Better Buffy Fiction Archive Entry



by Lanie

Summary: Willow meets up with trouble in a small Texas town
Spoilers: Na-da-Takes place after season five (written before finale)
Feedback: Is appreciated
Disclaimer: Joss owns most of them

Cut back eight hours ago. I was in relative comfort, sitting on a way too overstuffed chair listening to Anya scold Xander for holding the baby bottle all wrong.

"You'll make it all gassy!"

"Anya, we've talked about calling Isabella 'it'. Besides the book says to hold the baby bottle this way." Xander responded turning a slight bit away from Anya more towards my direction, rolling his eyes in teasing merriment until Anya scooted back in front of him.

"The book says to tilt it more upright. And I can't help that I still call her it. She was an it for nine months-"

"Anya, nine months out of thousands of years and-"

"Thousands of years or not," Anya interrupted, "Nine months is a long time for a person to carry around a parasite that grows from the smallest proportions into this large pink thing that is now our daughter."

"I know Anya." Xander sighed leaning further back against the couch as the baby let out a gurgle of content.


But that was eight hours ago. Forty-five minutes after the baby bottle incident Xander kissed Anya on the cheek and helped me carry my bags out to his car. On the way to the airport we talked about slaying and demons and all things Sunnydale, like old friends from any Hellmouth are wont to do.

"Sometimes I miss it. The old evil vibe the Hellmouth wallops."

You have the good life here. No demony evil lurking about every corner, the biggest evil you have to contend with-"

"Is Anya in zealous mamma mode."

"Exactly!" I smiled looking over at him as he turned onto the exit ramp, following the curves that led to the drop off area in front of the airport.

"Let me park Will and I'll walk in and wait with you for your plane."

"Nope. Nu-uh Mister you got life stuff waiting for you."

"We hardly got more than a couple of hours to catch up between the baby, Anya and her new interest in paint samples-"

"Xander," I began as the car pulled to a stop with my arms stretched out, "Hug?"

"For my favorite girl-"

"Well behind Anya and Isabella."

"Okay. Okay. My favorite Witch?"

"That's more like it." I laughed my arms reaching around him, the car's clutch digging into my thigh, "Miss you." I tell him reaching over and grabbing my two bags from the back seat.

"Call me when you land in LA!" Xander shouted as he pulled away.


I watched the car disappear amid a clutter of similar suburban vehicles before I walked away from the glass doors that led to ticketing. Instead I walked to the car rental booth.

"How can I help you?" The middle-aged clerk asked me.

"I need a car for a week. One I can leave in Sunnydale, California."

"Any car preferences?"


"Pretty big preference lately."


But like I said that was 8 hours ago or probably more like seven if you deduct the baby bottle lesson. Either way, I'm convinced that, no not convinced, but one hundred percent certain that the wisest course to have followed would have been taking a plane. But I wanted-no needed-some time to myself before I had to get back to Sunnydale. Back to Dawn with her eyes rolling and her straight, thin fake smile, and poor Giles, looking ten years older than he should. I just needed this week, driving through this dusty Texas landscape, with just myself, the elements and a bag or two of potato chips.

I hadn't quite counted on a cement block the size of New Hampshire being in the middle of the road. Maybe if I had been looking at the road instead of digging through my CD's, I wouldn't have missed that colossal landmass disguising itself as a cement block? I mean is that a twist of something or what? Shredded a tire and there's also all sorts of liquids seeping out from underneath this rental car.

I should have just taken the plane. I'd be back in my apartment now, or else at The Magic Box, instead of here in God Knows Where, Texas.

I should have studied time travel spells more. Then I could zap myself back to last night and hello smooth flying airplane ride. Or teleportation spells, but after that time I accidentally teleported Spike to Disneyland, everyone thought it'd be a good idea if I quit with the teleportation spells for a while. For once I took Giles and Buffy's advice. And lookie here now! Hmph! I could be teleporting myself all around the world if I'd-

That's when I saw a cloud of dust a mile or so down the road. Tow truck. Tow truck. Yay. I clapped to myself when the dirty rust colored vehicle pulled up in front of the car.

"Call a tow truck?" A voice called out from behind a dirty window.

"No not me." I answered wryly, "Just out here for the heck of it, you know taking in more of the nothing and oh look more nothing over there."

"Take that as a yes." The man replied opening his door and stepping out. "Got yourself in a fix. Tore up the whole underbelly of that car. It's gonna' take me a day or so to fix it." He continued walking around the big truck, a dust covered Stetson atop his head, ragged Levi's and an old gray t-shirt covering his body.

"The agency-"

"Said to try and fix it first-"

"No. No they told me a car would be waiting in town and-"

"Town," He interrupted looking up at me, dark brown eyes smiling at my situation, "is a days drive away from any car rental agency."


"You always believe everything people tell you?" He jested opening the passenger side door of the truck, "Hop in, it'll just take a sec to hitch this car up."

Frowning at him I nodded and climbed into the vehicle and shouted out, "Hey! Wait my bags-"

"Are in the car and will be when we get to town."

"Rude meanie." I muttered before folding my arms across my chest.


"Where ya' headin'?" The tow truck driver tried to make conversation as I looked away from him and out the window watching miles and miles of dust flutter up behind and around us. I didn't answer.

"I asked you where you were heading off to? You know it's considered to polite to answer a person when they-"

"Hey! Do not lecture me on politeness, what are you the cowboy's Miss Manners?"

"Woah. Something's got your Irish up."

"And for the record-" I turned towards him frowning at his smile, "I am not Irish. Not even 10 percent Irish."

"Just a saying is all, just a saying." He laughed his hand reaching for his cigarettes on the dash.

"You're not going to smoke are you?"

"Was planning to. Won't if you answer my question though."

"What question? Oh. If it'll stop you from smoking...California. Sunnydale."

Throwing the cigarettes back to the dash he looked over at me, "Sunnydale, huh? Heard of that place. Got some good spooks there huh? Heard there were werewolves, witches and even vampires living it large in that town. Or maybe not."

"It-it has it's down sides but, but...It's just home, I wouldn't exactly classify witches as spooks either."

"Downsides? Wait 'til we get to McMurtryville." He smirked a bit tapping his finger against the steering wheel to imaginary music.


"It's just home." He smiled winking.

Rolling my eyes I went back to my dust watching. Dust however, is only entertaining for a good thirty seconds tops, I'm thinking cactus counting might be the way to go.

"So what's your name? I never got it. Maybe I didn't hear you and all-"

"What you mean between bossing and mocking me? See how it may not have come up. But it's Willow."

"Just Willow? Like Madonna?"

"Just." I smirked as a car traveled past us it's windows tinted and painted over. My stomach lurched. I had to convince myself that not all cars with impossibly darkened windows belonged to vampires.

"You can call me Les." He interrupted.

"Just Les? Like Sting?"


"This? This is it?" I asked opening the truck's door and stepping out onto the gravel road, "This is town? There's one street."

"Well," He said, "One Street but it has all the important stuff on it. At the end you got Bette's Motel, which is where your rental agency is putting you up. Two buildings down you got the diner. It's only open until 6 so you might want to eat early. Next to that you got the drug/grocery store. Across from that the bar-it's open late hours. And here," He pointed to a falling down building, "is my garage."

I looked at the sign, the neon liquid spattering trying to light up the sign that said Murray's Garage.

"Who's Murray?"

"Huh? Oh the sign. He used to own the joint is all. Couldn't be bothered to change the name. Hold on a sec let me unhitch this car and I'll drive you down to the motel."

Shrugging my shoulders I opened up my bag and reached for my cell phone. Might as well call Giles before Xander starts calling looking for me. I don't want to hurt Xander's feelings. I don't want him to know I had a week until I had to be back at work. It was just hard, you know. Not seeing Xander, I love him so much, or even Anya because she grows on unwanted fungus, but grows on you anyway. It's just seeing them both so happy, just like they have always been. I'm glad for them. I am. It's just that sometimes...sometimes it makes me sad. The fact that I have been in love exactly two times and I haven't been enough to make either person stay around. I feel like I should wag a finger at myself and go shame, shame for my self-centeredness; I don't of course because that would be strange. The last thing I need is more attention I realize noticing people peaking out from behind blinds and shop window displays. An old man across the street stopped rocking back and forth in his rocking chair, instead leaning away from it hands blocking the glare of the sun just so he could give me a good long stare.

I moved away from the eyes and cast a look into the bowels of the dirty garage and dialed Giles' number.

"Yes? Hello?"

"Giles! It's Will-"

"Good heavens. Where are you?"

"I'm fine. Car trouble. But I'm getting a new car tomorrow and-"

"Xander called. He thought you took a plane-"

"Giles. Giles you didn't say-"

"Anything? No but I'm afraid I don't understand why you would-"

"My phone's breaking up." I lie, "I'll call you from my room tonight."

I heard him mutter 'Very well then' before I snapped the phone shut.


"So," Les said taking my bags from the bed of the truck as I fumble with the key to my room, "I haven't eaten a thing since this morning, and judging from the rolled up potato chip bags in your car, I'd reckon the same of you. How about going over to the diner with me and catching a meal?"

"Les, " I began turning away from my now unlocked door, "I'm sure you're a perfectly nice person but-"

"No but to it, just hungry is all. What, Think I was trying to hit on you?" He laughed.

"Huh? I mean why? What's wrong with me? No wait. Why am I asking you that? Nothing is wrong with me. And yes I am hungry. I'd even eat snails right now, well if they weren't slimy and gross and snails. They don't specialize in snails at this diner do they, because the snail thing, just a metaphor."

*** "Hello there Les." The bleach blonde waitress cooed all but ignoring me as I slid across the green vinyl booth.

"Back to you Sharlene."

"What's it gonna' be tonight?"

"Usual Love." He responded pushing the menu away. Love, that word, that pet nickname sent shivers down my spine.

"What about you?" The waitress barked down at me giving her gum a good snap as added measure.

"Um. I haven't really gotten a chance to look at the menu-"

"Hon," She rolled her eyes, "We're closing up in an hour. Best make up your mind quickly. It's either grease or non-grease. Ain't got a lot of choices."

"A salad I guess. Ranch dressing?"

"Alright." She sighed snapping her order book shut and walked away.

"Is it this town? Either everyone stares at me like I have a tree or something growing out of my skull or else they're just plain...well not nice."

"Just a small town is all, not used to strangers." Les said lighting a cigarette and leaning back against the squeaky vinyl of the booth, "So tell me about Sunnydale and all the ghouls."


And I did. I don't know why I did. We don't, we never talk about these things. I talked about vampires and demons and explained the Hellmouth to him. I told him about Buffy, what she was and how she died. I told him everything and he just leaned back and listened. Not laughing or commenting on my sanity. He believed me. Every word, someone outside of Sunnydale believed me. And for the first time in years I enjoyed the conversation, I felt like the girl at the wheel, the one who told you that the creepy crawlies under your bed were the real deal.

"What about you?" I asked pushing away my salad plate.

"Not much to say. Small town guy."

"No skeletons in the closet?"

"They're hidden pretty good Darlin'." He laughed as he pulled out his wallet.

"How much is mine?" I asked opening my bag.

"It's on me."

"No-I can't-"

"It's on me." He repeated laying some bills on the table, "Best get you back to the motel before it gets too late...all this talk of ghouls..."

"The ghouls are in Sunnydale." I smiled standing up throwing my sweater across my shoulders.

"What's that you said?" A voice cracked with age asked.

"Shoot Edna," Les took my arm by the elbow and led me towards the door, "Does Sharlene know you're out here?"

"Now listen here-" The old lady started lifting her cane up, it's tip jolting and moving at her every word, "There's two kinds of evil. The kind that hides itself from you and the kind that don't-"

"Sharlene! Your momma's out here talking about evil again." Les called Sharlene out of the back.

"Momma. Cut out all that mumbo jumbo. The only evil around here is me still being single." The waitress sighed taking the old woman by the shoulders and guiding her to the back.

"Mark my words. There's no good in some people." The old woman finished before Sharlene could close the door separating the diner from the house part of the building.

"Crazy old bat." Les shook his head.

*** "What was she talking about?" I asked him as we turned up the drive of the motel.

"Who? Edna? Nonsense. She's senile."

"I don't know. She didn't-"

"This isn't one of those hellmouths you were telling me about or something, just a slip of a town in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes people are just crazy because they're crazy."


TV in the middle of nowhere is really bad by the way. I must have flipped through all the channels thirty times and it was only 8 PM. Sighing I got up and grabbed the ice bucket sitting on the worn bureau.

"At least I can have my soda cold." I mumbled grabbing my room key and heading out into the open-air foyer.

The town was quiet even though some buildings had lights on. Not a single car drove down the road; there weren't even cricket chirps to be heard. It was so quiet I could hear the rubber soles of my tennis shoes tap against the concrete as I walked down the pathway to the ice machine. A curtain in the room next to the ice machine flickered as I passed the window.

That's when I saw a shadow flicker beside me.

"Hello?" I called out, my eyes scanning the bushes, "Is someone out there?"


I continued down the hallway until I smelt cigarette smoke and heard a familiar voice, "Tsk, tsk, tsk. Look at you coming all the way out here and not even looking me up Pet."


"One and only."


"Pet, don't back away like that." He smirked after I turned to take him in, ice bucket clutched firmly with feet moving me away from him.

"If I was gonna' bite you, it'd already be done."

"What do you want Spike?"

"What can't a fellow be happy to see an old friend?"

"We're not friends Spike."

"Come on now. Not friends? Well maybe not friends but that didn't stop you from-"

"Go away." I interrupted him before he could say it. Before he could even utter a word.

"Love, no reason to be hostile." He smirked tossing his cigarette out onto the grass.

I reached for my key and unlocked my door, stepping inside I said, "You can't come in here."

"What makes you say that?" He asked his hands gripping both sides of the doorway.

"The whole invitation thing."

"Suppose you're right."

I nodded my hands closing the door.

"Wait Willow."


"What of the Slayer?"

"You're a bastard." I told him coldly fixing a stare on him and then watched his facial expression change from juvenile merriment, to confusion and then to something I had never seen on any vampires face before, save Angels.

"What of Buffy?" He asked again.

"Y-you don't know?"

"Know what Willow?" He questioned his knuckles turning white from the hard grip he held on the doorframe.

"That- that...she's dead Spike. I- I assumed that you knew, a Slayer dies and the vampire community throws a party. That's how it works. That's how it always worked."

"How'd it happen?" He asked his hands dropping away from the doorway as he leaned against the wall.

"A car accident, it'd been raining..."

"A bloody car accident? Slayers don't die in car accidents. They die in battle."

"Not this time."

"Fuck." He murmured his hand moving to his face.

I knew I would be making a mistake, Hellmouth 101 states firmly with no room for questions, do not ever invite a vampire into the place you're living at temporarily or permanently. Point of fact, Hellmouth 101 says if you see a vampire kill it or quickly walk away even if you've had hot chocolate with it in the past or spent too much time with it in the rain when you were supposed to be wrapped around your girlfriend instead.

But. He loved her. If he could, he did, and I think he did, because I'm fairly certain I'd never seen him quite this pale before.

"Want to come in?"


"When?" He asked.

"About six months after you left Sunnydale. She was on her way to pick Dawn up from school. It, it was rainy the bus never saw the jeep. She died instantly."

"I didn't know."


"Who's knocking on your door this time of night?" Spike asked standing up walking towards the noise.

"It's only 9:30..."

"Pet," He turned to me, "This town makes the Hellmouth look like Disneyland, but with out your garden variety life size rodents or fangy blood drinkers. Nobody with any good reason knocks on the door after the sun goes down."

"Maybe it's the motel manager...the TV might be too loud..." I told him my hand reaching for the doorknob.

"Don't bloody well open that door Red."

I did and no one was there.

"Spike," I sighed keeping the door open, "I know- I mean yes, you're sorry Buffy died. You may have even cared about her-"

"May have?"

"-But you and I-we're not friends Spike. We can't be friends. It's nature. You know the way things are. I want you to leave. I'll be gone by tomorrow and please don't come back here or to Sunnydale. I won't tell anyone I saw you again because I haven't."

"I'm not going anywhere. There's business unfinished, not that I care to settle it, rather pick splinters from my skin but there's beasties out there Pet who'll look respectable enough to you in the daylight. You're too soddin' pigheaded to spot 'em."

"Spike. Leave."

"Make me Love." His voice bordered on an idiotic adolescent tone but quickly smoothed out and grew quiet, "Bet you can't. Couldn't before and can't now."

"I-I'm stronger now Spike. I could tap into powers that you-"

"Couldn't begin to fathom? Play it on someone else Kitten." Shrugging the vampire moved towards the door, stopping to give me a look, "I have to say, I am sorry to see the Slayer dead. I'd always wanted a dance with her. Having a second rate mambo with her best friend just wasn't the same."

I closed my eyes, "Get out now."

He did. He left and I began work on the spell that would dis-invite him from my bought room.


I hadn't thought that I'd ever run into Spike again, ever. I hadn't really even thought of him these last few years. Every now and then the smell of old leather and cigarette smoke or a certain accent would force him back into my minds eye. It'd cause a little discomfort like getting a shot at the doctor's or having your ear cut off. You know the small itches you can't scratch. I never thought I'd see him again.


Satisfied that the spell was successful I kicked off my shoes and began getting ready for bed. I was tired. Exhausted. McMurtryville was turning out to be McCreepyville and the bleached blond undead who was taking up residence in the one horse town wasn't helping matters, or the crazy old lady at the diner or the twitching curtains up the boulevard.

I shrugged it off and pulled back the covers on the bed, just as I began pulling my socks, I heard a whistled tune outside my room. I walked over to the window and pulled the curtain back slightly, forehead scrunched I surveyed the darkened parking lot until my eyes focused on a beat up tan Buick.

Spike lounged comfortably on the hood of the car, a cigarette dangled from one hand.

Sighing I let the curtain close and reluctantly opened the door.

"Wake you up did I Pet?"

"I told you to leave. What did I do to deserve this? I was good to my parents and friends, I vote, and I even serve Jury Duty with out complaining. I always drive the speed limit and very rarely litter."

"Good girls and bad luck Kitten, they go hand in hand." He answered tossing his spent cigarette across the sidewalk. I watched as it landed an inch from my toes, curiously I wondered if the barrier also worked for a vampire's cigarettes.

"Cat got your tongue or did something else?" "Spike. Just leave. Please."

"I kinda' like the way the stars twinkle from this exact location. Gonna' have to say no on that leaving notion."

"Wwhy? We hate each other." I needlessly explained stepping out of my room and unwittingly walked towards his car.

"Well yeah. I never could pass up an opportunity to make you squirm though. Do you remember how you jumped that night when I -" He responded casually sliding off the car's hood his hand making it way to rest along the curve of my hip.

"In disgust." I shoved his hand away and turned to move back to my room.

"Willow." He called out his mocking tone vanished, "This isn't a Hellmouth. But when I said it was just as dangerous I wasn't exaggerating. There aren't a lot of demons lurking about but it doesn't mean its small town America circa nineteen bloody fifty-three."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I'm not the only killer in this town."



"Sorry about that one but the part isn't going to get here until then. I ordered it last night after dinner. We're lucky it's getting here that quick."

"You don't understand, " I began my voice wavered a bit as my fingers tapped against the counter nervously, "I-I have to leave today."

"Ah come on, this town's bad but it isn't that bad." Les joked walking around the counter.

"No. I mean it's just that something has come up and-"

"You're just going to have to wait it out. I can't fix the car with out the parts."

"What am I going to do?" I muttered to myself and looked out the shop's window onto the street. A few more cars littered the parking spaces as compared to yesterday, but again with the exception of the old man in the rocking chair, the town still seemed almost deserted.

"Take in the sites of McMurtryville?" Les supplied, "Come on it isn't that bad. Word is there's a two headed cow on a farm a few miles down the road."


"Rumor also has it that the same farm produced the worlds biggest pumpkin too. I know. Hard to believe isn't it?"

"A little." I returned smiling at his joke.

"There you go then. We'll drive out and have a look at the two headed cow." He said reaching over the counter for his keys.

"You know," I stopped him, "While the prospect of seeing a two headed anything is almost impossible to resist...I think I'm gonna' have to."

"Oh okay, too good for a two headed cow then?"

"See you later Les." I said putting on my sunglasses.



"See you tonight at the Picture Show Tavern."

"I don't know..." I answered, picturing Spike at the end of the bar his eyes searching out a meal. His stare hitting me the way it did that night so long ago.

"Nah. Come on, I know the television reception at Bette's sucks."

"Yes it does and hey what about my car? I want you up bright and early fixing the thingamajiggy-"

"See if you're at the bar giving me a reproachful look every two minutes I might cut back on the sour whiskey and keep my head straight for fixing your car."

"Incentive or blackmail?"

"Take it either way as long as I see you around eight" He walked back around the counter, pushing his sun-lightened hair away from his face.

With an exaggerated sigh I nodded with mock reluctance and opened the door, the bell jingled and I felt the eyes of the old man across the street follow me until I disappeared up the drive of the motel.


"I'm not from around these parts really." Les told me before drinking down a shot, "Grew up a few towns over. Smaller town too, believe it or not."

"That's impossible."

"You'd think. Hey how about another drink?"

"It's getting late..."

"It's only ten."

"No. It's gotta' be later than that?" I asked bringing my arm up and looking at my watch, "Ugh. But I'm gonna' go back to my room I have some calls to make and I'm sorta' feeling a bit like sleepy girl. But thanks for the drink and everything."

"Come on now you only had one drink-"

"That's one more than I usually have. Really I'm tired." I answered standing. "The car will be ready tomorrow right? You promised."

"It'll be done, but hold on a second, I'll walk you back to your room, let me settle this tab first. You don't know what's skirting about the streets now a days."

Isn't that a truth, I thought to myself taking in another quick scan of the bar looking for a shock of platinum hair.


"Thanks for walking me back." I told him as I reached for my key, taking note of the extra stake I had in my bag.

"Car will be ready tomorrow." He said leaning against the wall like something out of Urban Cowboy as I unlocked the door.

"Not settling on anything else you know and I mean it. So goodnight."

"That's relative."


"Whether it's a good night."

"See you tomorrow-" I started backing away.

"Willow." Spike's familiar voice cut through the thick humid air.

"Who's that?" Les asked quickly his eyes darting around the sidewalk and the parking lot.

"Spike I told you to leave me alone." I called out as he emerged from the shadows.

"I thought you were driving across the state alone-" Les stepped closer to my doorway his eyes taking in the vampire a little nervously but not frightened and I didn't have time to analyze Les' reaction.

"Get away from her." Spike hissed, his body quickly moved down the walkway, his eyes turning that shade of amber that means dinner or bloodsport to the undead.

"Go Les!" I shouted shoving him inside, "He'll-he's-he's not human. He'll kill you."

"Bloody effing right I'm gonna' kill that bastard." Spike jeered shoving me out of the way as he clashed against the protective barrier. "Invite me in Willow."

"Are you crazy?" I asked squeezing past him into my room. His hand reached for my arm and he tried pulling me back out into the hallway. "Let go!" I screamed as my foot kicked at his shin.

"Willow, listen to me-"


"Willow. Pet, invite me in."

"What is that?" Les questioned, and something about his tone unsettled me, it didn't matter that he sat across from me at that diner and listened to me talk about vampires, he seemed too calm, he sounded like he knew exactly what Spike was and that he was surprised or even particularly worried.

"You son of a bitch." Spike spat at Les, "You fucking son of a bitch. Invite me in Willow. Invite me in so I can rip his throat out-"

"Close the door." Les interrupted pushing past me his hands reaching for the door.

"Sod off." Spike growled at him, "Pet listen to me, you have know idea what's in your room with you."

"I know he's not a soulless killer."

"You stupid bint! Having a soul has nothing to do with being a killer."

"Shut the door."

"He can't come in." I tell Les not taking my eyes off Spike, "I have to invite him in."

"That I know." Les said smoothly his hand reaching above me slamming the door shut, just as I felt sharp cold metal against my neck.

Then it hit, a few seconds or days late. But it hit me and I realized I'd wager myself with the demon I knew than the one I didn't, "Spike. Come-" I didn't get to finish. Les wrapped his hand around my mouth and I felt a cool trickle of blood run down my neck as the knife pressed harder into my flesh.

"Don't think so." He muttered shoving me into the bathroom and closing the door before he took his hand away from my mouth. The knife still against my throat.

"Jesus. I knew that demon would catch up with me sooner than later. He followed me out here from Savannah. Cut his girlfriend's head clear off when she didn't die like she was supposed to. She turned straight to ashes. Ain't never seen anything like it before. She was sight though, crazy as anything. Strong too, if it weren't for the laudanum..." His voice veered off.

"Please." I whispered noticing for the first time that his nails were clean. Not a trace of motor oil anywhere. Xander's uncle Rory once worked in a garage, no matter how many times he washed his hands he could never get the grease out from under his fingernails.

"Please. Please. Please!" He shouted his grip around my waist tightening, "What is it with people begging all the time. It's not gonna' get you anywhere. You're already dead."

"S-Spike will-"

"That vampire? He hasn't gotten me yet and the sun will come up eventually I reckon."

"The garage?" I asked trying to distract him as I gauged my chances of getting the knife away from my neck with out the whole oops there goes your artery routine.

"Not mine. Obviously. My Uncle's garage killed him a week ago and told everyone he took off to Vegas. He always liked the slots. Good Old Uncle Murray, knew he'd be useful for something eventually."

"My friends they know-" I continued as I tried to recall the words of the spell I researched only two weeks ago, I wished I hadn't fallen away from magic like so much after Tara left.

"Jesus. Will you shut up? I don't care what you're friends know, it's not gonna' stop me from cutting you up-"

"Watchers of the North, guardian of the earth-" The words came back to me quickly, like they did in the old days when I cast all the time, it's like riding a bike.

"Shut up!"

"Protect me and send forth my voice. So will it be."

"What are you-"

"Spike. Come in." My voice sounds in a whisper but the door breaks down and I know it's as good as if I leaned into Spike's ear myself and whispered my invitation.

"How'd...He couldn't have heard you-" Les said, and I loved the way that slow drawl had taken on a panicked undertone.

And with a thrust of my elbow against his rib cage I watched as the knife fell out of his hand just as Spike burst through the bathroom door.

Ridges and golden eyes, he growled at the man who moved backwards towards the tub in search of his weapon.

"Don't think so." I told him levitating the knife out the door, easier than riding a bike.

"I got it from here Red." Spike purred in satisfaction as he looked Les up and down, and Spike looked deadly.

"You can't, I mean I have to call the police." No matter what Les is, I can't just go and let Spike...

"He killed Dru. Was going to kill you. And killed a lot of other people which I don't care about-the other people that is. But I do sodding very well care about Dru and God above even you. He dies now."

"Spike, you can't. It's not the way-"

"Pet I'm not arguing the point." He growled, his hand reaching for Les' shirt collar.


Ever hear someone's neck snap? It's a surreal sound. It sounds like the sort of thing made up in Hollywood sound booths. It doesn't sound real. It's a quick sound, like an unexpected echo in a crowded room.

I mean sure, yeah, I grew up on a Hellmouth, I've seen the world almost end a hundred times. I've killed demons, I've seen people I grew up with plowed down during the ascension. But somehow being stuck in a small bathroom with a serial killer and a vampire made death a little more personal. Maybe it was just the acoustics?


"Spike. You killed him."

"What'd you think I was aiming to do? Invite him over to my place for tea?"

"He-he-I should have called the police. You can't just kill people Spike! Even nasty evil people, I could have done a spell to restrain him until the police got here-"

"I kill people. It's what I do. Sometimes I even kill the right people, don't I pet?"

"I mean, what am I gonna' do now? How am I going to explain a dead body-"

"The police will probably give you a plaque."

"He was still a person Spike."

"Lotta' bad people out there, got a point?" He asked stepping out into the main room.

Following him I responded, "I don't know."

"Call the police Love. Tell them he tried to attack you, which he did, and that he slipped and broke his neck, which he didn't, but what they don't know won't hurt them."

"I've never killed anybody." I tell Spike quietly sitting on the bed.

"You still haven't Princess, think I'm gonna' let you take credit for snapping the ponce's neck?"


Spike had long since left my motel room by the time the first police car drove up. It was daybreak when the FBI vehicles started showing up. I'd already been moved to another room by the time the crime vans left the scene. The agents told me most of his victims were the odd hitchhiker here and there along the desert roadsides. A couple of them were in LA, people he had met up with in bars and nightclubs. None of them had connections to either of the towns where he was known. They were surprised he attacked me here across the street from his dead Uncle's garage. It didn't add up they told me. Something must have 'spooked' him. I nodded silently in agreement until they told me they had all the information they needed.

"We can have one our agents drive you into the city tomorrow to catch a flight home Ms. Rosenberg."

"A friend, or someone I know, I called a friend to pick me up. He'll be here tonight." I told the agent as I picked at the hem of my shirt.

"We have all your information in Sunnydale if we have any more questions-"

"Yes, no of course call me." I answered following the agent to the door.


It was over that easily. Les had killed over fifteen known people according to the FBI and one insane vampire according to Spike. The FBI didn't think I was an intended victim, they said it didn't match the patterns. Maybe they were right. Maybe if Spike had never shown up when he did, Les would've have walked back across the street. The next day I would have left town. The day after that Les would have gone out on the highways looking for someone else. Maybe not.

And if I had just taken the plane I was scheduled to take I'd never been involved in any of this.


"Ready?" Spike asked leaning across the seat and opening the door.

"One condition."

"I don't do conditions. Either you get in the car or not."

"You're not gonna' try and get all fangy on me are you? Because you know, I'll just turn you into a butterfly or something."

"A soddin' butterfly? How bout something more manly like a Cobra or a-"

"See if I turned you into a cobra you could still get fangy so that wouldn't work. Besides it'd be neat to be a butterfly. Everyone likes butterflies and-"

"Red." Spike growled.



Outside of Sunnydale the next night Spike pulled the car to the side of the road, the smooth texture of concrete disappearing and waking me up.

"Huh. What?" I asked leaning up catching a glimpse of the 'Welcome To Sunnydale' sign. "Home." I said with a sigh I never thought I'd have reserved for this place.

"Listen Pet," Spike began lighting a cigarette.

"Why'd you stop? We're almost-"

"Willow," He continued blowing out a haze of smoke, "Buffy, Buffy was a curse to me. Loving her was like having my skin ripped off or being doused with Holy water. I hated every moment of it-"

"I don't need to know any of this. You don't have to explain any of this-"

"I didn't stop loving Buffy even after I left Sunnydale. Even after I met up with Drusilla again. Drusilla was home, she was everything to me you know. My life, my death but Buffy was something else. Something else entirely. And you Red-"

"Don't Spike. Let's not-just please take me home?"


"The building next to the Magic Box." I told him indicating my apartment.

He pulled to the side of the road.

"Giles still run that place I take it?" He asked.

"Yeah. Listen Spike, thank you for driving me home and all. I couldn't take the agents anymore. I just wanted to get out of that town. And I'm glad you didn't try to kill me because I didn't want to have to stake you-"

"As if you could."

"Don't test me buster."

"No worry of that one Love."

Rolling my eyes I got out of the car, "You're leaving town right?" I asked, "Because you know Giles will want you dead if-"

"Don't worry, I'm going. I can't stomach this place. Might go out to LA and torture that ole' ponce."

"Leave Angel alone. He hasn't been the same since-"

"We'll have something in common."

"He'll kill you."

"He won't. Me and him we got history. We loved the same girl didn't we?"

I think I gave him a sad smile, I'm not sure exactly, but I didn't say anything else. There are certain chapters in life that you just aren't meant to ponder or revisit, the sort you avoid at all costs and Spike is one of them. Whether it was him loving Buffy, or that night when the rain was just pounding against us both so hard and no matter how wrong it was the solace was just right at that moment, these aren't the things you play back in your head, or even file for later thought. These are the things you forget. So I think he just got a small sad smile before I took in the three small steps leading to my building.

But Spike, he never was one to just let these things end, Spike was always about the last jab, the last word, the last comfort through gritted pointed teeth.


Key in hand I turned around, forgetting the rules I turned around.

"You were never second rate."

Then he drove off.