Fairy Tales


by Saber ShadowKitten

Prologue




The storm came upon Sunnydale at an alarming rate. One moment, it was a bright sunny day, with students chatting amicably on the front lawn of the high school. The next moment, black clouds rolled in like an army of tanks, lighting striking the ground, thunder booming. The students ran into the school, afraid they were to be drenched at any moment.

But no rain came.

In the library, five students and one man dressed in tweed sat surrounded by books. Titles such as Demon Lords, The Prophecy of Carnax, Witchcraft of the Longrian Order, and Quarxian Theology lay haphazardly on one corner, threatening to fall onto the floor. Pages turned rapidly as eyes scanned for any information regarding a new threat to the Slayer.

The did not notice the storm.

Across town, a crumbling mansion sat, its windows staring like vacant eyes onto the street. In it, two creatures of the night lay sleeping, fearing nothing but the memories of a dawn since passed.

The porcelain face of a doll lit up when lightning struck the house, illuminating the suddenly empty bed.

The students of Sunnydale High left for home as the strange storm dissipated. A few stragglers stumbled past the library. If they turned to look into the window, they would have seen pages of open books fluttering silently down. The hands that had been holding them had disappeared.



Part One



"...seems to be some sort of threat on Buffy's life," Giles was in the midst of saying until he suddenly felt himself falling onto the ground.

But it was not the floor of the library onto which he fell. Two suns blazed brilliantly in the sky, bouncing off the pond where the Slayer, her Watcher and the Slayerettes found themselves.

"Woah! Reality check here," Buffy said, looking around her. "Do you guys see what I see?"

"If you mean two suns, grass, lots of trees and some water," Xander said. "I'm hoping I am not seeing it."

"Are you ok?" Oz asked Willow.

"Other than a sore rear, I'm fine," Willow responded. Oz smiled at her.

"Giles, where are we?" Buffy asked.

"Um...I don't know," Giles replied. "Were any of you reading something that sounded like a portal spell, or described this place."

Five heads shook no.

"Oh, dear."


*****


"Spiiike, what's that bright light?" Drusilla whined, covering her face with her arm. "Turn it off."

Spike stirred in his sleep, his brow crinkling in a frown. *It's bad enough I have to put up with her during the night, but does she have to bother me when I'm sleeping?* he thought.

"Spike, I don't like the light."

Sighing heavily, Spike opened his eyes, blinking several times to clear them. When he was fully able to see, he found himself staring up into a blue sky with the rays of two suns burning down upon him.

"Aah!" Spike screamed as he jumped up, looking around for shelter. He was standing in an open grassy field. The only shelter he could see was a forest of trees, far in the distance.

"What is it, Spike?" Drusilla said from the ground. "You're making too much noise. I'm tired."

Her voice snapped him out of his panic enough to notice he was not becoming a pile of ash. "What the...?"

Turning his hand one way, then the next, Spike watched as the sun played over it, amazed. He looked down at Drusilla, bathed in sunlight. He couldn't believe his eyes.

"Dru?" he said in a choked whisper.

Drusilla moved her arm and looked up at him. "Spike, you're all lit up."


*****


"Ok. Here's what we have: a pocket knife, a lighter, chapstick, two guitar picks, three combs, a bottle of black nailpolish, a pack of gum, a candy bar, six crosses, a small vial of holy water, eight stakes and 78 cents in change," Buffy said as she looked down at the small pile in front of her.

"We also have water," Giles said, pointing to the pond. "It's fresh."

"Right. Water, check," Buffy said.

"Buff, I want to know how you managed to hide eight stakes on your body, when all you're wearing is a pair of jeans and a crop top," Xander said.

"Talent, Xander. And lots of practice," Buffy responded with a smile.

"I'm glad we have a lighter," Willow said. "It'll make it easier to start a fire. I haven't learned how to do that yet in my studies of witchcraft."

"That's ok, Will," Oz said, putting an arm around his girlfriend.

"So, what now?" Cordelia asked from her perch on a rock near the pond.

"I would suggest we gather some wood and prepare to spend the night here," Giles said. "I don't know how much longer we'll have daylight."

"Good idea, Giles," Buffy said, standing up. "Let's pair up and get moving."

"Don't wander off too far. We have no way of knowing what's in those woods," Giles said in warning as the teens walked away.

"Yes, Giles," the chimed together.


*****


Spike and Drusilla walked for what seemed like hours until they finally reached the forest. "Spike, I'm hungry," Drusilla whined.

*Stop your whining, you bloody twit,* he thought. "I know, Pet," was what he said.

Stopping before the stand of tree, Spike sniffed the air. He smelled perfume. White Charlie to be exact. "C'mon, luv," he said, following his nose. "We'll eat soon enough."

The two vampires walked into the forest, following the scented trail that only the nose of the undead and werewolves could pick up. When they arrived in the clearing, Spike could only think and say one thing. "Bloody hell!"

"Spike! Drusilla!" Buffy yelled as she jumped up into a fighting stance, stake in hand. The others quickly stood and readied their various weapons.

Spike ran his hand through his peroxide-blond hair. "Of all the bloody luck."

"What was that?" Buffy said, moving cautiously forward.

"Can I eat her, Spike?" Drusilla asked, licking her lips.

"No, Pet. You can't eat the Slayer," Spike said, dropping his hand to his side in defeat.

"How about her friends?"

"No, Pet. Not her friends, either."

"But why?" Drusilla asked with a shrill voice.

"Because I don't feel like becoming a pile of dust in this god forsaken place, alright?" Spike said sharply. Drusilla pouted. He sighed again, then gestured to the group. "I suppose you're to blame for this?"

"What?" Buffy asked as Spike walked up to her. She didn't change from her fighting stance.

"Us being here," he said as if talking to a child. "Bad things seem to happen when your involved."

"Hey!" Buffy said. "That's not true!"

"Really? Let's see about that? First, you drop a church on me. Second, Angelus loses his soul and takes Dru away from me. Third, Angelus tries to create hell on earth. Fourth, the only way to stop this is by teaming up with you. Fifth, I had to render Dru unconscious to get her out of there. And sixth," Spike said, ticking off each point on his long fingers. "I felt guilty about leaving you with Angelus' sword to your throat."

"Um, guys," Willow said to her friends, as they watched Spike and Buffy. "Did any of you notice that Spike was standing in the sun?"

They hadn't noticed. Fear crept into their bodies as they continued to watch, prepared for anything.

"You, guilty? Yeah, right," Buffy said. She dropped out of her fighting stance and practically stood nose to nose with the vampire. "I doubt it. You got what you wanted - Dru and a free ticket out of Sunnydale."

"Free ticket? That's a good one, Slayer," Spike said sarcastically. "I had to team up with my enemy to do so and force her to go with me."

"Not my problem. I told you she was a skanky ho."

"She is not."

"Is too. The second Angelus moved in with you, I bet Drusilla jumped his bones."

"Slayer, I'm warning you..."

"Afraid of the truth?"

"Afraid? No. More like ticked off." Spike lowered his voice to a whisper. "She's driving me bloody mad. Always whining and going on about 'her Angel.'" She burst out laughing. "It's not funny!" he exclaimed.

This only made Buffy laugh harder. Spike folded his arms over his chest and watched her, a scowl on his face.

"This is too rich!" Buffy said between laughs. "I told you to leave her."

"Are you done, yet?" he asked her. She burst into more laughter at his petulant tone. He continued to glare at her.

Buffy finally calmed down enough to notice where Spike was standing - in the sun. Her eyes widened as she looked at him, the sun glinting off his hair, shadows forming under his strong cheekbones, eyes twinkling sardonically. She swallowed heavily, her mind betraying her. *What a hottie!*

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Spike asked with a warning in his voice.

"What?" Buffy said, telling her errant thoughts to be quiet.

"You heard me."

"It's just...um...your standing in the sun," Buffy said.

Spike looked up into the sky for the second time that day, then back down at Buffy. "I know."

"But...why?"

Spike shrugged. "How the hell should I know?"

"Buffy, is everything ok?" Xander asked from where he was standing.

Buffy turned to look behind her. "Yeah. Everything's just peachy."

"Bloody hell," Spike said under his breath. Buffy chuckled at him.

"I take it you guys are hungry?" she asked, scratching the side of her head with the stake in her hand.

"Why do you ask?"

"Well, I'd prefer you don't snack on us, or I'll have to dust you. I might just do that anyway, but I figure I owe you one. Xander managed to kill a few rabbits not to long ago...," Buffy said, trailing off with the offer.

Spike ran a hand over his face, which caused Buffy's mind to kick into high gear again. "I'll talk to Dru. However, if we do agree, you might not want to watch."

Spike walked back to the edge of the woods where Drusilla still stood. "Can we eat now?"

"Only rabbits, luv," Spike said, taking her hand. "No humans this time."

"But why? There's enough of them to share."

"Because I said so, Dru, " Spike said patiently.

"You like her," Drusilla said.

"Who?"

"Her. The Slayer."

"Right."

"You do. You fancy her," she said with a sick smile.

"Do you want to eat or not?" Spike said, impatiently this time.

"Fine," Drusilla said. Spike turned and nodded to Buffy, who picked up the dead rabbits and brought them over to the vampires.

"Here ya go. Fresh off the field," she said.

Spike accepted them, handing two to Drusilla, then turned away from Buffy, not wanting her to see him feed. Drusilla, however, had no qualms. Game face in place, she sank her fangs into the rabbit, draining it.

Buffy watched with gross fascination, wary of the female vampire. She kept her stake ready, just in case.

Spike turned back, his face the human mask, and held the rabbits out to Buffy.

Unknowingly, before Buffy accepted them, she reached up one hand and wiped a small amount of blood from the side of his mouth. Spike's eyes widened in surprise at her touch, mouth opening slightly.

"I'm still hungry, Spike," Drusilla said, breaking into Spike's thoughts.

"Sorry, that's all, Pet. I'll hunt for you, if you'd like."

"But I want them," she said evilly, gesturing to the group by the pond.

"I don't think so, sweetie," Buffy said. "Try it and you're dust."

Spike moved in between the Slayer and Drusilla. "C'mon, Dru. Let's go." He turned and faced Buffy. "I'll keep her away. Thanks, Slayer."

Buffy nodded and stepped back as Spike took Drusilla's arm and led her into the woods. She stood there until she could no longer see the vampires.

"So, Buffy. What's the deal?" Xander said, walking up to her.

"They're gone. But tonight we sleep in shifts," Buffy said.



Part Two



Drusilla attacked on Oz's watch. She ran out of the woods, full speed and tackled him, knocking the stake and cross from his hands.

"Aah!" Oz yelled as he struggled her. The light of two moons illuminating them.

Buffy awoke quickly, rolling to her feet, stake in hand. Seeing Drusilla, Buffy launched herself at the female vampire, knocking her off of Oz and rolling several feet together.

Oz stood up quickly and retrieved his fallen weapons. The others had woken from the noise and gathered their own weapons, on the lookout for Spike.

Buffy punched Drusilla, sending the vampire flying off of her. Standing, she let go with a series of moves, pushing Drusilla further away from the group.

"Drusilla, get lost! Or you'll be small enough to fit into an ashtray," Buffy said.

Drusilla didn't answer as she continued to defend herself from Buffy, throwing in a few hits of her own. To the casual observer, the Slayer seemed on the verge of staking the vampire. But in Buffy's mind, another battle was waging.

*I really need to stake her, but for some reason I don't want to hurt Spike. What is wrong with me. This is Spike I'm thinking about. William the bloody. Mortal enemies ring any bells?* she thought as she continued to fight with Drusilla.

Then Drusilla did the unexpected. She laughed wildly, holding her hands to her head. "You love him, deary. And I will make him hate you as much as I hate you," she said. Then she jumped into Buffy's stake, turning to dust.

Buffy stood there, shocked at what the female vampire just did. She couldn't believe it herself.

"Buffy, are you alright?" Giles asked, walking up to his Slayer.

Buffy shook her head. "That was really wiggin, Giles. Drusilla threw herself onto the stake. She committed suicide, for pete's sake."

"What was it that she said? I couldn't hear from where I stood," Giles said.

"She said that I loved him and that she would make him hate me as much as she did," Buffy replied. She shrugged. "Whoever 'him' is."

"Whomever."

"What?"

"It's whomever, not whoever," Giles said absently, his mind working furiously to decipher what Drusilla meant.

"Great time for an English lesson, Giles," Buffy said with a laugh. "I can always count on you to lighten the mood."

"Good fighting, Buffy," Xander said. "Did you see Spike anywhere?"

"No, and that's pretty strange," Buffy said. "Usually, where Drusilla is, he is, too."

"Maybe they had a fight? You know, a lover's quarrel?" Willow said. They gave her a funny look.

"What? It could happen," she said. "Just because they're vampires, doesn't mean they don't love each other. You've seen how they acted together."

"Willow's right," Giles said. "Drusilla and Spike had some sort of relationship that defied the demons within them."

"Great," Buffy said, sitting down on the ground. "Now I'm gonna have a pissed off boyfriend after me."

But Spike never showed up that night.


*****


"Well, guys," Buffy said, stretching the kinks out of her back. "I say it's time we do some exploring."

"Do you think that is wise?" Giles asked.

"We can't just sit here and wait around until something happens," Buffy said.

"I agree. I really need to find a mirror," Cordelia said, looking at her reflection in the pond. "My hair is a mess."

Xander rolled his eyes. "That's ok, Cordy. It matches your face."

Cordelia shrieked and leaned closer to the reflection, checking her appearance. Everyone laughed.

"Pair up, everyone. Be sure to mark your trail as you go, so you can find your way back," Giles said. "Let's reconvene here in about four hours?"

"Sounds great," Xander said. "Synchronize your watches!"

"Xander, you're such a dweeb," Cordelia said, taking his arm and walking off into the woods to the north.

"I know, but you love me anyway," Xander said as his voice faded into the distance.

"Come, m'lady," Oz said, offering his arm to Willow. "Let us depart."

Willow giggled. "Lead on, fair knight," she said, and they walked into the woods to the south.

"Looks like it's just you and me, Giles," Buffy said. "Unless you want to split up?"

"No. It's safer to be in pairs. Why don't we head west?" Giles said.

"Lead on, MacDuff," Buffy said. Giles looked at her with surprise. "Hey! I read!"


*****


Giles spotted him first. "Buffy, over there," he said, pointing his finger. "Isn't that Spike sitting against that tree?"

Buffy looked to where Giles pointed. "Looks like it. Stay here and keep an eye out," she said as she stealthily left Giles.

As Giles watched, Buffy approached the sitting vampire, careful to keep the element of surprise. Too bad it didn't work.

"You smell like waterlillies," Spike said, eyes closed against the sunlight streaming down between the branches.

Buffy jumped. "Geez! Don't do that!" She walked up to him. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like I'm doing? I'm sitting here," Spike said, not bothering to open his eyes.

"I thought you'd be planning your attack on us," Buffy said.

"Why?"

"You mean, you don't know?" Buffy asked with surprise. "You don't know about Drusilla?"

Spike inhaled purposely and let it out slowly. He'd give anything for a cigarette. "You dusted her," he said with a small shrug. "She deserved it."

"What?" Buffy said, puzzled. "But I thought the two of you..."

"That was over long ago," Spike said. "When Angelus came back."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. Not your fault."

Buffy squatted down in front of him. "Open your eyes," she said.

Spike complied, allowing Buffy to see the pain-filled orbs that belied his statements. She put her hand on his arm. "I tried to get her to go away, but she threw herself onto the stake I was holding."

Spike nodded. "I know. I saw her. I had just run up in time to see her do it." He looked down at the hand on his arm, then leaned his head back against the tree, staring up into the sky. "What am I going to do now, Slayer?"

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked.

"I've been with her for so long, I don't know what it's like to be alone. Plus, I don't even know where the bloody hell I am," Spike replied.

"If it's any consolation, we don't know where we are either," Buffy said.

Spike laughed hollowly. "That's a big help."

"Hey! It's not like I did this. We're just as stuck here as you are."

"I know. I know. Don't get your knickers in a twist," he said. Buffy's started to laugh. "Now what are you laughing at?"

"You. What you just said is so...so...old fashioned!"

Spike looked at her laugh filled face. His own face cracked a smile on its own. "Well, what did you expect from a two hundred plus year old vampire?"

"Are you ok, Buffy?" Giles called.

Buffy looked back towards where she came. "Yeah," she called back. "We're just fine." She stood up and held out her hand. Spike eyed her skeptically.

"C'mon, Spike. I'll make another deal with you. You can stick with us as long as you don't try to kill anyone," she said.

"And I should accept why?" he asked.

"You don't want to really be out here, all alone, for who knows how long, do you?" she said.

Spike thought about that point for a moment, before accepting her hand.

"I thought not," Buffy said.

The two walked back to a wary Giles. "Buffy, what...?"

"No worries, Giles," Buffy said. "Spike's gonna hang with us. I already made him promise not to munch on us, and I know he keeps his word." She looked at Spike. "Right?"

"Have I let you down yet?" Spike said with a sardonic smile. Buffy chuckled.

"Well, I guess it's alright then," Giles said. "This way we have one more person...er...well, to search in another direction."

Spike rolled his eyes at Giles' sentence. Buffy laughed.


*****


The Slayerettes were extremely surprised to see Spike emerge from the woods with Buffy and Giles.

"Um...Buff? You do see that Spike is standing right next to you," Xander said from his spot next to Cordelia.

"I see him, Xand. Spike's gonna stay with us while we're stuck here," Buffy said.

"Really?" Willow asked.

"Won't he, like, want to eat us?" Oz asked from next to her on the ground.

Spike groaned quietly and ran a hand over his eyes. Buffy heard him and chuckled. "No, he's not going to eat us," Buffy said. "Just like he didn't eat us yesterday."

"How can we be sure?" Cordelia piped in.

"Look, I can go," Spike said, turning away. Buffy grabbed his arm. "No. Listen guys. I won't let him eat you. He's in the same predicament we are, and now, with Drusilla gone, he's alone, so I invited him to join us."

"You did what?" Xander said.

"I told him he could stay with us while we figure out how to get back from where ever we are," Buffy said.

"As much as I hate to admit it, I agree with Buffy's decision," Giles said. "Let's just dispense with this conversation and tell me what you found to the north and south."

They looked at Giles with wide eyes at his tone. "Xander and I just found more woods to the north," Cordelia finally said.

Giles nodded and looked at Willow and Oz. "And you two?"

"We found a road," Willow said with excitement. "That went east to west."

"Since Buffy and I found nothing," Giles said.

"Except for Spike," Xander added.

Giles glared at him. "I suggest that we head out tomorrow and follow the road."


*****


After a fitful night's sleep due to Spike's presence, the crabby group followed Willow and Oz to the south. Upon reaching the road, they decided to head east.

It was a good choice.

The town sprawled out in front of them, several stone and wood building lining the rock strewn street. Horses were tied up in front of what looked like a general store, a tavern, a blacksmith shop and a bank. People, and not just humans, in colorful outfits walked to and fro, stopping to stare at the strangers who had just arrived.

"This looks like something out of Dungeons and Dragons," Oz said. "Those look like elves." He gestured to a group near the tavern. "And the gray-skinned, short ones are hobgoblins, I think."

"Amazing," Giles said. "Different types of beings thought to be fantasy all in the same village."

"Giles, after all this time living on the Hellmouth, something can still amaze you?" Buffy asked.

"Where to, guys?" Xander asked. "We can't just stand here in the middle of the road."

"Right. Well, we want information? Let's go to information central - the tavern," Buffy said.

The seven walked cautiously into the spacious tavern. It was pretty empty, due to the earlyness of the day. Giles went up to the bar. "Excuse me?"

The bartender, a bald, muscular human with many tattoos and an earring, turned to Giles. "What can I get ya, mate?"

"We are, uh, travelers and I was wondering what town we were in?" Giles asked.

"Thought you looked a might bit strange. You must've come up from Silvin. Well, your in the town of Athena's Bluff, named after our fair mayor Athena," the bartender said. "Are you gonna be needin' rooms, then?"

Giles nodded. "How much?"

"One gold piece per night."

"I'm afraid we don't have that, sir," Giles said.

"Well, I could let ya work it off, seein' as your from Silvin. We always need more servin' wenches," the bartender said, eyeing Willow, Cordelia and Buffy.

"What's the pay rate?" Giles said as Oz, Xander and Spike moved as if to protect the ladies.

"Five gold pieces per night for the three of them," he responded.

Giles turned to the group. "Buffy, Willow, Cordelia? It's up to you."

"We do need a better place to stay," Buffy said.

"I want a mirror," Cordelia said. "And a bed. And if I have to work to get them, then I will."

"Willow?" Buffy asked.

"I'll help. I don't want to spend another night outside, either," Willow said.

"Ok, mister," Buffy said, speaking to the bartender. "You got yourself some wenches."


*****


As Buffy, Willow and Cordelia dressed for work that evening, Xander, Oz, Giles and Spike examined the town. They had agreed to obtain jobs as well after they found how much things cost in Athena's Bluff, even Spike.

Sitting at a table in the crowded tavern, the males craned their necks, hoping to catch sign of Buffy, Willow or Cordelia.

"Wow. Oh, wow," Oz said as the ladies came into view.

They were dressed in similarly, low cut dresses which were tied tightly around the waist. Willow was in blue, Cordelia in green and Buffy in brown. They were each carrying pitchers and glasses of ale.

"Hey, guys!" Buffy said, setting her load down.

"Hello, Buffy," Giles said, accepting a glass. "You look nice."

"Xander, stop drooling," Cordelia said, smacking her boyfriend on the arm.

"Sorry, it's just you look so...so...."

"Scrumpscious," Spike said, looking at Buffy. He remembered when this form of dress was in fashion in European taverns in the 1800s. But he did not remember anyone looking as good as Buffy did.

All eyes turned to Spike.

"What?" he said, looking down into his glass of ale.

Buffy blushed and mumbled something that sounded like 'back to work' before she quickly walked off. Cordelia grabbed Willow's arm and hurried back to their new employment as well.

"'Scrumpscious'?" Xander said sarcastically.

Spike glared at him. "She just reminded me of someone I met long ago, that's all," he said.

"That's right, you were alive during the 1800s," Giles said. "How close is this town to what you remember during that time?"

"Pretty much the same. Although we tended to stay in the cities. More food," Spike said.

"Must be interesting to you," Oz said conversationally. "Like time travel."

"It was fun, but I did learn to love modern technology," Spike said. "There's nothing better then a hot shower, television or computers."

"You take showers?" Xander said.

"Well, I know you don't," Spike said, sniffing the air. "At least, not this week."

"Why you..." Xander said, standing to reach across the table at Spike.

Giles pushed him back down. "Xander, we'll have none of that. We just acquired a place to stay and jobs and I for one don't want to lose them on our first day in town."

"Fine. I'm going up to the room," Xander said. "Later."

Xander pushed his way through the crowd to the stairs. They had four rooms assigned to them, one for the girls, one for the boys, one for Giles and one for Spike. The room was small, with two narrow beds and a dresser. They had taken the extra bed from Giles' room and moved it into the girls room.

Flopping down onto the straw filled mattress, Xander put his hands behind his head and dropped off into sleep.



Part Three



Time passed rapidly for the misplaced group from Sunnydale. Working at their respective jobs, they earned enough money to eat and purchase supplies. At the same time, they pondered and researched as best they could on how to get home.

Xander wasn't sure what woke him one night, the hair tickling his nose or the howl coming from outside. According to the locals, it was mid-week. "What is it?" he asked, opening his eyes to see Cordelia standing over him.

"Get up," Cordelia said. "Oz is missing."

"Did you check with Willow?"

"Yes, idiot. Willow's the one to realize he was gone."

Xander got out of bed and followed Cordelia to the girls' room. There he saw Giles, Spike, Willow and Buffy dressed to go out. "Cordy says Oz is MIA?" he said.

"I'm afraid that we neglected to pay attention to the moon, or moons, as it were," Giles said.

"Don't tell me," Xander groaned. "Wolfie's loose."

"Xander," Buffy said with a warning.

Xander put his arm around Willow's shoulder. "Don't worry, Wills. We'll find him."

"Thanks, Xander," Willow said.

"Ok. Spike and I are going to head out of town and check the surrounding woods. You guys stick together and check around here," Buffy said placing stakes in various places on her body.

"Everyone, please remember we're in a strange place. There are most certainly dangers that we are unaware of," Giles said.

"Right. Let's go."


*****


Spike and Buffy moved quickly but silently through the woods. "Can you smell him?" Buffy whispered.

"No," Spike replied.

"Damn," Buffy swore.

"We'll find him, Slayer."

"But before he does something horrible?"

Spike didn't know how to answer that. They continued through the woods, circling the town, stopping often to listen. They heard another howl.

"C'mon," Buffy said, running in the direction of the sound.

Spike ran beside her, their enhanced abilities allowing them to cover ground quickly. "Slayer, up ahead," he said. They slowed as they approached the spot the vampire had pointed out.

Oz sat in front of a half-eaten deer. He had transformed halfway into wolf form. Thick hair covered his humanoid form, sticking out from under his T-shirt and jeans. His face was part human, part wolf, with sharp teeth dripping with blood and saliva.

"Get ready," Buffy said to Spike. "I'm gonna try to talk to him."

Buffy started to move off, but Spike grabbed her arm unexpectedly. "Be careful," he whispered.

Buffy nodded and slowly walked towards the werewolf. "Oz?"

Oz looked up from the deer. "Buffy!" he exclaimed, his voice distorted.

"You ok?" Buffy asked.

"Yeah. Well, sort of," Oz said. "This is embarrassing."

"How is it that you're..."

"Part human, part werewolf?" Oz completed. "Must be the two moons."

"Why did you disappear? Willow's really worried," Buffy said. She motioned for Spike to join them.

"I was...uh...hungry," Oz said gesturing to the deer carcass.

"I hear ya, mate," Spike said as he approached. He motioned to the dead deer. "Do you mind?"

Oz shook his head. "Go ahead."

Spike knelt down and sank his fangs into the deer's neck, feeding.

"I have the weirdest friends," Buffy said shaking her head. "I'll leave you two with your feast."

"Wait!" Spike said, his game face still evident.

Buffy stopped walking and turned to Spike. "Yes?"

He noticed she didn't flinch at the sight of him. "I'll walk you back."

"It's not like I need an escort," Buffy said.

"I know that, Slayer." Spike said, allowing his face to morph back. "We were just going to head that way."

"We were?" Oz said. Spike glared at him. "Oh, yeah. We were."

Buffy looked suspiciously back and forth between the two, then shrugged. "Ok. Whatever."

The three supernatural beings turned and walked back into the night.


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