Setting: Post-Dead Things
Entry 4 - Plans
Anya had dispensed both herbs and the letter with annoyance. Apparently she was supposed to go look at an ice swan for the wedding and had hoped he'd show up so she could leave the shop in his hands. One look at his face, though, and she'd decided he would scare away the customers.
Spike had paid no heed to her complaints; he wasn't particularly in the mood to play shopkeeper for her, even if it meant she might feel less inclined to allow him to use the shop as a mail drop. He was tired, sore and wanted nothing more than to sleep until the pain went away. It'd be in a lonely bed, too; Buffy likely wouldn't come calling after their bout in the alley.
Easing himself gently onto the pillows of his bed, he pulled the pages from the envelope. Giles' writing was never easy to read, and his swollen eye made it more difficult. He thought of tossing it aside, swallowing the herbs and some blood and forgetting it all until he felt better. The thought was only a passing one.
I wish I had better news to report, but the Council unfortunately seems to be in the early stages of its research. The last report I heard only went through the Fourteenth Century and did nothing but reaffirm my certainty that Willow did a foolish and dangerous thing with this spell. It was a distressing afternoon and I must confess your letter (which had arrived in the morning post) proved a comfort, even with its less than cheerful news.
If they knew that your chip no longer functions around Buffy, that might give them a better idea of where to look. Unfortunately, the Council would also consider you an immediate threat and would either send orders to Buffy to kill you or send a team to accomplish the job. Roger Iverson, watcher to the last slayer you killed, argues for it on a regular basis; he was particularly appalled to learn I had worked with you and hadn't taken the opportunity to "accidentally" plunge a stake into your heart.
So he had enemies. Not particularly surprising. It'd taken about forty years and encounters with several other slayers to realize he'd been marked as a target, someone the young women were trained to recognize. Nikki's death had likely only moved him up the list.
And what would these men do if they realized their precious slayer had not only worked with him, but come to his bed? It was something he didn't care to contemplate.
Not all members of the Council are hostile toward you, however. In fact, those who have seen little or no field work find you an object of intense interest. It is rare that any have the chance to actually study a vampire on a long-term basis in the wild, so to speak and I know of more than one person who would leap at the chance to interview you. I've been peppered with questions regarding your background, personal habits, etc, most of which I have refused to answer. For some reason, I find the idea of betraying any confidences distasteful. I have, however, informed Quentin Travers, the head of the Council, that you are a fan of Passions and enjoy Wheatbix in your blood. You would have found his annoyance quite amusing.
I think we can use this fascination to our mutual advantage. You might recall Lydia Chalmers from the Council's last visit to Sunnydale. It seems she was quite taken with you during her brief interview, so much so that it has become a bit of a joke among her fellows. You were the object of her thesis, a well-thought out piece of work even if it relies on sources which I have come to realize are in error. For example, if Angel turned Drusilla in 1860 and she is your sire, you can hardly be 200 years old as many books claim. I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of Miss Chalmers' thesis to you under a separate cover. She would be highly appreciative if you could read it and provide some annotations and corrections. Send them to me and I will make certain she receives them.
It took Spike a minute to recall the woman Giles spoke of. Blondish hair pulled back severely, glasses. She'd fluttered when he'd smiled at her, though he couldn't remember any particular effort to charm her, just trying to figure out why the Council had come knocking at his door and chosen not to turn him into a pile of dust.
He re-read the paragraph and grimaced at the thought of reading the woman's thesis. What was Giles thinking?
Why should you do this, you might ask? Because I found your suggestion the Council pay Buffy a stipend an excellent one, and I have convinced Lydia to do some investigation into possible precedents for such an action. She is better-connected then I at this moment and Travers has some faith in her abilities. In order to make a stipend palatable to Buffy, we must ensure there are as few strings attached as possible. Travers will never extend such an offer with no strings, but I will do what I can to minimize the damage. Lydia may also prove useful in the future.
Very good reason to read the thesis. He'd play nice and do as Giles asked. He was doing this for Buffy, he reminded himself.
Is she still working at the Doublemeat Palace? I understand your concerns about her well-being and the effect it might have on her, but if Social Services is becoming a problem, then even that employment is better than none. She was quite right to refuse your offer of money; while your intention may have been to help her, a questionable source of income would hardly aid her cause to keep Dawn. Thank you, though, for keeping an eye on her where patrolling is concerned; it gives me some peace of mind.
What you said about the look in Buffy's eyes set me to thinking. I will confess to some unease since I've returned home. At first I attributed it to readjusting to life in a different clime and at a different pace, as well as the circumstances under which I left Sunnydale and concern for Buffy. Now I realize it is not simply that, but a growing concern with the way the Council handles slayers. Travers and many others see them as a tool, a weapon in the war against the forces of darkness; they expect the girl to be totally dedicated to this task with no other interests to distract her. I once thought that was as it should be, but now I have my doubts. I wish I could trust you enough to enroll you as an ally, use your experience to better train slayers. Even if you were willing, that the Council would accept such help is beyond the realm of possibility.
Spike nearly dropped the pages in shock. Him? Train slayers? Next Giles would be suggesting he become bloody watcher.
But what was he doing now? Writing letters on Buffy's activities, seeking advice, doing what he could to help her. About the only thing he wasn't doing was seeing to her training. When his wounds had healed, though…
He reached for the herbs and tossed them down his throat, following it with a large chaser of blood. Not going to think that way.
Forgive my rambling. It was not my intention to burden you with my thoughts. Have you heard anything more about the situation with Social Services? How is Dawn dealing with this? Are she and Buffy communicating? How is Willow's recovery progressing? I wish I knew of a support group that could help her, but the people in Sunnydale who would understand what she is going through are precisely the type of people she should avoid.
I am glad to hear you were officially invited to the wedding. Like it or not, you have become very much a part of our lives and it is fitting you be included in this special occasion. I had hoped to be able to be there, but it seems unlikely at this point. Pity, as I think you and I have a great deal to discuss, much of which is difficult to do by letter.
You and me both, Rupert. You and me both.
I hope that by the time this letter reaches you, Buffy will have either found other employment or come to terms with the work she's doing. I can understand your frustration, but do what you can to help her. Willow brought her back, but I fear it is up to you to keep her alive. If you need anything, let me know. If you need to call me, use the phone at the Magic Box; I will make things right with Anya.
Spike tossed the letter to one side and gingerly slid into a prone position. Damn. This hadn't been his intent when he'd written the watcher initially. He'd needed someone to talk with and he'd been hoping there'd be an answer to Buffy's problems in Giles' musty books. Even if there was, it was clear it wouldn't be coming soon.
Continued in Entry 5 - Bodies