Author's Chapter Notes:
The words Drusilla recites and the title come from the song: "He May Be Your Dog But He's Wearing My Collar," written in 1923 by Rosa Henderson. I like to think Spike and Dru danced to that song when it was new.
The first thing Buffy saw when she woke up were the two vampires lying on the decaying bed. The one on top had blond-white hair and was murmuring in a familiar way while the dark-haired girl below was babbling. Shredded lace hung like cobwebs from the four posts of the bed and everything smelled of ash. There were white pillar candles burning around the room, but they did nothing to cut into the cold as Buffy was barefoot, wearing the clothes she'd put on for bed.

'That's Spike and Drusilla,' Buffy thought, in the same way a person might recognize two acquaintences having dinner at a restaurant.

'What happened to my bedroom and why are Spike and Drusilla here? Where's my mom?' Buffy thought.

Buffy remembered having gone to bed like normal after patrol and wondered for a second if she was dreaming. She wasn't, though. Dreams didn't hurt this much.

Buffy's arms and legs felt incredibly heavy. Aside from that, her wrists were bound in metal handcuffs and her ankles were tied. She glanced down and saw that Spike had used his belt to bind her feet. If she were at full strength she could've torn the leather easily, but he'd done something to her . Buffy was lying on a pile of tatty, dirty dresses and there was a broken china doll sitting opposite her on the stone floor. It seemed to be watching over Buffy, staring at her with its glass eyes. They were in the warehouse where Spike had taken Willow and Xander last year.

'Super-original,' she thought. It was slightly comforting to know that if any of her friends had seen him drag her away, this would be the first place they looked.

Dru's torrent of nonsense picked up pitch, becoming audible to Buffy from her debris nest.

"I thought I could save you this time, but you won't let me. I should've listened to the stars, but I wanted you. Wanted you more than all the screams and sighs. Why don't you love me anymore?"

"I do love you, pet, you've just got to settle first—"

"Can't settle! I'm burning up and I can smell her so close. She's all jelly babies and sunshine. Bring me the slayer, Spike. Bring me her blood—"

"Take mine, first, love. It always calms you, you said it made the fire stop. Then I'll bring her over I swear. I stole her just like you wanted—"

"You lie! The bloody squiggles glimmering like pretty, red snakes. You might be my doggie but you're wearing her collar—"

"No, Dru, never—"

"How am I to keep you home? You'll follow her, do your tricks, you'll eat from my hand but she makes you beg and you will, by the time she's done, you will beg—"

"Don't be cruel, plum, I love you—"

"Love? No, Spike. It wasn't the poison arrow that stabs at my heart; you're the killer of the dead—"

When Buffy finally unwound Drusilla's twisted words, she had to suppress her panic.

Buffy was certain she was about to die.

The killer of the dead was the poison that nearly destroyed Angel. The only cure for the strange toxin that could end the existence of a vampire was to drain the blood of a slayer. When Angel had been afflicted, Buffy had done terrible things to save him, things which still gave her nightmares.

She'd tried to murder Faith.

Granted, Faith was a dangerous psychopath but she was also a human being, a sister slayer and once she'd even been a friend. Buffy hadn't considered any of those things when she realized it was Faith's blood Angel needed; she'd just tried to make Faith into a take-out lunch. When that didn't work, Buffy had bared her own throat, nearly dying in the process, all to save the one she loved.

If she was willing to do that for love, what would Spike do? He didn't have the benefit of a soul or a solemn duty to protect humanity, so Buffy figured she was about to become slayer sushi.

Spike was in game face, straddling the thrashing Drusilla and holding down her hands with one of his own. He brought his right wrist to his mouth and tore open his own flesh on the edge of his fangs. Then Spike shoved the wound against Drusilla's mouth, as much to ease her suffering as to shut her up, it seemed. The sounds they both made were eerily erotic; Spike was gasping and Drusilla's sucking was punctuated by her moaning. Buffy remembered what it was like when Angel bit her. The pleasure of it haunted her more than the pain. She'd never told him either, worried Angel would think she was a freak. Apparently she wasn't the only one who enjoyed being bitten, though.

Buffy was trying to wriggle against the restraints and found with all her concentration, she was able to scissor her legs and make some leeway on the belt.

The feeding seemed to go on and on as Buffy attempted to escape without drawing their attention. It was incredible that Spike could have any blood left in his body, Buffy thought. It didn't seem to hurt him, but the drain must be making him weak. He looked paler than usual, almost gray. When he came to her, Buffy knew she would have that much of an advantage.

He finally pulled his arm away. The injury Drusilla had been suckling was clotted with black blood.

"Help me, Spike. Help me," Drusilla said.

Spike bent down and kissed Drusilla's forehead, then his chin dipped to his chest in a nod. He stood up and Buffy ceased her efforts at loosening the leather band. He approached with slow steps instead of his usual sweeping stride. Without his coat he looked less imposing, almost vulnerable. He knelt before her and their eyes met. Spike looked just as fearful as she felt. Buffy still didn't have the strength to move much, but she scooted away from him. Spike grabbed her by the throat, a move that stopped Buffy cold.

"If you hurt my mom, I'll make you pay," Buffy said, flinching as his hand tightened.

"Never touched Joyce," Spike said. He actually had the nerve to sound offended. "She's probably still snug in her beddy bye oblivious you're gone," Spike said.

At least knowing her mom was safe was something. Spike hadn't lied about that—she'd been threatened by him often enough to know when he was telling the truth.

"Doesn't trying to kill me ever get old, Spike? I mean how many times have I handed you your ass?" Buffy asked.

He squeezed her neck until she coughed.

"Shut your gob," he said. There was no smirk to accompany the command, no playing or flirting. It was nothing more than a cold dismissal. Buffy decided she could not let Spike scare her. Up until this point they'd almost been...not friends but they were certainly chummier than one should be with the average arch nemesis. The way he was looking past her made Buffy feel professionally offended.

"I should have known the whole fearless warrior, slayer of slayers thing was an exaggeration. You drug the others while they were asleep, too, or did you just let Drusilla finish them off?"

"Those other two bints I done weren't stupid enough to give me free reign of their houses."

"Maybe I just know you can't follow through," Buffy croaked.

He seemed startled and let go of her. Buffy's first response was to try to clasp her hands to the sore spot. Unfortunately, her hands were trapped behind her back.

"You insufferable bitch, can't you give a man some peace so he can think?" Spike asked.

"Think?" Buffy asked. In Buffy's mind there was nothing to think about. If their positions were reversed, if it were Angel slowly dying on that bed, Spike would be a tidy pile of dust.

"This'll leave a mark," he whispered.

Spike cupped the back of her neck and she thought he was going to bite her. Instead, Spike started stroking the fresh bruises on her throat. The intimacy of his gesture sent shivers of revulsion through her.

During their exchange Drusilla had been laughing maniacally, writhing on the bed like she was trying to put out invisible flames springing up on her dress.

"Could turn you after she's cured," Spike said, more to himself than to Buffy.

"I won't let you, I won't drink," Buffy said.

"No letting me, pet, no choice in it. Instant my blood touches your lips, you'll drink," Spike said. His eyes traveled over her and then he brought Buffy close to him, nose to nose.

"You'd be mine then," Spike said. The thought sliced a smile along his face and she tried to turn her head away so she wouldn't have to see. Spike stopped her, then leaned slightly to breathe in her ear. "You'd want me, never get enough of me then. I'd bathe you in blood and then lick it off. I'd take you every way I could imagine. You'd be begging for me. It'd go on and on until the day I'd stake you because I couldn't stand looking at the thing I'd made; remembering what you weren't, what I'd destroyed."

"Let me go, Spike."

He yanked her hair and Buffy's breath caught in her chest. He dragged the point of his tongue along a vein in her neck, making her squirm with discomfort.

"Could take a mouthful, feed her baby bird-like. Would that work? If I hand you over she'll just drain you but if I parcel it out, maybe. Keep you here all week and then we'd let you get a running start. Kill you properly, then. What do you say to that, slayer?"

"Sounds like torture," Buffy said.

"You're right. Dru enjoys torture, though. What about you, slayer? Something tells me you like it rough."

"You're digusting," Buffy said, shuddering.

"Can be. Sometimes I even disgust myself," Spike said, shoving Buffy away and releasing her hair. Spike turned around and stood with his back to her, hands on his hips, bowing his head. Spike exhaled needlessly, the sound remarkably like a sob. Buffy looked at the tense slope of his shoulders and the way the candlelight collected in a crescent on the curve of his neck.

Until Drusilla screamed, Buffy had nearly forgotten anyone else was in the room.

The sound left a cymbal crash in Buffy's ear that chimed long after the female vampire had stopped. Spike ran to the bed and took Drusilla's hand. Dru smiled at him and then, in an instant, her solid form became a mist choking the air.

Spike's eyes were wide and his lips fell open, letting out a startled whimper. The following roar that escaped from Spike's mouth made Buffy wince, made her roll to the wall. Buffy was certain the noise he made shook more rust loose from the ceiling girders. It was clear in his grief Spike was going to do something to her, something very bad, she just had no idea in what order he'd start. The way he'd touched her made Buffy believe death wouldn't be the only violation. He might rape her before damning her out of spite, just to have the privelage of killing her again.

Spike hovered over the bed where Drusilla had been. He didn't have the comfort of a body to bury and there was nothing to touch or hold so he could say goodbye. His hand drifted to the bedspread. The import of what he'd done swallowed him. He'd tarried too long trying to keep them both and now his black goddess was gone. His love, his reason for being of more than a century had suffered incredibly because he couldn't kill the slayer.

Because he loved the slayer.

Dru had dosed herself with the poison as a final test for him. After their reunion in Rio, consumated with lots of bodily fluids, hardly any of them theirs, Drusilla had promised to be true.They'd been driving to Los Angeles to have a go at Angel. Apparently Dru was in cahoots with a law firm that existed almost solely to fuck with the sorry old sod. Drusilla had somehow gotten on the payroll. Spike had been imagining all sorts of nefarious deeds when he noticed Dru taking something from the pocket of her dress.

She'd poured the bitter vial down her throat with a giggle. Afterward she'd explained what it was and what he'd have to do. Spike had torn up the highway, concocted his plan to snatch the slayer and carried it off smashingly. It was only after he had Buffy in the trunk of his DeSoto that he'd begun to have second thoughts.

Spike had carried Dru into the factory first, making her as comfortable as possible before returning to collect Buffy. As he held the sleeping blonde, something inside of him faltered. For twenty minutes he'd been powerless to do anything but caress Buffy's face and breath in her scent while they stood in the freight elevator. His tender obsession with the slayer was repulsive and sad, even to him. When he returned to Drusilla, he couldn't hand Buffy over. For more than an hour he watched Drusilla slowly die, pleading with him to provide the balm for her fever. The tension within him mounted unbearably until Spike snatched the glass container which had housed the interfector mortis. Like Juliet, he'd hoped to share in the death of his lover, but found the bottle cruelly empty.

He wished Buffy hadn't made him feel things he didn't want to remember. If he could just be rid of her once and for all; if he could just burn the love out of himself. But that didn't matter anymore, Spike thought as he fingered the crumbling ash on the coverlet. Drusilla was irrevocably beyond his reach.

Spike stalked toward his captive. His eyes were dry and his jaw was clenched. Spike stood over Buffy, his filthy, black boots nearly touching her cheek.

"You're nothing, a footnote in history, you know that, yeah? She was eternal and I sold her out...for what? What have you got left? Two good years, eight changes in the weather, before you run into a big who's too bad? Your kind are disposable. Tear one down and another pops up like a bleeding tissue. Christ, you're already ancient by slayer standards and you're only nineteen. You're nineteen and you've shattered how many lifetimes? How many eternities have you shortened, Buffy?" Spike asked.

"Not enough," she said. She looked him in the eye, her words even and powerful though she was flat on her back.

"That's right, not enough. You should've stuck me, kitten," Spike said, his voice going creaky and soft at the end.

"Give me a minute," Buffy said.

He squatted in front of her. Buffy knew he'd have to undo her legs to get inside of her. If he did, Buffy was going to kick until Spike's chest was nothing but a bag of blood and bones.

Spike adjusted her so she was flat on her stomach. Then she heard the sound of metal clicking, felt the vibration of a key going at the lock and Spike's cool hands removing the handcuffs. Strangest of all, he rubbed her chafed skin a moment before standing and walking over to the bed where Drusilla had been.

Cautiously Buffy pushed herself onto her back and sat up, never taking her eyes from Spike. In a fleet second her legs were loose. She still felt wrong, even though she was free. Every movement seemed like she was making it through water. Buffy braced herself and slid up until she was standing, then crept along the wall to the dark doorway.

"You're going to do it, right?" Spike asked without sparing her a glance.

"What?" Buffy asked. She was scanning the area for a something she could use as a stake but couldn't see any wood handy.

"Kill me," he said.

Then he was flying toward her, like a gust of wind that solidified into a pair of hands on her arms.

"End my life. It's what you're made for, isn't it?" Spike asked.

She struggled against him but floundered, and Buffy's knees buckled. Spike steadied her, staring into her eyes as he lowered her to the ground. They both knew Buffy was too weak to stand, let alone kill Spike. He began smoothing her hair from her defiant eyes. She tried to swat him away, but her hands were as forceful as paper planes sailing through the air.


"Can't help myself, can I?" he asked with a half smile. Then the smile slowly gave way and tears were coursing down his cheeks. Buffy's first instinct was to back away, but she was up against a wall. Spike crumpled into her lap, hoarsely keening as he wept.

Buffy thought of when Giles had broken apart in front of her after Jenny died. Then she'd been responsible, but Buffy didn't feel that weight now. She couldn't fault herself for living, even if Spike could. Still, she didn't quite feel relief at being rid of a dangerous master vampire, either. Looking down at Spike wrenched her heart, but who he was and whom he was mourning complicated her sympathetic inclinations.

Aside from Angel, Spike was the only vampire who'd ever had any power to disappoint her. Buffy knew Spike had feelings, she'd exploited them before to save lives, but she'd seen first hand his emotions didn't work like a regular person's. He killed people to live, and took a dozen different kinds of pleasure in murder, yet there had always been something about Spike that involuntarily made her respond.

Buffy lightly touched his hair with one hand and stroked his back with the other. He didn't cease his cries; not to repel Buffy or to acknowledge her caress. He just kept going, his wet face buried in her stomach, his arms wrapped around her waist.

Distantly, Spike felt her touching him and was soothed immeasurably by the gesture.

As he lay in Buffy's embrace, Spike remembered a girl who hadn't crossed his mind for more than a hundred and fifty years. He hadn't thought of Madeline Fromme since his death; she was part and parcel to the impotent life he'd put behind him when he was turned.

Then he'd been William and Madeline had been his third cousin. He was five years her senior and she worshipped him. Madeline had been the only woman to look upon William with any sort of romantic inclinations, but he was entirely blind to her regard. For one thing, though William had affection for the girl, it was the type of love one might bestow upon a younger sister.

For another, Madeline had been plain, alarmingly so, if William's mother was to be believed. Her hair was a nondescript shade between brown and blonde. It was straight as sticks, which was not the style at the time and her brown eyes were too close together. Her skin was olive-toned, another strike against her. Also, she had the misfortune of a thick pair of eyebrows that touched in the center of her forehead. William had noticed these things, too. He also noticed that when she laughed, these flaws seemed to become rather inconsequential.

Unfortunately, William was the only one who could make Madeline laugh. Her father had promised his eldest to a family friend when she was of marriagable age, sensing no other suitors would materialize.

The family friend was in his late forties and Madeline was thirteen when they wed.

William had been repulsed by the match and the family's haste to be rid of his favorite cousin, but told no one so as not to alienate his relatives. A week before Madeline's marriage, William and his mother had visited for a picnic on the grounds of the Fromme estate. The revelers were gathered beneath a tent near the house, playing badmitton and chatting. William felt particularly awkward in groups, so he'd sought out his amiable companion, Madeline. She was always game to read his poetry or show him some of hers and she loved to learn of the books he was reading. He'd been chagrined to find her in isolation, crying amid the family's small apple orchard.

William had approached Madeline carefully, not willing to touch her for fear it would reflect poorly on thier reputations. He'd asked her the source of her dismay. Madeline had turned her close-set eyes to him an instant before casting them demurely down.

"I'm afraid to go with that man," Madeline said.

William had cleared his throat a few times before he mumbled something about discussing her trepidation with her mother.

"What am I to do?" she asked.

William produced a handkerchief from inside his jacket and handed it to her. Madeline had taken it with a smile.

"You will be a wonderful wife because you are a good, loving soul, Madeline. You've nothing to worry of on that account," William said.

Neither of them could express what was truly on her mind. William wished he could hug his friend as he had when they were both younger, but things were too different. It would be indecorous. After she'd composed herself, William and Madeline returned to the party.

More than a year passed before they saw one another again. Madeline was pregnant and about to start her confinement. Her husband had been away on business and William's mother had been ill but had urged William to visit anyway.

William and his cousin were alone with one another and he noticed a change in his companion. She had a sensuality that came with being married and knew more than William did about one of life's fundamental secrets. Madeline's sexual experience, and the roundness of her form due to pregnancy, made her seem much more womanly than before.

As they sat sipping tea, William found himself tongue-tied around his cousin for the first time ever. They sat in silence for awhile before Madeline spoke, her fingers twitching on the handle of her tea cup.

"I kept the handkerchief you gave me that day. I know I should return it, but I often carry the token with me. It's a comfort," Madeline said.

"It's an honor to provide comfort to my friend," William said.

"Thank you, William," she'd said, giving him a look that made him turn away so she wouldn't see the blush on his cheeks.

They'd said their goodbyes. It would prove to be their last farewell as Madeline died during childbirth.

When William had gotten the news, he regretted not taking her hand in the apple orchard and placing a kiss on her lips. Ruining her would have preserved her life and they could've married when she was old enough. Though he'd never be passionate about her, William knew he could have been happy with Madeline as his wife. William had always longed for a great romance; it was why he formed attachments to stunning women who were just out of reach. But in his more honest moments he knew that Madeline had loved him while the others did not. Love would have been enough and would have spared so many. William would have never been turned, and his potential never fully realized, but he would have been happy just the same.

Buffy looked nothing like Madeline, they couldn't be more different inside, but they did have one thing in common.

They both made him wish he was a better man.

After awhile his thoughts returned to the current calamity. Spike slowly composed himself and stopped making any noise at all; his body ceased to pulse with his sobs. Buffy's clothes were wet and her fingers had gone limp against his hair.

"You alright, love?" Spike asked.

The question startled her awake. Buffy's head shot up and her legs jerked, but Spike held on for the ride. She realized the muscles in her lower half were painfully stiff under his weight.

"What did you inject me with?" she asked.

"Sedative, triple strength for somebody your size, but I figured, slayer," Spike said.


"It'll probably take a day or two to get you back to normal, love."

"Until then I guess you've got hot and cold running slayer blood on tap, don't you?" she asked.

"Never cold, not you. Besides, it's a little late for all that, isn't it?" Spike asked.

"Then what are you going to do?" she asked.

"Hadn't thought about it."

Spike went quiet again. She tried hard to inch her way out from under him but Buffy was having huge difficulty simply staying awake.

"Why didn't you kill me when you had the chance?" she asked.

"Bit obvious, isn't it?"

"Enlighten me, I'm not really at my best seeing as you injected me with enough sedative to roofie an entire sorority house."

"I love you, Buffy."

"You always try to kill girls you love?"

"Apparently," Spike said with a wet chuckle. He sat up and pulled her into his arms.

"Please, Spike, don't," Buffy said, as her head rested against his chest. She felt his legs wrapping around her.

"Don't what?"

"Any of it. Whatever you're planning on doing to me, I don't want it," Buffy said.

He held her for awhile, not making another move. Buffy tried to stay awake, but even with the adrenaline coursing through her, she was still scrabbling on the precipice of consciousness. He was rocking her back and forth, softly singing a lullaby. The tune was one she didn't recognize, but soon she couldn't help succumbing to the darkness.

When Buffy woke up the sun was bathing her bedroom and for a second she wondered if it had all been a nightmare. Then Buffy noticed she was lying on top of her covers, draped in Spike's leather duster.


Giles had his hand on her shoulder as they sat on his living room couch. The physical contact was very un-Giles of him, but Buffy didn't care; it soothed her. After making sure her mom was alright that morning, she'd dressed quickly and run over to his flat. The story of the night before had poured out, each detail etching another line in her Watcher's face.

"And you're sure it's not some kind of ruse, a feint to get you to trust him?"

"This is Spike we're talking about. He's straightforward, like a...railroad spike. Angelus was the evil mastermind with the twisty plots. Spike is more of a smash and bash guy," Buffy said.

"Then you believe he has some sort of feelings for you," Giles said.

"I do. But that's kind of scarier than if he still hated me. After all, he loved Drusilla, but had no qualms about choking her and dragging her off with him against her will. Punching is like second base for him," Buffy said.

"So you think he's transferred his obsession to you?"

"Yeah. He talked about turning me—"

Giles sighed and unhooked his glasses from his ears.

"I hope this isn't an empty reassurance, but he could have turned you when you were incapacitated, and didn't. Perhaps he was just trying to intimidate you."

"It wasn't a threat, it was more like he was trying to talk himself into it. What if he changes his mind? He's totally unpredictable. He was this close to making me into a slayer snack for Dru," Buffy said, holding her fingers together in an inch size pinch to indicate the closeness.

"Willow will be able to complete a disinvite spell tonight. I know you'll find him soon and deal with him."

"The weirdest part in all this might be that I almost don't want to stake him, Giles. I mean on the one hand I really, really, want to after that whole sneaking into my bedroom thing, but I wish I could figure him out first, you know? He didn't have to bring Anyanka to us to tell us about the ascension and before that he helped me save all those babies while you were playing Lindsay Buckingham to my mom's Stevie Nicks."

Giles smiled, his eyes wrinkling.

"I can't speak to the reasons he relayed Anyanka's story to us, but I'm sure they were self-motivated. As to the babies, I recall you paid him for that. I do know that no matter how...accustomed...we are to Spike, you still must kill him, Buffy. If he's as unstable as you say, there's no telling how many people he could harm. When vampires near starvation they can become quite mad. You mentioned Drusilla nearly drained him? His behavior could be ascribed to a lack of sustenance," Giles said.

"You're probably right. I'll go to the warehouse, see what I can slay."

"Are you sure you're up to it?"

"Yeah, I had a double mocha with an extra shot of espresso this morning, I'm good," Buffy said.

She left Giles' and did a sweep of the dilapidated building where she'd been trapped the night before. Spike was nowhere to be found. Buffy pressed on and searched several other obvious places a vamp might hide, but there was no joy. Or rather, there was no painful confusion seeing as Spike didn't turn up. However, Buffy did find a vampire nest and something Giles would later identify as a Gora demon. Even as she was stalking her prey, Buffy was comforted by the idea Spike had left town.

He wasn't stupid enough to stick around, right?

Chapter End Notes:
P.S.: I haven't forgotten about "The Secret of the Boy You Never Kissed." Brick Frog had some computer issues and Real Life to deal with, so we're held up there. Otherwise, it's nearly finished.
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