This is a dream. The glow washed
over me. The warmed surrounded my arms and body. So warm. So smooth. I was
back. Back in my peace.
The mist flowed freely as I began
to move slowly and aimlessly. The quiet was empowering, strengthening my every
silent step. The peace. So right. So long. My place.
It came fast then. The glow ripped
itself apart, and tore a hole through the peace, chilling my spine as it sucked
out all the warmth. The silence was gone, too, and the wind screamed all
This is a dream. This is over.
Wake up! I pushed myself, trying to wake. But my arms just flailed helpless
before me. Then the wind swirled faster, and wrapped cold fingers around my
wrists, pulling me into the angry hole.
And all the light was gone. It was
cold, and dark, and I was powerless.
I clutched the mug, staring out the
kitchen window. The warming tickle from the sun graced over my pounding
flesh. But again the cold chill returned to my spine, and all the warmth fled
He didn’t say anything. I knew he
was there. He knew that I knew, and he still tried to hide it—standing so
silent and still in the entrance. I sipped, and the warm drink flowed through
me, taking away the chill. At least, I thought the sip took away the chill,
until I turned to see that he was already gone.
“If you please… Put that down!”
Giles’ voice grew quieter as he had moved away from the phone. “That’s not to
be toiled wi—” a loud crash interrupted him, and I could hear several of the
“Giles?” I finally called him back.
“We’re going to move downstairs,”
he had picked up the phone again, “Everyone to the basement.” He spoke
directly into the phone now, but quietly, “Silly, strong, and stubborn…”
“What was slain? A lamp?”
“No… Vase.” I could hear the glass
shifting. Giles must’ve been cleaning it up.
“Bummer.” I said, not really caring
much about flowers or destroyed vases that had held them. “You had something
to tell me?”
I glanced up. Principal Wood peered over my cubical wall.
“Something about… that boy? The
boy who… broke up… with you?”
Principal Wood smiled.
“Boy who broke up… Buffy, what in
God’s name are you talking about?” Giles asked.
My eyes widened, “Because, you
know, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. You just have to find them. Better
yet, you could find, like, four of them…”
Principal Wood looked confused,
then shook his head and smiled before he walked away.
“Buffy, are you suggesting that I
find some sort of—”
“Giles!” I whispered frantically
into the phone. “Ritual! Get on with it, will you?”
“Oh, yes… the counseling, forgive
me.” He cleared his throat, “We’ve translated what we believe may help locate
one of the ritual… ingredients.”
“Um…” he stuttered, “Breath of Fire burns within the one who combats
What? How was this helpful? I
fell back into my chair, exhausted. “Giles, that doesn’t tell us anything. I
mean, what the hell does it even mean?”
“Well, I haven’t a clue, Buffy.”
“Couldn’t you have called me when
you had something a little more… solid?”
“Spike… Spike has an idea on what
it could mean. Says there’s a demon in Sunnydale that fits such a
“Then we wait.” I hung up the
Rain fell as I stepped onto the
grass, matting down my hair. Spike closed the door.
“Pretty far from here, Slayer.” He
didn’t leave the shelter, “Think maybe we should ask the boy for a lift?”
I didn’t slow at his
suggestion—just kept walking. “Nope. Don’t want to worry about protecting him
if things get ugly.” Soft rain flattened into my skin and clothes. “Besides,
nice night for a walk.”
“Humph,” he sniffed, opening the door again. I turned to watch him
disappear inside. He returned having shed his duster. “Nice for you.”
We crossed Revello, heading away
from the graveyard. For the first couple miles the air was filled with
silence. My head was filled with noisy thoughts.
Should I talk to him about last
night? About Angel? He thinks I still love Angel. Crazy, because I don’t
think he still loves Dru. Not like he did. Not like he loved me. Or he did…
or does… love me. I know it. Accepted it. It wasn’t the right kind of love
before, but now, I don’t know. He’s all soul-having. But does that really
change it? Angel was souled when he broke my heart. Didn’t stop it from
happening. Why am I bringing it back to Angel, anyway? This isn’t the same.
It’s different. He did it for me… Spike fought for that soul… for me. Even if
it wasn’t what I wanted, it doesn’t make his intentions any less noble.
Noble? Is that what he is?
I glanced over at Spike, and he
quickly returned it. Rain dripped off his cheek. His face looked nervous from
the silence, or he was uneasy that I might end it. I couldn’t tell.
I wonder how it feels… to suddenly
have part of you that was gone for over a century. Does he know why it’s
there? Do I? I placed my hand over my heart, feeling the steady beat. Is
this it? The beat? At least the heart feels… you know that it’s there. With
the soul, it was harder to feel it. Hard to find it. Spike had gone halfway
around the Earth to find his.
“Left ahead,” he pointed. “Gonna
run outta road soon.”
Great. Dark forest with Spike.
This was such a bad idea.
He sighed. Too quiet. Say
something to him.
“So what’s this Breath of Fire
“Big. Nasty. ” Spike chewed his bottom lip. “Should be right
Fun? “And we’re going to… Did
Giles say to kill it?”
Spike shrugged. “Way I figure it,
we poke around his pad first. See what he’s got.” His eyebrow rose. “Gives us
trouble, we give him the axe.”
Rain pinged against the axe as I
held it up to look at it. “What if we… need him? Maybe we should just… cage
it up… or something.”
Spike chuckled. “Don’t count on it, pet.”
The trees sheltered out most of the rain. Spike
bent over and slapped the water off his head. He whipped his head back up, and
his hair curled. Naturally-curly Spike. I chuckled. He glanced over at me.
“Hold still,” he came next to me. Shivers. He
moved his hand to my ear. Oh, God, he can feel my shivers. Stop it!
His fingers pinched a lock of my hair, and
slowly dragged a leaf from it. He twirled it before my face, and water
sprinkled off onto me. He dropped it, watching it fall to the ground. His
gaze rested on my body. I was soaked. The clothes stuck to me. He could
probably see right through them.
Shivers, again. What is he doing? What am I
He lifted his hand, stopping it inches away from
Don’t touch me, Spike. I don’t know what I’ll
do. I don’t know what I think of this. But it would feel so nice… to feel a
gentle touch again after… And the decision was made. I slid my hand out
towards his and pulled it to my waist.
He clung to me, moving closer. Oh
no. I started it. Can I make him stop? Do I want him to stop? The other
hand slid around me now, and I looked at his face. Still lowered, looking down
at his careful hands. They moved up my arms—rubbed my arms. God, I can’t
breathe. My eyes closed, and I sucked air in as I spoke, “Spike…”
Scared. I scared him. I lifted my
eyes to his, letting air out and quickly drawing more in. His eyes met mine.
We stood like that, until finally he brought his face closer.
No, no, no. Don’t do it. Don’t
kiss him. But my tongue still jumped across my lips. He closed his eyes, and
I closed mine.
And then his forehead rested
against my own, but his mouth was far from mine. It was open—I could hear his
panting. Quick, frightened panting. My heart beat to the pace of it. And
again, we stood like that.
I opened my eyes and watched him.
His eyes still closed tight, his face wincing and worried. He looked hurt. I
moved my head back, and his fell forward slightly. His eyes gazed back at me
“Are you…” I thought about moving
out from his hands, but they felt so good. “Are you okay?”
Still open-mouthed, he nodded.
“Because you look…”
His eyes closed again, followed by
“… hurt.” I finished.
He pulled his hands from my sides
and over his head. They clutched at the top before resting at the back of his
neck. He blinked, then looked at me again.
“It’s…” he scratched at his
shoulder, “It’s gone now.”
“What? What was it?”
He turned, walking further into the forest. “Chip… it stings…
sometimes it stings.”
I followed him, grasping my axe
with cold fingers. “The chip? Were you trying to… were you going to bite me?”
He swung around. “No!”
“Then why did it zap?”
His fists were clenched. “It
wasn’t you, Slayer. It just… sometimes it just does.”
My arms lowered the axe, “That’s
He sighed. “Yeah. That’s it.”
He walked away again, and I moved
quick to catch up. I stumbled over a dip in the ground just as he turned.
“Does the Watcher know? About it?”
“The soul. Did you tell him about
I hesitated, confusing thoughts in
my head. Why doesn’t he ever call it ‘his’? Always ‘the’ soul. Never… ‘my’
soul… but my soul? Does he think of it as mine? I glanced at him, realizing
he was still waiting for an answer. I quickly ran over conversations with
Giles in my head… remembered the time I was going to tell him once… Something
came up. Doesn’t matter really. Xander or Dawn or Willow must’ve said…
“I’m sure he knows,” was all I
He scowled, “It really is nothing
to you, isn’t it? Doesn’t matter that I… Doesn’t change… You still think of me
No I don’t! My head screamed in my
defense. Why couldn’t I say it? I don’t know what I think, I wanted to say
that to him. But I could only stare at him in silence.
He approached me again,
outstretching his hand, locking our eyes. His hand rested against the middle
of my chest. Oh no. He held it there for so long. Oh, God. I felt my heart
pounding. He could feel it too. What is he thinking? I stared into his eyes,
trying to figure him out.
He spoke in a low voice, “It’s not
hard… you know… to find it.”
I didn’t break eye contact, even as
I felt his cool fingers tapping my skin.
“I see yours now, you know? So
clean, and strong. I can feel the strength. I don’t need proof of it. I know
it is there.”
I shuddered as his hand slid down
to my stomach, reaching my wrist and grasping it. I dropped the axe and he
pulled my hand up. He held it to his chest, focusing on my eyes.
“Can’t you know it? It’s there,
love. Can’t you see it? Feel it?” He dropped his hand.
I lost myself in the depths of his
eyes, searching for it. I pressed my palm hard into his chest, desperately
trying to feel it. His eyes squinted, and tiny raindrops dripped softly off
I don’t. I don’t see it. Why
can’t I see it? I could hear Spike already asking it.
But he didn’t ask it. He sighed.
“I can’t make you see it, Buffy. You can’t trust… you don’t believe it.”
I do. Tell him I do! God, Buffy,
say something… he’s waiting. He’s fading… he’ll turn his back. Walk away hurt
again. Do I want to hurt him again? Trust him? Should I…
“Believe?” the rest of the thought
whispered over my lips.
He blinked, giving a slight smile.
“Believe me, Buffy. Believe… in me. Don’t just say it to me… do it.”
My hand fell. So wrong. How can
he be so wrong, and so right?
His smile faded as he bent down to
grab the axe. I stood speechless… thoughtless… powerless.
He held it out, “Not far now. Off
I took the axe, and followed him
deeper into the forest.
Continued in Part 7