Revenge For Love - (8) Family & Friends - Part 1

Tasha

Chapter Summary: Spike headed back to the mansion. Buffy and Giles headed to Giles' house where Willow and Xander are waiting for them. They are planning to meet again in 2 days. In three days time they expect to plant their trap for Angelus. Will Buffy be able to see Xander and Willow without wanting to eat them? Will they accept her as she is now?

**WARNING: There is some blood sharing between Spike/Dalton in this chapter as well as Buffy/Dalton. There is no m/m sex or sexual touching, but vampires do react erotically to being bitten.**

Disclaimer and Distribution notes are listed on the Index page of this story.

'Single' quote marks surround thoughts in this story. "Regular" quotes are around spoken words.


Dalton was waiting for Spike's return to the mansion. Spike felt the younger vampire while Spike was still in the passage. Letting his senses reach out to sense anyone else, he found out that Dalton was alone. 'At least we were able to get away with the meeting without Angelus finding out we were gone.' He stepped into his bedroom.

"Good evening, Master." Dalton walked over to Spike. He stepped up to Spike, tilted his neck and offered himself up for his Master's test to confirm his loyalty.

Spike tilted his head to the side in wonderment. "You offer this willingly, Dalton?"

"Yes, Master." This was an old custom that few Master Vampires insisted upon anymore. By tasting the blood of their minions, Childer, or other vampires they could sense if another had bitten them or if their loyalties had switched. Dalton knew that his loyalties were secure, and he wished to offer up that proof to his Master.

Spike grinned. "I trust you, Dalton." He grew more proud of his new family member with this offering. "Do I have any reason not to trust you?" He asked calmly.

"No, Master." Dalton remained in his position in front of Spike. "What you are doing is dangerous, Master." He turned only his eyes to look at Spike. "I wish no doubts in your mind at all in case anything happens in the future. You know the kinds of games that Angelus will play."

Spike nodded. He pulled Dalton into his arms. His face shifted, and the demon sprang forth. Each time he shared in Dalton's blood it brought them closer. He promised himself to find a way for Buffy to partake of Dalton's blood again to reaffirm the connection within their family.

Dalton prepared himself for the bite. Vampires enjoyed the painful pleasures that most humans did not. It did sting or burn when first bitten though. His body tensed at the first stretching and snapping of his skin under his Master's teeth. He visibly relaxed a moment later at the first pull of his blood into Spike's mouth. He brought his hands up to Spike's arms and held on.

Spike growled deeply. 'His blood is richer than I expected. It must be an after effect of him drinking from Buffy and I.' He thought to himself on the second and third pulls. His grip tightened on Dalton's arms. He felt himself harden in response to the lingering taste of his Mate in Dalton's blood. He refused to give in to his demon's desire to take Dalton to bed. He had always remained faithful, and he would always be faithful to his Mate.

Dalton felt Spike's hardness press against his own clothed erection. At the fourth pull from his neck, Dalton panted. His legs trembled. Any moment, and he knew that he would careen over the edge into orgasm. "Master, please. I'm going to ..."

Spike knew what Dalton needed to do. The younger vampire showed restraint already by not cumming. Spike lifted his wrist to Dalton's mouth. He growled his approval.

Dalton's demon eagerly surfaced. His fangs latched onto Spike's wrist and drank deeply of his Master's precious fluid. He felt the bond of family increase and strengthen. When at least his orgasm hit him, Dalton slumped against Spike. His fangs retracted, but his hand held Spike's wrist loosely to his lips. "Thank ... Thank you, Master."

Spike licked the twin puncture wounds lightly with his tongue. "You are welcome, faithful Dalton." He grinned a toothy blood-stained grin at the younger vampire. "You deserve to be rewarded for your loyalty. Your blood is pure, my son." He sat down on the edge of the bed trying to collect himself. He hadn't allowed himself the pleasure of an orgasm. He felt the need for sexual satisfaction crying out to him, but he refused to vanquish his sexual purity by giving in to the lust of the moment.

"Master, are you all right?" Dalton looked at Spike with worry. He noticed the visible shakiness traveling Spike's limbs.

Spike buried his demon back into the recesses of his mind and his human guise moved to the forefront. "I'll be fine, Dalton." He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Though he didn't need to breathe, the slow inhaling and exhaling always helped to calm him down. "It is harder to feel this way without Buffy here to satisfy me."

Dalton wasn't insulted in the least. He watched Spike be faithful to Drusilla the whole time he'd known the Master Vampire in Sunnydale. Even when Drusilla's attentions had faltered and other vampires tempted Spike, he never found another until he gave up on Drusilla entirely. Perhaps one day his Master and Mistress would welcome him into their bed, but he was content to be allowed to watch occasionally and serve instead. They had already given him so much by welcoming him into their family. "Where is Mistress Buffy?"

"I sent her home with the, Watcher." Spike answered. His raging hard on subsided to a more controllable level. He was finally calming down enough to speak coherently again.

"I take it things went well then?"

"As well as good be expected from a man who spent his whole life listening to Council trash." Spike sneered in disgust. "He won't hurt, Buffy. Of that I'm certain."

"He did show great concern for her when I first met him." Dalton nodded in agreement. "He was most distressed about her vampiric status, but I could see the love shining in his eyes through the pain."

Spike looked up at Dalton. Having been on the outside of society as a mortal, they both understood each other quite well. They were better at reading people's emotions and moves than others because their observation skills were more honed. If he could just teach Dalton to fight better, he would make an excellent second in command. He wasn't prone to rash decisions and hasty plans. That would help Dalton survive longer if he could defend himself. "The Watcher is going to need help in dealing with Buffy though. He has no idea who he truly has on his hands."

"She is quite remarkable, Master." Dalton beamed in pride. He had been brought into a powerful family. His demon knew it and reveled in being a part of something strong.

"That she is." Spike moved down to the full crate of blood bags at the end of the bed. "I need you to head to the Watcher's house with this crate. I can feel her need for blood increasing." He picked up the crate and handed it to Dalton. "Head through the sewers. You can avoid any chance of meeting up with Angelus that way."

"Yes, Master." Dalton hefted the crate in his arms. "Any other instructions, Master?"

"Yes." Spike rattled off the directions to Giles' house via the tunnels. "I also want you to sneak back into the factory to my old room. You know the one I speak of?"

Dalton nodded. "I don't know how much is left, Master. The fire department didn't arrive until the factory was gutted completely."

"What I need you to find was in a protective box. It would have survived even if the whole place burnt to the ground." Spike explained what the box looked like. After he described it his head shot up in alarm. "Hurry ... get this blood to Buffy immediately." He ushered Dalton to the passage door. "Have her reaffirm her familial link to you."

Dalton pushed the door open further with his foot. "Yes, Master. I will return as quickly as I can."

Spike ran his fingers through his hair. 'I hope he isn't too late.' He could feel the confusion and bloodlust growing in his Childe. 'Hold on, luv. He just doesn't understand.' He pushed the thoughts through as quickly as he could. He was afraid to linger on their connection long, but he had to help her.

Spike felt proud that Buffy was defending him, but he didn't want her to regret her actions later. 'You are strong. Force it back. Let the fool go this time.' He waited a little bit longer to be sure Buffy let the boy go before he closed the telepathic link again.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Before Giles unlocked the door to his home, the door flew open. Willow stood on the other side of the door. "Giles, we were getting so worried."

Giles walked into the house. "We ran into a little trouble with Angelus, and we had to wait until he left."

"Angelus?!?" Xander shrieked. "See, I told you it was a trap." He finally noticed that Buffy was standing at the door on the outside. "Um ... I mean ..." He shuffled his weight from one foot to another. "Hey, Buffy."

Buffy frowned at Xander. 'I don't know if I can do this.' She thought to herself. 'They are going to hate me.' She tried to step into the house only to be stopped by the invitation barrier. Her eyes went wide in the realization that she needed an invite into homes. 'Oh God, I really am a vampire.'

Willow tensed on the inside of the house. She looked up at Giles and then back over to Buffy. "Um, Giles?" She pointed to Buffy who was still standing on the outside of the door.

"Oh yes. I forgot about that." Giles looked over at Buffy with sympathy. "Please come in, Buffy."

Buffy stepped over the threshold. 'I can do this. I can do this.' She fought back the tears that threatened to spill while she repeated the mantra in her head. Whoever said that vampires couldn't feel was off their rocker. This wasn't the soul that made her feel. It came from deep within her being. She'd seen the evidence of emotions from Spike an Dalton as well.

Willow backed away from the door to stand next to Xander in the middle of the living room. Everyone stared at each other in silence until Giles cleared his throat. "With you being able to touch the cross, it slipped my mind that you would need an invitation, Buffy."

"It's all right, Giles." Buffy tried to shrug off the trepidation she was feeling. "Guess it comes with the territory of being undead, eh?" She half chuckled.

Willow took one step closer to Buffy. "I'm so sorry this happened, Buffy." She offered up an apology. "We shouldn't have let you leave alone."

"Will, Angelus would have just killed you if you went with me." Buffy explained. "He wasn't exactly in a head game mood when I saw him. He was out for blood."

"And apparently the Buffsters blood was just too much of a temptation, Buff?" Xander teased. He was scared out of his wits, but in usual Xander fashion he tried to be the class clown to avoid facing the reality of the situation. "A regular Buffy buffet."

"You could say that." Buffy blushed. "Not exactly glad that I was flashing a 24 hour all you can eat sign on my neck that night." She laughed. "Too bad he didn't finish his meal. Mom always said clean up your plate or you're in trouble."

Willow gasped in shock. "Buffy!" She rushed to hug her friend. She was terrified that if Angelus had taken everything her friend would be dead. That thought overrode her fears of Buffy being a vampire. In every way this sounded like her friend, Buffy. She hugged her tightly. "Don't say that. You would be dead."

"Hate to break it to you, Will, but she is dead." Xander cringed at his friend hugging the Vampiress. His fear of vampires rose another notch. He had seen what becoming a vampire could do to a friend. Jesse was an entirely different person after being turned. He reached down to the table to get the stake they set there in case it was needed.

"It's okay, Will." Buffy rubbed Willow's back as the young redhead started to cry. "He will pay for messing with me, and hey not all that evil. I'm still Buffy in here. Just a few more perks and my soul."

"Like a soul helped dead boy any." Xander interjected. His prejudices and fears were getting the better of him.

"That's enough." Giles stepped into the argument. "She hasn't been cursed with her soul. She kept her soul even after turning."

"You sure about that G-man?"

Giles ignored Xander's destruction of his name. He looked up at Buffy. He only paused a moment at the look of concern in her eyes that he would denounce her. "Yes, I'm positive." He pulled the cross from his pocket and tossed it to Buffy.

Buffy caught the cross mid-air. Willow shrieked and Xander gaped. One arm remained wrapped around Willow while she twirled the cross with the other.

"Is she supposed to be able to do that?" Willow looked on in wonder. "Angel didn't like crosses even with a soul."

"There is a lot we don't know about Buffy yet, but we are going to work through it all." Giles narrowed his gaze on Xander. "Without the snide remarks." His doubts were burying themselves further into the back of his mind, and his fatherly instincts presented themselves more strongly. He needed to support Buffy, and he would not allow the annoying brunette child to hurt her. "She's going through enough right now without your comments."

Buffy smiled gratefully to Giles. She handed the cross back to him. "I'm sure you have a few tests that you'd like to run, but I really do need to rest."

Willow moved away from Buffy. She sat down on a couch in the living room. "What are you going to tell your Mother?"

"Everything Wills." Buffy answered. "And no one can know that I'm alive. Every one needs to proceed as if I'm dead ... completely dead." She added when Xander's mouth opened as if to make a comment about her life and death status. "We're even going to plan my funeral." She explained the idea that Spike, Giles and she came up with.

"That is way creepy, Buffy." Willow shivered. "Staging your own funeral?"

"So long as Deadboy ends up forever dusty dead, I don't care." Xander added in his two cents worth. "Deadboy, Jr. can go right along with him to dusty land."

Buffy stood up and growled. "You will not touch Spike, Xander." Her eyes turned from their normal green to her vampiric violet.

Giles watched the change come over Buffy. He was both fearful for Buffy and Xander. He knew that if Buffy did something to Xander, she'd regret it later. He fought with himself to allow Buffy to teach Xander a little lesson or to pull her back completely.

Buffy's demon had been under a reasonable amount of control until now. She fought down the lure of their beating hearts and pulsing blood in their veins when she was calmer. Now that she was getting upset, it was harder to control her more primal urges. She needed to feed. Their blood called to her, but she felt a stronger need to drain the one who threatened her Sire and Mate.

"Easy, Buff." Xander started backing away from Buffy. "He is just a soulless vampire." He frantically grabbed for a nearby cross. He rolled his eyes at the futility of that and backed up further. "So he's your Sire. So what? He destroyed you."

Buffy's ridges formed on her forehead as the demon became more in control of her body. Her human side was appalled at Xander as much as her Slayer demon. This was her Mate that he was talking about. Didn't the fact that she still had her soul, and Spike knew she would, make a difference to her "friend"? "You know nothing of what you are talking about, Xander."

Willow, fearful for Xander's safety, boldly moved in front of Xander. She placed herself as a barrier between her two friends. She was afraid of Buffy, but she couldn't let Xander be hurt either. She held a stake in her shaking hand.

Buffy continued her advance across the room to Willow and Xander. She stopped a moment when Willow put herself between Buffy and her goal. "Spike is my Mate, Xander." She snarled. "If you touch him, I will kill you, friend or not." Everything in her tone showed that she was not giving an empty threat. She meant every word.

Giles stood up next to Willow. "Buffy, Xander didn't know about the claim." He tried to reach out his hands to his demon-faced Slayer to at least slow her down long enough to talk to her.

"Xander doesn't care about that, do you Xan-Man?" Buffy mocked Xander's nickname. "You still hate Spike enough to kill him, don't you?"

"Of course I do. He deserves to die." Xander spat out. He was livid. His supposed best friend just threatened to kill him. "Buffy would never hurt me. You aren't her. You're just a demon in her body."

"Xander! Buffy!" Willow shrieked when an angry Slayer/Vampire pulled her away from Xander.

Giles hit the back of the couch before he hit the floor after Buffy pushed him away from Xander as well. He watched in fear while Buffy grabbed Xander by the arms and buried her fangs into his neck.

Buffy felt the words of her Sire come to her. She felt him trying to send comfort and calming to her. She pulled her fangs out of Xander's neck after two good gulps of his blood. It wasn't enough to even weaken him much, but it was enough to scare him. She threw Xander down to the floor and stepped back from him. Her own body trembled a little from rage, bloodlust and worry before she pushed it back down again.

Xander looked up at Buffy terrified. She bit him. Why wasn't he dead? Isn't that what vampires did? They bit you and then you're dead? He tried to speak, but nothing came out of his mouth.

Buffy curled her tongue out over her lips to lick all traces of Xander's blood off them. She was making sure to give Xander the right impression of how much trouble he had been in. "Hmmm, not too bad. Tasty from the source."

Buffy took a moment to look at Willow and then Giles. She took two more steps back towards the door to show that she wasn't going after them. She spoke directly to Xander. "That evil soulless Spike just saved your life, Xander."

Giles stood up with the assistance of the back of the couch. "What do you mean, Buffy?" He was half appalled that Buffy attacked Xander and half intrigued that Buffy hadn't killed him. He tossed a hand towel to Xander to push against his wound.

"Spike felt me, all of me, want revenge on Xander. He must have felt the bloodlust caused by the need to protect my Mate and the timing of my previous feeding." Buffy explained. She sat down in a chair near the door. "He stopped me."

Willow's voice was shaky as she spoke. "Stopped you? He isn't even here."

Giles started to explain. "It would seem that Spike and Buffy share a telepathic connection due to the fact that they have claimed each other as Mates. Telepathy is rare, but they are very strongly bonded."

"Mates?" Willow questioned. "Is that like being married?"

"In human terms yes." Buffy answered Willow's question. She stressed the word human. "It is a much stronger bond than mortals can have. You feel everything about your Mate. It's a comforting feeling." She spoke with a bit of awe. "It is binding until one of us is dust, and nothing is going to dust him that doesn't dust me first." She directed her gaze to Xander with the last sentence she uttered.

"Oh." Willow helped Xander stand back up. "I think I read something in Giles' books about vampire's mates. They will defend their mate no matter what, right?"

Giles nodded. He continued to clean the glasses that fell to the floor when Buffy pushed him away. "Yes. It seems to mean that each Mate has accepted the other with all that they are. Not even another vampire can destroy a true bond without the death of one of the mates."

"Is it a true bond?" Willow questioned. "It seems strange that a slayer would accept a vampire for her mate."

"I don't see how they could speak telepathically without it being a true bond." Giles rubbed the lenses of his glasses with a cloth. "I have to research it further. From what I gathered from Buffy and Spike earlier it is not a common occurrence amongst vampires."

Buffy pointed a finger at Xander's shaking form. He wasn't weak from blood loss, but he was scared beyond any fear he'd ever known. "Which means you are lucky you are alive Xander Harris." Her ridges had receded back to a smooth brow, but her eyes were still a deep violet color.

"Yes, quite." Giles put his glasses back on. "Spike held you back?" He directed his question directly at Buffy. If Spike helped to stop Buffy from draining Xander his respect for the vampire would grow.

"Yes. I think he's sending ..." Buffy stopped mid sentence. She jumped to her feet and opened the door. "Dalton!"

The three other occupants of the home turned their sights to the bookish vampire holding a crate of something at Giles' door.

"Mistress." Dalton breathed a sigh of relief. When he neared the home he heard the rapid beating hearts and smelled the fear that radiated from inside. He was worried that something happened before he could get there. Seeing the three humans alive he relaxed some. "Master sent me with the blood."

"I am so glad to see you." Buffy hugged Dalton. She picked up the scent of her Mate on Dalton's neck. She growled low, sniffed the new marks, and turned her violet eyes to seek out Dalton's.

Dalton hastened to explain before his Mistress tore him apart. He knew that being apart from her Sire would be hard enough even without being mated. Even though he hated his Sire he felt the pull to him when he left him early on. "It was an offering of loyalty, Mistress. A familial reaffirmation, nothing more." He reassured Buffy.

Buffy took the crate from Dalton. She set it on the ground inside the house since Dalton could not enter the home. "Excuse me a moment." She tossed over her shoulder while she pushed Dalton out of the door into the dark recess of some shadows.

"Mistress?" Dalton gulped. "Master wishes you to reaffirm your claim and assure yourself of my loyalty." He spoke quickly in the hopes of avoiding incurring her anger.

Buffy nodded her head in understanding. Nothing was being hidden from her then. Spike knew she'd be able to smell his scent on Dalton. Although she realized that her Mate would not betray her, for those brief moments her own insecurities surfaced in doubt. She plunged her fangs into Dalton's neck right over Spike's marks and drank.

Dalton shivered with the connection to his Mistress. She quickly offered him her wrist and he drank. He restrained his desires in this time. He wasn't sure how much control his Mistress would have after whatever happened in the house with her friends. So, he kept his lust reined in trying to complete the ritual as quickly as possible.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Inside the house, Willow and Xander looked at Giles in confusion. "What was that about, Giles?" Willow asked.

"I'm not sure, but she is safe with him. He seems to have some loyalty towards Spike." Giles answered. He crept over to the window to see if he could see anything. He was surprised when just a couple minutes later Buffy seemed to emerge from the shadows to walk back into the house. "Is everything all right?"

"Yes." Buffy simply said before she sat back down in the chair. Dawn was approaching, and it pulled at her consciousness. She hoped Dalton made it back safely to the mansion. He had about a half hour to an hour left. She yawned.

Xander headed for the door. He gave Buffy as wide of a berth as he could. "I think I'm going to head home. I've had enough excitement for one night."

Buffy looked up at Xander. "Remember what I said, Xander." Her green eye color returned to complete her fully human face. "Stay away from Spike."

"I don't like it, Buffy." Xander started angrily then sighed. "But I don't see what choice I have." He finished resignedly. "All bets are off if he tries to kill any of us. I won't care what you say about how "good" he is then."

Buffy watched Xander leave. She heaved a sigh to Giles. "Is this new for him, or was I too blind to realize it before?"

"He's been this way since Jesse, Buffy." Willow answered instead of Buffy. "He never liked Angel, and he's been saying I told you so all around ever since your birthday."

"Angel." Buffy sighed. The pangs of losing her first young love hurt her. She was happier with Spike, but Angel was still her first love. She was furious at Angelus for destroying Angel, but something in the back of her mind told her that Angelus and Angel weren't really all that different. She felt her human and demon sides. Angelus had to always be in Angel no matter how much he denied it. "Xander hates me, doesn't he?"

"No, Buffy." Willow sat down in front of Buffy. "He just doesn't understand what is happening. You always killed vampires. Remember last year when we experienced our worst nightmares?"

Buffy nodded. Ever since she was activated as the Slayer her worst fear was in becoming a vampire. The irony of it all wasn't lost on her. "I know, but this is different. I'm not just a regular vampire."

When Xander left, Giles headed to the kitchen with the crate of blood bags. He put most of them in the fruit drawer of his refrigerator. He placed two of them in the microwave to heat up. He heated them up a little at a time, not quite sure what temperature to make the blood. He poured one of the bags into a large mug. He stepped back into the living room in the middle of Buffy and Willow's conversation. He handed the mug to Buffy.

Buffy smiled gratefully at Giles. She brought the mug to her lips and sipped the thick red liquid. She made an ick face at first. "Spike was right, it does taste much better from him."

"Did I not warm it enough?" Giles asked.

"No, it's nice and warm. It just tastes different without being filtered through, and combined with, Sire's blood." Buffy explained. "Sire's blood is the purest thing for a Childe. Of course Slayer blood is the richest thing for vampires. So my Slayer/Childe blood still has a one up of goodness for him." She chuckled.

"Interesting." Giles took the empty mug back into the kitchen to fill it up with the second blood bag. He watched Buffy empty the second mug.

"I'm good now. Thank you, Giles." Buffy looked at Willow. She was afraid that she would see disgust on the face of her best friend. Originally she hadn't given any thought about how or when she would feed. Now she felt a bit self-conscious about eating in front of her friends.

Willow sensed Buffy's worry. "It's okay, Buffy. You aren't killing anyone."

Buffy relaxed with her friend's acceptance of her dietary needs. "Thanks, Wills."

"Xander might come around, Buffy. You scared him pretty good." Willow rubbed Buffy's knee in comfort.

"I know I did, but I tried to warn him." Buffy sighed. "After he made the first comment, he should have realized that he needed to shut up. He always has to keep beating his point home."

"I know. He's always been like that." Willow agreed. "You have to do what you need to, but could you please try not to eat Xander?" She giggled nervously.

"I'll try, Willow, but if he comes near Spike to hurt him " Buffy let the thought hang there in the open.

"Hopefully it won't come to that."

Giles yawned. "Willow, it would be best to let Buffy rest now."

Willow nodded. "Okay, Giles. I'll be back over tonight, okay?"

Buffy smiled. "That would be nice, Willow. I really am tired."

"I'll let myself out." Willow grabbed her coat and headed out of the house.

Buffy stood up and stretched. "Spike said that I would be able to resist the call of the dawn more later, but right now I can't think about anything other than collapsing into a bed."

"You may have my bed upstairs." Giles motioned to the stairs. "There is a quilt in the closet that you can toss over the window up there. We don't know how well you can handle sunlight yet."

"Why do I sense that you are going to want to test that out at some point?" Buffy teased.

"You know me too well?" Giles teased. He pulled a blanket out of a linen closet. He tossed it over the couch. "I'm going to curl up here with that notebook for a little bit before I go to bed."

"Don't push yourself too much. We have to tell my mother about this today." Buffy rested one hand on the railing up the stairs. "I have a feeling that is going to take all the strength that both of us have combined."

"Somehow I think you're right." Giles laid out on the couch. He removed his glasses and set them on the coffee table. "Good night, Buffy."

"Good night, Giles." Buffy started up the stairs. She stopped on the third one. "Giles?"

"Yes, Buffy?" Giles peeked over the back of the couch.

"Thank you for giving me a chance."

"I love you like a daughter, Buffy." Giles sighed. "No matter what the Council says, I couldn't do anything but give you a chance."

"I love you too, Giles." Buffy smiled. She walked the rest of the way upstairs, prepared her room for darkness, and slipped between the blankets of Giles' bed. She missed her Sire and her Mate. She softly cried herself to sleep with the loss of his comfort and security.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Dalton returned to the mansion in plenty of time to avoid the sunrise. He deposited the box on Spike's dresser.

"Any problems?" Spike queried.

"No, Master." Dalton rubbed his neck. The bites from Spike and Buffy both tingled in the presence of either of them. "She did not kill anyone, and I was able to locate the box fairly quickly."

"Good. Go rest, Dalton." Spike stretched out on his bed. "You look tired."

"My nerves are getting the better of me, Master. My apologies." Dalton walked over to the door to head into the hallway.

"We're all pretty tense right now, Dalton." Spike called out to the door. "It will get better soon."

"I hope so, Master. I hope so." Dalton left the room and closed the door behind him.

'Me too.' Spike sighed. 'Me too.' He tried to force himself to sleep without his Mate. Instead of the peaceful dreams he experienced for the last couple days, he was plagued with nightmares of Angelus killing his beautiful Buffy. It was a long day for the bleached vampire as he lived out his own worst fears in his dreams.

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