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Romania 1898


"It's not fair!" cried the young man as he stormed about the room.

On the floor a young gypsy girl cowered, sobbing in fear.

"He gets everything. EVERYTHING! He has Darla, yet still he wants Dru. And do you know why?" he leaned down to look the girl in the eyes. She was bound and gaged so she shook her head, tears running down her eyes. "Because she's mine. My dark princess, my love, my everything. He cares nothing for her. Hell, that's the whole reason she made me." His voice changed, becoming softer, "I'd do anything for her."

He began his furious pacing again. "Darla, she's the worst. She doesn't even care. The last couple days they've been inseparable, and what does Darla do? Gets him a pretty treat, leaves me to guard it while she runs off to find Angelus. Give's him a gift, as if she wasn't his Sire, as if he shouldn't be the one worshiping her. Well, it's not right. He can't have everything." He grabbed a knife from the mantle and hauled the woman to her feet. She tried to scream, and struggled. "Now now, none of that. You don't think I'd stick you with this knife do you?"

He cut the ropes that bound her and removed her gag. She started babbling at him. He didn't understand the words, but he knew that she was thanking him. Then she ran for the door. Before she could reach it, he was standing in front of it.

"Where do you think you're going my sweet?" He ran a finger down her neck as his eyes changed from blue to gold. She screamed, but it was too late. He was on her in an instant, his fangs sinking into her neck. It was a mistake he knew, Darla would punish him for ruining her surprise. But he didn't care. For once Spike would have something meant for Angelus, the consequences be damned.


Sunnydale, CA 1997


The small blond girl walked confidently down the dark street of her new town. Someone was following her she could tell. There was only one thing to do. She turned into a small dark alley and waited. A moment later she could see her stalker. A man dressed all in black with hair so light it was almost white. As soon as he passed her, she swung down from her perch, using her momentum to knock him to the ground. As he rolled over, she stopped him with a foot on his chest.

Now she could get a better look at him. He wasn't an especially big man, but he exuded confidence and power. He stretched under her, like a cat and placed his hands behind his head, giving her a cocky grin. As he stretched his black t-shirt pulled tight showing off a well muscled chest. He had piercing blue eyes, that looked at her through thick lashes. Above his left eye was a cross shaped scar that broke the line of his eyebrow.

"Something I can do for you pet?" he asked in a British accent, although one much different from that of the school librarian.

"Why are you following me?" she asked.

"It's not what you think. I don't bite."

Not taking her eyes off of him, she let him get up, but she held her fighting stance.

"Nice trick by the way. Not many who've ever gotten the drop on me," he said, looking her up and down in a way that made her a little uncomfortable.

"What do you want?" she asked.

"The same thing you do."

"Okay, what do I want?"

"To have a normal life. To be left alone. But neither of us is going to get that."

She studied him for a moment, then she relaxed and said a little less annoyed, "Tell you what, you leave me alone, I'll leave you alone. Then we both win."

"I told you, that's not a choice. You're standing on the mouth of Hell. It's going to open, pet, and swallow you whole." For a moment she just looked at him. Then he reached into his coat, pulled out a small box, and tossed it to her. "I hope you're ready."

"What for?"

"The Harvest."

"Who are you?"

"Let's just say I'm a friend," he said, as he started to leave.

"Yeah well, maybe I don't want a friend."

He stopped and turned back toward her, "I never said I wanted to be yours." With that he left, his black leather duster flaring behind him.

She starred after him for a few minutes. Then she opened the box. Inside was a silver cross on a chain.

***********************

He was thankful for the shadows in the alley. It meant that she had never realized that when she stood on him, he'd grown painfully hard. Doesn't mean a thing, he tried to tell himself, you've just always had a thing for women who ambush you in dark alleys.

Not that she's a woman. Barley more than a girl. All the sweeter she'd be, whispered the demon.

No, he shouted to himself, that's not why you're here. This is just a distraction, not to mention the fact that she only has a few months to live. Except you don't believe in fate and destiny do you mate? That's why you're here, to prove Malcolm wrong, not to mention preventing hell on earth.

He sighed, then became aware of the action. Good, he thought, means I remembered to breathe during that little encounter. No point in tipping the Slayer off before she trusts me.

He doubled back, and watched as she entered the warehouse turned club. At a more desecrate distance he followed her in. Quickly the crowd of young people swallowed him up. Even so, he decided the catwalk would be the best place to watch her from.

He ascended the stairs, and found a dark corner. Absently he noticed an older man looking very out of place. As he passed him, he listened carefully and noticed a heart beat. Not a vampire then, and he didn't smell like a demon. Just a dirty old man who looked rather harmless.

He scanned the crowd. The young blond, the Slayer, had moved to the bar and was talking a red-headed girl about the same age. He watched the two girls talk, they seemed to have a rather easy camaraderie. He envied the ease at which she obviously made friends. Living or dead that was not a skill Spike had ever had.

Then she looked up, for a moment Spike thought he'd been spotted, but then he realized that she was looking at someone else. Someone else that she recognized and wasn't glad to see. She broke away from her conversation with the red-head and began to climb the stairs to the catwalk. Spike pulled further back into the shadows.

I feel love with my friends
I feel love in my songs
If I could just hold love
Then all the answers might come
I said, oh, if we're all children of God
And we just turned away
I got a lack of belief
I said a world without faith
It's time we turn back around



To his surprise it was the dirty old man she had come to talk to. Did she know something he didn't? He'd been sure the chap was human. They were so close Spike could now hear what they were saying.

"So, you like to party with the students. Isn't that kinda skanky?" she said.

"Oh, right, this is me having fun. Watching. . . clown hair prance about is hardly my idea of a party. I'd much rather be at home with a cup of Bovril and a good book," the older man said.

"You need a personality, stat!"

"This is a perfect breeding ground for vampire activity." So that's it, Spike thought, her Watcher. Should have known what with the tweed uniform. "It's dark, it's crowded. . . Besides, I knew you were likely to show up, and I have to make you understand. . ."

". . . that the Harvest is coming. I know, your friend told me."

"What did you say?"

"The Harvest. That mean something to you? 'Cause I'm drawing a blank."

"I'm not sure. Uh. . . W-who told you this?"

"This. . . guy. British, gorgeous in an annoying I still think it's the 80's sort of way. I figured you two were buds."

Fuck, thought Spike, just what I need, a Slayer making puppy dog eyes at me, even if she is a sexy little thing.

"No. The Harvest. Did he say anything else?"

"Something about the Mouth of Hell. I REALLY didn't like him!"

The band finished its song and there was lots of applause. The Watcher moved around Buffy, leaned on the railing and looked down at the crowd. "Look at them, throwing themselves about, completely unaware of the danger that surrounds them."

"Lucky them."

"Or perhaps you're right. Perhaps there is no trouble coming, the signs could be wrong. It's not as though you've been having the nightmares."

Her silence was answer enough. Bloody hell, as if we didn't have enough prophecy problems already. Now the Slayer was having dreams.

"I didn't say I'd never slay another vampire," she continued, "It's not like I have all these fluffy bunny feelings for them, I'm just not gonna get way extracurricular with it. You know, if I see one, sure I'll. . ."

"Will you be ready? There's so much you don't know about them, about your own powers. A vampire appears to be completely normal until the feed is upon them, only then do they reveal their true demonic visage."

"You're like a textbook with arms, I know this."

"The point is, a Slayer should be able to see them anyway. Without looking, without thinking. Can you tell me if there's a vampire in this building?"

Hell, thought Spike, just what I need, an over ambitious Watcher. If she realizes I'm a vampire, this could get messy. He'd known it was too good to be true when the Watcher hadn't pushed her for more details on her informant. If the Watcher figured out who he was too quickly it would make Spike's job much harder.

"Maybe. . ."

"You should know. Even through this mass and this. . . din, you should be able to sense them. Well, try! Reach out with your mind," She began to scan the crowd, "You have to hone your senses, focus until the energy washes over you, until you, you feel every particle o-of. . ."

"There's one," she said pointing. Spike followed her finger, but it was no one he recognized.

"W-where?" Spike smiled, didn't think the girl could do it, huh Watcher, he thought. Typical, he's been told what a Slayer is all his life, but he still sees just a girl.

"Right there, talking to that girl."

"You don't know. . ."

"Oh, please! Look at his jacket. He's got the sleeves rolled up, and the shirt! Deal with that outfit for a moment."

"It's dated?"

"It's carbon dated. Trust me, only someone living underground for ten years would think that was still the look."

Spike had to fight to keep from laughing. He had to admit the vampire really had no sense of style. Still he wondered why if she had thought he looked out of date, she hadn't thought he might be a vampire.

"But you didn't. . . hone." the Watcher continued annoyed.

"Oh, no," Buffy said.

"Isn't that. . ."

"Willow."

"What's she doing?"

"Seizing the moment!" With that the Slayer headed down the stairs to save her new friend, a moment later the Watcher followed.

Once he was sure he wouldn't be noticed, Spike headed down the stairs as well. He had just reached the main floor of the club, when he noticed another blond sitting in a hanging chair. Darla. Spike was torn. He wanted to watch the Slayer work. See how good she was. He would need to study her if his plan was going to work.

On the other hand he couldn't afford to let Darla see him. He had no doubt that she would recognize him, and if the Master learned he was here in Sunnydale, things were going to get prickly. He could try and kill her, but that was risky. Darla had several centuries on him, and was, he knew, as deadly as they came. Not to mention she had always been one of the Master's favorites, he would be bound to notice if she turned up missing, and that would draw attention to both Spike and the Slayer.

After another moments hesitation he made up his mind. He would have plenty of opportunities to watch the Slayer in action, as long as his former family didn't know he was here. So he made his way out of the club.




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