Chapter 1: To Win
Ashes settled around the Slayer, and she glared at Spike, hands on her hips, lips set in a pout. Smirking, the blonde vampire fished his cigarettes from his duster’s pocket and lit one, his eyes never leaving his Childe. She was truly an angel, he mused. Even clad in black as she was and pale from not having felt the sun on her skin in three years, she was still full of light.
She wore the black duster he had given her, her own black jeans and black boots, and a black shirt stolen from his closet. That was her slaying uniform. Gone were the flimsy tops and skirts. They were now reserved for going out to the Bronze or to movies, or even for staying home. It had begun with the duster, really. She had joked that since it was a twin of his, she might as well go for the whole look. Then she had started borrowing his shirts. Why take the risk of ruining her own when she could simply wear his?
They were a common sight in the demon community, and their leather-clad silhouettes usually sent vampires or other nasties running. It didn’t save said nasties in the end, but it sometimes made for interesting hunting games. One would have thought that demons would learn and stop coming to Sunnydale. After all, Buffy had been protecting her town’s nights for almost ten years. And still they kept coming, like moths attracted to the flame. The Hellmouth and its potential of destruction and chaos were hard to resist. That was what had attracted Spike in the first place, long ago, so he could understand the appeal. He understood, but he had no qualms about slaying his brethren or other demons.
He had started helping his Slayer when demons were the only creatures he could harm, but even now that he had lost the chip he still wasn’t killing humans. When it had come time to choose between fresh meals and his Childe, he had realized that it wasn’t much of a choice at all. That didn’t mean he wasn’t biting. But he chose his human prey very carefully and always made sure not to kill them. Buffy didn’t know about that, he wasn’t sure she would understand. He had said he wouldn’t kill, and he was keeping his word. That was all his Slayer needed to know.
His Slayer. The Angel of Death, some demons called her. Or the Black Death. These were the most innocent of her nicknames. He knew a few of his too, most of them insulting, for he was the demon who had betrayed the demon world to ally with the Slayer. He didn’t care what they called him, and laughed at the insults. But anyone who dared insult her where he could hear was begging for a painful death.
He still hung out in demon bars every now and then, which was where he heard the nicknames. But what he was after, those nights, were rumors. Any rumor, as slight as it may be, that the Slayer was a vampire. In three years, they had done a good job of keeping it a secret. And Spike intended for it to remain a secret as long as possible. He knew that eventually someone would realize that she hadn’t been seen in the sun in a long time, or that she wasn’t aging. Until then, he kept his marks hidden – no reason to let anyone wonder who was biting him – and was on the look out for rumors, ready to end them before they could start to spread.
After a couple of minutes of pouting silence, Buffy got tired of his smirking smugness and stomped her foot in a childlike manner.
“You cheated. That last one was mine; you had no right to dust him.”
“If you had staked him faster,” Spike replied with an even larger grin, “I wouldn’t have had the chance to do it. That will teach you to play with your prey instead of dusting them. Final score: five for me and four for you.”
“You cheated,” she repeated stubbornly.
Flicking his consumed cigarette to the ground, Spike stepped toward Buffy and snaked an arm around her waist.
“Keep your whining for the Bit,” he said as he started pulling her with him. “You lose, I win, I get to pick the movie. Next time you’ll dust them faster if you want to win so badly.”
Still grumbling, she let him lead her out of the cemetery and toward their home. Grinning, he half listened to her recriminations. It wasn’t the first time he had taken her kill, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. He liked a spot of violence as much as the next vampire, but sometimes his beautiful Childe forgot that she was supposed to turn the vamps to ashes and not use them as punching bags. Of course, better that than using him as a punching bag, as she had sometimes done before he turned her.
As they arrived home, she left him downstairs with Dawn to go and change out of slaying clothes. The nineteen-year-old was quick to sense her sister’s mood and gave Spike an amused look.
“You won?” she asked, though she already knew the answer.
“Yep,” he replied with a grin. “No girly movie this time.”
They chatted about the patrol while waiting for the Slayer. Dawn had long ago given up on following them, just as Spike had once predicted to Buffy. She only tagged along when they had reinforcements, namely Steven. The young man visited Sunnyhell occasionally, supposedly to train with Spike and Buffy while getting some time away from his brooding poof of a father. But it was no secret that he came also to see Dawn. And truthfully, Spike couldn’t blame him.
From a pretty slip of a girl, his Nibblet had turned into a beautiful young lady. Long dark hair that hung to the small of her back, pretty doe eyes framed by thick eyelashes, a charming smile still so innocent, all of it complimenting her perfect figure. If he hadn’t loved Buffy so much and hadn’t considered Dawn like a sister, Spike could have been jealous of the way she looked at Steven. As it was, he was slightly worried. She could be nineteen, but she was still his Bit, and he would be damned again before he let the two teenagers be alone more than two minutes in a row.
Finally, Buffy returned, and as he watched her walk down the steps Spike tried to find an excuse to cancel the movie night, to just stay home and shag his lover senseless. She was simply smashing. Her dark red top encircled her neck but left her shoulders and back bare, clinging to her so tightly that it was obvious she wore nothing underneath. It stopped a couple of inches above her skirt, revealing a small expanse of soft and delicate skin. The skirt itself was that long leather one he loved so much, and she knew he loved it and why. Fond memories that skirt brought back. Burning memories of a fight and a house crumbling around them. And something very close to Heaven in between the two.
Her blood red lips flashed him a teasing grin that said she knew exactly what he was thinking, and she asked in that too innocent voice of hers:
“So what movie did you pick, love?”
Vainly trying to call his borrowed blood back to his brain, Spike was unable to give her an answer. Dawn laughed at seeing him tongue-tied, knowing way too well as far as he was concerned how much the Slayer could affect him.
“If you can’t decide,” Buffy added sweetly, “then Dawnie and me will have to choose for you.”
With that, the giggling sisters walked out of the house and towards the car. Shaking his head, Spike followed them, hoping without hope that they would pick a short movie, or he might self-combust before the end of the evening.