A/N: This is my first Buffy-ish story, but it wouldn't get out of my head, so I figured I'd better type it out to be rid of it. Reviews are appreciated, especially criticism, but be nice about it. As always, if you saw it on screen, I don't own it (although I wouldn't mind owning Lindsey. Or Spike. Or Angel. Or all three….)

The sound of metal hitting metal filled the tunnel, but was muted by the cars passing overhead. One would have to walk directly past the overpass to hear the swords clanging. If one was to walk past, they would have seen a woman carefully matching her much larger opponent, blow for blow.

"You know, we could just settle this over a nice game of poker. What do you say to that?"

"Never! There can be only one!"

"And here I'd hoped to actually make it through a fight without having to hear that particular line. Honestly, is that the only phrase any of us knows?"

Angered, he swung at her again. Good. If he was angry, he would get sloppy. Just the opening she needed. With just a few more swings, his head was separated from his body.

"Guess you're not the One."

The body began to glow, and levitate. She could feel the current shooting from the body and into her. This was the part she hated. For this short time, she was helpless against the realities of the Quickening. His power flowed into her, ripping through her body, the pain and tension building until she had to scream it out. This one had been young, barely fifty. It didn't take long before she was lying on her back on the asphalt, exhausted.

After several seconds, she realized that the buzzing in her ears was her cell phone, not after effects of the Quickening. She felt around for it, until she found it in her pocket. She groaned at the soreness in her arms as she put it up to her ear.

"Hello?"

"You sound like hell. You okay?"

"Should I know who this is?"

"Cariss, it's Methos. What's wrong?"

"Some people just take longer to kill than others, that's what's wrong. Now, what do you want?"

"I can't call just because I want to talk to you?"

"Methos, in the century the phone has been in existence, have you ever called just because you wanted to talk to me?"

"There's a first time for everything."

"Please tell me you didn't call just for this?"

"Of course not. The Watchers are concerned about events happening in Sunnydale."

Sunnydale, Sunnydale. Cariss thought for a moment before it clicked.

"Sunnydale? Why do I care about the States?"

"It's a Hellmouth, remember?"

"And what do I care about that? I'm not exactly in the area you know."

"Just where are you, anyway?"

"Moscow. So tell me why I should care about Sunnydale."

"Vampires are disappearing. And there's a member of clan Aurelius there."

"Aurelius?"

Cariss finally pushed herself up to a sitting position when Methos' words began to sink in.

"Who's there, Methos?"

"I don't know who, love, just that one of your family is there."

"I'll be on the next plane to the States."

"Wonderful. By the by, who'd you just kill?"

Cariss looked back down at the body only a couple of feet away from her.

"Lionel Robinson. Did you know him?"

"I've heard of him. That can't have taken too long. Call me when you get to California."

She ended the call and put her phone back in her pocket, cursing as she pushed herself to her feet. A perk of immortality was rapid healing, not instant healing. It would be late tonight or early tomorrow before she was completely healed. It was going to be a long flight to California.

Willow huffed as she was knocked into a mausoleum. Routine patrol tonight, and the Scoobies had been attacked by a small horde of vampires. She'd already staked one, and looked over to see that Buffy was dealing with three. That was when she was knocked back by a vampire who'd just arrived on the scene.

"Did every vamp in Sunnydale decide to drop by or something?" she just had to ask herself.

"Not all of them, Pet, just a small coven," Spike answered her rhetorical question as he dusted the vampire that had knocked her back.

"Thanks."

There was no time for more talk as they were pulled back into the fighting. She didn't notice, but Spike stayed close to her, keeping the majority of the vampires at bay. This was why he stayed, why he helped the Slayer. He couldn't let his Red get hurt.

After several more minutes, and several sarcastic quips from Buffy, the last of the vampires were dust. The Slayer immediately looked around to make sure her friend was still standing.

"Willow, you good?"

"Yeah, thanks to Spike."

Buffy just glared at the bleach blonde vampire. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate him watching Willow's back, she just hated owing him anything.

"Thanks."

"Don't mention it."

"Giles, you good?"

"I'm alright. Did you get the last of them, then?"

"Yep. All the vamps are dusted. No more vamps for us."

"Good, good. Shall we call it a night, then?"

Buffy was only too eager to jump at that offer. She'd hoped to finish early enough to hit the Bronze tonight. Now, it looked as if that would happen.

"I'll see you guys later, then. Oh, Wills, do I need to walk you back to the dorm, or can I finally convince you to come Bronzing?"

Willow shook her head.

"I need to head back. I have a test tomorrow, I have to study."

"You focus too much on schoolwork, Wills. You gotta let loose a bit."

"Maybe I'll let loose once this test is over."

She didn't remind Buffy that she also had a test the next day; midterms were not escapable by anyone. She knew that Buffy would just whine about the unfairness of having to slay and take tests. And in a way, Willow agreed. So much responsibility should occasionally allow her poor friend a free pass on some things.

"I'll take you back then."

"You don't need to walk me back, Buff. Go have fun with Riley."

"Are you sure?"

"Sure, I'm sure. Spike can make sure I make it safe and sound, can't you Spike?"

Spike found himself agreeing to walk his Red back to the dorms, and mentally shook himself, wondering how he got into these messes. Buffy was off before anyone could change their mind.

"Right. Well, Willow if you have everything in hand, I'll see you tomorrow."

"I'll see you tomorrow Giles."

Giles gave Spike a last mistrustful glare before leaving the pair. Willow stood quiet for a moment, before Spike interrupted her thoughts.

"Not that it isn't a beautiful evening, Pet, but I do need to get back to Rippers bloody basement before the sun comes up."

"Right. Sorry. Let's go then, so you can get home."

He bit back a growl. The Watcher's basement was not his bloody home. It was a temporary place to crash. And the sooner he was out of it, the better. Willow started walking, in the opposite direction of the campus.

"Dorms' this way Red."

She turned around with a slight blush. Spike would love to know what she was thinking that had her so disoriented, but didn't question her on it. Instead he walked the first few minutes in silence.

"So, Red, what test is it that you have to study for? I wouldn't imagine school was a problem for you."

"It's not, generally, but history really isn't my best subject, and that's the test I have tomorrow. The French and Indian War."

"Ah."

"Did you ever study the French and Indian War?"

"That was about a century before my time, Pet."

"I meant, in school, or something. Not that you had personal experience or anything. I know you're not that old."

"Really? You know how old I am?"

"You were turned in 1880, so around a hundred and forty something?"

"Good guess, Pet. I was twenty-eight when I was turned."

He was impressed that she actually knew that. Sure, they would have researched him and Dru, when they first came to town, but this girl actually remembered. He didn't think that Slutty remembered anything she learned once she no longer needed it.

"So, did you study the French and Indian War?" Willow came back to her original question.

Spike had to think back to when he was still human. It had been over a hundred years, as he'd pointed out, and once he'd been turned, he'd put as much of his old self behind him as possible.

"We called it the Seven Years War. And the British perspective is no doubt different from the Colonial perspective, so I doubt it's anything you'd find on your test."

"I don't know about that. The professor likes essay questions, it could very well come in handy."

With Willow's encouragement, Spike recounted what he could remember about his education, and what he'd been taught about that particular war. He thought it was too bad the test wasn't about one of the World Wars, he had firsthand knowledge of those. He didn't mind talking to Red about the past. She was probably the only one of the lot that didn't judge anything he might tell her. She just accepted that he was a demon, even if right now he couldn't hurt her, and moved on. Unlike Slutty, who threw what he was back in his face any chance she got. Even if he was acting completely un-demonlike, the Slayer continually brought it up.

Before either of them knew it, they'd reached the dorm. Willow looked up in surprise. She'd been completely engrossed in Spike's story, and was disappointed that their time was now ended. She stood for a minute, fidgeting. Spike found it cute. He didn't want to leave her there, either.

"Um, thanks for making sure I got back in one piece, Spike. And thanks for the history lesson. I'm sure it will come in handy tomorrow."

" 'Night, Red."

Spike waited until she was in the dorm before turning around and heading back to Giles', and a mug of warm blood, determined NOT to dream of erotic dreams of the girl he'd just walked home when he finally slept.