“Chains…” he muttered, “Chains,
“Spike, no.” I lifted his feet onto the cot, “Besides, you can
“Buffy…” he started to sit up.
“Sh.” I placed my hands on his
chest. “Just rest here for a minute. Okay?”
He fell back against the pillow.
“Melts like butter, you know?”
His eyes opened, “Like butter; not
scalding. Make me cry at the moon… to the stars…”
What the hell? “Spike?”
He shook his head, closing his eyes
again, “Sorry, pet… it’s just… harder to keep everything in place.”
“Because… the chip?”
“Or lack of, I reckon,” he settled,
resting his eyes on me. “Feels a little… funny is all.”
Funny? Like, ‘wrong decision’
funny? God, it was supposed to be better without the chip…
Spike frowned, obviously seeing the
concern in my face. “I’m alright, Buffy… I’m… I’m not sure why you—”
“Why I what? Did the right
thing?” Been so long since you’ve seen me do that, Spike. It’s no wonder you
don’t know it when you see it.
He sighed. “That what you think it
“I think…” what? What do I think?
That the chip never really mattered. Never stopped you from biting me. You
stopped you from biting me, Spike. Every time, you… Oh, God. What? Why is he
staring at me?
His lips sucked in, and his eyes
widened with a nod… That’s his ‘please, go on’ face. His ‘talk to me’ face.
‘Say it’ face.
Say what? What, Spike? Tell you
what I think of you? No. I don’t… Not the right time…
“Silence her weapon… her only
defense, it is…”
What? His whispers fell almost
silent. I came closer to him, listening harder.
“Hides behind it… only time she’ll
hide.” His lids never opened, even as I came inches from his face. “But she’ll
brave all others… all odds. Clean and safe.”
I lifted my hand to his mouth, but
didn’t cover it. Something told me to keep listening. It was like reading a
journal. All these thoughts… that were just supposed to be… thoughts. Things
he never said; things I shouldn’t hear. All these thoughts just running free.
I couldn’t stop him. I want to hear more. Don’t stop, Spike…
“She’s the heart of it… the
center. Of the moon, and the stars. Or the sun. They all turn to her. Need
her...” his eyes blinked open.
I lifted my face, watching him
watch me. He swallowed.
“I… uh, should…”
I nodded, standing up. “Get some
He stared a moment, taking quick
breaths, before dropping his head.
I slammed the basement door.
“Willow, hi, I… Willow!” I watched her settle onto a stool. “Willow? How
“Hey, Buffy!” Kennedy lifted a
kettle off the stove. “Did you want some tea?”
I eyed Willow. More tea, huh? “Um, no thanks. So, Willow? How
did you… fix you?”
Willow shrugged, “It was, um… like
a… a fairy-tale thing…”
“Fairy-tale thing?” I looked at
Kennedy smirked, picking up a piece
of paper off the counter. “Um, Buffy, there’s a note here…” Kennedy stopped
reading and pushed it into my hand.
“‘We think Giles is The
First—Anya.’ What the…” I stared at the paper.
“Here, lemme see.” Willow snatched it away. “Well… maybe this is…
maybe it’s old.”
“I don’t think so. Unless… did
everyone know that Giles was The First already?”
Kennedy shook her head.
“Um, maybe Spike knew?” Willow
The basement door slammed behind
me. It’s okay. Be calm. Be tactful. Use a quiet, slow voice.
He shot up. “God! Buffy, what is
“Is Giles The First?”
Spike still struggled to breathe, “Is Giles the… who told you
Spike blinked, looking away. “I
don’t… I mean you’ve… you’ve touched him, haven’t you? Hugged him?”
No. Oh, crap! No! I ran up the stairs, slamming the basement
door behind me again. Kennedy and Willow followed me upstairs to my room.
Crap. Pack, and get out there. All those potentials… alone with The First… Oh
“Buffy, it’s alright. Xander left
a message on my phone, see? He says Giles isn’t The First.” Willow waved to
phone towards me.
Kennedy sidled up beside Willow, “Well, unless The First killed
Xander and is pretending to be him now…”
“Listen, you guys stay here and
watch Spike. I’m going to—”
“Don’t worry, Buff.” Xander came in the room, “Giles isn’t The
First, and neither am I.”
He glanced at Willow and Kennedy,
who took turns poking fingers at him.
“Hey! Easy with the pokes,
“Xander!” Willow hugged him. “What
“It’s a long story.” Xander backed away from her. “We’ve got
another potential on the way. Giles took Dawn and went to pick her up.”
“And…” I dropped my bag, “All the…
the girls are back?”
“That isn’t fair! They were
supposed to be gone for two days!”
Three pairs of wide eyes stared
back at me.
Spike was sleeping. Maybe not
sleeping, but not really awake either. Somewhere in-between. I sat on the
steps to listen... for a while. He never stopped talking, of course. Always
talking. Always has something to say… Eventually I stepped next to him, but
his words were muffled and I couldn’t make them out.
I crouched alongside him, watching
his lips barely move. He muttered senseless words, and then his muscles
tightened and the lips froze. Something’s wrong. Something hurts. His eyes
closed tighter and he broke the silence with a tiny gasp.
I lifted my hand to his head,
stretching my fingers through his hair. I moved slow as I scratched around to
He shuddered, opening his eyes.
“Sh. Let me help.”
His eyes closed again and he
swallowed hard when I reached the back of his head. “Don’t…”
He gasped again as I circled my fingers, “Don’t help?”
His eyes opened again, and he lifted his hand to mine. “Please…
don’t.” Then he pulled my hand away. “Don’t… it… melts…”
I crossed my arms. Okay. It melts. I melt? What is that
supposed to mean? So, no touching Spike. This is so unfair. Why won’t you
let me help? I felt myself glaring at him.
His hand fell with his eyes.
The basement filled with the noise
from upstairs. The girls stomped through the kitchen. Spike’s eyes closed
“The girls… they’re alright?”
I nodded. “Yeah. I’m taking some of them out for patrol.”
“Just rest. I have to go.
They’re… They’re waiting for me.”
Continued in Part 12