A/N: I just wanted to take the time and thank each and every one of you for reading and reviewing. I myself am kind of proud of this story, being my first fanfic to ever write. Big, big thankyous to Rachel, astp, skyz, wolf116, reviewer 131, Kate, LoveablePoptart and Tiger, spikeslittledevil, scruffy 66, s.e.s666. You are all wonderful.
Disclaimer: Joss is the evil mastermind of Buffy and its characters so they don't belong to me.
Hours passed by and still there was no Spike crawling through her bedroom window. 'Where in the hell could he be? He so better not be getting into any trouble. What if...no stop it' she thought to herself. She was so angry but decided she was not going to get out and search for him. He was a big boy, could take care of himself. She fumed. Fine, she would just go to sleep. If she could just get to sleep. An hour later, her body succumbed to the drowsiness but it was a fitful, restless slumber.
She woke early, dressed quickly, rushed downstairs and headed out to look for a certain blonde vampire. Buffy had a key to Spike's apartment and she was a determined woman. The anger welled up so bad her hand holding the key was shaking and she had a hard time getting it in the keyhole. Finally. She threw the door open and it banged against a chair that sat behind it.
"Ok, where is she, where's the ho...oh," she stopped suddenly.
Spike, holding his stomach, carefully pulled himself forward off the overstuffed chair.
"Buffy," he moaned, his knuckles white as he gripped the arm of the chair, most definitely in pain. He was bruised and looked badly beaten
"Oh...oh, god, Spike." Buffy ran over to him, falling to her knees in front of the chair. "What happened? Don't move. Let me look you over."
Spike reclined back into the chair, eye swollen shut, cuts apparent on his bare chest, lip busted and swollen as well. He hadn't looked this bad since Glory had laid into him. She was sure there was much more to him that was hurt. She poked and prodded as gently as she could. A few broken ribs, but no other major bones seemed broken yet it looked like he had fought back by his bloodied knuckles.
"How are you feeling?" She ran her fingers through his mussed hair; it seemed to be the only place not bleeding or bruised.
"Fine, for having the bleeding crap beat out of me. Have a headache."
"Do you think you can make it back to the house later this evening? I can fix you up there better."
"Without fainting from the pain? Sure, I'm the Big Bad. Ok, I'm the sorta bad sometimes, the other just sounds tougher. You'll have to help. Sure you want to take care of me again?" he smirked at her.
"I know I do. Let me at least wrap your ribs. I'll call Giles and he can bring the car by at sundown."
It took them a while to make it down the stairs. Giles rushed to help Buffy with Spike once they made it to the car. Back at the house, they both set about doctoring him up. Once done, they let him rest on the couch as Giles and Buffy moved to the kitchen.
"What happened to him, Buffy?"
"Not sure, I asked but he never said anything about it other than he got the crap beat out of him. I let him sleep all day after taking care of his ribs. Maybe he'll tell us more later."
No one was around when Spike woke a few hours later. He managed to sit up, feeling dizzy and very sore. Slowly he pulled himself off the couch and dragged his beaten body to the kitchen. Giles was sitting on a stool, sipping his tea and reading out of his notes.
"I need to talk to you," Spike ground out between clenched teeth. "I think we've got a problem. I think I've got a problem."
"What is it?"
"The chip. Something's wrong with it. It's been going off when I'm not even doing anything, almost like it's malfunctioning or what, I don't know. I didn't want to tell Buffy, but it's been going on for over a month now. The reason why I stayed away so much. I was scared, am scared, Giles. I was afraid I would hurt someone, someone I care about. The pain was driving me to anger, I felt so out of control. Do you know anyone, someone who can check it out?"
"Maybe, I will have to check around. When does it go off?"
"A lot when I'm around Buffy, or even think about her. Don't take this the wrong way, please don't take it the wrong way. It's almost like two different people inside my head. The one, me, loving her, doing anything for her, wanting nothing but to be with her. The other...wanting to...", Spike looked up at Giles, eyes full of pain and sadness, "...to kill her."
"Spike, do you think your demon is fighting a battle with your soul again?"
"No, I don't think this is part of me, Giles. It's foreign, like someone or something getting inside my head. Every time that happens, the chip goes off. And I've been missing time. I'll wake up somewhere else not knowing how I got there and hours have passed by."
"I wonder if it is because of the chip, something is locking in on it, able to manipulate it, therefore manipulate your brain waves, your thoughts, your actions," he mused outloud. "Under any other circumstances, I wouldn't be suggesting this, but maybe it is time to get it taken out. I think you've traveled this far on the road to redemption, your soul, your humanity will keep you in line still. It will totally be your decision."
"I believe I'm strong enough to hold up but I don't think Buffy would be too fond of the idea you're posing."
"She won't have to know. At least not until after the procedure of course. If you happen to turn back to your old ways, you understand she has the right to..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Stake me good and proper. I know the drill, believe me."
"I'll make some calls, see what I can come up with."
By the end of the week, Spike had healed comparably close to normal. He had been having the headaches still and Giles noticed it was whenever Buffy was close by. Giles had reached a friend of his, a neurologist, who specialized in the demon field. The initial meeting with him was the following day and Giles planned to take him. The Dr. would be able to tell if the chip could be extracted safely and harmlessly.
That night, after sunset, Spike headed back to his place. Said he needed some quiet time. Giles understood he needed the time for contemplating the turn of events, whether he was strong enough, brave enough, whatever to go through with the operation. He had come to depend on the implanted chip, sometimes it was his security blanket. He realized eventually it would come down to this. He was ready for it, at least he thought he was. He needed to spend some quality time alone, though.
The four occupants of the Summers' home had all turned in around 11 that night. An hour later, pounding on the front door sent all of them in a frenzy down the stairs. Buffy, holding a very sharp sword in her hand, opened the door quickly expecting the worse. Spike pushed in, breathing rather hard and fast.
"Spike, something's wrong." Buffy walked up to him but he turned away and headed to her weapons chest.
"Something bad is going down. At the school. Need to grab some weapons. Get there as soon as possible."
"Let me get dressed and I will come with you." She rushed upstairs and was down in record flat.
"Giles, call the others and then follow. I might need back up." Buffy and Spike flew out the door and down the street towards the school.
Once there, it seemed to Buffy it was eerily quiet. If something was going on, they were either very well hidden or they had taken off. Spike walked behind her the whole time not saying a word. They ended up in the basement, the exact same place where so many months ago Spike was holed up while dealing with his new soul.
"Spike, there's nothing or nobody here. Spike?" Buffy turned but Spike was no longer behind her.
The ground started to tremble and Buffy grabbed onto a desk to keep her balance. After facing forward again, there, standing a few feet from her was Spike. He didn't look right, something was off.
"Slayer, you are easily fooled. You may be strong in body, but you are weak in mind. You have allowed this vampire, this demon to possess your heart, but he is as weak as you. Full of humanity and love. You have turned him against his wicked ways. He will forever now be useless to the evil kingdom."
Buffy was feeling a tinge of fear creep up her spine. The voice coming from Spike was not his, the eyes were not his. Whatever this was that was using Spike, taking over his body, his mind was definitely not her Spike.
"Who are you and what do you want?"
"Come closer and I will show you."
Buffy reluctantly walked over to Spike, making sure she was far enough away. Spike's head dropped then suddenly he took a large gasp of air.
"Buffy, get out of here," he hissed. He bent over in pain but when he straightened up, he was no longer himself again.
"I am older than time itself. I was here before, ruled over everyone and everything, and I will do it again. You, little girl are in my way."
The floor began to tremble again, this time splitting a crooked seam next to her, steam rising up from the opening, tendrils sneaking out and grabbing Buffy by the ankles and the wrists. Giles and the gang rushed in just at that very moment.
"Buffyyyyy," Dawn screamed.
As she was pulled into the hellmouth, Spike was sent flying through the air, knocking the wind out of him. He struggled up into a kneeling position, shaking his head, tears flowing freely down his cheeks.
"Oh, god, Buffy, Buffy. What have I done?"
A/N2: Please watch for the continuation to follow soon. The sequel titled "In The End A Beginning"