Part 2


Oh my baby baby, I want you so it scares me to death

I can't say anymore than "I love you"

Everything else is a waste of breath

Elvis Costello, "I Want You"

There was something wrong. Buffy hesitated on the threshold of her home, automatically reaching into her jacket for a stake. The house was dark and quiet. It was 2:30 a.m. she told herself, it was supposed to be dark and quiet, but something about it seemed....wrong. She switched on the light.

She picked up the videotape sitting on the arm of the couch and read the title, "Ever After." Damn, she wanted to see that. But between an outbreak of ghouls and rumors of a new Master vamp setting up shop on the Hellmouth, she hadn't had much chance for anything as nonessential as watching a video with her mom. This summer was turning out to be about as much fun as 5 to 10 at San Quentin. She put the tape back and she went into the kitchen. She frowned when she saw the empty wine bottle on the counter. She checked the back door -- locked tight. But the sense of something wrong remained. She saw but didn't notice either the pan on the stove, or the empty mug on the table. She switched off the light and headed upstairs.

"Mom," she said softly. No answer. Which could be because mom was asleep, it being 2:30 in the morning? She eased open the door. More quiet and dark. Caught between feeling frightened and silly Buffy quietly crept to her mother's bed. "Mom?"

An empty wine glass gleamed in the light from the window. Her mom lay on her side, knees bent, cradled in her own arms. The sheet that was all she was using in the summer heat had slipped from her shoulders. Buffy touched her mother's bare shoulder. She smelled of used wine and soap and her hair was damp. She was warm, breathing, fast asleep. She was fine. A feeling of enormous relief washed over her.

"Night, Mom," Buffy said softly as she pulled the sheet up over her mother.

In the bathroom, she noticed a pile of damp towels on the floor. It looked like Mom had had herself a Calgon night. Wasn't like her to leave a mess though, but oh well. She picked up the towels and dumped them in the hamper.

When she woke up around 9 the next morning, the house was empty, Joyce had already left for work. Buffy ate a quick breakfast alone before heading downtown to see Giles at his new place of business. She stopped for a moment to admire the carved wooden sign: Sunnydale Books, (with a big smiley sun beaming down on the words) new and used. Its previous incarnation had been as an occult supply shop, before Spike had murdered the proprietor during his last visit to town. Now Willow had to go to Santa Barbara for her magic supplies and Giles had a new cover and a perfect place to store the books rescued from Sunnydale High's destruction.

She walked down the steps and entered the shop, ignoring the "Closed" sign. Giles was sitting behind the counter, his attention divided between the manual and the cash register's monitor. He looked up at the sound of the bell.

"Hey Giles. How's business?"

"Buffy. Good morning. How did last night's patrol go?" He gratefully tossed the manual under the counter. "Any more information on this new Master?"

Buffy shook her head. "Nothing. I spent all night down at the docks, `cause that's where Willie said this new Master guy is hanging out. Saw a lot of rats, a couple of drunken sailors. Oh, and this slimy demon thing jumped me."

"Are you alright?"

"I am. He's not." She did a quick and brutal pantomime of the demon's demise. "He kinda melted, which is good, cause no disposal problem, but hard on the footwear." She smiled.

"Oh. What kind of demon exactly?"

"Green, warty, like a frog on steroids-- and Viagra. Bob Dole has a lot to answer for. My first, and hopefully last." Giles grimaced at the image thus conjured.

"It doesn't sound familiar. Perhaps Willow can do a search when she gets in. What time did you say you were meeting her?"

"Ten-ish. We're going to orientation together. So how's the book business?"

"It's an interesting change. Dealing with people who actually like books."

"I can see where it'd be a nice change. So, Giles..." the hair on the back of his neck rose. "..on a personal note."

"Is this absolutely..." he peered suspiciously over the tops of his glasses.

"What's going on with you and my mother?"

"What! Umm that is, nothing."

"And why not? Are you just one of those Don Juans? A love them and leave them kinda guy?"

"Buffy, I don't think this is really an appropriate subject."

"I really think mom would like it if you'd call," Buffy continued "Not that she's said anything," she added hastily.

"Buffy, I..."

"All I'm saying is, she's alone a lot, with me being out on patrol so much this summer. And I'll be gone in September so if you're embarrassed, I mean, I'll be completely out of you guy's way."


"Shutting up now. Not another word. Really. So are you going to call?" Giles sighed and decided on a tactical retreat.

"I'll think about it."

"Cool. Hey Willow!"

"Hi. What's up?"


"Spiiike!" Drusilla pleaded, reaching out to him as the flames caught at the hem of her nightgown, and the cotton flared.

"Spiiike! Help me!!!" His princess shrieked spinning desperately trying to get away from the flames. He stood helpless, as her white dress and white skin crisped and burned. She was a charred skeleton in a shroud of flames, somehow still standing, still screaming, blackened claws reaching for him. The eyeless skull gaped one last time. "Spiiike..." it wailed, before the last of her collapsed into a charcoal cloud of ash that dissipated into nothingness.

"NO!" he screamed reaching out, trying to save her..

Spike woke and found himself reaching out into darkness. The same dream again. The same bloody, lying nightmare. Dru hadn't burned, he wished it had been that easy. There wasn't enough blood in the world to wash the memory of her death from his brain. He could feel the sun leaning heavily on the roof of the old motel, one of the several lairs he had scattered around Sunnydale. He glanced at his watch and sighed when it confirmed what he already knew, there were hours to go before sundown. He hated summer. Endless days with nothing to do. He rolled over and his eyes met the terrified eyes of the boy lying gagged and bound on the bed next to him. He lifted the boy's head and fingered the marks of his previous feeding thoughtfully, but let him drop. It wasn't food he wanted.

He got up and put the video in the player. He sat down in the battered Barcalounger, pointed the remote and pressed play. He unzipped his jeans and grasped himself as static gave way to:

Joyce, naked, trembling, all the imperfections of her mortality ruthlessly exposed to the camera. Sprawled on her back, open to him, her eyes squeezed shut, her face contorted, her back arching in joyless orgasm. Her blood tricking down between her breasts. On her hands and knees, her mouth open in an 'O' of shock as he penetrated her...

Spike's own hand roughly abusing himself as he came, in perfect synchronicity with his image on the tube, again. Fuck, he thought to himself, as the tape faded again to black. I'm going to wear my fucking dick out if I keep this up.

The first time he watched it was just for kicks, but it was going beyond a joke now. Over the week since making the tape he'd watched it at least two or three times a day. What the hell was wrong with him?

He'd come to Sunnyhell with a plan: death and destruction of everything the Slayer loved. Not the most original plan, but a good one. First the mother, then all of her friends. He knew exactly where the redhead would be tonight, exactly when she would be unprotected, vulnerable. The minions had been shadowing her for weeks, all it would take was his word... But....

She was so perfect. His perfect victim. Defenseless, without the armor of naivete, or youth's casual assumption of immortality. Death had already laid its hand on her, the slow decline of her body had already begun: she knew she could die. In his arms, she trembled with the certainty of it. Her blood was saturated with the sweet black terror of it. He wanted more of it. He wanted her.

Buffy wasn't the brightest candle in the box, but even she would figure it out if her friends started dying off. It was just good luck that he hadn't marked her throat, or anywhere else her daughter was likely to notice. He could simply take Joyce and leave town, but that would lead to an extremely brassed-off Slayer on his trail. Or, he could kill the Slayer... he refused to believe that it couldn't be done. He didn't like his odds though. He'd been paying attention as one after another her enemies fell despite huge advantages and had concluded that this Slayer was different from the others, not just in having friends, but in having powerful forces ranged on her side. So for now, no showdowns.

He'd lay low. Keep his secrets and play with his sweet new toy in the dark. He could wait a few more hours for sundown to come. He knew where she was, waiting for him.

END part 2

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