He stepped slowly out of the shadows as he watched the girl and her friends leave the club and head out into the night, a faint smile that held a promise of danger curving his lips by the barest degree and lighting his eyes with dark frightening intensity. ‘This is more like it,’ he thought, feeling the first stirrings of interest since his arrival in this god-forsaken town.
He hadn’t wanted to come, was all set to head back over to Europe for a bit when the call had come; he’d seen no reason to change their plans, but Dru had insisted that they head across country in answer to Grandmummy’s summons, only to find the stupid bint was already dust by her precious Angelus’ hand long before their arrival. So here he was, surrounded by obsequious fools all falling over each other for the chance to impress the impotent bat-faced head of his happy little family.
The Master’s current favourite, a snivelling, whiny little brat who sat at the old git’s feet like Lord Muck, was by far the worst; how he’d managed to refrain from ripping the annoying little bastard’s head off this long, he didn’t know. And Drusilla was there right alongside the rest of his pathetic kin, worshipping the ugly bastard like he was the second bloody coming or some such. Spike, however, recognised that whatever power the stupid old git wielded from the confines of his self-made prison was only due to the idiots who bowed down to the ugly prat, all of those who voluntarily passed into the bastard’s lair and allowed him to rule over them. For Dru’s sake he had presented himself, playing the good little childe and bowing his head, all the while biting hard on his tongue to keep from telling the posturing old wanker exactly what he thought of him.
The presence of a slayer was a windfall that might yet make this little side-trip worth his while. He watched until she disappeared from sight, his eyes eagerly devouring the deceptively fragile form of the powerful, petite blonde. Like all of her kind she was compelling; the rich scent of her blood sang to him, making his fangs itch, even as her lithe curves and bright, youthful vivacity had him adjusting his suddenly too-tight jeans.
With anticipation singing in his veins, he followed in her wake, moving silently through the darkened streets with the deadly grace achievable only by a creature such as he. His focus honed unerringly on the girl and, with quiet, deadly intent, the Slayer of Slayers trailed his prey, watching, listening, and learning as she dropped each of her companions at their respective homes before moving on to her own.
He’d watched her every night for the last two weeks; he already knew the pattern of her nightly rounds, and he marvelled at both the naïveté of the girl’s predictability and the stupidity of her watcher for failing to teach his charge basic survival skills. When she fought, though, she was a sight to behold; beauty, grace, power, and, despite the wisecracks and taunting banter that seemed to be as much a part of her slaying technique as were her fighting skills, a certain sweet innocence that was unbelievably appealing. All slayers were beautiful; he’d had the pleasure of defeating two and having fought a few more besides, and one thing they all had in common—apart from the obvious, or possibly because of it—was a lithe athleticism and dancer’s grace that combined into a wholly appealing package. This one just had something—more; there was a vibrancy to her that drew him, held him fascinated and entranced far beyond the time when she should have been little more than a memory. She was a diversion, he told himself. Watching her provided a distraction from the endless tedium of this town, and the incessant edifying of his patriarch.
Now he waited. He’d arrived back in the underground church after a couple of days’ blessed absence and had gone immediately to Dru’s side; she’d been bubbling with excitement and, as usual when she was in such a state, she hadn’t been making a hell of a lot of sense. From what he could gather, the majority of the old git's minions had been sent out with orders to storm the school and take the Hellmouth in preparation for the Master's release from his prison. It seemed that, somehow, the slayer was the key to releasing the ancient vampire from his tomb. The boy had been sent out of the lair a short time ago, with old bat-face spouting something or the other about how the brat was supposed to lead the slayer back to him. Why the girl would walk into a bleeding obvious trap Spike didn’t know, but he intended to be there to find out what was going on. The slayer was his; he’d set his mind on her, and he didn’t intend for anyone else to be stealing the chit out from under his nose.
Spike leant casually against the wall of the crypt, a cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth as he watched the slayer’s approach. She appeared to be following the vampire child willingly enough, but as he watched her he noticed that there was something wrong. Something missing. He studied her face as she drew closer, gazing intently into haunted green eyes. She appeared lost—desolate.
They entered the crypt with the child leading the way, his usual arrogant sneer fixed in place. The boy’s face darkened when he spotted Spike, and the young vampire opened his mouth to order the blonde back to the lair; he was used to unquestioning obedience from the Master’s kin, but this particular vampire was something of a wild card. The flash of gold in the mocking azure eyes combined with the low warning growl that emanated from deep within the older vampire’s chest to halt his yet-unspoken command.
Spike stepped quickly between the slayer and the so-called Anointed One. “Sod off back to His Exaltedness. An’ you can tell the old git, from me, that he ain’t having her—Slayer’s mine.” His eyes burned intently into the young vampire’s until the child’s eyes dropped and, with a snarl of his own and a last glance over his shoulder at the interfering blonde, the boy scurried down the tunnels and back to the lair to let his master know what had transpired.
Buffy craned her neck, her eyes following the Anointed One’s progress down the tunnel; a slight frown creased her brow as she watched her guide disappear.
Settling back against the wall once more, one leg stretched in front of him and the other bent at the knee with his foot resting flat against the wall, Spike reached into his coat pocket for his smokes. In a well-practiced move, he flicked a cigarette from the packet into his mouth; light flared brightly for a moment as he lit it, inhaling deeply before drawling lazily, “You don’t wanna be goin’ down there, Slayer. ‘specially when there are much more interesting things to be doing up here.” His eyes trailed appreciatively over her body, and his lips twisted into a suggestive smirk that unfortunately failed to get the indignant response he had been hoping for.
“Who are you? And what do you want?” she asked dispassionately.
“I’m gonna kill you,” he announced casually.
“Yeah? I should be so lucky,” she replied with a resigned sigh.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Spike asked as he straightened, dropping the half-smoked cigarette to the ground and crushing it beneath his boot.
Buffy watched with indifference as he transformed from the epitome of casual repose to deadly hunter before her eyes; blue eyes bored intently into hers as his scarred eyebrow arched elegantly in query. Shrugging wearily, she explained, “You can’t kill me; that’s the Master’s job. Or at least that’s what they tell me.”
“And who exactly is ‘they,’ pet?” Somebody had really done a number on this slayer. When he’d first laid eyes on her, she’d been vibrant and powerful, had made both his dick and his fangs ache to be inside her; now she was listless, resigned—pathetic. Fighting her now would be about as rewarding as fighting a kitten, only with a lot less risk to his well-being.
There was no denying that she was a pretty little chit, all dressed up to the nines for some do or another, but without the fire he had seen in her previously she was nothing special; just another pretty girl in a pretty dress. He wondered what it would take to reignite that spark, to bring out the slayer hiding inside the scared but dutiful little girl.
“My Watcher, Angel, and that book.” She sighed, her eyes closing. “I don’t know why I’m even here; I should’ve had better sense than to just follow the Littlest Vampire here, but no—I get to fulfil my destiny. 'Cause that’s what Slayers do,” she grumbled under her breath.
A low, involuntary growl sounded in the back of Spike’s throat at the mention of his grandsire’s name before he turned his attention back to the girl with a confused frown. “An’ what book would that be, love?”
“The Codey-Something. Some sort of prophecy.” Buffy shrugged. “It doesn’t matter,” she sais, her voice flat and emotionless. “Slayers aren’t meant to live long anyway, right?”
“So, what? You’re just gonna walk down there and offer up your neck because some book says this is a fight you can’t win?” Spike growled, his eyes flashing furiously. “What the bleedin’ hell is wrong with you? You’re a Slayer; try acting like one.”
“I…” Buffy frowned slightly. “But Giles said…” Her voice trailed off as she thought back to her earlier conversation with Angel and her watcher.
“What?” Spike snapped. “What incredible words of wisdom did your watcher have that turned you into a pathetic excuse for a slayer?”
Her back straightened, her frown deepening as she glared at the blonde vampire. “What’s it to you anyway? I don’t have time for this—get out of my way.” Buffy made to shove past him; when he grabbed her arm to stop her she spun quickly, her fist connecting with his face as she ducked under his arm and ran down the tunnel. The crossbow she’d carried clattered unheeded to the ground, leaving her armed with only a stake as she fled the irritating blonde and hurried after the child vampire.
Spike wiped the blood from his nose. “Bitch!” he snarled angrily before his resentment dissipated, his mouth creasing slowly into a smile. 'Looks like there’s still a slayer in there after all,' he mused.