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The headlights of his truck cut through the inky darkness and a small barely there smile curved his lips as he caught a glimpse of the road sign as he passed by. Welcome to Sunnydale With a name like that he should be heading into a town full of sun worshippers and surfers not one with a monster hiding in its depths.

But he was a hunter. What did he need of a town without demons to hunt? His smile faded. Sometimes he wished... John shook his head. There was no sense in him wishing for something different. This was his life. It might not be a great one, which was an understatement if there ever was one most times it really sucked ass. But it was his and it was the only one he had.

He had barely driven passed the graveyard when he caught sight of something he knew he couldn’t have seen out of the corner of his eye. It had to have been a shadow, or maybe tree branches bending from the wind but something in his gut told him otherwise. His tires protested with a loud squeal as he stomped on the brakes. What in the hell?

“Hey!” John quickly shut off his truck, jumped out and ran towards the blonde woman standing next to the mausoleum with a stake in her hand. A tremor swept through him. What the hell was she doing alone at night in a cemetery? She couldn’t be much more than a young girl. “You okay?”

Buffy spun around to face the handsome stranger. “Why? What did you see?” Her eyes rounded and she quickly cleared her throat before giving him her brightest smile. “I mean I’m fine. It’s a nice night for a walk.”

Really, that’s your excuse? Because I would have sworn you had just staked some vampires. John couldn’t stop the words from running through his mind but he kept his mouth shut. He knew what he had seen but for some reason the girl in front of him didn’t want to admit it. He glanced up at the night sky and pretended to ponder her statement before he lowered his head and stared down at her. With a shrug of his shoulders and a grin on his face he agreed. “It’s not bad.”

At the husky tone of his voice Buffy’s breath caught in her throat. She quickly wiped her dusty hands on the sides of her jeans. She couldn’t stand around all night under the spell of a handsome man no matter how much she might wish otherwise. She had to finish patrolling before she could leave and tell Giles what had happened. “Well, it was...”

He didn’t know why but for whatever the reason John didn’t want her to leave. He quickly thrust out his hand and introduced himself. “I’m John Winchester.”

She placed her hand in his large one. “I’m Buffy Summers. What brings you to our town?”

John’s grin widened. “Are we really going to stand here exchanging pleasantries and pretend I didn’t see what I did?” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.

All thoughts of leaving left as her mouth popped open before she quickly closed it and stared up at him with an innocent expression on her face. “I.. umm... I don’t know what you mean.”

Laughter escaped him. “You’re a lousy liar, Buffy. Is it okay if I call you that?”

Buffy gave permission with a nod of her head. “Look. I don’t know what you think you saw but...”

“Let me lay it out for you then. I saw a tiny girl who looked no more than sixteen if that surrounded by four vampires and by the time I stopped my truck and ran over to help her she had staked them all.”

Even though she bristled at being called tiny she couldn’t deny that once more his voice did things to her she hadn’t thought possible. “I’m not... Wait. You were going to come and help?” Before she could stop herself she aimed a slap at his broad shoulder. “Are you insane? You could have been killed!” For some reason the thought of this handsome man ceasing to exist tore up her insides.

His grin reappeared as he assured her. “I’d have been all right.”

Buffy rolled her eyes so hard she feared they would stick in that position. This was really great. He couldn’t just be a gorgeous man. No he had to be a macho one with a death wish instead. Wasn’t that always her luck? “There are plenty of men who thought the same thing and being in this town proved them wrong.”

“Why then can you handle it?” He watched as her shoulders slumped.

“I was chosen.” She shook her head to clear it. After all these years one would think she would be used to it but every once in awhile she couldn’t help but wish she was a normal girl especially when she was standing this close to a handsome man. Without saying another word she turned and began to walk back the way she had came. She wasn’t surprised to find John falling into step beside her. She was the first to break the silence surrounding them. “You never did tell me what you’re doing here.”

For a brief moment John debated on how much to tell her before he decided to lay his cards on the table. If she could take out four vampires with a little bitty piece of wood then she was obviously someone who knew her way around the supernatural world. “I’m hunting.”

“Hunting what?” Hunting season had ended a few weeks ago. She couldn’t say his next words didn’t surprise her.

“Demons.” John paused for a moment. “A werewolf to be exact.” At the look on her face he decided on full disclosure. “Let me start from the beginning.” He waited for Buffy to nod her head. “My name is John Winchester, which you already know. What you don’t know is I’m a Hunter. I hunt demons and monsters. And I’m assuming you’re something similar by the way you took out those vampires.”

“I’m The Slayer.”

A look of confusion crossed John’s face.

“I’m the one who gets to fight the demons, vampires and any other horrible creature the Hellmouth can throw are me.” Buffy stopped walking and turned to face him. She really wanted to get off the subject of her. “So you’re in Sunnydale because?”

“I tracked a werewolf here.”

She couldn’t keep the gasp from escaping. They’d already had their share of werewolf hunters who hunted werewolves for sport and even worse their pelts. Buffy couldn’t help but hope the man in front of her wasn’t one of them.

“I started tracking it in Texas and each time it’s been a move ahead of me.” Before Buffy could ask he explained, “Less than two weeks ago a werewolf attacked a five year old girl and left her for dead on her grandfather’s ranch. This same werewolf did the same thing a few weeks before that going back at least three months and each time in a different state. As you can see he’s got a taste for children. It usually attacks within a day or two of hitting the town. And going by his MO he is due for another attack within the next couple of days, starting now. I plan on killing it before it can hurt another little girl.”

There wasn’t a doubt in Buffy’s mind he planned on doing exactly what he’d said and she had every intention of helping him. “The girls?” Her voice trembled as she asked the question. It was the worst part of her job knowing children were being hurt. At the look on his face Buffy wasn’t sure she really wanted to know.

“They’re alive.”

“That’s good, right?” Even as the question left her mouth Buffy knew she was only kidding herself.

John shook his head, his heart filled with sorrow. “They’re werewolves, Buffy. But I didn’t have the heart to...” They were just little girls. He swallowed hard as he fought for control before he continued, “I told the parents what would happen and gave them the lore. As long as they keep the girls locked up tight on the nights they turn into werewolves and no one gets hurt they should be able to grow up and live at least semi-normal lives. But if they ever...”

He didn’t have to finish Buffy understood.

“I’ve told a couple of men I know, they’re really good guys and they’re willing to check in on these girls ever so often. Just to make sure...” He looked down at Buffy. “Now I have to kill this thing before it can do it again.” He didn’t know what he expected her to say, something, anything to let him know he had done the right thing.

“Come on.” She grabbed the arm of his jacket. “Come with me.”

He allowed himself to be pulled along in her wake. “Where we going?”

“To get some help.”

 

 

John sat on the couch in the living room explaining for what seemed like the umpteenth time what had happened and why he was there.

“And you say he’s only attacked little girls?” Giles removed his glasses and began to clean them on his handkerchief.

John swallowed a sigh as he nodded his head. He’d spent the last twenty minutes explaining to the man Buffy had called her Watcher how he had come to be in Sunnydale. “All the girls had just turned five the day before it attacked.”

Giles pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose as he walked towards his bookshelf. “That’s odd.” His fingers ran across the spines of the books lined up as he searched for the one he needed. “Most werewolves are less discriminating than this chap seems to be and tend to bite anyone in the vicinity no matter what the age or gender.”

“It’s an animal.” The words left his mouth on a snarl.

He grabbed a very large book from the shelf before he turned his head to look at Buffy’s guest. “You do realize he’s a man most of the time, don’t you?”

“No. It’s not.” John shook his head. “It ceased being a man the minute it attacked that first little girl.” His eyes narrowed as if daring anyone in the room to argue.

No one in the room could deny John was right.

With a look of horror on his face Giles whispered, “Oh dear Lord.” As he read from the ancient book. Carefully, with a growing feeling of dread Giles turned the page. “Oh dear Lord.” He uttered the same words again.

A shiver of trepidation shot down her spine. “What is it, Giles?”

“He...” At the look on John’s face he quickly amended, “It is attacking these little girls on purpose.” Before anyone could say anything Giles continued, “And it’s not just because it’s a werewolf but because it wants to build up his line.”

Buffy’s brow wrinkled in confusion. “Explainy?”

“According to the text in each purebred werewolf line there are more males that make it to maturity than they are females. No one really knows why.” No one in the room was interested in the why so Giles continued, “Add that to the fact that most new turns tend to be male also...” At the look on Buffy’s face he shrugged. He had no idea why new turns were male. “It’s not unusual for a male to want to break away from his pack to start his own.”

John couldn’t stop himself from interrupting. “So what you’re saying is this thing is a pureblood and he’s making himself a new line because there are a shortage of females?”

Giles nodded but before he could explain further Buffy jumped in. She didn’t like where this was going. “But these are only little girls.”

“Even in humans it’s a known fact girls mature a lot faster than boys add in a bite from a werewolf....” Giles didn’t need to finish that thought. “At this young age they’re easier to adapt to their new situation. It won’t take long before they forget what it’s like to be wholly human and they will embrace their wolves wholeheartedly.”

“But he... it left them.” Buffy looked at John for confirmation and at his nod she continued, “Wouldn’t that mean it’s...?”

Giles shook his head. “It’s not finished yet. It’ll come back for the girls when it’s done making his pack.”

“Son of bitch!” John snarled. Those girls had already been traumatized enough. There was no way in hell he was going to let that thing do any more damage than it already had. “Excuse me for a minute. I have to make a call.”

 

As soon as John was out of earshot Buffy turned to Giles with a hopeful look on her face. “What do we do?”

He gave her a reassuring smile. “We find out how many little girls we have in Sunnydale who will be turning five years old in the next day or so.

“That could take awhile.” Buffy muttered to herself. Sunnydale had always been heavily populated but since it had been rebuilt the population had exploded. She raised her head as John came back into the room. “Everything okay?”

John nodded. “I called a man named Bobby, he’s a.... friend.” He hoped neither of them noticed his hesitation and asked questions. He wasn’t ready to have to explain his and Bobby’s complicated relationship. “He and his friend Rufus are going to go round the girls and their families up and keep them safe until this thing is over.”

Giles’ brow furrowed in thought as he glanced down at the book. With a grim look on his face he raised his head. “The werewolf has already been in town at least a day that you’re sure of? Maybe two?” At John’s nod a pained expression crossed his face. “We need to find out the girl’s names now... tonight.” At the quizzical looks mirrored on John and Buffy’s faces he continued, “It’s a purebred.”

A look of understanding slowly dawned on John’s face. “Because it won’t need the full moon to turn. A purebred werewolf can turn anytime it chooses.” He glanced over at Giles and Buffy. “We don’t have any more time left. The thing has already chosen its next victim and it’s attacking tonight.”

A gasp of horror escaped Buffy as John finished speaking.

“Where do we start?”

“Little Princesses Party Planners.” Buffy reached for the phone and began to dial the number.

John leaned his head closer to Giles and whispered, “How can she be sure?”

Buffy placed her hand over the mouthpiece. “They have a branch in LA. Mom used them for my fifth birthday party.” At the look on Giles’ face she amended, “Okay my first through my eighth birthday.” She shrugged. “I wanted to be a princess.” She glared at both men daring them to say anything.

John smothered a laugh as he made a locking motion with his fingers across his lips and Giles gave her his most innocent look.

With one final glare at the both of them Buffy tossed her hair over her shoulder and gave her full attention to the person on the other end of the line. “Hi, This is Hilda Radtree. My daughter has a birthday coming up and she is dead set on it being princess themed. But before I hire y’all I would like to speak to some of your customers who you have done parties for recently. Do y’all have any references?”

Giles and John’s mouth gaped open as they watched stunned. Neither of them could believe what they were witnessing.

After she said thank you, Buffy hung up the phone. “We’re in luck. There are only two little girls who turned five this week. One was on Monday and then the other one a Sally Mason just turned five yesterday.”

“The one on Monday is a lucky girl. She’s past the time. Sally on the other hand...”

He didn’t have to finish. She was way ahead of him. “Let’s go.”

Giles grabbed the crossbow as they walked towards the door. “Why a southern accent?”

She shrugged. “It was the first thing that came to mind. Why was it not good?”

“I thought you were real good, darlin’.” John drew out the endearment his husky voice rich with a country boy charm.

As Giles rolled his eyes Buffy beamed at John and followed him out the door.

 

 

“I want a drink of water.”

An exasperated sigh echoed through the room. “You’ve already had a whole glass, Sally. It’s bedtime. Now please go to sleep.”

“But...” She didn’t want to go to bed she wasn’t tired yet.

The little girl’s mother quickly headed off the whine she knew was coming. “No buts. Hop back into bed.” She leaned down pulled the covers up and kissed the top of her daughter’s blonde head. Sometimes it was hard for her to believe her little girl was already five it seemed like just yesterday she was bringing her home from the hospital. She bit back a sad sigh and waited until her daughter’s eyes had drifted close before she tiptoed out of the room.

Sally waited for the soft click of the door before she opened her eyes. If she was really quiet she could stay up and play for a little while. Where was it? She began to frantically search through the blankets. “Muffin?” A look of horror crossed her face as it dawned on her where she had left her favorite new stuffed animal, the one her Mama had made for her for her birthday. She knew her Mama wouldn’t let her go and get it if she asked so there was only one thing she could do. She had to go and get it herself. If she was quick her Mama wouldn’t even know she was gone.

That was the plan sneak outside, grab the bear and back inside to her bed with her Mama none the wiser. A nervous giggle escaped her. She had never defied her Mama before. If she ever found out Sally knew she would be in so much trouble. But that wasn’t going to happen.

As quietly as she could Sally eased out of bed. A smile curled her lips. Being sneaky was fun! She slipped her small feet into her fuzzy pink slippers that matched her pajamas and carefully opened her window and climbed out. She quickly smothered a squeal of delight when she saw Muffin laying against the huge tree in the front yard right in front of the huge picture window. Sally swallowed hard. She would have to be careful not to get seen.

Her eyes were wide as her heart began to race. She hadn’t realized how spooky it was outside at night. Everywhere she looked it felt as if eyes were staring back at her. She broke into a run making a beeline for her stuffed animal.

At the sound of a menacing growl Sally came to a full stop, frozen in her tracks, her body trembling in fear.

Something was coming towards her, it looked like a bigger, hairier wolf and a mean one at that. As it came closer her high pitched scream pierced the night. The sound of a gunshot followed quickly behind.

The little girl’s mother ran outside screaming her daughter’s name. “Sally!”

The werewolf stood still salivating as it stared from the little girl and back to the mother. It was almost as if it was trying to determine if it could attack them both at the same time or if it should just do what it had come to do.

John, Buffy and Giles rushed through the bushes and into the clearing their weapons trained on the werewolf. They knew they had to use the werewolf’s indecision to their advantage and quickly get the little girl and her mother out harm’s way.

“Mrs Mason, take Sally back inside and don’t come back out no matter what you hear.” As she faltered John snarled, “Now!” If only the little girl and her mother hadn’t been standing there he could have shot the thing but he couldn’t risk hurting them. He was just grateful the shot he had fired in the air had caused the werewolf to pause.

Without a word of protest the woman lifted her daughter into her arms and ran back inside. They could all hear the sound of bolts being slid home as she locked the door behind them.

Giles pointed his crossbow at the werewolf directly between the eyes. “Show yourself.”

Within moments a naked man took the place of the werewolf. As he stared at the weapons trained on him his eyes widened and spittle ran down his chin as he screamed, “It’s not my fault!”

“How the hell can you say that?” John’s fingers itched to pull the trigger as Giles asked the incredulous question.

“I was born this way.” A sneer appeared on his face.

Buffy glared at him. “That’s it? No I’m sorry for all the little girls I’ve hurt?”

Every cell in his body was unapologetic as he shrugged. “How did I hurt them? I gave them a gift. Someday they will thank me for that.” For a minute his eyes almost glazed over at the thought of how they would thank him once they were old enough to become proper mates. His body actually hummed in anticipation before he shook his head and glared at the three humans standing in the way of his plan. “Besides it’s my nature. You can’t kill me for that. Do you kill the bear or the lion for what they are?” A smug smile began to appear on his face. “Then how can you blame the wolf?”

John took a step forward. “You see, it’s not the werewolf I blame. The werewolf is an animal. Just that a dumb animal. It doesn’t plan out who to attack or when to kill and it damn sure can’t decide to go after helpless little girls. No, a man did that, a pathetic excuse for one at that but still just a man.” He aimed the colt. “So when I blow your brains out I’m actually doing the human race and the animal one a huge favor.” The steely glint in John’s eyes left no room for doubt that he meant every word.

Before he could fire a shot and before they knew what happened it was on Buffy, its elongated nails raked down her body as its teeth bit into her shoulder.

“Buffy!” Their voices sounded in unison.

“No!” John yelled as Giles started to run towards Buffy. “We’ve only got this one chance. We won’t get another one.”

Buffy’s watcher stood glaring at him with hostile eyes. John couldn’t blame Giles one bit for wanting to run to help her hell he wanted to do the same thing. As a matter of fact he wanted to rush to her side and pull the beast off of her with his bare hands but his years of training as hunter kept him in good stead. John didn’t take his eyes off of the scene playing out in front of him. He rushed around to the other side desperate to get a better angle. “Giles?”

Giles didn’t even have to ask. He looked over at the picture window to make sure no one, especially not a little girl too curious for her own good was standing in front of it watching. “No one’s watching.”

The minute it raised it’s head John fired the shot and hit it right between the eyes. The beast crumpled in a heap. It’s reign of terror finally over.

They didn’t notice as it’s body turned back into the werewolf.

“Buffy?” John kneeled by her side, his heart pounding in his chest. He should’ve have been faster with the gun. He should have followed his instincts and killed the thing before it could have attacked her. Hell, he should’ve shot the damn thing instead of firing into the air... but he couldn’t have done that. He couldn’t risk the little girl.

A whimper escaped her throat and Buffy quickly clamped her jaws together to keep from crying out again.

Her cry of pain shook him out of his thoughts. It was too late now for should haves... what mattered now was taking care of Buffy. “Shhh... Don’t try to speak.” John ran his hand across her forehead, pushing her hair back away from her face. “I need you to lie very still. I need to see how bad the wounds are.”

Even though his hands were gentle pain shot through her with his every touch. “The cuts on her torso aren’t too bad. The wound on the shoulder is the worst. She’s going to need stitches. I’ll take her to the...”

Before he could finish Buffy whispered through clenched teeth. “No hospitals.”

“But...”

She glared at him. “I said no hospitals.”

John shot Giles a helpless look and Giles could only shrug.

“She’s got a thing about hospitals.” Even though it was an understatement it was the only explanation he could offer. If Buffy wanted him to know anything any further she would have to be the one to tell him.

“Fine.” John wasn’t happy about the development but he gave in. In one swift move he got to his feet before leaning down and sliding his hands underneath her. Blood poured out of her wounds and her body trembled as John scooped her up into his arms and held her against his chest. He spared Giles a glance. “Can you...?”

Giles nodded. “I’ll take care of it. You just help her.” Every part of him wanted to be the one to take care of Buffy. As her Watcher it was his duty but at the look on John’s face he knew he would never be able to pry her out of his arms. Besides someone had to take care of the mess. They couldn’t just leave it there for the little girl and her Mom to find. He might as well be the one to clean it up. He was just thankful purebloods turn into werewolves when the die. It made it a lot easier for him to dispose of the body.

The words were barely out of Giles’ mouth before John turned and rushed back to his truck with Buffy cradled safe in his arms.

 

Less than forty-five minutes later Buffy lay curled up on the bed in her bedroom her body covered in bandages.

Giles rushed into the room. “How is she?”

John couldn’t take his eyes off of her. “I’ve cleaned her wounds and stitched up the worst ones. She’s...

“She’s laying right here.” Buffy glared up at them both. “And she’ll be fine once her slayer strength kicks in and the scratches and bites heal.” She watched as a look passed between John and Giles. She struggled to sit up. “Won’t I?” At their continued silence she wanted to scream as she repeated, “Won’t I?”

“We don’t know, Buffy.” Giles whipped off his glasses and began to clean them furiously.

“But the werewolf who bit me is dead. Doesn’t that mean that I’m cured?” Her voice trembled as she spoke.

No one could miss the hopefulness in her voice and John hated to be the one to take it away. But false hope was worse than no hope. “That only works in television shows, sweetheart.”

Tears shimmered in her eyes. “What do I do?”

John corrected automatically. “What do we do.” At the confused look on her face he explained, “There’s no way I’m leaving you to handle this alone.”

Buffy stared at him with her mouth agape. She didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t as if they were anything to each other. As a matter of fact they’d only known one another for a few hours. Granted they were an intense few hours. But still how could they have begun to mean so much to each other in so short a time? It was a valid question but one she didn’t have the answer to. All she knew is they did. Or at least she did. “But you did what you came to do.”

Carefully, John sat down on the bed beside her. “I’m not leaving.” He repeated as he gently helped her to lie back down.

As Giles stood in the doorway and watched the exchange he couldn’t help but be relieved Buffy had finally found someone. He’d begun to worry if it would ever happen. It wasn’t to say she hadn’t had a love life. She had but those had been mere lovers, men and vampires who would leave her without even trying to fight to keep her. One look at the man beside his slayer and Giles was positive he wasn’t going to let her go without a damn good fight. “I’ll go and check the books and see if I can’t find some answers.” Without another word he left the room to give them some privacy.

“Why?” The question was out of her mouth the minute Giles left. Maybe she shouldn’t ask but she needed to know.

John reached out and caressed her cheek as he scooted closer. His warm breath caressed her lips as lowered his head and whispered, “Why do you think?”

“I don’t know.”

A sexy smile curved his lips as a small laugh escaped him. “Liar.”

With her heart pounding in her chest and her blood thundering in her ears Buffy closed her eyes, leaned her head further back against the pillows and waited for his kiss. When one wasn’t forthcoming she opened her eyes. Why hadn’t he accepted her invitation?

Not kissing her was one of the hardest things he had ever had to do but he didn’t want to hurt her and regardless of what she said he was positive she had to be in some kind of pain after the werewolf attack.

“I’m not fragile, you know?”

The look in her eyes, her bottom lip thrust out in a pout was almost more than he could bear. John closed his eyes, took a deep breath and counted to ten before he opened his eyes again and stared into hers. It was no good he had to get out of there before he gave in and did something against his better judgement.

It took every single ounce of willpower he possessed not to give in. Somehow he managed to stay strong. With great reluctance he ignored her offer. “You lie back and get some rest. I’m going to go and see if Giles needs a hand trying to find something that can help.” And with a quick kiss to her forehead he quickly stood and left the room.

Through a haze of burning pain Buffy glared at the doorway, a mutinous expression on her face. She couldn’t help but wonder...Would it have killed him to kiss her just once?

 

Giles looked up from the pile of books he had scattered across his table. “How’s...”

“I told her to get some rest.”

He could tell John would rather be back upstairs with Buffy but her needs came before his and what she needed the most from them right this moment was for them to find out what the consequences from the werewolf bite would be.

John sat down at the table across from Giles and reached for the closest book. “What am I looking for?”

He didn’t bother glancing up from the book in front of him. “Anything on pureblood werewolf manifestations, on whether or not anyone has ever not turned once bitten and or clawed by one.”

Without another word John opened the book and set to work.

 

A few hours later and neither of them had found anything that could remotely be called helpful.

“What do we now?” John closed the book in front of him and pushed it back across the table.

Giles removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose before fixing the other man with a steely glance as he slid his glasses back on. “There’s only one other source that I know of who could possibly have any answers.”

John felt as if he were missing something. Why didn’t the man just come out with what he was trying to say? “Who?”

With John’s hatred of werewolves Giles felt he needed as much of a warning as possible. “You’re not going to like it.”

“It doesn’t matter if I do or not. All that matters is helping Buffy and if this...”

Before John could finish speaking Giles interrupted. “It’s Oz.” At the confusion on John’s face he explained, “Oz is a werewolf. If anyone has any insights on werewolves it’s going to be him.”

There were a lot of things he wanted to say but it all boiled down to what was best for Buffy. “Call him.”

Without another word Giles reached for the phone.

 

The call seemed to last forever but in fact it was less than thirty minutes later when Giles hung up.

“What did he say? Is there anyway Buffy isn’t going to become a werewolf.” In his world there were only two realities once someone was bitten. The person would either become a werewolf or they would die.

Giles stared at him before he shook his head. “There’s no way for us to know for certain not until...” At the look on John’s face he rushed to assure him. “Even though Oz was turned by his young cousin who bit him because he doesn’t like to be tickled there have been instances where someone has been bitten especially while the werewolf is in his human form and they haven’t turned. But it’s rare. Very rare.”

“I guess we wait for the full moon.” John sighed. If only he’d been quicker and killed the beast before it could get near Buffy. Another sigh escaped him and echoed around the room. If he was dealing in if onlies then he wished he could have killed it before it had attacked the first little girl. “Thankfully it’s in a couple of days. At least we won’t have to wait too long before we know if...” At the look on Giles’ face he stopped talking mid-sentence. “What?”

He took al deep breath. “The transformation will not take place this full moon but the next.”

John’s mouth dropped open. “So what you’re saying is Buffy has to wait for a whole month before she’ll know if she’s a werewolf or not?”

A painful sound echoed behind them and both men turned to see Buffy standing in the middle of the room with a look of horror quickly spreading across her face.

“What about my slayer strength won’t that speed up the process?”

They couldn’t miss the hopefulness in her voice. And although neither of them wanted to be the one to distinguish that hope they both agreed she deserved to know the truth.

“I’m sorry, Buffy. But your being a slayer won’t speed up the time at all. However transforming from human to a werewolf will take less time and be a little less painful because of your slayer strength.”

“So this is what I have to look forward to... less pain but I still get to turn into a werewolf?” Her voice was thick with sarcasm and fear as she spoke. She felt like she was sixteen years old again and just finding out she was going to have to fight and die at the hands of The Master. Only this time instead of fighting a monster she was going to become one.

One look at her face and Giles knew exactly what she was thinking. “This is an entirely different circumstance, Buffy. It’s not a prophecy. You’re not going to die.”

John watched the scene before him with confusion written all over his face.

They didn’t have time to go into all of it but Giles quickly explained the gist. “A year after Buffy was called a prophecy revealed she was to fight The Master and she would die.”

“The Master?”

“A vampire.” That was the simplest answer Giles could give.

“No. I’m not going to die. I’m just becoming one of the things I’m supposed to protect people from. Instead they’re going to need protection from me.” She had wanted to be a normal girl and have a normal life more than anything but instead she was becoming a monster. Now being the Slayer didn’t seem so bad. She fought back the tears as the emotions threatened to overwhelm her. “Well, I guess it’s a good thing I don’t have a love life to speak of.” What man would be willing to go through this with her?

He cleared his throat loudly before he walked over to stand in front of her. “I don’t know much about what you’ve had to face before me but I do know what you’re facing now and you’re not going to do it alone. And as far as your love life is concerned...” John’s husky voice was full of wicked promises as he fixed her with a sexy grin. “I’m working on that.”

“You are?” She’d thought, hoped something was happening between them but after his refusal to kiss her upstairs she’d felt that maybe she had misread the situation after all.

Giles ducked his head, his cheeks pink with embarrassment as he stammered something about it being his cue and quickly leaving the room.

“Yes. I am.” His grin widened. “And once you’re healed...”

Buffy raised the hem of her shirt, lifted the bandage a little to show the skin beginning to grow together. “I’m getting better already.”

John reached out to touch her; his thumb caressed her skin as his large hand cupped her cheek. “I know I’m old enough to be your father. Hell, I’ve got sons who are your age but if you want me, if you’ll let me...”

Buffy nodded her head with unseemly haste. “I don’t care about that. I just...”

He had to give her fair warning. John quickly placed his finger across her lips to stop her from saying anything. “Be careful, Buffy. Don’t say anything you don’t mean because once you say it there’s no way in hell I’m going to let you take it back.”

Sharp teeth grazed the tip of his finger as Buffy bit down. At his sharp intake of breath she smiled. “You’re so bossy.” She stared into his deep brown eyes. “I just want you.”

A wave of relief shot through John so intense he thought his knees would buckle. He slid his arms around her waist, pulling her closer as he leaned his forehead against hers.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?” Her voice was so low he almost didn’t hear her.

“I do now.” John knew she was still scared about what the next month would bring and he rushed to reassure her. “We’ll get through this.”

At this moment she couldn’t see how she could make it at least not with her sanity in tact. “There’s a whole month before the next full moon. What do we do until then?” Before John could say anything Buffy continued, “And what happens if I’m a...?”

His hands rubbed her back in soothing circles. “To answer your first question, we live. We go about our daily lives just like we were before.” A smile curled his lips. “Well not exactly as we did before. This time it’ll be better.” At the look on her face, his smile widened. “Because now I have you. As for your second question... What do you think will happen? Do you think just because you turn into a werewolf it’s going to change anything?”

“It’s going to change everything.” Her voice was low and laced with fear she couldn’t hide.

He couldn’t deny some things would change. There would be a whole new way of life for her to learn how to live with. There would have to be adjustments made on both of their sides. But one thing wouldn’t change and of that he was certain. “Not the way I feel.”

She took a step back and tossed her blonde hair back behind her shoulder. “You didn’t exactly sign on for this.”

His eyes widened in disbelief. He couldn’t believe she actually thought he wouldn’t want her if she became a werewolf. Buffy really should know better. John’s arms tightened like steel bands around her waist and pulled her closer until her body was flush against his. “That’s the last time I want you to doubt me.”

He sounded gruff, his words harsh but she could hear the underlying hurt below the surface, hurt she had caused. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to..”

John shushed her. “Everything is going to be okay.” He ran his fingers down her spine before caressing her waist, sliding his hands up her arms to cup her face in his hands.

Her breath caught in her throat as she waited for John to kiss her.

With slow movements he lowered his head until their lips met in a passionate kiss.

A low moan slipped from her lips just before his tongue invaded her mouth to search out the warm hidden depths.

Tongues dueled in an age-old dance of domination. He asked, she gave in, he demanded, she surrendered.

In her short life she had been kissed before but never like this. Those had been pale imitations of what John was doing to her. He wasn’t merely kissing her, he was devouring her very soul and she couldn’t get enough. It felt as if her whole body was aflame, lit from within with a fire that raged through her burning everything in its wake and she never wanted it to stop.

A loud gasp followed softly by a harsh moan as his blunt teeth nipped at her bottom lip before his tongue darted out to soothe the small hurt. His fingers of one hand knotted into her hair, the other caressed her throat as he deepened the kiss.

He held her as if she were the most precious thing in his life and by the time he raised his head, her lips swollen from his kiss she would know without a doubt how much she really meant to him.

Buffy slid her fingers beneath the waistband of his shirt wringing a harsh groan from deep within his chest.

John pulled away from her lips to trail soft, warm kisses across her cheeks, down her throat, his teeth nipping and sucking at the tender skin.

It was all she could do not to scream out loud as pleasure so intense it was almost painful washed over her. “John.” His name was breathless moan as his lips continued lower.

He raised his head to look her in the eyes. “Maybe we should take this somewhere more private.”

All she could do was nod her head as John scooped her up in his arms and headed for the stairs.

 

 

 

Days slowly slipped into weeks until the day John and Buffy had been both waiting for and dreading finally arrived.

It had been decided weeks ago Buffy would spend the night of the full moon in the cage Oz used to use for his own transformation into a werewolf.

Without a word she walked into the cage and closed the door behind her.

Buffy couldn’t stop her body from trembling as she stood in front of John, the metal bars the only thing separating her from the man she loved. “What happens if I’m a....” She swallowed hard the sound echoing through the room. “If I turn?”

They’d had this same conversation so many times before and each time he had always given her the same answer. “I’ve told you this time and again and I’ll say it as many times as you need to hear it, sweetheart. I love you, Buffy Summers and nothing will ever change that.” He quickly shushed her as she opened her mouth to speak. “Whether you’re The Slayer, a werewolf, something in between or anything else nothing will ever change how I feel about you. Whatever happens we will deal with it together, okay?”

Her blonde hair bounced around her shoulders as she nodded her head. “Okay.” She agreed before she whispered, “I love you, too.”

“I know.” His husky voice caused her skin to tingle and sent tremors dancing down her spine.

As much as she wanted him she couldn’t afford the distraction. “You’d better go.” She began to pace the cage Oz had used so many years before. She would have never thought she would need to use it in the same way he had. Although she was absolutely terrified she wished the time would hurry up she needed to know what she was.

“Buffy.”

She shook her head. “Absolutely not.” Buffy knew exactly what he was going to say. “We talked about this, John.”

He shook his head. There was no way in hell he was letting her go through this alone, not if he could help it. “No. We didn’t. You stated what you wanted to happen. I never agreed.”

Her eyes rolled heavenward. Someone save her from over protective men. Not that she would really want that. John Winchester was the best thing to ever happen to her and she knew it. “I don’t want you to see me like that. Please. I can’t stand the...”

“Shh. Okay, sweetheart. You win. I’ll go. But I’ll be back.” He laid a cellphone on the ground in front of the cage door. “This is so you can call me sooner.”

Neither one of them commented. They didn’t want to face the thought that she might not need the phone any sooner.

As he began to leave she called his name. “John, What if...”

He waited for her to continue.

“What if once this is over...?”

What the hell was she talking about? Did she honestly think he wouldn’t love her if she turned?

Before he could answer she continued, “You know what they say about relationships that start under intense circumstances...” The thought of losing him scared her as much as the thought of finding out she was a werewolf.

John shook his head as he turned to face her. “Nothing will change how I feel about you.”

Tears sprung to her eyes as she bit her lip. “Promise?”

“I promise, baby.” With one last look John walked out of the crypt.

Once outside he leaned against the wall before sliding to the ground and making himself as comfortable as possible given the circumstances. Buffy might not want him inside but there was nothing she could do to stop him from staying outside. No matter what happened he wasn’t leaving her.

“I know you’re still out there, John. And I don’t like it.”

There was no doubting the miffed tone in her voice.

He could have kept quiet. A less brave man might have but John Winchester was made of sterner stuff. “And I know you don’t, sweetheart. But lucky for me there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it at the moment.”

Her gasp was audible. “John!”

“Relax, baby. This will all be over in a few minutes.” He sent a quick silent prayer heavenward but he couldn’t stop himself from making the childish gesture of crossing his fingers too. “And then you can do whatever you’d like to me.”

“You shouldn’t say something like that. I’m The Slayer and I can think of all kinds of ways to torture you.”

John leaned his head back against the cold stone and grinned at her teasing tone. She was trying so hard to be brave when he knew she was scared to death. “I just bet you can.” His grin faded and he whispered, “Remember my promise, sweetheart.”

“I will.”

They both fell silent as the moon rose full and bright in the night sky.

No matter what happened now and in their future John Winchester would always keep his promise to Buffy.