Author’s notes: This is a response to challenge number 23 on Death Marked Love. The challenge will be posted last. It is set somewhere in an imaginary season six. Buffy died, but she's back. How? I don't know - use your imagination.

Chapter One

It was odd.

No other word than odd could describe the feeling Buffy Anne Summers had, sitting next to Spike on the couch in her home, watching Mulàn together with her little sister.

"Oh, this song is so pretty," the brunette by the tv exclaimed, referring to the song 'Reflection'. "I have the soundtrack, and on there is a version by Christina Aguilera, but it's not as good."

"Dawn, are you going to watch the movie or just talk all the way through it?"

Dawn glared at her sister but fell quiet. Buffy heard the one vampire in the room chuckle, but ignored him.

It was not the fact that the three of them were sitting there, watching a movie and eating popcorn that was odd really. They could have been any two friends and the little sister, and that would not have been odd. In such a picture, Spike and her would probably have been dating too.

But not in her world.

No, Buffy's world had to be different, of course. She was the Slayer, the Chosen One, and had been so for the last few years. Her sacred duty was to slay the vampires – and anything else dark, scary and demon-y – and to protect the innocents of the world.

Her sister was not her real sister; or maybe she was now, after Glory had been killed, but to begin with, she had been a big mystical blob of energy, called 'the Key'. The only reason she was sitting on the living room floor now was because the Monks had become scared and made the Key human, and then sent it to her in the form of the sister she knew as Dawn. Buffy and all her friends had all been given memories of Dawn, as if she had been there all their lives. Odd would not even begin to describe that.

And then there was Spike. The more than hundred-year-old vampire, who got his name because he had enjoyed putting railroad spikes through people's head in the beginning of his vampire-career, but whom now was neutered after the Initiative had put a chip in his head. A little tiny chip, that sent bolts of electricity through his brain if he ever tried to hurt a human.

Which was why he was here at the moment.

Heading home from patrol together, Buffy and Spike had bumped into some guys – humans – who were just about to rape a drunk girl in one of the many dark alleys of Sunnydale. Buffy had told him not to do anything because they both sensed the boys were human. But then, one of the four guys had started hitting him, Spike had jammed him into the wall, knocking them both unconscious – the boy from slamming his head on the wall, Spike from the chip.

Buffy had easily managed to get the remaining three boys off of the girl, and had helped her back to the street, where a cab conveniently pulled up.

As she walked back to the alley, she noticed Spike, leaning on the wall, clutching his head in his hands. The boys were all gone, but he could hardly move.

"Spike?" she had asked him, and he had looked up at her, his face consorted in pain.

"C'mon, Spike, let's go home." She had taken his hand and they had made their way back to her house. Once they were inside, she had put him on the sofa where he was now lying. Dawn had come down after hearing the two enter and they had decided to watch a movie together to relax.

So, neither the normal family nor friend.


But nice.

Summertime was nice in Sunnydale. Not that the winter was ever all that cold on California's busiest Hellmouth, but it became chilly, and Buffy liked it when she did not have to wear layer upon layer of clothing when out patrolling.

Tonight was a nice night – at least as far as the weather was concerned. The evil undead were still around, and the Slayer had to fight as she did every night. Vampire after vampire was turned to dust, when suddenly she found herself cornered with a big, extremely ugly demon in front of her. He was bleeding on his forehead, where she had kicked him earlier, but he did not let that stop him.

"Gave me quite the match there, Slayer," he growled. "But it's up to no good, because tonight will be your last…"

She broke him of by kneeing him in his privates, grabbing her stake off the ground and pushed it through his heart, all in one fluid motion.

"Sorry, I missed that last part. What were you saying?" she asked as the vampire exploded. She dusted off her jeans when she suddenly heard a familiar voice.

"That took you a while, Slayer," the bleached vampire walked out of the bushes. "Thought I'd have to come an' save you."

"Then why didn't you instead of hiding in the trees like a scared little kitten?" Buffy asked. "You know, if you're gonna be a Scooby, you'll have to act like one."

"Oh but Slayer –"

"Buffy! Not Slayer."

"Slayer, I knew you had it under control. You'd never let some loser like that bite you."

"Whatever Spike. I'm going home; I'm tired."

"But the night is still young," Spike said poetically, holding out his hands and motioning around the quiet cemetery.

"For you, bleach boy. Not for me." She was walking away and he began running after her.

"Slayer –"

"Say good night, Spike," she told him without turning around.

Realizing he would not get any more company out of the blonde Slayer, Spike stopped and replied, "Good night, Spike," to Buffy, who just kept on walking.

Walking over the graveyard, Spike suddenly heard voices. Actually, it was more like low growling, and it was in a language Spike didn't know, but as he came closer, he saw two big, purplish-colored, ugly demons. Then came another three, but they kept quiet. The three were smaller than the first two, probably shorter than he was, Spike thought. They would be no problem to take out.

Grabbing a small knife he happened to be carrying in his pocket, he attacked.

The three small ones were fast to go. He came up behind them and stabbed the first one in the back without interruption. The other two small ones turned around and began kicking at him as the one Spike had just stabbed died on the ground underneath him. The little ones only reached Spike to his shoulder, and no kicks reached higher than his chest. Spike grabbed a foot as the one kicked, and threw him around. He landed on the ground with a thud, and Spike jammed the knife into its back, killing the creature.

Ahead of them, the two bigger demons were noticing him. They had begun digging in the ground, but put down their shovels as they heard the fight.

"Hey, what you doin'?" the tallest one asked, walking over to Spike. He punched Spike in the face, hard, landing Spike on the ground several feet away. He groaned but got up. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw one of the shovels the demons had been digging with, lying on the ground. He leaped up and grabbed the shovel before the demons knew what was happening. Spike hit the third little one to the ground with the shovel, as he was in the way between him and the big ones, and set the knife into its back.

The two big ones left.

He ran forward, swaying the shovel back and forth, and he managed to cut one deep in the arm, making blue blood zip out of it, slowly down the demons arm. Unfortunately, this did not kill the demon; it only made him angrier.

He saw the fifth and last one come up from his side, a knife in his hand too. He leaped forward and Spike jumped back, but not quickly enough. The demon managed to cut him right over his chest, making him scream in pain. Then he instantly recollected himself and threw the shovel in the demon's head, throwing him to the ground and cutting him in the back.

One left.

Spike picked up the shovel quickly and proceeded towards it. But the demon was faster as it threw itself at him, pinning him to the ground and grinning an all-evil smile. It leaned forward, its scarred skin looking a sick shade of blue and a row of yellow teeth showing.

"Shouldn't mess with me," it said and took the shovel out of Spike's hand. It held it above Spike's throat and was just going to separate his head from his body when Spike kicked the demon in its stomach. Then he reached out and set the knife through his back, at the same time as he, with the other hand, pushed the shovel off his throat.

The demon gurgled and then fell down over Spike. Spike screamed in pain as the demon's blood began zippering down into his chest-wound, and with his last powers, Spike pushed the dead demon off his chest, then he lost consciousness.

Buffy had heard noise as she was walking home, and she could feel something odd in the air. Slayer sense was always handy to have she thought, as she tiredly walked back onto the cemetery. It was when she heard Spike scream that her blood froze and she began running.

She was running among the tombs, trying to find the bleached vampire – and she thanked god that he was bleached when she saw his shining white hair on the ground a few feet away, because had his hair not been platinum white, she might not have spotted him.


She landed on the ground next to him and shook him lightly.


She noticed how much blood he had lost; it was everywhere. She also saw the big ugly demon beside him, and she knew that it was good for it that it was dead, because otherwise she would have killed it in the most painful way possible.

Suddenly, Spike moaned and Buffy's thoughts went back to him. He opened his eyes and stared up at her, confusion written on his face.

"Slay'r?" he asked, slurring a little.

"Yeah, it's me… What happened Spike?" she asked, although she knew the answer. "No, don't tell me, let's just get out of here before some vampires come looking for an easy meal."


She helped him stand, arm around his back. He swayed, but stood. Then they began their walk back home.

"Crypt's that way…" Spike muttered as Buffy brought him on the street leading to her house.

"You really think I'm gonna dump you there when you look like that?"

He looked at her, one eyebrow raised. He really thought she would.

"Oh shut up," Buffy muttered, although he had not said anything.

The fates seemed to give them a break for once, for nothing attacked them in the hour it took for the duo to get home. Once inside the house, Spike collapsed on the hallway floor.

"Spike, what's up?" Buffy asked worriedly. "I've never seen you like this before."

"It bloody hurts Slayer!" he roared, seemingly in such pain that it was causing his eyes to tear.

She helped him up to her room on the second floor, because she would not leave him on the sofa in his condition. Instead, she put him in her bed and pulled off his shoes. He was asleep by the time she was done. Deciding that she should clean off his wounds, she pulled the first aid kit out of the bathroom cabinet, and sat down next to him.

The gash across his chest looked bad. Purple demon-blood was mixed with Spike's deep red, and Buffy cleaned it as much as she could. The scratches on his face and arms were already beginning to fade and Buffy ignored those, knowing that pouring disinfecting liquid into them would only slow the healing process down.

When she was done, she laid down next to him, falling asleep within minutes.

Spike woke up feeling out of place. Not only was he lying on a soft bed; he also had the slayer whom he loved above everything else right next to him. She was sleeping, one arm around him. It was still dark outside, so it had to be early. Looking over at the alarm clock, this was confirmed. 4:28.

Spike looked down at himself. The wounds he had gotten earlier that night were gone, thanks to the vampiric healing. His shirt was still soaked in blood, but he did not care. Right where he was lying that moment was his heaven.

She moved.

Oh no, not good. The slayer would stake him good and proper if she woke up like this.

"Spike…" Buffy mumbled.

"Yes love?" Spike said in a nervous voice, before realizing that she was dreaming. She was moving around, pulling her leg up and down along his side, moaning. Spike felt himself harden at the petite Slayer's movement, and had to work hard to not moan himself.

"Oh Spike that feels good… mm…" she mumbled, moving her head closer to him so that her lips were almost touching him.

"Slayer?" he whimpered quietly, because if he did not wake her up right then, he did not know how it was going to end.

Slowly she opened her eyes, and she smiled when she saw him. "Spike," she breathed. She did not move away. No, instead she was eyeing him, and it was not long before she noticed the bulge between his legs.

"Spike, did I… um… do… something when I was… sleeping?" she asked, her face reddening.

"Nothing that I didn't like, love," Spike replied with a cocky grin.

Oh god how cute he looked, she thought. All manly. Oh yes, definitely manly. She remembered how good it had felt in her dream, where she and Spike had been making love. Weird dream, but definitely a great one.

Suddenly, she found herself crushing her lips down onto Spike's.

It felt even better than in the dream.

He wrapped his arms around her, and she rolled on top of him and began exploring his hard body with her hands. Then he broke the kiss.

"Buffy, is this really what you want?" Spike asked, looking up at her.

"What, you don't want it?"

"Oh Slayer you know I do, but I want you to be sure. You do this and there is no going back, you know."

"I'm sure…" Buffy said and lowered to another kiss. His hands roamed over her body, and before she knew it, the only thing existing in her world was him and how good he made her feel.

"Buffy, I have to get home. It's getting light outside."

She looked over at him, pouting. "Stay," she said.

"Love, the li'l bit is coming home at any second. Wouldn't want her to find me here, now would we?"

"I don't care," Buffy continued to pout.

He looked at her, and she sighed. "Fine. I'm gonna go down and get some breakfast made, you can get dressed." She stood up, put her pajamas on again and disappeared down the stairs.

Spike was lying, hands behind his head on the bed, thinking of the sex they had just had. It had been absolutely bloody marvelous, no doubt about it. He could not really believe it. The petite slayer had finally given in. Why? He had not got a clue. He just hoped that she would not come to her senses all of a sudden, and realize that it had all been a mistake. He hoped –

Suddenly, a wave of nausea swept over him.

Bloody hell!

He sat up, feet on the floor, one hand around his stomach and the other one by his head. It was like a new feeling to him; he had not been feeling sick in over a century.

Finally thinking the worst was over, he stood up.


Another wave, this one stronger than the last, came rolling over him. His head was spinning as he did the only think he could think of – he ran to the bathroom.

Buffy heard the odd noises from upstairs and called, "Spike? You okay?"

When no one answered, she ran up the stairs only to be met by the unmistakable sound of someone throwing up, then the toilet flushing.

The door to the bathroom was closed but not locked and she peered in to find Spike, sitting on the floor, looking up at her with scared eyes. His face was pale, almost gray, his hair tousled.

"What is happening to me?" he asked in a voice that was smaller than she would have possible for the former Big Bad. She kneeled in front of him, both concerned and afraid for him.

"I don't know, Spike, but we are going to find out. C'mon." She took his hands and began helping him up, when his body suddenly erupted in trembles. He was shaking so hard he could hardly walk. Buffy could see Spike struggle against himself from the expressions on his face. Fright stood out most of all when he opened his eyes, ones now yellow.

"I can't control it," he whispered, obviously fighting the demon within. "Get me out… aarg!"

He jumped at her in a fierce attack, the chip in his brain only contributing more anger and confusion to the already pain contorted face.

He ran down the stairs in a cat-like way, then pulled the door open so hard it cracked. Outside, the sun still had not risen above the house roofs, which was lucky for the raging vampire, who just ran out.

"Spike!" she screamed after him as he jumped onto his stolen motorbike and fly down the street with a roar. She ran after him, only to have him disappear around a corner.

Sobbing, she fell to the ground.

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