All About Spike

Chapter: 1  2  3  4

Journeys Part Three: Revelations (Draft)
By Mary

Sequel to Journeys Part Two: Awakenings; part of Journeys Series

Chapter Three

(((Decide how this scene would work with what Giles did or didn’t tell Buffy, and make certain he doesn’t tell her anything that will screw up Buffy’s trip to L.A. too much.)



“Angel Investigations.”

“Angel?”

“Yeah?” Oh, god. “Buffy?”

“Yeah. How are you?”

“Good. I’m good.” How about you?”

“I’m good too. Well, okay, anyway. Living.”

“Yeah, I heard that.” But not from you. He didn’t say it, but the words hung there; hovering somewhere in the wires and electronics that made up the miracle of telephone communication.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” she began.

“You know you’re never a bother.”

“Yeah, well, you might change your mind when you hear why I’m calling.”

And, with that, he knew. He knew what she was going to ask him. And he sure as hell wasn’t going to go looking for Spike so she could talk to him.

“It’s... Actually, it’s Spike. I was wondering if you’d seen him.”

She doesn’t know he’s here. She’s just in the process of looking for him. Why was she looking for him? Why the hell was she looking for him? And why hadn’t Giles told her that he was here? “Any particular reason you’re looking for Spike, Buffy?” His voiced was laced with a mixture of anger and hurt and maybe a few other things. He was certainly feeling a lot of different things. Could she hear any of that?

“I don’t know how much you know about what’s been going on here. Spike – he’s been helping out quite a bit. Even, you know, before...”

“Willow told me a little,” Angel admitted.

“Well, he has been.”

God, she sounded so impersonal, he thought. And so – remote.

“And, um, well, he took off a couple of weeks ago. He told Dawn he was going to L.A. That he had business there. I thought maybe...”

“I haven’t seen him, Buffy.”

He disliked lying to her, but Angel felt he had little choice. Spike had claimed Sanctuary. Along with the expectation of protection, or at least freedom from being killed, Sanctuary, in his mind, implied a desire for secrecy, or at least for privacy. Besides, Giles knew perfectly well where Spike was. Why was the Watcher keeping that information to himself? Unless Spike had, for some reason, told Giles he wouldn’t be staying at the Hyperion. Still…

“I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your eyes open for him. He can’t – with the chip in his head, he can’t defend himself against humans. And you know how he tends to attract trouble.”

Her voice conveyed a mixture of concern and something approaching – god – a fond amusement. Angel swallowed. Fury and hurt battled to headline his list of emotions. What the hell was going on?

“I’ll do that,” he said, managing to keep his voice even. “Goodbye, Buffy.”

“Bye, Angel.”

Damn him.

Spike. Reviled spawn.

Blood.

Your blood.

Your own.

No. Not mine. Never mine. Dru made him. He’s…

Sanctuary.

Why the hell had Spike claimed Sanctuary?

He’d taken pride in the steps he’d taken to get past his vampire roots, but that pride has always been mingled with shame. He was a vampire. It’s what he was. Was there no way to incorporate that with not being completely evil? Angel was well aware that he was anathema to other demons, his very existence a thorn in their collective sides. But Sanctuary… He’d been shocked to hear the words fall from Spike’s lips. And furious. Which, he suspected, was the very reason Spike had used them. His boy had always known how to push his buttons. ‘Course he’d always been pretty good at pushing Spike’s as well. Sanctuary went to the deepest part of him, his blood. Their blood. Aurelius. He could deny his nature from now through eternity, but some things went too deep to overcome. Aurelius. Pride. Power. No matter that he constantly struggled not to act on his vampiric nature. He still was. Vampire. Other. And he was Aurelius. That was him, his blood, his heritage. He never spoke of it, but it was in him, running thickly in his veins. Aurelian blood. Try to explain this a little better. Spike and Angel didn’t have much to do with their Aurelian heritage. But it was in their blood. Even on the rare occasion they openly denied that their heritage meant anything to them, they could look into each other’s eyes and know they were both lying. Their mutual hatred for The Master had made it easier to deny it though.

He and Spike had only ever really related on a few very basic levels. Abuse. Domination.

~*~



It had been brewing. There was really no question about that. Buffy walked down the hall of the school in the direction of the Principal’s office. She was cringing inside, remembering how often her mother had had to make this walk in order to meet with one of her principals. Had she felt this terrible mixture of fear, anger and embarrassment?

Fighting, cutting classes, burning down the gym. The list of her infractions had been long and varied. Not to mention the number of times per week it had been updated. God, her ‘permanent record’ folder must be a foot thick. She probably had her own file drawer. The Buffy Summers ‘Take A Look at This Loser’ File Drawer. Had it been transferred from the old school? Oooh – maybe it had blown up during that whole Mayor Wilkins apocalypse thingy. She would live in hope.

Buffy had never tried smoking, so she was pretty sure her record didn’t include that, and she couldn’t really remember if she’d ever been accused of stealing. Perhaps Dawn just wanted to create her own unique record of delinquency. Establish her own identity, so to speak. Aside from getting suspended for swearing at a teacher just after she’d discovered she was the key, Dawn’s record had been relatively clean. To this point.

Her sister was already there, seated across from Principal Davis. Her expression was mutinous, and her arms were crossed, but Buffy saw the color rush into her face when she came into the room, and Dawn refused to meet her eyes.

Dawn had barely spoken to her since Spike had left town. The few times she had deigned to speak, her words had been biting and sarcastic, her tone laced with anger. Even, Buffy was afraid, hatred. She’d refused to do anything around the house, and she barely came out of her room. She’d even been mean to Tara when their friend got back to town. And it was really hard to be mean to Tara. So Buffy was taking the whole Ticked Off Dawn scenario pretty seriously. She knew a long mom type talk was looming, and she was dreading it. She just wasn’t good at talking about stuff. She never had been. Oh, she’d had her moments, probably the most notable of which was trying to talk Angel out of greeting the sun on the bluff overlooking Sunnydale that morning of the miraculous snow. But for the most part, sharing her deepest feelings was not a strong Buffy, er, strength type thing.

Principal Davis’, call me Steven, um, no thank you, words washed over her. Stole the cigarettes and a few other things, from a local convenience store, skipped class a dozen times since school had resumed after winter break, hanging out with some of the less desirable elements, mouthed off to three of her teachers, using very interesting and creative language, smoking in the hall, in open view, police had read her her rights...Court date. Three day suspension…

Buffy turned her head and eyed her sister. Boy, she was making up for lost time.

“We had a crisis over the holidays,” Buffy finally injected, interrupting the ever-lengthening list of her sister’s failures as a human being. “A – close friend disappeared. Dawn’s been pretty upset about it. Some of this might be due to that.”

Principal Davis raised his brows.

“I know it’s not an excuse. But, um, it might explain some of it. She’s had a lot to deal with this last year – with our mom, and, well, some other things.” It was hard to explain the whole key/hell god/end of the world situation to most people. Even in Sunnydale.

“You do realize I’ll have to inform Social Services of this incident?”

Fear squeezed her.

“I’m sure you’ll do what you have to. Can I take Dawn home now?” Buffy stood up, anxious to leave. She’d hoped to never enter a principal’s office again after graduating herself. You would’ve thought destroying the high school would have helped make that dream come true, but there always had to be something, some loophole, didn’t there? In this case another whole school…

switch to Dawn pov: ? right now it jumps back and forth…

The absolute silence they treated each other to on the long walk home wasn’t broken until they entered their house. When Dawn started up the stairs, Buffy’s words pulled her to a stop.

“I think we need to talk, young lady.”

“You’re not my mom, so you can drop the act.”

“No. But if you keep this up, you’ll have a new mom. A foster mom. And you’ll be living with her. Is that what you want?”

Dawn was silent, but her expression clearly revealed her horror at the thought. Then her face hardened. “I’m sure it would make you a lot happier.”

“Why would you think that?”

“I know you don’t love me. I’m just a problem you have to deal with. One of many. Just one more thing to fit into your ‘Why the hell did my friends drag me back to life?’ life.

“That’s not true, Dawnie.” Pain clutched at Buffy’s chest. Is that really how Dawn felt? She’s a teenager, Buffy reminded herself. She was displaying a typical teenage reaction, and was also striking where it hurt most, a teenage strength.

“Don’t bloody lie to me!”

“I know you’re upset about Spike...”

“Wow! Observiness.”

“Can we talk about this calmly?” Buffy asked. Her head was beginning to throb.

“I doubt it,” Dawn sneered.

Buffy bit back her angry retort, forcing her tone to remain calm. She could at least try to act rationally. After all, she was supposed to be the adult. And how come she hadn’t gotten a say in that? She didn’t think she was anywhere near ready.

“Can we try? Please?”

Dawn sat down on the sofa. Her back was rigid, her arms were folded again, and her face, as mutinous as ever, was turned away from Buffy. They might just as well be back in the principal’s office. But at least Dawn was still in the same room, and sitting. Buffy considered it a step forward.

“Why don’t we start with Spike? I think he’s the biggest part of our problem.”

“Ya think?” Another sneer.

“That night – that last night before he left – when we had that fight...”

“Yeah?”

“He hit me.”

“Spike hit you?” Dawn’s eyes went wide. “He loves you! Why would he hit you?”

“We were arguing and, um...”

“Oh.” Understanding dawned, and Dawn’s expression hardened again. “You hit him, and he hit you back.”

“Well, yeah. But...” Buffy drew a deep breath. “The chip didn’t fire, Dawnie.”

“What?!”

“I guess it’s okay,” she reassured her sister. “It’s working alright, and he didn’t try to feed on anyone or anything. He wanted you to know that.”

“You’ve talked to him?”

“No. Giles went to see him in L.A. They had the chip tested and stuff, ‘cause there was some confusion… They weren’t sure why it didn’t fire on me.”

“Yeah, Giles told me he was in L.A. He said Spike wanted me to know he was okay. And the chip – it’s okay, too? It works?”



why would Giles not tell Dawn about the chip? Spike specifically asked him to.

Spike hadn’t sent a message for her, she thought with a mental pout. Of course, she hadn’t expected him to, and it was completely unreasonable for her to feel hurt. She still did, though.

Stupid vampire.

“Yeah.”

“So, um, why didn’t it work on you?”

“Oh, Giles dragged me to the hospital for a complete physical – and you know how I love hospitals – and then he and Tara topped off that lovely experience with this whole big buncha other – experiences. Tests. They didn’t tell me why, of course, until after they were done. Just told me they wanted to make sure I’d come through getting resurrected alright. But they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. And they said I’m still human. So I guess that’s good, right?”

Dawn stared at her in mutinous silence.

Buffy shrugged. “Well, I thought it was good. Tara thinks the ‘cosmic forces’ just scrambled me around a little, and got Spike’s chip all confused.”

Buffy thought that explanation was a little non-specific, that it didn’t feel right, but since she had no idea what had happened, it was as good an explanation as any.

“So why’d you have to hit Spike this time? We went to the movie, had ice cream. Everything was going pretty good it seemed to me. I suppose you just decided – Hey! I haven’t hit Spike since I got back! I better take care of that! That’d be about your speed, right? After all, he’s just a thing, right?” Like me, Dawn added to herself. She remembered Buffy telling her Spike was ‘a thing’. It wasn’t so very long after their mother had called her ‘a thing’. Maybe she and Spike were just destined to be ‘things’ together.

“I found out he drank blood from my dead body,” Buffy stated baldly, tensing up at Dawn’s continuing sarcasm.

“What?” Dawn’s mouth fell open.

“It’s just so – I don’t know how he could do that.”

“He didn’t!” Dawn angrily defended her friend.

“Yes, he did.”

“He so did not! We were all right there. I think we would have noticed if he picked you up and started gnawing away on your neck. Besides, your –” her voice broke. “—your body was laying in the sunlight and Spike couldn’t…” Tears came into Dawn’s eyes, and she angrily wiped them away. “Spike couldn’t…” The tears returned, and started falling down her cheeks. “He was trying to get to you, and he…”

Dawn covered her face with her hands, as she forced back sobs. She was too angry to let go and allow herself a good cry right now, but sometimes it seemed like the horror of that night, of those early morning hours would never leave her. Buffy’s body, so still. Willow and Tara clinging to one another, sobbing, Xander, burying his face against Anya’s throat, unable to look after the first shocked viewing of his friend’s body. Giles, frozen, as if he would never move again, and then being forced into movement when Spike’s sobs ended, and he rose from his knees to try to get to Buffy. Giles, grabbing him, restraining him, the two of them struggling. The blood covering Spike’s face, and his eyes screaming even though no sound was coming out of his mouth…

“Giles asked Spike to go with me to the hospital,” she went on, fighting against the devastating memories. She hadn’t had a nightmare about that night for more than a month now. She didn’t want them to start again. They always made her feel like she wanted to die.

Like she should have.

It was supposed to have been her. She was supposed to have jumped. Sometimes she wondered if the whole future of the world was forever screwed up because she’d let her sister persuade her to let her jump in her place.

“The sun was already coming up, and Giles stayed with – with you until the ambulance came. He met us later at the hospital.”

Buffy took Dawn’s hand, stroking it softly. Even though Dawn was angry with her, she accepted the offered comfort.

“I just don’t understand why he would say he did, if he didn’t. That makes no sense.” It was obvious Dawn was telling the truth, and Buffy was honestly confused.

“Are you sure he said he drank from your dead body?” Dawn was far from ready to forgive her sister. Sarcasm started to creep back into her voice as she pushed bad memories away. She pulled her hand away from Buffy’s. “You probably just heard what you wanted to hear. It’s always so easy for you to think the worst of him.”

“Well, not exactly,” Buffy had to admit. “He said he tasted my blood after I –”

“Oh.” Dawn’s face flamed red. God, how dense am I? Dawn asked herself. I should have seen that one coming a mile away.

Buffy stared at her. “What – ? Dawn, what do you know about this?”

“I, um, nothing.”

The lie was obvious. “I wanna know. Now.

Wow! Good mom voice, Buffy congratulated herself, even in the midst of the serious conversation. Dawn must have thought so too, because the words began tumbling out of her mouth so quickly that Buffy could hardly keep up.

“It was me. I gave it to him. He was dying, Buffy. If you could have seen him, maybe you’d understand what it was like. They tried. They tried to get him to eat, and he couldn’t – he couldn’t keep anything down. It was eeeww, hurling blood, not that it was a lot because he could only take a sip or two before spewing, but, God, Buffy. Geesh, even Xander tried for god’s sake, bringing him human blood from Willie’s which wasn’t any better and, Giles... Giles offered to let him drink from his own arm. But even that didn’t work, and Spike was withering away. He looked like a skeleton, and if you could have seen him...

“But what would you care anyway? Of course you wouldn’t.

“But I did. He’s my best friend. And I wasn’t gonna lose anyone else. Cause, you know, after mom dying, then you, I’d pretty much had enough of the whole people dying and leaving me thing. And I wasn’t gonna lose Spike too. And there it was – your blood, sitting in the freezer. You weren’t gonna need it – hello, dead? And I thought maybe, ‘cause he loved you, and you were the Slayer – big blood power for vamps, right? – and stuff, that maybe your blood would be different. That he’d be able to drink it. That it might save him.

“And it did.

“And I’m not sorry. I’m not, and nothing you say is gonna make me sorry I gave him your blood to try to save his life, or that it worked. So now you can use that as another reason to hate me, and him, too I suppose, but I still won’t be sorry. I’ll never be sorry.”

Buffy felt as though she couldn’t move, as shock rocked through her. When Dawn started to get up, Buffy, being careful not to use her ‘I save the world Slayer strength’, tugged her back down.

Dawn tried to pull away, but Buffy’s voice soothed her. “Shhh. Just hold on a minute, okay? Please?”

Her odd tone gave Dawn pause, and she sat still, waiting.

“Tell me what happened to Spike, Dawn.”

“I just did. He was dying. The others wouldn’t let me see him. Gotta protect ‘the kid’, right?” she scoffed. “None of them cared that I cared about him. I was just supposed to sit in my room, I guess. But I saw enough when I found him, and… I snuck in to see him a couple of times, so I knew a lot about what was going on. Some of it, anyway.”

“But I don’t – what was wrong with him?”

“Nobody knows. Or at least nobody bothered to tell ‘the kid’. Maybe they thought it was too scary or important for my delicate ‘kid’ ears. Anya told me they did all kinds of research on it, trying to find out what might be wrong with him, but that they couldn’t find anything. She just thought he was in mourning, but when she tried to tell the others that, no one paid any attention to her. Like usual. So she dropped it. And it’s not like she really knew for sure, anyway.”

Buffy looked at her sister. There were a whole truckload of issues they needed to talk about. And they would. They had to. But…

“It’s um, kinda bugging me that he’s not out there. You know, on the roof, every night.”

Dawn’s eyes went wide. Then, slowly, a very small smile curved her lips. She knew her sister. This was a huge admission. “Yeah,” she agreed. “Me, too. When he first started doing it, I thought it was kinda weird. But I, um, kinda liked it, too.” Dawn looked at her hands. “He really does like me, you know. And not just because I’m your sister.”

“I know,” Buffy assured her.

“And he sorta likes all the parts of me. You know, even the parts that aren’t so – well, nice, I guess. You know, when I get mad at someone, like, um, dad. He doesn’t think that makes me bad, or, er, evil or anything.

“And he doesn’t laugh at me when I talk about, um, stuff, with him. He just kinda listens to me. And he doesn’t make fun of me like some of my friends do. You know, when I read a lot, or um, write a little poem or something. He thinks that’s totally not weird or anything. I told him some stuff one night about being an artist so I could leave something personal behind after I die. Do you know how my friends would look at me if I said something like that? Total freakazoid, believe me.

“Sometimes, he’s the only person I really feel comfortable with. I suppose you think that’s really weird.” Dawn hunched her shoulders. “Sometimes, I think it’s kinda weird too.” Dawn paused. “Have I used ‘weird’ enough times in the last minute?”

Buffy just smiled. Should she tell her sister that since she’d come back Spike was the only one she felt comfortable with?

“I mean, I know he’s a vampire. And, er, stuff. But it doesn’t seem to matter. You know how he was with me when I found out I was the key? When we, um, broke into the Magic Box?” Dawn glanced up at Buffy, waiting for the angry words to start, but Buffy just nodded. “I was, you know, kinda wigged.”

“I remember,” Buffy said.

“And he tried to tell me, that night even, that it didn’t matter…” Dawn squeezed her hands tightly between her knees. “But I didn’t listen to him. Just like I didn’t listen to you and mom. Then one day I was at his crypt, and he told me it didn’t matter where you started out…I kinda liked that idea. I could make myself be real you know. Maybe. A real girl, be, you know, me. A person. Maybe even kinda – normal.” She paused. “Not just green glowy energy.” She looked up at Buffy again. “Did you ever stop and think that maybe I’m not exactly human? Or completely human? Maybe Spike could have killed me all along. Even with the chip. He must have known that, too. I mean, he thinks about stuff. It probably occurred to him. But he never tried to hurt me. To even, sorta test it out. He always seemed to kind of – I don’t know, like me, I guess.”

“I think he loves you,” Buffy told her. The admission didn’t surprise her greatly. It was quite obvious that Dawn and Spike had some real ties, odd and unexpected though their friendship might seem.

“He does.” Dawn was confident. She knew Spike loved her. “I can feel it all the time. Like a little light glowing inside me. Even if…” she paused, then went on in a rush. “Glory told me the key was totally evil.”

“What?” Buffy exclaimed. “When?”

“I don’t remember, exactly. I just remember her saying it. She didn’t know I was the key yet. But I wonder what I did. The key, you know. In the past. How evil was I? Totally evil to someone like Glory must be pretty evil. And those knight guys said I was created to destroy the world.” Dawn was staring at her hands again. They were still pressed between her knees, and she was picking at the dark purple fingernail polish on one of her thumbnails with the other thumbnail. “You really can’t get much more evil than that. And I like – know – that Spike loves me even if I am totally evil. ‘Cause that wouldn’t matter to him.”

“Dawnie –”

“And he told me I wasn’t evil – Spike did. That he knew evil and I wasn’t it.” She paused. “Even when he knows things about me… He still tells me those things don’t make me evil.” She raised her eyes to her sister’s. “When we, um, couldn’t find Spike, and he didn’t come to the funeral, I was so pissed at him. I, um…”

“What?”

“When I went to his crypt to look for him, I, um, had a stake with me.” Her voice trailed off in a horrified whisper. “I was gonna kill him. I wanted to kill him, ‘cause he’d let me down!”

“Oh, Dawnie…” Buffy sympathized. “It was a horrible time for you. I’m sure Spike would have understood.”



Too many ‘Dawnies’



“He did.” Dawn told her. “I, um, told him about it later. I felt so guilty, and I just had to tell him…”

“And?”

“I think he was kinda proud of me,” Dawn admitted, and as their eyes met, neither Summers girl could prevent a quick smile. That sounded like Spike.

“See? Spike knows you’re not evil, and so do I. Because you’re not.” Buffy went back to the subject. Her voice was emphatic.

“But I was Glory’s key. I, um, must have done something. Lots of things. She was evil, and she needed me to help her do evil things.”

Dawn was biting at a fingernail now.

“It bugs me sometimes. To not know what I did in the past.”

“I hadn’t thought of that.” Had she had time? Had she been legitimately too wrapped up in the problems of Glory and her mother’s illness? Or was she just Self Involved Girl, blind to a lot of things going on around her? Things she should notice? Buffy sighed. Maybe it was a mixture of both.

“I’m thinking if you can’t remember it, you’re not responsible for it.”

Dawn looked at her.

“That’s totally lame, Buffy,” she told her. “Just because a person can’t remember something they did, wouldn’t mean they didn’t do it. It’s like – it’s like saying if Spike got amnesia, he was never really a vampire or something. Or because you were all fuzzy when you got back, you weren’t the Slayer then.”

Put like that, it did sound pretty lame.

“Sometimes, I think it’s part of why me and Spike get along. We both used to be evil. And now, maybe, not so much.”

“The monk guy told me you were innocent, Dawn.”

The younger Summers girl looked shocked.

“He did?”

“He absolutely did. If I’d have known you were all worried about this, I would have told you. We just never talked about a lot of this stuff.”

“I guess there was a lot going on,” Dawn was forced to admit.

“Maybe it was when they reformed you, remade you with my blood. Maybe it was like a whole Summers cleansing thing, washed all the evil away.” Buffy made a whooshing gesture, and her tone was light. She wanted to reassure Dawn, make her feel better. She also knew she needed to talk to Giles. It seemed they should spend some time looking into Dawn’s history a little more deeply. Her sister obviously had a lot of questions and fears about her past. What the Key was, or had been.

“Buffy?”

“Yeah?”

“Maybe the whole Summers cleansing thing worked on Spike too. You know, when he was remade with your blood.”

Buffy stared at her, stunned to hear such a thought come from a fifteen year old girl. She had no idea how to reply to that statement, so she said nothing.

“I’m gonna go start my homework,” Dawn said, standing up. She hitched her schoolbag onto her shoulder. “Um, Buffy?” Dawn waited until her sister looked up at her.

“Yeah?”

“I’m sorry about getting in all that trouble,” she mumbled.

“I know,” Buffy assured her. “Oh, just so you know? The smoking stops now.”

“Good. It’s unbelievably gross. And I wasn’t inhaling anyway, because – Gack! – so the others kids were giving me major crap.”

“Glad to hear it, President Clinton.” Buffy paused, then went on more seriously. “But, Dawn?”

“Yeah?”

“We need to be really careful. I don’t want Social Services to have any more ammunition. I don’t want them to take you away from me.”

“I don’t want that either.”

“Because, Dawn?”

“Yeah?”

“I love you.”

Dawn’s eyes widened, and Buffy could see the pleasure her words had given her.

“I love you, too, Buffy.”

“You’re, um, grounded, you know.”

“I kinda figured.”

Dawn went up the stairs, and Buffy stared after her. She loved her sister, deeply. She’d always felt that Dawn was more than a sister, more than…

She needed to get to know her a lot better.

~*~



perhaps Buffy should talk to Giles here about looking into Dawn’s past a little more. She could be/should be thinking about making things more normal for Dawn.



Has Buffy spoken to Xander???

Perhaps that can be something that Giles imparts through inner observations. Her continuing hostility to everyone.



The little overhead bell jingled happily, and Buffy was glad that Anya had removed the Christmas decorations which had included numerous strands of jingle bells on the door of The Magic Box. Whenever someone came in or left, they seemed to jangle endlessly. Not feeling particularly ho-ho-ho, Buffy had found them really annoying.

She glanced up and froze.

“Hi,” Willow said quietly. Xander stood beside her, his hand resting at the small of her back in a supportive gesture.

Buffy stood up, and took a step closer to Giles, who was standing at one of the bookshelves. He came up behind her, book in hand.

“Hi, Will,” she responded.

Willow never tanned much, but three weeks cruising in the Caribbean had lent her skin a slightly golden sheen. Her hair had been cut to just above shoulder length, and trimmed into a style that suited her. Hair and skin-wise, she looked great, but she didn’t look rested or happy. She looked stressed.

“Is it, um, alright if I come in?” she asked.

“You weren’t studying Voodoo or anything, were you?” Anya asked bluntly.

“No,” Willow replied, keeping her voice even and calm.

“Ahn…” Xander warned.

“What?” Anya demanded, tired of his constant defense of his old friend. “Voodoo is still big in the Caribbean, no matter what some people might try to make you think. And she was seeing a power-dealer. There are hundreds of them in that part of the world. She could have been dealing her little heart out down there. You might trust Miss Big Eyes to the end of the earth, but I don’t.”

Some Willow POV here? What is her mind set at this point? Just sort of biding her time until she’s accepted back into the circle? Still very angry inside?

Willow says something along the lines of “I know you’re not ready for me to move back in, but I do want to.” And how the hell would THAT work? Buffy wondered. TARA lived with her, and there was no way she was going to ask the other girl to move out, nor was Tara in any way ready or willing to take Willow back. Buffy is beginning to realize how much she really likes Tara – her calming, soothing influence is almost – heavenly… Buffy’s lips curved gently.

After being kicked out after the Rack thing, she’s been furious with the lot of them, and she still felt that they just wanted to hold her down, that they didn’t get it, that they were afraid of her growing powers and resentful of her.

Does she actually talk to Buffy about bringing her back and how she was so excited about it? That her growing powers excited her? Maybe this would be better used when she’s feeling repentant…

Her parents weren’t a lot better. They’d started to harp on her about the gang – Giles, that pervert who hung around with kids half his age. Buffy the always in trouble Summers girl, who had led their daughter into trouble herself, and Tara… Well, they were quite accepting of alternative lifestyles, but what exactly had that young lady done to corrupt her? And she was hardly the type that would be any help at all in getting on in the world --- not exactly a social asset, was she?

~*~



If I want Buffy to have a chat with Giles about Spike and stuff, this would be a good place.

This could begin in a Willow chat and morph into a Spike chat. Decide if it should be here, or if it should be after they run all the tests on her.

This spot may be more realistic, because in Spike’s absence, she begins to rebuild her relationship with Giles and she may then share with him.

Perhaps he admits that he knows that she and Spike were lovers, or something…

“Not I. She’s your bird. You tell her.” Oh god, he’d said that right in front of her, and she hadn’t realized the implications. She’s your bird…

“When I was with him, it was the only time I felt…”

“Relaxed? At ease?” Giles suggested. That had certainly been his impression.

“Yeah. But more. Warmth. Peace. Comfort.” Her eyes met his steadily. “And, not that it was like it exactly, but honestly? It was the closest thing…”

“Closest thing to what?” Giles asked, his tone inviting confidences.

“To, um, heaven,” Buffy said very softly. “To being back in heaven. Where I was…”

Giles went still, his eyes revealing his shock. He sat down heavily in his chair, and removed his glasses. He stared into her sad, old eyes, and his heart filled with pain for her.

~*~



Continued in Chapter Four

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