All About Spike - Plain Version
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Chapter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Interlude 8 9 10 11 12 13
The Watchers' Diaries: The Apocrypha
Setting: Post-Normal Again
Entry 10 - Back to Normal
Olivia had forwarded the letter from Bath
when it became apparent Giles would be tied up in London for
at least a week. It was at times like these he was glad the
Council's main building had comfortable accommodations for
those who might need to be in residence for one reason or
another. Better than staying in a hotel and the easy access
to the Council library at odd hours was a definite plus.
The one problem was that the doormen seemed
to take a special interest in everyone's coming and goings
and what mail was received. "News from the Slayer, then?"
was the question when the letter was handed over.
Did Travers have the men on watch, reporting
back on what came and went? Giles wouldn't be surprised; the
more he was welcomed back into the fold, the more jaded he
became. "I do have a few other correspondents in Sunnydale,"
he said, keeping his tone purposefully light. "A business
partner, for one."
The man nodded as Giles went on his way. He'd
have to tell Olivia to slip any other letters inside a covering
envelope; wouldn't do to let Travers or his spies know just
what he was receiving.
He found Lydia Chalmers in the dining room,
enjoying tea, papers spread out across the table. "Join
"Don't mind if I do. Go ahead with your
work. I've got something I'd like to read."
She ducked her head to glance at the postmark.
"Sunnydale? Do you think it might be William's comments?"
Henderson had been right; Lydia Chalmers was
possessed of a rather large crush on a certain vampire after
all of one meeting. Giles felt a twinge of guilt for using
that crush to his advantage, but let it pass. Lydia had quickly
moved from tool to willing conspirator. "I'm not certain.
If it is, I had hoped it would be somewhat thicker. Probably
just more news from Sunnydale."
A quick glance confirmed that it was indeed
the latest news, and Giles had no reason to doubt this would
be just as cheerful as his other letters.
If I was a wiser man, I would be able to
take your advice to not put too much into whatever scraps
of kindness I receive from Buffy. Unfortunately, a century
of living has taught me that I'm still love's bitch, no matter
how many protests I might make to the contrary. Every ounce
of common sense I possess says I should walk away from here,
but I'm well and truly tied. What's more, how can I walk away
when I think I've finally realized exactly what's wrong with
I don't know how the research is going
at your end, but I think our problem has nothing to do with
how Red's spell was performed and everything to do with Buffy's
state of mind. Any possibility the Council has a shrink that
might actually be able to handle the problems of a slayer
who's returned from the dead? A few months on Dr. Freud's
couch might do her a world of good -- although Freud might
get too caught up in the symbolism of a young (presumably
virginal) girl being called to thrust stakes into the hearts
of the reanimated shells of men.
Giles put the pages down for a moment. "Lydia,
has there been any work done recently on the psychological
aspects of the Slayer?"
She frowned. "I don't think so. Most
of the work done in the last few years is what they were able
to glean about Faith — and much of that comes from what psychological
profiles the Council could get its hands on from the prison
psychologist. Is there trouble?"
"No, just something Spike wrote triggered
This particular revelation came about painfully,
as most do here in Sunnydale. Ran into Buffy on my way home
from doing a little grocery shopping a few nights ago. It
was awkward, so I decided to stick to a nice, neutral topic
and asked her how the wedding went after I left. Turns out
it didn't. Harris apparently up and bolted, leaving Anya at
Giles' exclamation was unfortunately loud
enough that it attracted the attention of others in the room.
"Sorry," he said in general and turned his eyes
back to the letter, trying to ignore the curious glances.
Have to admit that left me more than a
bit surprised. If there's one thing in this world I thought
was predictable and dependable, it was Xander Harris. Boy
puts one foot in front of the other and follows something
to the bitter end once he's said he'll do it. He's the one
member of the blasted Scoobies I could see with the house,
picket fence and 2.5 kids, even if the idea of a little Harris
gives me the willies. Buffy seemed shaken by it, too, and
sounded a bit annoyed at the fact the Whelp thought he and
Anya could get back together after he'd hurt and humiliated
her. Don't know a thing about that, now do I?
"Giles, is anything wrong?" Lydia
looked genuinely concerned, and Giles began to wish he'd retreated
to his room with the letter instead of joining her.
"I just learned my business partner was
left at the altar." He shook his head, re-reading the
paragraph. "I don't know what could have possibly gone
through Xander's head to do such a thing."
"That was the young man who worked with
"Yes, and, well, he and Anya seemed so
happy together. They only announced their engagement at Halloween,
so this is quite a shock. Oh, thank you," he said to
the waiter who poured fresh tea into his cup. "I'm surprised
no one's called."
"Perhaps they couldn't reach you. You
have been busy with your research and the investigations we've
" But he'd also gotten
his computer set up and sent e-mails to Willow, Xander and
Anya, asking them to write back. So far there had been silence.
Any possibility we might have had of a
pleasant conversation was scuttled by the arrival of Red and
the Whelp himself. Harris made some smart remark about not
being surprised I was "tagging along" with Buffy
on patrol. I was ready to ignore it, but Buffy jumped up all
guilty-like and made out that she was trying to interrogate
me. Can't have a simple conversation with Spike; has to be
all about finding out information. That was enough for me
and I decided it was time to take my groceries and go home.
It was clear I wasn't welcome.
Now, I know I shouldn't let Harris get
to me, but I'll confess to being a bit on edge of late. That's
the best explanation I can think of rising to his bait when
he told me that I should run along. Told him he should know
a thing or two about that, making big exits and all. That
hit home and we started puffing our chests at each others,
a couple of bull seals making ready to do battle. Willow tried
to stop us, but when Xander pointed out that I couldn't hurt
him, I decided the headache would worth a few good punches
in the face. Problem was, he sucker-punched me just as I finished
putting my groceries down.
Fight didn't go anywhere from there, because
Buffy started moaning like she was in pain. It was clear she
wasn't okay — her eyes were unfocused, she was pale (and
I mean my type of pale), and obviously in some type of distress.
I suggested we get her to my crypt since it was nearby, but
Harris took control of the situation and made it clear she
was their friend and they didn't need my help, preferring
to walk her all the way home instead of letting me carry her
a short distance. Made me mad to be shut out like that, told
my concerns didn't amount to anything.
Giles could understand the feeling quite well.
They were both shut out; him by distance, Spike by jealousy
within the group. It had to be jealousy of some kind; Giles
could think of no other reason for Spike to be so shut out
after they'd worked together so closely over the summer. Based
on Spike's previous letters, Giles was fairly certain Willow
and Xander had begun to suspect Buffy might reciprocate some
of Spike's feelings, even if they didn't know the extent of
what had happened. Xander's reaction seemed much the same
as he'd had with Angel: do whatever he could to separate Buffy
from Spike without caring if that was what she wanted. Angel
had borne such efforts somewhat stoically; such was not Spike's
thing is, the next evening Harris shows up on my doorstep, telling me
we need to go demon hunting. Doesn't ask,
just assumes. Suddenly I'm an integral part of the team. Hell, who am
I kidding — I'm the hired muscle who's called on when needed. I
went, though. Turns out Buffy had been poisoned and was having delusions
she was in some kind of asylum where Sunnydale was simply a figment of
her imagination. As often happens in demon-poisoning cases, Red needed
the demon itself to whip up the antidote. Since Harris is at least bright
enough to know he can't tackle these sorts of things himself, I was invited
along for the ride.
What he'd neglected to tell me was that
the demon was a Glarghk Guhl Kashama'nik. Didn't think there
were any about in North America; last time I saw one was close
to fifty years ago in Montenegro. Ugly, mean things. Probably
summoned up special just for Buffy by those three annoying
little rodents who are after her. Anyway, Harris and I capture
the thing and wrestle it back to Buffy's. Made sure it knocked
into the whelp a few times, which soothed my temper a little
bit. Chained the beastie up in the basement and held on while
Red poked it to extract the skewer. She headed off to put
the antidote together in the old-fashioned chemical way, while
I stood guard in case the thing got loose.
I should probably mention that Anya's apparently
taken off for parts unknown and left the Magic Box closed
in her absence. Harris has a key so he was able to get the
herbs Willow needed. Don't know when she's coming back or
what her plans are for it, but thought you should know.
That was not good news, and the fact Anya
had sent no word, made no provision to keep the shop open
worried Giles deeply. Had D'Hoffryn been invited to the wedding?
Was it possible Anya might be considering a return to vengeance?
He feared for Xander if that was so.
I did get a chance to see Buffy later.
Willow had handed off the antidote and asked me to make certain
Buffy drank it before leaving us alone. I wanted to talk,
to tell her that she was right, that keeping secrets was
killing her and she needed to stop doing that before she could
get better. Before I could get more than a few words out,
though, she told me I needed to leave her alone, that I wasn't
a part of her life. Don't know if it was the delusions talking
or if she meant it, but it was the last straw for me. So I
told her what I thought, without wrapping it up in the hearts
and flowers like I'd intended.
For a while now, I've been convinced that
much of what was going on with Buffy was her refusal to accept
some of the more primal nature of her calling. She is a vampire
slayer; killing my kind is what she was born to do. I've seen
her on the hunt, both by her side and as her opponent. She's
magnificent, Giles, the best I've ever seen or fought. But
possibly being drawn to the darker side of her nature isn't
the problem here. She's miserable, has been ever since she
came back, and she can't help herself. Somehow, she's managed
to work herself into a nasty case of martyrdom, become addicted
to the misery her little friends caused when they pulled her
out of heaven.
That's why I've been her dirty little secret.
Sure, I could see her keeping quiet if that first night was
all we had. Then it might have been an aberration, lust on
her part no matter how much love there was on mine. But she
kept coming to me, telling me with her body that she wanted
me even if her mouth wouldn't form the words. She couldn't
tell her friends, though, because she might actually have
to be happy if she did. They'd either understand and help
her — and we've seen how wonderfully successful their help
can be — or they'd turn away and I'd be waiting there for
her. Either way, she'd find some peace.
Giles reached for his tea, wishing it was
something stronger. Had Spike really said this to her? They
were strong words, though Giles saw more than a grain of truth
in them. Perhaps they needed to be said, but Buffy seldom
reacted well to blunt statements.
Buffy needs to start living again, get
off the bloody hero trip for a while. She needs to stop keeping
secrets, because that's a large part of what got her here
in the first place. She won't admit to her hurts, her joys,
just keeps it all bottled up inside, festering away. She tried
to make everyone think they were right and she'd needed rescuing
from some dread hell dimension; you saw what fun that caused
when she was forced to admit the truth. Now she doesn't want
to admit her desires because actually putting it out in the
open would stop this ugly little cycle.
I told her all that and gave her a choice:
she lets her friends know about what's passed between the
two or us, or I will. Either way, the secrets are going to
stop. Buffy needs to live for herself, not some twisted ideal
of what she thinks she's supposed to be. Do I think this will
bring her back to me? The wild fantasies hope so, that she'll
admit to her feelings and we can begin again from a better
place, but somehow I doubt it. Most likely, her little gang
will rally around her to keep the big bad Spike away, help
her "get over" her attraction. If she stops beating
herself up, though, starts to live again, I think I can deal
with it. Maybe we can both move on.
Spike was at the end of his tether; that much
was clear. Anger, frustration were all evident from his words.
Pushed much farther, and there was no telling what he might
I'll keep my fingers crossed on your proposal;
not having to worry about the financial aspect would remove
another barrier to Buffy actually dealing with her own problems
rather than the rest of the worlds.
Finally, I have to thank you for being
there and listening to my ramblings. Knowing I had this outlet
has been more of a lifeline than you can possibly imagine
over these past few months. We have our differences, but we're
both trying to do right by Buffy and your efforts and advice
have been a comfort. Next time we see one another, I owe you
a few pints.
P.S. As I ended this, I heard of the Queen
Mother's passing. You should have seen her during the Blitz,
Rupert. Made me proud to be English. Strange to think I have
seen the installation of the first Empress of India and the
passing of the last. Don't matter what the history books say;
Victoria couldn't hold a candle to Elizabeth Bowles-Lyon.
Giles folded the letter and slid it back into
the envelope. "Lydia, I think you'll have to excuse me.
Tell the others I won't be able to make it tonight."
"Of course, but
Rupert, what's wrong?"
Her eyes were worried behind her glasses.
He pushed away from the table, reaching down
to take a final sip from his cup. "I think I need to
make a phone call, and I don't know how long it will take."
Continued in Entry 11 - Communication
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