At the construction site we’re doing vent-work today, but I can’t say I’m worth my pay check. Instead of concentrating on the job, I’m wondering what to do about Spike. The more I think about what happened, about the way he changed from one moment to the next, the more freaked I am.
What if we have to kill him?
All considerations concerning Spike’s state of mental health come to a standstill when Buffy picks me up to go spider-demon hunting with her. I’m not sure what she needs me for. She does the necessary axe-throwing and demon-killing all by her pretty Slayer-lonesome. But I tell myself that anything is better than breathing freon for eight hours. Boy, was I ever wrong!
Because from then on things just get more and more insane.
Turns out Anya is responsible for that heart-rendering spider-demon and twelve dead frat boys. I just don’t understand how Anya could do such a thing. Vengeance demon or no, she helped us out when Willow went all rampage-y. And a few weeks ago she de-wormed that Ronnie guy. It doesn’t make sense.
And how can Buffy and Anya try to kill each other? It’s their job? Hello? There’s something seriously wrong with a job that tells you to go and run your best friends through with pointy objects. Never thought I’d say this, but if that’s the price for all that super power stuff and the mojo then I’m I glad I’m just a carpenter!
In the end it doesn’t come to the worst. We all walk away from yet another Scooby meltdown, scathed but more or less in one piece. Which is good. Any ending met on your own two feet is a good one. But I don’t need a crystal ball to tell me there will be fallout.
Anya’s friend - dead. Anya – no longer a demon. That thing from beneath us – licking its chops.
And Xander Harris – still in love with Anya.
I thought I was over her, but now I know - I’m not. Now I know that part of me still clings to the hope that maybe I’d get a second chance, that somehow we’d get together again. I love her and I want to protect her. Make sure she’s alright. Which is why I can’t let her leave like that.
I rush after her, out of the frat house. “Anya – wait!”
“Xander, please. Just go away.”
“Whatever’s between us, it doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t be alone in this.”
“Yes I should.”
What now? I don’t get it. What’s she talking about?
“My whole life, I’ve just clung to… whatever came along.” Anya explains.
“Well, speaking as a cling-ee, kinda didn’t mind.” I tell her almost flippantly, but as her words sink in, dread rises up like bile. ‘Whatever came along?’
“Thanks. For everything.” Anya says with a sincerity that feels like a knife twisting in my gut.
Oh god. It’s over. Over and out. This is good-bye.
Guess that calls for a drink or two.
Of course I don’t stop at two. I pull that classic drowning my sorrows thing, tossing back one after the other, fiddling around with my coaster, digging into the peanut bowl and staring at the glass in my hand, as if those ice-cubes were tea-leaves foretelling the future. I neatly avoid looking into the mirror behind the counter.
What if she never really wanted me… the way I wanted her…? If I was just… convenient? What if she just hooked up with the first body she could find?
Maybe that’s what I should do. Get laid. Only without the cameras and my friends for a captive audience.
I shake my head, trying to get rid of the image of Spike fucking Anya on the table of the magic box. I swig my drink and slam the glass back on the bar. “Hit me again!” I say. “Double Shot.”
“I don’t think so. I think you’ve had enough. Go home, sleep it off.” Mike, the barkeeper, tells me.
Luckily, I picked my usual watering hole to get hammered. Mike likes me well enough to confiscate my car keys, in spite of my protestations, and call a cab before locking the place up. Otherwise I might have done something monumentally stupid.
I stagger back into the apartment, feeling useless and angry. Feeling Anya’s absence like a stab through the heart.
The door to Spike’s room is open. He’s out. Good. I’m sick of him and his nightmares, the wet towels, and his continued presence in my screwed-up life. Sick of lying and pretending. Sick of seeing his image before me whenever I close my eyes.
I should probably sleep it off, like Mike said, but I’m way too fazed. Instead I pour myself a drink and wander into Spike’s room.
Let’s find out what our ex-serial killer has been up to these days.
I put my drink down, next to a small pile of books and leaf through the pile. Two paperbacks, thrillers bought second hand, one medical textbook wearing a library stamp, dealing with mental disorders.
I quickly rifle through the chest of drawers. A few T-shirts and button-down shirts, another pair of jeans, some socks. All black. No underwear! An almost empty bottle of cheap scotch, a book of matches from a club, with a handwritten phone number on it. Five crumpled dollar bills and some small change. A stake. This can’t be all!
I sit down on the unmade bed. Come on, Spikey, we all have our secrets. So where do you keep yours? I look underneath the tangled sheets. Nothing. Pick up his pillow. Nada. Just smell of Spike, slightly earthy, laced with faint traces of tobacco. Not that I let him smoke in the apartment.
“Would you mind telling me what you’re doing in here?”
“Gah!” is my less than articulate reply.
Spike is standing in the doorway. Not all sunny, like this morning, but looking pissed.
I realize he’s caught me clutching his pillow. Crap! I drop it like a hot potato. “It’s not what it looks like!” I slur. “Um… what DOES it look like?”
“You tell me.”
“It’s my apartment.” I manage to say.
“It’s my bed.” His voice is low and smooth. I hate it when he talks like that.
I get up. The room is spinning or maybe it’s just me who’s swaying. I hold on to the chest of drawers. “I was just leaving.”
“Were you?” Spike drawls. Then he spots the open drawers. His mien darkens some more. “Find anything interesting? Or should I say ‘incriminating?’ What you looking for, Harris? ‘My Evil Diary’?”
I head for the door but he doesn’t budge. Instead he slams his palm against the door frame, barring my exit with his outstretched arm. “Answer me!” he demands, his face just inches away from mine. I can smell cigarettes and alcohol on his breath.
I stare at his lips, wicked, evil lips, then angrily wrench my gaze upwards. “Or you’ll do what? Call your invisible pals to beat me up?”
He doesn’t answer. For a moment he meets my stare, then a wary look crosses his face and he pulls back. I’ve got the upper hand and he knows it. He glowers but lets his arm fall to his side, making way.
Except I’m not leaving. Instead, I’m clutching his head and yanking his face towards me. Before I know it, my lips are on his.
Continued in Part Ten