Elaisias


by Saber ShadowKitten



Part Seventeen





"Time's up," Spike announced after he'd counted to three hundred. He did not back down when the dragon pinned him with an annoyed glare. "What's your answer?"

"The anssswer isss sssimple," the Copper Dragon said. "It'sss childssss play."

"Well, then open your gob and spit out the answer," Spike said. "We've got a soddin' Princess to rescue, if the little chit is still alive after all this bloody time."

The great beast tilted his massive head slightly. "A Princessss?"

"Not only do you lisp, you're hard of hearing, too," Spike commented.

"Spike," Buffy hissed at him. "Don't taunt the great, big creature that can eat you in a single bite." Spike brushed her off with a wave of his hand, which peeved the Slayer immensely.

"Tell me about thisss Princessss," the dragon said.

"Um, can-can I speak?" Willow said tentatively. The Copper Dragon looked at her and she took a step back into Angel, who slid his hands partially down her shoulders so the tips of his forefingers rested lightly near the hollow of her throat. The large, cool hands on her skin made her tingle and gave her confidence a boost.

"We need the Bands of Kimara to defeat a-a Gorgon," Willow explained. She pulled on her memory and began to quote part of the back of the box to the computer game. "'Princess Kalika was kidnapped by the evil Duke of Tarsahk. Only by working together can a mismatched band of would-be rescuers'-- which is us -- 'save the Princess from the Duke's clutches.'"

"Why did you not sssay ssso to begin withhh?" the Copper Dragon questioned, turning his great bulk around to move back into the piles of treasure. "Your quesssst isss honorable. Mossst foolsss are only after gold and jewelssss."

A few moments later, the copper beast returned carrying a purple silk bundle from his massive jaws. The dragon set the bundle down on the obsidian floor in front of the group, then backed away. "The Bandsss of Kimara," he announced.

"Thanks, mate," Spike said, moving forward to retrieve the bundle. He passed it to Willow, who quickly unwrapped the purple silk to reveal two silver coils inlaid with amethyst stones. She nodded, recognizing them from the instruction booklet as the Bands they needed.

"Follow the sssssenter pathhh and it will lead you from the tower back up to the ssssurfasssss," the Copper Dragon instructed. "But if you dare to ssssteal any of my tressssure, I ssshall be mossst dissspleasssed."

"Thank you," Willow repeated. She folded the bundle back up and passed it to Buffy, who put it in her more empty bag.

"You are welcommme," the dragon said. He moved away, the copper scales on his body glinting in the torchlight, until he blended into the vast amounts of treasure.

It was then that his deep, booming voice carried back to them. "And the anssswer isss 'Ssssilenssss.'"

Buffy stalked over to Spike and punched him across the jaw without warning. "You stupid jerk!"

"What the bloody hell was that for?" Spike growled, bringing a hand up to rub his face.

"You could have been eaten!" Buffy drew her fist back and punched him again. "Don't you ever do that to me again!"

The Slayer stormed off up the center path, leaving one confused vampire and two knowing friends behind.

"Buffy, wait up!" Willow called to her friend after flashing a quick grin up at Angel. The redhead hurried to follow the Slayer.

Angel looked at his befuddled Childe after Willow's sexy ass disappeared from his sight, and he shook his head. "Gods, how the son degenerates from the Sire," he sighed.

"What?" Spike asked, frowning up at the older man in complete confusion.

"Buffy's right, you are a moron," Angel told Spike. Then he started up the center path after the girls.

"I am not!" Spike hurried to catch up with his Sire. "Ellie told me about the possibility of meeting a bleedin' dragon, and she told me the best way to not get eaten was to challenge him with a riddle."

"That's not why you're a moron," Angel said.

"Care to clue me in then, you ponce?" Spike said.

"Not a chance," Angel replied with a smirk.

*****

Spike slammed the door shut behind him and glared at Buffy with yellow-tinged eyes. "What the hell is your problem?" he snapped at the blond sitting on the edge of the room's double bed.

The tunnel had surfaced in the middle of the Cable Island, bringing the four out of the Tower and back to Elaisias within several hours. They had once again taken two rooms at the Guts and Garters Inn, and Spike had followed Buffy into one of them, intent on finding out why she'd given him the cold shoulder the entire trip back into the town.

"My problem is you!" Buffy snapped back, rising to her feet.

"What did I do?!" Spike exclaimed.

"Boy, I wonder," Buffy replied sarcastically. "Could it have been confronting the huge dragon without giving me any warning and almost turning yourself into kibble?"

"We got the Bands, didn't we?" he pointed out.

"No thanks to you," she said. "Even I knew the answer to your stupid riddle. Silence. Ha, real hard there, mush for brains."

"I didn't see you do anything," Spike said.

"That's because you didn't give me a chance!" Buffy exclaimed. "You just went off, half-cocked like you always do, leaving me to get you out of the mess you made!"

"That's a soddin' lie and you know it, Slayer," Spike growled at her. "We're a bloody team, you an' I, and I knew you had already come up with at least a half-dozen ways for us to attack the dragon within moments of seeing the big bastard. I just wanted to try what Ellie suggested before we took him out, because it would have been a bitch to try and sort through all that friggin' treasure to find the Bands to rescue an effin' Princess that I don't even give a flying rats arse about!"

"But you could have gotten eaten!" Buffy insisted.

"No, I wouldn't have." Spike met her eyes with unwavering certainty. "Because I have you."

Blinking in shock, his words and the implied faith he had in her washed over Buffy like a wave, cooling the anger that had engulfed her without warning. "Oh," she said. "I, uh...that is..."

Buffy never finished her sentence. Her mouth was too involved in the devastating kiss Spike was giving her.

*****

Willow's eyes were huge as she backed away from the tall, dark-haired vampire slowly stalking her. His head was slightly lowered, causing the lamplight to cast deep shadows over his features, making him look extremely predatory. She had been about to remove her dress to clean herself using the wash basin and pitcher of water when Angel had entered the room after a single knock, shutting the door firmly behind him, the lock echoing in her ears.

"A-Angel?" she stammered, holding her dress closed behind her with one hand. She gulped when his tongue darted out to moisten his lips. "What a-are you doing?"

His lips slowly curled up, making her knees weak and her heart hammer. The look he gave her was one of pure heat, and she was surprised she wasn't a puddle on the floor. She continued to back up until she hit the wall, then she had to look up when he finally stopped right in front of her.

"Angel?" she whispered in nervousness, arousal and a hint of fear.

"We do need to talk," Angel said silkily. He lifted one finger and traced it along the tops of her breasts above the material of her bliaut. "But if I don't have you right now, I'm going to die...again."

"That's the flowers talking," Willow said quickly. "Yeah, the flowers. Smelly stuff that made us do the wacky. You don't want me. I'm Willow. You're friend. Not you're- you're-"

"Lover?" Angel purred. He bent his head, his mouth near her ear, and whispered, "Oh, my little witch, how wrong you are..."

Then Angel ran his tongue along the side of her neck, and Willow was unable to speak anymore.

*****

Buffy sighed happily and snuggled against Spike's bare chest. His fingers ran lightly through her unbound hair, and he was purring quietly, the soft sound rumbling under her ear. It was a pleasant, soothing sound, one she hadn't heard since her seventeenth birthday, and she knew from Angel that it meant extreme contentment. Luckily, she needn't worry about Spike losing his soul and going psychotic on her because of it.

In all actuality, she never thought she'd hear the vampiric purr again, and especially not coming from Spike as she laid beside him, her naked body pressed intimately up against his equally naked one. Spike was her friend, her partner, her punching bag, her playmate. He wasn't someone she'd ever really thought of in sexual terms, other than the occasional appreciative glance when she bandaged him up. After all, he was a vampire, and although he couldn't truly harm the living anymore, he was still soulless.

It had really frightened her when he had challenged the Copper Dragon without warning. Normally they were so in tuned with each other she could almost read his thoughts when they were going into a fight. He was the distraction, she was the slayer, unless they were fighting the non-living. They worked in tandem, with Spike waving the metaphorical red cape so she was able to dart in with the killing blow. Of course, with that system, the blond vampire was the one who was injured more often, but he didn't seem to mind. He had told her he was just happy to be able to fight, even in a limited manner, and she was happy to let him, knowing he could take care of himself.

But now...boy oh boy was she in trouble. The second she realized that he could have easily been eaten by the dragon, her heart had stopped. She'd felt a fear that she hadn't felt since Angel had been shot by Faith's poisoned arrow all those years ago.

The fear of losing the man she loved.

Lightly, she traced a random pattern with her finger over his silent heart. He was so cool against her warmth, hard against her softness. He matched her strength and passion when they'd made love, but was also tender and gentle.

So many contradictions in one man, she thought. He was like an uncut diamond -- rough on the outside, but the most precious jewel on the face of the earth. And he'd been under her nose the entire time, just waiting for her to snatch up and treasure.

Why hadn't she ever noticed him before? Maybe it was because they fought all the time, she thought. Or perhaps she hadn't been ready to notice. Or maybe she was just a blind fool.

Her blinders were off now -- and she really liked what she found. She'd seen every single inch of his alabaster skin and had kissed the same, much to his pleasure. The throaty groan he'd made when she captured his hard shaft with her mouth had caused a tingle of exquisite torment between her thighs. And the glowing look in his eyes when he slid into her core had told her he loved the physical feeling of her surrounding him.

But could he love her? Well, there was only one way to find out, she thought. What had Willow once told her? Carpe frenulum? "Wait, no, that means 'seize the dick,'" she muttered.

"What's that, luv?" Spike murmured, brushing a kiss on the top of her head.

Buffy raised herself up and looked into eyes. She opened her mouth to ask, but couldn't get the words she wanted to come out. So instead, she moved her hand down beneath the coarse sheets and encircled his semi-flaccid penis. "I said 'carpe frenulum,'" she whispered, stroking him lightly.

"Seize all you want, Slayer," Spike said with a small groan, hardening beneath her hand. "I don't bloody mind at all."

*****

"You know that talking thing we were suppose to do?" Willow said, her eyes twinkling as she grinned at the man she was laying on top of, her chin resting on the back of her hands, which were folded over his bare chest.

"Yes," Angel replied, an amused smirk tugging up his lips.

"Can we pretend we had it already?" she asked. "And it turned out for the good, and we're happily together? In a together couple-like sense, I mean, not just together in the your part deep inside my part, making me feel all ooey-gooey-good all over together sense."

"How about we do both?" he said, rolling them over so he was on top. He moved his hips back, his already achingly hard cock sliding out of her silken passage. She mewled in the back of her throat as he thrust back in swiftly. "Because I think I'm going to be falling in love with you in the near future."

"Really?" Willow said brightly, then her eyes fluttered as he thrust again. She moaned. "Keep that up, and I'll love you just so I can get this over and over again."

"It'd be my pleasure," Angel murmured a moment before he captured her mouth for the umpteenth time -- and he had no intent on ever stopping.



Part Eighteen



Willow was still beyond giddy. She was currently floating on cloud fourteen, having long since passed cloud nine. She would have been on fifteen if Spike hadn't banged on the door, whining to Angel that he was hungry.

The two vampires had gone off together after Angel had redressed and kissed her with lots of tongue action, promising to meet her at the bathhouse. It had taken her until Buffy had shown up at her door to figure out that Spike had told them at Morgan's Spa and the idea of getting clean. She'd been too flustered by Angel at the time that a whole herd of buffalo could have run through the Inn and she wouldn't have noticed.

"Oh, this feels nice," Buffy moaned from beside the redhead. They were lounging in a steaming pool of water, relaxing after having washed themselves of the dirt and grime from the Tower.

"Big time," Willow agreed. She lifted her feet and wiggled her toes above the surface of the water. Her body ached pleasantly in some places, and those that weren't pleasant had been relaxed away by the heat.

She sighed happily. "I don't want to leave."

"Here or Elaisias?" Buffy asked, rolling her head on the bunched towel beneath her neck to look at the witch.

"That's a good question,' Willow replied. "Right now, everything's perfect. But what if we get home and Angel's cursed again? Or I was just a convenience while we were here, cause back home he's got all sorts of women-choices...beautiful women...not-me women..."

"Wills, if it's one thing I know about Angel, he doesn't have casual flings," Buffy said. "Now Spike on the other fang would have sex with a cactus if he got pleasure from it."

"A cactus?" Willow giggled at the image that flashed through her mind.

Buffy grinned. "Well, maybe not, but you get the idea. Which really bites, because I've gone and fallen for the peroxide dork."

"You're in love with him?!" Willow squealed.

"Loud much?" the Slayer said, pretending to rub her ear.

"Sorry," Willow apologized. "But you're in love with Spike the vampire!"

"No, Spike, Snoopy's brother," Buffy said.

Willow splashed the blond, who scowled in return. "When did this happen?" the hacker asked. "I thought you didn't even like like him. Or were you lying back in the Tower?"

"I didn't lie," Buffy replied. "I didn't know until the idiot went and challenged the dragon and I realized he could have been taken from me."

"This is so cool!" Willow turned on her seat so she was facing Buffy, the tops of her bent knees peeking above the water. "Does he love you too?"

"I don't know." Buffy sat up and mimicked Willow's position, resting her chin on one of her upraised knees.

"Why not?" Willow asked.

"What do you mean why not?" Buffy replied.

"Didn't he say something before or after or during...you know?" Willow said.

"No," Buffy answered. "Then again, even if he did, I wouldn't believe him. Cactus-boy remember? He'd say anything to get laid. I've seen him in action. It's not pretty."

"Well, personally, I think if he doesn't love you, he's a...a...a goober!" Willow nodded once in emphasis.

"A goober, huh?"

"Darn tootin'."

Buffy grinned wickedly. "I don't know, I think I might like the taste of chocolate-covered nuts."

"Buffy!"

*****

"Well?"

"Well what?" Spike asked his Sire.

"Did you tell her?" Angel clarified.

Spike scoffed. "Right."

Angel stopped walking down the street on the way back from the butcher's and grabbed Spike's arm. "You spent all night and day with her in bed and you DIDN'T TELL HER?!"

"Stop shouting, you nonce," Spike growled, yanking his arm away from Angel. "It's none of your bloody business anyway."

"Of course it's my business,"Angel snapped. "I love Buffy-"

Spike's eyes flashed gold in the dark as he grabbed Angel by the front of his vest and shoved the dark-haired vampire back against a building wall. "You keep the hell away from her. She's mine."

"Don't you think you'd better let her know that?" Angel asked calmly, trying not to smirk at his Childe's reaction. "I think she'll be pretty ticked-off if you don't."

Spike shoved himself away from Angel, his face sliding back to its human mask. "I told you, I'm not going to play second fiddle. I did that once and it almost killed me. As it was, if Giles hadn't pitied me way back when, I would've starved to death."

"It's been six years, Spike. I think she's over me by now," Angel told him.

"Are you over her?" Spike asked bluntly in response.

A slow smile spread across Angel's lips. "You might say that."

"Stop being cryptic and just answer the soddin' question," Spike growled irritably.

"Spike, I'm in love with Willow," Angel replied. "I knew it the second the frogs started raining down from the ceiling in the Tower and she ran. I was scared to death that something was going to happen to her."

"You're already dead," Spike muttered, kicking a stone.

The dark-haired vampire rolled his eyes. "Scared back to life then."

Spike chewed on his lower lip a moment, not looking up from the ground. "And you told the chit you love her?"

"Yes, I did," Angel said.

"She say it back?"

Angel grinned lasciviously. "In so many words, yes."

Spike was silent for a few moments. "You really think I should tell the Slayer I love her?" he finally asked seriously.

"Yes," Angel simply replied.

"Right then." Spike started walking again, a frown marring his brow.

"Um, Spike?"

The blond vampire stopped and turned around. "Yeah?"

"You're going the wrong way."

*****

"...So we storm the castle after sunset tomorrow," Buffy summed up.

"I was thinking 'sneak in,' but yeah," Willow said. She picked a grape from the bowl and popped it in her mouth. Nicely pruned, the two girls were sitting in an ornate parlor at Morgan's, wrapped in surprisingly soft, large sheets. The men hadn't arrived yet, but neither of them minded the wait. Not with all the wonderful pampering they were getting at the spa.

"Do you know anything about the castle layout? How many floors? Where the dungeon is?" Buffy asked.

"Not really, although I'd bet the dungeon is in the basement," Willow answered. "That's usually where they keep the dungeons."

"Very funny," Buffy said dryly.

"Well, we know there's a gorgon," Willow said. "We'll have to fight her in order to rescue the Princess. We may have to fight the Duke, too, but I'm not sure."

"'Well, what did the Douge do?'"

"The Douge do?" Willow frowned.

"'When the Douge did his duty and the Duke didn't, that's when the Duchess did the deed to the Duke with the Douge.'"

The redhead arched her brow at Buffy. "You've lost it."

"Sorry." Buffy smiled sheepishly. "That's from one of Spike's favorite movies. I've seen it with him a million times."

"What's that, pet?" Spike asked, coming into the parlor with Angel, both of them with wet hair from their own baths, similarly attired in sheets like the girls.

"I was quoting The Court Jester," Buffy replied.

"Ah," Spike said. He gave her a wink. "'I've got it! I've got it! The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! Right?'"

"'Right. But there's been a change: they broke the chalice from the palace,'" Buffy continued quoting.

Spike gave her a false-dreaded look. "'They broke the chalice from the palace?'"

Buffy nodded. "'And replaced it with a flagon.'"

"'A flagon...?'" Spike quoted.

"'With the figure of a dragon,'" Buffy said.

"'Flagon with a dragon.'"

"'Right.'"

Spike frowned comically at the blond Slayer. "'But did you put the pellet with the poison in the vessel with the pestle?'"

"'No!!'" Buffy exclaimed. "'The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon! The vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true!'"

"'The pellet with the poison's in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true,'" Spike repeated.

Buffy nodded and finished up the quote. "'Just remember that.'"

Angel sat down beside Willow and shrugged. "Don't look at me. I don't quote from movies."

"That's because you only watch boring foreign crap," Spike said.

"It's called taste, Spike," Angel said.

"More like sleep-inducing," Spike countered.

"Spike, don't you have something more important to say than commenting on my choice of films?" Angel asked pointedly.

Spike glared at his Sire as Willow and Buffy both look at him expectantly. "Yeah. What's the plan for getting us out of this bloody game?"

Angel sighed and shook his head as Willow began to outline what they were going to do to rescue the Princess.



Part Nineteen



"Well, this is dark and gloomy," Buffy commented as the four looked up at the dark grey castle looming ahead of them.

"A perfect place for the poof to live," Spike said. Angel smacked him across the back of the head, but the blond only grinned in mischief in response.

"Okay, remember, quiet," Willow instructed. "We are trying to sneak in, not run in yelling 'charge!'"

"Ruin my fun," Buffy and Spike chimed simultaneously. They looked at each other and burst out laughing.

"Oh yeah, this is real quiet," Willow muttered.

Angel turned to the redhead beside him and dropped a kiss on her head. "We can always leave them here," he suggested.

"Oh please?" Willow begged eagerly.

"We heard that," Buffy said, shooting the innocently-smiling duo a glare.

"Come on, luv," Spike said, linking his arm with the Slayer's. "We know when we're not wanted."

Sticking his nose pompously in the air, he led an equally pretending to be offended Buffy off towards the castle. Willow rolled her eyes, then quickly used the front of Angel's vest to pull herself up on her toes in order to kiss him soundly on the lips. The dark-haired vampire gave her an unabashed smile, took her hand in his, and followed after the other two.

The castle continued to grow larger the closer the foursome got to it. They fell into silence more because of the foreboding feeling that crept over then rather than because of the plan. No moon hung in the sky to light their way, adding to the eerie atmosphere that stole around them.

The dark grey castle rose out of a thick white fog, almost blending into the night sky behind it. Two circular towers stood at opposite points, the iron spikes on the turrets standing like imposing guards. No vegetation grew up the sides of the stone walls, broken only by the thin cut windows of the outer walls, where archers would make their stands. A giant wooden portcullis with metal fitting blocked the passage into the castle itself.

"Slayer, you're a skinny, flat-chested, little chit," Spike said quietly to the blond at his side. He gestured at the portcullis. "Squeeze through there and let us in."

"I'm not that flat-chested!" Buffy hissed at him, crossing her arms over her jerkin and shirt-covered breasts.

"I've seen 'em first-hand, pet." Spike looked pointedly at her chest area.

She blushed and punched him on the arm. "Jerk!"

Then Buffy went and squeezed through the bars.

"Thanks, ducks," Spike said after he, Willow and Angel joined the Slayer on the other side of the portcullis.

"Thanks for calling me flat-chested?" Buffy scowled at him.

"I'll suck on your cute little titties until you squeal in pleasure later, will that make it up to you?" Spike asked.

"Spike!" Buffy exclaimed in a loud state whisper. "Will you stop talking about my breasts! You don't see Angel talking about Willow's."

"Doesn't mean he's not thinking about 'em," Spike said.

"Angel's a lot more mature-" Buffy caught Angel's deer-in-the-headlights expression. "Or not."

"This isn't what I meant by 'quiet,'" Willow said, folding her arms over her chest and blushing faintly.

"Comment on my breasts again, and you won't get a repeat viewing of them, ever," Buffy growled at Spike, then turned and stalked further into the castle.

"Just because they're on the small side doesn't mean I don't like them, Slayer," Spike grumbled as he quickly caught up to her.

Angel gave Willow a sheepish smile. "You have beautiful breasts."

Willow's blush grew deeper. "Th-thanks."

"I think we'd better catch up to them before they get us lost," Angel said. He gestured for her to proceed him.

Ten minutes later, the misplaced group still had yet to meet a single person, either crossing the grounds or once they'd entered the castle itself. The foreboding feeling that had come upon them with their approach to the castle was magnified and a tenseness was added. Everything was too quiet and still.

"I don't like this," Buffy whispered. "It screams big bad is going to attack us."

Willow nodded. "Or multiple big bads," she agreed. She was half right.

They came out of the partial darkness of the faintly lit castle hallways suddenly and swiftly. No more than twelve inches in height, with miniature wings rapidly flapping, they darted in with small, sharp spears held in clawed hands at the foursome. The tiny creatures had a stick-like slenderness that was clothed in strips of old material wrapped around their bodies multiple times. Tufts of black hair sprung from between sharply pointed ears on top of their heads, their needle-like noses jutting from their elongated faces over wide mouths with rows of sharp, jagged teeth.

"Bloody hell," Spike cursed, swatting at the ones flying around his head. He hit one and felt pain explode in his head, indicating the creatures definitely fell under the living clause of his implant. But that did not, by any means, stop him from fighting.

"Slayer, double up," he ordered before dashing further up the hallway.

"Got it," Buffy said, dropping forward into a roll to put distance between herself, Angel and Willow. She rose to her feet and snatched the short sword that was thrown at her without warning by Spike out of the air in one fluid motion. She gripped the hilt with both hands and held it over her shoulder like a baseball bat. "Let 'er rip!"

Angel clapped his hands together, then grimaced as one of the creatures was flattened between his large palms, blood squirting out of its body. Two others poked him in the back of the neck with their sharp spikes, and he quickly dropped the squashed creature to the floor to attack another.

"Willow, what are these things?" he growled, sweeping his hand at the two that were behind him, knocking them down the hallway the way he and the others had entered the castle.

"Atomies--ow!" Willow replied as she was stabbed. She pulled her bag off from over her shoulder and swung it at her attackers. "They're not smart, but they don't stop, either."

Spike grabbed one of the Atomies near him by the spear and flung the creature down the hall at Buffy. The Slayer swung her borrowed sword like a bat, cleaving the miniature terror in half.

She quickly wound up again and repeated her action as another then another were thrown down the hall to her by the blond vampire.

"And it's a swing and a hit for the Slayer once again," Buffy said in a bad announcer's voice. "The crowd gawks in awe at the distance she hit that puppy."

"But will she hit this wicked curve ball the pitcher throws next?" Spike continued. He latched onto one of the Atomies by the nose and shot him down the hallway. One side of his mouth quirked up when he saw Buffy's tongue peeking out the corner of her mouth and her eyes narrow as she concentrated on the thrown Atomie. The ones that had been flying around her head chose to avoid her sword by going after Willow, Angel or Spike.

"I feel like I'm swatting mosquitos," Angel grumbled as he clapped a fourth Atomie between his palms. Blood and innards coated his hands and oozed through his fingers, disgusting him. He smacked his hand down on the head of one of the creatures, sending it to the floor, where he squashed it under his boot.

The blond vampire yelped and spun when he was stuck in the rear by one of the Atomies' sharp spears. He heard Buffy snicker at him and flicked her off before snatching the creature around the middle and launching it down the hallway at her. He was manhandling the Atomies in a way that did not cause them pain and was so brief that his implant didn't react. After having the thing in his head for years he knew how to get around the living clause, as he and Buffy dubbed it, of the implant. He even knew how to give the Slayer a right good kickin' without screaming in pain...except from her hits.

"Eep!" Willow squealed as she was similarly accosted as Spike. She grabbed her skirt and jumped up and down, trying to dislodge the Atomie that had flown up under it. "Get out! Get out! Get out! Get out!"

"Hey!" Angel snarled, rapidly wrapping an arm around Willow's waist. He hoisted her up off the ground and spun her once. The Atomie flew out from under her skirt and, still holding the redhead, the vampire's hand shot out to grab the creature and squash it in his powerful grip. "No one goes up Willow's dress but me."

Willow blushed bright red.

"Hey badda, badda, badda, badda, badda," Buffy mimicked the old saying, wiggling her butt as she wound up. "Sa-wing badda."

Spike grinned at her, purposely adjusted himself in a crude manner, grabbed another Atomie and pitched it down the hall to her. It wasn't often they got to have this much fun while fighting, although they did try. They'd learned long ago that sometimes violence could be as enjoyable as sex, although they hadn't done the latter together until recently. And if Spike had his way, they'd make up for all the time they'd not been shagging, plus some.

Spinning, the blond vampire's eyes quickly searched for another Atomie to lob at Buffy, but to his dismay, found none. "Oh bugger, we're out of balls," Spike grumbled.

"No more?" Buffy called to him, dropping the sword in her hand to her side. "Oh poop." She stuck out her lower lip in a pout.

Angel squashed the last one flying by him and looked over at where he'd set Willow on her feet, checking to make certain there were truly none left. He grimaced at his blood-coated hands.

Then the floor disappeared from under him, and he plunged into darkness, unable to see his hands anymore.



Continued 1