Chapter One – Stupid Demons
Seething with anger, Buffy stalked out of the police station and past the mouth of the alley, taking no notice of the black clad figure lying prone on the ground, his cheek pressed to the pavement. She didn't notice when he raised a bruised and battered face to watch her walk past through the slits of his bloody and swollen eyes. She didn't notice when he reached his hand out to her, and she didn't hear him whisper softly, "Buffy."
His hand dropped back to the pavement as she moved out of sight and he lay there, not moving at all as he waited for whatever horrible thing was going to happen to him next. 'Hell, maybe somebody I owe money to will come along and finish the job Buffy started. Or maybe I'll just wait for the bloody sunrise. Not like I've got any reason to keep going. I can't be a proper vampire 'cause of this soddin' chip, and it's pointless to try to be a man. She doesn't want me the way I want her, and I'm kiddin' myself to think she'll ever love me. She could never be my girl 'cause I'm just an evil thing. Like she said, there's nothin' good or clean in me. I'm dead inside.' He heaved a giant sigh then stopped breathing altogether as he let his eyes fall shut and waited.
'Warren. That son of a bitch must have killed his girlfriend then tried to blame it on me! Tried to make me think I did it!' She growled. 'He is soooo lucky that I don't know where he is because I so need to kill something right now.'
She stalked through Sunnydale, envisioning Warren being tortured in a myriad of painful and bloody ways. The people she passed took note of the murderous look on the face of the small woman and gave her a wide berth. She didn't notice them. A woman dragged her crying daughter away from the feral grin she was sporting as she thought of an especially painful punishment. She didn't notice. She also didn't spare a thought to the bleached blond vampire with the twinkling blue eyes as she absently rubbed at his blood on her gloves.
A little while later she was stomping through her third cemetery, getting angrier by the second. She viscously kicked a headstone, shattering it into jagged pieces as she growled out, "Where the hell is everything? Oh sure, when I want to kill something, all the stupid demons are at home, snug in their stupid beds."
"Not this demon, Slayer."
She whirled around, pulling her stake, and smiled at the huge pile of green, slimy demon lounging against the wall of a crypt. "Did you come out here just because I wanted to kill something? That's so nice!"
The demon's low voice rumbled through her as he laughed, "No, Slayer. I came here to kill you. I've got a bet going with my brother. He says I can't kill you. I say I can." The demon pushed away from the crypt wall and stood to his full height, towering over the diminutive Slayer.
She grinned up at him as she twirled her stake then tucked it back into her pocket. "Sorry to tell you this, but you're about to lose your bet and I'm gonna get to kill something. It's a win-win. Or… I guess… a lose-win. Anyway, I win." She spun and dropped, sweeping the demon's legs out from under him, then chuckled at the surprised yelp that exploded from his mouth when he slammed into the ground. She jumped up and straddled him, punching furiously as she giggled like a maniac.
The demon held up his huge, claw-tipped hands, trying to block her punishing blows, but the Slayer's small fists easily dodged them and landed with stunning accuracy. After a few minutes, and several dozen punches, the demon dropped his hands, not even trying to block anymore. Buffy landed a few more punches then stopped and leaned back; resting her hands on her thighs. "Still think you can kill me? 'Cause I've gotta say, not looking good for you right now."
The demon shook his battered head as green slime oozed out of the cuts caused by Buffy's fists, then lay still. Buffy was watching his face curiously and didn't notice his fingers digging something out of the pocket of his rough tunic. She did notice when he raised his arm and threw something at the side of the crypt while he muttered under his breath. Suddenly the demon bucked her off and jumped to his feet, still muttering. Buffy flew into a headstone and bounced off, landing in a heap. She raised her head, flinging her hair out of her face, and saw the demon about to step through a swirling portal in the crypt wall.
Buffy scrambled to her feet and darted forward, tangling her hands in the demon's tunic. "Oh no, you don't. There will be no running away. Not when I want to kill something. That's just… rude."
The demon tugged desperately on his tunic, trying to free it from her grasp, then shrugged and stepped into the portal, dragging Buffy through behind him.
Dawn sprinted down the street toward the police station. 'Buffy will kill me for being out by myself after dark, but I can't let her do this! I need her!' She slowed down as she got closer to the station and started looking around nervously. 'What if I'm too late? What if she's already in jail? What will I do then?' She walked slowly past the mouth of an alley and heard a low groan. She spun toward the alley, pulling a stake from her back pocket, then dropped the stake and rushed over to the man lying on the ground. "Spike!"
Spike groaned again as Dawn rolled him onto his back. "Huh. Guess my luck hasn't run out after all. Somebody somewhere must still like me."
She gasped and clapped her hands to her mouth as the light from the street revealed his bloody and battered face. "Spike? What happened? Who did this to you?"
Spike chuckled low in his chest then mumbled through split and bleeding lips, "Your sis and I had a bit of a disagreement."
Dawn's eyes went wide with horror. "Buffy did this to you? Why?"
Spike reached for her hand and pulled himself to a sitting position. "I was tryin' to keep her from doin' somethin' stupid and she didn't agree with my handlin' of the situation."
Dawn's lips pressed into a thin line. "The dead girl. She told me about it. She's in jail, isn't she?"
Spike shook his head slowly, then stopped and gritted his teeth until the alley stopped spinning around him, "No, Bit. She's not. Walked past me 'bout ten minutes ago."
Dawn's look of horror changed to anger. "So she beat the shit out of you and then just left you here?"
Spike shrugged, "She's upset, Bit, and why wouldn't she leave me here? Not like I mean anythin' to her. Evil, soulless vampire, remember? I'm lucky she only pounded me into the pavement 'stead of stakin' me."
Dawn screeched, "I don't care if she's upset! What if you were still laying here when the sun came up? What then? What if some stupid humans found you? What the hell was she thinking? Just because she can't admit what the hell she feels doesn't mean she can just throw you away!"
Spike tried to quirk his eyebrow, but the swelling around his eyes made it impossible so he settled for tilting his head. "What do you mean, Niblet? What about how she feels?"
Dawn rolled her eyes in typical teenage girl fashion and huffed, "She loves you. Duh. Anyone with half a brain cell can see that."
Spike shook his head sadly, "Think you're wrong 'bout that one, pet. She doesn't even like me, much less love me."
Dawn crossed her arms over her chest and lifted her chin defiantly, "She's screwing you, isn't she?"
Spike's mouth dropped open in complete shock and he sputtered, "Who told you that?"
She blushed and looked away down the alley, "Nobody."
Spike reached out and grasped her chin, turning her head back to face him. "Then how do you know? The truth, Dawn."
She dropped her hands to her lap, twisting her fingers together as her blush deepened, and stammered. "Uh… I kind of… caught you… um… a week or so ago." Spike dropped his hand and nodded at her to continue. "Um… Janice had to go to her grandparent's house and I didn't want to go home yet, so I thought I'd go over to your place and see if you wanted to hang out. Anyway, I saw you… um… in the cemetery… with Buffy. At first I thought you were fighting, but then… she doesn't… uh… scream like that… when she's fighting." She looked down at her hands and completely missed Spike's gob smacked expression as she stuttered, "I… uh… didn't see any… uh… parts… or anything, but it was kind of obvious what was going on."
Dawn sat looking down at her hands while Spike sat staring over her shoulder at the wall for a few long minutes. Dawn finally peeked up at Spike and whispered, "So?"
Spike shook himself out of his reverie and looked toward the mouth of the alley. "Uh… I don't know, Bit. Um… I'm sorry you had to find out like that, and your sis is gonna be blinkered when she finds out you know. That'll probably earn me 'nother beatin'."
Dawn reached for Spike's hand and squeezed. "Then we won't tell her I know! I've kept it a secret this long. I don't want you to get in trouble because of me."
Spike chuckled, "I can handle the Slayer, Niblet. No need to worry."
Dawn gently brushed her fingers over Spike's broken cheekbone. "Yeah. Looks like you handled her all right."
Spike reached up and squeezed her hand, "I'll be fine, pet. I'll just get back to my crypt and I'll be right as rain in a few days, yeah?"
Dawn shook her head as she got to her feet, "Uh uh. You're coming back to my house and staying there until you're healed."
Spike shook his head, "Your sis won't…"
Dawn spat out, "My sis will just have to deal. You're my friend, Spike, and I'm not going to leave you like this. Now get up and let's get home."
Spike chuckled and slowly climbed to his feet. "Who am I to refuse the request of a Summers woman?" Dawn lifted his arm over her shoulders and slid her arm under his duster, wrapping it around his waist. She started leading him out of the alley and Spike squeezed her shoulder and chuckled. "I can walk, Bit. My legs are fine."
She looked up at his puffy eyes as they made their way slowly down the sidewalk. "You can't see anything, can you?"
He shook his head with a frown, "No, not really."
She smirked, "Then I'd be quiet and just let me help you or I might walk you into a building or off a bridge or something."
He chuckled, "All right, Bit. Lead the way." They were almost to the end of the block when Spike asked in a quiet whisper, "She loves me?"
Dawn squeezed him and whispered back, "Yeah. She does."