All About Spike

A Brief History of Now
By Gwyneth Rhys

The thing about Buffy is this: She really believes she's just a normal girl inside. Or at least, she wants to be a normal girl so bad that's what she sees in herself, and kind of ignores the other stuff, the slayer stuff, that's so extraordinary. She doesn't understand that being normal is never going to happen.

And the thing about Spike is that he loves the impossible. The harder something is, the more unobtainable or the less likely that he could do it, the more he wants it. In fact, he would be the picture in the dictionary next to the phrase Reverse Psychology -- you just say to him, "You can't do that" or "You'll fail," and bang! He's off and running. And the scary thing is that most of the time, he gets what he wants, or close to it. None of us would ever have believed he could get Buffy to sleep with him, but he did. Or that he could come back after hurting her and be a part of her life, yet here he is, even if he doesn't always believe it himself.

You could say it's because he's got something to prove, but I think it's more that he has to keep reminding himself he's not a failure. Spike doesn't talk much about what he was like when he was human, but I get the impression he was a little like me. In the before, I mean. Before college and before I met Tara. Shy, uncertain, a wallflower, no self-esteem, and completely oblivious of the strong person inside. Maybe he just never found the strong person inside until he became a non-person, strange as that sounds. Terrible as it sounds.

So you've got this guy who loves the impossible, who's drawn to it like moths are drawn to a porch light, hurling himself maniacally at it, and you've got like the most Impossible Dream ever, a slayer he wants to romance instead of kill, and then...Well, you know your chemistry. And throw in Buffy's desire to be this thing she can't be and a major case of zaniness ensues. It's interesting that you would ask about them now, because they're in some sort of transitional phase with regards to each other. Things are happening with them; subtle shifts of character, glimmers of a different way of looking at each other. Or maybe that's why you're asking about them in particular -- d'oh, you've probably seen it and need to know more.

After they got the First's seal closed the other day, things got kind of quiet, and for the first time in a long time we actually had something non-Firsty to worry about. An ancient demon came to town who had to find a virgin girl with yellow eyes to bond to (read: some kind of weird voodoo marriage ceremony with animal sacrifice or some gibberish; seriously, this is what used to happen to us every day), and then drink her blood or eat her or something, in order to bring about a sort of curse in reverse kind of thing -- he'd have all these powers so he could rule the world, or at least this little corner of it. Why everyone is so intent on running southern California is beyond me, but it seems to be the in thing to do. And this being the Hellmouth, of course there was a virgin with yellow eyes right here in Sunnydale (although, frankly, I thought they looked more like a kind of pale olive green, but no one asked me). When Buffy and Spike were out with some of the girls training them one night, they ran into the bad guy's minions (yes, minions. No shortage of minions around this town!).

"We have a job!" Buffy yelled when she got home, in a way that reminded me of when we were in high school -- she was using her best cheerleader voice. She even punched the air. "I mean, a real vampire slayer job, not an end of the world job!"

Spike was watching her with a wry smile on his face, like he thought she was the cutest thing he'd ever seen. Well, she was.

"You mean like... like a demon or something?" I asked. I don't think any of us knew what to do for a few minutes, because it had been so long since we did anything except worry about the First and all. Xander's mouth hung open, as I'm sure mine did.

"Yeah!" Buffy chirped. "Research and everything." I was kind of glad the girls were upstairs recovering, because I think they were still having a lot of trouble getting into the idea of battling evil in general, that something like a run of the mill demon hunt might have tipped them over the edge. They did okay when they met Clem, but the demon bar kind of freaked them out for the most part. They're used to having Spike around and everything, but he's not Demony with the capital D anymore. Plus more people in this house than just Andrew think Spike's hot, so they probably enjoy having him here, except when they remember that he could kill them. (Hello! Not the only gay one!)

It's pretty clear to everyone that something's happening with Buffy and Spike. But mostly, to me, it's clear what is happening. By that I mean, there are some who don't want to believe anything could happen, like Xander and Giles, so I don't think they understand where Buffy is emotionally, or Spike's role in it. For them it's about sleazier motivations. And there's Principal Wood, who seems to have a thing for Buffy, but he's so blankly spooky that it's hard to tell. I mean, I'm down with the deadpan humor, but there's a little too much emphasis on the dead there, if you know what I mean. And of course, we all remember the bad stuff between Buffy and Spike (not to mention Anya and Xander and how Spike interfered in that); well, everyone except Andrew, who's simply hot for Spike and doesn't know about the whole dynamic here.

For a while I was on the Spike bad bandwagon, too. It was hard having him back after everything that went on. We were so mixed up ourselves, we didn't understand how to deal with him being mixed up too, and he's generally a bit more dangerous when he's mixed up than any of us could ever even hope to be, what with the vampire and all, chip or no chip. The way Buffy used him, how he attacked her last spring, and just his whole history with us was like a big waxy buildup of potential ugly. I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but he tried to give me a homemade transorbital lobotomy once.

Only... here's the catchy thing -- I don't have a lot of high moral ground to stand on, since I was being world-endy girl and trying to kill Buffy at the same time, not to mention Dawn, Xander, and the whole universe. I doubt Spike trying to force himself on her was gajillions of times eviler than the whole apocalyptic goddess thing I had going. Maybe there's some cosmic scale of justice out there, and if you weighed Spike trying to force Buffy to want him when he was so desperate, and me trying to end the world because of my own pain and power tripping, I'm thinking one side is going to dip a little lower than the other, and it'd be mine.

Since we've been friends forever, though, Buffy was willing to forgive me. Spike had a lot harder road to walk, because of the evil undead character flaw. Buffy has deep-seated beliefs about levels of evil, about souls and things. Some of it's because she never got over Angel, some of it is just that she has to draw a line, or she couldn't slay. There's not a lot of wiggle room in her life. And Spike was not in the best of shape for trust-building when we saw him again last fall -- under the influence of the First, kinda insane, still the same old Spike in a lot of ways despite the soul. But you find yourself warming to the guy when he's warm to you. Even when he was trying to kill me, it was like I could still carry on a conversation with him. I realize that's a weird concept to wrap your brain around, but if you met him, you'd get what I mean. It's not hard to see why Buffy is drawn to him when he dotes on her like he does, and is so sweet on her most times. Not many guys have really always been good to her, not without a lot expected in return.

So after Buffy got the seal of the First closed, I was kind of thinking that maybe something would happen with them, finally and for certain. It's hard to explain how intense things are here. The house is full of people, everyone's edgy and there's no sense of privacy, our nerves are frayed and we wonder every day if this will be the end. Buffy draws more closed in on herself when her world is like this -- she's never been share-o-gal anyway, but when it gets hairy, she'll play everything even closer to the vest.

Strangely, it's vamps who are the only guys who ever get that -- Riley, her "normal" boyfriend (except that he was in that heinous Initiative you've heard about, and he almost killed Oz, but that's a whole other story), never got that in her. She briefly dated a guy named Scott who thought she was unhappy because of him. Only Angel and Spike ever seemed to understand that the harder things are, the more she relies on herself, because that's part of her calling. And usually, they both let her be.

That took me a long time to get, I admit. When we were younger, the two of us had spats over it. But now I see -- and I can see that Spike understands it on a level most of us never will, possibly because we're human, and we invest in different things with our emotions. Or, possibly because he's killed slayers. Kinda hard to tell. That Xander doesn't understand this isolation and closedness about Buffy, maybe never will, probably only widens the gulf between Spike and him. Xander hates him with every fiber of his being. They're like a couple of schoolyard rivals, honestly -- puffy chests, the "yeah, you" attitude; it's all so boringly testosteroney. Hey, that sounds like a pizza topping -- I'll have half pepperoni and half testosteroney.

So anyway. Sorry. Getting back on track. Buffy was jumping up and down like she'd had a few too many lattes.

"We found a girl, this demon killed her family and tried to kidnap her but she got away. When we found her, she was running from some minions that were after her. We fought them, only we sort of got our asses kicked, and then sent the girls home, did a little poking around and found out what was going on. Well, I mean, with some help." She looked at Spike and for a quick flashing second, it reminded me of how she used to look at Angel, way back in high school. There was something in that glance, something that said they were friends -- and I don't mean acquaintancey, I mean friends like people who are really connected to each other friends. There was admiration in her eyes, and I don't know that I've ever seen her look at Spike like that. So he must have done a lot more than just ask around in the demonic netherworld and fight minions.

"Got her holed up somewhere safe, but now we have to find him before he... it gets its underworld shotgun wedding," Spike added.

"Well, let's get cracking on the research, what do you say?" I was feeling pretty perky right about then; there's nothing like a little good old-fashioned demon hunting to get the blood going, I say.

But Xander was excited about other things. He preened a little, running his hand over his hair and trying on that mister smoothie attitude he does sometimes. It's really very sad if you don't already love him. He said, "Now, wait. If she has to be a virgin, why not just... deflower her? Maybe show her a little Xan-man action and steal this guy's mojo before it even happens."

Spike snorted. "With your stunning history with birds? She'd be gobbled up like half a sandwich by the time you'd finished your lame first line."

Anya nodded in that annoying way she has, and said, "Your action might be more like reverse action. And then, you know, kablooey!" She waved her hands in the air, which I think was supposed to signify end of the world. Anya never misses a chance these days to make Xander feel less than studly.

That made Spike laugh. He has a very wicked-sounding laugh. "Since he's all mouth and no trousers..." he said to Anya, almost under his breath. If he had breath, that is.

I was glad Kennedy wasn't in the room; she'd get a little cranky. She doesn't have a really good sense of humor when it comes to stuff like that. Not that she's humorless or anything, but she sort of takes demony things more seriously than most of us in the Scoobs. We've been through a lot. You avert a couple of apocalypses, you earn your snark mileage.

"Oh, like you can do better?" Xander snapped. I could see Buffy rolling her eyes even though her back was turned to me. That's what I mean about how well we know each other (okay, most times).

Spike held his hands up. "Hey, mate, isn't there enough aggro around here as it is?"

"Since you're the one who always starts it, I guess you'd know, mate."

"Knock it off!" Buffy barked. "We should be happy to have something besides the First to think about. Stop bickering with Spike. And no, there will be no deflowering of anyone." She peered around the dining room corner, probably checking to see if Dawn was around. Despite everything that's happened, the torrid rough sex and the cheating and the porno geek camera and everything else, Buffy still has this weird idea that Dawn has to be protected against sex. She's like a walking MPAA rating. You'd think that with all the violence and horror Dawnie sees every day because of Buffy's slayer life, sex would be a pretty minor hiccup, but no, Buffy still tries to keep her in the dark. It's kind of cute, in a smothering way.

I'm probably boring you with all this. Mostly I'm just relating it to give you a sense of how we are, because what you know of me isn't how I am here with these people. Sometimes I try to remember what I was like as a girl, before Tara, before Oz even, and it seems like I'm remembering someone else's life. But when I'm with these people, I'm closer to that girl than I have been for a long time.

Anyway, suffice it to say that we created a classic Scooby plan: we got out the books, we made the calls, we came up with theories and mapped out a course of action that even Giles would have been puffed up about, and Buffy and Spike executed it. That's probably what matters most in regards to what you're asking about -- that Buffy and Spike act like a team now. Over the course of a few days, we hunted the demon down; I found he was actually a vampire called Lokar (doesn't that sound like some cheesy Hammer Horror movie name for a vampire or something?), that he was as ancient as Bob Hope, and that he was operating on a timeline, which always makes demons sloppy. I've always wondered why so much has to depend on schedules in the demon world -- it has to be this cycle of the moon, or that Feast of Whozits. Spike said it's because demons are so predictable and monomaniacal, and that they're not usually mental giants. I guess he'd know.

Giles will be home here before you get this, and he'll be really proud of us, I think. Everything he's taught us, everything I learned back there in Devon with him -- it pays off in situations like this. So he should feel pride. (Or I hope so, so he won't yell at us about flashcards anymore. He's a little obsessive about the cards.) But we were happy. After it was over and they'd neatly dispatched Lokar, Buffy and I were sitting on the back porch talking. She seemed so calm and almost dreamy.

"That was fun," she said in a wistful way. It was a pretty big signal the pressure was getting to her when she got all wistful over a bloody knock-down drag-out fight that left her with cuts and bruises over every square inch. What she must have liked was that it was so clearcut -- everyone played their part, she fought the good fight, and they won and they killed the demon. We'd forgotten what simple was like.

"It was, kind of," I said. "In a totally non-fun way, but hey, it was just like the good old days." I think we were both afraid of talking about real things anymore. Sometimes she'd ask me about Kennedy or we'd talk about the Principal, but we didn't really say too much about stuff like her vision of the uber-vamps or about the First, and when it took Spike away. As if, if we avoided it, then none of what we feared would ever come true.

"Sometimes a good old-fashioned fight, where you know what's black and what's white, is good." She curled her arms around herself and leaned against me. When I was back there in England with you, occasionally I wondered if something like that would ever happen again -- if Buffy and I could be close, could ever be loving to each other. If she could find it in her heart to forgive me. So it's a little hard to explain how much it meant when she touched me. Forgiveness has tangibility, I've learned. You can hold it, keep it.

We sat there for a long time, just talking, until everyone had gone to sleep and it was time for us to go to bed. I wish that there was a way you could keep moments like those as a snapshot in your heart. If when the time comes and the person is gone, you could say a few words, and poof, the moment would play in front of you like the holograms in Star Wars.

Then it was back to normal. Spike was getting so much better it was like he'd never been insane, and Andrew was walking around as if he wasn't a prisoner. Which wasn't too bad, because oddly, he's a really good cook. Fortunately he'd stopped carrying around his stupid camera and irritating everyone with his melodramatic stories. We were back to waiting, wondering. Buffy and the Principal (isn't it funny that I can't seem to refer to him as Robin? I mean, I'm a grownup now! And I still keep thinking of him as The Principal or Mr. Wood. How dumb is that?) were keeping an eye on the school to see if things stayed on the even keel.

I was in the kitchen one afternoon when I heard Buffy and Spike talking. He usually slept in the afternoon, so I was kind of surprised to hear him, especially doing the low-talking with Buffy. Despite their surreptitious glances and moony gazes, they usually kept their contact with each other in front of the rest of us. She spent some time down in the basement with him, but not "privately," if you get my drift. Yet there was something in their voices, so much urgency and tenderness, that it stopped me. The girls were elsewhere, Xander was at work and Anya was at her place, Dawn at school. I had no idea where Andrew was, but thankfully he didn't seem to be around. I stood quietly at the corner to... well, eavesdrop, although Spike's initial words were lost in other sounds like the dishwasher and the girl's voices from other parts of the house.

"... it's not a good idea, where everybloodyone can see. Not that I don't appreciate it, mind."

I wasn't sure what they were doing at first, but lately Buffy had been touching him more than usual. Her fingers would sneak towards his when she thought no one was looking, brushing over his skin, or she'd stand so close to him their hands and arms touched. They probably thought no one noticed. When we'd all been leaning over, staring at the computer screen's information on Lokar, Buffy had rested her shoulder against the side of his back. Spike always looked at her with bewilderment when she touched him. I guess he still thinks he doesn't deserve her trust. He's glad he has it, but I don't know that he knows what to do with it. It's odd seeing him so timid, too, because Spike before? Timid was not in his vocabulary. It's a little like Bizarro World Sunnydale to see Buffy doing the sneak-touching and Spike acting all fainting flower.

"I don't care," Buffy responded adamantly to whatever he was saying. "I feel how I feel." I couldn't help it, I got curious and peered around the corner to where I could just see them. Spike touched the side of her face and she leaned her head into his palm, her eyes closed.

"Now, Pet," he said. "You're going sentimental on me. Get soft, you'll lose your edge." He moved his hand along her skin, and brushed her hair back. He has a bunch of nicknames for her, Luv and Pet and Sweet. He also calls Dawn things like Niblet and Little Bit, but he never calls anyone else by nicknames (well, nice nicknames, anyway) except once or twice he called me Red. I kind of wish he would call me something because of his cool accent. Except it wouldn't be cool to you, I think -- it'd be ordinary. I don't know what kind of accent it is -- Giles once said he talked like "a Yobbo lout," only I don't know what region that would be.

"I'm tired of doing the hard things," Buffy said. "I just want to be how I want to be, and with who I want to be with. Can't we stop with the past and just look at the now?" Her voice had that sharp edge to it, the one she's had often lately when she lectures us all. But the way she looked up at him... there was nothing hard-edged about it. She had the soft eyes of a girl in love.

All he did in response was smile a little. Something else you should know about Spike is that he's kind of intense, soul or not. He has this way about him where everything comes out forcefully and passionately, except when he smiles. Then he seems like another person, relaxed and sweet. It's something the two of them have way in common. Buffy pressed her fingertips against his lower lip, and then stood up on tiptoes and kissed him. His arms slid around her, and it was so romantic, I half expected music to swell up behind us. I ducked quickly back around the corner, my heart pounding.

That probably sounds silly, but you have to understand: to me, vampire with soul + sex with slayer = death and destruction. Even knowing Spike's soul didn't come with a nasty clause didn't stop that initial tummy spazz attack. There was something else, too -- Buffy's eyes when she'd opened them to look at him. For just that second, I saw something I hadn't seen in her for a long time: happiness, or something like it. She trusted him, cared for him in a way I don't think she'd felt for so many years. Whatever else they meant or didn't mean to each other, he gave her a peace just then that she'd been lacking, and it did something to me.

I wanted nothing more at that moment than for her to be happy, even with him. But I envied them because I remembered that feeling: what it was like to see that kind of adoration in someone's eyes, how it felt to return a gaze like that. To touch someone that way. Lovers say so much with just a touch, they have a language all their own. I'd forgotten what it was like to share that language, and felt a hitch in my chest as if I might cry.

Kennedy is great, she often makes me feel safe and at peace. But in times of stress or unusual circumstances, we can find ourselves with people we might not choose if the world was normal. What I get from her and what she seeks from me isn't anything like how it was with Tara, and in that moment of seeing Buffy kiss Spike so lovingly, I realized how alone I still felt, how deep the scars still ran. I wanted to be happy for Buffy that she'd found something in Spike, but it also served as a sharp reminder of how much I'd lost, and what I would never really know again.

Then I heard Buffy say quietly to him, "I'll see you later. I will." And Spike kind of chuckled at her, but I don't know what happened after that, because I got busy with cleaning up the kitchen.

I know what he loves in her, but I don't know what she sees in him to love. There is something, though, something inside him that has made us, despite his worst behavior, let him go time and again. My guess is that Buffy understands what it is in a way none of us ever could, and is coaxing that out of him. Making him more human. But that's what love is, isn't it? Finding things in someone else that only you can see. Embracing them. Tara saw things in me... well, anyway. The lovers see the picture they need to, don't they?

So I went to bed that night, thinking of those things, of Tara. Kennedy was there cuddled at my side, but I didn't tell her about Buffy and Spike, because she doesn't fully understand him and how complex his role is with us (okay, so maybe none of us do, but that's beside the point!). And I didn't tell her about Tara or how I was feeling, because that is something still wound so tight inside me I can't let it out for fear of what it will do to me and everyone else. The darkness... despite everything you taught me, it's as if it waits there, crouched to pounce if I come near the cage door.

There are times I believe that if I just wish with all my might, if I want it hard enough, I could turn back time. Before Buffy and Spike hurt each other, before Tara was killed, before Xander destroyed Anya, before I let the power inside me curdle into evil. Buffy and Spike might have been able to find each other on equal footing, and I would have let the good inside me keep control so that Tara would never have had to leave... I would have known then it was all connected, before I had to learn the hard way. Giles could have come back for a good reason, not to stop me. We weren't all happy, but we could have tried, if only.

Alone in the dark, the if onlys consume me, and I can feel all of it, the past and the future and the pain and the fear washing over me, that I'm so afraid they will obliterate me again. It is all interconnected as you say, but there are times I'm so apart from everyone around me, and I see how lonely and apart we all are. I would give everything, all my power and the world's power, to take it back, to give us a second chance. It's so impossible to believe there's no spell for this, no force I can call on that will turn the clock back to when we had a fighting chance. That's the most difficult thing for me to accept of what you've taught me: how weak I am, how much I can't change. How easily mistakes are made that can't be rectified.

In the end I never slept. I got up early, while the house was still quiet and dark. You wouldn't know that we're violating probably every building code in the city with all these people here (he probably told you, but Giles finally moved out to a hotel because we were driving him "stark-staring bonkers"). When I was in the bathroom, I could see through the crack in the door that Dawnie was alone in the big bed, which she shared with Buffy now. It was pretty clear Buffy hadn't come to bed that night.

As an excuse, I gathered up some laundry and started down the stairs to the basement. I tried to make noise, like I had no idea they were there, only it still didn't wake them. Buffy and Spike were lying together on his cot, wrapped up completely, obviously naked under the blanket. Spike's mouth was pressed against her forehead as if he'd fallen asleep kissing her.

I made a loud "hmm-HHHmmm" sound and Spike's eyelids flew open. At least he had the good graces to look embarrassed. He jostled Buffy's shoulder a little until she woke up and looked confusedly at him.

"You guys, I'm sorry," I said, "but pretty soon everyone will be getting up. I figured you wouldn't want to, you know, get caught with your... pants down."

Buffy blinked at me a little and stretched out. She felt safe there, that was obvious. Protected. There's something that happens with her where she gets tired of being the strong one, the one who has to carry the weight. And Spike, much like Angel, allows her to feel like the delicate, tender girl she wishes she could be. A vampire is the only one tough enough to make her feel that way, so in some respects I guess I was never that surprised she was attracted to vamps. Everyone else was surprised, but not so much me.

You probably are wondering why I casually say she's attracted to vamps. That's a whole other story, but the truth is, that's her job, and where do most people meet these days? At work. And these two vampires both happened to take a special interest in her, and I think they give her a lot of what she needs. People want to pass judgment on Buffy for that, but I can't. I dated a werewolf and someone who believed her whole life she was a demon. I'm a witch. I want to say to them, get over it.

"No, it's okay, Will," Buffy said sleepily, and grabbed her clothes. I put the basket down and stared at the floor but could still see them out of the corner of my eye. Spike's body was finally starting to look normal again -- not scrawny and weak, but almost back to his fighting form, healthy muscles and some bulk. He helped Buffy put her clothes on, and then held her in his arms for a moment, sweeping his hands over her hair. There was something about the way she clutched at him that made me feel such overwhelming sadness, for her responsibilities and how much she needed someone to hang on to. Even Spike.

They whispered to each other, but I don't know what they said. I'm not certain they fully realized how much they felt for each other, though in that moment, anyone watching them would know what they might not. She got up off the bed and moved away, their hands touching for as long as they could before she disconnected from him. And then she smiled, that familiar Buffy smile I knew so well.

"I'm sorry, Spike," I said as I turned to follow her up the stairs. "I didn't mean to be all bargey. At least I didn't interrupt the... you know!" I hate how I babble when I'm nervous, but this wasn't exactly a situation I was used to with him. And you said I should include everything, so I guess that also means including my stupidity.

He'd put his jeans on and was buckling his belt. "No apologies. Don't want her to cop-it with the juniorettes, or have everyone's knickers twisted." I put my hand on his arm for a second, and it was strange. You've all taught me how even inanimate objects have a force inside them, that life is found in places we wouldn't always think it would be. Spike might be a vampire, and technically dead, but I could feel it in him -- life. I wondered how. Was it just from the soul? Does he get that from loving Buffy all this time? Did he have that when he tried to hurt her before? And why, if he had such life inside him, did it take her so long to realize it? All that flitted through my head when I touched him, and there was a funny look in his eyes, like he understood. He patted my hand.

"For what it's worth, I haven't seen her happy like that in years," I told him. He nodded at me as I took my hand away, his blue eyes glowing, mouth drawn tight into a line as if he was trying to hold back emotions. Like I said, intense. I followed Buffy upstairs.

Buffy stood there with her arms crossed over her chest, staring out the window at the morning sky, which was starting to just turn that twilighty blue. Biting her lower lip, tapping fingers on her arm. I couldn't imagine what she was thinking at that moment. Was it about Spike, or what was happening around us? Or me? She's very hard to read sometimes. But she glanced at me for a moment, sad-eyed. Then she went upstairs.

As I watched her go, I felt that twinge again. But I didn't feel envy, not this time. It was something deeper than that, not mean or petty, just a kind of calm acceptance. As if something had floated away from my body. The thing in me that had wanted vengeance before was finally gone. I knew now that it was true, that evil and good can coexist, and it's inside us all the time. All that mattered was how we lived it, what we chose to let go that counted. I could feel so much love from Buffy and Spike, love I don't think they even knew they had, and it reminded me of Tara. I believe this was a sign.

My thoughts and feelings were really Tara's. You see, anything about love? Tara was the expert. Having her inside me displacing all that anger with her goodness, I finally got it. All this time, Spike and Buffy had battled and fought and hated and loved. They never could kill each other when they wanted to, or love each other right when they needed to. But now, in the midst of the worst threat, they accepted the love they were both capable of, and let it out. It will spread to all of us, because forgiveness and mercy do that.

What's going on isn't about sex or the obvious things that will make Giles and Xander have conniptions. All through the house, multiple large cows will be birthed by pretty much everyone but me because they think it's about something cheap and obvious. About sex. You gave me an eye that sees things none of them can. They won't know that it's about embracing those elemental aspects of good and evil in order to overcome the evil. I can hear it, see it, taste and feel it -- and Spike and Buffy can, too.

So there you have it, my latest... what should I call these? I don't even know anymore. Missives? Tomes? Chapters in the book about this great fight that I'm sure you'll all edit beautifully and that will record our deeds heroically. I like missives, it sounds classy. Well, maybe I'll just call them my histories. Make of them what you need to. But now you have the answers about Spike and Buffy and how they fit into this landscape, how they fit together.

I hope it makes some kind of sense. Love is a hard thing to put on paper, and I'm no poet or writer. But if you think that love and connectedness are what we need to fight the First, what I'm telling you here is that you don't have to worry. If Buffy and Spike can forgive each other and love, and I can feel Tara's heart within mine, then don't you think we have a shot? I believe we do. I have to believe.



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