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Somewhere near London, England; late January 1996

Rupert Giles closed the book he was reading with a sigh. Winter was reaching that point where it was no longer enjoyable and was now merely tedious. No longer having such distractions in his life such as Ethan Rayne or the good majority of the magic he once commanded, his life as a Potential among the Watcher’s Council looked to be an unending march of dull sameness as far as he could envision.

He fought the urge to roll his eyes and set the building on fire and decided to take a stroll in the atrium, among the plants. He was doing this to save Ethan’s life, and perhaps the herbs and plants the other man had loved would soothe his savage and weary soul this afternoon.

But a pleasant walk was not to be in his future - halfway across the Council’s London estate, he was summoned before the executive council - the Slayer had fallen, and a new one had been called. And he had been called to Watch.

*****
William Pratt was in the middle of a small group of peers during Greek when he felt the rush and burn of the Slayer magic fill him. The vocabulary book fell from his hands and hit the floor as he clenched his fists and eyes tight against the wave of dizziness that surrounded him. One of the boys laid a hand on his shoulder and called his name.

“Will? Mate, you okay?”

He managed to nod and get out a hasty, “Sick,” before he darted from the classroom and out into the long hallway. He turned and made it just outside to lose his lunch in the bushes, after which he felt a little better, though a headache remained just behind his eyes. Maybe that was enough Greek for the day.

Rescuing his things, he saw the nurse and got permission to head for home, walking the few blocks from Bradford Grammar School to the tube stop nearby. Once the doors had slid shut, WIll sank onto a seat, holding his bag close to him, and let his eyes fall shut against the weird onslaught of images in his mind.

He managed to stumble home and into his own bed, past his worried mother, before sleep and dreams took him. Blood and violence filled dreams that had him calling out in his sleep, and his mother ringing the doctor for advice.

One useless conversation later, Mrs. Pratt set up a little nursing station in her son’s room and started what would prove to be an all night vigil, at least until she fell asleep around midnight.

Will woke up just before dawn and slipped out of the house, restless without understanding why, seeking to hunt, and feeling hunted as he walked up and down the alleys and backstreets of London’s poorer district.

Dawn broke foggy but light, and he made his way home, falling into bed. His mother never knew he’d been gone.

This behavior went on for nearly a week before he felt well enough to go back to school, and it was when he was catching up on his homework at the table under the sprawling oak tree that dominated the side and front of Bradford that he got another shock to his system.

The tall man that sat down across from him looked upper crust with just enough danger behind his eyes to make William stiffen, some new sense he’d not had before putting him on full alert that this man was hiding many things and now apparently had some business with him. But his education came out when he spoke, and his words were polite enough.

“Can I help you with something, sir?”

Giles had been watching his Slayer’s nocturnal journeys for two nights so far, and while William had the good luck not to meet a vampire on his own, it was clear that a lot of training would be needed to supplement the natural gifts of strength and agility granted by the Slayer line.

William Pratt was thin, average height, with short, spiked brown hair tipped blond. He was attractive enough, Giles supposed, if your taste ran to adolescent bad boys. But he didn’t seem to be close to any of his yearmates, so a romantic entanglement was unlikely. Good, considering their sooner-than-he-would-prefer move to the United States and the current active Hellmouth.

“Mr. Pratt, my name is Rupert Giles and I wonder if I might speak to you privately.”

***********
William Pratt was no longer just a student at an elite London prep school. Now he was the Chosen One, the one boy in all the world with the strength and skill to hunt vampires, demons, and other creatures that fell under the onus “forces of darkness”. Giles was fairly certain that one day he would have the ability to use his strength the way it was intended, but after two months of training and fast healing bruises, WIll was pretty sure that was all he was going to get out of the deal.

“You might as well call me Spike for all the good this thing is doing me,” he said one night after a particularly rough bout with a newborn vampire. He chucked the stake at the crypt and caught with with a sigh as it bounced back at him.

His Watcher sat on a long, raised tombstone nearby. “You’ll get the hang of it - Spike, then, if you prefer,” Giles said, writing something in his journal. “You did kill that one in under an hour.”

“Yeah, and ripped the coat doing it,” he shot back. “Mum’s going to murder me. Wool just isn’t meant for slaying - not as though I can tell her that, though.”

“Mm. About your mother,” Giles began. “You do remember we are leaving for the United States next month, yes? And you’ll be starting school at Sunnydale High in the fall.”

Will nodded. “I told her. She said she’ll be calling you soon to arrange travel arrangements and of course, she wants to know everything about this scholarship abroad program the Council dreamed up.”

Since it was hardly appropriate to remove children from their families in the modern era, the Watchers Council had developed new ways of removing Slayers and Potentials from their homes once they were identified. WIlliam was easier than most, as they were shipping him overseas to deal with the problem of the Hellmouth in Sunnydale and the looming threat of the Order of Aurelius that was rumored to be headed that way.

*****
Pratt and Giles arrived at Los Angeles International Airport at the end of May, proving before they even opened their mouths that they were not going to fit into the sunny California lifestyle. Giles, in his usual button-down appearance had doffed his jacket in deference to the annoyingly bright weather, but Will, or Spike, as he preferred to be known as these days; stomped down the concourse in the leather duster and heavy-soled boots he’d adopted as more slay-proof than his prior schoolboy attire.

A guitar case was slung across his back, and they would pick up two bags at the carousel. Giles had chosen to bring the most sensitive items with them and have the rest shipped directly to the small apartment the Council had rented for them - private, two bedrooms, with a garden courtyard that would let Giles grow any ingredients he needed for the few spells they still allowed him to do.

“How do they even live here?” Spike asked in an undertone as he picked up both of the heavy bags from the rotating belt.

Giles shook his head. “Surely night falls eventually?” But he didn’t sound convinced. “Well, I am sure they’ve found a way to get around any problems, evil always does.”

The pair made their way out of the airport to a waiting car, and the two hour drive north to Sunnydale, and the creeping evil from the Hellmouth.

Chapter Text

The sun was setting. Spike packed up his bio notebook and sighed. Cramming for finals in a new country while being the Slayer was just about one toe over his personal line of crap to deal with. But duty called, and patrol tonight might offer a bit more than the usual hack and slash.

He grinned at Willow as she approached in her usual bouncy manner. “There’s my mojo girl. How’s the magic feeling tonight? Ready to fireball a vamp or two?”

His best friend returned the smile and pushed a loose strand of hair behind one ear, then again as it didn’t stay. “Eh, maybe?” she said, wavering one hand in the air as Xander joined their little group and they headed off, their motley crew of three who didn’t look like they should be hanging out together according to high school rules.

Spike shrugged. “Well, old Rupes thinks you’ve got talent, so there you go, pet. And Xander, did you practice with the stakes like I told you?”

Since he’d made friends with the pair last year after coming to Sunnydale from England to guard the Hellmouth, Spike had been damn certain they weren’t going to get themselves killed if they insisted on helping. Willow’s small forays into witchcraft were actually getting somewhere after a summer spent under the tutelage of Giles and she was almost ready, both confidence and ability wise, to take out her first vampire with magic.

Xander, on the other hand - Spike glanced down and picked up the stake from where it had fallen out of Xander’s twisting fingers. He held it up with a sigh. “Whelp, mate, don’t flip the stake.”

Xander rolled his eyes at the blond and took it back, Spike let him with a snort. “This weekend, we’ll start lifting weights, get some muscle to push that thing through the ribcage, yeah?”

 

They laughed and jostled almost all the way to the cemetery, but as the sun fell completely below the horizon, each teen quieted, listening for things that went bump in the night.

Spike, in particular, was looking for one vampire in particular - blonde, and decidedly dangerously curved. He didn’t know what her name was, but they’d been watching each other for the better part of the school year and his heart was swiftly, traitorously, falling for the unknown vampire.

WIllow, of course, keeper of his secrets, knew about the mysterious vampire, but was sworn to secrecy. Xander only figured that some girl had captured his friend’s attention and lost no opportunity to tease about it, resulting in a lot of “stupid boy fights” as WIllow called them.
Two laps around Willowbrook and they were all bored - only a couple of new vampires had broken the monotony, and Xander was about to introduce the trivial pursuit of finals quizzing when a wolf whistle split the air and they stopped and searched for the newcomer. Spike grinned as he caught sight of her on top of a mausoleum, picked out in the sharp glare of a streetlight.

“Hey, stud.” Buffy Summers, late of Hemery High, late of Los Angeles, late of life altogether, crouched on one leg, the other shot out in front, perfectly balanced and at ease as she teased the Slayer.

She’d heard about him, of course, from the Master, but was new enough and arrogant enough to think that poking the beast wouldn’t end in a pile of ash. Specifically, her being one. Plus, god, he was super hot. Hotter than Pike. Way hotter. His bleached blond hair and bad boy good looks, along with the guitar he routinely carried made her blood boil.

It was a weird feeling, combined with the urge to kill, kill, kill! That woke up in her whenever she got hungry.

Willow pulled Xander out of the vampire’s sightline and covered his mouth with her hand. After a minute, he quit struggling and watched the show. Because it was definitely a farce.

Spike made his way up to the crypt and tilted his head back, watching her trace the pale line of his throat with her eyes. “Got a name, gorgeous?”

“Well, yours is dinner!” Buffy quipped, jumping lightly down in front of the spot where Spike no longer was. She spun and ended up face first in the door of the crypt, crashing through it and landing in a heap on the floor on her knees. “Shit, these pants were new!” she hissed. Not that Buffy had paid for them, but still. Clothes were important.

Spike interrupted her thoughts by kicking her in the side. She grabbed his foot and wrenched his leg at the knee, but he turned into it and used the force to wrap his legs around her upper body and pin her, scrambling to get the upper hand.

But they ended wrapped around each other, neither giving an inch of ground. Buffy’s game face was in full force. Unfortunately, there was no stake to be found, and Spike’s thudding heart and irregular breaths were making him completely forget that he had several on his person, a couple even accessible.

All he could do was stare at her, pressed against him in every place their bodies could touch in this position. Her eyes were big in the ridges of her face, and before he could second guess his own actions or desires he was kissing her, feeling the edges of her fangs with his lips.

Their hands released and gripped again, bodies sliding into more intimate, less angry positions as minutes passed. Buffy gained the upper hand and pushed up, straddling Spike as his hands slid up her body. HIs eyes met hers and there was one moment where it could have gone further down the path of madness, but some deep Slayer instinct in Spike rose up and he shoved, hard. Buffy flew to the side, hitting the tomb and cracking the stone. She looked hurt, then angry, then furious, and their fight resumed with neither one the victor.

They broke everything in the building and tumbled back outside to separate, staring each other down.

“Buffy Summers, Slayer, and when St. Vigeous gets here, you’ll regret it! All of it!” she yelled, turning to run, her emotions running high and hot, the need for blood, and death, any blood, and any death, coursing through her. The desire to forget what had happened was strong, but the want to hold onto the memory of those lips on hers was maybe, stronger.

Willow and Xander rushed out from their hiding spot and approached Spike, who was bent at the waist, trying to catch his breath, and swearing in turns.

“Is that -” Xander started.

“Yeah, mate. That’s the girl,” Spike said despondently, wiping blood from his lip with a grimace and then grinned. “Bloody hell, is that ever the girl. I am fucked, is what i am. Royally screwed.”

THE END.