The stake landed dead on, and the vamp poofed
out of sight. Getting late, probably should get home. I headed towards the
“Had enough?” Spike jogged up next to me.
“Yeah. Looks pretty dead.”
He half-smiled, following me back to the house
in silence. Not next to me—behind me. Wonder why he’s back there… what if
he’s looking at… Oh, God!
“Spike!” I turned and his brow rose. What was I
going to say again?
We stood still, waiting for me to finish it.
Nothing came. He sighed, stepping ahead of me. I followed him all the way to
the steps, but he turned, stopping me there.
“I need to…” his hands fled to his pockets. “I
need to say something before we go back in there…”
Oh no… this can’t be good. My breath fell
uneasy, and soon stopped altogether. He knew he was making me uncomfortable,
but he just took a deep breath and stepped down. He’s got those remorse-eyes…
God, this isn’t going to be good.
“It’s about… earlier…” his body was shivering,
“Last night… when, when I…” His shaking hand lifted now, fingertips brushing
against my arm.
I didn’t move—I still wasn’t even breathing.
Hurry Spike, say it and let’s go in.
He sighed. “I’m sorry for it… what I did… what
It flashed back to me, the second I pushed all
my strength behind my fist, ramming it into his side. And he had fallen. I
had to say it back—because I am sorry. He didn’t deserve that… even if he did
I lifted my arm to his side, and he slid away
from me, drawing his arms his body. I pulled my hand away, tucking hair behind
my ears. “Sorry.”
His stone-face seemed to melt like a candle, no doubt realizing
that I wasn’t trying to hurt him. He had every reason to believe that I
would. I rose my eyes to his, trying to see past the color of them… trying to
see what Anya saw—what I hadn’t seen before.
Nothing. Just his eyes. They’ve always looked
I stepped past him and into the house. He
hesitated before following me in.
“Buffy!” Xander shouted out. “Just in time!
Ready to hear the latest great news?”
I came slowly into the living room. All the Scoobies—even
Anya and Andrew. All the SITs—were there always this many? And Giles is
here? Looks like more bad news for Buffy. The basement door closed. Spike
wasn’t going to hear this?
Giles stood, “Yes, well… indeed. It seems
things are getting a little bit…”
“Sacrificial!” Anya piped up.
I glanced around at the worried faces. Xander’s
looked more… annoyed.
“Meaning?” I asked.
“To offer something as a homage—usually involves
slaughtering of some kind.” Anya answered with a smile.
“It doesn’t say anything about pig-slaughter…”
Andrew’s whiny voice emerged, and grew quieter as he finished, “Does it?”
Giles glanced at me before blinking away.
“According to this passage…” he lifted a book and read from it, “The First will
send Bringers to… well, bring… four items for a, um… some form of ritual…”
“Ritual?” I placed my axe in the chest. “So
what’s the sacrifice?”
“The text says… Breath of Fire, uh…” Giles shrugged as he read on,
“Heart of Strength, Ghost of Passion, and…” he paused, blinking furiously at
the page. “Eye of Toad? Egg of Turnip…”
“It’s written in hideously condemned text,
Buffy.” He dropped the book, which gave a loud thud. “And I… I haven’t figured
“Yeah, but… Giles… Breath of Fire? Where is
that? What is that?”
“We, um, haven’t gotten to that part yet…” Anya
My eyes looked to the ceiling, then back to
Giles. “Well, what about this ritual thing? What’s it for?”
Giles glanced around the room. I followed his
gaze to Anya.
Anya rubbed her fingers. “We, um, haven’t
gotten to that part yet…either…”
We all sighed together, and the room stayed
silent for some time. I checked out all the girls, each looking back and forth
at each other—like cartoon characters. Xander and Dawn were standing, both
pairs of eyes on me. And Willow stared at her computer, as if she wasn’t even
I rubbed my eyes. “Maybe Spike knows
“I don’t know anything…”
I had just opened the door when he spoke from
his place on the first step.
I closed the door behind me and sat next to
him. “You could have been in there.”
His eyes rolled, and he turned his head from
me. “Not one for crowds.”
“That crowd is all you have.”
He snorted. “Angry eyes and jeering mouths…
Reminds me of the old Angelus days.”
Now I rolled my eyes. “Do you have to keep
bringing him up?”
His eyes searched me for a moment. Then he
stood, breaking the gaze, and went down the stairs.
I sighed, standing. “Now what?”
He was sitting on the bed now, his head in his
hands. “I don’t know.”
The silence was sickening, and I walked down the stairs only to
break it with the sound of my boots clicking softly against the wood. He
didn’t move. Just held his head as I reached the floor.
Then he chuckled, and it grew into a whispered
laugh. His head bobbed up and down. I smiled, but it quickly faded when I
realized this wasn’t his funny-laugh.
There was a strained smile on his face when he
lifted it. “You know, sometimes I think I think about him more than you ever
Angel? I wanted to ask him, but something kept
“How he helped you… and hurt you…” his head fell
into his hands again, and his words became muffled, “How he… survived… you.”
His fingers scratched into his skull. “And it stings… the thinking… it stings,
and I… if I could just… stop.”
Survived me? What is that supposed to mean?
Again, I kept my thoughts to myself. My silence seemed so golden—bringing out
whatever it was that kept him at such a distance.
But he seemed to catch on, and also fell silent,
pressing his palms against his temples. We could only hear muffled words
upstairs, until he fell back onto the bed, seemingly pushing words out of him…
again with the laughter.
“I forgot…” he said between chuckles, “You want
the fighter.” He lifted his legs onto the bed and stretched out. “Right then,
Slayer! Come talk to me when you know what the hell is going on.” He kicked
his boots off, “When there’s something I can kill for you.”
“Alright, Spike. Those mood swings are way too
regular nowadays. I stood here and listened, and it’s still not enough. I’m
out of ideas.” I turned to go upstairs.
As expected, another mood swing. He was behind
me in a second. “Wait! Don’t go. I’m sorry, Buffy. I just thought…”
“Thought what?” I crossed my arms, “What? I
can’t understand? I don’t know how it feels? That I can’t feel anything?”
He was blown back by my words. His speechless
mouth hung open.
Might as well finish it up, now. “This is hard
for me, too.” I felt my voice weaken, and quickly gulped away the lump in my
throat. “Don’t you get that?”
He was taking air in slow and unsteady now, lowering his eyes to my
stomach. I could see it—that he wanted to hold me, maybe even kiss me, but was
fighting himself from it. Am I so terrifying? Is he so afraid?
The lump came back to my throat, and I felt my
face grow hot. The image of Spike became blurry, and I blinked. A salty drop
slid down my cheek, and Spike came into clear view again. His eyes followed my
tear. He lifted his hand to it, but brought it away quick with wide eyes. He
dropped to the step in an instant and placed his palms over my boots.
“Buffy…” he rubbed my feet and up my ankles,
burying his face into my knees. “I’m so sorry, love…”
Another tear fell down.
He looked up, and in seeing it he
hugged my calves. “What a monster I am…” he groaned, and bent lower. He spoke
between gentle kisses, “Make you cry… make you weak…” he kissed my ankle one last
time before he dropped his head against the wooden stair.
I looked down at him—crumpled at my
feet, sobbing or shaking. I stepped down behind him, then crouched alongside
him. I drew my arm across his back and hugged him close.
He didn’t hug back.
Continued in Part 6