Secrets & Lies


by: Lynn
Continuation of The Chains Series



Freshly showered and surprisingly relaxed, Spike walked down the hall to his room, still thinking about the Slayer. HIS Slayer. He rubbed the towel over his wet hair, thoughts of her careening around inside his head. < I can't believe I told her that stuff, what the fuck is wrong with me? > Only Angelus had known about his childhood; he'd never even told Dru. < Bad enough that Angel knew, fuckin' wanker used it every chance he got. > All the Slayer had had to do was ask, and he'd spilled his guts like one of those losers on Jerry Springer. He still wasn't sure how he felt about it. Part of him was glad that they'd shared something other than sex, while the rest of him wished he'd kept his big mouth shut.

Spike turned his attention to the warning she'd given him as they'd said goodbye. < Someone's making fledglings...interesting. > It wasn't against the rules, per se, but it WAS proper etiquette to inform your Master, so that the new vampire could be welcomed into the fold. Someone obviously had something to hide. His money was on Darius, the sneaky little fuck. It was time to teach the boy some manners.

He opened the door to his room and stopped short. < Well, well, well, speak of the soon-to-be-dead little devil. > Darius sat sprawled in a chair, looking for all the world like he belonged there. He looked up at Spike defiantly, not even standing at his Master's approach.< KID'S shoved down his throat. > Spike felt the familiar 'calm before the violence' settle over him, the air going perfectly still as he stared at the insolent vampire. His eyes glittered like chips of blue ice, every muscle tightly coiled to spring. When he spoke, the words were uttered in a dangerously low voice, one that had struck terror into countless hearts in the past undead as well as alive.

"You have thirty seconds to convince me not to rip out your throat."

Secretly, he'd always wanted to say that again; he hadn't had the patience to enjoy it the first time around, when that annoying little friend of the Slayer's had come calling. Spike watched as Darius squirmed and struggled to maintain his composure. The younger vampire waited about fifteen seconds before replying.

"Mark overheard something tonight that I thought you should know about."

"And that something is? It had better be good, for you to have invaded my privacy."

"Mark heard the Slayer's friends talking about how she killed Angelus and Drusilla. Several days ago, in the cemetery. I figured you'd want to hear about it right away." Darius was eyeing Spike cautiously, an 'I told you so' look on his face.

< FUCK! C'mon, Spike, make the save, burst the little shit's bubble-THINK, you fucking wanker! >

"Yes, well, I already HAVE heard about it, earlier tonight. I was planning on telling everyone myself tomorrow evening, IF the story is true."

"What do you mean, if? You don't believe that they're dead?"

"I find it hard to believe that the Slayer was able to get the drop on two vampires as powerful as Angel and Dru. Especially if they were together. I'd like to hear exactly how she did it." < Yeah, that's it, stall for time. >

Spike continued to stare down Darius, his face completely expressionless. He pretty much knew that the jig was up and he'd have to show some anger sometime soon. Darius would be expecting him to go ballistic.

Leaping to his feet in righteous anger, Darius began ranting. "If it's true, then the Slayer will have to pay for what she's done! She can't be allowed to live after this! I'll rip her still beating heart from her chest and make her watch while I eat it."

< Melodramatic much? Good God, now I'm using her slang. > Spike almost laughed, the whole thing was just too funny. Or would have been, if he wasn't so pissed off about Darius being in his room. He let his demon out, summoning just the right amount of rage. In two quick strides, he had Darius by the throat, lifting him until he was completely suspended in the air.

"The Slayer's blood is MINE! As eldest childe and current Master, vengeance is MY right...my responsibility. Anyone who usurps that right will answer to me. Do I make myself clear?" In full vamp mode, Spike let Darius feel the vast difference between a near fledgling and a two hundred year old Master, his power filling the room and crackling in the tense air. With a look of indifference, he dropped Darius to the floor.

"The Slayer will pay all right, but it will be at my hands. I'll have that bitch on her knees before me, begging for mercy." The Slayer, on her knees, begging. He had to force himself not to react to the arousing image that popped into his head.

Darius was quiet now, his head bowed respectfully. Everything within him balked at Spike's authority, but he wasn't stupid enough to show it. Spike could see it, the anger coursing through the younger vampire's body, anger at having to submit to someone else. If anything, he understood it, remembering his own feelings toward Angelus. Yeah, well tough, that was the way things were and Darius would just have to deal with it. Or he would cease to exist. It was as simple as that. Spike looked at the vampire in front him, seeing the wasted potential. It was a shame really; Darius was the only one left with half a brain, and Spike hated to lose him. But he wouldn't think twice about taking him out, if the need arose.

"Get out, Darius. We're finished here." Spike watched as the vampire scrambled to his feet, letting him get to the door before adding, "By the way, your little fledgling won't be coming home. The Slayer got him."

Darius froze, wondering how Spike knew. "I thought it would help, if we had an increase in numbers." He was starting to feel actual fear. Why did Spike always seem to be one step ahead of him?

"Always thinking, aren't you Darius? No matter. From now on, I'll do the thinking for you. And if I ever catch you in my room again, you'll be wishing for the Slayer's stake to end your suffering. Consider this your final warning...I'll brook no more insolence from you. Understand?" The menace in Spike's voice was plain. He savored the other vampire's distress, enjoying the taste of fear that emanated from the cowed fledgling.

"Yes, Spike. It won't happen again." Darius quickly left the room, choking on his fear and rage. He vowed to find a way to remove Spike as Master of Sunnydale, even if it killed him.


*******


Buffy slowly walked through the library doors, completely wrapped up in thoughts of the night before...and Spike. Spike the man, not Spike the demon. The man who laughed when she tickled him. The man who brushed rose petals over her skin. The man who looked at her with so much desire in his eyes that it made her knees go weak. The man who'd once been a scared little boy, fighting for his life. It was getting easier to forget that the demon existed, now that she'd experienced Spike's other side. Caught a glimpse of his heart, maybe even his soul. Buffy had to believe that his humanity had survived the change intact; how else to explain his capacity for tenderness, compassion, and...love. She had to find out, had to know, now that she'd allowed herself to admit that she loved him.

"Giles? Are you here?"

Buffy walked over to the table and threw her books down. She turned to see Giles coming out of his office, nose buried in a book. He looked up and adjusted his glasses, squinting at the sunlight streaming through the windows.

"Ah, Buffy...I was just...researching our friend Spike. Not a lot written about him, I'm afraid, although there are various accounts of mayhem during the mid 1800's. Not surprisingly, Angelus is also mentioned quite frequently."

Buffy didn't want to hear horror stories about Spike, not now. She decided to confront Giles with her questions about the whole soul thing. "Listen Giles, about Angelus...something's been bothering me, and I wanted to ask you about it." She sat down at the table and watched as he pulled up a chair.

"Go on." Giles looked at her expectantly, wondering what was on her mind.

"Giles, do you think that it's possible we're wrong, that a person's soul doesn't leave when the demon moves in? That maybe the demon takes control, uses a person's dark side, and enhances it?"

"I'm not sure what you mean." He was curious to see where she was going with this.

"Angelus was completely evil, right? Incapable of love. We just assumed it was the demon, that he was soulless when he was Angelus. But what if that was actually part of Angel's personality when he was human?"

Giles looked at her in shock. He couldn't imagine where this was coming from. Angel had loved Buffy; it had shown in the way he looked at her, the way he spoke about her, in everything he did. "W-Why would you think that Angel had been incapable of feeling love as a human? He was capable of it when you were together. It was only after...well, after he lost his soul that his ability to love was taken away."

Buffy ran her fingers through her hair, trying to find a way to talk about Spike without giving anything away.

"So, you're saying that it's the demon who's unable to feel human emotions. Well, if a vampire is supposed to be incapable of love, then how do you explain Spike? He's able to love...to care about someone other than himself. Why couldn't Angelus?"

"Buffy, we don't know that Spike is-"

"Yes, we do! We do so know it!" She forced herself to speak calmly, rationally. "Giles, how long was Spike with Drusilla? A hundred years? Why would a soulless demon hang around with one person that long, unless he really cared about her?"

"Buffy, have you forgotten what Spike has done since coming to Sunnydale? Parent/Teacher Night, the Order of Taraka? All the times he's tried to kill you? I sincerely doubt that Spike has a soul." "It was all done for Drusilla. Everything he did was all for her, trying to cure her. Remember that whole thing with Ford? The only way I was able to stop Spike that night was to point a stake at his girlfriend's heart. Giles, he didn't even hesitate; he backed right off. Spike loved her, I'm sure of it." Buffy got up and began to pace, trying to put her thoughts into words.

Giles watched her with a frown. "All the more reason why I think that we should be extremely cautious where Spike is concerned. And I still don't understand what this has to do with Angel." "I'm getting to it, and don't worry about Spike, I can handle him." She stopped pacing and took a deep breath. "Okay, here's my theory- I think that the soul stays and the demon becomes the dominant personality. But the person's identity is kept and the demon releases their inhibitions. Everything that's dark or negative comes to the surface. A weak or evil person just lets the demon do whatever it wants."

The researcher in Giles was intrigued now. And surprised at this very well thought out hypothesis. He'd always suspected that Buffy was more intelligent than she sometimes let on. "If what you're saying is true, then what about Angel's curse? The curse was supposed to restore his soul; how could it, if he never lost it?"

"I don't think it did." Buffy looked up at him with pain filled eyes. "Angelus was completely devoid of humanity, and almost as crazy as Drusilla, in some ways. I think the curse restored his sanity, his sense of right and wrong, not his soul. Gave him a conscience, I guess. But I think that maybe his soul was already poisoned...before he became a vamp."

Giles was stunned. He'd never once considered the possibility that Angel had already been corrupted. He'd never seen any cruelty in him, until he became Angelus.

"Think about it Giles. Angel drove Drusilla crazy before he made her a vampire. And she stayed crazy afterward. If the demon was the sole personality, why would it be insane? It could be anything, if it was only using the body as a shell. And if it keeps the person's original identity, then why wouldn't Angelus be capable of love? Unless Angel wasn't capable of it in the first place."

It hurt, to think that all along she'd been in love with someone who might nothave been the person she thought he was. But she knew nothing of his past, nothing of his mortal life. Spike, the supposed demon, had shared his human side with her, while Angel, the soul-filled vampire, had neglected to tell her anything at all.

"Giles, Angel never told me anything about his past. I have no idea what he was like when he was human. If he really loved me, why didn't he share anything with me? Maybe he didn't want me to know, because there wasn't anything good." Buffy started to cry and Giles hurried to take her in his arms. He rubbed her back while she sobbed, unsure of how to comfort her, but relieved that she was finally dealing with her grief.

Thinking about what she had told him, he had to admit that it did sound plausible. Of course, if it was true, much of what they'd relied on as fact could be rendered useless. It was something he needed to look into, that was certain. Buffy's tears were ceasing, and she pulled away, sniffling. Giles handed her his handkerchief, studying her tear stained face.

"You've, ah, given rather a lot of thought to all of this, haven't you?"

"Yeah, well...not sleeping gives you a lot of time for thought. I don't know how it all started, it's just that...Angelus was emotionally dead, you could see it in his eyes. If he were human, he'd probably be one of those socio-whatevers-"

"Sociopath."

"One of those. Anyway, I couldn't seem to stop comparing him to Spike. Spike's a killer, he's destructive, but he's also rational. He goes after something and finishes it. Spike isn't cruel and sadistic. He doesn't play with his food, the way that Angel did." She looked up at Giles, hoping that he'd understand without seeing too much. "I keep remembering how Angel was when I...when he-" Her head turned away from him. "He was like a rabid dog, Giles. When I killed him." Buffy met his eyes squarely, and once again Giles could see the inner strength that enabled her to survive the many horrors that the Hellmouth managed to cough up.

"I'll see what I can find, all right? But are you sure you want to know? Wouldn't you rather remember him as the Angel you loved and...who loved you in return?"

"I just need to know, Giles. I'm not exactly sure why." She turned and began moving around the room restlessly, in an almost unconscious imitation of Spike. There was just one more question, one more thing that she had wondered about.

"Has it ever happened before? A vampire and a Slayer?" Her voice was low and hoarse from crying.

"You mean...like you...and Angel?"

< NO, a mistake. was Angel Angel. not > She looked up with a half smile that was nearly a grimace. "Yeah, like me and Angel."

"I'm not sure, I-I do remember reading something...somewhere, perhaps in one of the earliest Watcher diaries. It will take some digging, I suspect."

Buffy nodded. "Willow will want to help, I'm sure. You know how she loves a good research party." She turned to look at him and they both grinned, thinking of Willow's enthusiasm. Giles cleared his throat.

"Ready to train? We could try the swords today."

Buffy smiled brightly at him, glad for the chance think about something other than the questions that had been puzzling her. There would be time later for searching through boring, musty old books. Right now, all she wanted to do was keep moving and hit a few things. It was what she did best.


I'm on a train, but there's no one at the helm
And there's a demon in my brain starts to overwhelm
And there it goes, my last chance for peace
I lay me down, but I get no release

Images burned behind closed eyelids, bringing with them feelings that Spike thought had died with his mortal life. William, cowering in a corner of the filthy room as blows from her hairbrush rained down on his thin body. His mother's once beautiful face now ugly with anger and hatred. Pleading with her to stop, please stop, he'd only meant to look- "I'LL TEACH YOU...FILTHY BRAT...TOUCHING MY THINGS..." Each word punctuated by the sound of hard wood smacking against flesh and bone.

I try to keep awake
I try to swim beneath
But I can feel this narcolepsy slide
Into another nightmare

Spike rolled, pulling the pillow over his head, trying to block out the movie playing inside his brain, but the scenes kept coming...in technicolor. Emma, puking all over the floor after one of her drinking binges. His own belt being used to whip him, the buckle cutting into his skin. His grandmother had given it to him- real leather, for wearing to church on Sundays. They didn't go to church anymore; Emma was always too hungover. Will had tried to go by himself, but Emma had caught him and used the belt on him, saying that bastards didn't belong in church, they were evil and an affront to God. He had never gone back, believing that God would strike him down if he did.

And I hold my breath 'til it's more than I can take
And I close my eyes and dream that I'm awake

The pain was sharp and insistent, stabbing through him like the knife that had once felt so perfect in his hand. Tossing and turning, trapped between waking and dreaming, Spike was powerless to stop the onslaught of memories. Ten years old, waking up to find Emma drunk, touching his hair, stroking his cheek. "Such a beautiful boy...Mum needs you to take care of her..." Her hand sliding lower, reaching for him while he lay there frozen, unable to stop her, hating himself and wishing her dead. Wanting to run away, but having no idea where to go.

I try to keep awake
I try to keep awake

After that he had begun spending more time in the streets, only going home every few days to make sure that she hadn't choked on her own vomit. Sleeping in the livery stable, armed with a knife taken off of one of his 'marks'. Drawing blood before his eleventh year, when one of the sailors tried to rape him. He'd stabbed the man in the gut, knife sliding easily through vital organs, feeling the hot blood pour over his hand. Horror and satisfaction mingling until his own stomach churned before spilling its contents in the gutter. William the Bloody, a nickname earned long before he ever became a vampire.

Cause my greatest fear is that sucking sound
And then I know that I will never get back out

The knife had felt like an extension of his hand, sliding into his palm in a split second whenever needed. A small boy with a delicately pretty face and cold eyes, attracting one perverted piece of scum after another, all of them assuming him to be easy prey. All of them feeling the stinging lick of his blade when they attempted to lay their hands on him. Their blood running in the street as he watched, expressionless, before relieving them of what little money they had. He never knew if any of them had died, not really caring one way or another. Completely alone, trusting no one, always pretending to be something he wasn't.

How'd you like to be alone and drowning

Existing one day to the next, growing older and more hardened each year. Finding Emma, bloated with flies and maggots, still in the same filthy room where they'd first settled. Dead several days and no one even noticing the stink coming from her body. Finally free of her, only to end up feeling more lost than before. Drifting aimlessly...whoring, stealing, fighting, too stubborn to just give up and end it all. Meeting Angelus- so beautiful and seductive, promising untold power and an end to the loneliness.

Realizing too late that Angel was the worst of the lot, worse than anything he'd ever dreamt of as a child.

How'd you like to be alone and drowning

Spike's eyes flew open, unfocused for a moment as he came out of the dream state. < Bloody hell, what was that all about? > Shaking and sweating, he reached out for the Slayer before remembering that he was alone. Disappointment flooded him; he wanted to feel her next to him, needed her warmth to drive away the dreams. He couldn't get used to sleeping alone, not after over a century of having someone beside him almost every night. Frustrated, he threw the pillow across the room, knocking a lamp to the floor.

< Slayer, Slayer-what the fuck am I going to do about you? > How was he supposed to deal with wanting her...needing her, even? He'd never needed anyone before, except Drusilla, and look how badly that had finally turned out. Spike groaned and flung an arm across his face, trying to dispell the memories that wouldn't go away. They just kept on coming, flashing before his eyes like a bad parody of This Is Your Life.

Remembering...remembering the nights washed in blood; blood that was no longer spilled and wasted but swallowed hungrily, eagerly. Gradually sinking deeper into his own personal hell as he became Angelus' pet; his humiliation complete as he realized that some dark part of him liked being his Sire's fucktoy. Giving the demon free rein in order not to feel anything except the pleasure derived from feeding...and from being used.

Keep awake

Watching as Angelus became obsessed with Drusilla, driving her insane in order to possess her. Secretly hating him for it, but wanting her with them so badly that he did nothing to stop it. The three of them, a perfect triangle, a family bound together by blood and lust and Angel's Svengali-like hold. His hatred of Angelus growing along with his love for Drusilla. Finding ways to undermine his sire, breaking free little by little, until the night that he'd discovered the gypsy encampment.

He'd known that Angelus wouldn't be able to resist the girl. She was his type; young, innocent, pure- all of the things that Angelus liked to corrupt. Pointing her out had been easy and his Sire had taken the bait, just as Spike had known he would. The gypsies hadn't disappointed him; their penchant for revenge perfectly suiting Spike's needs. Drusilla had never known the part he'd played in the disappearance of her precious "Daddy". All that had mattered was that with Angel out of the picture, Drusilla was his and his alone. Until the Slayer fucked the wrong guy and the prick came back into their lives as if he had never left.

Keep awake

That had been the worst; stuck in that fucking wheelchair, powerless to stop Drusilla from running back to Daddy. Choking on his hatred, biding his time, when all he'd really wanted was to tear off Angel's genitals and ram them down the bastard's throat. Fuck it; it was over now; both of them gone and he was alone again. Except for the Slayer, and who knew how long that would last? Spike didn't want to think about losing her already, not when they'd only just started. How could he feel this strongly after only a few days of being with her? It didn't make sense, it was too fucked up. When they were apart, he ached from wanting her, could hardly think of anything else. She was screwing up his concentration, something he barely had a grip on as it was.

Keep awake

Spike couldn't understand what was happening to him. Why the memories hurt so much after all this time. It shouldn't be possible; not when he had the demon to take it all away, like it had always done in the past. < What in the bloody hell are you doing, sleeping on the fucking job? > He depended on the demon to keep him sane, free from guilt and all that shit. If it had gone underground he was well and truly fucked. How would he keep control of the minions? How could he keep from loving the Slayer, keep from running after her like some halfwit? His unlife was spiraling out of control and he couldn't stop it. Wasn't even sure if he wanted to, if it meant giving up the Slayer. < FuckFuckFuckFuckFuck... > The endless litany played inside his head as he lay there, contemplating his own destruction.

And I can feel this narcolepsy slide...


Buffy could hear the phone ringing as she climbed the steps. Unlocking the door, she threw her books down and ran to answer it, picking up the handset with a breathless "Hello?"

"Hello, cutie."

At the sound of his voice, her stomach did a slow, lazy roll and a flush spread over her skin. "Spike..." He'd never called her before. It felt wonderful and strange all at the same time. "Where are you? Is it safe for you to call me?"

"It's safe, ducks. Fledglings always sleep the whole day. Besides, I'm in my car on a cellphone, so no one can listen in."

"What about you? Don't you sleep?"

She could see him in her mind, sprawled across the front seat of his car, probably smoking because he couldn't keep still, hands tapping against the steering wheel. Buffy smiled at the clear image, amazed at how well she felt she knew his mannerisms after such a short time.

"Not much. Never have, actually. As I recall, you couldn't have gotten much sleep this past week either."

"Goes with the job, remember? I'm used to walking around on autopilot. I usually manage to grab catnaps here and there."

Spike was sitting in his car, exactly as she had pictured him. Unable to sleep because of the nightmares and the memories that he didn't seem to be able to turn off, he'd come down to the garage with his phone, fighting with himself the whole time over whether or not it was wise to call. Just hearing her voice was comforting in a way, although he would never admit it. He told himself that he was bored, that was all.< YEAH, right. > "Listen, the reason I called...word's out, luv. About you killing Angel." He didn't like to mention Drusilla. He felt responsible for her, even though it was the Slayer who'd done the actual deed.

"And?"

"And the boys are out for your blood. I told them that the privilege of killing you was mine, but- "

"Gee, thanks. I'm so flattered."

"Slayer, I'm serious. Just...watch your back...all right, pet?" Buffy gripped the phone tighter and tried to keep her tone light. "You're not worried about me, are you?"

Spike swallowed before answering, relying on his sarcasm to mask what he was feeling. "Of course not, why should I be worried? You're the bloody Slayer, aren't you? If you weren't around, I might get bored, is all. And the next Slayer might not be as cute."

Buffy smiled. "So, you think I'm cute?"

He answered automatically, without thinking. "No, I think you're beautiful." < Christ! Why am I always blurting things out like an awkward teenager around her? > He rammed his head into the steering wheel, hoping to drive some sense into it.

Positive that he could hear her heart pounding over the phone, Buffy tried to think of something to say, anything at all, but her mind refused to cooperate. His words kept replaying in her head-< watch your back, I think you're beautiful >-words that she would never have expected to hear from him. Not during the day, anyway.

"Spike..."

"Listen, Slayer...I was thinking that maybe we should lay off for a few days. Until I can figure something out. A few of the older ones would like nothing better than to overthrow me and there's no fucking way I'm letting that happen. I need to establish control before some other pillock decides he wants to be Master of Sunnyhell."

She knew he was right; they did need to back off, if only so that she could get a grip on her own life. Buffy had seen the strange looks that Willow was giving her and Giles would become suspicious before too long. Still, the thought of not seeing him was almost painful. She wondered if he felt the same way.

"Okay, Spike. We'll back off for now. I need to focus on slaying, anyway." It took everything within her to sound casual about the whole thing. "So, I'll probably see you around?"

"You'll see me, luv. Just don't stake me, all right?" He was already trying to figure out how to get through the next few days without touching her. He'd probably go mad, but there was no way around it. He had to do something about Darius and the whole mess at the mansion.

"As long as you behave yourself, I won't have to."

"Behaving isn't my strong suit, pet."

Buffy sighed. "I know."

They reluctantly said goodbye, both of them dreading the days ahead and the nights apart.


*******


The days passed with agonizing slowness. Spike gave Darius permission to create fledglings, then sat back and watched as the Slayer took them out, one by one. It amused him no end, watching the younger vampire grow more angry and frustrated with every defeat. The fact that Spike himself had added five new minions to the family only served to heighten the tension and hostility between the two of them.

Spike had broken his own rule about making 'children', the urgent need for loyal minions overriding his distaste. He'd gone to neighboring towns and searched out strong, athletic types, finally settling on three men and two women who didn't appear to be too terribly stupid. It had been a time consuming process, but at least it had kept his mind off of the Slayer for awhile. And it had irked Darius, which only made it more satisfying.

The new fledglings were nothing special, but they seemed competent enough, and they followed his orders without question. His nights at least, were busy and full, teaching his new charges the ropes and pretending to be planning revenge against the Slayer. The days, however, were another story. His dreams, when he could sleep at all, were filled with her- her scent, her taste, the incredible heat of her body- each one more vivid than the last. Her hair trailing across his skin. Her hot mouth closing around his cock. Her arms and legs wrapping around him as he sank into her heated depths. He could feel her body twisting beneath him, hear her soft cries as they moved together. Inevitably, he'd wake up spurting into nothingness, his cold semen spilling across his abdomen onto the sheets.

The restlessness which followed the dreams was worse than before, leaving him feeling trapped by the daylight. He tried calling the Slayer a few more times, but it only aggravated the longing; her voice giving him painful hard-ons that refused to go away. His hand was getting tired from jacking off all the time, but he refused to use one of the females to relieve himself. He didn't want cold flesh anymore, not after being touched by the sun. That was what she represented to him; sunlight- bright, shining, golden. Warming everything around her...even his cold, dead heart.

Without the Slayer to calm him, his agitation grew, manifesting itself in outbursts of violence against Angel's minions. Since he was no longer interested in killing the Slayer and was unable to fuck her for the time being, terrorizing the minions seemed the next best thing for releasing pent up aggression. There was nothing more satisfying than slamming someone headfirst into a wall, or seeing the look on their face when he threatened to make them gargle with holy water.

His demon wallowed in their fear and Spike was only too happy to oblige him, lashing out if anyone even looked at him wrong. Keeping the demon happy meant keeping the memories at bay, something that Spike desperately needed to do. He hated the way they made him feel; almost vulnerable, and he bloody well couldn't allow that, now could he? So instead, he concentrated on inflicting pain wherever he went, indulging the demon's thirst for bloodshed and brutality. It worked...sort of.

He didn't seem to be able to disengage as completely as he once had. Bloody, fucking nuisance, that. It was much easier to hurt and kill if you couldn't feel anything, or better yet, if you could take pleasure in it. Spike didn't want to think about what it all meant, hoping that if he ignored them, the feelings would go away.

Things at the mansion were shaping up. The female fledglings were keeping the boys happy and they made useful spies, telling Spike everything that Angel's minions said about him. Darius was too busy with his little project to stir up much trouble and didn't dare question Spike about his plans for the Slayer. Everyone rushed to do his bidding, feared and respected his power; everything was falling into place. Spike was in control again, just as he'd wanted. So why wasn't he enjoying it?


*********


Kick, spin, kick, punch- Buffy threw everything she had at the vampire, not giving him a chance for retaliation. Another newbie, he didn't even know what hit him as she flipped him to the ground and drove a stake through his heart. "Another one bites the dust..." she sang as she stood up and looked around the cemetary, hoping for some more action. *No such luck.*

Every night, a new vampire had risen which she had staked efficiently, but she still felt restless. Not enough fight to burn off all of her excess energy and no Spike to relieve her sexual tension. That was the worst part...no Spike.

Her whole body throbbed with need for the blond vampire and the few times that he'd phoned had only made it worse, that sexy voice of his nearly driving her insane with desire. She'd resorted to touching herself to try to relieve the ache between her legs, but it wasn't the same. She needed to feel HIS hands on her body, wanted to be ravished by his mouth, wanted...Buffy shook her head. Didn't he have any idea what he was doing to her? Did he even care?

Her dreams were so vivid; she could feel him, taste him, smell him; always waking up with his name on her lips, shuddering as she climaxed in her sleep. She didn't think that she could go on like this much longer, gripped by a fever that could only be broken by the coolness of his skin against hers. Walking around like one giant nerve ending, like a stranger in her own skin. Was this what love was supposed to be like? This aching, burning need? If so, then what had she felt for Angel? Whatever it had been, it certainly hadn't felt this intense, this desperate. Buffy sighed and began heading for home, purposely avoiding the park...and the treehouse.

She'd gone there once, even went inside, some part of her hoping that he'd be there. But the room was empty; the faint scent of candle wax the only evidence of their night together. Her eyes had swept across the floor, catching sight of a single rose petal lying discarded in the corner. It reminded her of how tender Spike had been with her; how open and relaxed he'd seemed. How he'd bared his soul, letting her see more than Angel ever had.

Two hundred years spent on this earth and he'd experienced the worst that life had to offer, much of it occurring when he was still a child. And yet, he'd survived with his sanity, his humor- and yes, his humanity, intact. Humanity, a soul-whatever you wanted to call it, it was there. She had seen it in his face, felt it in his touch, and she would prove its existence, no matter what the cost.

The research wasn't going very well. Giles had already checked several sources, trying to determine if it was possible for the soul to stay during the change, but had come up empty handed. There seemed to be no evidence to support her theory. Buffy refused to give up; she'd even offered to look through the books herself, something she rarely, if ever, did.

Tonight, she had paced and hovered over everyone's shoulders, driving them all crazy with her restless interference. Finally, Xander had had enough, voicing what everyone had been thinking but didn't dare say.

"Geez, Buffy! Go out and slay something, would you? You're scarin' the information right out of the books!" He'd shoved the one he'd been looking at across the table in frustration. Buffy had been close to retaliating when she realized that leaving would be best for everyone. Grabbing her jacket, she'd stormed out of the library, hoping against hope that she'd run into Spike and be able to relieve some of the agony that she was going through.

< Fat chance! > All she'd found was one pathetic little fledgling, almost not worth the effort it took to stake him. Buffy never thought that she'd actually wish for stronger vamps or new varieties of demons to come along. In the past, she'd always been grateful for some downtime, in fact had tried to weasel out of slaying more often than not. Now, all she wanted to do was hit something until it was dead. Or fuck Spike until she couldn't see straight.

What was happening to her? Where had all of this aggression come from? These feelings...they reminded her of how she felt after killing the Master. After she'd returned from the dead. Were they a side affect of killing Angel? Or...did they have more to do with Spike? Questions, always questions, but no answers.

"SHIT!" Buffy's frustration echoed in the empty street as she headed home to her equally empty bed.


Spike was bored. Nothing new there; he was always bored, but without the Slayer, things were even more tedious that before. Even hunting was wearing thin, his usual prey offering no challenge. He found himself stalking the biggest, meanest, strongest looking males that he could find, thinking that maybe it would be enough. His time was spent hanging out at sports bars, looking for thick-necked former jocks and bullies. He did everything he could to provoke them into fights, even pretending to be gay on occasion, just to stir them up even more.

He should have known better. Humans were pathetic, the lot of them. Every one of the supposed "tough guys" had crumbled like the nancyboys that they really were, whimpering and pleading for their lives Christ! He'd killed women who'd shown more spine. At least the women tried, clawing and scratching, going for his balls. Deadlier than the male? Deadlier than the bunch around here, anyway.

His female fledglings were starting to show their mettle as well, knowing that they had the males right where they wanted them. They had also made several overtures toward him, but he'd always put them off. He couldn't even remember their names half the time. Why would he even consider shagging them? He had enough to deal with as it was; fucking his fledglings didn't even rate a mild interest. There was only one person he wanted, one person who could calm the storm that raged inside him.

Spike was sprawled across the hood of his car which was parked near the school. He'd been out hunting with one of the new boys, testing the fledgling's ability. They'd fed on two homeless men and now were "hanging out," for lack of a better term. Spike leaned back against the windshield and stared up at the stars while Dave? John? Joe? - whatever the fuck his name was - droned on about his glory days as a college football star. Something interesting better bloody well come along soon, or I'll lose my everlovin' mind. He sighed, unable to stop the longing running through him. Slayer, where the fuck are you?


Continued