nicely," she said coyly.

Those were the last words out of her mouth for a very long time.



"Yeah, luv?"

"What did they say?" Willow asked much, much later. "About the 
leak, I mean. Did they plug it?"

"As best as Christoph can," Spike replied, not wanting reality to 
intrude on their idyllic world. But he had to tell her sometime, 
especially since they might be there for awhile. "My job is now to 
protect you and..."

"And what?" she said, looking up at him.

"Make sure your bloodline continues," he finished with a quick 

But, being so close to him, she caught it. "You mean, you have to 
make sure that I have children?"

"Yes," he replied with a harsh tone.

Willow frowned. "But I thought vampires couldn't have children."

"We can't," Spike said, wishing the sun hadn't come up so he could 
escape outside. 

"Then how am I suppose to...oh," she breathed. "You're going to 
leave me, aren't you." It was not a question.

"Willow, you have to find a mortal mate who can give you lots of 
brats," he told her, swinging his legs off the bed and lowering 
his head into his hands. 

"What if I don't want a human?" Willow said, crawling over to him 
and sitting at his side. "What if I think humans are boring and 
not worthy of my time? Oz wasn't human, he was a werewolf. In 
fact, I can proudly say that not once have I even kissed a human."


"Is something you sit on," she interrupted. "It's you I love, 
dummy, and it's you I want to be with. If I can't have your 
children, so mote it be. We'll go down to the frozen pop store and 
nuke ourselves a passel of rugrats. But we don't need to do that 
right now. I'm only eighteen. I think, with you as my knight in 
tarnished armor, I'll be around for awhile. So, stop moping and 
make me some cheesy noodles, without lighting yourself on fire 
this time."

Spike stared at her in amazement. She just solved all the problems 
plaguing him without even a pause in speaking. He turned so he was 
facing her and took both her hands. "And then Caine's eyes got the 
look of Visions, and he quieted, then he spoke: 'But if ever one 
of us is gifted with the love of a mortal without command or awe, 
without compulsion, a Love given freely, then that Love will be as 
the gentle rain to even the lowliest of us. And though we shall 
not Embrace it, it will feed us as if we supped at our Father's 
table. It will satisfy our deepest thirst.'"

"That was beautiful," Willow said quietly. "Is it part of The Book 
of Nod?"

"Yes," Spike replied. "The Chronicle of Shadows. It's part of 
Caine's prophecy Of Love. I know I'm sounding bloody sappy right 
now, but I always wanted to find a love like that. Don't get your 
knickers bunched, I did love Dru with all my undead heart. I loved 
her before Angelus disappeared and I loved until it had to end. 
And I swore that I'd never love again. But then a little red 
headed Witch sneaked up on me one night and smacked me with her 
sass and I fell head first into the Mersey without a second 

"Talented, ain't I?" Willow grinned. She darted forward and gave 
him a quick kiss. "Come on, pet. Let's get some bloody supper in 

"You're accent is terrible, ducks," he told her as they both stood 
and threw on some clothing.

"I know, but you love me anyway."

"That I do, Willow," Spike answered. "That I certainly do."


"John! Jacob!"

"Jingle Heimer Schmidt," Spike added from behind Willow. 

Willow turned and glared at him, crossing her arms over her large 
stomach. "If you say that one more time, I'm going to let Angel 
pound you into the ceiling beam like he asked."

"Promises, promises," he scoffed, sliding the hammer into his tool 
belt. "When is the coifed one getting here, anyway?"

"He, Buffy, Xavier and Maurice should be here in about twenty 
minutes," she told him. "Which is why your children better get 
their little arses into this house before I tan them!" She yelled 
the last part out the door. Soon, two tow headed boys came running 
down the wrap around porch to the vastly expanded cabin in the 

"It's his fault, mom," Jacob said, pointing his finger at his 
little brother. The seven year old was streaked with dirt, his 
blue jeans ripped in the knees as he tried to pawn off the blame 
on his sibling.

"Nu-uh," John stated, staring up at Willow with his very blue five 
year old eyes. "Jake held me down and made me eat worms."

"They're good for you," Spike spoke up. "Corey eats them all the 
time, don't you, luv?" He looked down at the three year old 
attached to his leg. 

The red headed, green eyed, little girl smiled up at him and began 
to bounce on his foot. "Ride, daddy, ride!"

"Spike, you're not helping," Willow told him as he began to walk 
around with Corey screeching in glee. She turned to her sons. 
"Both of you, bathtub. Grandpa Angel, Gramma Buffy, Uncle Xavier 
and Uncle Maurice are coming and they don't want to see filthy 

"Yes, mom," they both replied, taking off their muddy shoes and 
heading for the bathroom. 

"And I don't want to see any dirt on the backs of your hands," she 
called after them. "And you, munchkin." She pointed at Corey as 
Spike came to a halt. "You're gonna help mommy in the kitchen 
until so your idiot father can clean up his mess and get ready for 

Spike watched as Willow picked up Corey and headed for the 
kitchen, her rounded tummy causing her to almost look like she was 
waddling from behind. A smile crossed his face when she turned and 
blew him a kiss before going fully into the other room. He never 
in a million lifetimes thought that he'd be a father going on four 
times over, even though biologically they weren't his children. 
Emotionally, he loved them as if they were his, almost as much as 
he loved his red headed little Witch.

Whistling to himself, he started to clean up his tools that were 
used in the always going additions to the cabin. The no longer 
little place was where he and Willow admitted their love, made 
their life together, and now were raising their children. He never 
got to see them in the daylight, but he never felt the need. For 
wherever his Willow went, there was sunlight.

Wherever his Willow went, there was love.