The Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
(or Why Valentine's Day Sucks)


by Saber ShadowKitten
Holidays: Part 3
PG-13 Version





Prologue





Spike lifted his own mask off, setting it on the table without removing his eyes from

Buffy's as she took hers off. He lifted one hand, pressing it to the back of her head, and

brought her lips to his. He kissed her lovingly, tenderly, not wanting it to end.

Buffy broke the kiss first, sighing happily. She lay her forehead against his, looking into

his blue eyes. "Happy New Year, Spike."

"Happy New Year to you, too, Slayer," he said, smiling at her. "Are you ready?" She

nodded. He winked at her, his eyes dancing with merriment and he turned his head to face

her friends. "Uh boo?"

Willow blanched, Faith laughed and Xander screamed like a woman. It was going to be

an interesting new year.







Part One





Spike didn't think he could laugh any harder at the reactions of Buffy's friends to him.

Tears streamed down his face as he held onto the Slayer in his lap, his head buried in the

crook of her neck.

"Say something, guys," Buffy said to Willow and Xander, who were both looking at the

couple as if they'd sprouted wings. Faith had stopped laughing long enough to poke Spike

in the side, then wink at him as he looked in her direction, sending them into gales of

laughter once more.

Willow opened her mouth, but all that came out was a squeak. Xander was no better. His

face resembled that of a Picassamus, a little sucker fish that feeds off the bottom of the

tanks, as he opened and closed his mouth in an attempt to say something. When it finally

looked as if he would say something, he was interrupted by an annoying beeping sound.

Buffy looked down at her purse from whence the sound was coming from, opening it

quickly. Her pink pager was going off. Half a beat later, she heard an echoing beep

coming from Faith. Her eyes widened as she turned her head to the other Slayer. "The

apocalypse?"

"After midnight on New Year's?" Faith said. "It better be."

Buffy slid reluctantly off of Spike's lap, extracting herself from his grasp as he looked up,

concerned. "Gotta fly. Duty calls."

"But I was good and stayed for two hours!" Spike said, pouting. She giggled, then leaned

over and kissed his nose.

"If this doesn't take to long, I'll come over after," she told him, linking arms with Faith.

She looked over to Willow and Xander. "Are you two coming?"

*****

"But Spike?!" Willow exclaimed as the foursome walked towards the school as the pager

had indicated by its number code. One, two, three meant library; four, five, six meant

Giles' house; seven, eight, nine meant Buffy's house; and if nine, one, one were tacked on

the end, it meant get your ass over there in a hurry because big trouble was brewing on the

Hellmouth.

"Yes, Spike," Buffy said with the same emphasis on his name.

"Wow. Just wow," the red head replied. "He built that snowman?"

"Yup," Buffy grinned at the memory of watching him make it.

"Are none of you concerned about the fact that we're having a conversation with Spike,

Buffy and sex in it?" Xander interrupted. "Now, Buffy and sex I can deal with. Picture

even. But the three together? Euygh." He shivered with revulsion. "Wasn't one dead

guy enough?"

"Xander," Buffy warned. "That's my boyfriend you're talking about."

"You're at the boyfriend stage?" Willow asked, getting excited for her, even though she

thought her best friend was crazy.

"I've been claimed," she answered proudly.

"Hey, B," Faith said. "How bad do you think Tweedle-G is gonna wig?"

"Majorly. Which is why we are keeping this to ourselves for now," Buffy replied, looking

directly at Xander.

"Not good," Willow said. "Secrets are bad. Remember when Angel came back? And

Xander kissage? Bad, bad secrets. Gives you sweaty palms."

"Willow "

"I have to agree with her, B," Faith interrupted. "Secrets have a way of always shitting on

your happy parade."

"Can we at least wait until after the big crisis that's got us going to the library on New

Year's?" Buffy begged.

*****

Spike followed behind the foursome, keeping to the shadows as only a vampire knows

how, listening to their conversation. Well, he was trying to listen to them, but he was

distracted by the way Buffy's hips moved as she walked in the tight, black catsuit she was

wearing. It was almost getting too painful to keep up, his erection straining against his

zipper. He'd put up with over two hours of her dancing seductively around him, rubbing

against his body as much as possible at the Bronze's New Year's Eve party, and all he had

wanted to do was get her back to his lair and slam into her repeatedly until she blacked

out from the pleasure. Instead, here he was, creeping along behind the two Slayers and

friends as they went to the high school to prevent whatever new crisis beheld the residents

of Sunnydale. Unlife sucked.

With his keen vision, he saw several vampires silently stalking beside the group, but the

moment they caught sight of Buffy, they turned and ran in the other direction like sissies.

He chuckled when the latest one to run tripped and staked himself on a rod that held a

flower aloft. There'd yet to be any real challenge to his claim on her, or to the fact that he

was back in Sunnydale after those first eight before Christmas. He wondered if Trick was

planning something, or simply didn't care anymore since Spike was not vying for power

over the Hellmouth territory.

When he brought his thoughts back to his surroundings and away from the Slayer's rear,

he realized they'd reached the high school. Quietly, he crept to the back of the school,

slipping down a manhole to enter the library through the back way. Silently, he made his

way into the stacks to position himself where he could see and hear everything. And keep

an eye on his mate. A very horny eye.

*****

"Giles? We're here!" Buffy called out as the four friends entered the library. The ever

present tweed clad Watcher came out of his office. "What's the big ta-do that pulled us

here twenty minutes after New Year's?"

Giles stared at the blond Slayer for a moment, taking in her skin tight body suit with wide,

silver chain belt, anklet twinkling merrily under the flourescent library lights. He shook his

head, removing his glasses in nervousness at the beauty of his ward. "I er, there is-is

someone I need you to to meet." He turned back to the office door. "James, if you

please."

Seeing Buffy sitting on Spike's lap at the Bronze was nothing compared to the ghost who

entered the room. Dressed in clothing out of the 1920s, the semi-transparent man was a

few inches over six feet tall, well built, with dark eyes and dark hair that flopped over his

left eye, giving him a boyish look. When he grinned at their obviously startled reaction,

perfect white teeth slashed across pale, well-defined lips, his eyes crinkling in laughter.

"J-James, I'd like you to meet Buffy, Faith, Xander and Willow," Giles introduced to the

ghost. "Children, meet James Clark."

"Of the O'Banion gang?" Willow asked, her eyes wide.

James blinked in surprise. "One in the same," he replied.

She made a sound that could only be described as geeker joy and began speaking rapidly.

"What really happened that night? I mean, how could seven of you all be shot in the back

by a Capone's men? Or didn't you know they were playing for the other team? And did it

hurt? Getting shot I mean. Oz was shot once, but in the arm, and he said it was pretty

painful, but it must have been much worse for you. You died. Oh! You're dead!

You're you're a ghost! We haven't had any ghosts yet, have we, Giles?"

The four humans, one ghost and one vampire hidden in the stacks all stared at the red

head.

"That was a bit much, wasn't it?" Willow said, blushing a nice hue of pink.

"I take it you, uh, know James' history?" Giles asked her. She nodded enthusiastically,

eyeing the ghost like he was a new paranormal Internet address.

"For the rest of us who are standing in this room going 'huh,' care to clue us in?" Buffy

said, hopping up on the check out counter. Faith joined her while Xander and Willow

moved to the large oak table that had assisted them in many a nights research. Nothing

better than a good hunk of wood to aid the Slayer.

"Buffy, James Clark was a member of the O'Banion gang which later became 'Bugs'

Moran's gang, back in the 1920s during the time of Prohibition," Willow replied, cutting

the ghost off when he opened his mouth to explain. He shot Giles an amused glance, who

returned it in full. "Al Capone was 'Bugs' Moran's rival, and on February 14, 1929, seven

men were assassinated in a garage at 2122 North Clark Street in Chicago - James Clark,

Adam Meyer, John May, Al Weinshank, Frank Gusenburg and his brother Pete and Dr.

Reinhardt Schwimmer, who was an optometrist I wonder why he was there?"

"Uh, Wills?" Xander said. "As much as you like sounding like the G-man, I think the rest

of us are still at the starting line."

"Oh, sorry," the hacker said. "Mr. Clark was one of the casualties of the St. Valentine's

Day Massacre." Lights went on behind the teens eyes as they infamous murder was forced

from the depths of their minds to the foreground after being repressed as most history

lessons are.

"Um, wow," Buffy said, staring over at the ghost. "You're not here to get revenge, are

you? 'Cuz if you are, you're a few thousand miles off course. Chicago's way east of here."

"No, I'm not here to get revenge," James replied with a small smile. "I'm here to put a nix

on a reenactment."

"Ok, now I'm totally lost," she said, cocking her head when she heard what sounded like a

muffled laugh coming from the stacks. She frowned for a moment, the shook her head as

James began to speak again.

"Here's the skinny," he said, crossing his arms over his chest and leaning against the

counter. Willow made a funny noise when she thought he was going to fall through it,

remembering her time as a ghost two Halloweens ago. "In 1929, I was bopped in a daisy

way - being drilled in the back of the noodle. Since then, for some reason, I'm around

from January first until February 15th in Chicago to stop the same thing from happening

again, only involving innocent bystanders rather than members of the mob. So far, it

hasn't. I've usually been able to scare the chopper squad into stopping with the help of

Cracker and Johnny."

"Then what's different about this year? And why are you in Sunnydale instead of

Chicago?" Willow asked.

"Vampires," he responded. "They're planning the hit this time around, and as you know,

they ain't got a lot upstairs and you can't twist the screws with them. As for why here "

"Because of the Hellmouth," Buffy finished for him. She shook her head and sighed. "I

told my mom moving to Sunnydale wasn't a good idea. But would she listen, nooo."

"So we go out and slay. What's the big whoop?" Faith said, speaking up for the first time.

"The big, er, whoop as you put it is that we don't know who they are, let alone who the,

uh, in-intended victims are," Giles replied.

"I vote Trick," Buffy said. "He's the head poobah right now."

"If he's the high pillow, then he'll stay hidden," James pointed out. "It's the knock off I

have to kibosh, not the money grubbers behind the scenes."

"Then we beat some ass," Faith said. "Get a little info before we slay. Or maybe you can

ask your stud, B, see if he can open some windows."

"Faith," Buffy hissed as Giles shot her a puzzled look.

"Stud?" he asked.

"Buffy went and hooked up with Spi-." A hand clamped over Xander's mouth before he

could finish. He turned his head to Willow's furious gaze and shake of her head.

"I'll tell you later, Giles," Buffy said quickly, hopping off the counter. "But right now,

since there isn't anything we can do, I'm gone."

"But, Buffy, we should "

"No, Giles, we shouldn't. It's still technically New Year's Eve, and I for one want to finish

celebrating," she said.

"B got all dressed up with someone to blow," Faith added. Buffy's combination of

murderous glare and blush sent the other Slayer into stitches and she heard an answering

low chuckle sound from the stacks. "Speakin' of jobs, sounds like a certain sucker is

listening in," she said between laughs, gesturing to the second floor of the library with her

head.

Buffy's eyes widened when she caught on with what Faith had just said, then she turned on

her heel and sprinted up into the stacks. Willow, Xander, Giles and James all watched

after the blond as she disappeared from sight. They heard a loud yelp, followed by a semi-

loud tirade from the Slayer.

"Ut-oh," Willow said. "I think somebody's getting their ear chewed off."

"If he doesn't bite her first," Xander said angrily. "I had to say this, but I miss Deadboy.

At least I knew with him around there wasn't going to be any more play."

Giles was about to ask what Xander meant when an irate Slayer stomped out of the

stacks, pulling Spike by a death grip on his ear. "Giles, I'm leaving. See you tomorrow,"

Buffy ground out as she yanked the peroxide blond vampire behind her out the swinging

doors.

Giles removed his glasses, rubbed his eyes, then replaced them, all the while watching the

door. "Did um did I just see Spike?"

Willow was the first to giggle, followed shortly by Faith, then Xander. James shrugged at

the Watcher, his own eyes sparkling with the knowledge of what Buffy was going to do to

Spike. With a loud sigh, Giles went into his office to start a pot of tea. He had a feeling

his Slayer had gone and gotten herself involved with another vampire. In more ways than

one.

Part Two





Buffy opened the first door she came to, breaking the lock with her furious twist. Angrily,

she practically threw Spike inside, slamming the door behind her. "I cannot believe you

followed me! Spying on me!"

"Pet "

"It could have been something for Slayer ears only, not their vampire lovers! And didn't I

say I'd see you later? Huh? Did you not believe me? You are just so argh!"

If Spike wasn't aroused before, he definitely was now. This was what he loved most about

the Slayer, her fire, her passion, the way her eyes flashed in anger. Shifting, he tried to

non-chalantly adjust himself.

She noticed.

The angry burning of her stare turned into molten desire as her eyes flicked down, then

back to his face. With a low growl equal to any he could make, she launched herself at

him, crushing her lips to his, plunging her tongue past his teeth, forcefully dueling with is

own. Her hands sank into his short locks, her nails digging into his scalp as she pressed

against him.

*****

Stunned, he could only stare at her when she released him, her lips curled up in a satisfied,

feminine smile. He shook his head to clear the clouds, then stepped away, pulling his

pants back up and fastening them. When he went to re-button his shirt, he paused,

frowning down at the material. Buffy began to giggle at his expression.

"What?" Spike said, confused and irritated at his lack of ability to get his mind in gear.

"This time, you're the one without the buttons," she replied as she stood and retrieved her

discarded body suit. When he didn't answer, she waved a hand in front of his face.

"Hello? Anybody home? Or did I blow your mind away?"

Spike blinked and looked up at her, then gave her a slow, sexy smile. "You most

definitely blew my mind away," he answered, pulling her now clothed body back against

his. "I can't bloody wait for you to do it again."

"Can you wait long enough to get back to your place rather than us doing it again in

Principal Snyder's office?" Buffy asked offhandedly. He watched as her eyes grew round

and a horrified expression crossed her face. "Snyder's office! We just had sex in Snyder's

office! On his desk! I am so going to be expelled. Again!"

"Slayer, calm down," he chuckle as she pushed out of his arms and began to collect the

things on the floor. He let his eyes rove appreciatively over her backside. "It's not like the

bloke is going to know it happened."

"You don't know the little prick, Spike," Buffy said, putting stuff back on the desk. "He's

evil! Worse than you! He'd blame me even if I didn't do it! Mom is going to kill me if I

get kicked out of school for the third time!"

Spike stopped her with his arms, wrapping them around her waist from behind. "I'll clean

it up, kitten. Why don't you go talk to your Watcher. I'm sure dragging me across the

library by my ear gave him an eppy."

She squeezed her eyes shut and leaned back against him, a headache developing right

between her eyes. "Ok. Meet me in there when you're done," she replied, reluctantly

leaving his arms for the broken door. As she looked at it, she rubbed her forehead, the

headache increasing. *I am so the dead girl.*

She trudged through the swinging doors to her second home, barely noticing Willow was

still there, talking amicably with James. They both looked up and noticed the bite mark on

her neck and faint sheen to her skin, their mouths curving into smiles as the Slayer went

into Giles' office. "Looks like the doll saw a little action," James commented.

Willow blushed slightly, but nodded. "The bite mark was a giveaway. Unless she was

attacked. But then she would be dead, not here "

"YOU DID WHAT?"

The two looked to Giles' office at his angry yell, the hacker cringing. "Oh, boy," she

whispered. "Buffy's toast." James chuckled, then moved to listen in on the obvious

dressing down the Slayer was getting by her Watcher.

" Don't look at me like that, Giles," Buffy was saying as the ghost got into earshot. "I

chose to be with Spike and with him I'm going to stay."

"Buffy, I cannot condone this-this-this insane behavior," Giles said. "Spike is-is not like

Angel. He does not possess a soul. He's pure demon, with-with no feelings, no

conscience "

"He does to have feelings," she interrupted. "Why do you think he made the deal with me

to stop Angel from opening Acathala to begin with? Because he loved Drusilla."

"An obsession, maybe," Giles responded. "But I highly doubt it was love. Vampires are

iincapable of such emotion."

"Then why did he claim me, huh?" Buffy snapped. "Angel said it was a huge thing with

them. Even he had a claim on me before leaving for LA."

Giles whipped off his glasses at her statement. "Are you certain h-h-he claimed you?"

"Yes! If you don't believe me, ask him yourself," Buffy said, rubbing her temples now that

the headache moved. "And he does not want to make me into a vampire, so if you raise a

weapon to him I will get really mad."

But Giles was already moving to one of his books, rapidly turning the pages, looking for

the section dealing with vampire claims. He scanned the text, then slumped back in his

chair in part relief, part worry. If what he read was true, Spike's actions actually protected

the Slayer from other vampires, and he himself would die to save her life. On the other

hand, almost all claimed humans were turned or killed if the vampire lost interest. And

with the bite mark prevalent on Buffy's neck, he was worried it would be the former,

creating a powerful ally for the forces of darkness.

As if he'd conjured him up, Spike appeared in the office doorway, absently rubbing his

neck, his shirt held together by one button. Giles could see a blunt bite mark on the

vampire's neck where he rubbed and closed his eyes with a painful sigh. "I understand that

you have claimed Buffy," he said, opening his eyes to peer at the peroxide blond.

"That I have, Watcher," Spike affirmed, looking over at the woman in question. "She is

my mate and I intend to keep it that way." Buffy blushed at his possessive tone, ducking

her head.

"Do you plan to turn her?" Giles asked.

"No."

The answer was simple, succinct, direct. Spike's blue eyes met Giles' with steely

countenance, the tweed clad librarian seeing the truth reflecting from them. Giles nodded

and watched as the vampire's gaze slid to Buffy, those same eyes changing to burn with

love and desire for her. If he didn't believe vampires had emotions before, he had no

doubts now.

"Giles? What's the deal with the ghost?" Buffy asked, breaking into the heavy silence of

the office.

"Ghost?" Giles said. "Oh, oh yes. James. We are, er, planning to reconvene here

tomorrow night to-to research."

"Got it," she said, raising her head to look at her friend, her mentor, her Watcher. "I'm

gonna depart, then, ok?"

"Very well," he replied. As she turned to leave, he stopped her. "Buffy?"

"Yeah, Giles?" Buffy said, turning to face him.

"Thank you," Giles said. "For telling me about you a-a-and Spike."

"No more secrets, remember?" Buffy responded, giving him a small smile.

"What a strange girl," he sighed as she left with Spike's arm around her waist. Shaking his

head, he took out his Watcher's Diary to record the latest turn in events in his Slayer's life.

The future Watchers and their wards were going to have a field day with his diaries, and

Giles knew he'd either be a laughingstock or the most revered Watcher in history. He

was hedging his bets to the former.







Part Three







"Grrr," Buffy said, slamming closed another book. "I don't why we're looking through

dull old books for information on James. I mean, he's right here. Can't we just ask him?"

"We need to find out, er, why vampires, Buffy," Giles replied, not looking up from his

book. "And possibly why James continues to return every year."

"Maybe the bad guys were humans who got turned into vampires just before the end of

the year," Willow suggested, clicking at an icon on the computer.

"You know, for a sister, you're sure a wise head," James complimented to the hacker.

Willow gave him a small smile, having brushed up on her Sam Spade during the day.

"Where's the right gee who's dizzy with a dame like you?

"Um he kinda hates me right now," Willow said sadly as she thought of Oz.

"Want I should pop him for you?" James asked.

"No! I mean that's ok. It's my fault," Willow responded.

"Well, don't hesitate to use the blower if you change your mind," he grinned at her. "I'm

in the book under 'Ghosts - Mob'." Willow laughed.

"But we still have a whole month and a half," Buffy whined to Giles over their

conversation. "Plenty of time to find the bad guys and stop their party."

"Buffy, if you wish to be somewhere else, I shall not stop you," Giles said shortly.

"However, I think we will need all the time available to us."

"Ok, ok," she grumbled, opening yet another book. "I'm gonna need a shovel to dig

myself out from under this guilt."

Giles reached a hand up under his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. If he didn't

love Buffy like a daughter, he'd have long ago fed her to the vampires as an appetizer. Or

maybe Machida. But he would probably have gotten gas. *Rupert, behave,* he told

himself at the terrible, yet funny, thought. He shook his head and returned to his beloved

research.

"Hey B, Giles, Red, see-through dude," Faith said, entering the library with Xander.

"How goes the book learning?"

"Don't ask," Buffy replied sullenly.

"How was patrol?" Giles asked.

"The Xand-man scored himself one," Faith responded, clapping the teen on the shoulder.

"And that was only after, what, like three sissy screams?"

"It was only two, thank you very much," Xander replied haughtily. He ruined the

snobbish effect by shooting the other occupants in the room his boyish grin. "But hey, end

result was the same - dust central."

"No luck on the info line, though," Faith told Giles. "None of the vamps I slayed knew

anything about the upcoming slaughterfest."

"Perhaps Buffy is right in saying we need to wait until closer to the actual date," Giles

sighed.

"Yay! Does that mean we can stop?" Buffy asked, closing the book and batting her eyes

at her Watcher.

"I think someone just wants to see her undead hump bunny," Xander said snidely.

"Watch it, Xander," Buffy warned, sliding to her feet with the grace of a panther. "Or I'll

allow him to use you as an after dinner mint."

"How do I know that's not his dastardly plan to begin with?"

"You don't," she replied, giving him an evil grin. Xander swallowed visibly and Willow

hid her giggle. The red head had a long girl talk with Buffy and Faith about Spike and

knew he wouldn't hurt them, for fear of hurting the blond Slayer who he loved more than

blood. It would have been very romantic statement if it wasn't so gross.

"Have fun, Buffy," Willow said. "Don't do anything I wouldn't want to do."

"Guess that leaves me wide open," Buffy teased. Willow turned bright red. "Later, guys."

*****

"So, what do you think?"

"About what, luv?" Spike asked, stretching his long, jean clad legs out beside her. They

were sitting on his bed several days later, doing nothing more than enjoying each other's

company. For now, at least.

"About Casper the Friendly Ghost," Buffy replied, propping her chin in her hand and

looking up at him. "Think we should be wigged?"

"Couldn't tell you, pet," he said. "If you want, I'll bloody up a few of the younger ones,

try to get a line for you."

"You'd do that?" Buffy said, clearly amazed.

"Of course," he replied, giving her a wicked grin. "The sooner you stop this thing, the

sooner I have you all to myself."

"Possessive much?"

"Is it my fault you're so tasty?" Spike said, moving so he was laying face to face with her.

"So sexy." He kissed her forehead. "So succulent." He kissed her nose. "So passionate."

Her left cheek. "So fiery." Her right cheek. "So bloody irresistible." Her lips.

Buffy sighed when his lips met hers, her body trembling slightly from his words. Who

would have thought her toughest foe was the most tender lover, gentle when gentleness

was needed, strong when it was not. Who would have thought the one who hated her

with his all he was could now love her with that same intensity, that same passion which

sought death now wanted life.

"I love you, Buffy," Spike whispered against her mouth as he rolled their bodies so he was

on top of hers, one arm supporting his weight. His free hand ran lightly down her side,

then up under her pink shirt, caressing her warm skin. He rarely called her Buffy, always

using 'Slayer' or 'Pet' or 'luv' instead. That's what made his declaration doubly important

and special, he was showing her the depths of his feelings with one simple word. Her

name.







Part Four





Unlife couldn't get any better.

Spike practically bounced through the streets of Sunnydale, having just pounded on his

tenth 'source' that week seeking information for Buffy. His love. His Slayer. His mate.

With a large grin, he danced up the steps of the public library like Fred Astaire. When he

reached the top, he had the greatest urge to throw his arms in the air like Rocky Balboa in

the original movie. He never knew loving someone could be so neat.

Drusilla, in all her mad glory, had never made him feel this way in the hundred years they

were together as a couple. He had loved her, but it wasn't this all consuming, intense,

giddy, comfortable, light hearted brightness in his dark life. Buffy was his sun, his

warmth, his fire, his goodness and he would do almost anything to bring a smile to her

lips, to have her gaze lovingly in his eyes, to have her accept him in her arms, in her bed.

He loved her when she was angry, when she was sad, when she was content and when she

was being silly. He loved to listen to the sound of her voice, the way it changed from

happy to sarcastic to irritated to seductive. He would sit and watch her breathe for hours

if he had the chance. Sappy, but true.

Leaping onto the handrail, Spike did his imitation of a tightrope walker, black duster

blowing wildly as the wind picked up, trying to knock the cheery vampire down, offended

that such a soulless creature would dare to be happy. But the wind was out of luck as he

moved lightly on his feet down the metal, then jumping to the ground before continuing on

his way. Unlife was good.

*****

"Life sucks," Buffy said, lobbing a wadded up piece of paper at the garbage can

strategically placed in the center of the room. She couldn't figure out how her aim with a

crossbow was always dead on when she couldn't even sink a basket.

"Why?" Willow asked, looking up from the textbook she was reading. School had started

up again and the teachers were piling on the homework. Not that the red head minded. In

fact, she liked having homework.

"Where do I start?" Buffy replied dryly. "Snyder gave me detention for absolutely no

reason, mom is in one of her protective modes, I have more homework than I want and

there's a test tomorrow that I am so gonna fail. Oh, and there's still a ghost hanging

around the library, driving me nuts with his 'dolls' and 'sisters' and the other strange words

that come from his mouth."

"I think the way he talks is neat," the hacker said. "Kinda like a different language."

"Will, you think Latin is cool," Buffy said. Willow shrugged, smile on her lips. "Anyway,

life still sucks."

"What about Spike? He's a highlight," she pointed out.

"He sucks, too," Buffy replied, wiggling her eyebrows.

"Buffy!"

"Hello, my two most favoritist girls," Xander said, coming into Buffy's bedroom and

dropping his backpack on the floor. "Have you staked Deadboy Junior, yet?"

"No, but he sure has staked me," Buffy said, tongue in cheek.

Xander groaned. "I so did not need to hear that," he said, jumping onto the bed between

his best friends. "What are we doing?"

"Homework," Willow answered. "At least, I am. Buffy's trying to become the next

Michael Jordan. And not succeeding."

"Willow! When did you get such an acid tongue?" Buffy asked, grinning at her friend

over Xander's dark head.

"Would you believe me if I said Giles?" Willow replied, sending the threesome into gales

of laughter.

"Speaking of our beloved tweed man," Xander said when they had calmed down. "He

wanted to know if your bloodsucker found anything out or not."

"Not yet," Buffy said, wadding up another piece of notebook paper. She took aim and

shot, missing the lip by a foot. "Damn."

"You're doing it all wrong, missy," Xander said, grabbing some paper. "It's all in the

wrist. Observe." He let his 'basketball' fly, and it landed in the garbage can with a small,

hollow thunk.

Willow gave up on reading, and stole some paper from Xander's pile. She repeated his

actions, her own shot landing in the can, as well. "That's two," she said, flashing a grin at

her oldest friend.

Buffy frowned, crumpling up another sheet. She let the paper wad go with a little too

much enthusiasm and it sailed across the room smacking right into Spike's leg.

He looked down at the floor where the ball dropped, then up at the Slayer, arching one

dark brow. Willow and Xander were snickering as Buffy's cheeks reddened slightly.

"Sorry."

"Still haven't caught the hang of it, eh, luv?" Spike said, picking up the discarded paper

and walking over to her. He bent and kissed her on the top of the head, then lobbed the

ball at the garbage can casually over his shoulder without looking, sinking it like a pro.

"How'd you do that?" Buffy asked. "You didn't even look."

"Years of practice, pet," he replied, pulling out the desk chair and straddling it backwards.

"You should see what I can do with a deck of cards."

"So, what are you doing here, Spike? Run out of people to kill?" Xander said, then shook

his head mentally at his mouth for egging the vampire on. Luckily, Spike was in too good

a mood to take offense at the teen.

"I can come and see my mate whenever I want to," Spike said, his grin belaying his tone.

"What is it with you and this 'mate' thing?" Xander said, his mouth running away from him

some more. "What are you? Some sort of animal? Wait, never mind, you are."

Spike rolled his eyes, causing the girls to giggle. He was in a very silly mood. "No, you

git, I'm only higher in the food chain than you." Ignoring Xander's stuttered outburst at

that, he turned to the Slayer. "No dice on the information, ducks, but I had a bloody good

time trying to get some."

"I bet you did," Buffy said. "Oh well. I guess you'll just have to try again tomorrow."

She laughed as his face brightened at the thought of more violence. Maybe she'd go with

him, really freak the fledglings out.

Willow closed her textbook for good, setting it on the floor next to the bed. "How about

a movie, guys? There's a new one on the Indian channel."

Xander perked up. "Sounds good to me. I could use some bad singing."

Buffy smiled. "Ok. I'll go throw in some popcorn. Spike, do you want to

stay and watch, too?"

"Wouldn't miss it for the world, pet," he replied, shedding his duster, then

following her out of the bedroom. The instant they were clear of the door,

he grabbed her, smashing his lips to hers in a passionate kiss. When he

broke it off, he gave her an off-kilter smile, then whistled as he headed

downstairs towards the kitchen. Buffy trailed after him as soon as her

knees started working again.

*****

"This is so ridiculous," Buffy said quietly, long, wicked looking knife at

her side. She looked over at Faith, who held a similar blade in her hand.

"We've had snake men, fish boys, killer robots, invisible chicks, mummies,

bugs, blobs and vampires. But this? This tops the charts for ookiness."

"It had to happen sometime, B," Faith said. "After all, the poor guy has

been forced to predict the weather for god knows how long now. I'd snap,

too."

"Yeah, but who ever heard of a demon groundhog?"

Continued