Blinded With Science

Blinded With Science

AUTHOR: Jonquil
SPOILERS: Fourth season, post-Oz, pre-Tara
SUMMARY: Willow has a plan for coping with Spike's chip. Followed by "In the Company of Wolves".
FEEDBACK: reinforces the desired behavior.
DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to large corporations, and were created by the brilliant writers for Buffy and Angel.

Chapter 1

It was dusk. There was a soft tapping on the stone of the crypt.

Spike pulled the skeletal feet higher over his head. Those sodding soldier boys again. As consciousness slowly returned, he rejected that idea. Soldier boys didn't knock. Those bloody American kids, wanting his help. Bugger that for a game of soldiers. Got to find a new phrase for that now... He lay still, hoping the intruder would lose interest and leave.

"Spike... I know you're in there, it's still daytime! Can I come in?"

It was the witch's voice. Right again, worse luck. "GO AWAY!"

Footsteps came in. "If you really don't want people to know you're there, it isn't smart to yell at them."

Spike's temper, never under tight control, exploded. He pushed the corpse aside, sat up, vaulted out of the sarcophagus, strode over to the redhead, and glared down at her. Another good day at Unthreatening-Clothes-R-S, he noted.

"Let's get one thing clear, Pet. I am not your friend. I am not your ally. If it were up to me, you'd be dead. Not slightly dead, not interestingly pale, not crying on my shoulder about your sodding dogboy, but drained and gone. So get your mortal arse out of my sight; whatever you're peddling, I'm not interested."

The wide green eyes went wider, and, to his disgust, Spike recognized Willow's "Nobody loves me" face, an expression with which he had become all too familiar. "Didn't you want to turn me?"

He pretended he hadn't noticed. "Witch, you have the most amazing gift for focusing on the irrelevant. Turn you into what? I'm not a bloody fairy granting bloody wishes."

"I thought you offered to make me a vampire." She looked ridiculously like a kitten begging for a treat.

Spike was in no mood to oblige. "Right now, I'd like to make you into a rapidly-fading memory, but as we both know, that's out of the question at the moment. Now will you kindly leave?"

Willow drew herself up to her full height, a gesture that would have been significantly more impressive had it been executed by a woman of height. "I'm sorry I interrupted your important nap, then. Okay, I'm going. I just wanted to tell you that I'd thought of something that might help with your little problem." She turned on her heel and began to walk toward the door.

Spike snorted. "No more magic, thanks so very much. If I was really lucky, you'd disappear for good. More likely, I'd find myself shagging the Watcher. No, I've sworn off spells for the remainder of the century, especially when cast by incompetent amateurs."

Willow spun back to face him. "Incompetent amateurs? Fine. STAY neutered. We all love hearing you tell us how evil you are. It's loads of fun, nearly as good as hearing you complain about how boring we all are. At least we're trying to - to do something useful, not just whining all the time!"

Spike grabbed her fuzzy pink shoulders hard. "Go. Away. Now." He began to shake the witch. Unfortunately, he didn't temper his strength, Willow shouted "Ouch!", and suddenly his head was taken over by the Sisters of Pain.

When Spike could focus his eyes again, he was sitting on the ground with his head between his knees, and Willow was squatting beside him, a concerned look on her face.

"That can't be good for you. You know, too much painful stimulus, and the brain starts to reconfigure synapses to avoid it."

"Which means that it would be a really, really good idea to get you OUT of my bloody sight so I'm not tempted to do it again! What do I have to do to get you to leave?" His voice cracked on the last word. Haven't done that in a hundred-odd years. Wonderful, vampire second adolescence. Somebody stake me now.

Willow gave him her best serious look. "This isn't magic. What's wrong with you has nothing to do with the dark arts. It's psychological, or actually psychomedical. I eavesdropped when Riley was talking to Buffy. They put something into your head, to cause pain whenever you tried to hurt something. It's sort of operant conditioning, only done with computers."

"Swell. So I can thank Bill Gates instead of Hecate for these headaches. Now that you've delivered that little Valentine, can I hope for your departure before I test it again?"

"You don't understand, Spike. If this is computer-related, I'm pretty sure I know how to fix it."

"And why should I trust your computer skills to be more effective than your magic skills?"

"Because you're so tired of being helpless that you're willing to take the chance."