Career Change Series
Part 1 - New Boy
written by Riani aka Two Ladies of Quality
Spoilers: Through season 7.
Summary: Dru made some stops before leaving town after "Crush," and the fight against Glory takes some strange turns.
Feedback Author: Riani
Author's Website: Two Ladies Of Quality
When Giles opened his eyes, he was laying on the floor of Spike's crypt, wrapped in chains, and Spike was on the other side of the room
with a loaded crossbow aimed at him.
"So, you're awake," Spike said.
"I feel very odd. Why are you pointing that at me? You can't use it on me."
"I will if you're not reasonable."
Giles looked at him curiously. "You act like you're worried about me. Good." He frowned. "My face feels odd."
"I'd show you a mirror, but it wouldn't help."
"What happened is I have to have some very serious words with Dru about what she dumps into my crypt when I'm not home and she's in
a pissy mood."
"I don't understand."
Giles paused, thinking about what he really wanted to eat. Steak came to mind, a very rare, juicy steak. He thought of burying his teeth
into the meat, sucking up the juices, the taste of hot blood-- He started to lick his lips, and his tongue found fangs. "Oh, my
Spike relaxed slightly. "And the penny drops. Now we get to find out what the luck of the demon draw gave you."
"Oh, god. I'm--I've been--"
"Say the word, ex-Watcher."
"Vampire. I'm a vampire."
Horror, guilt, rage. Disgust that he was now one of the creatures he and his ancestors had pledged their lives to eradicate. He remembered
now, hearing the swish of cloth in the Magic Box, turning to see the beautiful face of mad Drusilla, who was standing far too close to
him. "Your soul burns," she whispered, gliding towards him. "Let me bathe in it." He'd been caught in the middle of
the room, she closer to him than he was to any weapons. He knew the dangers of her eyes, tried to keep from looking, but she'd caught his
wrist and he'd had some foolish idea that he could distract her with words. And maybe it was a little bit of arrogance. He was a Watcher,
after all, and he'd been ganged up on and tortured before, when he fell for her.
Whatever, it had happened, he couldn't break her grip, he met her eyes, and something in him answered the wild chaos he saw in her. He
hadn't even fought as she pulled him down.
Memories of his oaths told him to beg Spike to shoot, to finish this mockery of his existence. But. But. He realized he didn't hurt
anywhere. A man who had taken as many injuries as he had did have a tendency to have aches and pains. And for the first time in years,
his hands didn't hurt. The arthritis that had plagued him since Angelus had broken his fingers was gone. He flexed his hands and
wrists--as well as he could with his arms bound so tightly--and the joints moved fluidly. He twisted his neck and didn't hear a single
click in his spine. And he felt strong.
Spike put the crossbow--still cocked, still pointed in Giles' direction--carefully on the floor and reached for his cigarettes.
"Starting to feel it, aren't you. The new you."
"I feel ..."
"Strong. Young. Powerful."
"I was younger than you when I was turned. I imagine it feels even better for you."
"I don't hurt."
"Feels good, doesn't it."
"I feel wonderful--no, this isn't right . . ."
"Don't fight it, mate. The old you is gone." There was more than a little sympathy in his voice. "She at least asked me if
I was willing, and she was there when I woke up, to help me out. Well, her and Angelus--"
"Don't mention him."
"Sure thing. Hey, we could do a road trip to LA later when you feel up to it." He laughed at the cunning look that went across
Giles shifted position uncomfortably, chains clinking. "Get these off me."
"Not yet, mate."
He glared at Spike. "I'm not your type."
The grin made him nervous. "You have no idea what my type is, new boy. There may be all sorts of rituals involved in becoming a vamp
that you Watchers know nothing of. Establishing a pecking order and all that."
"You're not *my* type."
"And you the product of the British public school system."
Giles stared at Spike, trying to read the amused look on the vampire--the other vampire's face. He sat there smoking peacefully, enjoying
his captive's predicament. Nothing in any of the reports hinted at any really--exotic tastes on Spike's behalf, but Watchers could be a
prudish bunch, and not many studies had been done on the sexual preferences of vampires--beyond knowing they tended toward the frequent.
He shook himself, appalled that he was even thinking of such things. And he noticed that the appalled was more the knee-jerk of old
thinking. Another part of his mind was just going "Hm ..."
"So what are the chains for?" he asked calmly. "Or is it just part of your normal technique for getting to know someone?"
The cigarette hit the wall in a shower of sparks. "Just what the hell did she tell you!"
"What? What are you talking about? What she?" he asked
"Never mind." Spike stood up to pace. "New vamps are
unpredictable. Didn't know if you'd be nuts or violent or what. Might have
tried for me."
"And so the crossbow."
"So the crossbow."
"Now you see I'm neither nuts nor violent. So get these off of
Spike lit another cigarette and smiled. "Now why would I want to
do that? Got to figure out what to do about you, I do."
"*You* get to figure out? When did you get the right to do
"Since Dru dropped your bled-out corpse at the foot of my bed,
chum. How'd she get you to drink, anyway? Turn into Jenny again? Or did
she use somebody else's face this time?"
Giles strained against his bonds. "When I'm loose from here . .
"And you wonder why I've got you tied up. You get hungry enough,
you'll listen to Big Brother Spike."
An hour later--maybe an hour, maybe an eternity--Giles felt the air
molecules banging against his hypersensitive skin, he heard the
microfaults in the earth below grumbling, he could identify by smell all
the types of booze spilled in the place in the past month and taste them
from the air. His eyes were tightly closed against the insane detail in
the crumbling walls around him. And mad urges screamed in his brain, the
urge to hunt, rend, feed, the heavy desire to see, taste, and feel his
victim's fear. Part of him still wept in despair. Most of him wanted to
bathe in red.
The sound of a ding echoed through the crypt. Giles whimpered at the
sound, then at the thud of Spike's boots coming across the floor. Then the
smell reached him, rich, savory. Spike carried a thick mug and crouched
down in front of the chained man. Giles stared lustfully at the thick red
liquid, too starved to think.
"Unchain me," he growled.
"You made me eat in chains, you get to eat in chains. At least
you're not parked in a bathtub." Spike plopped a straw into the mug
and held it closer.
Giles didn't hesitate. He put his lips around the straw and began to
The feel of the liquid on his tongue was better than the feel of a
woman. The screams in his head quieted, murmured in pleasure, and his
incisors stopped throbbing quite so badly. The straw slurped finally in
the empty mug.
"Tsk," Spike said, "such manners."
"Is there more?" Giles asked anxiously.
The dinging sound came again, less painful than before. Giles
recognized it this time as the sound of a microwave. Spike got to his
feet. "Be right back."
Giles felt the anxiety ebbing, and he licked a few stray drops from his
lips. One escaped to roll down his chin and drip onto his pant leg. A red
drop. A blood red drop.
Disgust and shame punched him in the gut. Blood. He was drinking blood.
Eagerly, thankfully. And he could smell the new mug Spike was bringing
over and all he wanted was more.
Spike paused to look at the figure crouched on the floor, rocking back
and forth. "You gonna eat this, or would you rather wallow in disgust
for a while?" He took a sip from the mug. "It won't go to waste
"Give it to me."
Spike smirked and settled onto his heels in front of Giles again.
"My pleasure." He replaced the straw and let the man drink.
"Slowly, Rupert. Taste your food."
He managed not to slurp so hungrily this time. His head was clearing,
though he wasn't sure if that was a good thing. "Not enough."
"It'll hold you for now. I'll bring back more."
"You're going somewhere? You can't leave me chained up here like
"I can and I will."
Giles fought against the chains, to no avail. "Let me go, damn
you. I want--"
Spike dropped in front of him, face in full vamp mode. Giles blinked,
but the start of horror didn't come this time. Now, it looked--right.
"I know what you want," Spike snarled. "You want to go
up there and wander through the crowds and be amazed at all the food there
is walking around just waiting for you to reach out and take it. You want
to grab somebody and laugh at them while they struggle. You want to stick
your fangs in their throats and feel that scalding hot blood pour down
your throat as they scream and try to fight and finally go limp in your
hands and you feel the breath go out of them and their heart flutter to a
stop under your lips. Don't you."
He swallowed hard against the lust and shame. "Yes," he
"I could undo those chains, unlock that door, let you go running
out into the night to play. And you'd be dust within three days." He
grabbed Giles' chin hard and forced him to meet his eyes. "Listen to
me, Rupert. There is a very large fact of life about being a vampire in
Sunnydale. Can we guess what that fact might be?"
He nodded. "Buf--" He couldn't bring himself to say her name.
Spike nodded solemnly. "The Slayer. Who's out there somewhere
right now, in a very bad mood, looking for victims to take her
frustrations out on. Until you can get your mind around the knowledge that
you and her don't bat for the same team anymore, you're not going out
there." He got to his feet. "Because you and I both know that
she wouldn't hesitate a second if she saw you like this."
Giles wondered what he'd see on Buffy's face if she saw him now.
Horror, pity, disgust? Or just sad resignation and determination to put an
end to him? Maybe he could tell her it wasn't so bad, maybe she'd give him
the same benefit of the doubt she gave Angel when she first realized what
he was. He could get close to her, she'd hesitated when she'd realized
that her Watcher lurked under that Fyarl demon's shell, he could get
within reach . . .
"Oh, god, no," he gasped when he realized where his thoughts
were going, of his hands on her golden hair, of her throat . . . "No,
Spike gave a humorless laugh. "It's always easiest to go for the
nearest and dearest first. They let us get close before they know they
"What do they think happened?"
"They're not sure. Not many signs of a struggle at the shop, you
just disappeared. They've been scouring town. Slayer trashed Willy's
place, Demon Girl's been calling in a lot of old favors from her demon
buddies, Red and her squeeze have been running location spells."
"That would work," Giles frowned, distracted.
"They're looking for a person, they haven't had the nerve to look
for a corpse. Might have to give 'em a fake body before long--unless you
want them to know what's happened?"
"No! No. At least--not yet . . ."
"You think she's going to go 'Oh, poor Giles, what can we do for
you?' That she'll gaze up at you with those baby blues and promise to make
it all better?"
"Oh, get your soul back, hm? Doesn't get rid of the demon, you
know, just makes it even more schizophrenic. From what I hear, Angel was
just a big handsome lunk running through his daddy's money on drink and
women. Nothing too complicated, average guy, meaning no real harm. But
you, Rupert, what kind of soul would you be getting back? Average likeable
lout? Or a sorcerer who's made a study of darkness, something more than a
little hard and ruthless. Something comfortable in the company of a guy
named Ripper." He nodded at the look on Giles face. "Your soul
and your demon might have more to chat about than you want to think of,
Giles closed his eyes, trying to blame his memories on the influence of
the demon crouched in his mind. But the dark whispers got as far as they
did because they were things he'd thought of before, things he'd
contemplated in the bad old days when a spot of demon raising sounded like
just the thing for an evening's entertainment.
He looked at Spike suspiciously. "What do you care? Why are you
sparing an iota of concern on whether I survive like this? I picture you
sitting back with a beer and a smoke, laughing at all this like one of
your stupid soap operas."
"First off, I care because Dru dumped you on me. I'd rather not
have the Slayer putting two and two together and getting Spike-krispies in
the sunshine. But most of all," he grinned, "I have a
"Oh, wonderful. I've seen your plans, Spike, they wouldn't
challenge the Three Stooges."
Spike curled a lip at him. "There at Watcher boot camp, they ever
talk about the possibility of a Watcher getting turned?"
Giles shuddered. "Yes, they did."
"What'd they say?"
"That there were probably more horrible fates but not
"Why? Because such a thing is the perversion of everything we
believe in, the corruption of principles that have guided us for
generations." He hesitated. "Them. Not us. Damn."
"They weren't telling you the whole story, mate."
"What could you possibly know of it?"
Spike smirked. "They're terrified of the idea, and not just
because it would be like Mother Teresa pimping the starving children out
for crack. They're terrified of what a vampire Watcher could do."
Giles paused, and the thought curled enticingly around possibilities.
"What do you mean?"
"A lot of you are mages, you all know your arcane lore, and you're
used to leading and training."
"And then there's Wesley," Giles couldn't help but say.
"Well, yes, Wesley's a wanker. But then there's you. You were an
intimidating bugger before you died, mate. We talked about turning you,
there at the mansion. Dru's wanted to do you since she first laid eyes on
you." Spike glared momentarily. "Pissed me off at the time, too,
the way her eyes lit up at the thought of it. But Angelus always voted it
down. And I knew why. He knew you'd take him, if you turned. I knew you
would too, that's why I voted for it."
"You wanted me turned? Why?"
"If the Mayor had had you backing him up, Sunnydale would be ruled
by a giant snake demon right now. Your plans work. If you wanted, you
could take this town." He smiled. "And that is something I would
love to be a part of."
Giles stared at him for several moments. "You're mad."
Spike patted his knee as he straightened. "You'll learn to love
it. But I better get off, the night's not getting any younger. Don't wait
"At least give me a hand free! My nose itches."
"I'll scratch your nose, you scratch--"
"Oh, stop." He glared around the crypt. "And where's
this infamous TV of yours?"
"You? Watching the telly? You got a very blue-collar demon."
"If you've got any books that aren't pornographic or all pictures,
I'll take that."
Spike glared at him a moment, then went to the night stand by his bed
for the TV remote. "Be grateful, I've got cable. Somebody at Willy's
got the bright idea of turning a cable installer who's doing a land office
business in piracy."
He dropped the remote by Giles' knee and went behind him to get to the
lock on the chains. Giles held very still, and at the instant his bonds
loosened he jerked away, yanking his left arm free. Spike clamped onto
Giles' wrist and twisted the arm hard around behind him, then he shoved
the other man into the floor, pinning him down. Giles struggled until he
realized it was useless.
"And if you think I didn't see that coming," Spike snarled
into Giles' ear, "you must think I'm a complete idiot." He
chuckled. "We'll have this dance, Rupert, but not yet. When you've
got the last of the 'destroy me, I'm unclean' boggles out of your system,
and you start settling into what you can be, then we'll see. Because
here's a newsflash, Einstein--" He yanked on the arm, dragging a
helpless gasp of pain out of Giles. "The chip doesn't give a good
goddamn about you anymore."
He let go of the arm and wrapped the chains around Giles again, leaving
him free to reach for the TV remote, but little else. They glared at each
other for several moments, then Spike grinned. "Don't throw any wild
parties while I'm gone."
Giles glared after him. "Bloody bastard," he muttered.
"Oh, yes, we'll see, we'll see indeed."
It was hours before Spike came back, hours in which Giles re-discovered
that he knew enough Hindi to follow the torrid soap opera on the
International Channel and realized that Americans really did believe that
you could cover bald spots with spray fuzz from an aerosol can. If his
undead life was going to be an endless parade of bad television, he was
going to track down Buffy and beg for a stake at the first opportunity.
The bastard was whistling--*whistling*--as he came down the steps to
the lower level of the crypt, where Giles was still chained up next to the
wall, shuttling through the channels on the TV.
"'Ello, ducks, I'm home!" Spike called.
"Rotten bastard, where the hell have you been!"
"Now, pet, you know I hate these fights when I come home--"
He dropped one of the duffle bags he carried to catch the remote that
Giles flung at him. "Be nice or I won't fix you up that bedtime
"Yes! God, yes, my head is pounding." He focused on the bags
Spike had brought in. "What did you do, go shopping?"
"In a manner of speaking."
"Those look like--they are, they're *my* duffle bags!"
"Stopped by your apartment, thought you might want a change of
clothes and such."
"Damn, I never did uninvite you, did I? What did you bring?"
"Everything that wasn't tweed. You know, you're supposed to get
rid of blue jeans when they start wearing out in the seat."
Giles suddenly imagined Spike rummaging through his dresser
drawers--Lord God, had he found those pictures Olivia had asked him to
take of her "to remember her by"? The other duffle bag, though,
had corners, and he heard clinking noises. "What else did you
"Contents of your liquor cabinet, a cd player--mine always gets
broken for some reason--and a bunch of CDs. Do you have everything the
"Yes, I do." He stared at Spike thoughtfully as the blond put
the contents of another sack--several bags of blood--into a small
"Oh, and that pile of books that was on your night stand. They all
had bookmarks, so I didn't know which one you'd left off on. By the way,
someone's been picking up your mail and tucking it very neatly on the
kitchen counter. Who has a key?"
"Buffy does--how did you get in?"
"Picked the lock."
Spike put two bags of blood into the microwave, set the timer, then
walked over to Giles. "Now, if I undo those chains, are you going to
try to break my head open?"
He grinned and pulled out the key. "Good, I wouldn't have believed
you if you said no."
This time Giles didn't try to make a run for it as the lock was undone.
Spike left him to untangle himself from the lengths of chain. Giles
straightened gratefully, then looked around.
The microwave dinged, and Spike filled two mugs, never turning his back
on Giles. He put one mug on a table halfway to Giles, then retreated back
to the microwave. Hunger drove Giles over to drink.
"If I tried to leave, what would you do?" he said to Spike.
"Try to stop you. You're not ready. Besides, where would you
"Isn't sunproofed. Besides, sun will be up in an hour, you'd be
stuck there, and if Slayer's got a key she could wander in. And you're
going to be asleep real soon."
"You've been up and about during daytime."
"I have a hundred years on you at this, it counts for something.
When I was new, sun came up, bam, it was like someone took a board to my
skull. If you were found there this soon, they'd probably try to drag you
to a hospital, and wouldn't they be surprised when they pulled you into
Giles frowned. "I never knew age had anything to do with sleeping
during the day."
"Really? It's rumored in vamp circles that the Council of Watchers
has a little brood of vampires they keep around for testing
"If we do, I never heard of it." He caught himself. "I
keep doing that, saying we. They." He blinked and felt the oddest
impulse to yawn. "Lord, I'm tired."
"First night as a vamp, it's like being an infant, sleep a lot
till you get used to it. You'll get over it soon enough." Spike
drained his mug. "Stopped by your shop. Whole gang was there."
Giles went still. "And?"
"Very depressed bunch of Scoobies. Current thinking is that you've
run off to do private research on the Glory problem."
"Oh, that. Simplest answer in the world for that, all we have to
do is kill Dawn."
Giles never noticed Spike's tone of voice. "Of course. Dawn is the
Key, Glory needs Dawn, kill Dawn, the energy of the Key is dispersed and
Glory can't open the portal. No apocalypse, happy ending. And it's not
like Dawn is even a real person, after all, it's perfectly possible that
if Dawn is dead it will be as if she was never here."
"That's your plan to deal with the hellgod? Kill Dawn?"
"One artificial girl vs. the whole world? I'm surprised there's
Spike moved in slowly, but his hand around Giles' throat left no doubt
about his opinion. "Nothing happens to the niblet, you
Giles glared at him, reaching for a grip on Spike's fingers. "Or
"Is it time for that little dance, ex-Watcher? Where you try to
find out if you can take me? If you think so, bring it on."
Giles pulled against the fingers wrapped around his throat, using all
the considerable new strength at his command. But Spike didn't seem to
notice. There was a look in the blond vampire's eyes Giles had never seen
before, an implacable willingness to commit bloody mayhem, with none of
the wariness the ex-Watcher was used to seeing. Now that Giles was no
longer human, Spike wasn't walking so carefully around him.
"All this for Dawn?" Giles sneered. "I thought it was
Buffy you were after. Or is this just a holdover of the Victorian taste
for barely pubescent girls--"
Spike's hand squeezed. "You can heal from a broken neck, you
know," he snarled.
"What about--your plan?" Giles managed through his
half-crushed vocal chords.
"I've got time. Took me months to get over bashed legs. I could
break your neck, wait for you to heal. Makes no never mind to me. But do
you really want to be helpless with me?"
The Watcher in Giles' mind observed that this was likely just part of
some brutal vampire dominance ritual establishing the parameters of power.
But the vertebrae in his neck felt the twisting begin, felt the strength
in Spike's fingers.
"Wait," he gasped.
It took an act of will to say the word to Spike of all people.
Spike eased his grip but didn't let go. "Kittens are tougher than
you are right now, Rupert old dear. No fun beating the shit out of you
just yet. Watch your mouth." He let go, then ostentatiously turned
his back and walked away.
Giles thought about it, about grabbing the nearby chair and smashing it
over Spike's head. But he could tell Spike was waiting for him to try
something like that. And the older vampire was right, Giles did feel weak,
even though the new strength ran through this body. He could feel the dawn
approaching, with the weight of the sun pushing on his mind. Tomorrow
night would be different.
"So do I get to sleep on the floor again?" he snapped.
Spike pulled out his cigarettes. "Nope, you can sleep on something
softer." He nodded in the direction of the bed.
"If you think for one moment that I'm sharing--" He broke
off, trying to read the glint in Spike's eyes. Snide amusement, yes, but
maybe just a touch of offense. For thinking that Spike might want to share
the bed with Giles--or for Giles being automatically upset at the idea?
Spike hid behind the smoke from the cigarette. "I'm going to be up
for awhile yet. You're wrung out. Don't worry about it, get some
sleep." He headed up the steps to the upper level, leaving Giles to
make what arrangements he cared to.
Eventually, the grinding weariness made the final decision. Everything
stank of cigarette smoke, and whatever Spike put on his hair tainted the
pillows. Giles didn't care. An old set of sweats was part of the loot
Spike had brought from his apartment, and he changed into them before
collapsing on the bed.
His entire body ached. Fretfully he ran his tongue across the
fangs--his fangs--still barely believing that he, Rupert Giles, Watcher to
the third generation, could have fallen so. And not for the grand plan of
some master vampire but from a madwoman's twisted revenge on her former
lover. How . . . tawdry. Now what the hell was he supposed to do with
himself? Aside from rend and feed and bathe in hot blood and make his
victims crawl and plead for mercy--
There was still human enough left to him to see the shortsightedness of
that program, seductive though it was. Spike's plan came back to him, and
he remembered how often he and his old comrades had reassured themselves
that the world was safe because the vampires were so bloody disorganized
and at odds with each other. If they should ever find a leader . . .
Potential leaders were prime targets for Slayers. As he drifted into
oblivion, he wondered if some dusty prophecy spoke of this.
Voices woke him many hours later from blissful dreams of wailing women
and weeping men. Spike and a girl on the upper level of the crypt, the
door closed at the top of the stairs. Giles sat up, the blanket he knew he
hadn't pulled over himself when he went to sleep falling from him. He
looked at the other side of the bed. It had been slept in.
The girl's voice rose angrily. Some human remnant where his soul used
to be caught painfully. Buffy came here to Spike sometimes, searching
either for obscure comfort or an easy target. But this girl's voice was
higher than the Slayer's, and Giles wasn't sure if he was relieved or
"And I KNOW things are bad, what with Mom being sick and Giles
missing, but God damn it--"
"Watch your language!"
Giles got to his feet and moved towards the stairs. Dawn. Dawn was
"You're not too big to have your mouth washed out with soap,
missy," Spike went on. Dawn snickered. "And what's so damned
"You. You sound like Grandpa. And as if you haven't said
"Not where you could hear me. And you may be suffering from what
is laughably called an education in this country, but you're going to
learn something about being a lady if I have to beat it into you."
"Yes, Professor Higgins."
Spike snickered, and Dawn began singing--badly--"The Rain in
Giles put a foot on the stairs. Dawn was the Key, the central piece to
the entire problem of Glory. Even in his changed state he knew that
apocalypses were to be avoided, and the solution to this one was so
simple. She'd be amazed to see him, might even run to him, putting herself
in his hands. And a quick twist would see it all over. Rather like
wringing the neck of a goose. Or even breakfast, he thought, seeing the
foolishness of waste. He wondered how the blood of a magically created
being would taste.
His foot on the next step nudged an empty whiskey bottle. He reached
down to stop it before it rolled more than an inch, but was too late to
keep it from making a small noise.
Spike's voice cut off in mid-plea for Dawn to stop singing. He'd heard.
Dawn continued singing to the end of the verse, oblivious.
"Does the Slayer know you're here, niblet?" Spike asked
before she could draw breath for another chorus.
"Um . . ."
"Oh, lovely, then how long before I can expect my front door to
get kicked down again? And you shouldn't be wandering around alone anyway,
pet. You know as well as anyone what's out there. Let me get my coat and
I'll take you home."
There might still be time to finish it, Giles decided. If he could get
his hands on Dawn, Spike would hesitate, and then it would be too late.
Afterwards, they could see which of the two of them were tougher, but the
hard part would be done. He gathered himself, then a new voice stopped
"Dawn, if you're in there, I am so going to lock you in your room
and nail the windows shut--!"
"Bloody hell," Spike sighed, but his heart obviously wasn't
in it this time. "Evenin', Slayer, don't kick, it's open."
"I ought to kick it to pieces anyway, maybe a splinter would land
in a useful place. Dawn, how many times have I told you not to come
As the argument commenced, Giles stared up at the closed door. The
Slayer, his Slayer. The center of his life for years now, and the largest
threat to his continued existence. He remembered spontaneous hugs and
impish grins and passionate arguments and her unyielding courage. So much
asked of her, and always she had more to give. Maybe Spike was wrong,
maybe Buffy would forgive him for what had been forced upon him, her heart
was surely large enough to see beyond the obvious.
Beyond the demon that even now thought of how easy it would be to lull
her into turning her back on him. He could call out to her, claim Spike
was holding him prisoner, beg her to free him. She would come to him,
throw her arms around him and cry with joy that she had found him safe.
And he would put his arms around her, bend his head over hers, close to
her unprotected throat. With the Slayer gone and the Key destroyed,
Sunnydale would be at his feet . . .
He sat down heavily on the stairs, part of his mind intrigued to
discover that vampires could weep.
"What was that?" Buffy asked above.
"Rats," Spike said easily. "Cheaper than a fridge, and I
don't have to heat the blood."
"Euw!" Dawn protested. "That's gross!"
"At least you don't have to listen to them squeak and pick fur
from between your teeth."
Buffy and Dawn gave identical noises of disgust and made their escape.
After several moments, Spike opened the door. Giles didn't look up. Spike
came down the steps past him and went to the refrigerator, pulled out
breakfast and headed for the microwave.
"She might not hate me on sight," Giles said.
"Maybe." Spike lit a cigarette.
"She's let you and Angel live. She doesn't slay every vampire she
"She'd say she was doing you a favor, mate, not letting you live
like this. On some long night of patrolling you must have mentioned what
you wanted done in this situation."
Giles smiled wryly. "We promised each other, if the death was at
all suspicious, full cremation. And no hesitation if it was too late to
stop one of us from coming back."
The microwave dinged, and Spike filled a mug and a tall glass, topping
off the glass with whiskey. He brought the mug over to Giles, who took it
without thinking. "And despite all that," Spike said, "you
think she'd think twice because it was you."
"I can hope." He drank from the mug, savoring the warmth and
Spike tossed back a quarter of the glass. "Men who drink blood
shouldn't expect mercy from Slayers."
Giles stared at the mug in his hands for several moments, at the thick
red liquid. "No, I suppose not." He drained the mug.
"How do you feel tonight?" Spike asked.
"Better. Not quite so desperate. But I still want to go out."
"Course you do. Slayer's likely to be back in this neighborhood
later, though. She generally comes by after Dawn's been here to take her
Giles glared at him. "If you're trying to make me think that
involves anything more than bashing you, don't bother."
Spike drained his glass. "She can't bring herself to admit she
wants more, so she smacks me around. Kick me or kiss me, she'll work it
"You trained her, mate. What she thinks of vampires she got from
Giles went to the refrigerator himself for a refill. Spike had a
disturbing ability to read people and twist motivations, and Giles didn't
want to get pulled into a debate on why Buffy behaved the way she did.
Besides, she was none of his concern anymore.
Spike poured a shot of whiskey into his glass, swirled it around to
catch the remnants of the blood, and drank it down. He put the glass in a
niche cut into the wall where a trickle of water ran down, among other
glassware and dishes. "Put your mug in here when you're done."
"Please tell me that doesn't come from the sewer."
"City water, leaky pipe. Rather clever dishwasher, I
Giles shook his head. "I've never thought about the amenities.
Didn't imagine you had any."
"Nope, live like rats, we do, huddled in corners, no taste for the
comforts of living. Just ravening beasts wreaking havoc until the Slayer
catches up with us. Least, that's how we're described."
"For most of you, the description fits."
Spike shrugged. "P'raps. Me, I like my comforts. You're a 21st
century vampire, Rupert, you plan on living by firelight and sleeping on a
pile of rags and bones?"
"Not hardly." Sleeping arrangements, more things he didn't
want to talk about. Though Spike had a posh setup here, a nice split level
with running water, as it were. Palatial for one, even two on intimate
terms. Two who weren't on good terms, though . . . "How long are you
going to force me to stay here?"
"Force you? Oh, well, the chains, yeah, that was force. Convince
me you're in what passes for a right mind, you can leave whenever. It's
safest if you're with someone, though. Most vamps live in groups."
"You live alone."
"Not by choice. This god-damned chip . . . Only thing keepin' me
from being the whippin' boy for any vamp thinks he's tough is that I'm the
most vicious son of a bitch out there. They're not going to welcome you
with open arms, either, mate. The ones who don't see you as fair game will
see you as a chance to get to the Slayer."
Giles busied himself with the microwave and blood as he thought. There
were probably dozens of monsters out there who would love a spot of
revenge on the Watcher who had helped hunt them. And the smart ones would
see him as the ideal bait for a trap for Buffy.
"If I'm going to be such an outsider, how do you suppose I'm going
to take over the city, as you think I'm going to?"
"Once you finish integrating the new parts with the old parts,
you'll be ready to start kickin' ass. Vamps respect strength. Break some
bones, lop some heads, you'll soon have a bunch of blokes willin' to say,
'Yes, sir, Mr. Giles, sir, how high, sir?'"
It made sense, and Giles' respect for Spike's intelligence went up
another grudging notch. New vampires were so distracted by their hellish
urges and powers that they didn't think. The so-called parental bond
between sire and progeny was necessary to bring the offspring to what
passed for maturity.
He laughed at himself. As fascinating as a study of vampiric maturation
would be, he didn't think he'd find any journals willing to publish his
findings. But reading the paper before the Council could be amusing.
"What's so funny?" Spike asked.
"Just imagining the Council of Watchers' reaction as they listened
to my study of vampiric development from the inside. Incredibly useful
information, but I doubt they'd be an appreciative audience."
"I don't know. I've always found that being in immediate fear for
your life does wonders for the attention span. Could be fun to see."
Giles barely paid attention to his second helping of blood as he
pictured the Council at his mercy. He rinsed out the mug and put it with
the others, then thought of other things that needed washed.
"I want a shower. How do you work that, another leaky pipe?"
"20 gallon electric water heater just down the sewer. And it don't
smell that bad, so don't make that face."
"It'll do, I suppose."
"You get yourself a shower, then we'll go out."
"Out? As in outside into the world?"
"For a little bit anyway. See how you handle it."
"I'll be fine."
On seeing the shower, Giles once again missed his comfortable
apartment. But it sufficed for his needs at the moment. He mused on the
differences between the common minion vampires and the more socially adept
ones he knew. Was it merely age, or were they different from the moment
they were turned? Another article he'd never get the chance to publish.
Giles picked through his clothes thoughtfully. Really, how boring his
wardrobe was. At least he had his leather jacket and some blue jeans that
didn't look too horribly new. It would do for now.
He paused on the steps to make sure no one was waiting above, then
opened the door and went upstairs to a new part of the world. Spike stood
near the open outer door, observing the landscape outside.
"You ready?" he asked.
"Why wouldn't I be?"
Spike shrugged. "Stay alert, Slayer moves quiet." He led the
way out into the dark and moving night.
After only two steps, Giles froze, overwhelmed. The wind in the trees
and bushes shrieked messages at him, the city smells fought with the scent
of growing things. He smelled the old blood from some dark ritual
performed days ago several graves over. Who else was playing those kinds
of games in Sunnydale?
Pounding footsteps and heavy breathing came into hearing on the road
nearby. But not desperate sounds, an even rhythm. Someone running, but not
for their life. Giles felt the urge to give chase burn in his brain.
"Easy, mate," Spike said. "Can't go hunting joggers,
even if they are stupid enough to go through the cemeteries. They tend to
scream, and that attracts Slayers."
"She can't be everywhere."
"Doesn't have to be, she only has to be where you are."
"If whoever that is is so stupid to come running here, they
deserve to be hunted."
"Didn't figure you for a Darwinist. Trust me, I'd like a nice
endorphin-charged drink myself, but it's not worth it. Besides, where
would you dump the body?"
Giles started to shrug that off as not being anything to worry about,
then remembered how hunting sloppy vampires was made easy by tracking
where they left their victims. The jogger was going past just on the other
side of some bushes. Male, deep into the trance of movement, not paying
attention to his surroundings, confident that he was the match for any
would-be muggers. Giles took a few steps after him despite himself.
"And why shouldn't I?" he mused. "What are humans other
than herd creatures to be fed upon?"
Spike shook his head. "And this is how you think when you've
eaten. You'd really be Mr.Responsible on an empty stomach, wouldn't you,
Ripper." He grabbed Giles' arm and pulled him deeper into the
cemetery. "First rule, don't hunt right outside your front door. Hunt
outside somebody else's front door. And pick your prey, don't just grab
the first thing that wanders by screaming 'Eat me, I'm stupid.'"
Giles nodded reluctantly. "All right, so there's a great deal I
don't know about this. But I very much dislike being beholden to you for
"Feeling's mutual. Makes me wonder if my princess wasn't being
more subtle than I give her credit for, throwing the two of us
"Your 'princess' is a mad, sadistic killer."
Spike smiled fondly. "I know, bless her dear, dead heart. But
there it is, I'm not going to throw you out into the night to get yourself
staked, and you're not stupid enough to think that being quick with the
fangs is enough to keep you alive. So we're stuck together."
"Damn it all."
"So are you going to be Felix or Oscar?"
They strolled for another hour before Giles finally admitted that the
world was beginning to overwhelm him. The number of idiots in Sunnydale
was truly astounding, lovers strolling along dark streets, people taking
shortcuts through alleys.
"Don't they know we're out here?" Giles asked in amazement.
He wanted to grab some of the idiots and just shake sense into them, never
"Oh, something's out here, but they refuse to admit what it is.
But it's like this everywhere. You want a city that's great for hunting
in, go to New York. Subways and underground access to major buildings and
millions of people not keeping track of each other. Decades Dru and I
hunted there. But, you know, you get bored, time to see new things."
They headed back to the crypt. "I need more smokes," Spike
said. "You want anything?"
"Thank you, no. What are you going to use for money?"
Spike grinned. "If I'm lucky, nothing. If Dead Bob's on duty,
though, he's on to me. But don't worry, you've still got your credit
Giles reached for his wallet to check. "You stole my money! Damn
you. Why did you leave the credit cards?" he asked suspiciously.
"Red's keeping an eye on the computers, waiting for someone to
access your bank accounts. Have to do something about that soon. Be back
Spike wandered off into the night, and Giles retreated back into the
crypt. He headed downstairs, as far from the night as he could get. So
many distractions out in the world, his demon yammered at the walls of his
mind, aching to go out and play. He was going to have to find some way to
appease those urges without turning into a mindless monster. He was
amazed, though, that he was able to impose any will onto the demon. All
his training told him that the demon ruled the remnants of the human mind,
that without the soul there was no willpower to control the dark urges.
Apparently something else that Watcher training didn't quite cover. There
were some theories that said there were as many types as vampiric demons
as there were people, that the dark forces didn't waste garden variety
ravening beasts on remarkable humans. If that were so, then the dark
powers weren't going to pass by the opportunity to use a former Watcher to
Manipulated by the Council, manipulated by whatever powers lay behind
the demons. He was getting bloody sick of it.
He wandered the crypt, looking for distractions. One by one he looked
at the books Spike had brought from his apartment, discarding each of
them. He missed the library at the Magic Box, he wanted to do some
research on the underpinnings of vampiric lore. There was obviously more
than was being said, and he should have realized by now that the Council
was not above twisting matters to their own ends.
He looked at a pair of chests shoved against one wall, thought briefly
on the ethics of snooping, and went to explore. One chest was unlocked and
full of weapons. Spike tended towards axes, but Giles was surprised to
find a shotgun in good working order with a box of shells. Two good
swords, matched blades. And, wrapped in an old cloth near the bottom,
several railroad spikes with dark, crusty stains. Mementos, perhaps.
The other chest was locked, but it took Giles longer to find a length
of wire than it did to pick the thing. The chest was full of books, old
books. He pulled one out at random and discovered a copy of
"Leviathan" by Thomas Hobbes. On the flyleaf in front was the
inscription in flowing copperplate handwriting, "William Seymour
Bennett, Pembroke College." A Cambridge man, hm. He shook himself.
More likely Bennett was some poor sod who had the bad luck to be killed by
Spike. Except why would Spike steal a battered copy of a 17th century
philosophical treatise? A copy of Rousseau's "The Social
Contract", in French, also had Bennett's inscription. The other books
as well were the kind someone reading Classics would study in the late
In the bottom of the chest was a small wooden box, also locked. That
lock proved no more challenging. Inside was another book, an old copy of
"Oliver Twist." There was a bookplate on the inside front cover
for a Sir Richard Foxleigh. On the flyleaf was an inscription in another
"To my dearest Wills on his tenth birthday. This was my father's
favourite book, and I know you'll love it too. And your father need never
Beneath the book was a heavy folder, the sort old photographs were
displayed in. Giles opened it, careful of the worn leather binding. Half a
photo was inside, a woman in Victorian garb standing next to someone in a
chair, but the seated person had been carefully sliced away. The woman was
no stunning beauty, but she had a good face, with a warm, patient smile.
There was something of Spike in the chin, and Giles wondered what the
person in the chair looked like.
Long fingers wrapped around his wrist and squeezed. His fingers went
numb, and Spike very carefully took the photograph away. Then, with a
twist, he snapped one of the bones in Giles' arm.
"Do this again," Spike said softly, "and you're
dust." He let go, and Giles sagged away.
Through the haze of pain, Giles saw Spike close the photograph's cover,
put it back in the wooden box with the book, and replace it in the chest
of books. Everything was locked again and the chest shoved back against
the wall. Spike headed up the stairs, never looking back.
He set his own arm, cursing himself for getting distracted and not
realizing Spike had come back. Vampires healed quickly, but he'd really
been hoping not to have empirical evidence quite so soon. At least it
wasn't a head injury.
Spike disappeared for two days--or nights. Giles stayed in the crypt,
nursing his arm, drinking the blood in the refrigerator, and watching TV.
Spike had sprung for the full cable package, and there were a great many
interesting things on the BBC channels. "Changing Rooms" and
"Ground Force" were especially fun.
He only went outside once, very carefully. The cemetery was empty, but
he twitched at every shifting leaf, every swaying branch. He heard voices
once, voices that might have been familiar, and he ran back to the crypt.
Once back inside, he scolded himself. He was a fearsome demon of the
night, he should be terrorizing the frail mortals, not running from them.
But the memories, at least, of his pride refused to give in to blind
ravening. Plus there were all the other denizens of the night to be
concerned about. He knew most of them by reputation, but Spike knew them
on sight, knew which individuals were dangerous and which could be useful.
And Spike knew the sanctuaries and how to gain entry. Giles knew he could
simply embrace his vampireness and melt into the underworld, but if he
wanted to keep his individuality he was going to need Spike's aid.
For a little while, anyway, whispered the demon.
On the third night, Spike came back. Giles actually heard him upstairs,
tripping and swearing drunkenly. Giles went to put some blood in the
Spike stumbled down the stairs and stopped halfway. "You're still
here," he muttered.
"Yes, I am."
"My place. Oughta throw ya out."
"Up to you, of course."
The microwave dinged, making Spike wince. Giles filled a mug and handed
it over silently. Spike drained it in two gulps and leaned against the
wall as he looked around. The place smelled better, and some of the piles
of junk had been tidied up.
"Felix," he muttered.
Giles smiled faintly. "Well, yes, sorry, couldn't help myself. I
hope the pile of rat carcasses wasn't being saved for anything important.
They were too far gone for any spellwork I know of."
"Ah, never mind then. You want another?" he asked, gesturing
at the mug.
Spike wobbled down the rest of the stairs and into an overstuffed chair
he didn't remember. There was a small table with a lamp, and on the table
was a book, one of the books he'd brought from Giles' apartment. He
watched Giles from bleary eyes.
"How's the arm?"
Giles wiggled his fingers but didn't turn around. "Sore but
functional. Should be fine."
Spike grunted but didn't say more. He took the new mug without comment,
but got out of what was obviously Giles' chair to flop onto the bed. Giles
sat down, picked up his book and returned to reading.
Spike was sober the next night, and nothing more was said on the
subject of Giles' arm or the things he'd found in the locked chest. Giles
woke up alone again, but this time with a vague memory of a sharp elbow in
the ribs and a slurred voice saying, "Shove over, and stop hoggin'
the pillows, dammit." And he remembered a feeling of relief that he
wasn't alone in this strange world.
At the sounds of movement, Spike came down the stairs. "Don't fill
up," he said when he saw Giles at the microwave.
"What do you mean?"
He grinned. "Be a shame to have a full stomach when you go out to
celebrate your birthday."
"What? My birthday's not for months yet."
"It's been a week since Dru dumped you here. Yeah, a week's not
much of a birthday, but hey, any excuse for a bash-up."
"A week. I've been a vampire for a week." He no longer
noticed the blood as blood as he drank. "And a celebration, you say?
What did you have in mind?"
"A little trip out in the world, find some people, see what
happens. The Bronze is nice if you like them young and stupid."
Giles frowned. "Buffy and the others--"
"Don't go bar crawlin' very often anymore. And there are other
bars in this town if you'd rather. There's a trucker's bar out near the
highway that's always good for some laughs." Spike sighed.
"Haven't been there since the chip, it's a good place for a
"Forgive me if sweaty truckers don't sound appealing. The Bronze,
I think." He looked at Spike thoughtfully. "When you say 'see
what happens', do you mean . . ."
"I mean, bars are good places to hunt in, no one's surprised if
two people are real close to each other in dark corners. There's a lot to
be said for al fresco in an alley or in the bushes, but vampires are urban
creatures, crowds make it easier."
Giles' demon stirred anxiously, murmuring in anticipation. He frowned,
though, wondering if he could do this without losing control. It might be
simpler to waylay someone in an alley, fewer chances of witnesses. He was
mildly surprised to be able to consider this at all rationally,
remembering how he felt the first night he awoke. Spike had been right,
after all, to keep him confined until the first bloodlust was controlled.
Not that he was going to admit that, of course.
"I'm not sure I'll be able to . . ."
"Restrain yourself when you see the buffet? 'S'why I'm going with
you, if it gets too much for you we'll just grab some take-out and have
supper somewhere else."
Giles chuckled at the idea of take-out. "Well, let me get a
shower, and we can go."
Clothes presented a brief concern. "Wear the worn-out jeans,"
Spike suggested. "You'll be scraping the birds off."
"There are some nearly indecent holes in those jeans, I can't go
out in public in those."
"Like I said . . ."
"As if you're any great guide to fashion. Do you own any other
clothes than a couple of t-shirts and those jeans?"
"I won't embarrass you."
They changed on opposite ends of the crypt, though Spike smirked a bit
at Giles' attempts at modesty. Giles glanced up once and saw Spike, stark
naked, facing away and considering the contents of a curtained alcove full
of clothes. He looked away very quickly, but not before he wondered how on
earth Spike managed to stay in that kind of shape. He distracted himself
by trying to remember if he'd ever seen a fat vampire and considering the
metabolic changes of the vampiric state.
"You ready yet?" Spike asked.
Giles looked up carefully, then turned when he didn't see large
expanses of skin. "Good lord. Are you trying for a career as a men's
Spike finished tucking the red silk shirt into the waistband of the
very tight black leather pants and grinned. "Seen a lot of 'em, have
He blushed. "Anya gets some very odd catalogs. I think she's
trying to downgrade Xander's wardrobe."
"And you just happen to flip through 'em on slow days at the
"She asks everyone's opinion of what she should get him."
"Hmph. She's never asked me."
"I'm sure she'll get around to it."
"Don't know what you're upset by, though, Slayer's got pants as
tight as these."
"Trust me, I know."
They both paused thoughtfully, then shook themselves. Spike considered
Giles. "Jeans shrunk in the wash, did they?"
"It was a question of tight versus indecent holes. I'm sure I own
clothes a bit less embarrassing, but you don't seem to have brought them
back with you. An oversight, I'm sure."
"Of course." The green shirt passed muster, then Spike
considered Giles' hair. "Ever thought of bleaching your hair?"
"No. Get some shoes on and let's go."
The sewer brought them up in an alley near the Bronze. Giles paused at
the alley mouth.
The crowd filtering in and out of the bar was noisy, but the sound was
more than just chattering. There was a strange throbbing, an almost
mechanical thumping. A couple walked by, accompanied by two different
rhythms. Heartbeats, he realized. He was hearing the crowd's heartbeats.
"How do you stand it?" he asked, amazed.
"You get used to it or you go mad. How you holdin' up?"
"I can smell them, but . . . I think I'll be all right. Let's go
No one paid much attention to the pair--no one they needed to worry
about at any rate. A woman paused to admire Giles' ass, then noticed her
boyfriend doing the same. An argument soon broke out.
Beautiful girls in little clothing, all of them available to the right
approach. A tipsy girl stumbled against Giles and giggled an apology. He
caught her arms to help hold her up, felt the heat of her skin, the pulse
of her blood. She sagged against him, grinning, and his groin stirred. The
researcher in the back of his mind observed the phenomenon curiously,
wondering how a being without a pulse could have an erection. The science
could wait for later, the demon protested, all that mattered was this
soft, warm bundle of dinner and a show in his arms.
"Stacey, stop throwing yourself at all the cute guys," a girl
said, appearing at Giles' elbow. She tugged Stacey away.
"Oh, no problem," he smiled. The girl dithered and blushed,
but she propelled Stacey to another part of the room.
Spike appeared with two glasses, handing one to Giles. "Got away,
"Her friend came to rescue her and they left."
"Too bad, twosomes are fun." Spike grimaced. "Damned
Giles sipped the whiskey and looked over the crowd. "Up
there," he said, nodding at the balcony.
"Scout the herd, good call." He followed Giles up the stairs.
"Dru killed somebody up here for me, first chance to use my fangs
properly in months. She can be such a sweetheart when she wants, why'd she
have to go and wreck everything?"
"Because you're obsessed with Buffy, and don't you dare start in
on that where I can hear you."
Giles went to the railing and looked over the young, oblivious crowd.
All these people looking for action of one sort or another. The way some
of them were dancing, they'd be willing to finish matters on the dance
floor. His enhanced vision saw movement in a far dark corner, a man
sitting with a woman on his lap, two people who'd obviously decided that
even going to the car would take too long. He thought of going over and
joining them. The librarian in him blinked. The demon urged yes, but
Ripper looked for better meat.
"Oh, my," he said softly.
Spike glanced at him. "What?"
"At the bar."
"Oh, Nefertiti's sister there? Good eye, Rupert."
The woman was dark, tall, graceful, her black hair cornrowed tight
around her perfect skull. The long neck and elegant carriage echoed the
famous statue of Nefertiti. Her gold jewelry was perfect against her skin,
and while the soft sweater covered far more than the clothes of most of
the girls in the place, it hugged every curve fondly.
The demon approved, but then the demon yearned towards anything with a
pulse. Giles tossed back the rest of his whiskey.
"I'll see you later," he told Spike as he headed downstairs.
Spike smiled. "I'm so proud. But let's not be stupid." He
stayed on the balcony to observe.
Giles waited for a spot to open up at the bar next to the girl. He had
to stare down an inbound football player to do it, but he managed to reach
The bartender glanced up. "Single malt, if you have it,
"Be right up, sir."
Out of the corner of his eye he saw her glance at him. He looked over
and smiled. "Your glass is empty. May I get you a refill?"
"Thank you," she said in a charming light voice.
"And another of what the lady is having."
The football player signaled over Giles' head. "Dude, another six
"Be right there."
The girl leaned towards Giles. "Do you think they're all for
"Light beer, you know, it's less filling."
She held out her hand. "I'm Bethany."
"Rupert." He took her hand, paused a fraction of a moment to
enjoy the heat of her skin, then kissed her fingers. Her smile showed
dimples, and he knew he had her.
They chatted over their drinks. Bethany was a senior at UC Sunnydale,
studying political science. Giles told her he was on sabbatical from the
British Museum. They discussed Clinton and Monica, Giles taking the
position that world leaders throughout history have always had mistresses
and Bethany pointing out that in terms of realpolitik one had to be a
hypocrite in order to be elected.
"Democrats always have juicier scandals," she said.
"Republicans only get in trouble over money. The Democrats ought to
recruit candidates that way, 'Join our party, at least you'll get
Giles laughed. "It makes as much sense as any other reason to go
The band took the stage to the cheers of the crowd.
Bethany frowned. "I finally find someone to have a decent
conversation with, and now I can't hear myself think."
"Perhaps . . ." Giles said carefully.
"We could go somewhere else?" She smiled. "That would be
nice. Where do you live?"
He managed not to smirk. "I'm afraid I have a rather appalling
roommate who appears at very inopportune moments."
"My roommate's out of town. I have an apartment a couple of blocks
"Bethany, you hardly know me. You don't even know my last
"Rupert Bennett, how very Austin. I, unfortunately, am Bethany
"Oh, dear. Well, then, Ms. Krupowski, if you don't mind letting a
near stranger into your home. I would be glad to come over." He could
hear her excited heartbeat, feel the heightened body temperature. She
intended to be in bed with him before the night was over, but she enjoyed
the chase. So did he, for that matter.
He took her jacket from her and helped her put it on. The courtesy made
her blush and distracted her further from the foolishness of what she was
doing. After at least four years in Sunnydale, you'd think people would
know better. Just as well they didn't, of course.
They strolled out of the Bronze and down the street. Giles took her arm
and asked a question about the Electoral College. Bethany didn't notice
the figure in the duster following them, but Giles did. He debated being
annoyed, but if Spike only wanted to keep watch, they could argue about it
Bethany fumbled with her keys when they reached her door. Giles took
them from her, unlocked the door, and opened it for her. She smiled at his
courtliness and went in.
"Come in, please," she smiled.
What magic was there in a simple invitation that could break such a
barrier? Something else to be investigated. For now, he stepped into her
apartment and closed the door. "Thank you, Bethany."
She seemed a little flustered as she took off her coat. "Aren't
you cold without a coat?"
"Not really. After England, California can never seem cold."
"All I have is some cheap beer, but would you like some?"
"No, thank you, more alcohol might make me do something
Her smile was faintly naughty. "Well, we can't have that."
She sat on her couch. "Won't you join me?"
The demon tried to leap, but Giles took the long way towards the couch.
Her book shelves were happily full, with political theory and biography
and history. She had a new edition of "Leviathan." Giles
wondered if Spike would like talking to her--but the thought was swiftly
followed by the demon's snarl that the girl was his and he wasn't sharing.
He settled on the far end of the couch from Bethany. "It's so nice
to see someone with books in their house, especially books that have been
"Do you have a lot of books?"
"Yes, but they're still in storage."
"The appalling roommate doesn't let you have room?"
"Well, I did just move in."
She curled her legs under her and faced him. "So what brought you
from England to boring old Sunnydale?"
"Boring? Oh, I've never thought Sunnydale was boring." He
caught her eyes and smiled, making sure she thought she was the reason the
town wasn't boring.
She dropped her eyes and grinned. "But why did you come
"There was the opportunity to do research in some obscure areas of
history and mythology."
"Surprisingly so. I've seen some amazing things since I got
She scooted a little close. "Like what?"
"Oh, what could I say that you'd believe? Demons and angels, a
little heaven, more hell. Pain, courage, betrayal--" He shook
himself. "Just the usual that makes life seem like a poorly plotted
Bethany blinked, but said nothing. People in Sunnydale didn't talk
about things like that much. She reached out carefully and touched his
arm. "Life just sometimes sucks, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does." Her hand was warm through his sleeve. Enough
talk. He took her hand and raised it to his lips, keeping his eyes on
hers. She blushed and tightened her fingers.
She bit her lip, hesitant, then scooted a little closer. He smiled and
nibbled very lightly on a fingertip. The fangs itched, but he managed to
restrain himself. For now. He reached over to touch her face, feeling the
heat in her cheeks, then ran a finger down to her lips. Her breath caught;
when he leaned in to kiss her, she met him more than halfway.
Sweet, soft fire. The thought of Olivia, the last woman to grace his
bed, crossed his mind. The bitch. She couldn't handle his world, couldn't
deal with the real him. Wait till she saw him now. But plans for her could
wait, Bethany was the matter at hand.
He drew back and smiled at her look of disappointment. "Is there
perhaps somewhere with a bit more room than this, Bethany?" he asked
He expected her to blush and dither, but she only smiled. "If you
mean the bedroom, that's over there." She stood up, and he followed.
Her tastes were surprisingly sophisticated, no posters of musicians, no
frills, only one stuffed animal, a battered stuffed cat with pride of
place on the pillow of the twin bed. More books, a computer on the desk
next to a pile of papers.
"How hard you must work," Giles said, looking at the desk.
Bethany ran a tentative hand down the buttons of his shirt. "Which
is why I deserve a chance to have some fun."
"Oh, indeed." He reached up to his face, then laughed
"I'm used to wearing glasses. I was going to take them off."
She studied his face. "You'd look good with glasses, all studious
and intent. But you look very nice without them."
"Thank you, my dear." He touched her chin and leaned down to
kiss her again.
She rested her hands on his chest, then started on the buttons of his
shirt so she could touch the skin underneath. "You did take a chill.
You should wear a coat."
"I'm fine. It's being English, you know, we're all a little
"I'll have to see what I can do to help." She pressed her
body against his, kissing him again.
He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close, then slid his hands
under her sweater. She jumped a little, then laughed against his lips.
"Cold hands, warm heart," she whispered.
"You'll have to be the judge of that."
One hand slid up her back while the other traced the lines of the
cornrows of her hair, wrapping around her skull. Her lips opened to his,
and her warm tongue explored his. Her busy fingers finished with his shirt
buttons and slid the shirt off his shoulders. He had just discovered she
didn't wear a bra when her hands slid down his back to his ass. The cloth
of the jeans was so thin he could feel each finger. He tugged on her
sweater, and she obligingly lifted her arms to let him pull it off.
He could only look at her for a moment, the perfection of the dark pink
nipples and the proportion of her lightly muscled ribcage to her narrow
waist. "Lord, you're beautiful."
"So are you," she smiled. She leaned against him and ran her
hands down his ass. "These are some very tight jeans. And I don't
feel anything under them but you. Aren't you afraid of something
"One just has to be very careful with the zipper."
He kept his hands on her smooth shoulders as she gently unfastened his
jeans and slid down the zipper. But he couldn't help gasping as warm
fingers slid in and around him. He felt his face start to shift but fought
it down, wanting her warm and alive against his body before anything else.
When he had control of himself again he pulled her face up to kiss her
again, more insistently this time. She gave a small moan of pleasure. The
zipper of her pants slid down easily, and she helped him push them down
her hips, then kicked free of them and her shoes. She smiled proudly as
she leaned against him to slide her hands inside the tight jeans and help
him get them off. His shoes followed, then he held her tight against him
to feel her heat.
"Come on,"she whispered, and he followed her tug towards the
bed more than willingly.
She stretched out for him, and he was very happy to look at her, but
more willing to touch her. He felt the pulse on the inside of her leg, and
she gasped softly as his fingers continued upwards. He wondered if the
chill of his touch in the heat of her opening felt good or only different.
Blast that researcher in his mind. She threw her head back as he moved up
to fondle her clitoris. So very, very warm and wet and welcoming.
He continued to explore as he slid up to kiss her. Her arms slid around
his shoulders eagerly, and she gasped as his fingers went inside.
Her pulse pounded at his mind, battering his control. She didn't seem
to feel he was hurrying matters, though, when he nudged her legs apart and
settled against her. She was every warm and welcoming thing he'd ever felt
as his cock found its way in. He went slow because the alternative was to
lose everything to the demon, and the memories of the man wanted the feel
of a woman.
Bethany gasped in pleasure and moved against him till he was buried in
her. He found her mouth and muffled her cries. She moaned as he thrust, a
little surprised at the force but not at all disconcerted. She wrapped her
legs around his waist in encouragement.
He pulled away to watch her face. "So close," she whimpered.
"Just a little more." He leaned down to suck on a nipple. Her
hands went to his ass, pulling him against her as she thrust up to meet
him. With a long moan, she spasmed around him, the muscles of her vagina
squeezing hard. His cry was as loud as hers as he came, and the man lost
to the demon.
His fangs emerged, as hungry as his cock. Her head was back, the pulse
in her throat visible. He had no thought beyond feeding, grabbed her hair
to hold her still, and sank his fangs into her throat.
Her first gasp was of pleasure, the next was of pain, and he put a hand
hard over her mouth to keep her quiet. And he eagerly drank.
Why hadn't those so-called experts said how GOOD this felt? Hot, live,
full of lust and passion and fear. She struggled desperately against him,
whimpering, which only fueled his pleasure. Her heartbeat fluttered, and
he tasted despair. She went limp in his arms, her pulse faltered against
his lips, then went still.
Panting, he rested against her for several moments, feeling complete
and sated and utterly content. Finally he pushed himself up and stared
down at the body beneath him.
His first kill. Well, his first kill as a vampire.
He closed his eyes at a sudden shriek where his memories lay, the
memories of fighting vampires, of protecting the innocent, of preventing
the very thing that had just happened. Until this moment, some secret part
of him had hoped to find a way out of this. But now the blood of a living
person swirled in him, warming him, caressing his mind. He had killed this
beautiful girl, eagerly, passionately, ripping away her future, tearing
her life from those of the people who loved her.
He opened his eyes to look at her again, seeing the ashen color that
disfigured her face, the staring eyes, the gaping mouth. Her smile was
gone, her mind was still.
Blood still ran sluggishly down from the punctures in her neck.
He leaned down to lick it off, not wanting to miss a drop.
He took a deep, decadent, blissful breath of the crisp night air as he
stepped out of Bethany's building. Cigarette smoke heralded Spike stepping
out of a nearby alley. Giles felt too good to be annoyed at the
Spike looked him up and down and grinned. "Bloody bastard."
Giles glanced down at himself, checking for stains. "I take it you
mean that figuratively."
"I spend my evening beating up a Devinian demon while you're in
bed with a beautiful girl. 'Tisn't fair."
"Why were you beating up Devinian demons?"
"Silly sod tried to mug me. Something about needing money for his
Girl Scout cookie habit." He held out a cardboard box.
"Oh, thank you."
They munched cookies as they strolled. "Where'd you leave
her?" Spike asked.
"Tucked into her own bed with her stuffed kitty. Her roommate's
out of town."
"None to speak of." Giles glanced at him. "Do you plan
to keep chaperoning me?"
"Nah, you'll probably do all right by yourself from now on."
He sighed angrily. "Dammit, I can smell her on you."
"I'll try to stand downwind. By the way, listen carefully because
I'll likely say this only once, but thank you for keeping me from making
an utter ass of myself while I got my head around all this."
Spike waved a hand graciously. "Glad to help. Did she have any
"I'm not a thief, I didn't look."
"Besides, I'm fairly sure my fingerprints are on file somewhere, I
was very careful."
"Should've gone with you, my fingerprints aren't anywhere."
"I was tempted by her library, though, lots of history and
"Beautiful and smart. I do hate you. Fuckin' chip."
Giles was silent in thought for a bit. "I need my books.
Especially my diaries."
"I think I can turn off that chip."
Spike spun on his heel. "What?"
"I was very intrigued by what they did to you, spoke with
"Stupid wanker. Slayer's brains were in her knickers on him."
"I agree, but do you mind? As I was saying, I spoke with the
stupid wanker at length about what he knew about the chip. Which wasn't
that much. Perhaps I should have used dog biscuits as encouragement."
Spike snickered, but looked impatient. "Get to the point,
"To wit, I wanted to know various ways the chip could be bypassed,
in case we needed to counter them. The idea of you being a creditable
threat again was not pleasant."
"Very intelligent of you."
Giles grabbed several cookies. "I came to the conclusion that the
odds of getting it out were slim--unless you want to have a flip top skull
as you keep looking for a competent surgeon."
"Just fuckin' amusin', you are. So what did you come up
"Magic. I know a lovely spell that disrupts cellular phones and
other small electronics. Very useful in restaurants and theatres. I should
be able to modify it for that chip."
Spike bit into another cookie. "I know it's popular to think of
Spike as pathetic and stupid, but I know that the nervous system is based
on electrical impulses. So you're looking for a spell to disrupt my
brain's electrical fields."
"I have never thought of you as stupid. An obsessive homicidal
maniac, yes, but not stupid. Magic deals with intent as much as anything,
and it will be quite easy to target the spell against artificial
electrical impulses as opposed to organic ones. The only problem is making
it permanent. All my notes are in my diaries."
"Where are they?"
Spike pulled a pocket watch out of a pocket of his duster.
"Pushing one. Will the dear little Scoobies still be there?"
"Worth a walkby to see." Giles took the last of the cookies
and tossed the box into the gutter. "If you say anything about this
being the start of a beautiful friendship, I shall stake you."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Rupert."
"Call me Ripper."
Read the next chapter: Loose Ends