Writergrrrl's Home
She's Like Candy, page 4

Home | Writing | About Me | Favorite Links | Contact Me | Family Photo Album | Guestbook

She's Like Candy, Cont.

Chapter 16

Spike beat Willow to the end of the hall, easily taking the key already in her hand and opening the oak door. Willow barely brought herself to smile and pull her new bear into her arms. She was exhausted, and could only focus on the thought of the warm bed waiting for her at the top of the stairs.

/These things werent this long when we left... I wonder who came in and did it while we were out./ Willow almost stumbled on the iron steps, silently grateful for the strong arm that was suddenly supporting her from behind. Her mind didnt register it when her feet left the ground and she was wrapped in the complete set of strong arms. /Was probably a demon. Stupid step growing demons. Wonder if theyll still be this long when we go home in the morning?/

"Whats wrong with me, Spike? I shouldnt have been able to do that."

Spike sat her down on the edge of the bed, holding on to her arms to ensure that she stayed upright. He began untying her shoes, managing to get one off before the redhead fell back with a yawn. "I dont know whats goin on with you, pet. Maybe you shouldnt think about it tonight and just be happy that you saved the boy."

"Its not just the car thing." Willow rubbed the back of her hand against her eye. "Ive made myself go from one place to another without even trying and sent Buffy to the Magic Box with a little effort. Thats just not how magic works! Have you noticed that I start smelling weird when I get mad? Thats not even mentioning the sparks that go on with my hair!"

Spike pulled the now sobbing redhead into his arms, settling her against his chest. "I dont know whats happening, pet, but well figure it out. Both watchers are on it, and you *know* how those blokes get all excited about research. Theres nothing we can do about it tonight, so just let it go."

"I cant!" Willow pushed herself from the bed and snatched her nightgown from the back of the chair where shed left it that morning. "Somethings happening to me, something big, and Im scared."

Spike was suddenly in front of her, making Willow gasp slightly and step back. The vampire advanced as she retreated, quickly closing the distance between them with his longer strides. Willow couldnt help but focus on the darkening eyes of her pursuer before watching as his tongue moved to wet his lower lip.

There wasnt enough time to think as he drew her into the circle of his arms and lowered his soft lips to her own. Willow could do nothing but sigh into Spikes mouth and let him deepen the kiss. The room dissolved into darkness as her eyes slid closed and she became absorbed in the feeling of Spikes mouth, his body, against her own.

The soft growl of Spikes approval snapped Willow back to reality, and she pulled away from his embrace. "We cant, Spike."

"Why not?" The look of bewilderment in the blondes eyes was all too quickly replaced by something Willow didnt want to name. "Am I not good enough to kiss you?"

"No, Spike. Its not like that! I-"

"You can be my friend when you need one, but you dont want me to touch you. That it?" Spike had retreated a few feet away from her, but Willow could almost feel the anger coming off of him in waves. "Or is it that Im not attractive enough for you?"

"You *know* thats not it, Spike!"

"Then you dont want me to touch you. A vampire isnt good enough for the best friend of a slayer."

"Youre more than good enough for me! Hell, youre too good for me!" Willow, seeing that Spike was watching her, plowed on with the halting explanation. "I... I just... I dont want to get hurt, Spike. I d-dont want to be Rebound Girl."

"So you just dont want me." Spike chuckled to himself and shook a cigarette out of his battered pack. "Admit it, Red."

"I *do* want you, Spike! Dont you get it, you stupid vampire?! I want you so much that my mouth goes all dry and my palms get sweaty from just being in the same *room* as you! The thought of you being with Buffy hurt me, physically, because I knew that she was going to end up hurting you and I couldnt do anything about it! Youre attractive, dangerously attractive, smart, funny, and more caring than any other guy Ive ever known! I just dont want to be a girl who happens to be around when youre low. I want to be everything to you. Not a convenience."

Spike inhaled off of his Marlboro and snuffed the almost new cigarette out. "Youre more than a convenience, pet. Youre the best friend Ive ever had, and I wouldnt hurt you."

"I know you wouldnt, Spike. Not on purpose." Willow moved to put her hand on Spikes arm, sighing when he stepped closer and brought his forehead to rest on her shoulder. "I just cant be hurt again. I *cant*! When we go home tomorrow, I dont want you to forget about me when Buffy comes back."

"Buffy can find someone else to push around, and theres no way Im forgettin you, luv." Spike wrapped his arms around Willows waist.

"Let me hold you, Red?" The pleading in Spikes voice made Willows breath catch in her throat. "Just for tonight?"

"Please, Spike. Please just hold me."

Spike brought Willow back to her bed, pulling his boots off before sliding under the coverlet. He settled behind her, an arm around her waist. The last sounds Willow heard as she drifted off to sleep were Spikes whispered words of assurance that she would be fine, that he wouldnt let anything happen to her.

Willow woke late the next afternoon to the sound of Spike singing softly as he moved about in the kitchenette. The fresh smell of bacon was the second thing to reach Willows slowly waking senses. She could hear the soft popping of grease in the pan, smiling when she realized that the blonde was making her breakfast.

"I know youre awake over there, Red. Get that cute butt up and get your shower. Breakfast will be done in a few."

Willow nodded before she remembered that he couldnt see her from his spot in front of the stove. "Okay. Im moving."

Her shower was finished in half of her normal time, and Willow was in the kitchen fifteen minutes after leaving the bed. Her damp hair hung down her back, wetting her shirt so the worn cotton clung to her like a second skin. Spikes only response to her hurrying was a grin and a raised eyebrow.

"What?" Willow grinned, ruining the irritated tone of her voice. "Im hungry."

"Didnt say anything, pet."

"You were thinking something though."

"I was thinking of how nice it would be to be that shirt about now."

Willow nearly choked on the juice Spike had put in front of her along with her plate. She could feel the blush staining her face, and cursed her light skin before changing the subject. "So, were leaving after my ritual, right?"

"Smooth, Red." Spike only chuckled and stole a strip of bacon from her plate. "Everythings packed. Just need your last minute things put in, and were on our way."

Willow nodded and finished her breakfast.

Spike washed the dishes and put them away while Willow went through her vision ritual and then packed the last of her things. She made sure to place Junior, as Spike insisted on calling her new bear, safely on top of her suitcase before informing the blonde that she was ready to leave. Spike went over the entire room three times to make sure they hadnt left anything important, making Willow wonder if he also had some sort of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as well as ADD, as Xander claimed.

Willow carried only her bear down the steps, once again bowing to Spikes need to be a bleedin gentleman and letting him carry her bags as well as his own. She told the human-looking clerk in the office that she wanted to tell Keemara good-bye, but was told that the newly engaged woman hadnt gotten out of bed yet. Spike chuckled along with the middle-aged woman while Willow wrote out a message for the blue demon, telling her how happy she was for her, and that she loved staying at the Blue Shell.

The ride home seemed to stretch on forever, and the companions were both happy when Willows house came into view on the quiet evening street.

Spike pulled the blanket from over the back windows and grinned at Willow. "Home again, home again, and all that rot."

"Somehow I dont remember all that rot being in the rhyme." Willow giggled when Spike growled playfully at her imitation of his accent.

"Should have been there all along," Spike stepped from the car into the confines of the garage and took the bags from Willows hands. "Cant help that it had to be improved on, now can I?"

"No, Spike," Willow rolled her eyes at his back and followed him into her home. "Cant help that at all."

"Knew youd see it my way, luv."

Willow only laughed and went to check the messages on her machine. After one from her mother saying that she and Willows father werent going to be making it back to Sunnydale until autumn at the earliest and two hang-ups, Willow heard Buffys voice entreating Spike to pick up the phone. Spike came down the steps and hit the next button without listening to the rest of the message meant for him. Willow was so busy smiling at the vampires wicked smirk that she nearly missed the sound of Giles voice asking her to call him when she found a moment.

Willow erased the tape and picked up the phone to call the watcher. "Did you find out something?"

If Giles was surprised by the abrupt question without a preamble, he didnt show it. "Id like for you to come over as soon as you can, Willow. I need to talk to you about a few things, and Id really rather do it in person."

"Okay, Giles," the shaking in her voice bothered her, but Willow kept her lip from trembling. "Well be there in a few minutes."


"Spike and I."

"Yes, very good. Ill see you soon."

"Bye." Willow tried to sound like her happy self when she disconnected, but found herself sniffling into Spikes chest as he held her once again.

"Not gonna find anything by standin here, Willow."

"I know," Willow sighed and moved away from the blonde as she found her jacket and checked to be sure that her Hellmouth Survival Kit of a few stakes, a squirt gun of holy water, and a cross was in place. "Lets get this over with."

Spike nodded and followed her into the growing night.

Ten minutes later, Willow was pushing the door to the watchers apartment open. "Were here, Giles!"

"Good to see youre doing well." Giles fixed a reproachful gaze on the redhead. "We were worried that something had happened to you until Xander saw that your suitcase and some of your clothing were missing."

Willow winced at her carelessness. She hadnt even thought to call Giles before they had left, just focusing on getting Spike as far away from Buffy as she could at the time. "Im so sorry! I cant believe I didnt think to call you."

"Just try not to forget to call someone the next time you decide to leave town, hmm?"

The look she was given spoke more than the words could ever convey, and Willow found herself nodding. "Got it."

Giles nodded and motioned them to sit down. "Ive got to tell you, Willow, that Ive exhausted all of my resources. I havent been able to find anything on your situation."

"W-What?" Willow began worrying her lower lip. "Giles, I-"

"Ive been talking with Wesley every day, and he still has more than a few avenues open to him. We havent stopped looking, Willow, but I cant think of anywhere else to seek out the information were looking for. Wesley has quite a few more contacts within the Watchers Council, and is using them to the best of his ability."

Willow nodded and took a deep breath, letting it out in a slow hiss between clenched teeth. "I think Im going to turn in my paper and then see how soon I can take my exams. I have to do something, or Ill go mad just thinking about all the things that have been happening to me."

"Ill let Wesley know that you will be visiting within a few weeks, then." Giles smiled at the young woman in front of him. "Would you like some tea? I would like to hear where you have been the last few days."

Willow smiled in thanks and began telling Giles of their stay at the Blue Shell and all that went on that weekend.

Chapter 17

Willow came through the door later than usual on Wednesday, smiling at Spikes sleeping form stretched out on the couch. It had been a good day, and she hummed softly to herself as she shed her jacket and book bag. She didnt want to wake the vampire, but knew that he would not be happy if she let him sleep without telling him what was going on.

"Spike?" Willow ran long fingers through Spikes soft hair and giggled when he purred and rubbed against her skin. "Time to wake up."

"Dont wanna," one blue eye drifted open to take in the redhead. "Home early, then?"

Willow shook her head and chuckled. "Spike, its nearly four oclock! Im almost two hours late; not early."

"Bugger," Spike rubbed a large hand over his face. "Get your school all squared away?"

"Yep. Ive got History and Rhetoric of Cyberspace on Friday. Ill be taking my Women in Literature exam on Monday. After that, Im good to leave until graduation. If I want to walk through, that is."

"Well worry about that when it gets here, luv. Want to do your ritual before we find something for dinner?"

"Sounds good. Want to man the incense for me?"

"I got ya covered, Red." Spike stretched and moved to the supplies Willow had left sitting after her morning ritual.

Willow could tell that the blonde loved to watch her as she worked spells or performed her rituals, and had begun including him whenever she could. Most of the time, like now, that meant that he sat quietly and sprinkled incense on the glowing charcoal. He insisted that hed much rather watch than try anything when Willow had pressed him to join in an actual spell, so she let him do as he pleased.

Her mind let itself open as soon as she centered herself, letting her know that it had been too long since the ritual that morning.

{"How *dare* you!" Buffy paced in front of Spikes fallen body. "I cant believe that you would just take her away for a weekend without even considering what I would think!"

"I dont bloody well *care* what you think!" The vampires voice was quiet, more muffled than Willow was used to, but she couldnt see his face and assumed that he was speaking with it pressed to the floor. "You used to tell me that I was below you. Now, Im starting to think that maybe you had that backwards."

With a cry of rage, the slayer kicked at Spikes knee.}

Willow slammed back into her body with a gasp of pain that she somehow knew the Spike in her vision wasnt going to let out. She could feel a tear slipping over her cheek, hurriedly wiping at it as she finished her ritual.

"You okay, luv?"

Willow knew with an odd certainty that she couldnt tell Spike what she had seen. The vampire would go and pick a fight with the blonde slayer, and she didnt want to be on the sidelines for that one. "I... I think Im just tired. I saw... something... but I couldnt hang on to it."

"Youre brain hasnt adjusted to everything thats happening is all." Spike kissed the top of Willows head and slid the ritual components back into the bag Willow had been keeping them in. "You need to rest."


"Im going."

Willow felt her heart stop before raggedly slamming against her ribs. He was leaving just like that? No explanations or long rants about the unfairness of his unlife? Willow fought to hold back her sniffles. "You are?"

"No way in hell Im lettin you go off to LA and Angelus without at least comin along."

"Youre coming with *me*?!"

"What? Thought I was just up and leaving town?" Spike laughed at her sheepish nod and pulled her into a tight hug. "I wouldnt do that to you Willow. Not without an amazing sodding excuse. Besides, Im fond of you pet. Not going to leave you behind."

"Good," Willow nodded resolutely to herself as she blushed. /Hes fond of me. Spikes fond of me! He just said so./

"I think Im going to return the books I borrowed from Giles, okay?"

"Can we get a pizza too, luv?"

"I think that can be arranged." Willow grinned at the vampire and gathered the two large tomes before heading out the door and into the night.

Willow walked through the front door of her house half an hour later, having ordered the pizza before going to visit the watcher and the rest of the Scoobies at the Magic Box. Willow had figured out over the last week that Spike insisted on eating dinner so that he could be certain that she ate at all. It still felt odd to eat regularly at six every evening, but Spike always insisted on it, so she had gathered the pizza and stopped by Willys Bar to get some of the good stuff as a special treat for her vampire roommate.

"Honey! Im.... Oh, Goddess." The calling on her goddess was a soft plea as Willow rounded the corner into the living room and dropped the box she was carrying along with the bags of blood.

Her eyes took in the sight, but her mind wasnt processing what they saw. There were only bits and pieces before her brain caught up and she was able to actually see what it was she was being told was there.

The television was laying in a pool of glass on the floor, the entertainment center that had housed it nothing more than a pile of wood. The stereo with its large speakers and CD player had been thrown across the room, now resting in a broken heap on the tattered remains of the couch. The DVD player looked to be intact, though it rested on its side between the couch and the overturned and shattered coffee table.

Willow stood still only long enough to take in the destruction of the room before turning to glance over the clean kitchen and sprint up the steps. "Spike!"

No one answered, and Willow became more and more frightened as she went from room to room. The rest of the house had been left undisturbed. Nothing was out of place until she came to her bedroom.

The room still housed her computer and laptop along with her stereo, and none of the bookcases had been raided. The only thing that wasnt right was sitting in the middle of the room; looking innocent and sweet at the same time it scared her more than the destruction in the room below.

Her bed, still made with its flowered duvet and soft pillows looked as if giant claws had ripped into it. Bits of stuffing from the bed mingled with shreds from the ruined quilt, reminding Willow of the aftermaths of many of her own fights against various demons when their blood would be splattered over her clothes. Her eyes darted around the room as she backed toward the door, and thats when she saw it.

There, in a thin line leading from the bed to the door, was a copper trail that glistened in the soft light from her lamp. Willow didnt need to see any more to know that it was blood. Somehow, she knew that it was Spikes.

"Spike?!" Willow had moved back to the living room on autopilot. "Oh, where are you?"

A flash of lavender caught the witchs eye, and her breath stopped. A strip of cotton, no more than a few inches in length, hung from a jagged piece of the twisted frame of the wood and glass coffee table.

Chapter 18

Willow ran through the front door of the Magic Box and barely stopped herself from falling down the steps inside the door. She took in the people sitting at the table, noting the absence of Buffy and Dawn. "Where is she?"

Anya looked up from counting her till at the edge in the witchs voice. "Buffy?"

"Yeah, Buffy." Willow felt an odd tingling shooting up the backs of her legs and down the column of her spine as if the earth and sky were trying to force energy into her body, but ignored it in favor of leveling a steely look on Xander and Giles. "Know where she is?"

"Havent seen her since I picked Dawn up for school this morning." Xanders voice gave away his fear of the look in Willows eyes, and she instantly felt sorry.

"Sorry, Xan. Didnt mean to go all scary on you."

"Nothing big, Wills." The boys body had relaxed when she favored him with one of her soft smiles. "Ive seen worse from my dad."

"Buffy was to meet us here after she got off work, but she hasnt made it here. Is there a problem, Willow?" Giles face was lined with worry.

"Spikes missing."

"Missing?" Xander looked out the window. "The sun is just now going down."

"Thats only one of the reasons Im worried."

"What happened, Willow?" Anya pressed a warm cup of tea into Willows hand and led her over to the table. "Whats gotten you so worked up?"

"My living room was trashed. Im talking TV and stereo wrecked, and furniture broken beyond repair. My bed has been slashed to ribbons and theres blood on my floor. Not a lot of blood, but a line of it." Willow pulled the scrap of material from the pocket of the leather duster shed found still hanging in the closet. "I found this caught on the coffee table."

"Looks like something Buffy would wear." Xander scowled at the offending material as if it had done something wrong. "Shes got a thing for lavender."

"Well, thats because she looks good in it." Willow shrugged and looked at Giles for help. "Do you think she would have gone after him? She left a message for him over the weekend, but he erased it without even listening to it."

"Spike *has* made quite a few enemies among the demons since he started helping us. I wouldnt rule any of them out in favor of suspecting one of our own."

"Youre right," Willow felt some of the anger she had been feeling replaced with worry that something they wouldnt know how to track was behind the vampires disappearance. "Im just scared. I brought those books here, stopped for pizza, then stopped for blood. When I got home, the living room was trashed and Spikes nowhere to be found."

"You got pizza *and* blood?" Xander visibly shuddered at the thought.

Willow would have laughed at Xanders disgusted expression if she hadnt been so annoyed with the groups lack of action. "Its not as if Im eating the blood, although Spike *does* dip the crusts."

"Okay, thats just icky." An almost bell like voice spoke from the top of the steps.

"Buffy, where have you been?" Anya was doing a rather convincing impersonation of Joyce from her spot in Xanders lap. "We cant find Spike. Know where he is?"

"Havent got a clue." Buffy let her eyes linger on Willows dejected form. "I got stuck at Dawns school for some kind of older sister/ teacher conference. Was not of the fun, let me tell you."

"So, you havent seen Spike?"

"No, though its not on my top ten things to do, either."

"We cant just sit here. We have to do something." Willow chewed at her lip, hoping that Giles would agree with her. If the watcher said to do something, the rest of the group would at least go along with it for a few hours.

"Ill check the cemeteries on the North side of town, maybe beat up on Willy." Buffy sounded almost bored as she laid out a plan of action. "Xander and Anya can take the East. Since the South side and the West dont have as many cemeteries and demon hidey-holes, Wills can probably handle it on her own. Even if whatever this is isnt a threat to humans, we should stop it before anyone else comes home to a wrecked house."

Willow only nodded in reply.

It was just after dawn when the redhead stumbled out of the last cemetery on her list for the third time. She had combed the six plots of burial ground three times each, and found nothing for her trouble. Not even a strand of platinum hair or the lingering smell of tobacco and leather. Willow was certain Spike hadnt set one combat booted foot in any cemetery that night.

Shed stopped by the Magic Box to learn that no one else had found anything. Anya and Xander offered to stay out, but Willow knew they had work in the morning and had sent them on home with thinly veiled assurances that Spike would be fine. Buffy had simply come in long enough to inform Willow and Giles that she hadnt found anything, and that Willy knew less than he normally did, before announcing that she had to get home to meet Dawn when the younger Summers got in from a study session with her friends.

"Where could you be, Spike?" Willow pulled the comforting weight of Spikes coat tighter around her small frame as she walked. "I cant think of anywhere else you could be."

/Talking to yourself, Willow. Cant be a good sign./ Willows thoughts changed direction as she turned a corner and moved slowly down a familiar street. /Well, what do you expect when something may or may not have happened to someone I love?/

The redhead stopped. Her feet simply refused to move down the sidewalk. The breeze that had been gently ruffling her hair was still. The songs of the birds, moments ago sounding from the trees and the wires crisscrossing the neighborhood, were no longer easily picked out amid the muffled humming in Willows ears.

/I love Spike?... Oh, Goddess. I love Spike./ Willow seemed to become lighter with the realization, even as her stomach curled in on itself in a myriad of new feelings and questions. /I have to find him! He doesnt know!/


Willows head snapped up and she moved quickly to the side of her friend. "Dawn? What are you doing here?"

"This is Nancys house."

Willow took in the houses surrounding her, just now realizing that she had been walking down the sidewalk that would lead her in front of the slayers home. "Isnt it a little early for a study session?"

"I spent the night."


"I spent the night here last night." Willow loosened her grip on the younger girls arms when a not so subtle look of concern was directed at them by Dawns friend. "Buffy said I could so that I could spend more time studying for my finals. She said it was okay, I promise!"

"Its okay, Dawnie." Willow smoothed a piece of hair back from the younger girls face. "Im just tired and I guess I overreacted."

"Thats okay. Im going with Nancy and her mom to the mall. Want us to drop you off somewhere?"

"Wow, spending the night with a friend and skipping school to hit the mall. That must have been some good sibling/ teacher conference."

"What conference?"

Willow held Dawns eyes with her own. "Didnt Buffy have a conference with your teacher yesterday?"

"Nnnnno," Dawn turned her head to the side and fixed Willow with a confused frown.

"Are you okay? Are you *sure* we cant take you home or something?"

Willow glanced over at the car sitting in the drive, offering a small wave to the girl waiting for Dawn. "No. No, Ill be fine."

The younger girl looked unconvinced until Willow draped an arm around Dawns shoulders in an attempt to assuage the younger girls obvious unease. "I must be more tired than I thought. I could have sworn Buffy said something about it last night. Oh well, I think Im gonna grab something for breakfast and then get some rest. Have fun, okay?"

Dawn nodded and hugged the redhead tightly before skipping over to the car. "Bye Wills!"

Willow returned the huge smile with one of her own before turning away and winding her way through the alleys. There was only one place in Sunnydale that Willow could think of to hold a vampire captive.

/Crawford Street, here I come./

Chapter 19

The sun was glinting through the trees, burning off the last of the pink dawn, when Willow rounded the corner onto Crawford Street. The mansion sat at the end of the street, a silent sentinel for so many memories. In a town full of people who seemed to have more money then they had brain cells, Willow had always wondered at the mansions continued emptiness. Even with the repairs that would have been necessary, the large house should have been snapped up years before Spike and Druscilla had made it their home.

Willow pulled Spikes duster as tight as she could around her slight frame and fought her way past the nearly waist high weeds framing the once beautiful lawn. She didnt know where Buffy was and didnt want to risk the blonde seeing her if she could help it. The witch didnt know how or when, but Buffy had let her mind go too far. This was far from not right. This was monstrous.

The back of the stone structure came into view, and Willow pressed herself to the crumbling garden wall and listened. She couldnt hear anything from inside the house, the world outside seeming to fade into nonexistence as she focused on the house in front of her, but she was fearful of getting too close. The wall, and what little protection it offered, deliquesced into rubble nearly ten feet from the vine covered hole in the back of the mansion. If she moved any closer than what she was at the moment, Willow would be in full view of anyone who happened to look in her direction.

After several minutes of silent contemplation, Willow leaned forward and nearly screamed at the loud rustling of the coat against the untended flowerbeds. Throwing herself back against the wall, Willow listened once again. The hammering of her heart was all that sounded in her ears, but Willow stood against the wall until the thudding had dulled. There was still no movement, and Willow decided to try again.

"Okay, Willow," the witch whispered to herself as she pulled the coat off as slowly and quietly as possible. "Be as quiet as Angel in stealth mode. Think vampire."

With a deep breath to try and steady her nerves, the redhead slid down the wall to sit on the ground. She was increasingly glad that shed worn pants to school the day before as the thorns of a nearly wild rosebush caught in the thick denim material covering her legs. She took little more care with her arms than legs, and winced as she repeatedly felt the hot pain that accompanied the needle-like pricks to her hands and arms. She didnt stop the slow downward movement until she was lying on her stomach on the hard earth. Trying to remember every war movie shed been forced to sit through with Jesse and Xander as a child, Willow crawled forward.

/Where would he be?/ Willow slid slowly through the bracken, having decided that moving slowly was better if it meant that she went undetected. She came to the low wall formed by the crumbled rock and moved to lay with it along her front. /First, worry about getting into the house. One step at a time./

Minutes seemed to stretch into hours as Willow once again focused on hearing any movement from inside. After deciding that shed listened long enough, she pushed her scratched and slightly bleeding hands into the ground and raised herself in a kind of modified pushup. She stopped only when one eye was gazing over the wall and into the house, and then all caution was forgotten as she cried out in fright.

There, hanging from one of the light fixtures set into the wall, was Spike.

Willow was at his side, and horrified at what she saw, without feeling the floor beneath her feet. The now familiar stench of drying blood surrounded Spikes still body, nearly gagging Willow as she fought down the sobs threatening to spill from her throat. If the vampire had been human, Willow had no doubt that he would be dead.

Spikes white blonde hair was stained a bright red from the blood still trickling from his left temple. There were angry slashes of red criss-crossing the firm chest visible through the tattered remains of his black t-shirt. The fingers of his graceful hands reminded Willow of the time Xanders dad had slammed the boys hand in a car door. The manacles holding the vampires weight had long since cut into the flesh of his wrists, causing rivulets of blood to run down Spikes arms.

"Oh, Goddess," the sobs finally won as Willow focused on the metal bands holding Spike captive. "Ive got you, Spike. Im here." After four tries, Willow was able to focus her power and open the offending bindings.

It wasnt until Spikes full weight had bared her to the floor that Willow realized something was wrong with his legs. The denim covering the vampires flesh kept her from seeing what it was, but she knew that it had to be bad to make that wet popping sound as she clumsily moved him. Stealing herself for whatever was to come, Willow used a hole in the fabric of his right pant leg to rip the material from just above to ankle to just above his knee.

"Ugh!" Willow threw herself away from Spikes still body, barely managing to make it three feet away before her stomach heaved.

/Broken. His leg is broken./ Willow wiped at her mouth with the back of her hand, unconsciously smearing the vampires blood across her face. /If ones like that, then the other one probably is, too. She broke his legs./

Even with her limited knowledge of the human bone structure, Willow could tell that his leg had been broken and then pushed back together haphazardly. The jagged ends of the bone jutted out from just below his knee, though the gashes in his leg told Willow that they had been at an even more awkward angle. Tears slipped over her cheeks even as she told herself there wasnt time to sit and cry.

/You can cry for his pain later, Willow. Right now, you have to get him out of here before Buffy comes back./

"Spike." Willow patted the side of the demons face, his true face having come out with the pain of being moved, and tried to wake him up. "Come one, Spike. You have to wake up."

"Go way." The murmured reply brought a small, unbidden smile to Willows face. Any response was a good response at this point.

"No, Spike. You have to wake up! We have to get out of here before Buffy gets back!"

"Buffy!" Spike seemed to snap back to reality at the mention of the slayers name, and he tried to sit up only to be pushed back by Willows gentle hands. "Bitch trashed your house."

"Im more worried about you than my house, Spike." Willow nodded at his legs, now both exposed to the air of the room. "Your legs are broken."

"Thought I felt that happen."

"Youre awfully calm about it."

Spike grinned up into Willows concerned eyes. "Angelus did that a time or two, though he usually rubbed salt or alcohol into the cuts. I think it bugged the bitch that I didnt so much as whimper. Help me set em?"

"O-Okay..." Willow rubbed her hands along the wet material of her blood-spattered jeans. "What do I do?"

"I can do all the work. I just need you to hold above my ankle and not let that part move. Think you can do it?"

"We have to get out of here, so yeah, I think I can." Willow winced as she grasped Spikes right calf and shin and felt him reposition the bones correctly. "You didnt... didnt make a sound when she did this?"

Spike waited until he had finished with both legs before answering. "Not a peep, luv. Wouldnt give her the satisfaction. How did you know it was Buffy?"

The sudden change in subject threw Willow for a moment. "There was a piece of cloth stuck on the remains of the coffee table. I saw it and just... I knew."

Spike nodded and looked through the vines at the back of the house. "How we gettin out of here, pet? Im thinking that you didnt drive here."

Willow only shook her head and wrapped trembling arms around the blondes waist as she pictured her bedroom. There was an odd itching along her arms and legs before there was nothing. Just as suddenly, the world reappeared to reveal the embracing pair sitting on the carpet beside Willows ruined bed.

"Nice trick, pet." Spikes grin could only be described as proud.

Willow couldnt contain the tired giggle that escaped her mouth as the vampire slipped, once again, into unconsciousness.

Chapter 20

Willow spent the next hour force-feeding Spike five pints of blood, not even noticing when some of it got on her already stained clothes, and packing Spikes things into the back of the Desoto. She wasnt surprised to find that the trunk of the car did indeed hold all of the cargo she had planned on taking with room left over. Making a mental note to mention it to Spike if he started getting testy on the drive, Willow ventured once more to her bedroom.

The blankets Willow had tacked up over the windows to keep the sun from hurting the vampire kept the room in perpetual twilight, and she had to blink rapidly to bring the vampire lying on the ruined bed into focus. He hadnt moved since she had roused him long enough to gulp down the blood shed heated and brought to him. The demons face was still to the fore, and she had to put her fist in her mouth to keep from laughing at the sight.

There, lying on his back, Spike was sucking his thumb.

"Spike," Willows giggles made it hard for her to speak and she dissolved in a heap of laughter beside the vampire. "Spike you need to wake up."

"Why do I have to keep tellin you to go away?"

"Because I keep caring enough about you to wake you up. Now, lets move!"

"Why the hurry?"

"You really *want* to be here if Buffy decides to come looking for you?" Willow stood beside the bed and pulled on Spikes arm until he swung his legs over the side. Sliding an arm around his waist, Willow managed to stand him up and help him to the top of the stairs.

Spike groaned when he saw the steps that led to the foyer. "Why cant you just do that thing where we just go where you want us?"

"Because Im still tired from the last time. You *do* want to go somewhere once we get to the car, right?"

"Where we headed, anyway?" Spike winced and grunted with each step down. "Hope its somewhere good."

"Were going somewhere safe."

Willow was happy that Spike was silent after that. She didnt think she could have made it down the stairs supporting both of their weights if she had to talk. They made it to the car and Willow managed to get Spike into the passenger seat without him making too much of a big deal of it.

She draped the quilt she had brought from the living room couch over his body. "Go back to sleep now."

"You know youve got blood on you?"

"Its okay. Ive had it on me before."

"Dont hurt my car." Spikes eyes were already closed.

Willow pressed a kiss of his cool cheek. "Ill take care of her."

Nearly three hours later, Willow let a sigh of relief pass her lips. They were close. Another twenty minutes, and Willow could get out of the car with its nearly impossibly dark windows. She flexed her fingers on the wheel, trying to work out the cramps that had set in just after leaving Sunnydale.

/Note to self: White knuckles on a steering wheel arent a good thing./

Willow pushed the quilt down far enough to see that Spike was resting peacefully before heaving a sigh and sliding from the cool confines of the car and into the bright afternoon sunlight. The building before her did little to make her feel welcome.

"You have to do this, Willow. Its for Spike." Nodding to herself, Willow started across the street.

She wasnt sure if the trip from the car to the door was too long or far too short. Nothing about this decision sat well with her, but it was the only thing she could think of. Spike couldnt stay in town with Buffy on the loose and out for his blood, and she *had* to take those exams. She hadnt gone through all that she had to finish school only to not graduate because of a few stupid tests. With a sigh of resignation, Willow pushed at the door.

"Angel Investigations... Oh, hello Miss Rosenberg." Wesley had come around the desk when she first walked through the door, but stopped when he neared the center of the main lobby. "Are you quite alright?"

"No." Willow cleared her throat. "I-I need to see Angel."

"Are you hurt? Youre covered in blood!"

"I *know* Im covered in blood!" The redhead felt her hair shifting in an impossible wind and tried to calm herself down. She hadnt realized until that moment that she had never done her morning ritual. "I need to see Angel, and I need to see him *now*!"

Just as she finished her statement, the elevator sounded and Angel emerged with Cordelia trailing behind. "- Madden boots that would help business considerably."

"Tell me again *how* a pair of boots is going to help out-" Angel caught sight of the small redhead standing at the top of the stairs. "Willow!"

Cordelia didnt see the redhead, and looked at Angel oddly. "They arent going to help Willow. Willows in-" the seer followed Angels line of vision. "-the middle of our office. Willow, I dont know *what* people in Sunnydale are thinking, but that isnt a good look on anyone."

"Its not a look Cordy. Its blood."

"Well, obviously."

"Is it that girl with the funny name again?" Fred stepped off the stairs with Gunn. "Is she dead again?"

"No, but thats only because she ambushed Spike in my living room."

"What?" Cordelia fished a clean shirt from behind the desk, pushed it back in the box, and dug out a t-shirt. "I thought her and Spike were chummy. Besides, isnt he fangless now?"

"Just because hes an indoor pet now doesnt mean hes fangless." Willow huffed at the brunette as she ducked behind the desk and slipped one shirt off and the other on. "And, apparently, he can hit Buffy."

"Bet that makes for some interesting evenings. Course, Ive heard that vamps like pain." Gunn chuckled to himself, barely managing to duck the statue that smashed against the wall behind him. "Throwin things with your mind, now?"

"I havent done my ritual today. I found one of my best friends chained and beaten to a wall *with his legs broken*! Not only that, but all the beating and breaking was done by the girl who I brought back! I mean, a snake came out of my *throat* here, and she goes around hurting one of the few people that I can call a friend. How grateful is that?! Put on top of that the fact that Ive got exams tomorrow and Monday, have no clue whats going on with my magic, and have turned into some sort of cosmic coloring book, and you get one annoyed witch! Did I mention that I had to drive three hours in a car with windows that have been spray painted black?"

"Spikes here?" Cordelia squeaked and dove for the crossbow she kept within reach of the desk.

"Hes in the car, but you wont need that. At least, not for a while."

"Whats that mean?" Fred shrugged guiltily when everyone focused their attention on her. "The stories Ive heard are scary. Why wouldnt she want to be armed?"

"Because thats Spikes blood." Angel strode across the lobby quickly, only to flinch and jump back when he hit the sunlight streaming through the front door.

Willow managed to throw a blanket over Angels head before he gritted his teeth and threw himself out into the courtyard. "Hes in the front."

"Am I to believe that Buffy has hurt him badly?"

Willow turned to the ex watcher and nodded before moving to hold the door open for the returning vampire. "He was taken from my house last night. I found him at the mansion on Crawford Street this morning. Buffy lied to me about being with her sister yesterday, and I only figured it out this morning when I ran into Dawn."

Angel hurried through the door just as the blanket slipped from the crown of his head and moved to climb the stairs leading to his room. "Gunn, Wesley, you two go get his things from the car."

Willow handed over the keys to Wesley with a sad smile. "Its all in the trunk. The coolers need to come upstairs so I can wake Spike up to feed him again."

Willow moved to Angels apartment, following the soft sound of Angels voice into the dark vampires bedroom. The smaller blonde rested in the arms of his sire on the bed, Angel petting the platinum locks of his childe softly. Willow fought down the sobs that once again threatened, not even caring that tears spilled over her cheeks.

"I tried my hardest, Angel."

Angels head snapped up at her voice and he motioned her closer. "It wasnt your fault, Willow. Youve been a better friend to him in the last two years than Ive been a sire in the last eighty." He chuckled darkly to himself. "Wasnt much of one before that."

"You cant change the past, Angel." Willow rested a hand on Angels arm as she sat beside the two vampires on the bed and watched as Wesley and Gunn placed two coolers on the floor beside her feet. "You can only try to make things as good as they can be from here on out."


She's Like Candy, page 5