Sleeping with Satsu again was a mistake on many levels. It gave the wrong message to Satsu, for one thing. And to the other slayers, for another. Any suspicions of favouritism would just be reinforced now.

But, also, it happened to be going on at the exact moment that Spike materialised in Buffy's bedroom.

After the initial "Oh my's, and "What the hell"s, and "I thought you were dead"s, Satsu left in a hurry, blushing to the roots of her second-best-ever hair (sex can so often be the best hairdresser).

Buffy, after hurriedly getting dressed under the covers, hopped out of bed. She smiled, awkwardly. "So, this is getting to be a thing. My ex comes back in town just when I'm sleeping with someone inappropriate."

"If you just compared me to Riley," said Spike, with a growl in his voice. "Then I might have to take a few steps back along the road to redemption and bite you." He peered more closely at her neck. "Except, seems like I wouldn't be the first today."

Buffy's hand clapped to her neck to cover the lovebite. "Just a rash," she murmured.

There was a moment of silence. "So?why are you back? I take it it's not just to comment on my love life?"

"I thought I'd pop by. Say howdy." Spike shrugged. "Warn you of the imminent apocalypse. You know. The usual chit chat."

Buffy looked distraught. "But I'm too busy for an apocalypse. Can't I take a rain-of-fire check on that?"

"Sorry love." Spike gestured around the room. "Hell's coming to town. Not just the hellmouth opening up this time. The Senior Partners are moving offices. Hell is coming to earth. Britain, to be exact. Apparently some dark power's rising some time in May 2008 in London. So, I'm giving you fair warning."

"Hell's coming to town? Dark power rising? " Buffy snorted and folded her arms. "I've heard that before. Never turns out quite as bad as the sneak preview."

"But this time it's true. Trust me. Got it from the horse's mouth. I've spent the last few sodding months in hell, and everyone's sayin' it. They're upping sticks and moving to Blighty."

"What were you doing in hell? I mean, were you?dead? Or just visiting?"

Spike shook his head. "I've shuffled on and off my mortal coil enough times that I'm not sure. But, turns out hell is certainly not just bloody other people. It's other people plus a whole cohort of demons, plus some burning cars. And, for some reason, a lot of half naked ladies."

"Are you sure you weren't just living in a 1980s heavy metal poster?"

Spike cracked a broad smile and chuckled. "I've missed you, Buffy."

"I've?"

But Spike began to fade. "See you in hell, love." He frizted into a ghostly shadow. "And don't break her heart."

As he disappeared entirely, Buffy pouted. "Vampires. They always have to get the last word."

Then she began to cry.