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She's Like Candy, Cont.

Chapter 31

"Schoooooools out. For. Sum-mer!" The redhead sang along to the music hammering through Giles convertible from the rather impressive stereo system. "Schoooooools out. For. E-ver!"

Willow sped along the highway towards Los Angeles, completely at ease and floating on the happy adrenaline rush that only the last day of school is capable of providing. Having her final exams out of the way, and the absence of any slayer sightings, made Willow want to shout and sing at the top of her lungs. Which, not coincidentally, she now found herself doing in the pride and joy of her surrogate father figure.

Even though she was nearly giddy, Willow knew that the exams had taken a lot more out of her than she expected. The stress of the weekend probably played a part in that, and she found herself increasingly grateful that she had been able to beg off staying out with her friends the night before.

Everyone, including the reluctant Englishmen and the two vampires, had gone to dinner at a restaurant with prices that made Giles stutter, Wesley and Gunn openly cringe, and Xander nearly choke on his water. Angel had only grinned at Cordelia, telling her not to worry about it when she questioned him about affording such a ritzy place.

When the seers muttering about the unfairness of her boss paying for a big dinner when he refused to fund her new spring wardrobe stopped amusing him, Spike had ordered an exceedingly pricey bottle of wine that he informed them he was certain Willow would love. When she protested the unnecessary spending, the blonde had merely smirked and informed the rather large group of diners that they should all enjoy themselves.

"You lot have done more that I can name for the lives of the thankless masses. You *deserve* to have a treat from time to time. Willow deserves the best always." Spike flashed Willow a soft smile before turning back to the others. "One thing I learned over the past seventy or eighty years is that *you* have to take care of you. Theres no guarantee that anyone else will."

"Sides," Spike took a healthy swallow of the bourbon neat he had ordered for starters and leaned back in his chair to fix a smirk at his sire. "Its on Peaches."

For his part, Angel seemed undaunted by Spike. He simply waved the attentive drink server over and placed an order for two more bottles of the crisp, blushing wine. At the incredulous stares from the other men, Angel had shrugged. "Cant have Willow drinking alone, and it wouldnt be right for the women to be drinking without us. It just isnt polite."

Soon, the girls began talking about the recent trends theyd noticed their favorite stores stocking for the warm summer months to come. Willow tried to keep the conversation focused on Cordelia, but it had drifted against her will to include herself. She admitted that her tastes had evolved, but that she still didnt enjoy shopping when confronted with the idea of a nighttime shopping trip with the other girls.

Spike had ventured into the conversation to tell her that she should go, shooting down her attempts to talk him out of it. First, Willow, knowing that Spike was loathe to spend his own money on anything or anyone other than himself, tried to tell him that it would really cost too much, and that she could not pay for it. She was quickly told that she could use any *one* of his credit cards. Cordelia had picked up on the plural use, and threw her hat in as a shopping consultant. For a small fee, of course.

Willows pleas for some time to sleep before leaving early the next morning were met with less contestation, and she knew that it was her only chance. She spoke to Spike quietly, explaining that she had to pass the exams she was having the next day, and that she had to leave by 7:00 the next morning to make it in time. Willow was still unsure of how it happened, but she soon found herself settled in bed at the hotel, Giles and Wesley ensconced in books in the lobby, while the others went to see what they could find at 9:00.

The outfit she discovered lying out for her, a midriff baring blue halter and a pair of low rise jeans, had earned her more than a few catcalls as she moved about campus, and she found herself wondering if Spike had meant to be the one looking at her, or if he was showing her off. A note attached to the velvet softness of the new top had informed her that the rest of her new wardrobe would be arriving while she was at school, and should be hanging in the closet and resting in drawers by the time she arrived home. The home had given her as much as a thrill as the with love, and shed impulsively thrown herself back into the bed to wake Spike with a passionate kiss of thanks before moving to shower.

Willow, now waiting at a stoplight that heralded the northern most border of the city she now called home, was struck by the thought that she should have known that Spike would go overboard. With the other men rendered silent by absence, shopping exhaustion, or else simply overridden by the more convincing voices of the women, the blonde would have found himself virtually alone with the girls. With only Cordelia, who loved to show off her great taste, Anya, who thought all men should spend heaps of money on their women, and Dawn, who was simply a normal teenaged girl, to help guide him, the doting vampire was left without a voice of reason to curb his enthusiasm.

Willow was saved from her pondering on what kinds of clothes she should expect to find, having a feeling that there would be quite a few pieces of leather involved, when she came through the door at the back of the lobby. Spike had been leaning against the banister at the foot of the stairs, but moved to wrap a protective arm around her waist upon seeing her. With a little pressure to her side, he was able to steer her around the other occupants of the lobby to a chair that had been moved to face the couch.

The couch hadnt changed since she had last seen it, but the two creatures sitting on it were definitely something she had never seen before. The larger of the two took up nearly half of the leather seat, and seemed to be reclining in order to occupy as much room as possible. Willow came to the conclusion that this was the male, as he was wearing a pair of pants made of some type of soft brown skin, and the other, smaller demon wore a skirt of the same material.

Other than the size differences, the two of them seemed very similar. They were both an exquisite jade green. Black eyes peered out of nearly round sockets. Webs bridged the gaps between the second sockets of the fingers on either otherwise human seeming hand.

The horns were a marked difference that Willow mentally kicked herself for overlooking. The male demons horns were thick and bull-like, extending from the temples of his head to nearly two feet above his head. The females spiraled up from above her ears in dainty twists that ended a mere six or seven inches above her soft, blue green hair.

"H-hello." Willow tried to find the smile she knew was appropriate for such meetings, but came up with a blank. Sighing, she substituted a nervous grin and a shrug, hoping it would not seem too rude, as she sunk into the offered chair.

"Evenn." The larger of the two nodded at the small witch. "Im DraMae."

"Im Willow."

"We thought as much, as you *are* the reason were here." The woman moved forward to pat Willows knee in a comforting gesture. "My name is MaKai."

Willow found herself smiling at the pretty demon in front of her. "Its very nice to meet you, even if I *am* a little nervous."

"Do worry, child." A chuckle rolled from deep within DraMaes chest. "Were here to help."

"You can make this stop?"

"We cannot change you back to being a human. Deacon gifted *you* with this. It is yours until you grow tired and another is called to take your place. When that happens, you will die as Deacon died."

"You mean... it really did kill him?" Willows voice was small, and she was grateful for the strong arm that had remained around her as she sat. "I was hoping that wasnt what really happened."

"There can be only one Firestarter at a time, dear." MaKais eyes held a kind of silent sympathy that Willow was grateful for.

"Is that what I am? A Firestarter?"

"Not a. The." DraMae shifted a bit on the cushion, no longer taking up as much room, and faced her head on. "There are four Starters. You are the Firestarter. There is also the Breather, the Quaker, and the Swimmer."

"Earth, Air, Fire, Water."

"Right in one." MaKai nodded happily. "There can only be four of you, one for each element, at any time. You keep your elements powers, wielding them when the need arises, until you gift the powers to the next person in line for them."

"Two questions," Willow waited until both MaMae were focused on her. "First, why me? Second, and only a little less important. Do I have to turn purple?"

MaKais laughter drifted through the lobby. "Deacon told us that he went through three changes in color just after inheriting the powers. If youve already gone through three, I see no reason why you would have another.

"To answer your first question, all I know is that Deacon spoke of dreaming of a redheaded Witch in the last few times we spoke. The last phone call came from New York City nearly three weeks before the date Wesley said Deacon gave you his gifts. He spoke of feeling closer, though something was pulling him west."

"So, we can all see into the future?"

"This we do not know." MaKai shrugged dainty shoulders. "Deacon spoke of having horrible dreams, and we know the Breather can see things about a person by sharing their breath, but, as near as I can tell, there are no certain answers to that one."

"Perhaps," DraMae included his mate in the long glance that he swept over the room. "Perhaps the powers youre experiencing are due to your being a witch before meeting Deacon. From my limited understanding, the powers he gifted you with would only serve to increase those you already wielded."


Willow fell silent, and Spike spoke from his perch on the arm of the chair. "You said these powers were hers until she decided otherwise, and could find another person with the right calling. How long can she go on with this?"

"Forever, as far as we can tell." MaKai smiled at the disbelieving stares cast her way. "Deacon was in his twenties when he was gifted, and he told me once that he saw the 1600s come in while living in Italy."

Willow ignored Xanders soft whistle and decided to ask something that had been bothering her since this whole thing started. "So, Im not going to go all evil?"

"If you had the capacity for true evilness, you would not have been chosen." DraMae gave a lopsided smile. "Youre one of the good ones, kid."

Spike rose gracefully from his seat and lit a cigarette as he spoke. "So, to recap, Red is now immortal until she deems otherwise. Theres no way for her to go evil. And this is how shes going to look for the next few hundred lifetimes."

At the nods from the two, seated demons, Spike swooped Willow into his arms and headed for the stairs. "Thanks for the information, mates."

Willow tried to tell him that he was being far too rude, but her words were stolen from her lips with Spikes passionate kiss.

Moving through the open door of their suite, Spike kicked it closed before deposited the redhead in the center of their bedroom floor. "Get out of those shoes, Red. Ive got a surprise for ye."

Willow obediently slipped the heavy black boots from her feet. She debated silently whether or not the socks should go to, and pulled them off as well. She had just set them in the bottom of the closet when a curtain of deep green satin fell an inch from the tip of her nose.

Running her eyes up the length of the fabric, Willow discovered that it was an impossibly long satin gown. She let her hand trail up the cool material as she stood before turning in the circle of Spikes arms and kissing him softly.

"Whats that for?"

"Got tired of you sleeping in those ugly t-shirts and boxers. Thought you might like a real gown to wear from time to time."

"You dont like it." Hurt flashed in his blue eyes before he hid it and moved to an opened box that sat on the bed. "Thats fine by me. I think youre the most beautiful bloody creature on the planet in anything you wear."

Willows hand on his arm stopped him from stuffing the gown back into its gift box. Spike turned to see Willow watching him with a soft smile and eyes that threatened tears. "I- I love it."

"Dont have to say that, Red."

"Its true! Its almost too pretty to actually wear. Ive never had anything like it." Willow stepped back from Spikes still form and held her arms out to her sides. "Dress me?"

Spike spread the nightdress out on the bed and moved to caress Willows back as he untied the two knots holding the halter in place. Soft kisses whispered over her shoulders and down her spine as the shirt fluttered to the floor. Spikes lips trailed kisses along the small of her back and the beginnings of her hips that the jeans she wore exposed as his hands slipped around to unbutton the fly of the pants.

When the material pooled at her ankles, Spike pushed the boy shorts shed worn to join them. Spike moved around her body to place soft kisses over the indentation of her navel. "Lift up, luv."

Willow rested one hand on Spikes shoulder for balance as she lifted one leg after the other so that Spike could pull her remaining clothes free from her legs. Willow ran her fingers through the platinum hair that tickled her hip where Spikes head rested. With a soft tug, she brought him to stand in front of her for a long, slow, deep kiss.

Spike broke the kiss and moved back to the bed. Draping the yards of fabric over his shoulder, he positioned Willows arms above her head before slipping the gown over them and arranging the thin straps on her shoulders as the weight of it settled over her slight frame. He spend a moment making sure the lines were straight before stepping back to take a look at his work.

"Christ, youre amazing." Spike smiled at her before a frown flitted over his brow. Stepping behind her, the vampire pulled the sticks holding most of her hair out of her face from the bun she had formed it into. With a few shakes and a quick finger combing, the waves and curls fell around her shoulders and over the swell of one breast. Spike was once again in front of her, smiling brightly this time. "Abso-bloody-lutely perfect."

"You think?"

Spike turned her to look in the new, full-length mirror standing to one side of the bedroom door. "I *know* it."

The gown was cut into a simple A line, the material skimming over the swells of her breasts before fitting snugly to her hips. The satin slid over her hips nicely, draping down the long expanse of her legs, before ending an inch from the floor. The deep green brought out the dancing flames of her curls and the emerald of her eyes.

Willow suddenly knew, without a shadow of doubt, that *she* was the most beautiful woman alive. The knowledge made her giddy, and she couldnt help the purely feminine giggle that went along with it. "Im beautiful, Spike."

"Youre always beautiful, Willow. I told you that."

"But I *feel* it, now."

"Good," Spike smiled and held a hand out to her as a heavy bass line thrummed from the stereo speakers. "Dance with me?"

Willow smiled and slid her hand into his. Spike pulled her close and began to lead her in dance step that Willow was certain hadnt been popular in over a hundred years. Willow let the tune and the strength of her partner lull her nerves about dancing, soon discovering that she loved the moving.

Spike pulled her closer to the firm lines of his body and began singing along to the beginning lines of the chorus. "Where do you go when youre lonely? Where do you go when youre blue? Where do you go when youre lonely? Ill follow you..."

Willow snuggled into Spikes chest and brought both arms around his neck as Spikes hands trailed down her sides.

Lips brushed the shell of her ear as Spike continued to sing. "Laughing with your pretty mouth."

"Laughing with your broken eyes." Willow smiled at Spike as she sang, loving the look of happy surprise.

Spike took the next line as he held her gaze with his own. "Laughing with you lovers tongue."

Willows low soprano mixed flawlessly with Spikes tenor. "In a lullaby."

Spike pulled her into a soft kiss that ended only when Spike pushed her into a slow spin, her fingers never quite leaving those of the hand that held hers above her head. Willow giggled softly and Spike smiled in reply as he brought her back into the near waltz they had begun with.

"I love you, Willow." There was a slight hitch in Spikes voice that tugged at something deep within Willow, and she knew that shed never leave this man in her arms.

"I love you more, William."

Spike stopped dancing as the last few notes of the song faded away and let his eyes settle on hers in a silent question. After a moment, he seemed to come to a conclusion about something and nodded to himself. Sliding his hands up her arms to her shoulders, then back into the red tresses, Spike pulled her flush against him and met her in an openmouthed kiss that tugged that same invisible cord inside the her, and Willow found herself crying once again.

"Shhhh," Spike swept her up and carried her to the bed. "Im going to love you the way you were always meant to be loved."

"Good." Willow nodded and gave him a watery smile. "Cuz I plan on doing the same with you."

Spike only chuckled and stretched himself half atop her body as he brought her into another soul melding kiss.

Full Lyrics for When The Stars Go Blue:

[Bono] Dancing where the stars go blue
[Andrea] Dancing where the evening fell
[Bono] Dancing in your wooden shoes
[Andrea] In a wedding gown

[Bono] Dancing out on 7th street
Dancing through the underground
[Andrea] Dancing little marionette
[Both] Are you happy now?

Where do you go when youre lonely?
Where do you go when youre blue?
Where do you go when youre lonely? Ill follow you...
[Bono] When the stars go blue (bluuuuue)
When the stars go blue (bluuuuue)
[Andrea] When the stars go blue (bluuuuue)
[Bono] When the stars go blue

Laughing with your pretty mouth
[Andrea] Laughing with your broken eyes
[Bono] Laughing with your lovers tongue
[Both] In a lullaby

Where do you go when youre lonely?
Where do you go when youre blue?
Where do you go when youre lonely? Ill follow you...
[Bono] When the stars go blue (bluuuuue)
When the stars go blue (bluuuuue)
[Andrea] When the stars go blue (bluuuuue)
[Bono] When the stars go blue

[Andrea] When the stars go blue (bluuuuue)
(bluuuuue) when the stars go (bluuuuue)

[Bono] When the stars go blue

[Both] Where do you go [Bono] when youre lonely?
[Andrea] Where do you go when youre blue yeah?

Where do you go when youre lonely? Ill follow you...



Chapter 32

Willow awoke to the soft, distinct spattering of rain against the covered windows. There was a muted flash of lightening against the heavy black of the curtains, and thunder boomed in the distance. Willow smiled a purely feminine smile and stretched under Spikes arm while remembering how much she loved rainy days.

Slipping from the bed, she made her way over to one of the covered windows. Moving the velvet to the side, being careful to keep the rain filtered light from touching the pale perfection of her lovers form, she looked out over the streets and shops. Deciding that is was still too early for her to be doing anything resembling productive on the day after her last day of school, Willow forewent the clothes in her closet and drawers for the green robe that matched her gown.

Willow moved to the end of the hall and through the door that would lead her to the back stairs. She was reminded again and again of the long hours of lovemaking that she had taken part in the afternoon and night before. Twinges of delicious pain, softened by the ever present caresses of the satin still encasing her body, slithered through overused muscles and complimented the constant, dull throb between her legs.

She knew there were bruises the size of Spikes large hands on her thighs and hips. They would compliment the bruising around the deep twin holes of the claim mark on the lower left side of her throat. Willow caught sight of herself in the window set into the door to the roof, surprised to see how well the curls of her hair and low cut of the gown framed Spikes bite.

Pushing the door open and wedging a heavy rock in front of it to hold it in place, Willow moved to one of the chairs Cordelia and Fred had brought up and placed under the small overhang. They were sheltered from the pounding rain, and Willow suddenly wished for a nice cup of tea.

Willow had just toed off her slippers and curled her legs under her in the cushioned seat when a cry caught her attention. It wasnt loud enough to be a scream, but it was not something she, after growing up on a hellmouth and fighting countless demons and vampires, would associate with someone having a good time. Tuning her ears into the sound, Willow held her breath until she heard it again, closer and more urgent than before.

Deciding that Spike would just have to forgive her if the gown got ruined, Willow slipped the robe from her shoulders and laid it over the back of her chair before moving out into the rain. Leaning over one side of the roof, Willow peered into the murky light of the early Los Angeles morning.

Her gown was plastered to her back with water a scarce minute later, and there had been no sign of anyone moving on the deserted streets below. Just as she decided that she was looking for a figment of her imagination, a flash of movement caught her eye.

Someone, a girl from the length of the hair and shortness of the strides, ran around the corner of the building across the street, skidding and falling on the wet cement of the cracked sidewalk. As she watched, Willow saw another person round the corner and advance on the first with frightening speed. She was confused until she realized that the foreboding clouds blanketing the sky made the vampires daytime movements possible.

"Goddess," Willow whispered to herself and pushed herself away from the low wall. Knowing shed lose sight of the now struggling pair if she went for the stairs, Willow closed her eyes and transported herself from the rooftop to the spot just behind them. The man half turned when she appeared, giving Willow a side view of the ridges marring his forehead and the amber in his eyes. The woman, though much older, and a little taller than herself, seemed impossibly tiny writhing in the grip of the demon.

"Hey!" Willow tried to remind herself that she was immortal. This, of course, did nothing to stop the thud of her heart when the vampire, still clutching the struggling woman, turned to face her head on. "Isnt she a little stale?"

"What?" The surprise was obvious in the vampires eyes and voice. Willow was suddenly struck with the knowledge that she was facing nothing more than a minion, probably recently out of the ground.

Trying to remember everything she had learned from watching and listening to Spike and Angel about the psychology of vampires, Willow stood tall and moved a little closer. "Well, Spike and Angelus always said that the blood tasted old after so long."


The woman had calmed down, now only struggling when the hand around her throat visibly tightened.

"Spike and Angelus? Never heard of William the Bloody? Scourge of Europe? None of this ringing any bells?"

"Should they?"

"Well, I suppose that your master has probably been too busy running away from Angel or finding nice young girls to sleep with and eat to properly educate you on vampire history. I guess Spike is one of a dying breed. I mean, he obviously has more... finesse than you. Its not a long stretch to think that its because of the weak blood running through your veins."

"Shut up." The words were a low growl, and Willow knew shed struck a nerve.

"Well, youre out during the day, though it *is* all cloudy and rainy, so I guess that gives you a little leeway in the brainless department." Willow let her fear turn into anger at the thought of a mere minion attacking a woman old enough to be her mother when she should have been safe. Deliciously clean, pure anger slithered through her mind and slammed blood through her body, making her hands tingle.

"Youre obviously stuck in demon face, which is a pretty major sign that whoever turned you just needed another body to put between themselves and whatever threatens them. You werent even worth bringing over as a true childe." Electric shocks sizzled down her spine, and Willow began looking for the opening the vampires anger would cause.

"That *is* assuming that whoever made you was strong enough to make a true childe in the first place. Who am I to say that he was that strong? Maybe this is the best he could do." Willow affected an unconcerned shrug and raised both her eyebrows at the vampire.

"I *told* you," The irate minion tossed the woman almost nonchalantly into the side of the building, not looking up when she scrambled to her feet and ran for the hotel. "To. Just. Shut. Up!"

Willow threw her hands up and let the anger out in one sharp crack of fire and electricity directly into the vampires chest. He flew back into the building, shattering the two nearest windows and leaving a large dent in the plaster facade before bursting into dust.

The sound of applause behind her startled Willow. She turned, half expecting Spike to be standing there with disapproval warring with pride in his lovely blue eye.

The blonde wasnt Spike, however, and the sight of Buffy standing on the sidewalk in LA jarred Willow long enough for the sharp pain at the back of her head to take her by surprise.

* * * * * * *


Willow instinctively jerked away from the piercing shout that caused her head to throb sharply. The action caused the knot at the back of her head to smash into the cool, flat surface behind her. A fissure of pain lanced through her skull and caused her arms and legs to spasm in response.

"Huh?" Willow tried to cradle her aching head, only to find her wrists encased in something cold and metal.

"Arent you supposed to be the smart one?" The voice, though slightly muffled by the ringing in her ears, was familiar. "I thought you would have had it figured out by now."

Willow squinted through the pain and tried to filter the offensive light through her lashes. "Buffy?"

"Oh, someone give the girl a medal."

"Whats going on?" Willow blinked a few times and managed to fully open her eyes. "Why am I chained to a wall?"

"Because," a deep voice sounded from the doorway of what Willow now saw to be a rundown bedroom. "We had to make accommodations suited for your power and knowledge of magic."

"Oh," Willow blinked slowly and looked around the room. Graying wallpaper peeled from the wall in great pieces. One of the hinged closet doors was lying on the floor, the other handing haphazardly from its running tract. The only window was covered with decaying cardboard, letting bits of light filter through. The demon standing in the doorway soon stole her attention away from wondering what, exactly, had left the yellow stains that seemed to drip down the walls in places.

Willow was reminded of something she had seen in a movie when she was younger, but couldnt quite place which one. Deeply cloven hooves protruded from thickly muscled legs that were covered in a thick mat of deep reddish-brown hair that seemed to catch the light like gleaming armor. His naked torso was as devoid of hair as his legs were covered, and the filtered light played over its crimson expanse as if he were wet. Massive arms ending in insanely huge hands with black talon-like nails drew a gasp from the redhead.

Great fangs, both upper and lower, made Willow think of a wolf. They also made it impossible for his lips to completely close over his teeth, and their gleaming whiteness was almost a shock. When she was able to drag her eyes away from the sharp, deadly looking teeth, Willow found herself staring into perfect blackness. His eyes were twin pools of nothing, as if even the meager light of the room wanted to hide from his sight. Great horns, thicker than DraMaes and with a wider spread, rose from his temples to spear the drywall above.

"What *are* you?" The question came out as a whisper, and Willow suddenly knew that she had been allowed her lengthy study of the beast in front of her for a reason. He had known she was going to be frightened, wanted her to be, when she knew what he looked like.

"I am Nwalya." The growling baritone made Willows skin fight to crawl from her body. There was some sort of accent behind the words, but the witch was too focused on what was being said to care.

"Um..." Willow fought for words to make their way past the lump in her suddenly dry throat. "W-why... Why am I..."

"Why are you here?" The grin on Buffys face scared the redhead almost as much as the thing standing just inside the door.

At Willows nod, Nwalya gave a rumbling, barking laugh.

"Youre here," the demons horns gouged great ruts into the ceiling as he walked across the room to bend down and run a thick, black tongue along the column of Willows throat. "Because Im hungry."


Chapter 33

The bolt of energy Willow tried to release into the body in front of her refused to leave hers, and she knew what accommodations had been made for her. Her powers had been bound. Her audible gulp echoed in her ears as she drew herself as far away from the towering body in front of her. "Hungry?"

Nwalyas answering snarl had Willow silently praying to the Goddess for continued control of her bladder as the demons face nuzzled into the juncture of her throat and shoulder. "Famished."

"Well, its LA, so there are lots of good places to eat." Willow glanced over at Buffys smirking face. "You could send Buffy to go get you something! Though, *you* could probably get it for free if you went, being really tall and scary and everything. But Im guessing that would probably be a bad idea for you, since I dont think even people in LA could ignore something like you walking around in broad daylight."

The barking laugh that erupted from next to her ear made Willow jump and give a short eep of fright. "Dear girl. I do not feed on the flesh of animals."

"You dont?"

"No. I feed on misery," sharp teeth grazed the soft line of her jaw "Pain."

"No wonder youre so big." Willow whispered the unconscious thought and then blushed when Nwalya gave another chuckle.

"Now, I understand why the vampire wants to keep you around. Besides being quite lovely, youre also rather amusing."

"Any chance that would get you to just take off the cuffs and let me go?"

The demon sobered. "No, and stop trying to work any magic. It will do you no good here."


"Because not being able to work magic causes you great pain. Since thats how I live, Ive bound your power to a part of me."

"So, your keeping that part or being alive keeps me from ever doing any magic again?"


"Any chance youd tell me which part that was?"

"Hmmm... No."

A thought struck Willow, and she turned to fix her gaze on the small blonde leaning casually against the far wall. "Am I being used as bait?

Again, the low chuckle. "I knew you were intelligent."

"Yeah, well, Im always bait."

"Actually, this all revolves around you." Nwalya was standing at his full height, Willows head being just even with the corded muscles of his abdomen, and he ran the knuckles of one of his massive hands down the side of her face.

"Hows that?" The hand followed her head as she tried to lean away from the caress, so she gave up in favor of glaring.

"Well, Ive been feeding off of the souled vampires pain for nearly eighty years, though that stopped for a while when Angelus made his appearance. Ive also gotten great pleasure from the fear and anguish of various hellmouths over the centuries. The slayer here simply contacted me with an offer that I would have been a fool to refuse."

"Buffy contacted you?" Willow couldnt keep the disbelief from her voice and regretted it when a small, but extremely effective fist made contact with, and cracked, three of the lowest ribs on her right side.

"I got the spell out of one of Giles books. It only took a little slayer blood and a few words." Buffy smiled sweetly at Willows whimpers of pain. "Turns out, I had some slayer blood on hand."

"The slayer simply explained your new immortal status, and that, by taking all of your friends, we would cause you untold amounts of anguish. Living for as long as youre going to, you would be able to feed me from a distance for a very, very long time."

"Theres no chance of you changing your mind?"

Nwalya chuckled and moved to sit on his haunches in front of the redhead. "There *could* be one way."

"Hey!" Buffy jerked away from the wall and stormed over to the seated demon. "I brought you here. You have to do what I say!"

Nwalyas head snapped to fix the blond slayer with a steely gaze. "You may have summoned me, but I answer to no one. There are beings controlling hell that tremble in my presence! Ill not be turned into a lap dog by one pathetic slayer."

Buffys eyes widened before slitting in barely restrained rage. "You said that they would suffer."

"And they will, do not doubt that." Black eyes once again focused on the restrained witch in front of him. "Ive just come up with a way to live off your, and I mean only your, anguish for quite some time, Little Red."

Willow knew what he wanted her to ask, and almost went along, before something stopped her. A sudden flash of Spike lying in his own blood, sounding so proud that he hadnt given Buffy the satisfaction of a single scream, came to mind, and Willow found herself standing at full height. Her back was rigid, chin tilted in an almost cocky way, mouth set in a thin line of determination. If Spike could make it through that, she could make it through a conversation.

"Oh? Sorry I cant wish you luck on that one." Willow grinned inwardly at the fleeting look of surprise her nearly offhanded comment caused that massive demon in front of her. "It would be counterproductive of me, you see."

"Dont you want to hear what I have planned?"

"Probably not."

Again the infuriating chuckle worked its way from the throat of the demon. "I shall tell you anyway. Im going to keep you."

"What?!" Buffy stomped her foot from her spot beside Nwalya. "You said there would be suffering and death!"

"There will be great suffering. Imagine the pain of knowing that she is with me, an evil demon who feeds off the pain of others. They will fall apart." Facing Willow once again, Nwalya continued. "You will be staying with me."

The redhead fought the urge to start crying. She wouldnt be able to brag about things if she lost it in front of her captors. "I dont think I will, thanks."

"Decided to be brave, have we?" Nwalya twisted his chin from side to side, popping bones back into alignment. "I wonder how long that will last."

"Much longer than you, Im sure."


"I know that Ive been missed by now. The woman I saved went to get help at Angels, so everyone will be out looking for me."

Nwalya ran the razor-like tips of the nails on one hand across the satin still covering her legs, giving a satisfied smirk around beastly teeth when the material gaped from seam to seam without a sound. The thin line of blood that welled to the surface brought a full smile to his face, and he ran long, thick fingers along the shallow cuts hed made. Grasping the gown at the seams, he tugged, ripping the back in a jagged line.

"That woman was *so* meant to do that." Buffy smirked at Willow, obviously knowing the demon was making her former friend more uncomfortable with his position and the soft caresses he was now placing along her exposed thighs than the hot pain of the cuts had. "Ive been a slayer long enough to know that she would run for the nearest building."

"So you *want* them to find me?" Willow shifted her weight from foot to foot, trying to dislodge the hand that had wrapped itself around her leg, just above her knee. She could feel the nearly blistering heat in a complete circle, knowing he held the entire circumference of her lower thigh.

"Oh, were leading them to an old warehouse an hour outside of the city, but thats the general idea." Buffy began polishing a stake as she spoke. "And when they get there, Spike gets to meet the business end of Mr. Pointy."

Willow cursed the physical reaction to the news of Spikes impending dusting. Her entire body had stiffened, and she knew that Nwalya had felt it. Was, in fact, taking pleasure in the torrent of emotions washing over her.

"You could never beat him before, and now hell have Angel on his side." Willow tried to ignore the black-nailed thumb that was caressing the inside of her thigh. "Giles and the others have all seen you fight for so long that they know what to expect."

"But they arent expecting him." Buffy nodded at Nwalya. "Theres no way they can be expecting him to have you on display as he tells them hes keeping you. Thats going to make Spike sloppy, and then Ill make him dust."

"And then," impossibly strong hands grasped behind Willows knees and drew her up the wall the same time Nwalya stood. Willows face was even with the demons less than two feet from the ceiling. "You will come with me, be my slave, until I grow tired of you. Trust me when I say that the pain of an innocent is much more delightful than that of some brooding, souled vampire."

The large hands that held her loosened, and she slid down the wall to rest on her feet. She barely had time to realize that her gown was being pushed up her body as she moved before it slid over her head. The straps were ripped to untangle it from the chains, and Willow was left naked.

"I dont think youll be getting lose to pull anyone out of heaven anytime soon." Buffys irritating grin made Willows teeth ache to sink into her throat, and she briefly wondered if she had been hanging out with Spike for too long.

"You know I didnt mean for that to happen. Im not going to say that Im sorry again."

"Youre the one naked and chained to the wall, Wills. I think you should be begging forgiveness, myself."

Willow fought to keep the blush she felt creeping its way up her skin from reaching her face. Instead focusing on what she knew Spike would be feeling. Rage. He would not be embarrassed of her; she knew he liked to show her off. But even the thought of another man hugging her would bring a soft snarl to his lips, so another man, demon or not, seeing her naked or touching her this way would be more than enough reason to eviscerate him slowly.

The blush was long gone when Willow glared a disgusted look into Nwalyas face. Hed begun caressing the bruises Spike had left during their last night together, and Willow landed a solid kick to chest, backing him up slightly from surprise. "You will not touch me."

"I will touch whatever I like. You are-" A sudden knock at the molding of the doorway forestalled anything else the demon was going to do or say, and Willow breathed a soft sigh at the unintended, but welcome, reprieve. "What?"

A man, eyes glinting amber as he took in the lithe body of the redhead chained to the wall, stepped into the room. "Theyre on their way, sir."

Nwalya turned to Willow with an almost jovial grin. The combination of the grin with the utter nothingness of his eyes unnerved her more than being naked in front of him had. There was just something so... *wrong* about it. "Looks like its time for you to say your farewells, girl."

Willow could only struggle ineffectively as a red hand cut off the air supply to both her mouth and nose.

Chapter 34

"WILLOW!" The shout ricocheted around the inside of Willows head.

Groaning, she moved to cover her ears, and was struck with a major case of deja vu when her arms were kept from moving. This time, however, they were bound behind her back with a thin nylon rope. A few experimental tugs told her that the knots would hold, and that any more struggling would only get her bleeding wrists for her trouble. Her legs, spaced a little past shoulder width apart, were also held immobile by rope, cool metal pressed against the bare flesh.

"Willow? Pet?" Spikes voice, an edge that she had never heard in it before, was closer now, in front of her, but somehow below. It hadnt occurred to Willow until that moment that her eyes were covered with some kind of cool, dark cloth.

"Willow? Are you quite alright?" Wesleys slightly more cultured voice danced along the empty air surrounding her.

"No, shes *not* alright!" Dawns voice now, high and panicked. "Shes naked, bleeding, and tied to a pipe!"

"That was a stupid question, Wesley." Anyas voice floated in the darkness.

The thought that they had pulled out all the stops to save her did nothing to calm the redhead. If Anya and Dawn were there, it meant that they all were. That would leave no one to know what happened to them when the trap was sprung.

"Spike?" Willows throat was dry, her lips cracked, and the word came as little more than a whisper.

"Dont worry, luv." A banging accompanied the accented words now coming from below her to the right. "Were going to get you out. Then Im going to rip whoever took you into thousands of pieces while theyre still alive."

"No." Shaking her head did nothing to help the headache that had set in upon waking, but Willow did it anyway. "Its a trap. Go."

"Screw that!" Xanders voice, pitched higher in panic, echoed from the spot Spikes voice had just come from.

A shriek from off to her left forced an automatic response from Willows bound body, and she winced as the ropes kept her in place. For the next few minutes, the sounds of fighting filled her ears. Shouts of warning were called from time to time, but Willow somehow knew that the group wasnt coming out on top of this one.

"There are too many of them!" Cordelias voice snapped the witchs attention to the space in front of her. "Giles! To your right!"

"What happened to the others?" Dawns voice was breathy and farther away than Freds had been.

"ENOUGH!" The deep growl of Nwalya sounded from directly beside her, and Willow whimpered involuntarily.

There were a few snarls that heralded the dusting of vampires, and then silence. Willow couldnt stretch her hearing far enough to pick up the panting breaths that would tell her that her would-be rescuers lived. There were no threats from Spike. No purely British exclamations. No ill-timed comments from Xander. There was simply... nothingness.

"I should thank you for falling into line so perfectly." The chuckle rumbled impossibly loud in the obviously empty space. "I had my doubts about that, but my lovely accomplice assured me of its success and, thankfully, she had you all pegged perfectly."

"Accomplice?" Willow wondered how Ripper asserted himself so easily in one word.

"Hi Giles!" Buffys voice, as bright as any California afternoon, came from Willows far left.

The groups outrage was instant. Willow easily made out the east-ender London accent calling for the bloody fuckin bitch of a slayers head. Different voices called out questions and threats. A deep Irish brogue, however, echoing above the others and mimicking Spikes words, caught Willows attention more than any others.

"Angel?" Buffys voice faltered. "You said he wouldnt be harmed!"

"And he wont." The voice was calm but pitched so everyone would hear. "So long as he doesnt anger us too greatly."

"Right. Angel, you be quiet."

"Buffy," Angels native accent colored the name and turned it into a sort of growl.

Or was he in demon face? Willow hated the material covering her eyes. She wanted, needed, to see that none of her friends were dead. And who were the others Dawn had mentioned during the fight? Were they alright?

"All will be laid bare. Starting with this." A burning pain slid over the skin of her temple, and the blindfold fell away. "Is that better?"

Willow blinked into the harsh light of the factory. She had been bound upright on an I-beam that was positioned with others to form a kind of railing. The floor of what looked like an old loading dock, surrounded on three sides by a tall fence that curved inward at the top, stretched out in front of her.

"I asked you a question!" Nwalyas voice thundered in her ear, but Willow did little more than draw as far away from him as possible while taking in the group standing in the center of the cement floor.

Spike and Angel, both with demons to the fore, were obviously trying to gauge the distance and obstacles between them and the railing. Giles, Xander, and Wesley were keeping their eyes on the vampires that were moving restlessly about them as they tried to keep Anya, Dawn, and Cordelia out of their enemies direct line of sight. Around them stood enough vampires to fill the entirety of the Bronze.

A perfectly manicured hand smacked against Willows cheek. "I suggest you answer him. He *is* your master, after all."

In turning to face the demon standing to her other side, Willow caught sight of Spike and stilled. She had decided that she was going to make Spike proud of her earlier. She couldnt do this on her own, but Spike could. She just had to channel as much of her lover as she could until something else came to mind. Now, how would he answer?

"Sod off." Willow nearly grinned at the way Spikes demon looked with raised eyebrows.

Nwalyas crimson fingers wrapped around her jaw and forced her head at a hard angle to face him. The tips of his black nails sunk through the flesh of her cheek and scraped against the enamel of her teeth. The demon smiled into her eyes, and Willow fought to keep the fear and pain from them as she tasted her own blood.

"What did you say, bitch?"

Willow drew back as best she could and spit the blood pooled on her tongue into his face. "I *said* for you. To. Just. Sod. Off!" Another wad of spit and blood splattered into Nwalyas eyes.

"For that," A hand used her throat to push her up the bar at her back, and Willow tightened her jaw to keep from crying out as her hips protested being pulled up as her ankles were held fast below. "You will pay."

Nwalya put her down and gave a jerking nod to Buffy. The blonde slayer moved in and rained a series of punches along Willows sides and legs. When she was finished, Willow could feel the bruises already forming from just below her breasts to nearly her ankles.

"Explain!" Ripper was staring out of Giles face, and Willow sent him a silent thank you with her eyes. She knew he was voicing this now as much for answers as to give her a brief respite.

"When Willow pulled me out of heaven, I was angry." Buffy hopped up on the railing beside Willows leg and gave a brief shrug. "I saw the way she watched Spike when she thought no one else was looking, and decided that Id take him."

Both Spike and Angel growled at Buffys callousness, but she ignored them and went on. "After he ran off with her for the weekend, I knew I had to do something more. So, I got into the books Giles wont let us read and found a spell to call Nwalya. He pretty much took over from there."

A commotion erupted along the back of the vampires crowded in front of one of the outside doors. As the demons parted, and an unconscious Gunn was dragged in. Lorne, bleeding, missing a horn, and barely standing on his own followed a limping Fred to join the assembly.

"Told you there would be people covering the perimeter." Buffy was smug as she faced her partner. "Angel always has someone to guard the perimeter."

Nwalya nodded silently, then turned and bent to put his face level with the side of Willows own. "Were going to play a game. Its called Who dies first. It starts with you picking someone, and ends with them being torn apart by those vampires. Sound like fun?"

Willow simply stood quietly, eyes focused on the wall across from her in fear that looking at anyone would seal their doom.

"Answer me!" She felt a fist in her hair, and then she was forced to meet the black eyes in front of her. "Who dies first?"

"You." Willow had steeled herself for the pain, so the slashing of talons over her stomach didnt come as too much of a surprise.

"I suppose your little slayer friend is next?"

"She hasnt been my friend for a while now, and death will be too good for her if any of them dies." Willow was surprised at the soft determination in her own voice.

Nwalya ran his blood covered nails over his tongue, tasting her blood even as his own welled up from the tiny cuts he left. Leaning forward, he licked a slow line up the side of her face to take in the blood still running from the gouges he had made earlier.

A tiny prickling of something familiar tickled along Willows senses.

She smiled.


Chapter 35

"What are you smiling about?" Buffy somehow managed to sound concerned and huffy at the same time, and Willow knew it came from years of seeing her facial expressions.

Willow didnt even favor her former friend with a glance. Instead, she focused her eyes on Spikes. Once she knew she had the blonde vampires attention, she darted her eyes pointedly at the sword he still held in a loose grip.

"I love you, pet." Spike called above the buzz of the vampires voices surrounding them.

The attackers had begun to relax as they waited for their master to give orders, and Spike had dusted three of them before they began to close ranks. Angel joined his childe, and they had done away with seven more by the time Buffy made her way into the fray. Throwing two of the minions away from Angel, she turned to face her ex.

Willow ignored whatever was being said once she was certain Spike and Angel were paying more attention to the situation than they were to the slayer. She turned to grin up at Nwalya. "Were going to be leaving soon."

Black, empty eyes filled her vision as Nwalya bent close to her face. Hot breath whispered over her lips before he sharply nibbled at them. "I wont let you."

A grin quirked a corner of the redheads bloodied mouth. "Youll be dead."

"Oh? Is your boyfriend going to kill me?" Sarcastic humor sounded strange coming from a demon who easily stood ten feet tall, but Willow wouldnt think of that until later.

Now, she forced her body to accept what she was about to do. It tried to rebel as she moved slightly forward, but came under control when she clamped down on her natural instinct to stay as far away from her captor as she could. She continued to sway almost imperceptibly, moving forward and then retreating, tempting Nwalya to lean toward her.

She waited until she was pressed against the pole behind her with the crimson monsters mouth still a hairs breath away from her own before she spoke again. "No. *Im* going to kill you."

A great horned head was thrown back in laughter before the sharp teeth were back to biting and licking at Willows mouth. "*You*? Kill me?"

"Yes." Willow inwardly cringed as she let her tongue slip out to flick over the vicious teeth in front of her. She forced her mouth to play over Nwalyas lips, telling herself it was a good thing when he began responding to her kisses.

"And how, may I ask, are you going to do that?"

Willow suddenly strained against her bindings to press herself as close to the demon as she could. Her tongue pushed passed Nwalyas teeth to battle with his, and Willow began angling her head back and to the side. It didnt take long for the demon to take the hint, and he was soon slanting his mouth over hers as she nearly choked on the tongue thrusting mercilessly too far into her mouth. A sharp movement later and Nwalya was screaming in pain.

Willow felt a familiar rush of energy slide over her body and smiled as a perfect Spike answer to the question came to mind. Spitting the now useless lump of muscle that used to be a tongue onto the floor at her feet, Willows lips dripped with Nwalyas nearly black blood.

"My way."

A bolt of pure white energy flashed from Willows chest into that of the demon, and she was surprised that she didnt have to focus on the ropes for them to untie themselves. The now familiar smells and sounds of her anger surrounded Willow as she thought of her friends... her family being threatened the way they had. Her eyes, now glowing with a strange light, focused only on the monster roaring in pain before her.

Willow blocked out the sounds of the battle going on in the rest of the factory, focusing only on the object of her hate. She knew Spike and Angel could handle Buffy, and that there were a lot of combatants to take on the horde of minions. It would take them some time, but they would do it.

"I should kill you slowly for what youve done." Willows voice was almost conversational. "But I dont have the time, and, frankly, Id much rather get to the part where Spike takes me home and spoils me rotten."

Slightly dazed eyes focused on Willow as she stood on the cold cement floor. Nwalya stood, blood still pouring from his mouth in gruesome rivers, to look down at her almost condescendingly. "Muun..."

"Dont try to talk." Willow was silently impressed at her sudden ability to banter, and decided it was probably the anger. "Youll only draw this out and , like I said, I kind of want to get home."

Nwalya snarled and threw a hand out to Willow. A tendril of power slammed into the redhead, and she was thrown back to skid across the floor. The demons quiet chuckles were broken off when she slowly drew herself up to her feet and smiled slightly. Not wasting energy on talking or trying to erect any kind of protection against the coming attack, Willow simply waited tensely.

It wasnt long before another black current arced between one massive hand and her small body. With a deep breath, Willow opened the chasm inside herself where she stored all her magic and focused on the blinding pain radiating from her chest.

Nwalya gasped when he realized what she was doing, but it was too late. Willow had grafted her power onto that of the demons, pulling it into her as she would return her own to its well. When her body was humming with power, Willow felt the cuts and bruises lining her body heal. She knew there was no way for her to contain all that she was taking in, so she began to focus on the fighting on the floor at her left.

A shaft of lightning shot from her outstretched hand to rip through the chests of four vampires, leaving them to quiver and jerk for a moment before they shattered into the bits of dust that signaled their final deaths. Gunn, barely standing in front of a cowering Dawn, nodded to Willow in silent thanks before turning his attention to the first vampire that came forward to take his lost comrades place. Another shot of white-hot magic took out the five vampires Lorne, Xander, and Anya had been facing, and they quickly moved on to others.

With the amount of energy she contained back to workable levels, Willow focused on the demon in front of her once again. With a scream of rage, the rest of Nwalyas magic was absorbed into the witch, and Willow was left blinking and she tried to focus on the scene in front of her.

Little bits of fire seemed to be dancing around him. After four tries, Willow was able to make out tiny bodies inside the flames. Another blink had her realizing that the figures from her stomach had slid off her skin and were flitting here and there as they set fire to the skin they touched.

Nwalya began screaming as the fires quickly spread to cover his body. Flames burst from his eyes and mouth as he fell to rest on the floor.

As quickly as they had set on, the little figures retreated. They slid up her legs and arms to encircle her waist. The figure that Willow had deemed her private fairy, once resting on the tip of one toe, settled into an almost impish crouch in the same spot.

She had a moment to take in the pile of ash that had once been a ten-foot tall demon before a whooshing sound caught her attention and a whirl of black leather settled around her naked body. "Spike."

"Willow." Crystal blue eyes took in the smooth skin of her face as strong hands ran over her body in an attempt to find any unhealed wounds.

Silky hair was suddenly fisted in her delicate hands as she burrowed into his chest and wept. Fear, pain, and anger, all pushed aside for too long, surfaced and crashed over her.

"Im here, Red." Spike rained kisses over her face before he settled for a long, deep kiss on her upturned lips. "I love you."

"I love you, too." Willow let him sweep her up into his arms, and he turned to face their friends.

Willow saw that Angel was carrying an unconscious Buffy over his shoulder. Everyone had made it out. There were cuts, bruises, and limps; but everyone made it.

A soft chuckle rumbled Spikes chest, and she pulled back to look up into his smiling eyes. "Whats so funny?"

Spike quirked an eyebrow and sat her in the front seat of the DeSoto. "My way, pet?"

Willow could only laugh as Cordelia slid in the passenger door and Xander, Anya, and Dawn filed into the back seat before Spike climbed in and started the engine.

She's Like Candy 8