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Author's Chapter Notes:
This is for the NHA Prompt Challenge Winter 2007-2008 Prompt 17. Willow has a secret admirer leaving her gifts. Who is it? What do they leave her? Does she return their feelings or is it a stalker thing?

Thanks to Gabrielle for betaing this for me.
He moved quietly across the campus; the slayer was supposed to be patrolling but one could never be certain she'd do as she was told. If she did, though, he could finally put his plan into action. Finally win over the witch. Or try to—maybe he'd waited too long. It had been nearly a year now, and she had the witch. He should've made his move sooner, but it was hard to convince someone to love you when you were chained to a tub or forced to wear Xander's clothing. Then he had spent so much time making sure the soldiers didn't find him that he hadn't had a chance to come up with a plan.

He had become even more certain he loved her, though. She was the only one concerned about him, arguing against him being chained up, making sure he got blood after they let him go, she even stopping the slayer from staking him a time or two. Now though, now he had a plan. Now, he could try to get her to love him, to see him as a man, not just the monster that would kill them all if given half a chance. He just hoped it wasn't too late, that he could convince her she didn't love Tara.

He slid through the main doors of Stephenson Hall behind a couple of co-eds whose time on the Hellmouth had not made them at all cautious about being followed. He smiled at them when they realized he was behind them, then smirked as both girls giggled and walked away. He headed up the steps, to the dorm Willow shared with Tara. It was all too easy; it never ceased to amaze Spike that the people who lived here could remain so blissfully unaware of what lurked in their city at night. No one even questioned him as he placed the box on the floor outside her room and walked away, people just passed him as if he wasn't there at all.

Still, while leaving the box had been easy, deciding on the contents had been harder than he thought it would be, he thought as he made his way off campus and headed back to the cemetery. He couldn't just kill someone and offer them to her as he had with Dru; he knew his witch would not be at all charmed by dead bodies. He could have tried kidnapping her, but that would be challenging at best since the fact that he couldn't cause her pain also ruled out turning her. Not that he even wanted to, really. He wanted her to want him because she cared about him, not because he was her sire or because he'd tortured her into it. Because even Dru had never really wanted him for him. At first he was a plaything, something to pass the time, then when Darla and Angel left them, she'd needed someone to take care of her and he'd done that. She'd never really loved him as he'd loved her.

00oo00oo00oo

"Hey, Will," Buffy said, coming through the door carrying a small box and her backpack. Willow had promised to help her study for a test so she'd have a chance of passing. "This was outside your door. It has your name on it."

Willow set her book down and sat up, frowning at the box Buffy had dropped on the bed. "Who's it from?"

"It doesn't say. It just has your name on it."

"That's weird." She frowned again. Who would be sending her anything? Although really, they didn't send it because it hadn't come in the mail; they had dropped it off, just left it outside the door. "I've been here all night, why didn’t they knock?"
"I don't know," Buffy said, sitting on the bed next to her, "It doesn’t look all evil though, so you can probably open it."

Willow wondered silently how exactly they'd know if it was evil. It wasn't like packages containing evil things came with a big sticker announcing that they were indeed evil and shouldn't be opened. Then again, the slayer was sitting right next to her, so she decided she should just open it and let Buffy deal with any evil repercussions that resulted from not calling Giles before opening a box from an unnamed source. She pulled the top off of the box, pulled out a small vial, and looked at it, turning it in her hands slowly.

"What is it?"

"Essence of violet," Willow said, handing it to Buffy and looking in the box again.

"Why?" Buffy asked. "I mean, actual violets I'd understand, a secret admirer or something sending you flowers, but essence of violet?"

"It's used in spells," Willow said. "But who'd send me random ingredients for spells?"

"There isn't a note or anything?" Buffy asked. "Maybe Tara left them?"

"Nope, the box is empty. Why would Tara buy this and then leave it outside the door rather than bringing it in? And we pretty much share this kind of stuff anyway. She'd just buy it and put it away."

Buffy sighed, "I don't know, Will. Maybe it's someone from that Wicca group?"

"Why, though? They don't even really believe there is magic. It's just a social club with bake sales, no actual spells."

"Well, it’s not evil or anything," Buffy offered, "Right? It's just one ingredient so I wouldn't worry about it."

"Maybe you're right," Willow agreed.

Something about the essence of violet bothered Willow, though. It was an odd ingredient to send. Well, any ingredients were odd to send(,) but this one was only used in a few spells. She'd only used it a few times herself and couldn't imagine why anyone would give it to her. Still, she couldn't quite shake the feeling that it was important, that she should know the significance of it, that someone was trying to tell he something.


00oo00oo00

Spike wondered if she knew who had sent the gifts. What they meant? Probably not, it was too soon and he'd only left her two of the ingredients so far. He had planned to hire someone to do a love spell when he'd brought the stuff, but had changed his mind. He hadn't waited this long to settle for forced feelings, he wanted her to truly love him. So he'd changed tactics and decided to remind her of him, make her see that he loved her. He was going to send her the ingredients as gifts and hope it reminded her of him, reminded her of the one time he'd seen a spark of interest in him beyond something to be frightened of, or pitied. Reminded her of how devoted he could be to the one he loved. When she remembered, she'd come to him. If she came to him, and he didn't just take her, the slayer would have to accept it and wouldn't stake him.

"Spike, why are you here?" Giles asked coming down the steps.

"Came to help fight the big bad God," he answered, ignoring the scowl on Giles' face. He'd help fight, it was the best way to get close to Willow. "You can cover more ground if everyone doesn't have to stick with the slayer."

"Right," Giles shrugged and headed back to the kitchen.

"Giles," Willow said as she came through the door, "I was wondering if you…oh, hi, Spike."

"Red," Spike said, sitting up to get a better look at her. She was carrying the box he'd left the night before and was heading to the kitchen to talk to Giles. "Slayer."

"Why are you here?" Buffy asked. He could already see her hands tightening into fists. He wasn't going to provoke her, not tonight. Tonight his goal was to spend time with Willow, starting a fight would ensure that he wouldn't get that chance.

"Help patrol," he answered. "Thought we'd cover more ground if we split up."


"Why?"

Spike didn't answer, his attention was focused on the conversation in the kitchen. She didn't know where it had come from but she was worried.

"I don't know, Willow," Giles told her. "Buffy's right though, it's not particularly dangerous. essence of violet and essence of rose thorns aren't usually used in dark magicks."

"So I shouldn't worry about it?"

Spike smirked, the watcher was encouraging her to not to worry, it couldn't be more perfect. "So, are we going to patrol tonight, or what?"

"Umm, yes, we should patrol," Giles agreed. "Since Spike has volunteered his services we should split up. Buffy you and I need to discuss some things, so perhaps Willow can go with Spike…"

"No way," Buffy interrupted. "I don't trust him."

"Really Buffy," Willow said, rolling her eyes. "What's he going to do to me? He can't bite or do anything else that would hurt me. You don't plan on letting some stray vamp feed on me, right Spike?"

"Wouldn't dream of it, Red," he answered.

"Fine," Buffy huffed, and then looked at Spike. "I'm holding you personally responsible if anything happens to her."

00oo00oo00

Willow pulled open the door and groaned when she saw the box at her feet. It had been a week since the essence of violet had shown up. She picked up the box and headed back into her room to find out what this one was. She sat on her bed and pulled open the box. A spell book.

She looked over at her desk and frowned. Essence of Violet, cloves, runic tablets, rat's eyes, essence of rose thorns, canary feathers, and now a spell book. A book of love and lust spells, like the one she had used when Spike had… She flipped through the book; this was exactly the same book she had used when Spike had kidnapped her. She saw the notes she had written in the margin when she'd done the spell, things she'd changed because of the distance. Who would send her…?

"Don't be ridiculous. I'd bite you in a heartbeat."

She tried to remember that conversation, she'd been so frightened a lot of that night wasn't clear in her head anymore. He said would've bitten her, he even remembered what she'd been wearing when he had kidnapped her. She'd assumed he was there for Buffy at the time. The dangerous vampire in her room was obviously there to kill the slayer, right? But had he actually said that?

He hadn't, she realized, she had just been so caught up in self-pity she assumed the only reason he'd be there was for Buffy. Maybe he'd come back for her? To kill her? No that didn’t make sense, he could've done that when he'd first come to town looking for the Gem of Amara, or even when he'd kidnapped her, who could've stopped him. But why come back to town and search her out? And why now, after all this time send her this stuff? Did he want another love spell? Why not just ask?

The more she thought about it, the more she realized she was right about this. It was Spike, it made sense now, he'd been maneuvering ways to patrol with her for weeks, walking her home after Scooby meetings. He'd been oddly interested in the packages she'd been getting; asking if she'd gotten more and if she figured out where they were from yet. He always seemed to show up when she was walking alone at night.

Xander had been joking all week that she had a supernatural stalker. Who else would think cloves and rat's eyes were the perfect gift? They had all laughed it off, it wasn't so funny now. Spike was stalking her—okay not as scary as she would've imagined since he hadn't tried to hurt her but still, this had to stop.

She should tell Buffy or Xander, or maybe Giles, she thought as she threw all the ingredients and the book in a box and grabbed her coat and headed out again. Tell them what, exactly? That Spike sent her love spell ingredients and a book? That Spike remembered what she was wearing the day he kidnapped her and may have come back to Sunnydale to find her again? She'd sound ridiculous.

Well okay, maybe not ridiculous. They'd believe her. They'd also want to stake Spike. Buffy really didn't need much incentive to kill Spike. But did Willow want her to do that? Okay, she was a little freaked by the stalking thing but did that mean he should die? It wasn't like he'd done anything dangerous or threatening. She'd talk to him first. She needed to know what was going on.

00oo00oo00

"Spike?" Willow said, pushing open the heavy door. "Spike, are you here?"

Spike smiled when he heard her voice coming from above. Willow was here. Did this mean she'd figured it out and come to him? "Yeah, Luv," he said climbing the ladder. "I'm here."

"Spike, did you send me all of this stuff?" She asked, holding out the box toward him.

"I was wondering when you'd figure it out."

"The book did it," she said, setting the box down. "You saved the book."

"I did, in case I needed it again."

"Do you…do you need another spell?" She asked, "Do you want me to try to get Dru back again? Or Harmony? Although I can't imagine why you would want her back. Or wanted her in the first place really. But there must be a reason why you had all these ingredients, some of them are kind of expensive and since you have to buy your blood now it seems like you wouldn't want to spend money on stuff you don't need and…"

"Pet," Spike said, holding up a hand to stop the stream of nervous babbling. "I don't want Dru back, and I certainly don't want Harmony back. That's not why I sent that stuff."

"Then why?" she asked, "Not that I don't appreciate the presents and all but it's not even like we're friends and not that long ago you wanted to kill me."

"No, I wanted to turn you."

"But y-you said," she stuttered.

"I said I'd give you a choice, but I lied. I was gonna turn you and take you with me."

"Why?"

"I love you."

"No, Spike."

"Yes, I love you," he insisted. "Even Dru noticed it. Said I wasn't hers anymore that all she could see in my mind was Sunnydale."

"Because you wanted to kill Buffy. You've always wanted to kill her."

"That's what Dru thought too," he admitted. "But no. It wasn't the slayer. It was you. You were so—so understanding when you did the spell for me. You actually wanted to help me. That doesn’t happen often, usually I have to intimidate people into doing things my way."

"Well yeah," she said admitted. "When you said you wanted her back because you loved her I did want to help you. Do you know how rare that kind of devotion is Spike? Nothing mattered to you but getting her back, not killing Buffy or Angel, or me, after I did the spell. You just wanted to be with her. It was the most romantic thing I could imagine."

"Right, and you were right that day, I shouldn't have wanted her back. She didn't love me like I loved her. But you, you could," he said, moving closer to her as he spoke.

"I could what?" Willow asked, backing up a few steps as he moved closer to her.

"Love me, like I love you."

00oo00oo00

He loved her. Spike loved her. Or thought he did. This wasn't what she had expected at all. On the walk over many scenarios had crossed her mind, but not this one. He was playing some cruel trick on her; he'd killed someone or something and stolen the items and wanted to get rid of them, he wanted Dru or Harmony back; she'd even briefly thought he might be in love with Buffy. But never once did it cross her mind that he loved her.

This was so much worse than she thought it would be. Spike loved so deeply, so completely, if he saw himself as in love with her he could be dangerous. Especially if he found a way to get that chip out. This was all so wrong, love shouldn't be scary.

She didn't love him, though. Didn't even think she could. Oh he was good looking she wouldn't deny that, but finding him attractive did not equal love, it meant she could see. Oz was as close to the 'bad boy' image as she got. This wasn't right. And she was gay now, she had Tara. She loved Tara now.

"Say something, Willow?"

Oh God, what was she going to do? He couldn't hurt her physically so it wasn't that she was afraid of him but she'd read the watcher diaries, Dru had put him through a hundred or more years of pain when it came to love and now she had to…

"No."

"No, what?" he asked.

00oo00oo00

"No, I couldn't love you like that, Spike."

"You could, I saw the way you were when the wolf left," he said, "I saw how hurt you were, you love deeply."

"I do," she admitted, "But Spike I don't love you. I can't love you."

"Why?" He asked. He could do whatever it took to make her love him. He could change, he'd do anything for her.

"You're evil."

"With the chip I can't…"

"But it's the chip stopping you, not you. If I found a spell tomorrow to get rid that chip you'd go on a killing spree the second I finished the spell."

"I wouldn't."

"You would," she insisted. "It's who you are."

He watched stunned as she turned and walked out the door. She didn't love him, couldn't love a demon. He would've done anything to have her but he was a demon and that couldn't be changed.

The end.
Spike wondered if she knew who had sent the gifts. What they meant? Probably not; it was too soon and he'd only left her two of the ingredients so far. He had planned to hire someone to do a love spell when he'd bought the stuff, but had changed his mind. He hadn't waited this long to settle for forced feelings; he wanted her to truly love him. So he'd changed tactics and decided to remind her of him, make her see that he loved her. He was going to send her the ingredients as gifts and hope it reminded her of him, reminded her of the one time he'd seen a spark of interest in him beyond something to be frightened of or pitied, reminded her of how devoted he could be to the one he loved. When she remembered, she'd come to him. If she came to him, and he didn't just take her, the slayer would have to accept it and wouldn't stake him.

"Spike, why are you here?" Giles asked, coming down the steps.

"Came to help fight the big bad God," he answered, ignoring the scowl on Giles' face. He'd help fight; it was the best way to get close to Willow. "You can cover more ground if everyone doesn't have to stick with the slayer."

"Right." Giles shrugged and headed back to the kitchen.

"Giles," Willow said as she came through the door, "I was wondering if you…oh, hi, Spike."

"Red," Spike said, sitting up to get a better look at her. She was carrying the box he'd left the night before and was heading to the kitchen to talk to Giles. "Slayer."

"Why are you here?" Buffy asked. He could already see her hands tightening into fists. He wasn't going to provoke her, not tonight. Tonight his goal was to spend time with Willow. Starting a fight would ensure that he wouldn't get that chance.

"Help patrol," he answered. "Thought we'd cover more ground if we split up."


"Why?"

Spike didn't answer, his attention was focused on the conversation in the kitchen. She didn't know where it had come from but she was worried.

"I don't know, Willow," Giles told her. "Buffy's right, though, it's not particularly dangerous. Essence of violet and essence of rose thorns aren't usually used in dark magicks."
"So I shouldn't worry about it?"

Spike smirked. The watcher was encouraging her to not to worry, it couldn't be more perfect. "So, are we going to patrol tonight, or what?"

"Umm, yes, we should patrol," Giles agreed. "Since Spike has volunteered his services, we should split up. Buffy, you and I need to discuss some things, so perhaps Willow can go with Spike…"

"No way," Buffy interrupted. "I don't trust him."

"Really, Buffy," Willow said, rolling her eyes, "what's he going to do to me? He can't bite or do anything else that would hurt me. You don't plan on letting some stray vamp feed on me, right, Spike?"

"Wouldn't dream of it, Red," he answered.

"Fine," Buffy huffed, and then looked at Spike. "I'm holding you personally responsible if anything happens to her."

00oo00oo00

Willow pulled open the door and groaned when she saw the box at her feet. It had been a week since the essence of violet had shown up. She picked up the box and headed back into her room to find out what this one was. She sat on her bed and pulled open the box. A spell book.

She looked over at her desk and frowned. Essence of Violet, cloves, runic tablets, rat's eyes, essence of rose thorns, canary feathers, and now a spell book. A book of love and lust spells, like the one she had used when Spike had… She flipped through the book; this was exactly the same book she had used when Spike had kidnapped her. She saw the notes she had written in the margin when she'd done the spell, things she'd changed because of the distance. Who would send her…?

"Don't be ridiculous. I'd bite you in a heartbeat."

She tried to remember that conversation. She'd been so frightened that a lot of what happened that night wasn't clear in her head anymore. He said he would've bitten her, he even remembered what she'd been wearing when he had kidnapped her. She'd assumed he was there for Buffy at the time. The dangerous vampire in her room was obviously there to kill the slayer, right? But had he actually said that?

He hadn't, she realized. She had just been so caught up in self-pity that she assumed the only reason he'd be there was for Buffy. Maybe he'd come back for her? To kill her? No, that didn’t make sense; he could've done that when he'd first come to town looking for the Gem of Amara, or even when he'd kidnapped her. Who could've stopped him? But why come back to town and search her out? And why now, after all this time, send her this stuff? Did he want another love spell? Why not just ask?

The more she thought about it, the more she realized she was right about this. It was Spike. It made sense now. He'd been concocting excuses to patrol with her for weeks, walking her home after Scooby meetings. He'd been oddly interested in the packages she'd been getting, asking if she'd gotten more and if she figured out where they were from yet. He always seemed to show up when she was walking alone at night.

Xander had been joking all week that she had a supernatural stalker. Who else would think cloves and rat's eyes were the perfect gift? They had all laughed it off; it wasn't so funny now. Spike was stalking her—okay not as scary as she would've imagined since he hadn't tried to hurt her, but still, this had to stop.

She should tell Buffy or Xander, or maybe Giles, she thought as she threw all the ingredients and the book in a box and grabbed her coat before heading out again. Tell them what, exactly? That Spike sent her love spell ingredients and a book? That Spike remembered what she was wearing the day he kidnapped her and may have come back to Sunnydale to find her again? She'd sound ridiculous.

Well okay, maybe not ridiculous. They'd believe her. They'd also want to stake Spike. Buffy really didn't need much incentive to kill Spike, after all. But did Willow want her to do that? Okay, she was a little freaked by the stalking thing, but did that mean he should die? It wasn't like he'd done anything dangerous or threatening. She'd talk to him first. She needed to know what was going on.

00oo00oo00

"Spike?" Willow said, pushing open the heavy door. "Spike, are you here?"

Spike smiled when he heard her voice coming from above. Willow was here. Did this mean she'd figured it out and come to him? "Yeah, Luv," he said, climbing the ladder. "I'm here."

"Spike, did you send me all of this stuff?" she asked, holding out the box toward him.

"I was wondering when you'd figure it out."

"The book did it," she said, setting the box down. "You saved the book."

"I did, in case I needed it again."

"Do you…do you need another spell?" she asked. "Do you want me to try to get Dru back again? Or Harmony? Although I can't imagine why you would want her back. Or wanted her in the first place, really. But there must be a reason why you had all these ingredients. Some of them are kind of expensive and since you have to buy your blood now, it seems like you wouldn't want to spend money on stuff you don't need and…"

"Pet," Spike said, holding up a hand to stop the stream of nervous babbling, "I don't want Dru back, and I certainly don't want Harmony back. That's not why I sent that stuff."

"Then why?" she asked, "Not that I don't appreciate the presents and all but it's not even like we're friends and not that long ago you wanted to kill me."

"No, I wanted to turn you."

"But y-you said," she stuttered.

"I said I'd give you a choice, but I lied. I was gonna turn you and take you with me."

"Why?"

"I love you."

"No, Spike."

"Yes, I love you," he insisted. "Even Dru noticed it. Said I wasn't hers anymore—that all she could see in my mind was Sunnydale."

"Because you wanted to kill Buffy. You've always wanted to kill her."

"That's what Dru thought, too," he admitted. "But no. It wasn't the slayer. It was you. You were so—so understanding when you did the spell for me. You actually wanted to help me. That doesn’t happen often. Usually, I have to intimidate people into doing things my way."

"Well yeah," she said. "When you told me you wanted her back because you loved her, I did want to help you. Do you know how rare that kind of devotion is, Spike? Nothing mattered to you but getting her back—not killing Buffy or Angel, or me, after I did the spell. You just wanted to be with her. It was the most romantic thing I could imagine."

"Right, and you were right that day, I shouldn't have wanted her back. She didn't love me like I loved her. But you, you could," he said, moving closer to her as he spoke.

"I could what?" Willow asked, backing up a few steps as he moved closer to her.

"Love me, like I love you."

00oo00oo00

He loved her. Spike loved her. Or thought he did. This wasn't what she had expected at all. On the walk over, many scenarios had crossed her mind, but not this one. He was playing some cruel trick on her; he'd killed someone or something and stolen the items and wanted to get rid of them, he wanted Dru or Harmony back, she'd even briefly thought he might be in love with Buffy. But never once did it cross her mind that he loved her.

This was so much worse than she thought it would be. Spike loved so deeply, so completely—if he saw himself as in love with her, he could be dangerous. Especially if he found a way to get that chip out. This was all so wrong, love shouldn't be scary.

She didn't love him, though. Didn't even think she could. Oh, he was good looking, she wouldn't deny that, but finding him attractive did not equal love, it meant she could see. Oz was as close to the 'bad boy' image as she got. This wasn't right. And she was gay now; she had Tara. She loved Tara.

"Say something, Willow."

Oh God, what was she going to do? He couldn't hurt her physically, so it wasn't that she was afraid of him, but she'd read the Watcher’s Diaries(.) Dru had put him through a hundred or more years of pain when it came to love, and now she had to…

"No."

"No, what?" he asked.

00oo00oo00

"No, I couldn't love you like that, Spike."

"You could. I saw the way you were when the wolf left," he said, "I saw how hurt you were. You love deeply."

"I do," she admitted, "But, Spike, I don't love you. I can't love you."

"Why?" he asked. He could do whatever it took to make her love him. He could change; he'd do anything for her.

"You're evil."

"With the chip, I can't…"

"But it's the chip stopping you, not you. If I found a spell tomorrow to get rid that chip(,) you'd go on a killing spree the second I finished the spell."

"I wouldn't."

"You would," she insisted. "It's who you are."

He watched, stunned, as she turned and walked out the door. She didn't love him, couldn't love a demon. He would've done anything to have her, but he was a demon and that couldn't be changed.

The end.
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