Spike was out walking when he saw her leave the house.
Dressed in all black, the red-haired figure stepped off the front porch and walked to the side of the house, out of view.
He soon heard the roar of a motorcycle engine, then saw the now-helmeted young woman pull out on a black Yamaha and take off down the street.
"Curious," Spike commented. The woman had looked vaguely familiar, but he hadn't been in Sunnydale for years. Lighting a cigarette, he continued on his way.
Spike watched the routine for weeks, intrigued. Each night, around the same time, the red-haired woman would exit her house, dressed in skin tight clothing of various shades, and take off on the Yamaha.
He sat in his car on the side of the road and waited. Tonight, he was going to find out where she went every night.
Like clockwork, she emerged from the house. This time, she was dressed in an all-white body suit with hard, plastic racing shields over her shins and knees. Spike pulled out behind her as she sped away on her bike.
An hour later, he parked his car across the street from Club 911. He watched as she took off her helmet and shook her head, then ran her hand through her hair. Casually holding the helmet by the lip over one shoulder, she walked right past the line of people and up to the bouncer.
Spike was surprised when he saw the burly man step to one side and let her pass. Quickly exiting his car, he went to find another entrance into the club. Rounding the back, he broke the lock on a door and entered a hallway. To the left, he heard pounding music. To the right, he saw offices.
Shutting the door behind him, he went left and stepped into the club.
The club was packed. Blue and black lights were the only source of illumination, as dancers gyrated on the floor to the techno beat. A long bar lined one wall and he could see tables across the room near the entrance to the club. Stairs led up to a catwalk, littered with people in various modes of dress, talking animatedly. At the front of the club, a stage sat empty in front of a wall of television screens showing videos.
Spike looked around for her in the crowded room. He spotted her leaning against the far end of the bar, sans helmet, observing. He slowly made his way over to her.
Just as he was about to say something, she pushed away from the bar and walked unhurriedly to the empty stage, where she was soon joined by a man dressed in loose brown pants and an open vest.
The music changed, a more primal beat coursing through the speakers. He watched as the two on the stage faced each other, only a few feet apart. Suddenly, the man lashed out with his foot towards her face.
Spike watched as the young woman leaned back into a back walk-over, avoiding the man's kick. As she stood, the two launched into a series of smooth motions, never hitting each other.
**It's like a dance,** he thought, as he watched the fluidity of their movements. Others had stopped to watch as well, and he learned by overhearing conversations that this was a nightly competition in which the young woman was undefeated.
The music pulsated, the tempo increased, and the red-haired woman was a flurry of movement. It was soon apparent she was once again undefeated, as the man could not keep up. He stumbled as the song ended, then held out his hand.
The woman shook it, her face flushed but un-emotional. She left the stage and walked back to the bar, accepting the bottled water that was handed to her by one of the bartenders.
"Nice job, Will," the bartender commented. She nodded, then took a long drink. The bartender walked away.
Spike stood only two people away, studying her emotionless face. No one approached her to offer their congratulations or even just to talk. No man hit on her, regardless of her obvious beauty.
Deciding now was better than never, he walked over to her. "Hello, luv."
She turned her head to look at him. He saw the flash of recognition in her eyes, but her face did not change. She nodded her head in hello.
"You know who I am, don't you," Spike stated, leaning against the bar next to her.
She nodded again and took another long drink, finishing the water. Setting the empty bottle on the bar, she motioned the bartender, who gave her helmet to her. She then turned and walked into the crowd towards the exit.
Spike was amazed. He didn't even phase her. Up close, he realized she was one of the Slayer's friends - the computer hacker. Quickly following, he managed to catch her as she stood next to her bike.
"Wait a minute," he said, putting a hand on her arm.
She turned and faced him. Spike pulled back his hand as if burned. Her eyes flashed with fury, yet her face was stoic. Still, she did not say anything.
Spike stood next to her, confusion addling his brain. Before he could say anything more, she put on her helmet and climbed onto the bike. He had to quickly step back, as she fired up the engine and sped off into the night.
He went back into the club, directly to the bartender who spoke to the mysterious redhead. "Who was the woman here a few minutes ago. The woman in white? The winner of that..." Spike didn't know what to call it.
"The competition?" The bartender finished. Spike nodded. "That's Will. She comes in here every night and defeats anyone who challenges her. She never speaks, not since the first night she came and challenged the defending champion. Then she only said four words: 'Hold this', 'water' and her name: Will."
"How long ago was that?" he asked.
"Two years," the bartender answered.
"Does she ever show any emotion?"
"No. Not even pain. She was kicked rather harshly by an opponent once. All she did was turn her back on him as he was disqualified for making contact," the bartender said. "Why are you interested?"
"I knew her long ago," Spike answered.
"Really?" the bartender said, his face lit with curiosity. "What was she like?"
"Quiet. A computer hacker," he said. "She was friends with an old enemy of mine, so I didn't see her that often."
"Too bad. She's a huge mystery to us," the bartender said before he moved away. "But extremely respected."
Spike sat on the front step, waiting for the young woman to exit. He inhaled smoke from the cigarette into his dead lungs, then exhaled and watched as the smoke dissipated before him.
He heard the door open behind him, but did not move. He heard her sharp intake of breath and her hesitation, before hearing the door close and her light footsteps.
She stepped past him on the step and stood facing him. Her facial expression was blank, but her eyes flashed annoyance.
"Hello, again, luv," Spike said, crushing the cigarette on the stair next to him. He smiled up at her, taking in her deep red body suit that matched the color of her tightly braided hair. She was wearing black, plastic elbow and knee pads over the clothing.
"Not going to greet an old friend?" he asked. He chuckled when she crossed her arms over her chest and tapped one ankle-high booted foot. "Ok, then how about an old enemy?"
She just stood in front of him, taping her foot, her face blank, and her eyes conveying annoyance.
"You know, I could just kill you. Or, better yet, turn a beauty like you into one of us," Spike commented nonchalantly.
"Where's your friends? Where's the Slayer? It's not very nice of them to leave you here, all alone," he said, watching her carefully. It was a good thing, too, or he would have missed the pain flit across her eyes before they resumed their pensive glare.
As he opened his mouth to say something else, she turned and walked away from him toward the side of the house where she kept her bike. Spike jumped off the step and caught up to her. He grabbed her arm and swung her around to face him.
"I asked you a question, pet," he said with menace in his voice. "Where's the Slayer?"
This time her eyes turned hard and cold. Spike shivered involuntarily as she picked up his hand from her arm and dropped it away. She turned once again and walked away towards her bike. He watched as she put on her helmet, revved the motor and sped away, nearly running over his feet in the process.
"Shit," he swore, staring after the fading tail light. Then he ran over to his car and sped after her.
Spike used the same door to the club as the night before and silently made his way into the crowd. He saw her immediately, leaning against the bar, looking as if she hadn't a care in the world, just like the past evening.
He wove his way to her, his anger boiled under his skin. "Listen, pet," he said through clenched teeth when he reached her side. "I'm getting bloody pissed at the attitude."
She didn't even acknowledge he was there.
With a growl, he grabbed her by the arms and pulled her nose-to-nose. "I want to know what the hell your problem is and I want to know now!"
This time, her eyes became like molten lava, burning him with her glare. She lifted her arms and broke out of his grasp, then walked towards the stage.
Spike followed, steam practically pouring from his ears. He leapt up on stage and shed his duster, facing her. She nodded to him, then gestured to someone standing next to the stage.
"Listen up," the man said to Spike. "There are only two rules. One, no contact. Two, no forcing your opponent off the stage. Break either one and you're disqualified."
He nodded at the man, then turned his attention to the woman in front of him. The music changed, signaling the beginning of the competition.
Spike turned and sent a spinning back kick towards her head. She ducked under it, sweeping her leg towards his as if to knock his feet from under him. Then, continuing the same fluid movement, she spun to a standing position and brought her fist around, swinging it past his nose, then the other arm came by and halted next to his face.
She did this all before he returned to the position from which he started the spinning back kick.
He shot his left fist out, as if to knock into her jaw. She just bent straight back, then practically slid under the arm, swinging around behind him. He spun around and she shot her palm straight up, as if to break his nose.
Spike reluctantly admitted to himself, as they continued to compete, that he was outclassed. She was excellent. If they were really fighting, he would have been beaten by now.
The music ended. He was breathing heavily, which was strange for a vampire, and watched as the flushed redhead left the stage for the bar. He knew he had been beaten.
Walking as dignantly as possible, Spike went over to her. "You're really good," he said. She looked at him, her expression blank, then picked up her helmet and left.
Sighing to himself, he leaned his forearms heavily on the bar, head bent. That's when he saw the napkin.
Sunnydale Cemetery. One hour.
Spike entered the cemetery one hour to the minute later. He had to break several speed limits to get there, because, for some odd reason, he felt that if he wasn't on time, he'd miss something extremely important.
He walked between the headstones, looking for her. He also kept his eyes peeled for a trap. This was prime Slayer hunting territory.
He found the woman dressed in red standing in front of a large, ornate headstone. She was staring intently at the writing upon it. When he approached, she looked up, her face its usual blank mask. She gestured to the headstone.
Spike squatted to read the writing.
"Souls in the wind must learn how to bend, seek out a star, hold on to the end. Valley, mountain, there is a fountain washes our tears all away. Worlds are swaying, someone is praying, please let us come home to stay. If we hold on together, I know our dreams will never die. Dreams see us through to forever as high as souls can fly, the clouds roll by for you and I."
Rest in Peace, my Friends.
Buffy Summers, Xander Harris, Cordelia Chase, Oz Green, Rupert Giles and Angel.
Spike looked up into the expressionless face standing beside him. "Would you tell me what happened?"
She knelt next to him and ran her fingers over the names on the headstone. When she finally spoke, her voice was harsh from disuse.
"We were all together in the library when the attack came. There was no warning. One minute, we were joking around, discussing our plans for the weekend, the next...death," she said. Her face still bore no expression.
Spike continued to listen to the eerie dissonance of her voice. If he weren't a vampire, he'd be scared spitless. As it was, he was on edge as she kept speaking.
"They took Buffy out first, thinking she was the greatest threat. They shoved a live grenade in her mouth. When it exploded, I was hit in the face with a piece of her brain. Xander and Cordelia went next, mowed down by a machine gun. Their bullet ridden bodies flew back against the bookcase before slumping to the floor. One of the bullets tore off half of Xander’s face. Angel went berserk, ripping heads off of the attacker's bodies. One of those heads was Oz..."
Her voice caught and he almost put his arm around her, but she continued.
"Giles was protecting me, but he didn't last long. An axe was embedded into his skull, splitting it, and he fell right in front of me. Blood and brain fluid pooled around my feet. By that time, the number of attackers had dwindled due to Angel's rage. That's when I felt the knife go into my chest. I looked down at it, then fell to the floor and died."
Spike furrowed his brow when she said this. "You died? But how..."
"How am I still alive?" She let out a sick laugh. "I'm an Immortal. Destined to live forever as long as no one takes my head."
He nodded. He'd heard of Immortals in his many years of existence.
"I 'woke' to the carnage around me. All my friends - dead. Their bodies horribly mutilated. Then, I saw Angel sitting in the middle of the floor, sobbing. As I called out to him, the sun from the smashed window hit his body, turning him into ash. I was alone."
"What did you do?" Spike asked quietly.
"Stood up, pulled the knife out of my chest and walked out the back door, never turning back. I went to my house, packed up some clothes and my computer then drove to Angel's apartment. There I stayed until my parents left and the investigation was closed. I researched until I found out why I was still alive, then contacted another Immortal to train. After that, I created a new identity for myself, bought my parent's old house, and moved back here to Sunnydale," she answered.
They sat there for several minutes, each deep in their own thoughts.
"I'm sorry," Spike finally said. He reached out and carefully took her small hand in his larger one.
She laughed hollowly, her blank face frightening, even to him.
"I'm sorry, too. I would rather have died that night than live with these memories."
With that she was silent once more, no expression on her face.