Spike waited on the corner of Devon and Cumberland as instructed, a bag of the items Willow requested in on hand and a bag with the glass in the other. A motorcycle came up the street wearing the foretold white helmet with a red stripe down the center. Making sure he held out the right bag, he moved parallel to the street and the motorcyclist snatched the bag from his barely outstretched hand.
"Hey, my bag!" he shouted as the driver quickly left. "That prick nabbed my bag!"
People ignored him as he began grumbling to himself, playing up the typical LA victim of snatch and run. It helped that he was still dressed in his business suit, giving him more credibility for a theft. He started on his way back to the mansion, planning on catching a cab near a convenient store to add to his cover.
He had spoken to Christoph on the phone, using the emergency number he had never used. The Ventrue Cult leader had arranged the pick up and informed Spike on what to do about both the Tremere Whip and the Gangrel Primogen if indeed he ingested the Omega Virus. If the glass of bloodwine contained the virus, he was to somehow secretly capture the Whip and she would be taken by the Gehenna Cult in order to extract information from her. If Trey had become infected by the virus, he would know within two weeks, because the vampire would be dead by then. Either alive or dead, he was to report back to Christoph with the Gangrel's condition.
He was actually hoping the female Tremere was the mole, because he loved the action part of the cloak and dagger routine. Violence for a cause was more fun in his book than violence for no reason. Unless he was pounding on his sire, then absence of reason was just as good. He hailed a cab at the store and hummed the James Bond theme tunelessly on the ride to the mansion.
Willow wondered where Spike had disappeared to. He had been gone for three days, just up and leaving without explanation after she'd received a strange email message which she read to him. Since then, she'd been alone in the suite, doing both of their work and entertaining herself. The place seemed very empty without his presence and the constant litany of curses, in English or Spanish. It also wasn't as much fun waking up at 5:30 in the morning to sit by herself to watch Gigglesnort Hotel. But she didn't want to admit that she missed him. She chalked it up to boredom.
After the performance at the conclave meeting almost a week ago, he'd given her a sketchy explanation for his actions, including all the details he knew on the Omega Virus. The virus had struck Trey and she got to see first hand what it did to vampires. The Gangrel looked like a very old man, all skin and bones, with his body caving in and his eyes a dull yellow. Angel told her he wouldn't live much longer and it saddened her. She may have not known him very well, but she hated when anyone suffered. Plus, the thought that Angel, Maurice, Xavier or Nicolas could get the same sickness frightened her. The thought of Spike getting it made her feel even worse.
Sighing, Willow laid out the dress she was to wear. Xavier had gone and thrown a ball because she asked if he'd ever held one. The mansion was going to be filled with people, both human and vampire, and the servants had been scurrying about all day preparing. The orchestra had arrived a few hours ago and she ventured downstairs to listen to them warm up.
The ballroom and grand hall had been polished and shined until everything gleamed. Tables had been set up around the edges of the ballroom, covered in white linen table cloths with small, silver statues as centerpieces. A huge champagne fountain had been set up on one side, with glass flutes standing in perfect rows around it. A bartender was set up in the far corner to offer other beverages besides champagne, and she saw that he was fully stocked for any drink requested, including bloodwine.
The ball was to be a lavish affair and she couldn't understand why she didn't feel more excited about it. Moving around her bedroom, she began to get dressed. Everything had been provided by Maurice, to which she blushed when she opened the box of undergarments, but had thanked him profusely. Everything was exquisite and undoubtably expensive, however she knew if she protested, Xavier would scold her for being an old maid when she was only eighteen.
She slid on the bodice of her undergarments first, the pale green material snug around her as it lifted her breasts, creating more cleavage than she normally had. She slid on her silk stockings, hooking the garters to the tops, then pulled the matching pale green panties over them. After dabbing on a bit of perfume, she carefully put the dress on, then looked in the full length mirror in the corner of her room.
Her lips curled up as she saw herself. The dress was the same pale green shade, with long sleeves and a scooped neck that showed just enough cleavage without making her uncomfortable. It was snug around her torso and waist, the back a series of criss-cross ties over the material, with a tie at the end that pulled the dress nicely over her curves. The rest of the dress was straight, a high cut slit up one leg that allowed her to move freely.
Glancing at the clock, she saw that the ball was already underway. She put on her semi-heeled shoes, touched up her lipstick, then gave herself one last glance in the mirror. "It'll be fun," she told her reflection. Her reflection, however, didn't answer.
Spike could have been knocked over with a feather when he saw Willow at the top of the sweeping staircase. Having checked in daily with Maurice about the red head, he'd learned about the last minute ball that evening. Instead of returning to the mansion to change, he went to the exclusive men's shop the butler recommended and was fitted with a new tuxedo right there. Then, he cleaned up at the hotel he was staying at and caught a ride back into the city.
"If you weren't a vampire, I'd tell you to breathe," Buffy said from next to him. Angel had her arm in his and both were looking up the stairs at Willow. "I can't believe I'm about to say this, but what are you waiting for, Spike? Go get her."
Angel gave the blond vampire a slight push, snapping him out of his daze. Spike did not turn his head or say anything as he made his way over to the stairs. "Spike's in trouble now," Angel told Buffy. He watched as his childe hesitated near the bottom and Willow saw him. "Big time."
Willow stared down at the vampire at the bottom of the steps. **Oh my,** she thought, drinking in his tuxedo. The black short coat with tails was over a white shirt and black cummerbund. His black bow tie and the crisp, pleated pants finishing the outfit. **Oh my.**
Lifting her skirt with one hand, she put the other on the railing and slowly walked down the stairs until she was standing one step above Spike, so they were eye level with each other. "Hi," Willow breathed. "You're back."
"And you're beautiful," Spike replied in a whisper.
A blush stole up her cheeks. "You are, too. Not beautiful. Handsome. Very handsome," she said, then gave him a mischievous grin. "Are you sure you're Spike?"
Spike laughed and held out his hand. "Willow, will you allow me the honor of accompanying you to the ball. I hear it is to be the affair of the season," he said in a highbrow British accent.
"Certainly, kind sir," Willow replied with the same accent, placing her hand over his. "But I am afraid I must warn you, my dance card is almost filled."
"I know," Spike said normally, a twinkle in his blue eyes as he led her into the ballroom. "I'm the one who filled it."
Willow was floating on cloud nine. She and Spike had danced and drank champagne and danced some more, stopping every so often to talk with some of he other guests. She'd only gotten to talk with Buffy for a few minutes before she was dragged out to the dance floor again by her overly cheerful roommate. She wondered why he didn't want to take a break, but she wasn't protesting. Not one bit.
Spike knew exactly why he wasn't going to take a break. He didn't want to let go the feeling of Willow in his arms as they danced. It was exquisite torture to him, the hint of cleavage, the flash of her leg, the perfume mixing with her own unique scent overloading his brain. His attraction to her had increased hundredfold when he saw her standing at the top of the stairs. He was lucky he could form a coherent sentence.
"Boy, it's getting hot in here," Willow said as the orchestra ended one song before starting up another.
"Would you like to step out for a breath of air?" Spike asked, then scowled. **Listen to me, I sound like a bloody idiot.**
"Sure," she agreed, taking his arm. They wove their way through the people and out an open side door. They walked for awhile in companionable silence, enjoying the night air and the sounds of the orchestra spilling out of the mansion. "I'm having fun."
"You say that as if you didn't expect to," Spike commented.
"I didn't," Willow replied. "Because I didn't think you were going to be here. And I just said that last part out loud. Oh boy."
Spike stopped walking and turned so he was facing her. "Did you mean it?" he asked seriously.
"Yes," she replied honestly, looking into his eyes. Time seemed to slow down as Spike brought his hand up to brush her cheek. The world fell out of focus as she unconsciously licked her lips, causing his gaze to dart to them, then back to her eyes.
"You are so very beautiful," he murmured. Then, he bent his head and gently pressed his lips to hers.
It didn't matter that the kiss was gentle, because the shock that went through them both was electric. Spike's hand slid behind Willow's head as she moved her hands around his waist, bringing her against him. They couldn't seem to get close enough as their tongues met, chasing each other back and forth as the kiss deepened. Uncontrollable were their emotions and the feelings coursing through them from weeks of hidden attraction for one another.
Reality in the form of voices intruded on them, and they broke away. Luminous green eyes stared widely at ice blue ones, neither of them knowing what had just happened, but neither of them caring. "Willow, if I don't step away from you now, I'm going to take you up those stairs and make love to you all night long," Spike said in a low, hoarse voice.
"Please do," Willow whispered breathlessly in reply. He growled deep in his chest and captured her mouth again, pulling her flush against him. When he let her go, she was panting heavily and her face was flushed with sexual excitement.
Taking her hand in his, Spike led her through the kitchen entrance, around the many cooks and servers and through the north wing. When they finally reached the suite, she was barely in the door before he picked her up in his arms, kicking the door closed with his foot. Willow laughed delightedly as he carried her into her bedroom. Once there, he slowly set her to her feet, his eyes burning into hers, causing her heart to race.
Their lips met again, tasting and teasing each other as hands roamed over their clothing. Willow pushed the jacket off of his shoulders and it fell to the floor as her fingers found the hook to the cummerbund and undid it. Soon, it joined the jacket on the floor as did his bow tie and the shoes he toed off, their mouths never parting.
Spike found the hidden zipper in the back of her dress under the ties and pulled it down. He could hear her heart pounding as he pulled the dress down her arms. She stopped working on the buttons of his shirt in order to pull the garment over her hands, then it pooled on the floor around her feet as she went right back to her task.
Willow never wanted anything more in her life than she wanted this man right here, right now. There was no planning, no hesitation, no little voice in the back of her head asking her if she was ready. This time she knew. And she was not to be put off by something as stubborn as a set of buttons. Shoving the shirt down his arms, she yanked the last one until it popped and it fell to the floor. She growled into his mouth, frustrated, when she found not bare skin but an undershirt. She plucked at it with her hands, wanting it off.
He finally broke the kiss, both of them panting, as he drew the undershirt over his head. Then, he swallowed heavily as he saw her in the pale green teddy and stockings. Her skin was flushed with desire, her breasts heaving, stretching the material enticingly. Any moment now, he was going to explode into a cloud of dust because of the fire he felt from just looking at her....
The two new lovers lay side by side, staring up at the ceiling. Their thoughts were whirling, but unknowingly almost exactly the same.
**Oh goddess, oh goddess, oh goddess,** Willow thought. She had sex with Spike. Twice! Sexy, smart, clever, silly, adorable William Longstreet, a.k.a Spike - the vampire. And she liked it. Very, very much.
**Sweet mercy,** Spike thought. He had shagged Willow. Twice! Beautiful, intelligent, witty, funny, wonderful Willow Rosenberg, a.k.a. his little Witch - the human. And he enjoyed it. Very, very much. Then why was he laying there like a ninny?
Turning on his side, he propped his head on his arm and looked down at her. "Willow?"
"Yeah," she squeaked, a blush staining her cheeks as she met his eyes.
"Listen, we're both adults-"
"Well, I am. I'm not too sure about you," she interrupted.
Spike's eyes widened at her sass and he let out a chuckle, breaking the tension in the room. "Cor, luv, you are a silly little Witch."
Willow had no idea what prompted her to say what she did next, but say it she did. "And you're a silly not so little Spike."
"Is that so?" Spike replied, arching his brow. He used his free hand to run down the center of her body, brushing the top of her curls before returning back up. He could feel his not so little-ness stirring again, and he cocked his head to the side. "Up for another round, pet?"
Spike's hand had left an indelible burn on her skin, her body becoming aroused again. "If you mean dancing, no. I'd rather stay here with you in bed," she replied.
"Good," he answered, lowering his head to capture her mouth in a kiss.
Willow woke up to find herself pressed snuggly against a cool body, an arm around her waist. Her eyes widened as all that had happened hit her again, the images flashing in her mind. Panicking, she extracted herself from Spike's arms, getting out of bed and throwing on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt. She glanced at the clock, then immediately decided that she didn't care about the time as she practically bolted from the suite.
She ran down the hall and knocked loudly on Angel's door. When the sleepy vampire answered it, she pushed past him into his suite. "I need to use your phone. I need to call Buffy. I need to get my head examined!"
"Willow, what is it?" Angel asked, concerned.
"I am an idiot! A complete moron. I'm worse than Xander on his bad days! I should be locked up for my lunacy," Willow said rapidly. "I should stop talking to you and call Buffy."
"Buffy's right here," Buffy said, coming out of the bedroom.
Willow gasped when she saw her best friend. "Oh! You're here. You're here! With Angel. In-in his bedroom. Doing things. Buffy, you're not suppose to be doing things with Angel! His soul. Oh no, can this get any more bad?"
"Willow, calm down," Buffy told her, gesturing with her head for Angel to disappear. The vampire nodded and moved into the second bedroom, shutting the door behind him. "I'm sleeping in the spare bedroom, not with Angel."
"Oh, well then I guess it's ok," she replied. "No, it's not ok. Vampires and sex is bad. Bad."
"Let me guess, you and Spike?"
Willow blushed bright red. "Three times," she mumbled. "I can't believe I did it. Well, I can, considering that I did. But he-he's a vampire. I'm not. He has no soul. I do. He's a bloodsucking fiend! And I had sex with him!"
The phone rang on the night stand not half a second after Willow had left. Spike knew instantly when she had moved from his arms, but allowed her to continue to think he was asleep because he sensed her panic. He hadn't expected her to leave the suite however.
Growling to himself, he grabbed the receiver. "What?" he snapped.
"Alpha one omega, Mr. Longstreet," a mechanical male voice said on the other end, then disconnected.
"Fuck," Spike swore, swinging out of bed and slamming down the phone. He went into the bathroom and threw on the faucet, rapidly washing himself with a soapy washrag of Willow's juices. There wasn't time for a shower as he hustled into his room and threw some clothes. He opened the bottom drawer of his dresser and pulled out a metal box after he was dressed.
Opening it, he retrieved something that he rarely used, preferring to follow the old ways of hand to hand combat. He checked the clip in the semi-automatic, then tucked it in a hidden pocket in his duster. He grabbed two more clips and stuck them in there as well, then went into the kitchen and scribbled a quick note to Willow.
Keys in hand, he left the suite in a record three minutes.
Angel heard her exclamation and threw open the bedroom door. "I'm going to kill him," he stated, moving to the door.
"Huh? Angel, why?" Willow said as Buffy moved quickly, trying to put herself between her pseudo boyfriend and the door, but she was too late.
"Angel, stop," Buffy said, trailing after him. Willow ran up behind them just as the older vampire stormed into her suite.
"Where are you, Spike?" Angel called.
Willow frowned when he didn't answer. Walking past Angel, she went into her bedroom to see it empty. "Spike?" She continued through the bathroom into Spike's bedroom, but he wasn't in there, either. "Spike, are you here?"
"Hey, Wills, there's a note for you. I think. It's really, really messy, but it's signed by Spike," Buffy said as Willow exited the bedroom. She quickly took it from Buffy and read it.
Had to go
"He says there was an emergency and he had to go," Willow said quietly. Her eyes filled with tears and she forced herself to keep them from spilling. "Um, do you guys mind if I go in my room now?"
"No, we'll leave," Buffy replied, ushering Angel out the open door. "I'll be here the rest of the day, if you want to talk."
"Thanks," Willow told her. Buffy nodded and shut the door. The hacker walked slowly to her room and climbed into the empty bed, letting the tears fall. She grabbed the pillow Spike had been using and hugged it to her, silently wondering if he had left because of her.
"I cannot believe you let her escape!" Spike yelled as he paced. Those that had been at the apartment where they Gehenna Cult had been holding the interrogation of the Tremere Whip were scared that they were about to lose their unlives. "Of all the bloody, idiotic..."
Spike spun and grabbed one of the guards by the throat, rasing him off the ground. As the Cult member who had led the offensive against the Whip, he was in charge of the entire operation - from her capture to her interrogation and now it was to be for her retrieval. If she got to her fellow Antediluvian Cult members, each of those present in the room would be exposed.
"Now, how long has she been gone?" Spike asked in a falsely calm voice.
"Four hours," the guard in his grip croaked. "We evoked A1O as soon as we found her gone."
"She couldn't have gone far, what with the sun," he surmised. "However, all she needed to do was get to a FUCKING PHONE!" He emphasized his words by squeezing harder, the guard now clawing at his hand in pain.
Spike dropped him and spun on his heels, his mind working rapidly. "Sunset is in twenty. I want teams of two to sweep the area. Let's hope she didn't get to a phone, people, or we're all dead."
Willow was depressed. She sat in the kitchen, absently tracing a pattern on the table with her fingers. Spike had been gone for close to a week, with no word as to where he was or when he was returning. Even Maurice found his behavior strange, having talked to the blond each day he'd been gone before the ball.
"Miss Willow, do not fret. Master William shall return soon," Maurice said, joining her.
"I'd like to believe that," Willow replied sadly. "But it's been six days. Six days since we...we..."
"Were intimate," the vampire butler finished. She nodded. "I am sorry, Miss. I wish I had some way to make it better."
"That's ok, Maurice," she said, rising from her seat. "I'd better go and get dressed. I'm suppose to meet with Antonio in a little while."
Maurice watched the red head depart, slowly shaking his head. "Master William, you had better have a good excuse for not being here."
Spike was shoved into the room, falling to his knees as he bit down his cry of pain. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his duster on the floor where they'd pulled it off his shoulders five days ago. Five days of trying to break him, of excruciating pain and hunger. But he never spoke.
He also never screamed.
Silently thanking Angelus for his cruelty over the years and then again when he had lost his soul, he focused on the one part of him they could not hurt - his mind.
"You are a strong one," the familiar voice said from behind him. "Rarely has anyone lasted for more than three days, but you Spike." Antonio, the Tremere Primogen stepped into his line of sight. "You have lasted for five. Most impressive."
Spike didn't reply, surveying the ten other vampires in the room. He had guessed that the Italian vampire was an Antediluvian Cult member, but had no proof. He had been trying to break the Whip, but had only one day to work on her before she escaped.
"But I wonder how much longer you will last when we start on the red head," Antonio continued. He chuckled when Spike's head snapped up. "Ah yes, fair Willow. Such soft skin, such fiery hair. And she's a natural redhead, too."
Spike vamped in both fury and fear, launching himself at the vampire. The others in the room reacted swiftly, grabbing him and throwing him across the room. He landed in a heap on his duster, the pain in his body not even remotely comparing to the pain of the thought that Willow had been captured.
Antonio laughed delightedly at the blond. "So, William Longstreet," he sneered. "If you tell us what we want to know, we'll let your little Whip free. If not...well, I'm sure I can find some way to amuse myself. She does have the tightest..."
A deadly calm settled over Spike at the vampire's words. Everything slowed as he turned his head, his battered human mask in place, and pinned down Antonio with his cold stare. The Italian faltered slightly, his laughter trailing off as the first bullet erupted from the .45 in the blond's hand.
Spike had no expression on his face as he rapidly unloaded the clip between the vampires in the room. He whipped a new clip out of the same hidden pocket and barely paused his firing as he reloaded.
He rolled up to his feet, ignoring the ten vampires on the ground, each with their kneecaps expertly blown off. Antonio was the only one with which he was concerned. The dark haired Tremere was gasping in pain, bullet holes littering his body. He let the newly emptied clip drop out of the gun, hitting the downed vampire as he patiently put in the last one. He chambered a round, then put the cold metal to Antonio's forehead.
"Where's Willow?" Spike asked quietly, his eyes blue chips of ice.
Antonio managed to grin, despite his predicament. "Thank her for the fuck," he replied.
Spike pulled the trigger.