Buffy walked quietly into the bookstore, her thoughts focused on what had happened at the
warehouse. She knew she didn't have all the facts, but she could piece together the information
she had in order to formulate an idea about what happened to Spike. Drusilla attacked him in a
jealous rage, hurt him, he got free and killed her and probably any other minions around wherever
they had lived in Brazil.
Undoubtably, Whistler was using this information to blackmail him. However, she couldn't figure
out how, other than the fact that it was embarrassing. "Well, more than embarrassing, more like
"Talking to yourself again, Buff?" Xander said, breaking her out of her thoughts.
Buffy raised her head to see Xander, Willow, Oz and Cordelia sitting at a table in the back room
of the bookstore. Angel was standing uncomfortably behind the table while Giles was leafing
through a book in his hands, as usual. "Oh, hi guys."
"So, where's the prince of darkness?" Xander asked.
"Home," she replied, not rising to the bait. She wasn't in the mood for joking or much of
anything. She wanted to go back to her dorm room, curl up in front of the window, and think.
"Is everything ok, Buffy?" Willow asked. "Between you and...Spike? Couple-wise?"
Buffy smirked at her friend's attempt to not-so-subtly follow the plan. A plan which she no
longer cared about. "We're just friends, nothing more," she said. Giles looked relieved and
Xander actually bounced giddily, making her roll her eyes. Willow and Oz exchanged confused
glances, and Buffy shook her head when the redhead looked at her, indicated she'd explain later.
"Since when do just friends play tonsil hockey in the middle of the street?" Cordelia said to Buffy.
"You two looked like you were going to go at it right there."
"What are you talking about?" Buffy asked, confused.
"We saw you, Buffy," Angel said quietly. "Outside of the Sunnydale Cemetery earlier. With
The name was said with such venom, Buffy's eyes shot to him, and she was greeted with a semi-angry gaze across the room. That served only to piss her off. "What right do you have to be
angry? You have no say-so on who I kiss or not. Just like I don't get to tell you not to suck face
Xander's head whipped towards Cordelia, an astonished expression on his face. "You sucked
face with Deadboy?!"
"I did not," Cordelia said.
"But we saw you!" Willow said. "You had your hand down his...and your tongue was...you just
"Oh, so now you're playing spy-girl, too?" Cordelia sneered.
"Hey, don't talk to Willow like that, corpse-kisser," Xander snapped at her.
"There you go, rushing to her rescue," Cordelia said, gesturing towards Oz. "Why do you put up
with his crap? He kissed your girlfriend."
"Children-" Giles said.
"Cordelia and I are just friends," Angel said, rounding the table. He stopped directly in front of
"Really, Angel," Buffy said sarcastically, crossing her arms over her chest as she glared at the
vampire. "Since when do you smooch with 'just friends'?"
"It was part of a case...," Angel defended.
"Save it, lover-boy," Buffy told him. "I don't care if you two were madly in love with each other
and screwed on the table over there in front of us."
"But Buffy, the plan...," Willow said, having caught Buffy's words.
"As Spike would say, bugger the plan," Buffy said to Willow.
"What plan?" Angel said, narrowing his eyes.
"Angel, go sit on it and rotate," she replied sweetly.
"Hey, don't talk to Angel like that," Cordelia snapped.
"Defending your new sugar-daddy?" Xander asked maliciously.
"That's going a little bit too far, man," Oz said, trying to keep the peace.
"Shut up, Oz," Cordelia said, then turned to Xander. "He's younger than your 1,200 year old
"Don't talk to Oz like that," Willow growled, glaring at Cordelia.
"Look what you did," Buffy hissed at Angel.
"I did?!" Angel said.
"Everyone, that is enough!" Giles said sharply. All eyes turned to him in shock. He was holding
his glasses in his hand and glaring at them. "We have work to do, and I do not want to listen to
your petty bickering. I personally do not care who kissed whom, or who is shagging whom for
that matter. Now, may we get to the problem at hand, or shall I go out and do this on my own?"
The group immediately mumbled apologies and looked significantly chastised. "Thank you,"
Giles said, replacing his glasses. "Now then, we have a-a possibly serious situation. The creature
Javocarn is said to arise every millennia on the new moon the seventh month of the Roman
calendar, which is septem."
"Septem is September on our calendar," Angel said.
"And the new moon is at its peak at 11: 37," Willow supplied, reading from her Witches
Almanac. "Which is in twenty minutes."
"Any idea on what this Java guy looks like?" Buffy asked.
"Javocarn," Giles corrected.
"Him, too," she said, smiling at Giles.
"This book here says coffee-dude will be 'heralded by the Wastrels,' whatever those are," Xander
"They are wraith-like beings," Giles said.
"Tall, skinny, some-what pasty?" Buffy asked. Giles nodded. "Met them, killed them...I think."
"When was this?" Giles asked.
"Earlier tonight," she replied.
"Would this be before or after we saw you searching for Spike's tongue with your own?"
Buffy ignored her. "There were six of them," she told Giles. "They should still be lying in
Sunnydale Cemetery, waiting for burial detail."
"Then it-it is most probable that Javocarn will arise at that location," Giles said.
"What are we waiting for?" Buffy said. "Let's go grind us some coffee-beans."
"Uh, Buffy," Willow said. "We don't know how to kill him."
Buffy shrugged. "So I'll improvise." She went over to the new weapons locker and opened it.
The first thing that caught her eye was a pair of short staffs, which reminded her of fighting with
Spike earlier that day. Thinking it a sign, she took them both, then shut the locker.
"Hi," Buffy greeted Spike hesitantly as she approached him by the mausoleum, staffs in hand. He
was leaning against the outer wall of the stone crypt, smoking a cigarette. "Where's the dead
"In there," Spike said, gesturing with his head to the open entryway. She peered inside and saw
the bodies of the six Wastrels they'd killed earlier. "Figured I'd best get them out of sight until
we can dispose of them."
"Good idea," she said. She glanced at him, but he avoided looking at her, and she felt
uncomfortable. "The others will be here soon. Giles thinks the creature is going to pop up right
"Everyone?" he asked pointedly.
"Yeah, Angel and Cordelia, too," Buffy replied. "They saw us kissing in the street before..."
"Go ahead and say it, Slayer," Spike said bitterly, flicking his cigarette away. "Before you found
out I was bloody asexualized."
"I was going to say before I changed my mind about pretending to be a couple to get back at
Angel," Buffy snapped.
"Oh, that makes such a big difference," he replied, sarcastically.
She smacked him in the chest with the top of one of the staffs. "Listen, you dumb-ass vampire, I
changed my mind because I could care less what Angel thinks."
Spike yanked the staff away from her with a growl. Buffy's eyes narrowed and she moved away
from the mausoleum. He followed her, spinning the short staff expertly, an angry set to his jaw.
Without warning, he lashed out, jabbing the end into her stomach before she could block. She
oomph'd as the air rushed out of her, but she twisted the staff in her hands quickly, knocking his
This fight was not for fun, as it had been earlier. Both of them were fighting their own private
demons with each snap of wood on wood. With each hit, Spike let out his anger at her reaction,
over the hope that he'd had she'd react differently, of the futility of his having fallen in love with
her. Buffy parried each one and struck back, not at him, but at what Drusilla did to hurt him, at
Whistler's callous blackmail, at the fact that he thought her to be so shallow.
The others arrived at the cemetery, but neither Spike nor Buffy noticed. They tried to get their
attention, but it wasn't until the ground began to shake and Javocarn erupted from the soil
directly in front of them that they stopped.
Buffy turned and glared at the creature, whose brown skin, eye stalks and long limbs did nothing
to threaten her. "Hey, we were fighting here," she growled at it. She raised her staff like a
baseball bat, jumped straight up and swung at its eye stalk.
Javocarn's left eye went flying towards the others, where it hit Xander mid-chest with a sickening,
wet thud. It howled in pain and focused its remaining eye on Buffy, turning and reaching for her
with its clawed hands as she ran behind it. Buffy ducked and smacked it across the knees.
"What the Slayer said," Spike snarled as the creature bent to clutch its legs. He wound up and
slammed the staff into its other eye stalk, sending the eye careening towards the group, as well. It
also hit Xander, this time in the face, and the brunette yelled out in disgust.
Blind now, Javocarn swung its long limbs wildly. The Slayer slammed her staff into its gut the
same time Spike smashed his down against the back of its neck. The creature fell face first onto
the ground, and they both drove the ends of their staffs into its back simultaneously, piercing it to
A loud, ear-shattering screech filled the night, making everyone clamp their hands over their ears.
Javocarn's body began to shudder in front of Buffy and Spike, then it exploded. Blue slime and
innards rained down on the two, covering them completely.
Buffy wiped her closed eyes off with her fingers, flicking away the thick, blue slime before
opening them. She saw Spike and burst out laughing so hard, she fell to the ground amidst the
goop. "You...you...you...," she sputtered, trying to tell him he looked like the guy who got
slimed in Men In Black.
Spike glared down at her, his lips twitching as he tried not to laugh. She reminded him of
Smurfette, with her blond hair and blue skin. Then it started to burn.
A low snarl ripped from him at the same time that Buffy let out a pain-filled scream. She got up
and began frantically brushing at her skin. "GET IT OFF!! GET IT OFF!!"
Spike grabbed her arm and pulled her after him as he started to run, ignoring the others. Pain
exploded in his mouth as he lost control of his human mask, but he did not stop. Within minutes,
he was kicking open the door to the warehouse and they were flying up the stairs, shedding their
coats on the way. Both of them were crying and whimpering from the excruciating pain.
He practically threw Buffy into the shower and jumped in after her, turning the water on full blast.
He grabbed the hem of her shirt and yanked it up and over her head, then did the same to her bra
as she ripped the fastenings of his jeans and began to shove them down. He let go of her to pull
his t-shirt over his head and she undid her own pants and pushed them down to her ankles.
Buffy flopped onto the floor of the tub with a sob, trying to pull her shoes off. Spike dropped to
his knees and yanked them off of her, then grabbed her pants. As he pulled, she slid down and
smacked her head on the metal faucet, and she yelled out as stars danced in front of her vision.
Twisting his body, he sat down and wrenched his own boots from his feet, throwing them out of
the tub. His socks and jeans followed, along with the rest of their sodden clothing. Growling
continuously, he stood and grabbed the bottle of shampoo. He uncapped it and poured almost the
entire bottle on top of the Slayer, who still sat on the floor under half of the spray, then he
dumped the rest over his head.
Buffy felt the cool shampoo cover her and she began to scrub at her skin with it, especially her
face and hands. The burning started to fade as she rinsed the soap away. She shakily stood up
near the wall and hit her head again, this time on the shower caddy hanging from the shower head.
She felt Spike's hands on her shoulders and he pulled her towards him until she was directly under
Spike grabbed the bar of soap from the caddy and began to run it over the Slayer, starting with
her shoulders and back. The burning had stopped for him, leaving only the pain in his mouth from
when he had lost control. His human mask was back in place, allowing him to concentrate on
making sure all the slime was off of her.
Buffy felt Spike's hands everywhere on her and she opened her eyes in time to see him drop to his
knees in front of her. Despite the non-gentleness of his touch, the eroticism of the position he
was in caused her to inhale sharply and arousal flood her core. He must have heard her, because
he raised his head and met her eyes.
She gasped, her head lolling forward when he put his mouth against her. "Oh god, Spike," she
moaned as he began loved her in a most intimate fashion....
As abruptly as he started, Spike jerked away, turning his back to her. She panted heavily, trying
to catch her breath. She could see the tension in his shoulders and his hands clenched into fists.
The strong muscles of his back, buttocks and legs indicated he was poised for flight. Tentatively,
she reached out and laid her hand on his lower back, and he stiffened, but did not move away.
Gradually, she slid her hand around his side to his stomach and she repeated the action with her
other hand, until she was pressed up against his back.
Spike closed his eyes and swallowed heavily, gathering up his courage. Then he turned around
wrapped his arms around her in return, holding her to him. This would probably be the only
opportunity he'd ever have to hold the Slayer against him, flesh to flesh, and he wouldn't give
that up, despite everything inside him screaming to hide himself.
The tears that fell from Buffy's eyes were different from the ones shed in pain, as she laid her head
against his chest. These were tears for Spike, for the bravery he had to turn around, the strength
of his character the action attested to. After a minute, she drew back slightly and looked up at
him, meeting his gaze. He inhaled deeply, then let the unneeded breath out slowly, before he
nodded and let his arms fall to his sides.
She took a single step back and watched his face as he raised his head and stared up at the ceiling.
His jaw was clenched tight and she could see his cheek tick as he ground his teeth together. Her
heart caught at that strength he had in allowing her to see him. Slowly, she let her eyes travel
downward, over the muscles of his chest and abdomen, until she reached the place where his
manhood had been.
Buffy bit the inside of her cheek to prevent herself from making any sound as her vision blurred.
The skin had healed over in a jagged pattern, leaving the area rough and hairless. If Drusilla
wasn't already gone, she would have hunted the vampiress down without mercy. Not saying a
word, she wrapped her arms back around his torso and held him tightly. He started in surprise,
then after a moment, she felt his arms go around her again.
"Spike, I have to say this," Buffy said in a low, hard tone when she couldn't keep quiet any
longer. "If she wasn't dust already, her death would be slow and extremely painful at my hands
for hurting you like this."
"You don't...you're not disgusted?" Spike asked, his voice full of uncertainty and confusion.
Buffy looked up at him and met his gaze squarely. "It's who you are that I'm slowly falling in
love with, not what you do or don't have." Her lips quirked up before she added, "And that
includes a soul."
"But I can't ever...love you properly," he said, trying not to hope.
"I tried to tell Angel that it didn't matter, but he didn't listen to me," she replied. "Are you going
to listen? Or are you going to walk away from the best thing that could ever happen to you,
"You're a bit egotistical there, Slayer," Spike commented, a small smile forming on his lips.
"Hey, it's the truth," Buffy told him with a wink. She shivered as the hot water finally ran out
completely. "I think it's time we get out of here before we prune."
"You'd make a cute prune, pet," he said, reaching past her to shut off the water. She made a face
at him and he laughed.
The sound was music to her ears.
"Where's my blue binder?!" Buffy yelled, dropping to the floor in front of the couch and looking
"What was that, luv?" Spike asked, coming out of the bedroom.
"My blue binder," she answered, lifting up the brown cushions. The cat thought she was playing
a game and jumped on top of them, making her scowl. "I have to leave, Cat. Don't bother me
unless you know where it is."
Spike leaned against the beige wall and watched the Slayer dig frantically for a few moments
before she turned around and pierced him with a murderous glare. Chuckling, he padded barefoot
over to the kitchen table and picked up the blue binder from a chair. "Slayer, you'd think that
after two years of living with me..."
"Shut up, Spike," Buffy growled, quickly going over to him and snatching it from his hands.
Then she went up on her toes and pressed a hard kiss to his lips. "Thanks, I'll be home around
four. Love you."
"Learn lots," he said as she hurried out the door.
Just before the door clicked shut, Spike heard, "I want stir fry for dinner!"
Cat hopped up onto the table and he picked the feline up. Scratching him behind the ears, the
vampire smiled in content satisfaction. "Well, Cat, you heard the Slayer. She wants stir fry for
dinner," he said. He held up the animal and looked into his face. "Since when did I become her
Cat gave Spike a knowing look and he nodded. "You're right, I'm worse than my trotting sire.
But I have something he gave up," he said, glancing around at the effeminate touches in the third
floor of the warehouse. "I have the Slayer's love."