Speaker-to-Customers (speakr2customrs) wrote,

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Life In Shadow, Prologue & Chapter One

Okay, here is more of the Spara fic I started a little while back. I'm including the part I'd already posted, so that anyone who hadn't read the first post doesn't have to go searching back. There were a few minor changes made when I got it beta read, such as correcting where I had Spike's hair as "died" rather than "dyed"!

I've re-titled it "Life in Shadow", but it's the same story as "Sweet Home Alabama" under a new, and I think more appropriate, name. A lot longer now.

Life in Shadow

Summary: What if Tara was a Vampire Slayer? And straight?

Rating: not sure yet, let’s say PG for now.

Prologue: Come Back To Me

Shortly after ‘The Freshman’ …

“Another Slayer.” Giles’ voice was carefully neutral.

“Why should that surprise you? You know that Faith was Called after Kendra. It was inevitable that another should be Called after her death.” Quentin Travers gestured at a chair. “May I sit down?”

“Of course. Tea?” Giles put the kettle on as Travers sat down, and then returned to the reason for the other man’s visit. “I’m surprised only that you think it should be anything to do with me. You made it quite clear that I had failed, and I was of no more use to the Council.”

“I was wrong.” Travers sighed as Giles looked at him searchingly. “This isn’t easy for me, Rupert. I admit it. I was wrong. You have done a magnificent job with Miss Summers. Our tried and trusted methods may well be out of date and inappropriate for this new breed of American Slayers. The Cruciamentum is indeed a barbaric hangover from an age in which no value was placed on human life. We want you back.”

Giles raised his eyebrows and used one finger to push his glasses further back on the bridge of his nose. “I seem to remember the words ‘incapable of clear and impartial judgment’. The expression ‘useless to the cause’ may have cropped up as well. And you want me back?”

“I do.” Travers leaned forward in his chair. “I’m quite prepared to grovel. I was wrong, you were right. Traditional Council methods gained us a Slayer who first went rogue and then was killed fighting on the side of a would-be demon lord. The man we sent as your replacement proved to be a dismal failure until he went against our instructions and took his cues from you. Your methods kept your Slayer alive against all odds and prevented what could have been a massacre of cataclysmic proportions. It is clear that you are the one suited to this environment, and I’m prepared to admit my error. We need you. I can offer you a restoration of your salary backdated to the point when you were fired, full restoration of pension rights, and a twenty per cent increase from today onward.”

Giles delayed his reply until he had made tea and poured out two cups. “I take it you are not merely asking me to officially resume my position as Buffy’s Watcher. I am foolish enough to be acting in that capacity anyway, despite having no backup and no financial recompense, and I’m sure you are well aware of that.”

“I no longer consider that foolish, Rupert. You carry dedication to your young charge to extremes, perhaps, but excessive devotion to duty is hardly a sin worthy of any great condemnation. No, I want you to take charge of the new Slayer.”

Giles looked coldly at Travers from over the rim of his teacup. “I’m not deserting Buffy. You couldn’t offer me enough to induce me to leave her.”

“Of course, Rupert, I’m well aware of that. I wouldn’t expect you to, and it’s unnecessary anyway. The newest Slayer has enrolled as a student in the University of California, Sunnydale. She’s already here.”

“And her existing Watcher?”

“She doesn’t have one. Oh, we located her not long after she was Called, and we made contact and attempted to take her under our wing, but we weren’t entirely successful. Her family is, shall we say, a little eccentric in their ideas.”

“One would have thought that eccentricity would have made them more approachable, not less,” Giles commented warily.

“Oh, I know of your initial difficulties with Mrs. Summers, and I see your point,” Travers told him, “but this is a particular form of eccentricity. Bible Belt Christianity, with just enough of a smattering of occult knowledge to prejudice them firmly against anything smacking in the least of demons or witchcraft. Our designated Watcher left Alabama at the point of a shotgun barrel.”

“And you expect me to take over this – this Beverly Hillbilly?” Giles sniffed. “You don’t have anyone else who will risk failure, that’s why you are calling me in, isn’t it?”

“You are the man on the spot, Rupert. You have advantages a new Watcher couldn’t bring to the task. An existing retinue of youngsters who are enrolled at the same University, and who already trust you. I feel confident in your ability, Rupert. I’m sure you’ll succeed brilliantly.”

“You think there’s a good chance I’ll fail, but no-one’s career will suffer in the process,” Giles deduced. “However, if it will enable me to continue to watch over Buffy and give me financial security at the same time, I’ll accept the additional duties with a couple of provisos.” He went on to negotiate some changes to the deal, and Travers proved flexible and reasonable when working out a mutually satisfactory compromise.

“Very well, then, Rupert,” Travers said at the conclusion. “The backdated salary will be in your account within a week. Here is a little dossier on your new charge. Her name is Tara Maclay.”

* * * * * *

Chapter One: The Ugly Duckling

During ‘The Harsh Light of Day’ …

Tara hastened across the campus, her arms laden with books. She was feeling nervous. One of the most feared vampires of all time was in town and she was under strict instructions to stay in her room that night. The Slayer of Slayers. She would be a target and she lacked the experience to defend herself. No, she had to stay in, and leave him to the other Slayer and her associates. She felt relieved, but also rather ashamed. They didn’t seem to think much of her. Buffy Summers was so much more capable than her, so much more confident, and had observed her fumbling efforts at vampire slaying with scornful eye-rolls and sniffs. Willow seemed nice, and Mr. Giles was polite and reassuringly calm and non-threatening, but she didn’t think she’d ever feel part of the team.

A strand of hair blew into her eyes, and she raised a hand to brush it away. A man was crossing her path, not looking where he was going, and they crashed together while she was unsighted. Her books tumbled to the ground. “S-s-sorry,” she stammered, bending to retrieve the books. He bent at the same time, and their heads collided.

“Ouch!” she exclaimed, recoiling. It hadn’t really hurt; normal knocks and bumps didn’t hurt these days, a high pain threshold being part of the whole Slayer package, but she still had the conditioned reflexes. “Sorry. Again.”

The man rubbed his head and grinned at her. His eyes twinkled. They were blue, very blue. His features were classic, as if sculpted by Michelangelo, and his cheekbones were so sharp that they probably counted as concealed weapons. His hair was dyed platinum blond, slicked down close to his head, giving him an air of danger and rebellion. Tara felt her heart leap. He was gorgeous. Of course in a movie the collision and the knocked heads would be the start of a relationship; Tara spent a whole two seconds dreaming of that before bringing herself forcibly back to reality. She was plain, mousy, Tara Maclay, who stammered whenever a man looked at her twice; not that anyone ever did. No romantic encounter here, just a straightforward collision with a – vampire?

The tingling sensation was just like the one she’d felt when the Slayer – the other Slayer – had dragged her round the cemetery to find vampires. It couldn’t be right, though; it was broad daylight. The feelings must be wrong, it had to be her reaction to this attractive man. Ignore them.

“Don’t mention it, pet, no harm done,” he assured her, and bent once more to pick up her books. His voice was smooth, rich, sexy, with a hint of a quirky British accent. Tara felt her knees going weak, and wished fervently for ears that didn’t stick out, for hair that was definitely blonde rather than an undistinguished sandy colour, and most of all for the confidence to speak to him without stammering.

“Th-thank you,” she addressed him, her voice immediately betraying her. “I’m s-sorry, I should have b-b-been w-w-w- looking w-w-where I w-w-was going.” ‘Idiot!’ she scolded herself. ‘Choosing a whole series of words beginning with ‘w’, brilliant idea there, Tara.’

“There you are,” he smiled, handing her the books. “No need to apologise, all my fault.” The smile died as their fingers touched. “Slayer.”

“W-w-what?” Tara recoiled. His eyes were now cold, sizing her up not as a girl but as a target.

“Slayer. How come? That annoying Summers bint was fine last night when I had that run-in with her.”

“You’re Spike,” Tara breathed, beginning to back away.

“Heard of me, then?” He grinned proudly. “William the Bloody. Saved you the trouble of saying that ‘w’ there, pet. Kind of me, innit? The Slayer of Slayers. Which ought to make you bloody nervous, seeing as how you’re a Slayer and all.” He snapped his fingers. “The other one. That bint who was making a bloody nuisance of herself, playing both sides. Never actually met her, but I heard about her. She got herself offed? And you’ve won the booby prize. A quick death. You’ll make a decent appetiser before I visit Summers for the main course.”

“I’ve got a stake,” she lied. Her voice trembled. She looked around for help, but the other students on the same route had moved on, and there was no-one close by.

“Don’t much care, love. A Slayer must always reach for her weapon.” His face rippled into the terrifying visage of a vampire. “I’ve already got mine.”

“W-w-w-w,” Tara began, couldn’t complete the word, and gave up. She raised her books and struck at him as he dived for her. He brushed her blow aside, sending the books tumbling to the ground again, and punched her in the stomach. She gasped for breath and struck back, a clumsy over-arm punch. He deflected it over his shoulder, stepped in, hit her on the chin with his elbow, and seized her by the shoulder and the back of her head. His head dipped and his fangs touched her throat.

And stopped. “Well, that was bleeding pathetic,” he told her, drawing back his head. “You’re the worst excuse for a Slayer I’ve ever come across.”

“S-sorry,” she replied, lowering her eyes. She made a futile attempt to free herself and then stood still. She closed her eyes and resigned herself to death.

Spike dipped his head again and then once more withdrew. “Oh, bloody hell,” he snapped. “This is no sodding use. You’re not even trying, Slayer.” His human features reappeared.

“I am trying!” she protested. “I don’t know how to get free.”

“You don’t know? Thought you birds got martial arts as part of the whole Slayer deal. Or got taught by the Watchers.”

“I’ve only had a c-couple of lessons,” she told him. She reached up her left hand and took hold of the hand that held the back of her head, pulled at it, but failed to dislodge his grip.

“That’s bleeding obvious.” Spike shook his head. “I dunno. I haven’t even got you in a proper hold, and it’s got you beat. How can I get any glory out of this? The Chinese bird gave me a right old scrap, gave me the scar over my eye, might even have won if a cannon hadn’t put her off. That New York chick had a fair go at me, too. Took her coat, wear it with pride. What am I going to get from you? A bunch of sodding textbooks? And a tasty snack, okay, but it’s going to do sod all for my reputation. ‘That’s Spike. He clubs baby seals’. Can hear the bloody laughter already.”

He tilted his head to one side and appraised her. “Look, bring your other hand up as well. No, not like that, across the front. Now, use your left hand to hold my hand tight to your head, hold my wrist with your right – yeah, like that – bend forward, and turn to your right. That’s it, go under my arm. See?” Spike’s wrist bent back painfully as Tara followed his instructions. He released his hold. “Course, I could have punched you with my left while you were doing that, so you’d have to do it faster. Do it fast enough and you could throw me, or break my wrist. Got the idea?”

Tara stuck out her lower lip and glared at him. “And this is supposed to make you feel that killing me is going to be a b-big achievement?”

He looked her up and down. “Nah. Gonna take a lot more than that for it to be anything more than clubbing a baby seal.” He bent down and gathered up her books from the ground. “Good thought trying to clock me with the books, but you’d have been better dropping most of them and just using the biggest to block with.” He glanced at the volumes, raising his eyebrows as one caught his eye. “‘The Poems and Songs of Robert Burns’, eh? Pretty appropriate. ‘Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie, O, what a panic’s in thy breastie! Thou need na start awa sae hasty, Wi’ bickering brattle! I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee, Wi’ murd’ring pattle!’ Could have been written for you.” He took a couple of paces to where a bench stood beside the path, laid the books down, and turned back to her. “Okay. Let’s see you throw a punch.”

“W-w-w-what?” Tara stared at him blankly.

“W-w-w-weren’t you listening?” he mocked. “Let’s see you punch. I’d ask for a kick, but that’d be useless with you wearing that ridiculous long skirt. You right or left handed, pet?”

“Right,” she told him without thinking. “Are – are you saying you’re going to t-train me?”

“Well, yeah. I’m not a complete bastard. Only way I’ll be able to kill you without feeling like I’ve just shot Bambi’s mother. Come on, throw a punch.”

Tara punched awkwardly at the air. He raised his eyes heavenwards.

“Bloody hell. What did your Watcher say when he saw you in action, pet?”

“He said ‘Dear Lord’,” she admitted. “Then he took off his glasses and cleaned them and said ‘What have I done to deserve this?’ Buffy just sniffed at me and stuck her nose up in the air.”

Spike chuckled. “So, you’re sharing that Giles bloke with Summers, are you? He knows his stuff, taught that snotty bint well. Saw him beat the snot out of Angelus with a burning baseball bat once, that was bloody hilarious. Still, you should have one of your own, so I’ll teach you how to fight. Should turn you into a half-decent Slayer in a week or two, then we can fight proper, I can rip your throat out with a clear conscience, and all’s well with the world. What’s your name, love?”

“Tara Maclay,” she replied automatically. “This is crazy. You’re going to teach me to fight just so that you can feel good about yourself when you kill me?”

“More or less,” he confirmed. “Can see why you’re not thrilled, I suppose. Okay, I won’t kill you right off. I’ll give you a couple of months. How’s Thanksgiving grab you? You can stuff yourself with turkey and then I’ll stuff myself with delicious Slayer blood.”

“C-c-could you just, umm, not kill me?” Tara suggested.

Spike shook his head. “Sorry, love, not an option. But I’ll make it quick. Won’t hurt any more than I have to. Anyway, lesson the second. Don’t wear clobber that stops you moving freely.”

“Clobber?” Tara repeated blankly.

“Clothes,” Spike explained. “There’s a reason why Summers wears those skirts like a bloody pelmet, and it’s not so she’s always ready for a knee-trembler. It’s so they don’t restrict her legs. Or she wears trousers – that’d be pants to you – and not just to show off her arse. Speaking of which, looks like you’ve got a nice bum under that bloody tent you’re wearing, and your legs look okay, what I can see of them that is. Show ‘em off, pet, and kick arse at the same time.”

Tara blushed crimson. “W-w-w-w – and the first lesson?”

“The thing about you having to reach for your weapon, and I’ve already got mine, that I said to you earlier,” Spike told her. “Although, there’s ways round that. A vampire’ll try and grab you, hold you still for the bite. I’ll teach you a few ways of breaking holds. Let’s start with the basic strangle.”

* * * * * *

Spike flicked his lighter, lit up his cigarette, and then on a whim held his hand in the flame for several seconds. It began to smart, and he pulled away; the pain died immediately. “Bloody fantastic, this,” he gloated. “Can do anything I bloody well want. Killing Buffy Summers will be a right doddle.” He took a deep draw on the cigarette and blew out a long plume of smoke. “No harder than killing that Tara bird would have been. Hang on.”

He came to a sudden halt and frowned as the logical implications of that statement began to sink in. He’d refrained from killing the new Slayer because she’d been no challenge at all. Instead he’d spent an hour teaching her unarmed combat, and made a date to meet up with her again for further training sessions. Once she’d got the hang of it he’d arrange for a few minions to go after her, let her dust a few and build a bit of a reputation, and then he’d kill her and add another Slayer to his tally. Much more satisfying. More sporting, you could say. But if he took advantage of the invulnerability bestowed upon him by the Gem of Amara to kill the primary Slayer, wouldn’t that be just as much shooting a sitting duck? He shook off the feeling. Summers had kicked his arse often enough in the past; he’d be an idiot to pass up on this opportunity. He took another drag on his cigarette and walked on. Ah, there was the annoying bint now. Getting dumped, by the sound of it. He waited until the boy walked off and then stepped up behind Buffy.

“Well, that was pathetic,” he sneered, and as she turned he punched her in the face.

* * * * * *

Tara sat in the corner and looked unhappily at the ring that lay in the middle of the table. Spike’s ring. It was ridiculous to be worried about him. He was a vampire, a vicious killer, who wanted to rip out her throat and feast on her blood; but he was also the only attractive male who’d ever shown any interest in her, and she had enjoyed the training session enormously. “D-d-did you kill him?” she quavered.

“If only,” Buffy sighed. “He got away again. Jumped down a manhole just as I was thinking I could enjoy watching him burn up. He’s got nine unlives.”

Willow and Giles groaned. Xander grinned. Tara winced at the thought of Spike burning up, but said nothing.

“He’ll be back,” Buffy went on. “He’s like that damn Energizer bunny. Or like one of those Australian things. A didgeridoo.”

“I think you mean ‘boomerang’, Buffy,” Giles corrected her.

“Whatever. So, I got the Gem of Tamara, anyway.”

“I like it,” Willow smiled.

“It’s small,” her boyfriend Oz remarked. Tara had so far not had much contact with Oz, but liked him. His laconic manner and dry sense of humour was appealing.

“Really worth getting my ribs bashed in,” Xander put in. He made Tara slightly nervous. He was too ready to make fun of things, and although he hadn’t mocked her at all she always had the feeling that he would do at the slightest opportunity, or perhaps was already doing so behind her back.

“It’s also very dangerous. We’re destroying it,” Giles declared.

“We don’t destroy it,” Buffy said firmly.

“Buffy, any vampire that gets his hand on this is going to be essentially unkillable.” Giles pointed out. His brows lowered and he stared at Buffy for a moment. “Oh,” he said, nodding his head slightly. “I see.”

“I have that gig in LA. I could swing by,” Oz volunteered.

Tara looked from face to face. She had no idea what they were talking about.

“Thanks Oz,” Buffy smiled..

“What's going on? What's in LA?” Xander was apparently as baffled as was Tara, and that made her feel slightly better about being at a loss.

“She's giving the ring to Angel,” Willow explained. “Don't make a fuss.”

Ah. Angel. The vampire who had dated Buffy. The one who had a soul and helped people, and then didn’t have a soul and killed them, and then had a soul again. She had been told only the bare bones of the events, but it had all been accompanied by heavy sighs and deep meaningful looks, and had obviously been a Romance with a capital R. Well, now she had a secret relationship with a vampire to set against Buffy’s; shame it was only the no soul and killing people part. A tragic, doomed, relationship, just as apparently Buffy’s and Angel’s had been. Still, at least for an hour or so it had been fun, and she had a feeling that fun was one aspect of a relationship that had been missing from the other Slayer’s epic.

The warm glow that this thought engendered was cooled slightly by the remembrance that a forthcoming grisly death at Thanksgiving was another important omission; but she’d cross that bridge when she came to it. The short shelf life of Slayers was something of which she was already well aware; she’d had the full doom-laden and portentous speech. The Watcher who had delivered it had been taken aback by the equanimity with which she had greeted his spiel, but of course he hadn’t been aware that she had grown up believing that she was going to turn into something nasty as soon as she reached adulthood. Finding out that her ‘demon side’ was really a powerful force for good had been such a relief that the less attractive aspects of Slayerhood had seemed inconsequential by comparison. She had come to terms with it, accepted it; yes, she had every intention of postponing her demise as long as possible, but it wasn’t a matter for utter dread. And, after all, she could get killed by a random vampire tomorrow; she might even get run over by a bus. Why not, just for a while, live for the moment?

* * * * * *

She walked towards the designated meeting place nervously. She was late. It had been hard to discourage Xander from walking her back to her dorm room. He felt she needed protecting, even though she was a Slayer; of course, he had seen her fight. Would Spike have waited? Would he even have turned up in the first place? He might have fled Sunnydale after his defeat by Buffy. She saw the glow of a lighted cigarette. Another few paces, and she could make out the dyed blond hair. He was there after all.

“You’re late, pet,” he greeted her.

“S-s-sorry,” she apologised. “I c-couldn’t get away. Thanks for w-w-w -, for not leaving.”

“Promised, didn’t I?” he said airily. “Thanks for coming, and not trailing any of those bloody irritating Scooby gits along with you.”

“I p-promised too.” She wrinkled up her nose with distaste as he exhaled and blew out a cloud of smoke that drifted around her head. “I d-don’t like you smoking”.

“Not going to do me any harm, love, and frankly second-hand cigarette smoke is the least of your worries,” he told her.

She felt a sudden stab of alarm. Was he going to kill her now after all? No, she told herself. She had been at his mercy that afternoon, it made no sense for him to release her then only to kill her so soon afterwards. He must be referring to his plan to kill her at Thanksgiving. “I’m glad you escaped from the sunlight,” she told him.

He looked at her intently. “Thanks,” he said gruffly. “Want to get started, then? Can’t stay long. The Slayer – the other Slayer – will be keeping an eye out for me. I won’t be able to stick around the way I’d planned. Gonna be headed off to Los Angeles tonight. Don’t worry, I’ll be back before Thanksgiving.”

“Los Angeles?” she asked worriedly.

“Yeah, gonna go try get my ring back. She is sending it to the brooding pillock – that is, Angel – isn’t she? It’s the obvious thing for her to do with it. Got to try to get it back, haven’t I? Otherwise I’d leave the git alone, haven’t really got anything against him. Not the souled version, anyway. You know about that, love?”

She nodded. He flicked away his cigarette end. “Okay, should we make a start? See you’re wearing sensible clothes.” He looked her up and down. “I’d ask if that’s a stake in your pocket or are you just glad to see me, only it doesn’t really work this way round. Pretty obvious you’re a girl, even if you do try to hide it.”

She was dressed in a baggy sweatshirt and a pair of cargo pants. Plain, practical, and not flattering. For one brief moment she had considered asking her roommate, a sultry Goth chick with whom she had very little in common, if she could borrow a short skirt, but she had lost her nerve and donned clothes chosen strictly for their utilitarian aspects. “I have got a stake in my p-pocket,” she confirmed.

“Get it out, then, pet,” he instructed. “Not doing any good in your pocket.”

“But I might stake you,” she protested.

“Look, love, I’m going to drain your blood in a couple of months, don’t think you should worry about killing me now.”

“It wouldn’t be fair,” she declared firmly. “Not if you’re not trying to kill me.”

He laughed. “You’ve got principles. And a damn sight more guts than I thought when I first bumped into you, too. Tell you what. When I get back you and me will have a go, and if you can knock me down three times I won’t kill you. Bit of incentive for you there. How’s that?”

“Thanks,” she replied, half smiling.

“Course, I’ll still kill that Summers tart. Got to, haven’t I? Dru kept whinging on about the Slayer being all over me, that was her excuse for shagging every bleeding demon in trousers, got to show her I don’t bloody give a toss about the bint. Killing her and bathing in her blood oughta do it, right?”


“Drusilla. My bird. Nutty as a fruitcake, she is, but I love her. Dumped me for a Chaos demon, and then again for a sodding Fungus demon, and she says it’s all because I’m soft for the Slayer. Total rubbish, but there’s no reasoning with her. Okay, suppose I show you some kicking moves, seeing as how you’ve got your pants on.”

Tara began to follow his instructions, feeling oddly upset at his mention of a girlfriend. Stupid of her. Of course he had a girl. The expression ‘hot’ could have been invented for him, apart from his room temperature metabolism of course. She had to put it from her mind and concentrate on learning techniques that just might keep her alive.

* * * * * *

She clutched the little parcel tightly as she walked home to the dorm. A goodbye present to her! She could hardly wait to open it. She paid little attention to the blonde girl who approached her until strong hands seized her by the throat.

“Bitch!” the girl hissed. “So you’re the one my Platinum Baby staked me for. Steal my man, would you?” Her forehead swelled up and developed ridges, and her nose shrank. Fangs descended and her mouth gaped wide. “Well, you won’t be stealing any more.”

Tara froze for an instant, but then reacted as Spike had taught her. She swung her fist round in a punch, catching the vampire girl on the jaw and deflecting her bite, and then used the same hand to take hold of one of the hands that grasped her throat. Tara brought her elbow down on the attacker’s arm and forced it downward, twisting the hand painfully in the process and breaking the hold.

“Ow!” the vampire yelped. “You hurt me. That is so totally not fair!” She stepped back and raised her hands like claws.

Tara fumbled hastily in the pocket of her cargo pants and pulled out the stake. She brought it up just as the vampire lunged again and thrust with it. She hit the centre of the girl’s chest, more by luck than judgement, and felt it sink in deep.

“Oh, crap!” the vampire exclaimed, and disappeared in a cloud of dust.

Tara coughed and wiped her eyes. “I did it!” she congratulated herself. “I staked a vampire all by myself.” Then she bit her lip. The girl had accused her of stealing her ‘Platinum Baby’. Obviously Spike, she must have seen them together. He wasn’t the faithful type himself, it would seem, unless that had been Drusilla, and she doubted that very much. Tara pulled herself together. No point in wasting thoughts on it, Spike wasn’t interested in her as anything other than a project with which to while away an idle hour, and possibly as a meal. She thrust the stake back into her pocket and walked on.

Once in the dorm room she opened up the package. A book. ‘Ultimate Fighting Techniques (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Series)’, by Kid Peligro and Royce Gracie. She felt obscurely disappointed. For some reason she had expected poetry. “You’re a romantic fool, Tara Maclay,” she scolded herself. This was far more practical, and she should be pleased. She opened it and glanced at the flyleaf. There was a message written inside.

‘To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough. See you at Thanksgiving. William the Bloody aka Spike’.

* * * * * *

The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.

Tags: fic, life_in_shadow
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