Part 10


I want you

Go on and hurt me then we'll let it drop

I want you

I'm afraid I won't know where to stop

Elvis Costello, "I Want You"


Death wasn't quite like she'd imagined it. For one thing, she hadn't thought that being dead would hurt. Her whole body ached with a dull, steady throb from her bones outwards. She slowly became aware again of things besides pain, sounds: rushing wind, a motor, someone whimpering nearby.

"Joyce," a too familiar voice said. She made an inarticulate sound of protest and opened her eyes. Spike smiled down at her. "No" she tried to say, and realized that she couldn't speak because something was blocking her throat.

"They had to put a tube down your throat to help you breathe. You almost died," Spike said, stroking her cheek gently. She tried to get away from his touch, and realized that she was securely tied down. Worse and worse. She turned her head, trying to find something to look at other than Spike's concerned face. She found herself looking at two people, a man and a woman lying tied and gagged on the floor of the vehicle. They were wearing paramedics uniforms, and she realized sickly that this must be an ambulance. They rolled helplessly, back and forth with the motion of the vehicle. As far as she could tell they were unharmed, but that wouldn't last. Joyce couldn't meet their terrified eyes. Even if she could speak, what could she say? "Sorry I was responsible for your horrible death," didn't seem quite adequate.

"I'm really impressed by 911, it's fucking marvelous," Spike said reclaiming her attention. "They were there 5 minutes after I called." His voice darkened slightly, as he remembered. "Had a time bringing you back. They pumped all the blood they had with them into you, and said you needed more. They wanted to take you back to the hospital, but I couldn't have that." Tears of frustration welled up in Joyce's eyes. "Brought them with us, just in case." She should have used the knife on herself, instead of giving into the temptation to try and hurt him. Who did she think she was, the slayer? Misinterpreting her tears, Spike bent down and kissed her softly on the forehead.

"I know I've been pushing you. Moving too fast," he said his deep voice coarse with emotion. "You need some time. You need to get away from the things that have been distracting you. Your old life. The Slayer. We're leaving Sunnyhell, tonight. Getting away. Just you and me."



Buffy, Oz, and Xander hurried back to the hospital. The boys waited in the car while Buffy ran inside to collect Willow. She found her sitting beside the bed, holding Giles' hand . Giles turned his head weakly as Buffy came in.

Buffy," he said.

"You're awake!" Buffy said happily.

"Yes. I'm fine, or will be in any case. Did you find your mother?"

Buffy's smile guttered out. "No, but we know where Spike's taking her. Willow. I need you to come."

"But Giles...."

"We need someone who can hack into the airport files."

"Airport?" Willow asked, surprised.

Buffy nodded "Spike's leaving town."

"Go," Giles told her firmly. "I'll be fine." Willow opened her mouth to protest, then shut it as her brain engaged.


"So, uh, what's the plan?" Willow asked as they zoomed past the Sunnydale city limits, past the dried out almond orchards ripe for the bulldozer, on their way to Sunnydale Municipal Airport. Xander cleared his throat.

"Well, even if there were any commercial night flights, it's not like they're gonna let "Mr. Spike and Hostage" board."

"Not unless he already...." Willow closed her mouth on the rest of the sentence with an almost audible click. Oz glanced sideways at her and took her hand.

"So, I figure he's got to take a private plane. And like I said, we need you to find out who's filed a flight plan for tonight, or whatever."

"That's my line alright. Assuming Spike's gonna follow FAA regs."

"Got it covered. While you're hacking, we'll be out trying to find him the old-fashioned way."

A few minutes later they pulled into the nearly deserted airport parking lot. Inside the terminal building it was quiet, downright dead in fact. All of the gates were closed, the desks dark, the x-ray machine abandoned. A quick check of the "Departing Flights" monitor reassured them that there were no scheduled flights leaving until 9 a.m. the next morning, well after sunrise. The gang went to the windows and looked out. The bluish lights outlining the runways led out into the quiet dark; there were no planes visible near any of the gates, no-one moving on the tarmac.

They left the passenger area and quickly located a door marked "Staff Only". Beyond were the airport administration offices, locked and empty. Willow spotted a computer terminal through the glass door of the "main administrator's" office. Buffy forced the door open with negligible effort. Willow sat down at the desk and started typing. After a moment she looked up, frowning.

"Cracking the password is gonna take me at least 10 minutes," she apologized. Buffy nodded. "OK" she set a cellular phone down on the desk "Call us if you get a hit. Come on guys."



"Mr. Crakes, we're approaching Sunnydale airport. We'll be on the ground in approximately 5 minutes. Please fasten your seat belt." Message delivered, the pilot shut off the intercom with a click.

Steve Crakes closed his laptop and leaned over to peer through the window at the sparse scattering of lights below. Christ, he really was in the boondocks. He checked the time, almost 11 p.m. Fuck. The original plan had been to leave San Jose at 6 and arrive in Sunnydale by 7, leaving plenty of time to eat dinner and get a good night's sleep. Instead he'd been held up in meetings and hadn't been able to get to the airport until almost 10. Dinner had been a vending machine sandwich and a couple of martini's from the plane's well stocked bar. He didn't know what the fuck the urgency was. Yeah, sure they needed to build a new plant, and yeah, sure as hell it wasn't going to be in the Silicon Valley where real estate prices made Manhattan look cheap; but it wasn't like Sunnydale was the new hot spot. He'd never even heard about it before Gary, the big boss, scheduled him for the trip. He leaned back in his seat as the wheels made contact with the ground and the engines roared into reverse.

From the shadows of an empty hangar, baleful eyes watched the jet taxi to a stop.

"What do you think?" Spike whispered to the apparently teenaged minion standing at his side.

"It's a Gulfstream IV-SP, range up to 4,220 nautical miles non-stop, seats up to 12 depending on how they've got it configured. Luxury fittings. Sweet. It'll take you anywhere you want to go."

"Right. Let's go."

Crakes waited impatiently as the pilot unlatched the door and lowered the steps, wondering if Sunnydale was big enough to have an escort service. As he stepped out he saw there were people coming towards them across the tarmac. Sky caps? He wondered. Or maybe it was the mayor with the keys to the city. He realized that they didn't look exactly official and they were coming awfully fast. Behind him, he heard the pilot heading back up the stairs in a hurry. There was something wrong with their faces, he realized his faint anxiety blossoming into fear and to turned to follow the pilot, and they were on him.

They took both of the humans back inside the plane and shut the door. Spike looked around and nodded his approval. Very nice. Four seats, lots of open space, a bar, entertainment section against the partition separating the main room from the galley and restroom aft. He turned his attention to the two terrified humans each being held immobile by two vampires. He looked at the pilot with distaste. Grey hair, overweight, not what you'd call appetizing, though at least he was showing some backbone. The suit had wet his pants, but he was still more to Spike's tastes -- young and tender.

"Here," he said grabbing Crakes' face and forcing him to look at him. "Can you fly this plane?"

"N-no," Crakes stammered. Spike sighed, disappointed but not surprised and let go of him.

"Oh well, guess you're it then, pretty boy." The pilot staggered as the minions shoved him into Spike. Spike caught him, ripped open his shirt, and jerked his head back. He contemplated the coarse, slightly hairy throat, and sighed again. "Cheers," he said finally resigned. The pilot stiffened in agony as Spike's fangs sank into his throat and began to draw out his life.

"Hey, what about this one?" One of the minions asked a little while later. Spike looked up from slicing open his wrist and shrugged. "Excess baggage. Go on and have a snack if you like."

Crakes screamed.



They spent more than an hour fruitlessly wandering around the nearly deserted airport. The most action they'd seen was dodging an elderly security guard. There were several private jets parked on the tarmac, but they all appeared dark and deserted and Oz hadn't detected any vampire scent near them. They were on the far edge of the field now, an area of hangars many of which were empty, apparently deserted. A chainlink fence marked the boundary between airfield and the partially dried out swamp that surrounded it. Finally Xander spotted something.

"Buffy, take a look." Xander pointed out an ambulance parked next to a hangar. The lights were out and there didn't appear to be anyone with the vehicle.

"Suspicious much?" Buffy said. They moved quickly across the tarmac towards it, looking for attackers in every shadow. They reached the vehicle unmolested. Buffy tried the back door and to her surprise found it open. She looked questioningly at Oz who stood stiffly, nostrils flared. He nodded. Buffy motioned the two non-slayers back and then threw open the door.

There was no-one inside. The interior was littered with bandages and other medical trash. There was blood on the floor. Oz wouldn't come further than the open door and he backed away after a moment, taking in great gulps of clean air.

"They were here," he said.

"Can you..uh..track them?" Oz nodded.

"Let's go then," Buffy said. She looked expectantly at Oz.

"Looking for somebody?" A high-pitched voice drawled insolently from behind them. Buffy turned to face the vampire. She counted 5, but figured there were probably more that she couldn't see. The body the leader wore looked to be about 15, 16 years old at the most, dressed in the height of baggy pants white-boy wannabe-gansta fashion. He probably hadn't been dead more than a couple of years. Vampires, she thought, were the original fashion victims. Behind her, she sensed Oz and Xander bringing up their weapons.

"Good guess. Can you help?" She asked sweetly.

"Yeah baby, I can help. I always wanted a taste of slayer p----" he exploded into dust as Buffy threw a stake and skewered his heart. His posse drew back for a moment in shock, then recovered themselves and attacked.

A big, burly vamp was the first one to reach Buffy. He tried to reverse when she pulled Kiro-san from the sheath on her back. She missed his neck, but managed to slash his shoulder. He howled and lashed out with his other hand. Buffy easily evaded the blow and punched him hard in the face, followed it up with a kick in the kneecap. He fell to one knee, and before he could recover Buffy brought the katana up and down, hitting her mark perfectly this time. Dust.

Xander fired the shotgun, blasting a hole through one of the pair of vampires who had cornered him against the side of the ambulance. He winced as the sound echoed in the empty night. That was gonna get noticed, he thought. The unwounded vamp took one look at his buddy bent over as he tried to keep his guts from falling onto the ground and, to Xander's great relief, suddenly remembered an appointment he was late for. Xander stepped quietly behind the wounded vamp and staked him. He was about to reload when what felt like a large tree slammed into his back, knocking him flat. He tried to get up, but the size 13 Doc Marten grinding into his spine kept him pinned him to the ground. The biker vamp grinned down at the boy, then he bent down and grabbed him by the hair.

Buffy slammed into him, knocking him off Xander. They rolled together, the vamp trying to get a grip on her, but Buffy headbutted him and tore herself free. She jumped to her feet, and faced him, frowning. She'd lost Kiro-san when she'd tackled him, and she didn't think she wanted to wrestle with this guy anymore tonight. He grinned at the tiny Slayer and pulled the biggest switchblade she'd ever seen from his pocket, making it official. Buffy shrugged out of her jacket and held it in one hand while she beckoned him to come on with the other. Biker vamp raised an eyebrow, and moved forwards. Buffy tossed the jacket into the air, towards his knife arm, his eyes followed it. His peripheral vision saw her move, and a moment later a sharp but blessedly brief agony told him he'd been had as her stake plunged into his heart.

Oz was almost overrun by his attackers before he could get the crossbow up. He shot the first vamp at point blank range, taking out his former Sunnydale high classmate. He had to use the weapon as a club to fend the next one off. Suddenly iron hard arms wrapped around him from behind. Oz kicked and struggled as he was lifted off his feet. "Hello little boy," a husky voice murmured in his ear. "Want to have some fun?" The blonde girl in front of him grinned and knocked the crossbow out of his hands. She stood very close to him and licked his face.

As her opponent sifted onto the asphalt, Buffy heard Oz scream.

Oz howled as one vampire's teeth sank into his throat and teasingly slowly began to drain him. His struggles increased as the one facing him forced his mouth open and stuck her tongue inside. The vampire chuckled, and kept on feeding until Xander slammed the butt of his sawed-off into the back of her skull. She screeched, spewing Oz's blood as she pulled free. He sagged forwards into the other's embrace. Enticed by the smell of blood, she pulled his head back and fastened onto the bleeding wound.

Buffy grabbed her by her long blonde hair and pulled her off Oz. She had time for one defiant snarl before Buffy snapped her neck and staked her.

The vampire who had been holding Oz was either a very tall woman, or a very attractive transvestite. Xander backpedaled hastily as he reversed the shotgun again. She leaped at him and he pulled the trigger, and blew the front of her head into red mist. Her mutilated body fell to the ground and Xander stared horrified when she didn't dust, but lay there twitching. He finally moved forwards and finished her off with a stake. Then turned away and joined Buffy, kneeling next to Oz.

The two gashes in Oz's neck made them both wince sympathetically. He was unconscious, even paler than usual and breathing too rapidly.

"Shock," Xander said. "I saw blankets in the ambulance." He hurried away to get them while Buffy stood guard over Oz.

They covered Oz with the blankets, then called Willow. It felt like it took forever for Xander and Buffy to get Oz, supported between the two of them, to the parking lot. Willow was waiting, pale and anxious when they got there. They laid the semi-conscious Oz down on the back seat and Buffy handed the keys through the window to Willow.

"Oh! I almost forgot," she said "There's someone fueling up at pump #3. I spotted it just before you called. Here." Buffy took the crumpled printout from her shaking hand without looking at it.

"Great! You'd better get going." Willow nodded and peeled out of the airport. Buffy looked at Xander and uncrumpled the map. It showed an area they hadn't searched yet, on the other side of the airport.



Spike grabbed the pilot by the hair and stared into his face. Still no sign of resurrection. Lazy bugger, he thought, and let his head bounce off the carpet. He hoped he hadn't taken too much. The night was racing toward dawn, and it was too late to find another plane.

He shut the door of the cockpit and went back out to check on Joyce. The last of the solution had finished dripping into her veins and she looked much better, pinking up nicely. He bent down and gave her a kiss. Felt her flinch. She opened her eyes and looked at him. Still angry. Still here.

"Hey, baby," he purred.

Ellroy had been left lying on his side, facing his partner. Her eyes were closed and he couldn't tell if she was breathing. She'd taken a bad hit when the monsters had invaded the ambulance. "Liza," he hissed softly. "Liza?" A shadow fell over him and he stiffened as a hand came down on his shoulder. He looked up, terrified at the bleached blond leader. At the monster, the vampire. He'd survived Hellay only to get himself killed by vampires here in Hicksville. He'd only been in Sunnydale for 6 weeks, and if he lived he damn sure wouldn't be staying.

Spike smirked at the fear he could smell rolling off the man as he pulled him up and set him on his feet. "Time to check on your patient," he said. He unlocked the cuffs and let him go. Ellroy was acutely away of his presence as he bent over the patient. She was conscious, looking up at him anxiously. He wondered again just who she was. He'd first seen her being carried in the arms of the blond vampire. He remembered thinking he was probably her son. She'd been pretty close to dead from extreme blood loss, surprise, surprise, and badly banged up. He and his partner had done good work. She was in reasonably good shape now, stable, blood pressure, heartbeat, respiration close to normal.

"She's doing fine. " Ellroy reported, fighting to keep his voice steady.

"Can that tube come out?" Spike asked. He nodded. "Do it then."

"Sorry," he told her. "This is going to hurt a little. Try to relax."

Joyce nodded and did her best. He hadn't lied, it hurt like hell. She gagged and coughed, her throat felt as though it had been sanded but it was better than the tube. At Spike's insistence the paramedic also removed the IV from her arm.

"Good," the monster said. Ellroy winced as iron hard hands twisted his arm behind him and frog-marched him into the bathroom. Before he knew what was happening, he was cuffed by one wrist to the safety railing next to the toilet. He returned a moment later with Liza. Ellroy was incredibly relieved when she moaned a feeble protest as she was dumped on the floor. "No noise," the monster warned. He left, shutting the door behind him.

"Liza," Ellroy whispered. "You awake?" Liza moaned.

"Uhhh. Shit, my head. What happened? I remember some crazy shit about..."

"Vampires. They've got us."

"Oh fuck," Liza said, to his surprise, she didn't seem startled by the concept. "Stupid, stupid..." she mumbled, apparently to herself.

"You knew about the vampires then," Ellroy said after a minute.

"Yeah, shit. I'm sorry Ellroy. I shoulda known better than to take the call, but it was the motel, it wasn't a deserted house, or graveyard or the school. I thought it was legit," she sighed. "You shoulda been told anyway."

"Yeah, I guess. How long have you lived here in Sunnydale, Liza?"

"Too long. I shoulda... I'm really sorry Ellroy."


Privacy achieved, Spike returned to Joyce. He bent down next to her. Her eyes tracked him fearfully, he was aware of her pulling at the restraints holding her to the gurney as he gently stroked her hair. "Joyce," he said leaning down to softly kiss her forehead. "Baby, it's all going to be alright." She was so beautiful, he thought. He pulled the torn remnants of her shirt open to reveal her breasts, her chest, the darkening bruises made by him, and by the paramedics pounding life back into her.

He laid his head on her chest and listened to the reassurance of her steady heartbeat. Remembered the helplessness and the aching hollowness he'd felt when she lay limp across his bed, her heartbeat stuttering and failing, leaving him. He would teach her to love him, and then she would be with him forever, his own personal sun.

"We'll take it slow," he murmured. "We have all the time in the world."

Joyce made a painful sound of protest as he bent down and sucked it into his mouth, gently sucked. She could feel his teeth, pressed into the skin and she tensed, expecting pain. Instead he continued sucking and swirling his tongue around both one, then the other nipple. With a feeling of betrayal she felt the erectile tissue stiffen between his fingers, and a ghost of something like pleasure move through her....but she was too tired, and weak. She closed her eyes, and let herself drift off.


Spike lifted his head from Joyce's chest at the sound of the cockpit door opening. About bloody time, he thought. The pilot lurched into the room, disoriented yellow eyes glittering under heavy demon brows. Spike could almost smell his hunger. Their eyes met as the pilot focused in on the only warm person in the room. He moved toward them. Spike got to his feet and intercepted, clamping one hand on its throat and squeezing, from the terror in its eyes it probably brought back recent bad memories.

"Food," it whined pleadingly, its gaze still focused on Joyce.

"Back off. This one's mine. Got it?" He shook him hard for emphasis. It looked at Spike, confused.

"Please?" it said. Spike sighed. There was no point in trying to have a conversation with a newborn before it fed. He dragged the pilot along with him to the restroom and opened the door. Two frightened human faces looked up at him, as the pilot stiffened in his grip, transfixed by the smell of blood. Which one should he let him eat? The man had been useful, but the girl would make a tastier on-board meal, for him. Decisions, decisions; Spike shrugged.

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe...." he chanted, then stopped. "Fuck it. Take the girl."


"We need to refuel," the pilot said coming out of the bathroom drying its hands. It tossed the towel to the floor. His face was still damp where he'd washed up in the basin. He'd made quite a mess of his first feeding, which wasn't unusual and there was quite a bit of blood on his uniform. Spike hoped he didn't have to count on him to deal with any humans tonight.

"And how do we do that?" He asked.

"Well, the pumps won't be open until 5 a.m. because of the curfew, but it's not real complicated. I can do it. The keys'll be in the office." Spike nodded.

"Better get on it then."



There it was. Xander and Buffy crouched in the slight shelter of a cluster of 50 gallon drums and stared across at the pump #3. A small, sleek jet sat in the bright lights of the fueling station, the long umbilical of the fuel hose plugged into its belly. There were three persons working on refueling the plane, one wore a pilot's uniform. Buffy couldn't tell if any of them were human. There was no sign of Spike, but the jet's door was open. Xander looked over at Buffy.

"So do we have a clever plan?" he asked, hopefully.

"Uh, not really." Buffy admitted. Xander sighed and stood up. "Right then."

He walked boldly up to the man keeping an eye on the pump. He looked ordinary enough and was wearing coveralls.

"Hey," Xander said. "Is Joe around... Ooops." He said as the guy turned around. Vampire, definitely. "Sorry to disturb you. I'll go now." He turned and ran back the way he'd come. The vampire followed him, and a moment later met up with Mr. Pointy.

Xander and Buffy ran toward the plane. One of the remaining two vampires tried to intercept them; Buffy decapitated him without breaking stride. Pilot guy abandoned the hose and took off into the night.

Buffy rushed up the stairs and met the vampire who had appeared at the top with the edge of her sword. The vamp howled and fell off the stairs. Buffy kicked his arm after him and ran inside.

Spike snapped to attention when he heard the shriek as the first minion was destroyed. He quickly ripped off Joyce's restraints and dragged her upright. He wrapped an arm around her as she leaned against him, almost too weak to stand and turned to face the Slayer as she burst into the plane. His eyes widened when he saw the sword. That was new. He really hated this Slayer.

"That's a big knife for a little girl," he sneered.

Buffy swallowed hard as she saw her mother, pale and sagging in Spike's grasp. But alive, she reminded herself. Spike brought a black-nailed hand up to her throat and grinned nastily as he read her mind.

"Get away from her!" Buffy shouted.

"So you can shish-kabob me with that thing? I don't think so. Better idea." He pulled the gun out and pressed the muzzle to Joyce's' temple. "You move away from the door and I don't blow mommy's brains all over the carpet." The Slayer froze, but didn't move, her eyes dark and determined.

"And you'll just let her go once you're clear? Right." Buffy lowered the sword, rested the point on the floor. "Tell you what, why don't we wait. Sunrise is in, what, an hour?" Spike's mouth thinned into a line.

"Don't think I want to wait," Spike said, cocking the pistol.

Buffy? Joyce thought struggling back up into consciousness. She opened her eyes. She realized she was being held closely by Spike, something hard and cold pressing into her forehead. Buffy! Her daughter was standing a few feet away in full battle gear, eyes wide and grimly intent. She heard Spike say "I'm gonna count to 10. 1, 2, 3..."

Spike's finger almost slipped on the trigger as Joyce suddenly came to life, screaming "Do it, you bastard!" and grabbed for the gun. He swore and tightened his grip on her neck, choking her until she stopped fighting. Looked up to see that Buffy had moved just a little bit closer. He shook his head in warning, "I'll snap her neck," he warned.

"Don't let him get away," Joyce rasped. He growled and tightened his grip. If he threw Joyce at Buffy, he figured he could get past her, get away into the night.

"Fuck it," he thought, and fired at Buffy. Buffy threw herself to the ground and rolled to the side, as the bullets slammed into the wall, seats, the floor. She managed to get on the other side of the partition; ducked hastily as a shot penetrated the metal. She wrenched the fire extinguisher off the wall and threw it at Spike's last known position as she emerged from the other side. She was just in time to see him disappearing out the door, with her mother slung over his shoulder. She ran after them. The door slammed and she heard metal grinding as he sabotaged the door.

"Mom!" She screamed in frustration.

Spike heard the metal protest as Buffy attacked the door. He knew it wouldn't hold her for long. He hurried down the stairs. The sky was beginning to change from black to deep blue, dawn was coming. He was alone. No minions in sight. He took a step towards the hangars. Half of them were empty, he was sure to find shelter somewhere among them.

"That's far enough, Spike."

Spike snarled and wheeled around to face this latest interruption. "Fuck! You again!" he said to Xander. Xander shook his head, "Don't move," he warned, keeping his weapon steady.

"Think you can get me without killing her, Sureshot?" Spike mocked. Xander didn't seem concerned.

"Not a problem," he said, and pulled the trigger. Xander really enjoyed the expression of horrified realization on Spike's face as the holy water spurted out of the toy Uzi and soaked both of them. Spike screamed and started to tear at his clothes. He let Joyce slip out of his arms, and Xander winced as she fell to the ground and lay like a bundle of abandoned clothes on the black asphalt. Xander towards her, grimly focusing the spray on Spike who had fallen to his knees trying to shelter under his duster. As the spray lessened, Spike collapsed totally, face down on the tarmac. Smoke curled up from his leather-clad form.

Xander dropped the empty water gun as he knelt down next to Joyce and checked her pulse. She stirred feebly. He stood up, pulling a stake from his pocket and stood up to go over to where Spike lay helpless...

...except he wasn't there anymore.

Xander felt a hand, a claw on his shoulder and was spun around to face Spike's ravenous face, raw and red from the holy water, fangs gleaming. Filled with cold panic, remembering the pain of those teeth in his throat, he shoved the stake into Spike's chest. Spike roared and then Xander was flying through the air. He landed hard and the lights went out.

Spike forgot about Xander. A dark line had appeared at the edge of the plane's door where the Slayer was forcing her way out by brute strength. Time to go. He snatched Joyce up, threw her over his shoulder and ran.

Through the half-open door, Buffy saw Spike pick up her mother and run off into the night; she screamed in frustration. She shoved the door open and ran down the stairs, jumping over Xander lying in a heap at the bottom with barely a look, her whole being focused on Spike's rapidly disappearing figure. She ran as fast as she could, but he was pulling away from her. Cold panic touched her heart as he turned a corner, and disappeared. The chill spread when she rounded the same corner a moment later and saw the cluster of darkened hangars in front of her. There was no sign of Spike.

In the sheltering darkness of the hangar office, Spike leaned back against the cracked naugahyde chair and looked down at Joyce, cradled in his arms. He could tell that all this running about had done her no good at all; she was barely conscious, when she coughed he smelt blood on her breath. He sighed. He wasn't feeling in the pink himself, the pain of his burns was maddening.

"She's not going to give up, is she luv?" He told her softly. "She's the friggin' Eveready Bunny, she just keeps on coming, and coming." He stroked her cheek, sadly relishing the heat that warmed his icy fingers.

"As long as she has hope, she'll never stop," he said. He knew his options: He could snap her neck and leave her, it was a safe bet that finding her mother's corpse would slow Buffy down long enough for him to get away. It would be so easy, he thought, one quick jerk... But he couldn't do it. Couldn't lose her; she was his. Which left only one option. He heard her words again in his head, "I'll leave you too!" but pushed them aside. She was no Dru. No newborn could have the strength to get away from him, to resist him. He would teach her, control her, mold her, make her his perfect mate. They would be together, forever.

"Sorry luv," he said. "Didn't want it to be like this, but...." Joyce stirred, hearing something in his voice. He covered her mouth with one hand and forced up her head to expose her throat.

"I can't keep it from hurting, but I can make it quick," he promised. She squirmed weakly against his iron grip as he opened his mouth and placed it gently over the ragged raw marks of his earlier attack, carefully fitting his teeth to the wounds. He could taste her, the warm rich intoxication of her blood. Fuck, he was going to miss this. He tightened his grip and then bit down.

Buffy entered the third building, a large and empty hangar. Like the two buildings she had already searched, the huge doors had been left wide open to the night. She guessed they weren't worried about petty theft. Nothing here but workbenches, various unfamiliar tools, 50 gallon drums and other miscellaneous mechanical junk. It looked like the biggest garage in the world. A ladder led up to the darkness of the rafters. Tucked against the wall opposite from the doors was an office. The door was shut and the blinds were drawn. It looked like a good place to start. As she crossed the floor she thought she heard a sound. Like a muffled scream, abruptly cut off. Her fists clenched when she saw that the lock had been broken.

"Mom?" She said pushing the door open. She gasped. Framed in the square of light was her mother. She was sprawled unconscious in a swivel chair behind the large desk and there was blood on her neck. Buffy ran into the office, her whole focus on her mother. As she crossed the threshold, Spike unfolded from the wall behind her and aimed a vicious kick at her back. Somehow she heard him and half-turned so that instead of shattering her spine as intended the blow caught her in the ribs and knocked her off her feet. She landed near her mother, who never moved. Spike snarled and grabbed for her. Buffy rolled and met him with her feet and kicked him away, the cheap paneling cracked as he collided with the flimsy wall.

Buffy got to her feet, and jumped up on the desk. She kicked him in the face and knocked him into the window, the impact shattered the glass and she took the chance to jump past him through the open hangar. Spike recovered and followed her through the window.

She landed, turned only to meet Spike's fists, one-two-three in her gut and a last full in her face. Buffy went down hard. Spike grinned and closed in for the kill, she barely managed to roll out of the way of the boot he aimed at her head. She got to her feet and faced him again. She was panting with the effort, Spike grinned.

"Little past your bedtime isn't it sweetie? Startin' to feel it aren't you?"

"I'm fine Spike, but I really would like to get this over with before sunrise sermon," Buffy replied coolly. He was right, she was exhausted, even her Slayer capabilities weren't up to fighting all night with barely a break. She waited for him to make the first move.

He punched her hard and she hit the ground. Spike tried to jump on her and she kicked him back. Back on her feet she barely avoided a head-kick, and quickly retaliated by kicking him in the stomach, knocking him down. She landed another kick in his ribs, and leapt away from the hand grabbing for her ankle.

Both on their feet again they faced each other warily. Buffy kept her expression and her stance relaxed, determined not to show the exhaustion she felt scraping at her bones. Spike flared his nostrils at the scent of fatigue, and smiled to himself. She was the Slayer, but she was only human after all.

"I'm going to enjoy tellin' your mum about this. How her little girl whimpered when she died, the sound her spine made when it snapped under my hands. Her an' me'll be laughing about it when your bones are rattling in a box."

"Dream on, Lord Clairol," Buffy said lashing out at him with a kick. He slipped away. Buffy pursued, and suddenly found herself too close. He chopped down at her, when she blocked the blow with her left arm she felt something crack. Choking back a scream she retreated, trying not to show the pain she was in.

"Think we should break the bad news to your dad in person?" Spike sneered. Buffy, still backing away suddenly stumbled and fell to her knees. Spike rushed in to finish her off. He grabbed her by the throat and jerked her up level with his face, so he could see the light go out of her eyes. "Any last words?" he opened his mouth...

...and screamed as she grabbed his balls and applied Slayer strength. In agony, he backhanded her and folded over.

Buffy scrambled to her feet and ran, no point in looking back, she was pretty sure Spike would follow. She reached the ladder and scrambled up it one-handed, trying to ignore the pain and the weariness she could feel dragging at her. Need a weapon, any weapon, she thought as she ran out onto the catwalk. It was dark up here, and she carefully avoided looking down. Suddenly she stumbled over something, she clutched at the cable guardrail with her good hand, her heart pounding painfully.

She glared at the 5 gallon metal drum she'd tripped over. From the dust and the rust on the lid it had been up here for awhile "Parts Cleaner, Caution: Flammable" the label said. Buffy opened the lid and grimaced at the strong chemical odor coming from the open container. She grinned.

Spike lifted his head above the level of the catwalk cautiously, wary of an ambush. When he wasn't attacked he pulled himself up quickly and scanned for his prey. Her blows had been weak, he was almost done; he reckoned he was a few minutes away from bagging his third slayer. He quietly moved out onto the catwalk. "Here Buffy, Buffy, Buffy," he crooned under his breath "Time to die."

Buffy held her breath until Spike's platinum hair was directly underneath and then upended the tub. Spike looked up just in time to receive the contents in his face. He screamed and clawed at his eyes. Buffy hastily lit the book of matches and threw it. For a heartstopping moment she thought she'd missed, then a ember landed on the back of his hand, and blue flame bloomed like hope.

Spike screamed and tore at the flames, at his clothes, his skin. Buffy stayed frozen in her perch in the girders watching him lurch about, searching for relief from the pain until inevitably he staggered into the guard railing, lost his balance and fell. She watched in disbelief as, still burning, Spike got to his feet and ran out the door into the rapidly fading night. Oh god, she thought, he's getting away. Buffy hastily jumped down and ran to the ladder.

As she reached the floor she thought she heard a moan from the office, she hesitated, but turned away and ran out of the hangar. She had to be sure this time. She emerged into the gray dawnlight and cold despair clutched at her when didn't see him anywhere. She turned to the right, ran around the corner, and there he was. By the time she reached the man shaped heap of ashes, the pale flames were dying, and as she watched the ashes began to sift away into the dawn breeze.



He woke into an indistinct darkness. Automatically he reached out for his glasses on the bedside table. They weren't there, and neither was the table. He realized he wasn't at home. Or at the hotel. Memory began to seep back. He was in the hospital.

"Joyce," he whispered.

A sudden thrill of fear raked his nerves as the figure sitting in the chair moved and he realized that he wasn't alone. He squinted his eyes trying desperately to see.

"Here," Joyce said handing him his glasses. Her face sprang into painful focus: bruised, pale, her throat bandaged; but despite the fact that she looked altogether worse than he felt, she was smiling.

"Joyce, Thank God."

"Hello Giles. I just wanted to make sure you were OK."

"What happened?" She shook her head. Refusing to answer.

"It's over," she said.


"Back in hell," she said. "For good this time."



The two of them stood locked together, completely lost in each other, oblivious to the cold and rain blowing through the open doorway or the impatient young woman waiting on them. Buffy cleared her throat loudly, again.

"Guys, it's getting late," she said. Giles sighed and pulled away from Joyce reluctantly.

"I wish you were coming with me," he said. Joyce smiled.

"I wish I were too, but you know I've got a new show opening next week," Joyce said, again. They'd had this identical conversation almost hourly over the past few days since they'd learned of his father's death and the necessity for Giles to go home for the funeral.

"I just don't like leaving you alone," he said.

"Rupert, I'll be fine. I'll see you in a week." They kissed again, for what Buffy thought was an unnecessarily long time. "Now go," Joyce said "before you miss your plane."

Giles, sighed and picked up his bag. "I'll call you when I arrive," he promised. He stepped out into the rain and hurried towards the car. Buffy lingered.

"Are you sure you don't want me to come stay with you while Giles is gone?" Buffy offered. "It's no problem."

"Buffy, I'll be fine. Go. Call me when you get home, and give Riley a kiss for me."

"O.K. Bye mom," she gave her a brief peck on the cheek, and followed Giles out to the car.

Joyce stood watching as the car backed out of the driveway, Buffy waved and she waved back. She didn't mind the rain blowing into her face. It felt refreshing. A week after it all ended it rained. In August. In California. Joyce had welcomed the unseasonable chill that followed, grateful for the release from the oppressive heat, glad to see summer over and in its grave. The car turned the corner, disappearing into the misty night, and Joyce went inside.

Alone at last, Joyce thought as she closed. She went into the kitchen and set the kettle on the stove. Six months of living with Giles had given her an almost British love of a nice cup of tea. She stood there idly rubbing the scars on her neck. Rupert was still shy of them, still avoiding them as he mapped her body with his lips and hands. They had healed, and the marks would be with her for the rest of her life, but they no longer hurt.

Oz had been luckier, his scars had disappeared with the next full moon, an unexpected benefit of lycanthropy. He seemed much the same, laconic, and even more devoted to Willow, if that was possible.

Buffy had a new love, Riley. Joyce didn't know what to think of the apparently one-dimensional farmboy; but he seemed to make Buffy happy, and that was enough. If nothing else he kept her from hovering over her mother.

Xander's broken collarbone and cracked ribs had kept him in the hospital for a few days, and his scars remained, but he too seemed to have survived almost unscathed. He'd enrolled at Sunnydale City College and seemed to be getting on with his life. He spelled Giles or Buffy sometimes, if they weren't available to escort her home when she had to work past sunset. She didn't go anywhere alone after dark, ever. She wondered if she'd ever feel safe under a black sky again.

The kettle whistled. She made her cup of tea and went out to the living room to drink it. She liked the new apartment. It was just the right size for the two of them, but she supposed they should start looking for a house. The old house had sold a month ago, if she didn't buy another one quickly, she'd be facing a hell of a tax bill.

She had just sat down at the big table when the lights flickered and went out. By feel, Joyce put her cup down with an unsteady hand and stood up. She made her way to the front window and looked out at the street. She was relieved to see that all the other houses were dark as well. It was just a power outage, nothing unusual or sinister. She stood there, looking out into the wet night.

She was just beginning to wonder how long the outage would be when the lights came back on. She turned away and saw out of the corner of her eye, something white move in the dark window...

Hungry eyes sunk deeply in a white face stark against the blackness, staring through the sliding glass doors, wanting...

Her scream stopped in her throat as she recognized her own frightened face, reflected dimly in the glass. She sighed and went to close the drapes. It was over. There was no-one out there. No-one at all.


I want you

I'm not ashamed to say I cried for you

I want you

I want to know the things you did that we do too

I want you

I want to hear he pleases you more than I do

I want you

I might as well be useless for all it means to you

I want you

Did you call his name out as he held you down?

I want you

Oh no my darling not with that clown

I want you

You've had your fun you don't get well no more

I want you

No-one who wants you could want you more

I want you

Every night when I go off to bed and when I wake up

I want you

I want you

I'm going to say it again 'til I instill it

I know I'm going to feel this way until you kill it

I want you

I want you

END Marshmallows


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