One of the Darkness, One of the Light


by Saber ShadowKitten

Part Seven




Buffy and Spike returned to the Summers' residence around 1 a.m. She and Angel had dusted several vamps as Spike watched, smoking while leaning against a tree. He had the nerve to give her pointers as she fought.

She reminded him that they had to be ready for school by 7:30 in order to pick up the things he'd need from the library, then went to bed, leaving him to do whatever. He tried to get some sleep, but couldn't. The bond was causing a dull pain to throb at his side. Finally giving in to the distraction, Spike grabbed a pillow and slept on Buffy's floor.

His first coherent thought was that someone was standing on his back. Blinking sleepily, he found the Slayer trying to wake him up. "Stop."

"Time to wake up," she sang sweetly. "We have to leave for school in fifteen minutes."

"Bugger off," he swore at her.

"Nope," Buffy said. "I'm not going to question as to why you're sleeping on my floor, but you have to get up. I can't be late or Snyder will nail my ass to the wall."

"That would be an interesting sight," Spike said, coming fully awake. Buffy only glared at him, then left the bedroom so he could get ready.

Ten minutes later, a clean vampire joined the Slayer and her mom in the kitchen. Buffy looked him over from head to toe and sighed. "What?"

"Don't you have any other clothes?" Buffy asked.

"I like my clothes," Spike defended. "And I'll have you know I own several other shirts and pants."

"Yeah, all the same," she chided. Joyce hid her smile in a cup of coffee. "Do you want anything before we go?"

"You have coffee?" he asked, sniffing the air. "Good coffee?"

"It's chocolate," Joyce offered.

He smiled brightly and moved around the island, opening cabinets at random in search of a mug. He found one with rainbows on it and poured himself some of the hot brew.

"Great," Buffy said. "Now he's going to be Mister Bouncy all day."

"What do you mean?" Joyce asked. Spike leaned against the counter, one foot crossed over the other, and drank his coffee.

"He's hyper-boy, mom. They put people on Ritalin for his condition," she said. Spike raised his eyebrow at her, but said nothing. With a sigh, she looked at the clock and groaned. "We have to get going."

"Just let me get my keys," Joyce said, setting her now empty mug in the sink.

Buffy picked up her bag and purse, digging through the latter. She pulled out a pair of sunglasses and slid them on her nose. Then she removed a second pair and handed them to Spike. "Here."

"For me?" Spike asked, incredulously. Buffy made a sound of annoyance, exiting the house and he smiled. Sliding the glasses on his own pale face, he followed the Slayer out of the house. "This is going to be such fun."


*****


Buffy sat next to Spike in Principal Snyder's office, waiting for the little troll to grace them with his presence. "How can you look so calm?" she asked the vampire.

"Practice," Spike answered truthfully. "Centuries of practice."

"Well, I see what you said was true, Ms. Summers," Principal Snyder said as he entered the room. He held the papers Willow had left with the secretary the day before in his hands. "Mr. Chapman...funny, you don't look Brazilian."

"That's because I'm English, mate," Spike answered. "I only lived in Brazil."

"I will not tolerate speaking back, Mr. Chapman. With your grades and record, I will be keeping my eye on you. Seeing that you already know Ms. Summers, I have volunteered her to be your guide. Now, get to class."

Buffy stood and led the way out the door, a coiled predator following behind her. She could feel Spike's irritation coming off of him in waves. When they got into the hallway, she pushed him against the lockers. "Behave."

Spike snarled at her, but forced himself to calm down. Students walked past the two, giving them curious looks, which he met with an evil stare. "Let go of me."

Buffy dropped her arms, took a step back and sighed heavily. "Come on. Let's stow your books and duster in your locker, then get to class. We have history first. Should be a breeze for you."

Trailing behind the Slayer, Spike grumbled to himself about pushy broads and Nazi trolls. They deposited his things in the locker, then went to class. After introducing Spike to the teacher, she dropped her bag on a desk, the headed back for the door.

"Where are you going?" Spike asked, stopping her.

"Chill. I'll be right back. Just take a seat and remember, you're a 18 year old high school student, not a two hundred year old dead guy," Buffy said.

"Undead, pet," Spike corrected. She rolled her eyes and left the room. He sauntered over to the desk next to her bag and slid into the seat. His casual air was in direct opposition to what was going on inside of him. He felt annoyance and nervousness all rolled into one. *I should have bloody killed her when I had the chance,* he thought, staring morosely out the window.

"Who's the hottie?" Harmony asked her friends as they spied Spike sitting by the window.

"Must be a transfer," Aurora said. They smiled to each other and took the chairs surrounding him, moving Buffy's bag onto another desk.

"Hi, I'm Harmony," she introduced herself to Spike, leaning against the front of his desk to show off her cleavage. "Are you new?"

Spike flashed a smile at her. "Yes, luv. Just started today."

At his accent, the other friends practically swooned. Spike tried hard not to laugh at their attempts. After more than two hundred years of experience, these girls knew nothing of the art of seduction. Maybe he'd teach them.

"You're in my seat."

Or not.

Buffy glared at the girl who had taken said seat, then turned her eyes to him. Seeing his droll smile, she seethed inside. This was suppose to be torture for him, too. Suddenly, she came up with an evil plan. "Oh, Spi-ike," she said in a husky voice as she moved past the desk and stopped in front of him. She thrust her lower lip out. "She took my seat, can I sit with you?"

Without waiting for an answer, she slid onto his lap and wiggled her hips as if to get comfortable. She almost lost it when the other girls eyes bugged at her actions. She brought a hand up and touched his cheek, turning her head to look him in the eyes.

And that was her mistake.

Spike's blue eyes blazed with the same fire she'd seen that night. She dropped her hand and gasped as she felt his erection straining against her bottom. Buffy didn't notice the girls move away as she stared at him.

"Slayer, you're going to get burned," Spike said in a low, dangerous tone.

With a small squeak, Buffy jumped off his lap and moved to her own desk. Her mind was racing, her breaths coming in short gasps as the bell rang. *What did he do to me?*

Spike brought his leg up to rest on the opposite knee to hide his arousal. *Bloody hell,* he cursed, shifting in his seat. *I hate that girl.*

The day went downhill from there. Both the Slayer and the vampire shot hateful glares at each other in every class. During the free period and lunch, they stayed as far away from one another as they could get without the distance pain acting up. When school finally ended, they were at they end of their ropes.

Buffy threw her bag and purse on the table of the library. It skittered right off the surface and onto the floor. Stomping into Giles' office, she pushed the Watcher out and slammed the door shut.

Spike, at the same time, dropped his books with a thunk on the counter, then dug out a cigarette and lit it. He glared at Giles when he went to protest.

Buffy emerged a few minutes later, in her workout clothes and scowled at Spike, hands on her hips. "Put that out!"

"Make me," Spike told her, puffing away.

"I was so hoping you'd say that," she said, stalking over to him. She snatched the offending smoke from his lips, turned it around and crushed it into his cheek.

With a roar of pain, Spike backhanded her. Her head snapped with the blow, but she did not stagger. With a predatory smile, she sent a flurry of punches at his face. He reeled, his back hitting the check out counter. Using that for leverage, he brought both legs up, kicking her away with the soles of his boots. She flew back across the room, but landed on her feet.

Snarling on her own, Buffy waiting until he came closer, then sent a spinning back kick to his head. Spike ducked, then grabbed the leg, sending her crashing to the floor. But that did not deter her. With her other foot, she kicked him in the groin and he dropped her leg, cupping himself in pain. She jumped to her feet and sent a cross flying to his face, knocking his head to one side. He punched her back in the gut, causing her to bend as well.

Deciding to resort to chick fighting, Buffy snatched his hair and smashed his face on an upraised knee. Blood shot out of his nose as he clamped on to her wrists, falling backwards onto the floor, sending her sailing once again across the room. She hit the check out desk hard, cutting her head on the edge of the countertop.

Giles watched in panic as his Slayer slowly got up and touched the back of her head. Her palm came away bloody, and she snarled again. He didn't know whether to stop the fight, or to let them go until one of them was unconscious.

Spike arched and leapt to his feet, spinning so he was facing the Slayer. His face had yet to morph into its demon countenance, but it was not because he lacked the fury. He took a step towards her and lashed his foot out in a side kick, hitting her hard. She grunted, but did not fold. She retaliated with her fists, bruising his cheeks and jaw. She landed another lucky punch at his nose, breaking it. He returned the same.

Blood poured down both their faces and from the numerous gashes on their bodies. Buffy's hair was matted with the thick red stuff in the back from her smashing into the desk. Ribs ground together as they broke from the kicks and punches. Yet, neither of them gave into the pain.

The Slayer stamped on Spike's instep, then grabbed his wrist and threw him over her shoulder. He crashed down on top of the check out counter. She grabbed his hair again and yanked him to the floor. She brought her heel down and smashed his breast bone.

With a growl, he pulled her feet from under her, and she fell with a thud. He moved quickly, pinning her to the ground with his weight. She couldn't throw him over her head, like he did to her, because she was perpendicular to the counter. She tried to get her feet under him to push him away, but couldn't as he grabbed both wrists and held them above her head.

His blazing blue eyes met hers as the blood dripped from his face. He wanted to sink his fangs into her neck, proving dominance, but his face refused to change. Instead, he smashed his cut lips to hers, grinding them together, teeth clashing. He thrust his tongue forcefully into her mouth, drawing her own into a battle of a different sort. The air was ripe with tension, thick, electric. Power radiated from their savage emotions as they continued to fight, not with their fists, but with their mouths.

"WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE!"

Giles paled at the intruder, rushing to his side and practically pushing him out the library doors. "Principal Snyder, I-I-I can ex-explain."

Snyder yanked himself from Giles' grasp and stormed back into the library. The two were still on the floor, not having heard the interruption. With his own anger, he grabbed the back of Spike's shirt and ripped him off of Buffy.

At the sudden loss of weight, Buffy gasped deeply, filling her sore lungs with much needed air. She panted on the floor, eyes squeezed shut, bruises forming and blood drying on her face.

Spike had felt himself being torn away from the Slayer, then thrown to the floor. Snarling, he rose slowly to his feet, ready to destroy. His own face was bloodied and broken, his knuckles raw as he clenched his fists. His eyes had narrowed to deadly slits as he looked at the fool who interfered.

"Ms. Summers, why am I not surprised," Snyder said, looking down at the beaten girl. He did not see Spike standing behind him, poised to strike.

"Spike, don't," Buffy gasped out, struggling to sit up. She saw Giles out of the corner of her eye. "Giles, get him out of here. NOW."

Giles nodded and grabbed Snyder's arm again, instinctively knowing that it was the principal she was speaking about. He let the Ripper come out enough to shove the man out of the library and hold him there.

Buffy used the counter to push herself to her feet. She focused on Spike, rather than the pain, and saw that he had calmed somewhat. She took a step towards him, then collapsed to the floor as her knees gave out.

Spike saw her fall and was immediately at her side. He helped her to stand, then they both hobbled to Giles' office. He released the Slayer gently onto the couch, glad there was nothing on it, and took an ice pack out of the small refrigerator. He gently placed it over her eyes, then sank onto the seat next to her.

"Fuck."

"My sentiments exactly," Buffy said in a rough voice. They both started to chuckle, turning into moans of pain as their bodies protested.



Part Eight




"I think I managed to-to convince the Fuhrer that someone else beat you up an-and that Spike was, er, relieved you were alright," Giles said, entering his office. He surveyed the two slowly healing on the couch. "I do hope you both have gotten whatever it is out of your systems."

Both of them grunted, their jaws now too swollen to speak.

"Very good," Giles said, retrieving his car keys and books. "I shall give you both a ride home. Come along." He turned and left the office, not helping either of them.

Supporting each other, the vampire and the Slayer limped into the main portion of the library in time to see Willow and Xander enter.

"Oh my god! Buffy, what happened?" Willow exclaimed, rushing to her friend's side. The Slayer gave her a look. "Oh…um, never mind."

"I like the new look," Xander said. "Scream hauteur."

Spike growled and the two followed Giles out into the hallway. Luckily, the halls were cleared shortly after school ended. They hobbled together, Willow and Xander trailing behind them, to the car.

After a strained ride home, Buffy unlocked the front door and they went inside. She was forever thankful that her mom was at work until six, giving them enough time to clean up the blood. "Shower," she instructed, lifting her sore arm to the stairs. "How the hell are we going to get up those?"

"With lots of pain," Spike answered, half carrying, half dragging the Slayer up the stairs. They got into the bathroom and Buffy looked at herself in the mirror.

"This is going to be hard to cover up," she said, examining her broken nose, black eyes, swollen jawline and the miscellaneous scratches and cuts on her neck and arms. She turned to Spike, who had started the shower. "Be glad you can't see yourself."

Spike's own bruised and bloodied face looked down at her. "Is it as bad as yours?"

"Worse," she answered with a small smile, then grimaced in pain. She bent and dug some towels from under the sink, then began to strip.

"What the bloody hell are you doing?" Spike asked, watching her.

"You've seen it all before, and right now I'm too sore and tired to give a rats ass," Buffy answered, pulling the stained sports bra over her head. "Oh, god, that hurts."

"Here, hold on to my shoulders," he instructed, crouching. She did as asked, and he helped remove her shoes, socks, spandex and panties. If he wasn't in so much pain and could see better, he have appreciated the view. "In you go."

Buffy stepped under the hot spray and groaned. "This feels good." She didn't notice that Spike had joined her until she felt his cool hands on her shoulders. She jumped in surprise. "What are you doing?" she asked, repeating his question.

"You've seen it all before, and right now I'm too sore and tired to give a bloody rats ass," Spike responded, quoting her. Her lips quirked as he poured a large amount of shampoo in his hands. "Get your hair wet."

She did, and he proceeded to wash the dried blood out of it, being careful around the large gash from the counter. He helped her to rinse her hair, then soaped up a washcloth and ran it over her arms, chest, neck and face. When he was done, Buffy repeated the actions on him. The water in the tub was red with blood as it swirled down the drain.

Wrapping towels around themselves, the two sore beings stumbled to Buffy's bedroom and collapsed on the bed together, too tired to care they were suppose to be enemies. Too tired to care they hated each other. Too tired to care what would happen when they woke.


*****


A multitude of voices penetrated Spike's sleeping brain. Swimming back to consciousness, he realized they were very close. And loud.

"Will you shut the bloody hell up," he muttered, trying to block the sounds out.

"It's about time somebody woke up," Xander said, glaring at the two figures on the bed. "We were just debating on whether to throw a bucket of cold water on you guys."

Prying open his eyes, he could see the bedroom was full of people. Xander and Willow stood by the desk, Joyce and Giles were talking near the doorway and Angel lurked in the shadows by the window. *Great, the Mouseketeers are all here,* he thought.

He pressed the palms of his hands into his eyes, wincing at the shooting pain behind them. The Slayer was certainly a good fighter. Reminded as to where he was and who the warm body was next to him, Spike groaned. "Will all of you get lost for a minute? I'll try to wake the Slayer."

"Why? So you can pound her some more?" Xander asked. Willow elbowed him in the ribs.

"Do you really want a brassed off Slayer on all your tails?" Spike asked, moving his hands so he could glare at the others in the room. "I don't bloody care if she's pissed at me, but if she knew you were all in her bedroom when she was naked, I doubt she'd be jolly."

"Perhaps you're right," Giles said. "We shall be downstairs."

After a final hateful look from Angel, everyone left the Slayer and the vampire alone in her bedroom, door closed. Sighing, Spike propped himself up on his side, one arm holding up his head. He looked down at the thoroughly out of it girl beside him. He could see the gash on the back of her head was almost gone, as were most of the bruises and cuts on her arms and shoulders. Her face was turned away towards the window, as she lay on her stomach, cradling the pillow under her arms.

"Slayer? Time to rejoin the living and the not-so-living," he said softly, using his free hand to rub her bare back. The towel had slipped down as she slept, so it was covering her waist and tops of her legs, but nothing else. Spike was similarly attired, and was glad when he slept, he never moved, or all of his assets would have been showing for the audience in the bedroom.

It took a few minutes of prompting, but she eventually responded, coming awake with a loud moan. "Oh, my head hurts."

"Mine, too, pet," Spike said, still rubbing her back. "You pack a good punch."

"I try," she answered, turning her head towards him. Two black eyes stared up at him. "Nice face."

"You don't look so hot yourself, Slayer," he replied with a grin.

"So, are we being friendlies now?" Buffy said, enjoying the cool fingers on her sore back.

"I doubt we could ever be friends, pet," he answered. She nodded and closed her eyes, searching for the pain of his actions a couple days ago, but not finding it. The fight had healed her. "But we don't have to be enemies," he continued.

Inhaling deeply, Buffy looked at the clock over his shoulder. "I'm hungry, and I bet you are, too. Let's get dressed and see if we can scrounge up some money."

Spike nodded. "I'll meet you downstairs," he said, holding the towel in place as he stood. "One more thing, your Watcher and friends are all downstairs."

"What?"

"I gather they came to check up on you. That bloody wanker is here, too," he said. "Just thought I'd warn you."

"Thanks," Buffy replied. She watched as he left the bedroom, closing the door behind him. Sighing, she climbed out of bed and got ready to face the music.



Part Nine




"Hey, guys," Buffy said, coming down the stairs. Her friends were sitting in the living room, looking uncomfortably at her. "What? Do I have something in my teeth?" she asked with a cheeky grin. She knew the concealer could only do so much with her two black eyes and still swollen nose.

"How are you feeling?" Joyce asked her daughter as she moved to join the group.

She sat down before responding. "A little sore, but I'll live," Buffy said. She examined each of their faces. Willow looked concerned, Xander looked angry, her mom looked worried, Giles looked like Giles and Angel looked sad. "Why all the long faces?"

"We're just worried about you, honey," Joyce said, laying a hand over hers.

"I'm fine, guys, really," she replied. "In fact, I'm better than fine. I'm super. Venting does wonders for the psyche."

"Venting? Is that what you call getting beat up nowadays?" Xander asked.

"Hey, I wasn't the only participant," Buffy said. "And Spike is a tad bit more hurt than I am." She cocked her head and listened for the errant vampire. "Speaking of my pain, where is he?"

"Outside," Angel supplied. "Smoking."

"Figures," she said. "So, guys, feel like taking an injured gal out to dinner? Preferably somewhere dark?"

"Sure, sweetie," Joyce said, standing. "Willow, Xander, you're welcome to join us. So are you two," she said to Angel and Giles.

"I'll pass," Angel said. "Buffy, I'll do your patrol tonight."

She smiled at him. "Thanks. I don't know how effective a Slayer I'd make. Unless my face causes them to spontaneously combust."

He bent his head over the side of her chair and whispered so only she could hear. "You'll always be beautiful to me." He straightened and looked at the others in the room. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Angel," Giles said. "And thank you."

Angel nodded and left. The others stood and got ready to go to dinner, with Buffy chatting happily with Willow about anything but what had happened. They decided to take two cars, with Willow and Xander riding with Giles.

After everything was decided, Buffy went to find Spike. He was on the back porch as Angel had said, smoking. "Hey. We're going to dinner. You don't have to sit with us if you don't want to…or at least until you have to, that is."

Spike nodded. "Thanks. I'd rather pass on the evil glares I'm sure to get all night."

Buffy laughed lightly. "C'mon, mom's waiting."


*****


Dinner was rather a torrid event, at least in Buffy's opinion. She had to endure awkward silences punctuated by pathetic attempts at conversation. She was actually relieved when she felt the pain of the bond start up, having been separated from Spike for the requisite hour. She knew he'd come into the restaurant soon, and mentioned this to her table companions, which led into another uncomfortable silence.

"Ok, guys, enough," Buffy finally said. "There's no need to walk on eggshells. I'm fine. The…thing…that happened between me and Spike is over and done with, and it no longer bothers me. So, stop with all the babying."

"But Buffy, you were…you know," Willow began.

"I know. Granted, it wasn't my most shining moment in this short life, but it wasn't as bad as I first made it out to be. I was more disgusted with myself than with what he did."

"Buffy, what did he do?" Joyce asked.

"Um…managed to take me out," Buffy semi-lied. "Dropped a ton of bricks on my head, literally."

Joyce looked pained, but resigned at her daughter's other life as the Chosen One. "I take it that's what started the prophecy?"

"Yeah," she replied. Shifting in her seat, she tried to relieve some of the pain that was becoming more focused in her side. "Which reminds me, Giles - have you found out any more about the prophecy. Like when the child is suppose to come?"

"Not yet," Giles responded. "I shall keep searching, however."

Buffy nodded and looked towards the door. "C'mon, Spike, this is starting to hurt lots." She willed for the vampire to appear, but it was Angel who entered the restaurant, not Spike. "Hey, what are you doing here?" she asked as he joined the group.

"Trick's goons know that Spike is back, and they're not happy," Angel informed her.

This worried her, but the pain in her side was a time pain, not a distance one, so Spike had to be nearby. "Are they planning anything?"

"Maybe. My informant wasn't too forthcoming," he smirked.

Buffy nodded. "Great, this is going to make life so much more fun," she said sarcastically.

"May I suggest that you take Faith with you on-on patrols," Giles said. "That way, in case Spike is attacked, you have assistance."

"Good idea, I'll ask her," she said. "I guess we should be getting home. I know that Snyder is going to come down on us tomorrow." She stood, hand pressed into her side. "Angel, would you go find Spike and tell him to get his undeadness to my side."

Angel nodded and left. The others stood as well, and they made their ways to the cars. Buffy bade Willow, Xander and Giles a good night and they drove off in the old, decrepit Citrogen. After a few minutes, Angel and Spike came around the corner from the restaurant, arguing.

"Oh, shut your gob," Spike said. "I have to eat too, you know."

"But did you have to make such a mess?" Angel asked, irritated.

"What happened?" Buffy asked, the pain in her side disappearing as her bonded other half came within a five feet of her. Angel looked over to Joyce and the Slayer nodded. "Mom, could you start the car?" Joyce knew that her daughter wanted to talk shop with the vampires, so she did as asked. "Ok, spill."

"I found Spike behind the restaurant, feeding," Angel told her.

"And…"

"He had split the guys throat with a broken bottle," he finished.

Buffy gave Spike a strange look. "Why?"

"My bloody fangs wouldn't come down," Spike said. He frowned, his twin black eyes making him look like an underweight football player.

"Huh," Buffy said. "That's odd. Try putting on your game face now."

"My what?" Spike asked. Buffy gave him an exasperated look at motioned to her face with her hand. "Right." He concentrated. "Anything?"

"Nope, still your same ugly mug," she said sweetly. Spike scowled at her. "I'll ask Giles, but my guess it's part of the prophecy. Looks like you'll have to change your feeding habits."

"I'm not gonna drink from bags like your lap dog here," he said.

"Let's not argue about it now," Buffy responded. "It's late and we have school tomorrow."

Angel snickered.

"Oh, bugger off."



Part Ten




"Summers, Chapman. In my office. Now," Principal Snyder said to the duo seated in the waiting room. Most of their injuries had disappeared, the fading black rings under their eyes the only visible reminder.

"Try to look sorry," Buffy hissed at Spike as they followed Snyder. Spike flashed her a mischievous grin. *Oh no,* she thought. *Why didn't I stake him when I had the chance?*

"You two are in serious trouble," Snyder began. "What I saw in the library constitutes reason for expulsion."

"I'm sorry," Buffy said meekly.

"There's nothing to be sorry about, pet," Spike said.

"Mr. Chapman, you are not helping her case," Snyder pointed out.

"If your gonna blame someone, mate, blame me. All she did was get beat up, then faint. I was the one kissin' her," he stated, sticking to Giles' story.

"You two seem awfully buddy buddy for kids who only met a few days ago," Snyder said.

"That's because we were, um…pen pals," Buffy supplied.

"Is that right? For how long?" Snyder asked.

"Oh, years. Isn't that right, Spike?"

"It seems like forever," Spike added. "Why do you think she calls me Spike?"

Snyder looked at the two suspiciously. Buffy and Spike put on their best 'we're innocent' faces. Finally, the principal spoke. "Very well. Ms. Summers, you're free to go. Mr. Chapman, you have detention every night for the rest of this week. I do not tolerate public displays of affection in my school, especially on the library floor. This is a place for learning, not a place for procreation."

With that, the bonded pair left the office in a hurry. Buffy leaned up against the wall outside and banged her head repeatedly. "Why, why, why, why?"

"Stop that, luv. You're denting the lockers," Spike said to her.

"How come I am the one who always gets punished for what others do?" Buffy asked as they headed for their next class.

"Luck?" Spike supplied. She shot him an evil glare. "What do we have next?"

"Gym," Buffy answered. "My oh-so-favorite class, next to math and science. Oh, and history, too."

"Hey, Buffster. Junior," Xander greeted, coming up next to them. "All ready for another day of sweaty fun?"

"Joy," she said sarcastically.

They broke off at the locker rooms, only to meet again on the other side, this time with Willow, as well. The three friends sat on the bleachers together, chatting amicably, while Spike sat near the floor, surveying the other students, trying to decide who to have for lunch. The gym teacher blew his whistle to call the class to attention.

"Ok, class. Today as part of physical fitness week everybody shall participate in the obstacle course set up before you." Collective groans filled the gym. "It will be timed, and the top male and female will get a ribbon, just like in the other events."

"Are you going to be meek female again?" Willow asked Buffy as the class began.

"I probably should," Buffy answered. "I wouldn't want to make the guys uncomfortable by trouncing them."

"Care to put a wager on that, pet?" Spike asked from below them.

Buffy arched an eyebrow. "What kind of wager?"

"I win, I get to smoke in our room," he said. The night before Buffy helped Spike move the mattress from the spare room to her floor because of the bond. "And listen to my music whenever I want."

"I win, it's pre-packaged meals for you," she responded to the challenge.

"You're on. We'll see who's top man around here," he replied.

The teacher called Spike's name, and he rose slowly, like a tiger starting the hunt. The obstacle course was set up using gymnastics equipment. A row of two inch mats stretched out before two horses. The competitor was then to turn and run back, swinging over a fake pit on the high bar, then climb over a wall made from two ten-foot safety mats propped over the uneven parallel bars and other supports. The final part was a short run back across the gym to the finish line.

With the grace of a predator, he flew through the course, stunning the other students with his speed. He ran right up the 'wall' and down the other side, not struggling like the others before him. As he crossed the finish line, the teacher stopped the timer, and he sauntered back to the bleachers as if he did nothing at all.

"Time: 30.3 seconds. Fastest time ever recorded," the teacher said, astonished. The next closest time had been 41.8 seconds, set sixteen years before the current class of seniors. Students applauded Spike, who ignored them, focusing solely on the Slayer. He gave her a mocking bow with a smirk on his face. Buffy only rolled her eyes.

No one wanted to follow after the vampire's performance. Xander managed to get a decent time under a minute and Willow slightly over, due to the fact that they were always running for their lives during battles with the various Hellmouth creatures.

Buffy's turn was two students after Willow. With a pat on Spike's bleached blond hair as she passed him, she went to the starting line. Several of the boys laughed at her obvious concentration, but were soon amazed, as were the others once the teacher said 'go.'

With the speed and skill that comes with being the Chosen One, Buffy tore through the course, leaping over the horses without touching them. She went up the side of the fake wall in two steps, flying down the other side and to the finish line at an incredible pace.

"Time: 28.6 seconds."

Tongue in her cheek, Buffy ambled over to Spike and gave him a look that read 'I am a Goddess.' She leaned forward to whisper seductively in his ear. "Now who's on top?"

With that, she rejoined her friends, leaving a speechless vampire behind.


*****


"Hey, Giles," Buffy said entering the library after school.

"Buffy, hello," Giles replied. "Where's your..."

"Worse half? Annoying bloodsucker? Pain in my side?"

"I was going to say books," Giles said. Buffy looked sheepish. "But since you mentioned it, where is Spike?"

"Detention," Buffy answered. "I'm just glad he's within 100 feet, or I'd have to be in there, too. As it is, I only have an hour before I get 'pulled' to his side."

"100 feet?"

She hopped up onto the table. "Yup. Any farther than that, the distance pain starts."

"Then why do you only have an hour?" Giles asked.

"Time pain," Buffy answered. "It's different from the distance pain. I have to get within five feet of him every hour. Let me tell you, it sucks having him sleep on my floor."

"Interesting," Giles said. He took off his glasses and cleaned them absently. "How else has the, er, prophecy effected you two?"

"I wanted to tell you about that, anyway," Buffy replied. "Last night, Spike tried to feed, but couldn't. His face wouldn't go 'grr'."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Go vamp," Buffy clarified. "No fangs, no game face, no change, nothing."

"Does he still need to-to...have blood?" Giles asked.

"Far as I can tell."

"Hmm." Giles put his glasses back on and retrieved a book from his office. "Let me see if-if I understand. Spike can go in the sun and lost his demonic features, yet he retained his vampiric strength and healing capabilities."

"Yup."

"On the negative side, you two need to stay within 100 feet of each other and every hour be within five feet of-of each other," he continued. "Am I missing anything?"

"Not that I know of," Buffy said. "So, have you found out any more about this 'child' that I'm suppose to die for?"

"N-no," Giles replied. "I am afraid I have not."

"Bummer," she said. Willow and Xander arrived at library before she could say anything else. "Hey, guys!"

"Hi, Buffy," Willow greeted, moving directly to 'her' computer. "Did you hear? The school is going to have an awards assembly because you and Spike broke the school record!"

"And this is good how?" Buffy asked.

Giles looked sharply at his Slayer. "Buffy, what did you do?"

"She only ran the obstacle course in 28.6 seconds," Xander said. "Beating Spike's 30.3 seconds by...um..."

"1.7 seconds," Willow completed. "The school record was 41.8 seconds."

"Buffy, how many times have I told you it-it-it is imperative that you keep your Slayer abilities a secret," Giles admonished.

"He started it," Buffy defended.

"But you carried on with it," Giles stated. "And now the whole school will know that you a-a-are different."

"But it's an awards ceremony," Willow said. "Their names will be added to a plaque and there'll be pictures and..."

"Pictures?" Xander said. He started to laugh.

"What's so funny?" Willow asked her oldest friend.

"Uh, reality check," Xander said. "Vampires, pictures, they don't mix."

"Oh...oh!" Willow said. She looked at Buffy. "What are you going to do?"

"Kill myself," Buffy stated. "He'll go, too, so it will be a sweet death."

"Buffy, do...do you really think you should joke about it," Giles asked.

"If I don't, I'll go nuts," Buffy replied. "I don't want to die, but I didn't want to shove a sword through Angel, either. Dying will be a piece of cake compared to that."

The library was silent.

Continued 1