by Anya

The music was magical. It was dark, smooth as silk with a pulsing beat that appealed to the most primitive instincts of a man or woman. It was the music of the night, the sounds and rhythms that called to the people of the night; it sung to the powers in their veins, appealed to their darker impulses, and called out to all the things that went bump in the night.

It was pure witchcraft disguised as music.

Candles lit the odd tables, but the shadows inside the bar weren't the result of those subtle flames. These shadows moved fleetly, slipping around pillars, between people and around corners. If a patron to the club were to watch carefully, occasionally faces could be seen inside those wisps of dark light.

Bodies moved on the dance floor, some sweetly to the music within the boundaries of friendship, other's erotically moving-- hands and mouths touching frequently in a rather vertical dance of sex. The darkness was the mask, keeping everything neutral, there was no hunting, to preying and no pain in this place. It was forbidden to spill unwilling blood, and equally forbidden to wish ill will on another.

This was where the witches, vampires, demons and ghouls came together without malicious intent. A dance floor lover could be a witch, a vampire, a shapechanger or something odder. You didn't have to know who your partner was if you didn't want to. This was where the world of the night held supremacy, and the creatures of daylight were not welcomed here.

Deep inside the center of the dance floor, Willow surrendered herself up to the night. It felt so right, to let go of her self-control, to just feel rather than think. The bodies around her swayed, faceless, nameless people and creatures all in a tight, hot crowd. Closing her eyes to what her vision couldn't see, she could feel what the darkness effectively concealed, identifying all the witches, shapechangers and vampires that reached out for her, pulling her closer. Erotic, sensual, bodies brushing against her with hips, hands and mouths.

It was for these dances and for the freedom far away from Sunnydale's stereotypes that she came here. Each long weekend that she could steal, every vacation time or excuse that she could rummage found her making the trip to Los Angeles just for these nights.

Amazingly, she'd never accidentally run into Angel while down here. Small blessings for which she was very grateful.

Finding the Sanctuary had been pure fluke. Just one year ago, while on a trip to LA with her mother, she had gone to find a Wiccan shop she mail ordered things from. Aunt Agatha was an old woman, a crone in her circle who had immediately taken Willow under her wing. She'd treated Willow no differently than her own granddaughter, Tera, and in short-order, Tera had introduced Willow to Sanctuary.

Only the creatures of the night had admittance here. It was a haven to their kind, where the people that hunted witches, or slayed vampires could not enter or cause harm. This was Sanctuary to their kind, sanctuary to Willow's kind.

She hadn't realized that her studies in witchcraft had taken her so far. She couldn't identify the moment that her parent's faith had ceased to be her own, but she knew it was true. In the instant of a crises, she would call out for the Goddess, not for her parents' God.

Spell and rituals of the library were now magic in her blood, and that blood sang to other witches, calling them out as recognition. In a larger scheme of things, it made all wiccan's family, including the black sheep inevitably in their midst. *Like me... I suppose I'm a black sheep because I associate with the Slayer.* It brought a wicked little smile to her face, one not even her doppleganger could imitate.

And the music continued to pulse.


He couldn't believe his flippin' eyes. Twice, he'd set his wine down and rubbed at his eyes, and twice his vision had continued to see the exact same thing. The Slayer's pet hacker, out there in the dance floor like some sort of succubus. Maybe the world really was ending this year?

Red hair streamed down her back like a bloody waterfall, an image he could so cheerfully appreciate. The thin silky camisole-like top revealed slim strong arms, and a lush curve to her breasts, not to mention the tattoo on her shoulder. "I'll be damned," he chuckled.

Reaching inside his duster, he pulled out a battered package of cigarettes, propping one into his mouth. There was a no-smoking policy inside the Sanctuary, but a small courtyard outside would suit his needs just fine. It wasn't like he needed a cigarette, but his fingers needed amusement.

The girl turned, openly embracing a complete stranger on the dance floor, the light in her eyes and smile on her mouth perfectly naughty. Bodies ground together, and she reached up to initiate a kiss, the action lifting the hem of her top to reveal a flat pale stomach. Her partner's hands openly dropped to squeeze her back-end. "Holy Bloody Mary!" Spike's jaw dropped, his cigarette falling to the floor. He looked about quickly for the Slayer, thinking in the back of his mind that the girl was either possessed or pissed.

There was no doubt in his mind that she wasn't a vampire, the rich color of her skin, and the rise and fall of her chest was all the proof he needed. So, if not a vampire, she was a shapechanger or witch. Given what he had kidnaped her for, back after Dru first left him, he was willing to bet it was the latter not the former. That timid critter he'd abducted was not nearly the same girl as what he was seeing now. "I know that last one was clean. I'm sure of it," he muttered, mentally reviewing his last meal. "I'm not high, so..."

She, Willow, he recalled absently, pushed her dance partner away, and reached out for another. "Promiscuous, ain't she?" Spike mumbled, looking down for his now very trampled cigarette. Shrugging, he looked back up to watch the redheaded hacker, and promptly lost any and all thoughts about getting another cigarette.

At the rate she was going, it wasn't going to be a dance much longer, but an orgy. "Bloody hell, can't the Slayer keep her own people out of trouble?" Spike grumbled, striding briskly to the dance floor. "Little chit must be on something. This is not normal. I'm the whacked out psycho, she's the good little walking meal."

Reaching out, he seized one of her arms and pulled her towards him, the momentum sending her flying into his arms. Green eyes widened once, in surprised recognition. "Hello, pet," Spike teased her, both hands on her waist to keep her still. "Fancy dancing with a not-so-complete stranger?"


Willow felt her jaw tremble, and wilfully suppressed the urge to kick him. "Spike," she greeted him in a rather neutral tone. "There are rules here," she reminded him.

The blond vampire shrugged, indifferently. "I know." He released her waist, and caught her hand, pulling her from the dance floor. "And I haven't broken any. You, on the other hand..."

Willow sniffed, pulling her hand clear. "I'm not doing anything wrong."

Spike ushered her to the bar, the arch in his eyebrow a clear statement in expectation. "Uh huh. What would the Slayer say to see that performance out there?"

The girl tugged lightly at the hem of her very short black skirt before scooting up onto the barstool beside him. Daintily, she crossed her legs, letting one booted leg to rock back and forth at the ankle. "None of her business," she replied primly. "Just like it's none of yours."

Spike glanced at her, but turned back to look at the bartender. Quickly signally, he ordered a drink for the girl, and reclaimed his abandoned blood-wine. "I'm making it mine," he insisted, pressing a virgin drink into her hands. "We're both from Sunnydale, all differences set aside. So, I'm doing my civic duty in stopping you from doing something you'll regret."

Swigged back on his wine, he totally missed the way her eyes narrowed and lips thinned. "Something I'll regret?" Her voice was cold. "And what, pray-tell, would I regret?"

Now, the chill in her voice was unmistakable. Echoes of Dru in a fury ran through his mind. *Aww, hell. Why do I mix myself up in these things? Can't a self-respecting vampire just have one night off?* Wisely, he set his drink down again, and turned to look at the witchy little hacker. "Now, pet..."

"Don't pet me," Willow growled, her fury running faster than her wits. The idea of openly starting a fight with Spike normally would never have occurred to her. He'd nearly killed Buffy, and herself, on more than one occasion. He was a monster, a demon, one of the worst vampires that Sunnydale ever had to face.

Her temper, apparently, had no care whatsoever with what or where Spike stuck his fangs. It was just feeling absolutely snippy and offended. "I'm a regular here, Spike," she informed him, her voice still very icy. "And if I want to cut loose and do something stupid, I'm entitled."

Spike shook his head. "Now, listen here, missy. You don't know where his last meal came from!" He waved a hand in the general direction of the dance floor. "Think of the diseases you could catch! Aids, herpes... all sorts!"

Her lips parted, baring teeth in an adorable display of fury. "I'm a witch, Spike. I don't need a friggin' condom to protect myself from that, you jackass."

"So you'll suck face with a vampire?" He taunted her, his mind shuddering at the direction this conversation was taken.

"Wouldn't you?"

"I am a vampire!" Spike retorted. "I'm supposed to bond with other vampires."

Willow nodded, "Good. Fine. Go bond. Somewhere other than here, would be nice." She slid back off the stool and marched back to the dance floor.

Spike's jaw dropped. "Oh, bugger." The girl was fast, but she wasn't a vampire. In two long strides, he bodily picked her up and slung her over his shoulder. A quick look at the bouncers, and he mouthed the words "Lover's spat!" She could stake him later for it, he decided.

The Sanctuary had bedrooms upstairs, a refuge for any of the guests who so needed a physical hidey-hole. Stopping at the first one, Spike opened the door, and quickly closed it, mutter a "sorry" to the oblivious occupants inside. Working down the hallway, and wondering absently as he did if there was some sort of hormonal problem happening here, he finally found a vacant room. "Marvelous."

Tossing Willow onto the center of the bed, he pulled over a chair and sat down, lifting his legs so that his booted feet could rest on the edge of the bed. "So, ducks. What's brought on this self-destructive streak?"

Her nostrils flared. "I am not self-destructive." She fumed. "Why is it that you all expect me to be passive, quiet and a goody-goody all the time? Why can't I just be me, sometimes? Is it so wrong to want to cut loose and have fun?"

Spike gaped. "Fun? You call that bloody fun? Vertical sex?" Maybe, just maybe Dru wasn't as loopy as he had always thought. This girl was certainly short a few marbles.

Willow threw herself backwards, looking up to the ceiling. "This is just fantastic. I've got a homicidal maniac lecturing me about sex. Terrific." Rolling her head, her neck cracked audibly. "Let me clear up all the confusion," she said sweetly.

"Sure," Spike agreed, wary at her rapidly changing mood. "Love to hear all about it."

"You remember the last time you saw me in Sunnydale?" At his nod, she continued. "At that time I was dating Oz... a werewolf." Spike blinked, surprised. "It meant that three nights of the month we didn't get together, but I could cope with that. What I couldn't cope with was that he, like everyone else, treated me like the holy temple of divine purity. He probably kissed his grandmother with more passion."

"Buffy had no problem finding guys. If she wanted companionship, she just went and got companionship. And Xander? Amazingly, he lost his virginity long before me." She shook her head, clearly still astonished at that turn of events.

Spike pulled out his cigarettes, quickly looking up to see if there were any fire alarms. "So, this is about you wanting to get screwed. Dumb place for it," he advised her, patting down his jacket for his matches.

She rolled forward on her knees, leaning forward and reaching out one hand. With a quick flick of fingers, an open blue flame danced off of her index fingertip. "That's not what this is about," she murmured. "This is about me getting away and forgetting to be what they want me to be. I'm just myself here, I'm not the Slayer's flunky, the Watcher's hacker-assistant. I'm not Xander's best-friend, or Sunnydale's resident saint. I'm me."

"I can dance with who I want, kiss whoever I want, do what I want. I could hex whoever I please, or magic my way out of trouble." She licked her lips, but stayed bent forward, inadvertently giving Spike a good view of her breasts. "I only come here when I start to choke on life back in Sunnydale."

"Escape," Spike murmured.

"Yes," Willow confirmed, straightening. "And now, if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to my mindless entertainment." Flicking her red hair back behind her shoulder, she swung her feet off of the bed, and headed for the door.

Spike leaned back in his chair, enjoying the feeling of smoke milling about dead lungs. "So, why do you bother being what they expect, then?" He asked curiously. "If it drives you bonkers, why not let them see who you really are?"

Willow stopped dead. "You're kidding, right?" She asked, her voice amused. "They'd have me locked up in a cage faster than you can blink, all thinking I was possessed. They've seen my bad side, and it scared us all."

"You?" The vampire was bemused with the image, the concept of a bad Willow almost impossible. Maybe she turned everyone into toads... or goats.

"Oh yes, me." She took a step towards him, her eyes looking up towards the ceiling thoughtfully. "Life on the Hellmouth is one endless adventure, you know. There was once a vampire doppleganger of myself from another world. Black leather and torture all around, all in the pursuit of fun. Buffy once said that it was nightmare material for her."

"Would be," Spike conceded absently, still teasing over such an image. In vampire terms, she would be a knockout, but he doubted she'd be as alluring as she was like this right now. The spit and fire, passion and fury in a cut-loose and fancy free Willow was quite erotic. "The Slayer ain't the brightest spark, and an intelligent vampire would be her undoing"

Willow snorted. "Buffy has her moments," she defended the Slayer. Spike shook his head, blowing out the cigarette smoke in rings. "Naw, not if she's expecting you to be that mousy little wuss back in Sunnyhell. She's supposed to see past the illusions to the faces beneath. Never was good at that, any road."

"Wuss?" Willow muttered.

"Yeah. Wuss," Spike confirmed, lost in his own thoughts. She had been so scared, arms wrapped tightly about herself in her fear and the wildness in her eyes... who would of thought she was capable of such an about face? "You were petrified, when I wanted you to do that spell. You really get into role, don't you?"

"Wuss?" Willow growled.

Spike turned, catching the green fire in her eyes. "Now, pet, don't get your panties in a bunch... wait, they already were in a bunch, weren't they?" He licked his lips almost nervously. Dru hadn't been much of a psychic, but she had been enough so that he knew not to tease a witch. Especially not a competent witch.

She lunged, finger's outstretched for his heart. Tossing the chair out of the way, he caught her and tried to push her back from actually tearing his heart out of his chest. "No killing, pet! There are rules!" Spike rushed to warn her. He vamped, taking vampire strength to roll her over and pin her arms down. "Now that, pet, was definitely not wussy."

"Let me go, Spike." Willow wiggled, trying to push him off of her. Bucking her hips, and fluxing her shoulders bought her no purchase, but a lot of intimate contact with him.

"Don't do that, pet," Spike growled, responding despite his nobler intentions. The girl was a positive vixen, but he'd be damned if he was going to be the one to relieve her of her pesky virginity problem. "I'm trying to do you a favor." Silently, he questioned his own sanity. This really was one for the books. *William the Bloody prevents nice girl from going bad... I'd be the laughing stock of every vampire I know.*

She stilled suddenly, her features blank. Slowly, Spike relaxed one hand, and immediately regretted it as she pulled her hand free and slugged him in the stomach. "Don't do me any favors!" Willow hissed, rolling out from under him and racing for the door.

Spike tackled her to the floor, both of them hitting hard. "Bloody hell, you're trouble tonight." With his body weight on top of her, she couldn't so much as squirm. "Now, I'm going to pick you up, and put you back down on that bed. Where you'll bloody well stay until you're feeling more... ah..." Spike racked his brains, trying to think of a nice way to put this. With Drusilla it had always "sane".

Cautiously, he eased himself up from her, preparing to pull her up and lead her back to the bed. Instantly, she made him regret giving her any space. Limber little thing that she was, Willow twisted around, her green eyes twin flames of either fury or power. He hoped it was fury, power would be very, very painful. "I'm going downstairs now, Spike," she assured him in an almost deadly voice. "Goodnight."

How she managed to lift her knee with that much force was beyond him, but she did, and his world literally spun with the pain as it made contact with his semi-aroused groin. "Oh-uggggh," he groaned, suddenly convinced that a display of power was infinitely more preferred than fury. Twisting, he fell off of her, slamming his head into the wooden floor.

Willow jumped up, dusting her clothes off. Stepping over the fallen vampire's body, she opened the door and lightly ran down the stairs to the heart of the club. "Wish I could cast a glamour," she muttered, realizing it would be minutes before Spike came down, and the likelihood that it would be after her was quite profound. "Oh well."

Entrenching herself back into the spirit of dancing was easy, the music was designed for the pagan community, it was seductive, lulling and spiritual in a sexy way, as far as the witches and neopagans were concerned. It loosened inhibitions in the most wonderful way, letting normally stiff bodies turn to water when dancing.

Eyes half closed, Willow moved to the beat, wishing she could feel like this at the University night club or the Bronze, but if it had to be amongst strangers, so be it. There was no true "morning after" here, everyone scattered before the dawn, with no names exchanged or numbers given.

His arms swept around her, pulling her back against his chest. "Fine, pet... if that's the way you want it, that's how you'll get it."

Willow's eyes widened, surprised and a little worried. The hands wandered down to her abdomen, and then slid under her top, scooting upwards to her breasts with such haste, it took her breath away. Kisses pressed against her neck, and small nips up her throat to her ears made sure that reclaiming her breath wasn't easy.

Spike rolled his hips, pushing her body into moving in time with his. The little spitfire was hell on his body in a fight, but it felt good, her struggles and fight. She'd beaten him, too. Smart thing that she was, she'd triumphed over him and escaped. It turned him on in an unbelievable way.

So this time, he'd do it her way and triumph over her... in an almost non-violent way, although he did have his hopes. Cupping one breast, he let his fingers pinch a nipple pleased at the moan torn from her throat. The other hand swept down, scooting past her hips to stroke her through the fabric of her skirt, all the while pressing his groin firmly to her ass. "Like that do you?"

Willow closed her eyes, waging a silent war within. He was a known enemy, but it was neutral ground... and he was doing so very fine... still, a complete stranger was better in some ways and wouldn't the gang all die if they'd heard that stray thought?

Spike caught her earlobe, suckling on it carefully, teeth not quite tearing into the flesh, but pulling at it with an almost savage intensity. The one great secret that Willow had always managed to avoid throughout games of Truth and Dare was that her earlobes and throat were probably her most sensitive areas. Tease her there, and she was so very gone.

Turning swiftly, her arms snaked up his torso, her mind bent to work on buttons, popping them with a judicious display of magic. "Don't you?" She purred, fingernails scratching down his chest. *Act Willow, don't think. Think later. Much later... like, next year, maybe.* He was just so damnably sexy, when she came to think about it. Those high cheek bones, dark blue eyes, and his mouth, his hands and oh, yes, his body. His clever, hard, strong and did she mention hard, body.

Blue eyes, dark with hunger met green eyes bright with lust. "Oh yeah, pet," he growled, mouth bending to touch hers. Ferociously, he plundered her, forcing her lips apart and then delving deeply, surprised to feel her respond with equal hunger. *Bloody hell, red...* Her hands strolled down his body, cupping his recovered arousal through the leather of his pants. Despite himself, he felt himself vamp under such a dual assault of mouth and hands, and yet she didn't shy away, her tongue flicking over his fangs in a mind-blowing erotic fashion.

His hands dropped to her ass, pulling her hard up against his body. Deliberately, he ground his hips into her, wanting to feel her body against his growing arousal. Her moan was everything he could ask for. Turning her around, he sought one of the deeper recesses of shadows, hoping it was rather vacated. Giving the girl time to think was not in his better interest.

Pushing her back into a padded bench, he bent over and blew at the scowling as the flame barely flickered. Willow's hand snaked up, fingers snapping once to extinguish the candle before grabbing his shirt, hauling him down. "Pay attention to business, Spike... or I'll find another playmate."


She was gone before he woke up, much to his disappointment. It was always a struggle to wake up before sunset, especially after going to sleep so very late, in vampire turns. Looking about him, almost bewildered, Spike discovered both that Willow's clothes gone, and that a large mug of blood sitting in a bucket of ice. "Nice of 'er," he muttered, stretching painfully. Standing, as naked as the day his mum abandoned him, Spike looked down at the rapidly fading welts on his body, the grin on his face bright as the sunshine he'd abandoned. "And vicious."

He hadn't had that kind of fun since... well, long before Drusilla lost her crackers. His princess had been a nice enough girl, but she had some weird notions about sex. The whole 'lie down and think of the queen and your country' had firmly been ingrained in that girl's head. "No offence, Dru, but you were buggered long before Angelus got his paws on you."

Lifting up the cold glass, he slugged back the plug, surprised at the freshness of the blood, and the familiar flavor of it. Swirling a mouthful, he searched his memory for a clue. *Something recent, sweet, rich, and heady...*

He nearly spit it out as his mind brought him back to Willow... and the blood he'd licked from her shoulder after scratching it. Swallowing, he looked down to the glass in his hand, eyes golden. "Bloody flippin' hell. That girl is god damnably loonier than Drusilla!"

She'd left a couple of hours before, he could tell by the melting of ice in the bucket and the still remaining dent in the pillows. Leaving the club and making it back to his lair wasn't a clear memory... but he did recall they'd barely beat the sunrise before they'd tumbled back into his bed.

Sitting down on the bed, he squinted up at the covered windows, speculating on how far ahead she'd gotten. "Back to Sunnydale?" He didn't think so, she was too bright to be stuck in that town all her life, so where else? *She'd be in college, by now.* He mused, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. *And I know from what she said that she was running away for a weekend of mischief, so she's still hanging with the Slayer.*

Reaching over for his pants, he lifted the leather and frowned. She'd managed to pop off the buttons on that garment too. "Frisky little thing, ain't you pet?" Dropping them, he reached on the other side of the bed and retrieved a very battered pair of ratty jeans, something he'd removed from one of his victims a few months back when he'd wandered through San Francisco.

San Francisco. The grin sliding across Spike's face was profound. If she'd taken the bus, he could probably make it back into the city before her. And then the task of tracking her hide down. Chortling to himself, he stood up, buttoning up the jeans as he went. Reaching for his shirt and jacket, he retrieved his cigarettes and matches from the inside, his eyes focusing on the logo for the Sanctuary emblazoned on the matches jacket. "Or maybe, pet, I'll just lure you out."

Damn, he loved a good challenge!