Spike was laughing. He was reading a full report of the slayer's recent activities and it was a good read.

"Is this accurate?" He asked, between chuckles, "It reads like a pitch for one of those stories on the telly. 'The slayer's watcher is rapidly becoming an alcoholic. Her best friend is dating a werewolf. That sad whelp they hang around with, did a love spell and all the females in town got the hots. The slayer got turned into a rat?' You gotta be yanking my chain." He spun his wheelchair expertly around to face his group of minions.

"It's all true, we've been watching her round the clock. Two of us got dusted at her birthday party - if you could call it a party, more like a wake - but we've contracted out to some of the smaller, sun tolerant demons around town. Unless she's inside her own house, she's being watched."

"Perfect. Keep up the good work."

This surveillance thing was going well, he should have thought of it before. Finding out everything about your enemy was always a sound idea. Of course, before, he had had a life; still, keeping tabs on the slayer was turning out to be entertaining. Strange things seemed to gravitate towards her. Then again it could just be that the centre of the hellmouth was under the school library, where she and her sad little friends spent most of their free time. Either way, this was a fun way to spend HIS time, while waiting for his back to heal.

The feeling in his legs had come back first. A few days later he had slight movement in his toes; that was when he knew that he'd soon be out of his chair. Blood helped, of course and exercises. In the meantime, the latest instalment of 'Life with Buffy'...

* * * * *

"The slayer's in the hospital?"

"Y..yes." The hapless minion couldn't understand why his master sounded displeased.

"What happened to her?" Spike couldn't fathom why he felt bad inside at the news.

"She has 'flu, that's all."

"That's ALL?" Spike roared, "How old are you? Don't you know how many people DIE of 'flu?"

He vividly remembered the deaths. The great war had been so much fun; such futile carnage but then the 'flu had come. Nature, showing the world what amateur killers they all were, compared to her. Vile smelling sickness across the planet. People drowning in their own blood. So many deaths that the undertakers couldn't keep pace. He had read about the 'Black death' in school but THIS pandemic he had witnessed for himself. Vile. The thought of his slayer dying that way...

HIS slayer? He couldn't shake the image; Buffy coughing uncontrollably, blood on a little lace handkerchief, the unmistakable scent of lingering death. Himself, a helpless onlooker, able only to offer comfort to her in her last days...

"She's going to be alright."

"What?" Spike came out of his funk to find that he had kicked his wheelchair pretty much to death and his minion was cringing in a corner.

"She's only staying in an extra day to kill some child killer demon that's working the place. It's good that you're better, Master. Do you want the surveillance to continue?"

"Only during the day, I'll be watching her at night, from now on."

* * * * *

Something was up at the high school. A plague of snakes in the cafeteria, a teacher dead; witnesses said from a gunshot but the autopsy said from a fall and now, wasps. Spike watched from a distance as Buffy walked, calmly through the huge swarm that had engulfed the school building. This had all the hallmarks of a very nasty haunting.

Spike couldn't miss this!

The slayer was waiting for him and when she started to speak, Spike thought she'd gone completely bonkers, then he heard himself respond. The death scene was played out, with Buffy playing the despairing student, rejected - for his own good - by his love, shooting her by accident and watching as Spike plunged over the balcony to his 'death'.

Alone and devastated by his actions, James raised the gun to Buffy's head.

Spike and Buffy stood together in the darkened music room, arms wrapped around each other, kissing passionately. The two once broken spirits, joined at last, left together for their heavenly reward. Buffy looked up into Spike's eyes, with a contented sigh.

"Spike?" She murmured, then, realizing, jumped back. She staggered slightly.

"Easy, Slayer." Spike said, steadying her with a hand on her arm. "Give it a sec, possession like that takes it out of you."

He pulled a battered hip flask out of his pocket, opened it and offered her a swig. She swallowed, gratefully and then spluttered.

"Bleugh, what IS this stuff?"


"Tastes vile." She took another deep swallow. "Bleugh. Thanks." She handed it back to him. "Aren't you dead?"

"Well, yeah, vampire." He replied, with a smile, downing a couple of swallows from the flask.

"No, Angel wrote me that you were dusted."

"What would he know?"

"He said Drusilla told him that you were dead and then they left town together."

"That bitch!! I'm stuck in a sodding wheelchair and she tells everyone I died, so she doesn't have to stick around and look after me. After all I've done for her."

"You were in a wheelchair?" Despite herself, Buffy felt a twinge of sympathy.

"Yeah, someone dropped a church organ on me." Spike said, with a pointed look at Buffy.

"And it broke your spine?"

"Either that or when Dru picked me up to carry me out of the fire. I guess if she'd realized how much trouble I'd be to take care of, she wouldn't have bothered."

"But you're better now?"

"More or less. Soon as I'm a hundred per cent, we'll have that fight to the death."

"Not right now, huh?"

"Neither of us is good enough, at the moment."

"You don't want to fight me now, while I'm weakened?" She patted her pockets, "I'm sure I've got a stake here somewhere."

"A slayer always has to reach for her weapon," Spike said, softly, "I've already got mine." His face morphed.

"I know," Buffy said, with a smile, "I felt it while we were kissing."

Spike laughed, as he morphed back to his human face.

"You little minx, I ought to spank you for that."

"But not kill me?" Buffy retorted, shocked to realize that she'd actually been flirting with Spike.

"No. Where's the fun? There's no challenge, plus, you've been drinking. Fair fight or nothing, I'd sooner walk away."

"Not exactly evil, is it? Fighting fair."

"Hey, I'm bad; it's just not a good story - I beat the slayer because she was helpless. No respect, yeah?"

"If you say so."

"I do say so. Your friends are coming, I'd better go."

"OK. Thank you for the drink."

"See yer 'round, Slayer."

Spike walked one way and Buffy walked the other, towards her friends. She felt very confused and not just from being possessed. Vampires were meant to be evil, irrational, animals; hell bent on killing and drinking blood. Angel was meant to be different because of his soul but Spike....Spike was like a person. He loved Drusilla, Buffy had seen evidence of that and just now he had demonstrated that he had scruples. Also, she thought, blushing slightly, he was a great kisser. She had felt so safe in his strong arms, with his lips on hers. It had felt like coming home. Weird. Maybe it was left over from James and Miss Newman.

Spike watched from a safe distance as the slayer's friends walked her home. He wanted to be sure that nothing bad happened to her. She was HIS. He could still taste her on his tongue and he could feel himself hardening at the thought of her lush body in his arms. Holding her had felt so RIGHT.

"Oh, nice one, Spike," he muttered, under his breath, "fancy the bloody slayer, why don't you. Got a death wish?"

Then again, he thought, get some alcohol into her and she was a lot more manageable. That crack about his weapon! Ooh, she was asking for it and he was starting to wonder what it would be like to give it to her...

Chapter End Notes:
Thanks for reviewing the prologue. Reading it back, I was worried it was a bit dull. Sorry about killing Jenny but I needed Buffy to be really pissed off with Angel...

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