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She's Like Candy, Cont.

Chapter 11, part A

It was just after 2:00 that afternoon when Willow next awoke. Her entire body felt heavy, and her head light, but she knew from experience that it was from the loss of blood. A shower and something to eat would go a long way in making her feel better. Now all she had to do was convince her heavy limbs to pull herself out of bed.


The blonde was nowhere in sight, and she didnt get an answer. After listening for a few seconds, she was able to discern Spikes heavy accent as he shouted at something on the television. Giggling to herself, Willow slowly moved to sit on the edge on the bed to let her head stop swimming before she stood.

Wobbling legs bore her to the dresser where she pulled out a pair of comfortable pajama pants and a tank top as well as panties. Thanking whoever thought up building bras into tank tops, the tired girl flopped down on the toilet cover to remove her clothes. The sweat pants and long sleeved shirt were way to warm for the spring day.

Willow shucked the pants, hoping that it was Anya and Dawn who had dressed her, but decided almost instantly that she wasnt going to be asking any questions. It was embarrassing to think of Spike or Giles seeing her in her underwear, Xander had seen her in them a few times over the years of their childhood, but it would be worse to *know* that one of them had seen more than she was comfortable with. Asking about it alone would probably turn her red for a week.

Willow threw them into her hamper before turning to face the door, and giving a shout. The long mirror mounted onto the door gave the witch a clear view of her entire body. A body that had undergone a few more changes while Willow was sleeping.

Her long legs, once milky white, then a shimmering white, were now wrapped in the same brighter glittering as her chest. The lines of the brighter silver-white emerged from the glimmering skin just to the outside of her lower ankle and climbed their way up her legs as they circled, hooking and twisting like the tattoos some of the boys at school sported around their arms. The tops of the vining columns disappeared under the bottom edges of her panties.

Willow yanked desperately at her shirt. Her panties and bra quickly followed, and the redhead stood staring into the mirror. Twisting her body one way and another, she took in the changes.

The almost wicked looking vines slid over the swell of her hips before dipping toward one another. They tangled over and across the small of her back and up the skin at both sides before splitting just under both arms. One line on either side of her back crawled over her shoulder blades and wrapped down her arm in the same manner as her legs. The other lines slid around to join the now matching V on her chest.

She was so intent on studying the new additions to her full body make over that the sharp knock on the door caused her to jump.

"You okay in there, Red?"

"Yeah," Willow rested one hand on her chest, nearly laughing at the rapid thumping of her heart. "Im fine."

"You sure? I can smell your fear all the way in the living room."

"There were a few more changes made to my look without my permission while I was sleeping. I was just trying to get used to the newest parts of my new look. Im okay, really."

"Want me to have a look?"

<You have *no* idea. Bad Willow. Hes trying to get over Buffy, here; he doesnt need you going all hormonal on him.>

"No, Spike, Im... Im good."

"Im sure you are, luv." She could hear the teasing in the vampires voice and was secretly glad that the Spike she knew was still there.

"Go back downstairs, Spike."

"Fine, Im going. I know when Im not wanted."

<Gulp.> "Whatever, Spike. Just go."

"Yell if you need help with any hard to reach areas."

Willow heard the door to her room close and smiled.

It didnt take Willow long to shower, since someone had cleaned her up after her stint as an emergency blood donor the day before. She scrubbed her body quickly, glad to see that the color changes still werent causing any pain. Her hair, still matted with blood in places, came clean after two rather impressive battles with the shampoo. Willow was just working conditioner into the strands when she was rudely reminded that she had missed two vision rituals in the past two days.

{"Are you sure I cant play with you?" Vampire Dawn pouted prettily at a horrified Xander. "It would be so much fun."}

"Okay, Willow," the redhead hurriedly began rinsing her hair for the last time. "Get dry, get dressed, and figure out what the *hell* is going on with the visions of Dawn as a vampire."

Willow rubbed the towel over her hair quickly before running it over the rest of her body. She didnt take the time to rub on her lotion or even comb through her tangled locks. Pulling her clothes on as fast as her damp skin would allow, she opened the door to her room and began setting up for the ritual.

She didnt spend as much time on the preparations as she had over the last week, but decided that an emergency called for slightly altered plans. There was a brief prayer to the Goddess for protection and guidance before she hurried to ground and center herself. She had forgone the sage incense and struggled a bit to focus before the image of Dawn came.

{Dawn was standing in front of a giggling Willow, wearing a black dress designed to look tattered. Her hair was in a wildly flirtatious style, and the smile covering the younger girls lips could only be described as devilish.

"Say youll do it, please?"

"Buffy would *not* be happy. You know that, right?"

"Buffys being a total..." Dawn looked between Willow and a silent Spike, "b-I-t-c-h. Besides, you *know* it would be cool."

"Okay," Willow nodded to herself. "Ill vamp you out."

Dawn squealed in delight and threw her arms around Willows shoulders in a tight embrace. "Thank you! Thank You! This will be so much fun!"



"Its nothing bad, Dawnie. I just want you to be sure to wait at the dance for Anya and Xander to pick you up and take you home. I dont want to run the risk of some vamp deciding youd make a good playmate for the evening or Buffy to jump to the wrong conclusions."

"I can do that."

"Good. Im also going to put it on a timer."

"Like Cinderella?"

"Something like that, but earlier."

"Earlier?" Willow smiled at the whine that only a teenaged girl can pull off.

"Yes, earlier. The dance ends at 11:00, so Ill have the spell end at 11:30."

"See, pet?" Spike made his first contribution to the conversation. "Its only half an hour before that bint. Just dont go losing any shoes. Youre much too young to be gettin hitched."

"Is it a deal?"

"Yeah, itll be great!" Dawn was back to bouncing, again, something only a teenaged girl can pull off. "Vamp me now! Vamp me now!"

"Come on, Spike, we could use your help with this one."}

Willow left the vision to see a smiling Spike leaning against the side of her open bedroom door. "Youll never guess what Dawns going to have me do tonight."

"Fill me in over breakfast? Ive made you pancakes." Spike turned and headed down the hall before Willow could form a response to his out of character statement.

"Pancakes?" Willow shook her head and ran to catch up with the retreating blonde.

Chapter 11, Part b

"So, Nibblet wants to be a vampire for this mixer at school." Spike chuckled into his second mug of blood. "It takes balls to vamp the Slayers kid sister, even if its just a gag. Im proud of you, ducks."

"What can I say, Im a rebel. Besides, Im not a big fan of Buffys at the moment."

"I told you that it was a mutual thing. I landed my share of punches and kicks."

Willow busied herself with gathering her syrup covered plate and the glass that had held her milk. She moved from her stool at the counter top and rinsed them out before loading them into the dishwasher.

"You and Buffy have been patrolling together for a while now. You know her routine, right?

"Course I do."

"Tell me."

"Well, there are two separate routes. One is to go Grandview, then Walnut Hills, before heading over to Greenlawn, and then back through Grandview. The second is to go through Grandview before hitting the older cemeteries of Oakwood, Grove, and St. Peters before another sweep of Grandview. Either way, Grandview is always hit twice since its the newest cemetery and pretty well populated."

"My point exactly." Willow worried her bottom lip with her teeth, hating to be the one to have this conversation with the vampire.

"What bloody point would that be?"

"Dont you see, Spike? You guys fought before you left Grandview for the first time, right?" At his nod, Willow continued. "That means she *had* to have come through there again. Theres no way for her to have gone back and not felt a vampire. She would have gone to investigate, and seen you. She didnt do anything to help you, Spike. She left you out there to die!"

Spike remained silent as Willow finished cleaning up after his cooking spree. His eyes had grown to a smokey blue, and a muscle behind his jaw twitched slightly. Willow, deciding that she had said far more than was wise, found her copy of -Atlas Shrugged- and the three books that analyzed it. An angry Spike who had let his food go cold wasnt a Spike who liked company as a general rule.

"Where are you off to?"

"Just headed for the living room. Ive *got* to get started on this paper. Of course, since I havent been to school all week, I should have at least been doing the reading for it. Now, I have History to deal with before I can even start on the Women In Literature paper. The History is due first, so I *have* to finish it. The Lit can wait, really, though its due Friday."

"I could probably help." Spike downed the last of the congealing blood in one gulp with a grimace of distaste. "Whats the paper on?"

"The rule of Henry VIII, and its effect on Ireland."

"Okay, maybe Ill just go take a nap." Spike grinned at Willows giggle and headed on up the stairs.

Willow spent the next few hours reading over her notes and history text before really getting to work on the actual paper. It wasnt really all that hard, as she had always been interested in Ireland and how things got to be in the state that they are. The thought of some king giving away land that wasnt his, that he had never even seen, to nobles who then abused the inhabitants angered her.

<Theres that smell again.> The whiff of burning copper surrounded the redhead. <It only happens when Im angry. Goddess, I wish I knew what was going on with this.>

It was just after sunset when she put the finishing touches on the paper. She had just saved the information and sent the command to print when Spike came through her door and flopped across her bed.


"Im done with the History, but I still have the other to do." Willow stood from her chair, stretching as she moved. "Im due for something to eat. You want something?"

"Ill come with you, pet."

The witch and the vampire had just stepped off the last step when the front door was unceremoniously thrown open to reveal a smirking Buffy. The slayer ran her eyes over Spike before striding fully into the house.

"You didnt meet me." Willow was surprised to see that Buffy was pouting as if Spike had stood her up for a date.

"I didnt think you wanted me to after the other night." Spike dug his cigarettes and lighter out of his pocket, lighting up before facing the blonde woman head on. "I dont think Im going to be doing patrols or anything else with you."

"Oh?" Buffy straightened and looked at the vampire with a set jaw. "Whys that?"

"Decided I need a change of scenery. Youve got issues, and Ive done my time with one loony bitch."

Willow retreated to the relative safety of the kitchen where she began heating blood for Spike. She leaned against the counter, listening in as Buffy huffed for a moment before finding her voice.

"How *dare* you!" Buffy closed the distance between her and the vampire in four long strides. "You cant just break things off like that."

"Here I was thinking that I just did." Spike took a drag from his smoke and blew the cloud to the side. "I think its time you leave."

"No, I dont think it is." Buffy pushed Spike in the chest, forcing him to back up a step, before jabbing him in the chest with one perfectly done nail.

"You cant hit or hurt anything human except me. Youre a weak, pathetic excuse for a vampire, and-"

"Enough!" Willow wasnt sure how she had come to be between the two blondes, but she didnt take the time to dwell on it.

"You will *not* come into *my* house and talk to Spike that way! I dont care what kind of problems youre having. That doesnt give you the excuse to talk to him or anyone else that way! Goddess, Buffy, youre acting like some kind of possessive, abusive girlfriend instead of the girl whos been my best friend for years."

"When did you start sleeping with him?"

The change of subject took Willow by surprise, and all she got out was a stuttered "W-What?"

"You heard me, Willow. When did you decide to move in on my territory?"

"Buffy, I didnt even know you were doing anything with Spike until this whole vision thing started. Im not sleeping with him now, nor have I ever slept with him. I couldnt be that lucky. Now, I think its time for you to get out of my house."

Buffy looked around the irate redhead to yell at Spike again. "Were not through until *I* say were through."

Willow instinctively pulled energy from the earth and the air in the room, picturing the training room of the Magic Box. She began putting all the energy she could into what she knew she was about to attempt.

"You *need* me!" With that shout from Buffy, Willow released all the energy, and the small blonde slayer disappeared.

Without acknowledging Spikes uttered bloody hell, Willow simply moved to her telephone, dialing the number quickly. "Is Buffy there?"

"Willow?" Anyas breathless voice answered her. "Yes, she just appeared out of nowhere in the training room."

"Good. Bye." Willow hung up and faced the vampire in her living room.

"I sent her to the Magic Box. I had to make sure she made it there."

"What did you mean?"

"About what?" Willow took the blood from the microwave and handed it to the now mobile vampire before retrieving herself some chips from the cabinet.

"About not being lucky enough to be sleeping with me."

<Figures hed remember that.>

"Um, nothing." Willow could feel the blush burning her face as she headed towards the stairs. "Im going to get that history paper bound before Dawn gets here." Willow tried to retreat to her room, but Spike was right on her heels.

"Cmon, Red. Tell me what you meant." Spike set his mug on the desk before pinning her against it with his body. "Tell Spike all about it."

<Now would be a good time for the Hellmouth to open up and eat me... Come on... Anytime now would work... Goddess, it should be illegal to look that good while being all smirky and evil.>

"Spike," Willow sighed and forced the vampire to back up so she could move to put her paper in its clear binding. "Y...You know."

"No, I dont. Why dont you tell me?" He was smirking again as he sipped at his blood.

"You... Youre." Willow let out a frustrated sigh. "I think they had you in mind when they came up with the term sex on legs. Happy?"

Willow thanked herself, again, for figuring out how to take blood out of carpeting when Spike spurted the mouthful he was about to swallow across the room at her admission.

"But this shouldnt really make any difference to you, since youre just now getting away from Buffy, and I refuse to be Rebound Girl for you. I hope youre not too weirded out by that or anything. It shouldnt change anything with us being friends, since Ive always thought you were a hottie." Willow jumped when the doorbell chimed. "And Im just gonna shut up and go answer the door now. Because thats what you do, you know... Answer the door when the doorbell rings."

Willow nearly ran to answer the door, wanting to be as far away from the blonde as she could get in the hopes that she wouldnt hear him when he started laughing.

Chapter 12

"Dawn!" Willow pulled the girl through the door and up the stairs.

"Um, hello." Dawn panted for breath after her near sprint up to Willows room where there were candles and incense already burning. "I was going to ask if-"

"You want to look like a vampire for your dance tonight, right? Thats why I have everything all set up."

"How did you know?"

Willow simply pointed at the side of her head and winked, giving the younger Summers sister a grin. "Madam Willow knows all."

"Thats so cool."

"I try." Willow lit one more candle while she off handedly motioned towards a jewelry box. "Pick something out of there that youd like to wear tonight, okay?"

"Cool." Dawn rummaged through the contents before she caught sight of Spike sitting on the bed. "Hi Spike."

Spike nodded to the girl. "Nibblet."

"Hows this?" The giddy teen handed Willow a small silver choker surrounded with stars.

"Thats perfect."

"Now can we do the spell on me?"

"Were not going to do the spell on you. Were going to do it on the necklace. That way I dont have to put energy out all night to keep you in all your vampire glory." There was a very Willowy grin as she explained her plan.

"Sounds good to me."

"You *do* know that Buffy is going to freak, right?" Spike chuckled from the bed, and Willow knew he was enjoying her little bit of trouble causing.

"Hush, Spike, or she might change her mind." Dawn actually sounded worried, which just caused Spike to laugh harder.

"Nope, she wont even know." Willow held up the necklace shed been concentrating on since Dawn had picked it out. "Well make it so the spell wears off the necklace at eleven tonight."

"And since Xander and Anya are taking me and picking me up, shell have no idea!" Dawn threw her arms around Willows shoulders. "Willow, I love you!"

"I love you too, Dawnie, but now I need for you to be quiet. I have to concentrate."

Twenty minutes later, Willow came down the stairs to say hello to Xander and Anya. The couple was there to pick up their passenger for the evening, though Anya was quite vocal about her displeasure of not getting enough bed time.

"Anya," Xander patted his girlfriend on the arm. "Were going to go out and have a nice dinner, then pick Dawn up. After that, were going home for a long niiiiiii- Oh my God!"

Xander and yelled so loudly that Spike nearly dropped the mug hed been sipping out of for the last ten minutes while talking to Xander and Anya. Anya covered her ears and looked reproachfully at her lover. Xander, having hurdled the back of the sofa, now stood rooted in place while pointing to the slight figure on the stairs.

"Whats the matter, Xan?" Dawns lilting voice teased from the shadows. "Dont like the new look?"

"Dawn?" Anya giggled softly. "Forget I was complaining. That has to be the best costume ever!"

"Costume?" Dawn raised an eyebrow in her best Spike imitation. "Im not wearing a costume. Xander looks nice. Can I play with him, Anya?"

"Sorry kid, hes mine."

"But she... How can you... Willow?" Xander could do little more than stutter and point at the small girl in the doorway to the living room.

Dawns usually flawless skin had been transformed into an unnatural white. The color brought out the deep blue of her eyes wonderfully. The ridges running along her forehead only seemed to make her more attractive, or thats what Spike had said at least. The small fangs glistening in the lamplight seemed almost cute.

"Its just a spell, Xan." Willow giggled at her best friend. "Its going to wear off at 11:00, and theres nothing more to it than looks and a muffled heartbeat. Theres no hunger for blood or any change to Dawn at all."

"You sure?"

"Positive." Willow handed Dawn the coat she was lending the girl for the evening. "Now, go have fun."

"Bye Willow," Anya chirped on her way past. "Thank you for the laugh."

"Yeah, thanks." Xanders remark left no doubt that he didnt mean a word of it, but Willow knew hed forget about being annoyed by the time they got to the school.

Chapter 13

Xanders car hadnt left the driveway before Spike turned to Willow with a raised eyebrow and that sexy as sin grin. "So Im sex on legs, am I?"

Willow wondered if the glittering tribal designs on her skin were pink, as she felt the heat rush along her skin. <Stupid, annoying, gorgeous, flirty vampires! Homework, Willow. Just focus on what you have to do for class and try not to think about the vampire standing... so... close... Stop it! Homework! Think of homework!>

The redhead shuffled over to the coffee table where she had left the books for her literature class. She let her mind clear of everything except the task laid out in front of her, not hearing Spike move around. She had just begun to think that maybe he had decided that she wasnt worth bothering when she was spun by strong hands to meet intense blue eyes.

"You think Im good looking, pet?"

Willow wriggled away from Spikes grasp and turned back to her notes. "S-Spike, y... you *have* to know that... well, that... Come on, Spike, you know youre gorgeous."

Willow thought she heard a small sigh, and looked up from her notes in time to catch the end of a shrug. "Youre telling me that *no one* has told you how you look?"

"Like one of the girls I was in the middle of draining? Not bloody likely, pet."

"What about Dru?"

"What about her?"

"Didnt she ever tell you anything about the way you look?"

"Used to call me her pretty pet, but she only had two words for things like that. You were either pretty or nasty. Sometimes, for variety, shed throw in smelly.


"Really." Spike traced the backs of his fingers along Willows cheek. "You were always the pretty tree, and Buffy was either nasty slayer or smelly slayer."

"She smells to vampires?"

Spike dropped his hand in favor of finding the pack of cigarettes in his pocket. "I think it had more to do with the musk stuff she used to wear."

"Yeah, it *was* a little strong."

"A *little*!" Spike blew a long stream of smoke out as he chuckled. "Smelled like a cheap French whores more like it."

Spike nodded sagely to himself even as Willows shocked laughter burst from her mouth.

"Spike, even though I hate what she did, shes still my friend. Im angry and appalled, but I cant stop loving her just like that." Willow snapped her fingers to show how quickly that was.

"I know that, Red. Its one of the things I like about you."

Willow smiled softly and went back to her outline.

"Just how attractive *am* I, pet?"

"Ugh!" Willow threw her notes down and stepped over to the grinning vampire. "Here!"

Touching her forehead to his, Willow pushed a picture of what he looked like at that moment into his mind. Willow would have liked to have seen the look on his face, but that would mean breaking contact. Without that, Willow doubted she could keep the borrowed mental picture going, so she simply stood and waited.

It was a full ten minutes before a harsh whisper came from the blonde. "Do I always look like this?"

Willow gave the barest shake of her head, sending forth the memory of the first time she saw him, not realizing until too late that the feelings the accompanied the memories were also going out.

"You were frightened, werent you pet?"

"More than ever, and that was two years after Buffy came, so thats saying a lot."

Spike pulled away from the redhead, and Willow was shocked to see a solitary tear trailing down his cheek. Before she could comment, he stepped past her and picked up her discarded notes. "So, whats this then?"

"My assignment for Women In Literature. Im supposed to describe what I got out of the book, and if I agree or disagree with the authors philosophy."

"Shouldnt be too hard for a smart bird like you."

"Well, it would have helped if I had actually read the other books."

"Shirking your school work?" Spike clucked at her as he grinned, moving to sprawl out in one of the easy chairs with one of the books. "Wont that get you into trouble?"

"Hey! I read the assigned book, I just didnt read the books on the book. Besides, I dont really have to go to classes. As long as Im there for all the tests and the assignments get turned in on time, no one cares."

"I could go to school if they were all like that."

"You can take a lot of courses online now, too."

"Really," Spike never looked up, but Willow could tell the vampire was trying to hide his interest behind the indifference.

"Maybe Ill show you sometime."

"If you want to, pet."

It was two hours later, just after nine, by the time Spike and Willow finished discussing the works theyd read. Willow was making notes in a shorthand that she repeatedly assured Spike that she could understand, having decided that -Atlas Shrugged- was one of the better books shed been assigned in the class. <With any luck, Ill have this whole paper finished by Tuesday or Wednesday.>

Spike stood from his chair and moved to the door of the living room just as the front door was thrown open unceremoniously. Buffy was through the opening before the door bounced off the wall and swung closed on its own momentum. She didnt even pause to look at Spike, now standing fully in the foyer in front of her, before spinning to glare at Willow.

"I cannot *believe* you did that!"

"I sent you somewhere safe." Willows voice was small, and she hated that she sounded so much like the mouse that she had been when the blonde had first arrived in town. "I just needed you to go, and you wouldnt."

"I dont want to hear it. I just dont need you showing off like that."

"What the hell are you prattling on about, Slayer?" Spike had retrieved another cigarette and lit it while Buffy was talking.

"Shes already got everyone running around researching why shes changing colors and trying to figure out whats going to happen next." Buffy turned back to the redhead. "I dont need you keeping Spike here on top of everything else."

"Im not keeping him here. Spike can leave whenever he wants to."

"What makes you think shes keeping me here, Slayer?"

"You werent at our usual place." Buffy pouted prettily for Spikes benefit. "She has to be using magic or something to keep you here."

"Actually, Buffy," Willow moved to stand just in front of Spike. "He was helping me with my homework. Didnt you hear him earlier? He doesnt want anything to do with you."

"I can fight my own battles, luv." Spikes voice was soft, keeping the words from hurting the small redhead.

Spike gently moved the small redhead to stand behind him, shielding her with his body. "Im tired of never being the one that the person Im with really wants. Im sick of being used as a substitute or a punching bag! Im through, okay? Do you hear me? Done."

"You *should* be happy with what you get!" Buffy looked the vampire up and down. "Youre not worth caring about, let alone loving. I can see why Dru always had a candle for Angel. Youre nothing compared to him."

"Go to hell!" Willow was stunned at her own outburst before she shook it off and moved to stand fully in front of Spikes motionless body. "Spike is ten times the man Angel ever was, and more than one hundred times the demon. Youre just pi... mad that Spike can care without a soul and Angelus was an unfeeling bastard. If you cant at least be civil to Spike, then you need to leave him alone. Thats starting right now. And, if you cant grow up and not be a bit... bad person about this, then you need to get out of my house. Youre not welcome here."

The front door opened with a wave of Willows hand and the blonde slayer turned and left with a huff.

Willow went to the window, making sure that Buffy seemed to be leaving this time. When the small blonde was about to turn the corner, a near roar brought Willow around with a shriek of fear trying to fight its way past the lump in her throat. It took her a moment to process the scene now in front of her.

Spike was leaning against the wall in full game face. His hand and wrist were hidden behind the layers of paint and drywall hed just made a rather large hole in. Blood tinged tears slid down his cheeks, shoulders shaking in great, silent sobs.

"Shes right." Spikes mumbled words were spoken against the wet surface of the wall.


"Buffy," Spike put his forehead against the wall and gazed at his boots. "Shes right. Im not worth more than a shag here and there, or to take anger out on."

"No, Spike," Willow rushed to the sobbing vampires side and pulled his bleeding hand from the wall, wincing when she caught sight of the broken stud and dented cement inside the hole. "Shes being a petty, vindictive bitch. She said those things to hurt you, to make you think that you deserve whatever she says and does."

Willow eased the two of them down to sit on the floor just in front of her door, keeping her arms securely wrapped around the blondes body. She was able to maneuver her legs so that he rested between them while her back was pressed to the wall behind her.

"Youre one of my best friends, Spike. Im not going to let you keep going on this self destructive kick youre on. Ive been in that self-hating hole, and its not for you."

"I cant do it."

The words were spoken softly, against her shoulder, but Willow heard them clearly enough to catch the desperation in them. "What cant you do, Spike?"

"I cant be here, be confronted like that all the time, and not do something that Ill hate myself for."

"Then lets get out of here." Willow brightened at the idea.

<Why not? I sure as heck deserve a bit of a break after everything Ive done over the past year.>

"You mean, run away?" Spike had pulled away from her shoulder to look her in the eye, but his body still rested in her loose embrace. "Just like that?"

"Well, we can run away for a little while. I have to be back in time to turn my History paper in on Tuesday, but its only Saturday night. That gives us a little while to get away and let you just decide what you want to do."

"Youd do that for me, luv?"

"Im *doing* that for you. Now get up so we can go pack, you heavy vampire."

Chapter 14

"Where did you say were going?" Spike poked his head through the door to Willows room, grinning at her mock glare.

"I *didnt* say where were going, and stop trying to trick me into telling you!" Willows giggle made Spikes smile widen.

"Aw, cmon pet," Spike hefted Willows small suitcase and book bag along with his own duffle before the two headed down the stairs. "Tell your bestest pal where hes bein whisked away to."

Willows only response was to shake her head before they began placing the bags in the trunk of the car, having to try three times to get it all in around the rather large cooler of blood. Spike stopped more than once to tell her that the Desoto could easily have been packed, but Willow nixed the idea each time it was brought up.

"Spike, I cant see to drive that thing."

"Ill drive. See? All fixed."

"Huh uh! Im surprising you here, buddy. Knowing where were going does not a surprise vacation make."

"Wait." Spikes face was a mask of sudden horror. "Were *not* going to see Peaches, right?"

"I can assure you that we are *not* going to see Angel. Were going in the opposite direction, even."

"So were going south, then. Inland or coastal?"

"Get in the car, Spike."


"Dont I know it? Now, are you going to get in the car, you big baby? Or am I leaving without you?"

Spike hurried to slide into the front seat, checking that there was a thick blanket handy should he need it. "You do realize that were stopping for road munchies, right?"

"What kind of trip would it be if I didnt?"

The two friends laughed as they left Sunnydale, stopping at the first mammoth gas station they saw. Well stocked up on sugar in every form they could think of, Willow directed the car toward the coast. Spike tried to ask questions, but finally decided that singing along to the radio was more entertaining.

Two and a half hours later, just after 11:30, the sedan rolled to a stop in front of a large Victorian house set back from the road. Its back was skirted with balconies, and its front was adorned in numerous trellises of climbing roses. The heady smell of the pink and red blossoms surrounded the two of them as they slid out of the car; Willow moving to pull the bags from the back as Spike took in the ocean view under the crescent moon.

"Its beautiful, luv." Spike had taken the bags from Willows hands and carried the cooler under one arm.

"Isnt it?"

The two had just stepped up onto the covered porch when the door was pulled open. A tall, amazingly thin woman with perfectly blue scales stood just inside. She flashed a smile full of small green teeth before moving to shake Willows hand and nod politely to Spike.

"Welcome to the Blue Shell." The woman noticed the bags and cooler Spike was carrying, and gave a sharp whistle. A moment later, a smaller blue person appeared. "Take their things up to the dark room, Croman."

"Yes, mama."

"Thank you for taking us on such short notice."

"It was no problem. We dont get a lot of calls for vampires, especially not up from Sunnydale. When someone from the Hellmouth calls, we try to be accommodating."

"A room for a few nights is more than enough, thanks." Spike shifted from foot to foot in the cool comfort of the porch.

"Sorry about grumpy Gus here," Willow inclined her head in Spikes direction. "Hes a little hyper active, and being stuck in a car for the last two hours hasnt helped."

The owner of the bed and breakfast simply giggled lightly and motioned the two to follow her. "Please come inside. My name is Keemara, and, if you follow me, Ill show you to your room."

They followed the demons lithe form into the foyer, past an open arch that lead to a large common room, and up the staircase that was situated to the left of the door. Walking along the hallway at the top of the stairs, Willow smiled at the large mirrors and antique furniture. They came to a stop at the end of the hall, just outside a door in a squared off corner.

"The entire top floor will be yours. We were going to turn it into two separate rooms, but, as I said, we dont get a lot of vampires staying, so it was more of a waste of money."

"Sounds good to me, ducks." Spike eyed the spiral stair revealed when Croman reappeared through the door. "Were just looking to get away from pretty much everyone for a bit."

"I know the feeling." Keemara smiled softly and handed both Willow and Spike a key to the door behind her. "I know youre probably tired and droopy from the ride, so just come and sign in after youre all settled."

"Thank you, I will." Willow couldnt help but feel attached to the other woman, though she really couldnt figure out why. Spike didnt seem to share her feelings, as he had already disappeared up the steps before Willow remembered to ask something important. "Oh, about my magic-"

"Ive spoken to the other guests, there are only three, and none of them will have a problem with your type of spell." A soft chuckle accompanied the next words. "One wanted to know if you could see something for him."

Willow found herself a little uncomfortable, though curious as to whether or not she could actually do something like that. "I could try. Im *really* new at this vision thing, and havent tried to see anything that didnt apply to me or someone Im close to."

"Ill let him know. Who knows? This could be your ticket to fortune and fame."

Both women laughed as they parted ways. Willow to follow Spike up the winding stairs, and Keemara back the way theyd come.

Willow gasped at the sight that greeted her as she made the last circle of the wrought iron bar that ran from floor to ceiling. The huge room had obviously been decorated with a vampire in mind, but Willow felt calm settle like a mantle around her shoulders as she took in the furnishings.

A large bed was situated in the center of each far wall, leaving the space between open for a small kitchenette on one side. The other side, the side that faced the water below, held a fireplace nestled between two great french doors, the heavy black drapes of which had been pulled back to let in the view of the waves crashing into cliffs. In front of the grate, a large sofa and two chairs sat clustered around a black metal and glass table.

The carpeting was a deep, deep red. The heavy drapes on all the windows were a solid black, reminding Willow instantly of the black t-shirt and red over shirt that Spike favored. The furnishings were all of a deep mahogany, accented with fabrics in black and varying shades of red. Even the canopy frames on the beds were wound with red and black gauzes and velours.

"Nice one, Red." Spikes voice from behind her caused Willow to jump a little.

"Dont *do* that! And thank you."

"No, Im thinking that I should be the one doing all the thanking here."

"Well, if you insist." The redhead tossed her head and then held out a hand in a haughty gesture. "Go ahead. Im ready."

Spike chuckled at her theatrics, and Willow tried to will away the tingling in her stomach at the sound. The vampire slipped long fingers under her knuckles, bending to brush a light kiss over them. "Thank you, Lady, for all you have done for me."

Willow dissolved into giggles at Spikes courtly manners before grazing a kiss over his angled cheek. "Im going to take a shower. I feel grimy."

"You do that, pet. Ill go down and get us all checked in. Want me to get you something not prepackaged while Im about?"

"Sure. Im sure theres something around." Willow dug the keys to her car from her hip pocket and tossed them to the vampire.

"Whats this, then?"

"Spike, its a bed and breakfast." Willow dragged out her pajamas shed packed before retrieving the bag containing her shower essentials. "There isnt any room service."

"Good point. Been a while since I stayed in something like this. Ill ask the blue bint about a good place for human food."

"Please dont call her that to her face."

"Just teasin pet." Spike had pulled the leather of his coat back onto his shoulders, and gave her a smirk.

"Oh, bleh!" Willow heard Spike chuckling as she shut the bathroom door.

Twenty minutes later, Willow emerged from the steaming bathroom to find Spike laying out her dinner for her on the coffee table. "Didnt know which bed was whose, and youve been sitting the same way for hours in the car. Didnt want you hurting at the kitchen table while you tried to eat."

Willow smiled at his mini-babble and began the slow task of working the knots and twists out of her hair. "Thank you, Spike. You didnt have to drive all over looking for Chinese, but thank you even more for doing it."

Spike moved her to sit on the couch and handed her the little plastic fork that came with the order. Sliding behind her, he sat on the back of the couch, resting one leg to either side of Willows back. "Was the least I could do. Now eat your chicken before it gets cold and hand me that comb."

Willow happily complied, surprised to find that Spike was amazingly gentle and patient as he worked steadily at all the damp knots in her hair. <I wonder if that says anything about what hed be like in bed... Great Willow. Way to not think sexy thoughts while on this trip.>

Once the knots were all worked out, Spike set the comb down and picked up the brush that had been lying on the couch beside Willows leg. Three strokes of the stiff bristles later Willow had to force down the bite of rice in her mouth.

If Spike noticed that she had completely stopped moving, he didnt let on. He continued to run the brush through her flaming tresses, sliding his free hand behind to smooth down the slightly damp curls.

"Mmmmhhh," Willows mouth had dropped open just a bit, and she didnt have time to stop the moan before it was out.

Spike didnt stop his movements as he chuckled. "Its good for me, too, pet."

<Well, there goes trying to play it cool.> Willow let her forearms rest against her knees as she slumped in self-defeat. <How am I getting through the next two days without doing something incredibly stupid?>

Chapter 15

The next day started with a rather late morning, at least by Willows standards. She didnt open her eyes until nearly noon, finally pulling herself from the comforts of the bed when she felt the tingling in her fingers and arms. She had done her morning ritual, seeing Spike throwing a baseball at some carnival stand, and then began her paper in earnest. The large mantle clock was chiming six when Spike sat down across from her at the small kitchen table.

/He should be a t-shirt model./ Willow swallowed heavily as she began gathering her books into a neat pile.

/That black against all that pale skin is... nice. Women all over would kill to get their husbands to look like... Wait. I dont want women everywhere lusting after Spike! Why not? It doesnt matter, Willow. Hes a vampire, so no pictures. Yeah. No worries./ Willow saved her paper, now only a proofread or two away from completion, on her laptop.

The sun had dipped behind the cliffs on the other side of the small cove, and Spike had opened the drapes. "We doin something tonight?"

"Yeah. I just need to do the evening ritual thing, and then we can get out of here."

"Need any help?" The blatant hope in the vampires eyes made it impossible for Willow to refuse.

"No, but you can if you want too."

Spike shrugged indifferently, but Willow saw the smile that curved the edges of his lips just enough to be visible.

"Actually, I was thinking about finding the person who wanted me to try and see something for him. If you could help me be sure that he isnt going to try anything, that would be great."

"Youre not doing it if its dangerous, pet." Spike snuffed out his freshly lit cigarette to stare at her.

Willow began gathering the things she used for her spell. "Im not planning on doing anything that could be dangerous, Spike. Ive got enough to worry about at home. No, I want to be certain that it would be safe, and youll keep me safe."

"Damn straight I will." Spike took the bag of supplies from the small witch and motioned toward the stairs when she made to protest. "Let me carry the bloody bag, pet. Get over the whole feminist thing and just walk."

"Fine," Willow tried to sound put out, if only for the sake of her inner feminist, but found the idea of someone carrying her bags for her too nice. /I just wont tell *him* that./

They moved from the upper hallway to the common room they had passed by the night before. Spike, immediately captivated by the large television that dominated a good bit of one wall, set her bag on the floor between his feet and began flipping through the channels at super human speed. Willow only shook her head and went in search of their pretty, blue hostess.

Slipping into the kitchen, Willow found Keemara laughing with another demon. The unfamiliar demon was tall, even as he occupied one of the larger chairs at the table. The muscles of his four arms were clearly defined, and Willow couldnt help but think that she should start a line of t-shirts for demons and make him her second model. The orange of his face was bisected by a jagged line of deep brown running from the roots of his deer green hair to the underside of his jaw.

"Keemara?" Willow hated to interrupt, but the tingling had returned to her arms and she wanted to do her ritual soon.

"Oh, Willow," Keemara stood from her seat and moved to lead the redhead further into the room. "This is NGutya. Hes the one I was telling you about."

"Hello." Willow waved at the demon whod just extended one of his large hands to her before realizing that she must appear rude. "I hope youre not offended, it isnt you. Its just that theres this tingling in my arms and hands when Ive gone too long without seeing something, and thats usually followed by a painful vision. I wanted you to meet my friend before I tried to visualize anything for you."

"Oh, thats fine." The large smile that slid across his face convinced Willow that he was sincere, and she smiled back. "She wants to meet the demon youre reading for, huh?"

"*He* is a vampire, and he wants to make sure that Im safe."

"Even better." The chair scraped along the floor as he pushed himself back from the table. "Is he around?"

"I left him in the common room channel surfing, so he should still be there." Willow spoke over her shoulder as the two of them followed Keemaras lithe figure through the house to the door of the room. Spike could be heard yelling at the television.

"He always does that." Willow shook her head and smiled when Spike turned to look over his shoulder at the three newcomers. "Spike, this is NGutya. Hes the one who wants me to do the reading."

Spike turned off the television before hopping the back of the couch in one fluid motion to stand just behind the redhead. "Maranadi demon, fairly harmless unless something they find dear is threatened."

"That was rude, Spike."

"Just wanted you to know what you were dealing with, pet." Spike put out a hand for the tall demon to shake. "Hey."

"I understand completely. Were known for our protective streaks, so Im all for you being here to look after Miss Willow."

"Right then," Spike rubbed his hands together with a wide grin and pulled Willows bag onto his shoulder. "Wherere we settin up?"

"In here would work fine for me, as long as nothing loud is going to interrupt." Willow looked at NGutya for his agreement, smiling when he nodded.

"Well sit in the chairs so you can be comfortable. Ive never done this for someone I didnt know, so I cant really promise anything."

"I dont need any promises. I trust that you will do your best."

"Maybe it would help to have a specific question in mind?" Willow bit at her lip as she put the candle in its holder and motioned for Spike to light the round piece of charcoal. "That way you could focus on it, and Ill focus on you."

NGutya simply nodded and took the seat that Spike pushed to face the one Willow had taken.

Willow cast her circle and centered herself. The trepidation she felt made grounding a little more difficult than normal, but the connection formed stronger for the effort. Placing her hands into those of the demon facing her, Willow let her mind focus on the thought that NGutya was projecting so clearly.

{"Are you happy?" NGutya was speaking to Keemara on the porch of the inn.


"Do you... Do you ever miss your husband?"

Keemara turned to him, a puzzled look on her face. "Thats an odd question, but yes, I do miss him. The pain isnt as sharp as it was when he first died, it has been nearly ten years, but I still ache a little. Why is it that you ask?"

NGutya removed a delicate silver cuff from one of the pockets of his pants. Holding it out to Keemara, the orange demon looked at her intently. "Youve been wearing black for far too long."

"Yes, yes I have." Keemara smiled and moved to kiss her companion, giggling softly when his four arms surrounded her small frame.}

Willow slid back into reality with a sigh and a grin. She forestalled any questions silently and earthed the power still flowing through her frame. After she had blown out the candle and opened the circle, she pulled NGutya to follow her into the foyer.

"Go for it."

A wide smile lit the orange mans face. "Youre sure?"


"Thank you." His large frame seemed to swallow her in a hug before Willow could respond.

"If youre done with your little meeting, Red, I say we go see if theres any trouble to get into." Spike stood beside the front door, an unreadable look in his eyes.

"I dont know about trouble, but Im ready to do something anyway." Willow patted NGutya on one of his arms and smiled brightly at Keemara as she passed.

"Dont I get to know what the vision was?" The blue woman pouted.

"Its not my place to tell." Willow smiled at Spike as he shut the door behind them to the sound of their hostess begging the other demon for the information.

Chapter 15, part b

The two unlikely companions slid into the car and set out for the small city Keemara had told Spike about the night before. There was mention of a boardwalk along the beach and some decent restaurants. It should have been over twenty minutes away. Spike made the trip in ten.

Willow stood from the car on shaking legs and forced her hand away from the armrest where it had been clinging for the duration of the ride. "Okay, thats it. Im driving back."

"If we had taken *my* car, you wouldnt have seen the scenery flashing by like that."

"Doesnt make me feel any better, Spike." Willow shook out the flowing skirt she wore and glanced down to be certain her shirt was straight. The witch had decided that she could show a little more skin then she had been, so the top was a gray t-shirt that matched one of the colors in the skirt. It came to rest an inch above her exposed navel, showing off the flat of her tummy and part of the glittering designs at her sides and back.

"You look absolutely edible, pet." Spike looped an arm about her waist and guided her toward the lights strung along the shops and stands twenty yards away.

"Thanks. I think."

"Oh, that was a complement, luv. Trust me." Spike leered at the redhead, causing her to giggle softly.

Willow was about to respond when a large carousel set into the middle of the shopping area caught her eye. "Oh, look! We *have* to ride that later!"

"If you say so, pet." Spike lit up a cigarette as they began meandering along the shops and booths, both taking in the odd mix of a strip mall and carnival-like games.

They had just ridden the carousel for the second time when Spike decided that Willow should have something to eat. Willow wanted to eat some of the food there, telling Spike that they didnt get anything like that in Sunnydale, and that she wanted carney food. The blonde vampire had simply laughed and bought her an elephant ear and some french fries that they loaded down with ketchup and vinegar.

"Hey mister," a man running a stand where you threw baseballs at a stack of bottles called out to the pair as they passed. "Show your girl what youre made of!"

"No thanks, mate." Spike grinned at Willows slight blush, laughing out loud when the grin only served to make the rose color deeper.

"Win her a prize!" A woman sitting on the ledge of the next booth spoke up. "A girl as pretty as that should have something she can hold on to when youre not around."

Spike stopped in his tracks and turned to look the woman in the face. "What this, then?"

The woman, obviously sensing a potential customer stood and moved to the center of the wooden fence railing. Throwing her arms wide, she motioned to the balloon-covered, checkered board behind her, and then to the prizes hanging from the walls and just over her head. "You get three darts for five dollars. Pop a balloon, and get a prize."

"One prize for each dart?"

"Pop one, you get nothing. Two will get you something on the bottom. Three will get you anything on the walls. If you can pop three balloons in the same colored square, you can have anything in the booth."

Spike nodded and reached for his wallet, stopping Willows protests about wasting money with a look.

/Okay, if he wants to be mister macho man and win something, Ill just let him waste the money. Never mind that we could probably *buy* the stupid prize for less at a store./ Willow resigned herself to letting Spike do his guy thing and happily munched on the remains of her dinner. /Who knew that lots of sugar and cinnamon on a piece of fried dough could be so filling?/

The first pop of the balloon made Willow jump. Shed been so lost in her thoughts that she hadnt even noticed Spike receive the ammunition for the game. When she looked up at Spike, she saw him grinning at her so playfully that she giggled and placed a light kiss on his cheek.

"Want a prize, luv?"

"Yep. Win me something, Spike."

The blonde tossed the second dart with seemingly no attempt at aiming, though Willow knew otherwise. A second balloon, this a large blue one, was burst with a loud crack as the dart stuck firmly into the black square behind it. The small group of people who had stopped to watch the attractive blonde in the long coat try his hand at winning the beautiful redhead a gift clapped and whistled. Spike, who had been about to throw his last dart in rapid succession to the second, stopped and turned to bow to his audience.

"One more, and the lady chooses her prize!" The woman in the stand didnt seem to care that the blonde was about to get something big. Willow figured that Spike winning had probably brought more customers than the woman had seen all evening.

Spike tipped his head one way and another before landing a perfect shot to a yellow target in the upper left of the board, exposing the black check it had rested against. Seeing that Spike had struck three balloons, and that they had all been in black squares, the crowd went wild. There were people patting Spike on the back and congratulating Willow from all sides.

Willow suddenly found all the attention unnerving, but was saved when Spike used the back of a knuckle to raise her face to look at the things hanging from the walls and ceiling of the booth. "Pick one, Red."

Willow grinned and tossed the trash shed been holding into the bin next to the booth. Pointing to the back corner above the venders head, she grinned. "I want that one."

"The red bear?"

"Yes, please."

The woman retrieved the bear using a long pole with a hook at the end, handing the bear to Willow with a smile. "I think he deserves a kiss for that one." Spikes lips settling over her own cut off Willows protest. /Lips of Spike. Yeah, they taste fine to me./

The softness of the kiss was interrupted by a cheer from the crowd, and Willow pulled back just after it began. "Thank you."

"No, thank you, pet." Spike chuckled as he guided Willow, whose arms barely circled the middle of the stuffed animal, through the crowd and back to the car. "Only someone from the bloody Hellmouth would pick out a red bear with devil horns and wings."

"It reminds me of you."

"Not bloody likely!" Spike was grinning, despite his words, as he watched Willow secure the animal in the back seat of the car with a belt.

"Its okay, Spike." Willow shut the door and wrapped her arms around Spike in a hug that she put all her strength into. "I wont tell anyone that youre really a cuddle vamp."

Willow was laughing at Spikes warning growl when she caught movement from the corner of her eye. A boy of nine or ten had started across the street against the light. As she watched, a deep blue sports car sped towards the boy, now frozen in fear.

"Stop!" Willow threw herself away from Spike at the same time she put a hand out to the car.

Suddenly, the car was suspended two feet off the ground inches from the boys shaking body. The kid seemed to shake himself, looked around at the people watching, and took off back the way that hed come. With a sigh from Willow, the car was set back on the asphalt, where it continued its skid another five feet.

"Oh, goddess," Willows broken whisper seemed to snap Spike into action. Before she could get another word out, she was pushed into the car. Spike slid into the drivers seat a moment later, and then they were out of the parking lot and away.

"You okay, Willow?"

"That boy could have died." As an afterthought, Willow cocked her head to the side. "You used my name."


"Im just used to hearing pet, luv, or Red. Thats all." Willow was looking out her window at the nighttime world of the small city they were moving through. Her voice sounded small, confused, but she couldnt make it come out right. "I like the way it sounds when you say it."

"Ill remember that." Spike winked at her when she looked over at him. "Lets get you home."

"Im hungry."

Spike nodded, though Willow thought it was more to himself than to her statement. "Do you want to stop somewhere and go in, or take it back to the room?"

"Just something I can eat in the car is fine. Im just suddenly starving."

"Well, stopping that car must have taken a lot out of you." Spike moved the car into the drive thru of the first fast food place they came to. "You want a burger and fries?"

"Yes. Oh, and a thing of iced tea."

Spike ordered, making sure to get Willow extra ketchup for her fries and lots of sugar for the tea before pulling back onto the main road. The trip home took longer this time; Willow secretly glad that Spike decided to follow the speed limit.

"You go on up, Red." Spike helped her out of the car and moved to unbuckle the bear from its seat in the back. "Ill get junior here and your tea."

Willow nodded mutely and slowly climbed the stairs to the door.

She's Like Candy, page 4