she whispered, eyes wide and face drawn from lack of sleep. “I
don’t think I can do this, I can’t . . .”
bent down and grabbed her by the chin and forced her to look at him.
“You can, Buffy, I know that
she said, starting to cry. “How can you know?”
I know you.”
threw herself into his arms and wept.
it goin’ up there?” Spike asked, passing the bottle of scotch
back to Giles.
took a long swig and passed it back, sighing. “Not well. Buffy’s
terrified and the girls are completely demoralized and we still have no
idea what we’re dealing with. I’ve no absolutely no clue as to what . .
.” He stopped suddenly at the sound of glass shattering and looked to
see Spike writhing on the floor, hands to his head. “Goddammit,” he
muttered, sinking to his knees and trying to hold Spike steady until it
“Fuck all, Watcher,” Spike bit out,
burying his head in Giles’ lap.
“Can’t take much more of this . . .”
hand moved to the back of Spike’s neck, kneading lightly, and
think of something,” he whispered, hoping that it was true.
Riley!” Buffy said, snapping her fingers and pointing at Giles as
the idea occurred to her.
Giles asked. “Are you serious?”
she said, pacing the length of the basement, thinking.
boy? Yippee,” Spike muttered, rolling his eyes.
time he was here, he gave me a number; maybe I can contact him,
see if he can do anything,” she said, glaring at Spike.
would he, pet, even if he could?” Spike asked. “The bastard hates
don’t know,” she said, frowning. “Even though he does kinda owe me
after showing up here with super-wife . . . Never mind. It’s our only
shot as far as I can tell. Giles?”
him, if you can.”
cell rang. “Yes?”
Riley sent a team here, to the Initiative – we can either fix
the chip or . . .”
take it out,” she said quietly.
sighed heavily, thinking.
sighed again, hoping he wasn’t making a tremendous mistake. “Take it
was hoping you’d say that.”
“Assface? I always did like Riley,”
Giles said, turning away from
Spike to hide a grin.
didn’t bother to hide her amusement. “Yep. Assface. Guess that’s
Riley’s code name for him, like Eagle One or Captain Peroxide,” she
said, smirking at Spike, a gleam in her eye. “Or, maybe it’s a pet
name? Like sweetie or schnookums?”
snickered and Spike cursed. “Oh, very fuckin’ funny, gang up on
the vampire that’s just had his head cut open! Bastards! No offense,
taken,” she said, still grinning.
yes, that’s right, your head,” Giles said. “Did you see anything
in there, Buffy?”
his head? Nope. Just a black, howling void. Echoed a lot.”
HELL!” Spike bellowed as Giles and Buffy fell all over each
other laughing. “And speaking of peroxide, love, I seem to have run
out, do you mind if I borrow yours?
Oh, wait, my mistake, you
have run out as well.”
“WHAT?” Buffy gasped, hands going to
her hair. “Oh, my God!
Giles, I haven’t had my hair done in weeks,
are my roots showing?”
look lovely as ever,” Giles said, skirting the question as well as
don’t match the drapes, you know,” Spike said, smirking.
gasped in outrage and Giles pointed at Spike warningly. “Watch
it. A little respect. Besides, I’d already assumed as much.”
Buffy gasped and glared at Giles. “You’ve been assuming about my
carpets and my drapes?” she bit out through
clenched teeth. “You guys
are totally disgusting!”
course I haven’t, Buffy,” Giles said, trying not to laugh, a task
made that much more difficult because Spike was now giggling insanely.
“I just meant that I knew you colored your hair, and it just stands to
reason that your-"
IT! Ugh! Spike’s been a bad influence on you, I forbid you to see
each other anymore!”
A DRINK!” Spike shouted.
I could sure use one now. You
guys are just gross, it’s like
you’re twelve or something,” Buffy grumbled.
sighed and wiped away tears and moved to sit beside Spike on the
cot, Buffy sitting on the other side and burrowing underneath it for
Spike’s stash of whiskey.
Spike, how do you feel?” Giles asked, leaning back against
On my deathbed. Die any minute now,” Spike mumbled, pouting.
you guys do this a lot?” Buffy asked, swigging Spike’s whiskey.
“Where’s all the love and support and crap?”
. . . a unique state of affairs, Buffy,” Giles said, grabbing the
bottle out of her hand and taking a long drink himself.
kiddin’,” she said, rolling her eyes and leaning back.
I gonna get a bit of that?”
Spike grumbled. “It is mine,
I stole it myself.”
rolled his eyes and shoved the bottle into Spike’s hand. “Spike,
you do realize that we’re going to have to keep you chained now, at
least until we understand the trigger, disable it.”
right,” Spike sneered at him, squirming against the shackles
suggestively. “You just like the idea of havin’ me all tied up, my
pretty self helpless against your big, strong-"
whoa, here’s where I leave,” Buffy said, getting up quickly and
hurrying up the stairs. “Goodnight, you perverts, with your stupid
bondage and . . . stupid carpets and drapes!” she yelled over her
shoulder before slamming the basement door shut.
was just lovely, Spike,” Giles grumbled, casting his gaze toward
don’t get it,” Spike said, staring up the stairs after Buffy.
you’re not going to, either, not after that little stunt,” Giles
muttered, grabbing the bottle out of Spike’s hand and taking a drink.
up, ponce. I mean Buffy. She’s helped me, time after time, and
after what I did, after everything
I’ve done . . . why?”
just the kind of girl she is. Or, woman, I suppose I should be
saying now,” Giles said thoughtfully. “She believes in you.”
stared at him. “And you. Why’d you do this, the chip thing, when
you know I could still go off, lose it and hurt someone?”
Giles said quietly. “I believe in you, as well. And I love
keep sayin’ that, I’m gonna start to believe it,” Spike murmured,
the expression on his face softening. “Why?”
Damned if I know.”
scowled and turned away.
smiled. “Why? Because you’re soft. Soft places, inside and out,
your body and your eyes and your mouth. Because you’re infuriating,
because you’re loud, because you never let me forget I’m alive, which
I’m prone to do. Because you know Shakespeare and Thomas Wolfe and
Blind Faith and Bruce Springsteen. Because you frighten me, because you
surrender yourself so completely, because you’re beautiful. Because
you’ve fought, against all the odds, to keep your humanity. Because
you’re capable of loving for eternity, literally, because I know now
that hundreds of years from this day you’ll remember me, remember
everything about me, giving me my own sort of immortality. Because you
know me like no one else has, does or ever will. Because you touch me
when it’s right and touch me when it’s wrong. Because you’ve saved my
life, saved the lives of the people I love. Because, after Buffy died,
you carried her when I could not. Because of the way you look when
you’re with Dawn, because you gave Tara flowers. Because you forced me
to sleep in that filthy coat for two weeks. Because you need me,
because I want you, because you’re mine.”
stared at him, eyes wide. “Jesus Christ, Watcher,” he whispered.
you did ask,” Giles said, watching his face closely.
. . .” Spike whispered, straining against the chains.
Giles murmured, leaning in to kiss him. “Always yes.”
Buffy said, as she slid on to the stool next to him at the
counter in the kitchen. “Why is Spike’s cot broken? Again?”
no idea,” he said nonchalantly while reaching under the counter
to pinch her hard on the thigh. “A nightmare, perhaps? Lots of
flailing, writhing, grunting, groaning, sweating, that sort of thing?”
don’t sweat,” she said, popping a grape into her mouth and
then pinching him back even harder. He didn’t flinch.
right, sorry, the sweating part, that was me,” he said, and she
shrieked in faux disgust and leapt off of the barstool. He grinned and
grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close. “In this time of
utter misery and chaos, the only bit of fun you’re having is teasing me
about Spike, isn’t it?” he whispered.
yeah,” she said, one hand over her mouth to cover a grin. “So
keep on givin’ me stuff to tease with.”
then,” he said, standing. “You know I’ll do whatever I can to
make you happy. Perhaps right now? You could come along if you’d like,
watch or, join in, maybe?” he said, jerking his head in the direction
of the basement door.
shrieked again and ran like hell.
what’s your opinion of Robin Wood?” Giles asked as they
strolled slowly through the darkness under the pretense of patrolling,
but in reality escaping the overwhelming presence of too many girls in
a house that was becoming entirely too small.
he’s hot,” she said, grinning when Giles sighed in exasperation.
“He’s one of the good guys, a fighter. Dusts vamps like a champ.”
you trust him?”
yeah, I guess. Why?”
came to me with an idea about disabling Spike’s trigger,” Giles
said. “He wouldn’t give me the details, however.”
Buffy frowned. “No details? That’s weird.”
you know anything else about him?”
mother was a Slayer, she was killed by a vampire when he was
stopped in his tracks. “His mother?”
He paused, thinking quickly.
“Buffy, I know of only one Slayer in recent memory who had a child,
stared at him. “New York?”
Giles muttered, rubbing at his forehead.
shit!” she hissed.
he ordered, and she did, and he followed as quickly as he could.
Giles arrived Buffy was fussing over Spike, who was bruised and
bloodied, while Wood stood in the corner, bruised and bloodied himself
and staring fixedly at Spike, his eyes full of hate.
didn’t remember moving, didn’t remember much really, except slamming
Wood up against the wall and pounding his fist into his face, over and
over again, until Spike pulled him away.
Watcher,” Spike said. “He’s had his fill for one night.”
in the hell happened here?” Giles shouted.
sighed. “He set off the trigger, set me
off, and then he tried to
kill me,” he said tiredly, shrugging into his duster which had been
lying on the desk next to the computer.
hell,” Giles spat. “It’s still working then? The trigger?”
Spike said, running his hands over his hair. “The fine principal
actually did me a bit of a favor.” He clicked the mouse and the song
began to play and he stood there for a while with his head hanging,
listening, before looking up at Giles and Buffy who were watching him
closely. He held his hands out wide. “Nothin’,” he said, and started to
Spike . . .”
Watcher. You and the Slayer have a little conversation with Mr.
Wood. I can’t and I won’t apologize for what I did to him, because it
will never be enough, for me or for him, but with everything that’s
comin’, we’re gonna need him on our side. He’s a fighter, he’s strong.
He’s a fuckin’ bastard, but
we need him,” Spike said and disappeared
out into the night.
and Buffy turned to Robin, looked at one another and sighed, and
then helped him into his house, cleaned him up and bandaged him, and
talked to him for the greater part of the night.
a great deal of pain,” Giles said with the barest hint of
good, but I meant is he on board? Do you trust him, Watcher?”
looked at Spike. “Yes. I do. And I think that you can as well, now.”
enough for me.”
oh, God, Giles, I really fucked this up,” Buffy whispered,
fighting back tears.
it was a mistake, yes, but mistakes are made in battle. Xander
won’t blame you for what happened to him, you know that, that’s not the
kind of man that he is. But he will
be hurt and angry if you keep
avoiding him. He needs you, now more than ever, go to him.”
was silent for a moment, arms wrapped around herself tightly as she
stared at the floor, then she nodded and left without another word.
work, Dawn,” Giles said, handing the picture and magnifying glass
back to her and getting up to grab his jacket. She beamed and he
ruffled her hair and then she scowled, so he did it again. She scowled
even harder so he did it once more and she moved to attack him and he
leapt away, smiling at her.
Giles!” she said, slouching down in her chair and pouting.
Dawn, excellent work.”
she said, her pout lessening a bit.
continue the research. Spike?”
Spike said, looking up from the book he was reading.
for God’s sake, Spike, this will take forever on your little
scooter,” Giles sneered.
NOT A BLOODY SCOOTER, YOU BASTARD!”
not a fucking Moped, either!”
here, I have a better idea.”
scowled but turned anyway.
know something big is coming when some fool leaves these things
lying about for the taking. Harley-Davidson FLST Fat Boy,” Giles said.
“Engine, rigid mount, 1450cc Twin Cam 88B. Fast, hard, loud. A lot like
you, actually. And much better than your little scooter.”
UP ABOUT THE FUCKIN’ SCOOTER! I MEAN, IT’S NOT A SCOOTER! GOD, I
HATE YOU! And I’m drivin’,” Spike said, leaping atop the Harley.
bloody well are not!” Giles shouted, shoving Spike backward and
sliding astride the bike. They struggled with each other for a while,
cursing and calling each other names and deliberately groping one
another before Giles managed to get the bike started, revving the
engine loudly, and then he roared out of parking lot of the Harley
dealership, Spike hanging onto him for his dear, undead life.
was impossible to speak over the roar of the engine and the wind, so
Spike wrapped himself around Giles tightly and buried his face between
Giles’ shoulders, closing his eyes and taking in the scent of him, the
myriad smells on the night air, the hard vibration of the bike
underneath him. Spike sighed and let his hands roam, sliding them
underneath Giles’ shirt and across his chest, fingernails scraping
roughly against nipples. He smiled to himself, his eyes still closed,
as he felt Giles’ skin warm under his touch, and his hand moved lower,
cupping Giles’ crotch, stroking him through his jeans, and he smiled
again when he found him already hard, and he moved up on the seat so
that he was touching every inch of Giles that he could reach, still
stroking him and thrusting up against him with his hard-on. He grinned
when he heard a muffled curse, and then they were swerving into a
roadside rest stop.
don’t have time for this, you stupid bastard!” Giles bellowed,
switching off the bike and hauling Spike off of it and tossing him to
the ground, his actions belying his words. Spike grinned up at him,
toeing off his boots and then working on his belt and jeans.
take long,” he said, leering as Giles rolled his eyes and began
unfastening his jeans. Spike lifted up his hips and squirmed out of his
jeans and then Giles was between his thighs.
up, boy,” Giles ordered, eyes hard.
callin’ me that, old man,”
Spike whispered, smirking, but hiking
his legs up high against Giles’ shoulders.
show you ‘old man,’” Giles whispered, thrusting into him slowly,
and Spike closed his eyes and groaned.
“Fuck,” Spike moaned. “Faster.”
Giles said, breathless, torturing Spike and himself with slow,
deep slides of his cock.
Spike said, stroking himself. “God, faster, harder, Watcher.”
thought you were in a bleedin’ hurry!” Spike growled, rocking
his hips and clenching down tight around him.
gasped. “Jesus!” he
me, Watcher, harder, faster, NOW!” Spike demanded, scratching and
clawing at Giles’ back and shoulders.
unless you say it,” Giles groaned, straining now to hold himself
smiled and looked up at him through heavy-lidded eyes. “Love
you,’ he whispered and then his head fell back and his eyes closed as
Giles began ramming into him with hard, deep thrusts. “God, yes, Jesus
fuckin’ Christ, yes . . .”
you,” Giles panted, now fucking him frantically. “Oh, God, Spike
. . .”
enough, Watcher, can never get enough . . .”
never . . .”
Told you that wouldn’t take long,” Spike said, two hours later.
“Can I drive now, you ponce?”
do, you bastard. I’m exhausted,” Giles sighed.
so Spike drove the next leg of the trip until they were forced to
make another stop due to Giles’ wandering hands.
screeched to a stop in front of Buffy’s house and leapt off the
we make it outta this, we’re keepin’ that thing,” he said,
lighting a cigarette.
right we are,” Giles said, wincing and walking rather gingerly.
“I told you it was better than your little scooter. What in the hell is
going on here?”
Potentials were gathered in small groups on the lawn and on the
porch, arguing loudly amongst themselves.
Spike said, squinting. “Where the hell is Buffy, she’s usually
ridin’ herd on those little monsters.”
was gone for half an hour before returning to where Spike was
leaning against the bike.
frowned and straightened. “You’re lookin’ right fierce,” Spike
said. “What the hell happened?”
of a sort. They threw Buffy out of the house, the ungrateful
little . . .”
up, don’t say somethin’ you’ll regret.”
sighed and looked about helplessly. “I’ve no idea where she might
be,” he said, worried and angry.
do,” Spike said, jerking his head to the east.
God, I knew you were good for something,” Giles said.
glowered and then pulled Giles close and kissed him hard. “I’m
good for lots of things. We goin’ or what?”
Giles slid on to the bed next to her and touched her shoulder
as Spike lounged against the doorframe, watching. “Buffy.”
shrugged off his touch. “Don’t, Giles. I’m out of it, they want me
out of it.”
sighed and forced her to roll over to face him. “They don’t, Buffy,
they’re just tired and scared . . .”
propped herself up on her hands, hurt and infuriated. “They kicked
me out of my own house! Dawn
kicked me out!”
had her reasons, Buffy, one of them being that she thought you
needed to get out of there, get some distance, some quiet, maybe even a
little sleep,” Giles said softly.
why didn’t she just tell me
you have left if she had?”
stared at him for a long time, eyes filled with tears, before
falling back on to the bed. “No,” she whispered. “Probably not. But
Faith . . .”
Faith was right. Those girls did need to blow off a little
steam, you’ve made than more than aware that they’re likely to die any
day. They needed a bit of fun and Faith gave that to them. But she
wasn’t playing good cop intentionally, Buffy, the last thing she wanted
was to hurt you again.”
don’t know that!”
do know that, she told me.
Buffy,” Giles said, grabbing her chin and
forcing her to look at him. “Faith has changed, she really has changed.
Don’t you dare tell me you haven’t felt it. Buffy, you can’t continue
to let Faith’s past hold her back; despite what she may say or the way
she may act, what you feel about her is very important to her. All of
us hold some responsibility for what happened to her; she came to us
lost and lonely and broken and all of us pushed her away, why do you
think she was such as easy mark for the Mayor? He made her feel loved,
Buffy, and none of us can same the same thing, except, perhaps, for
boyfriend,” she grumbled,
wiping her face against the pillow.
“What?" Spike hissed, and Giles
sighed and waved at him to be
silent and then cast his eyes toward heaven in supplication.
Faith doesn’t want a position of leadership, she knows she’s
not ready for it. She said to tell you she’ll do her best until you get
was quiet for a long time and then she sat up suddenly, tears
streaming. “Oh, God, Giles, I hit
her, at the Bronze, Giles . . .”
you want to speak with her?”
I do, I really do, can you get her here?”
B, that whole thing . . .”
up, Faith. Sit down.”
and Spike watched from the shadows as Faith and Buffy sat on the
bed, facing each other.
I’m really sorry . . .”
I said shut up! Now you listen to me. I’m
sorry. I’m sorry I
hit you, I’m sorry, God, I’m so sorry I stabbed you, I’m sorry I
treated you as less than a person, I’m sorry for everything, Faith,
everything, do you hear me?”
stared at her in shock.
sorry I haven’t given you credit for what you’ve done, for giving
yourself up, for going to jail and staying there when you didn’t have
to, for paying your dues, for taking care of Angel, for coming here
when you didn’t have to, to help us. Thank you, Faith, and you can do
this, you can lead those girls and you can win this, I’ve seen it in
you, Faith, I believe in you, do you hear me? I believe in you.”
drew back, her eyes wide. “Goddammit, B, don’t you fuckin’ do
this to me, all right? I don’t cry, right? I don’t cry and you’re not
gonna fuckin’ make me cry, I swear to God, I’ll fuckin’ beat the shit
outta you if you make me cry, I’m nobody’s hero, you know that, and
don’t you fuckin’ make me CRY. . .”
you, Faith,” Buffy whispered, flinging herself forward and
wrapping her arms around Faith’s neck. “I . . . love you, all right?
There, I said it, don’t you dare make me ever say it again, you stupid
stiffened in Buffy’s arms, and then her shoulders hitched, and
Giles couldn’t tell whether she was laughing or crying, he suspected it
was some combination of both, and then she relaxed into Buffy’s arms,
sobbing into her shoulder, both of them crying now, and then Faith
shoved her away abruptly and punched Buffy hard on the shoulder.
Leave it to you to ruin a Hallmark moment!” Buffy muttered before
punching her back.
stood, rubbing at her arm where Buffy had hit her. “Hey. I told
you I don’t cry, fair warning, right?”
smiled tiredly, wiping at her eyes. “Right.”
I’m gonna go beat those girls asses and hold down the fort,
but only until you come back, okay?”
‘Cause the pay for this gig sucks total
ass,” Faith grumbled as
she turned on her heel, punching both Giles and Spike on her way out.
Buffy giggled, hand over her mouth, at their expressions of pain and
drifted up out of a deep and peaceful sleep at some point during
the night, feeling Buffy plastered up against him on one side and Spike
curled against him on the other and their hands entwined across his
chest, and he thought absently as sleep again overtook him that as last
nights on earth went, there was no way in hell it could get better than
Spike said, staring out the window, smoking. He tossed the note
on to the bed and Giles picked it up and read it.
think I’ve figured something out, there’s something I have to do. If
it works, and I think it will, I’ll meet you back at the house later.
it doesn’t work, well, I love you guys. Tell Dawn and everyone else
the same thing. Be careful. Have some perverted fun and live happily
ever after for me, please? About time somebody did.
sighed and fell back on the bed.
want me to go after her?”
was quiet for a long time. “Spike, does something feel different
do you mean, Watcher?”
mean . . . the feel in the air. Different, lighter. Maybe a sense of
looked at him curiously. “What do you mean?”
mean,” Spike said, sitting down on the bed and brushing his fingers
lightly against the bite mark on Giles’ neck, causing him to shiver.
“With this, you feel me. But
with her, you’re connected, really
connected, deep down, Watcher, Slayer, father, daughter, friends,
brothers in arms – you’re feelin’ her, what she’s feelin’. She really
believes that she’s figured this out, she really believes now that
she’s gonna win this thing, and you
really believe in her. That’s what
stared at him. “You’re so goddamned smart. Why you pretend
otherwise is beyond me.”
smiled lazily. “Keeps me from havin’ to do any work.”
snorted. “And how are you feeling?”
slid atop him, nuzzling at the mark on his neck. “I’m feelin’ we
oughta do what the Slayer said, have a bit of fun . . .”
shuddered and wrapped his arms around him. “Do it again,” he
head snapped up and he stared at Giles, searching his face, his
eyes. “You sure?”
. . .” and already Spike was struggling with Giles’ clothes, and
his own, and when they were finally skin to skin Spike slid along the
length of Giles’ body, to his neck, changed, and bit, and the universe
“Jesus Christ!” Giles groaned,
panting, sated and sore and
bloodied. “My God. It was different that time, better.”
Spike whispered, still lapping at the blood trickling down
Your soul, I think,” Giles murmured, eyes closing.
guess it would be different,” Spike said, settling against
Giles’ side with a sigh. “Nap?”
one, yes,” Giles whispered, already falling asleep.
brilliant,” Spike said.
think so, yes. I knew she’d come through,” Giles said proudly. Then
he tossed something into Spike’s lap.
stared. “Flowers? For me? How
very sweet of you, Watcher, so
terribly romantic, I would
have preferred whiskey, but these are simply
lovely . . .”
rolled his eyes and snatched the yellow daisies away. “Bastard.
They’re not for you. Come along.”
stared down at Tara’s grave, holding the flowers in his hand.
“I’ve never been up here,” he whispered, sinking to the ground slowly.
settled beside him. “No, I didn’t think you had.”
know, I think she was the only person I ever knew who didn’t want
nothin’ from me. Not my strength, not my contacts, not sex, nothin’.
She just wanted me, liked me
for who I was,” Spike said, wiping at his
eyes. “She told me she loved me, all the time. For no reason, just to
say it, and she really meant
was incredibly special.”
right. I would have killed for her,” Spike whispered. He turned
suddenly and looked at Giles. “Watcher, with the soul now, I feel, more
and more, like the person I used to be. And I dream about the people
I’ve killed and I howl in my sleep over what I’ve done . . . so why am
I so glad about what Red did to fuckin’ Warren? You know full well that
if she hadn’t done it, I’d have done it myself and I wouldn’t have
regretted it, not one bit.”
Giles said, sighing. “That’s human nature, I suppose. I can’t
say with any certainty that if it hadn’t been for the risk of losing
Willow, that I wouldn’t have let her kill all three of them.”
was staring again at Tara’s grave. “She wouldn’t have wanted
that, though. Not another stain on all our souls. She was gentle, about
love and light and tenderness . . .”
Spike said, and they sat there for a long time in silence, each
communing with her in his own way. Then finally Spike laid the flowers
at the foot of the grave marker, they told her goodbye, and they slowly
Watcher, our last night on earth,” Spike groaned, writhing
know. Make it count,” Giles whispered.
you, God, love you so much, Watcher . . .”
you, more than anything, Spike, love you . . .”
necklace. Rather large and shiny. It suits you.”
it, Watcher. Supposed to be worn by a hero, Buffy says.”
the right person is wearing it.”
stared at him and then flung his arms around him kissed him hard.
“No matter what happens, remember me, please, I love you,” he whispered.
Always, always,” Giles murmured, holding him tightly.
had been wounded and fell into Giles’ arms when the burning
sensation in the mark on his neck started, causing him to stagger, and
then the girls came running, and he struggled under Woods’ weight to
make it outside to the bus as the searing light disintegrated the
vampires and the earth began to shake, and then Faith was there, taking
most of Woods’ weight and dragging Giles with her and barking orders,
and then it felt as if he were on fire, white hot light of a thousand
suns, and he fell, blinded, and then was overtaken by a feeling of
rapturous joy, freedom and flight, flung into the very center of the
then it all went black and the constant throb in the mark on his
neck gone, and he knew.
stared down into the pit that had been Sunnydale. “Buffy?”
she said softly.
put a hand over his mouth and walked to the far side of the bus, and
she stared after him for a moment before following, wrapping her arms
around him. “Great things can come from great pain, that’s what Tara
always used to tell me,” she said, burying her face in his chest. “He
saved the world, Giles We’ll remember.”
he whispered into her hair.
looked up at him, tears in her eyes. “Doesn’t make it hurt any
less, though, does it?”
stood there for a long time, holding one another tightly.
was the last moment they had for the next two months to breathe,
much less grieve.
couple of weeks later he had managed to get the majority of the girls
on flights to England, and he and Buffy and Xander and Faith had
partially formed a plan on what they were going to do when they all
finally got there, and he was slogging through paperwork and answering
entirely too many phone calls from the Council when he felt a cool,
faint slide against the mark on his neck.
You all right?” Buffy asked, frowning.
fine,” he said. “Ghosts.”
months later and suddenly the mark on his neck was pounding, and he
wondered, touching it constantly, and he even found himself staring at
the phone, waiting for it to ring, but after weeks went by of nothing
but silence, he marked it up to grief and trudged on.
Giles sighed, hanging up the phone. “That’s an interesting bit
Buffy asked, frowning.
Your boyfriend Angel?” she
said, smirking. He glared. “Hey, you
started it, it’s your own fault. What about Angel?”
he’s the new CEO of Wolfram & Hart, the branch in Los
Angeles. Actually, he has been, for several weeks,” Giles said, rubbing
at his forehead.
“What?” Faith said. “You gotta be
kiddin’ me, Giles! What in the
hell would Angel be doin’ at Wolfram and fucking Hart?”
no idea,” he said.
me,” Faith mumbled.
a minute, Angel’s taken over the big creepy evil law firm he’s
been fighting all this time?” Buffy asked, staring.
he’s got to have a reason for doing that, right? I mean, I saw
him right before we blew up Sunnydale, he hadn’t gone all Angelus on
not, B, but Wolfram & Hart – that place is completely fucked
up, completely. Serious, wicked bad vibes all over, seems like he’d go
all Angelus just walking through the front door,” Faith said, frowning.
“I’m sure he’s got his reasons and I trust him more than I trust
anyone, but I sure as shit don’t trust Wolfram & Hart.”
do I,” Giles said, sighing.
should talk to him, then,” Buffy said, looking back and forth
between Giles and Faith.
don’t think so,” Giles said. “I’d rather keep a low profile, as low
as possible anyway, especially if Wolfram & Hart is involved.”
with Giles, B. You know I dig Angel, do anything for him, but I’ve
been in that place, I know what it’s like. I say we wait it out, watch
him, see what he’s got goin’ on.”
we could just call him and ask,” Buffy said, scowling.
if he’s Angelus, what would he tell you? And even if he isn’t,
he’s still vulnerable, it’s quite possible that with the kind of
tremendous power Wolfram & Hart has, he could already be under
their influence,” Giles said quietly.
sighed. “Fine. No Angel while this evil law firm thing is going
on. I don’t like it but you guys know more about it than I do.”
grinned. “That’s right, bitch, and don’t you forget it,” she
said, nudging Buffy with her toe.
rolled her eyes. “You are such a skank, Faith, if I weren’t so
much more mature than you, not to mention prettier, I’d kick your ass.”
Faith yelled, kicking her hard.
Buffy screeched and reached over to punch her, and soon they were
rolling all over the floor of Giles’ office, wrestling and cursing and
giggling, and he grinned and watched with quite a bit of interest
before calling a halt.
Buffy said, standing and smoothing her hair and kicking Faith
one last time before leaping out of her reach. “I’ve got to pack, my
plane leaves tomorrow. Hey, guess what, I’ve got a date!”
With whom?” Giles asked.
so . . . he’s just so,” Buffy said, wide-eyed and
gotta date with some dude named ‘So?’” Faith asked from where she
was still lounging on the floor.
no, his name is . . .” Buffy frowned. “I’m sure he must’ve told
rolled his eyes. “Dear Lord, Buffy, do be careful. Going out with
someone’s whose name you don’t even know?”
he look like?” Faith asked.
Buffy frowned. “Tall?”
hell,” Giles muttered.
whatever, B. Have fun with this tall, So guy,” Faith said,
hopping to her feet. “Later,” she said, grabbing Buffy’s ass on her way
out of Giles’ office.
scowled. “What is her deal? Every time I see her she’s feeling me
not the only one,” Giles sighed.
stared at him and then giggled. “Xander needs to get back soon
and take care of her, you know, needs.”
most certainly does,” Giles said absently, trailing his fingers
along the top of his desk.
Buffy said, moving around the desk to kneel beside him. “You
smiled sadly. “No. Not really.”
sighed. “Giles, I’m sorry.”
know. Thank you,” he murmured, hauling her into his lap and
squeezing her tightly, before shoving her to her feet. “Run along now.
Have fun. But for God’s sake, Buffy, be careful.”
will, I will. When I see him I’ll write down his name, full
Giles said, smiling tiredly.
to rest, Giles, okay?”
try,” he promised, though it felt like he’d never sleep again.
I totally understand that this is totally none of my total
business, but I have totally got to know,” Xander said, pacing
nervously in front of Giles’ desk.
Giles asked, frowning.
didn’t really sleep with
Angel, did you?”
Mr. Giles! I just flew in from L.A. and boy, are my arms tired!
Heh, I’ve always wanted to use that joke and I thought it was
particularly appropriate considering all the flying I’ve been doing
lately, because you know, me being a Watcher
now, well, kinda, anyway,
and you know what? That Wolfram & Hart place is all kinds of
creepy, I was super glad to be out of there, let me tell you, but we’ve
got Dana, put her in the hospital in London just like you said, just
wish I could’ve gotten there before she cut off Spike’s hands, and can
I just say icky and ow? Poor Spike, dude, that’s
gotta hurt, but
he was like so brave, you
know, like he always is, but as creepy as
Wolfram & Hart is their medical facilities are really outstanding.
breath caught in shock.
on, Andrew. Did you say Spike?”
yeah, didn’t you read all my e-mails? I sent like twenty, some
from the plane, even, more super coolness there and yeah, he’s all like
alive and stuff, like I told him, like Gandalf returned from the battle
with the Balrog, and did I mention that that Angel guy thinks he’s the
boss of everyone? Not me,
though, I grabbed Dana right out from under
his uptight vampire nose. Well, the girls helped a little, but that
girl Fred? She’s really cute.
DON’T TELL HER I SAID THAT!”
turned away from Andrew, leaning heavily against his desk with
both hands. Spike, alive, and in Los Angeles with Angel. He closed his
eyes for a moment, hand going to the mark in his neck and remembering
the return of the pain, cursing himself, he should have known by now
what the pain meant, and he sighed and waited for the room to stop
spinning, trying to catch his breath before turning to face Andrew
. . and it’s so weird,
Harmony was there, she’s like Angel’s
secretary or something? And she had to bring me Sprite which I thought
was funny because she was like so mean to me in high school and now
she’s like bringing me Sprite? LOL as we say in cyberspace! That’s what
she gets for being so mean and then getting turned into a vampire,
don’t feel sorry for her, not one bit, but she was wearing Prada,
Wolfram & Hart must pay really well . . .”
held up one hand. “Just a moment, Andrew,” he said, moving on
shaky legs to sit behind his desk. “Sit down,” he said, “And tell me
more about Spike.”
shrugged and flopped down on one of the chairs in front of
Giles’ desk and began his tale.
felt it as he strode toward the apartment building but refused to
believe it, absolutely refused, until he actually opened the door and
could really feel him, could smell him, and before he knew it he was
running, rounding the corner to see Giles leaning back against the wall
in front of the door to his apartment, and he staggered slightly, then
head jerked up and his eyes widened and Spike’s heart ached at
the hope and fear and love that he saw there. “Jesus,” Giles whispered.
“God, Spike, Andrew said that you were alive but . . .”
Spike ran, throwing his arms around Giles’ neck and kissing him
hungrily, reaching around him with one leg to kick the door open and
then shoving him through it.
. . .”
talk, Watcher, don’t talk, just touch me, please,” Spike
whispered desperately, kicking the door closed behind them.
to Part Seven (Conclusion)
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