This One Does

Part Six


“Giles,” she whispered, eyes wide and face drawn from lack of sleep. “I don’t think I can do this, I can’t . . .”

He bent down and grabbed her by the chin and forced her to look at him. “You can, Buffy, I know that you can.”

“How?” she said, starting to cry. “How can you know?”

“Because I know you.”

She threw herself into his arms and wept.


“How’s it goin’ up there?” Spike asked, passing the bottle of scotch back to Giles.

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 passed.

Fuck all, Watcher,” Spike bit out, burying his head in Giles’ lap. “Can’t take much more of this . . .”

Giles’ hand moved to the back of Spike’s neck, kneading lightly, and Spike groaned.

“We’ll think of something,” he whispered, hoping that it was true.


“Oh! Riley!” Buffy said, snapping her fingers and pointing at Giles as the idea occurred to her.

“Riley?” Giles asked. “Are you serious?”

“Yeah,” she said, pacing the length of the basement, thinking.

“Soldier boy? Yippee,” Spike muttered, rolling his eyes.

“Last 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.

“But would he, pet, even if he could?” Spike asked. “The bastard hates me.”

“I 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?”

“Contact him, if you can.”


Giles cell rang. “Yes?”

“Giles, Riley sent a team here, to the Initiative – we can either fix the chip or . . .”

“Or what, Buffy?”

“Or take it out,” she said quietly.

He sighed heavily, thinking.


He sighed again, hoping he wasn’t making a tremendous mistake. “Take it out.”

“I was hoping you’d say that.”



“Yep. Assface.”

 “Assface? I always did like Riley,” Giles said, turning away from Spike to hide a grin.

Buffy 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?”

Giles snickered and Spike cursed. “Oh, very fuckin’ funny, gang up on the vampire that’s just had his head cut open! Bastards! No offense, Slayer.”

“Plenty taken,” she said, still grinning.

“Oh, yes, that’s right, your head,” Giles said. “Did you see anything in there, Buffy?”

“In his head? Nope. Just a black, howling void. Echoed a lot.”

“BLOODY 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 seem to 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?”

“You look lovely as ever,” Giles said, skirting the question as well as he could.

“Carpets don’t match the drapes, you know,” Spike said, smirking.

Buffy gasped in outrage and Giles pointed at Spike warningly. “Watch it. A little respect. Besides, I’d already assumed as much.”

Again 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!”

“Of 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-"

“STOP IT! Ugh! Spike’s been a bad influence on you, I forbid you to see each other anymore!”

“GIMME A DRINK!” Spike shouted.

“God, I could sure use one now. You guys are just gross, it’s like you’re twelve or something,” Buffy grumbled.

Giles 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.

“Seriously, Spike, how do you feel?” Giles asked, leaning back against the wall.

“Awful. On my deathbed. Die any minute now,” Spike mumbled, pouting.

“Drama queen.”




“Jeez, you guys do this a lot?” Buffy asked, swigging Spike’s whiskey. “Where’s all the love and support and crap?”

“It’s . . . a unique state of affairs, Buffy,” Giles said, grabbing the bottle out of her hand and taking a long drink himself.

“No kiddin’,” she said, rolling her eyes and leaning back.

“Am I gonna get a bit of that?” Spike grumbled. “It is mine, after all, I stole it myself.”

Giles 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.”

“Yeah, 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-"

“And, 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.

“That was just lovely, Spike,” Giles grumbled, casting his gaze toward heaven.

“I don’t get it,” Spike said, staring up the stairs after Buffy.

“And 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.

“Shut up, ponce. I mean Buffy. She’s helped me, time after time, and after what I did, after everything I’ve done . . . why?”

“That’s just the kind of girl she is. Or, woman, I suppose I should be saying now,” Giles said thoughtfully. “She believes in you.”

Spike 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?”

“Because,” Giles said quietly. “I believe in you, as well. And I love you.”

“You keep sayin’ that, I’m gonna start to believe it,” Spike murmured, the expression on his face softening. “Why?”

“Why? Damned if I know.”

Spike scowled and turned away.

Giles 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.”

Spike stared at him, eyes wide. “Jesus Christ, Watcher,” he whispered.

“Well, you did ask,” Giles said, watching his face closely.

“Please . . .” Spike whispered, straining against the chains.

“Yes,” Giles murmured, leaning in to kiss him. “Always yes.”


“Giles,” 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?

“I’ve 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?”

“Vampires don’t sweat,” she said, popping a grape into her mouth and then pinching him back even harder. He didn’t flinch.

“Oh, 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.

“Well, yeah,” she said, one hand over her mouth to cover a grin. “So keep on givin’ me stuff to tease with.”

“Right 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.

She shrieked again and ran like hell.


“Buffy, 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.

“Well, 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.”

“Do you trust him?”

“Well, yeah, I guess. Why?”

“He came to me with an idea about disabling Spike’s trigger,” Giles said. “He wouldn’t give me the details, however.”

“Really?” Buffy frowned. “No details? That’s weird.”

“Do you know anything else about him?”

“His mother was a Slayer, she was killed by a vampire when he was little.”

Giles stopped in his tracks. “His mother?” He paused, thinking quickly. “Buffy, I know of only one Slayer in recent memory who had a child, Nicki Wood.”

She stared at him. “New York?”

“Yes,” Giles muttered, rubbing at his forehead.

“Oh, shit!” she hissed.

“Run,” he ordered, and she did, and he followed as quickly as he could.


When 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.

He 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.

“Enough, Watcher,” Spike said. “He’s had his fill for one night.”

“What in the hell happened here?” Giles shouted.

Spike 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.

“Bloody hell,” Giles spat. “It’s still working then? The trigger?”

“No,” 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 leave.

“Wait, Spike . . .”

“No, 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.

Giles 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.


“How’s Wood?”

“In a great deal of pain,” Giles said with the barest hint of satisfaction.

“Well, good, but I meant is he on board? Do you trust him, Watcher?”

He looked at Spike. “Yes. I do. And I think that you can as well, now.”

“Good enough for me.”


“Xander, oh, God, Giles, I really fucked this up,” Buffy whispered, fighting back tears.

“Buffy, 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.”

She was silent for a moment, arms wrapped around herself tightly as she stared at the floor, then she nodded and left without another word.


“Good 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.

“Whatever, Giles!” she said, slouching down in her chair and pouting.

“Really, Dawn, excellent work.”

“Whatever,” she said, her pout lessening a bit.

“Please continue the research. Spike?”

“What?” Spike said, looking up from the book he was reading.

“We’re leaving.”

“Thank God!”


“Oh, for God’s sake, Spike, this will take forever on your little scooter,” Giles sneered.


“Moped, then.”

“It’s not a fucking Moped, either!”



“Turn here, I have a better idea.”

Spike scowled but turned anyway.


“You 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.”

“SHUT 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.

“You 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.


It 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.

“We 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.

“Won’t 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.

“Legs up, boy,” Giles ordered, eyes hard.

“Quit callin’ me that, old man,” Spike whispered, smirking, but hiking his legs up high against Giles’ shoulders.

“I’ll show you ‘old man,’” Giles whispered, thrusting into him slowly, and Spike closed his eyes and groaned.

 “Fuck,”  Spike moaned. “Faster.”

“No,” Giles said, breathless, torturing Spike and himself with slow, deep slides of his cock.

“Please,” Spike said, stroking himself. “God, faster, harder, Watcher.”


“Fuck, thought you were in a bleedin’ hurry!” Spike growled, rocking his hips and clenching down tight around him.

Giles gasped.  “Jesus!” he hissed.

“Fuck me, Watcher, harder, faster, NOW!” Spike demanded, scratching and clawing at Giles’ back and shoulders.

“Not unless you say it,” Giles groaned, straining now to hold himself back.

Spike 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 . . .”

“Love you,” Giles panted, now fucking him frantically. “Oh, God, Spike . . .”

“Never enough, Watcher, can never get enough . . .”

“No, never . . .”


“See? Told you that wouldn’t take long,” Spike said, two hours later. “Can I drive now, you ponce?”

“Please do, you bastard. I’m exhausted,” Giles sighed.

And so Spike drove the next leg of the trip until they were forced to make another stop due to Giles’ wandering hands.


Spike screeched to a stop in front of Buffy’s house and leapt off the bike.

“Y’know, we make it outta this, we’re keepin’ that thing,” he said, lighting a cigarette.

“Damn 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?”

The Potentials were gathered in small groups on the lawn and on the porch, arguing loudly amongst themselves.

“Dunno,” Spike said, squinting. “Where the hell is Buffy, she’s usually ridin’ herd on those little monsters.”

“I’ll find out.”


Giles was gone for half an hour before returning to where Spike was leaning against the bike.

Spike frowned and straightened. “You’re lookin’ right fierce,” Spike said. “What the hell happened?”

“Mutiny, of a sort. They threw Buffy out of the house, the ungrateful little . . .”

“Hold up, don’t say somethin’ you’ll regret.”

Giles sighed and looked about helplessly. “I’ve no idea where she might be,” he said, worried and angry.

“I do,” Spike said, jerking his head to the east.

“Thank God, I knew you were good for something,” Giles said.

Spike glowered and then pulled Giles close and kissed him hard. “I’m good for lots of things. We goin’ or what?”

“We’re going.”


“Buffy?” Giles slid on to the bed next to her and touched her shoulder as Spike lounged against the doorframe, watching. “Buffy.”

She shrugged off his touch. “Don’t, Giles. I’m out of it, they want me out of it.”

He sighed and forced her to roll over to face him. “They don’t, Buffy, they’re just tired and scared . . .”

She propped herself up on her hands, hurt and infuriated. “They kicked me out of my own house! Dawn kicked me out!”

“She 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.

“Well, why didn’t she just tell me that?”

“Would you have left if she had?”

She 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 . . .”

“Buffy, 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.”

“You don’t know that!”

“I 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 Angel.”

“Your 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.

“Buffy. 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 back.”

“She did?”


She was quiet for a long time and then she sat up suddenly, tears streaming. “Oh, God, Giles, I hit her, at the Bronze, Giles . . .”

“Do you want to speak with her?”

“Yes. I do, I really do, can you get her here?”


“Listen, B, that whole thing . . .”

“Shut up, Faith. Sit down.”

Giles and Spike watched from the shadows as Faith and Buffy sat on the bed, facing each other.

“B, I’m really sorry . . .”

“Faith, 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?”

Faith stared at her in shock.

“I’m 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.”

Faith 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. . .”

“Damn 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 bitch!”

Faith 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.

“OW! Leave it to you to ruin a Hallmark moment!” Buffy muttered before punching her back.

Faith stood, rubbing at her arm where Buffy had hit her. “Hey. I told you I don’t cry, fair warning, right?”

Buffy smiled tiredly, wiping at her eyes. “Right.”

“Listen, I’m gonna go beat those girls asses and hold down the fort, but only until you come back, okay?”

“Okay,” Buffy sighed.

“Good. ‘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 shock.


Giles 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 this.


“Where is she?”

“Gone,” Spike said, staring out the window, smoking. He tossed the note on to the bed and Giles picked it up and read it.

Dear Pervs,

I 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.

If 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.


Giles sighed and fell back on the bed.

“You want me to go after her?”

Giles was quiet for a long time. “Spike, does something feel different to you?”

“How do you mean, Watcher?”

“I mean . . . the feel in the air. Different, lighter. Maybe a sense of hope?”

“You’re feelin’ her.”

Giles looked at him curiously. “What do you mean?”

“I 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 you’re feelin’.”

Giles stared at him. “You’re so goddamned smart. Why you pretend otherwise is beyond me.”

Spike smiled lazily. “Keeps me from havin’ to do any work.”

Giles snorted. “And how are you feeling?”

Spike 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 . . .”

Giles shuddered and wrapped his arms around him. “Do it again,” he whispered.

Spike’s head snapped up and he stared at Giles, searching his face, his eyes. “You sure?”

“Yes . . .” 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 exploded.


 “Jesus Christ!” Giles groaned, panting, sated and sore and bloodied. “My God. It was different that time, better.”

“Better?” Spike whispered, still lapping at the blood trickling down Giles neck.

“Yes. Your soul, I think,” Giles murmured, eyes closing.

“Yeah, guess it would be different,” Spike said, settling against Giles’ side with a sigh. “Nap?”

“Quick one, yes,” Giles whispered, already falling asleep.


“Fuckin’ brilliant,” Spike said.

“I think so, yes. I knew she’d come through,” Giles said proudly. Then he tossed something into Spike’s lap.

Spike stared. “Flowers? For me? How very sweet of you, Watcher, so terribly romantic, I would have preferred whiskey, but these are simply lovely . . .”

Giles rolled his eyes and snatched the yellow daisies away. “Bastard. They’re not for you. Come along.”


Spike 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.

Giles settled beside him. “No, I didn’t think you had.”

“You 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 it.”

“She was incredibly special.”

“Damn 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.”

“Well,” 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.”

Spike 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 . . .”

“Golden,” Giles whispered.

“Yeah,” 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 walked away.


“Jesus, Watcher, our last night on earth,” Spike groaned, writhing against him.

“I know. Make it count,” Giles whispered.

“Love you, God, love you so much, Watcher . . .”

“Love you, more than anything, Spike, love you . . .”


“Lovely necklace. Rather large and shiny. It suits you.”

“Shut it, Watcher. Supposed to be worn by a hero, Buffy says.”

“Then the right person is wearing it.”

Spike 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, always,” Giles murmured, holding him tightly.


Wood 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 universe.

And then it all went black and the constant throb in the mark on his neck gone, and he knew.


He stared down into the pit that had been Sunnydale. “Buffy?”

“Spike,” she said softly.

He 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.”

“Always,” he whispered into her hair.

She looked up at him, tears in her eyes. “Doesn’t make it hurt any less, though, does it?”


They stood there for a long time, holding one another tightly.

It was the last moment they had for the next two months to breathe, much less grieve.


A 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.

“Giles? You all right?” Buffy asked, frowning.

“I’m fine,” he said. “Ghosts.”


Two 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.


“Well,” Giles sighed, hanging up the phone. “That’s an interesting bit of information.”

“What?” Buffy asked, frowning.


“Angel? Your boyfriend Angel?” she said, smirking. He glared. “Hey, you started it, it’s your own fault. What about Angel?”

“Apparently, 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?”

“I’ve no idea,” he said.

“Fuck me,” Faith mumbled.

“Wait a minute, Angel’s taken over the big creepy evil law firm he’s been fighting all this time?” Buffy asked, staring.

“Apparently so.”

“Well, 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 us.”

“Maybe 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.”

“Neither do I,” Giles said, sighing.

“I should talk to him, then,” Buffy said, looking back and forth between Giles and Faith.

“I don’t think so,” Giles said. “I’d rather keep a low profile, as low as possible anyway, especially if Wolfram & Hart is involved.”

“I’m 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.”

“Or, we could just call him and ask,” Buffy said, scowling.

“And 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.

Buffy 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.”

Faith grinned. “That’s right, bitch, and don’t you forget it,” she said, nudging Buffy with her toe.

Buffy 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.”

“Hey!” Faith yelled, kicking her hard.

“Ow!” 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.

“Fine,” 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!”

“Really? With whom?” Giles asked.

“He’s so . . . he’s just so,” Buffy said, wide-eyed and dreamy.

“You gotta date with some dude named ‘So?’” Faith asked from where she was still lounging on the floor.

“No, no, his name is . . .” Buffy frowned. “I’m sure he must’ve told me.”

Giles rolled his eyes. “Dear Lord, Buffy, do be careful. Going out with someone’s whose name you don’t even know?”

“What’s he look like?” Faith asked.

Again Buffy frowned. “Tall?”

“Bloody hell,” Giles muttered.

“Well, 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.

Buffy scowled. “What is her deal? Every time I see her she’s feeling me up!”

“You’re not the only one,” Giles sighed.

Buffy stared at him and then giggled. “Xander needs to get back soon and take care of her, you know, needs.”

“He most certainly does,” Giles said absently, trailing his fingers along the top of his desk.

“Hey,” Buffy said, moving around the desk to kneel beside him. “You okay?”

He smiled sadly. “No. Not really.”

She sighed. “Giles, I’m sorry.”

“I 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.”

“I will, I will. When I see him I’ll write down his name, full description, everything.”

“Good,” Giles said, smiling tiredly.

“Try to rest, Giles, okay?”

“I’ll try,” he promised, though it felt like he’d never sleep again.


“Giles, 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.

“What?” Giles asked, frowning.

“You didn’t really sleep with Angel, did you?”

“Oh, bloody hell.”



“Hey, 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. . .”

Giles’ breath caught in shock.

“Hold on, Andrew. Did you say Spike?”

“Well, 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!”

Giles 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 again.

“. . . 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 . . .”

Giles 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.”

Andrew shrugged and flopped down on one of the chairs in front of Giles’ desk and began his tale.


Spike 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 froze.

Giles’ 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 . . .”

Again 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.

“Spike . . .”

“Don’t 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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