Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Sequel to Change My World, Please

Summary: A total AU from Season Two onwards. You can read the prequel, or I can summarize it for you.

Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: after Buffy ran away to LA she met Spike and Drusilla, driving Drusilla from Spike. Spike and Buffy agreed to face the challenges for one wish, in the hopes that one of them could get their favorite vampire back after fighting each other to the death(Drusilla and Angel, respectively). Along the way they bonded, and Buffy wished for Spike's soul back after she defeated him, instead of asking for Angel back. Bummer.

Notes: tries to follow the canon carefully.

Chapter 1: He has a soul

Without Buffy, the four members of the Scooby gang had taken matters into their own hands. They were fighting vampires without her.

And mostly being beaten half to death.

It was a brawl more than a fight, and it was only through luck that they had managed to dust the vampire. In the aftermath of the fight they stood about, panting and gasping for breath. Except for Xander and Cordelia, who'd ended up on the ground, her on top of him.

"Nice staking," said Oz. He glanced at Cordelia and Xander, who were lying on the ground kissing. "And, hey. He didn't get away."

"Not even rhythmically," said Willow. "Uh, guys..."

Cordelia snapped her head up, surprised, and rolled off Xander, getting to her feet quickly. "Uh," she said, staring at the other two. Her somewhat tricky relationship with Xander was still something new to her, and not something she was entirely comfortable sharing with everybody else here.

Oz helped Xander up. Xander brushed himself off, staring at Cordelia. "Is that my first vampire?" he asked.

"Well, of the summer," said Oz, his short words almost a congratulation.

"I rule!" said Xander, reveling in the fact that he'd managed to stake the vampire. He had been feeling a little superfluous, to say the least, and now he felt at least a little bit like a functioning member of a vampire-slaying team.

Oz nodded. "I think, in this case, that's fair to say."

"Well, well," said a low, drawling voice from out of the nearby shadows. "The Slayer's pets, all tricked out and ready to slay. Ooh! First vampire of the summer! Summer's over, monkey boy."

Xander flinched, staring. "Spike," he said, adjusting his grip on the stake and turning towards the shadows, staring at the source of the voice, the dreaded vampire who'd terrorized their town last fall.

Spike stepped out of the shadows. His duster floated behind him like an extension of the darkness, enfolding him in death and shadows. He tilted his head. "Been keeping the streets safe while your little Slayer was all run off, then?" he asked in a mocking tone.

Xander stared, lifting his stake. "Battle positions," he hissed, getting ready for a fight. Cordelia, Willow and Oz cautiously fell into a loose approximation of a battle formation, staring at the vampire. His pale face was lit up with a dangerous smirk, as if he was just waiting for them to attack. Ready to kill them all.

But then the long-absent Slayer appeared behind him, walking down the street. Xander's heart just about stopped at the sight--and the other three Scoobies seemed similarly affected. They all froze, just staring.

"Spike!" she said, one exclamation that froze his sneer, turning it to a grimace.

"Just helping find your friends, Slayer," Spike said dismissively, turning as if to leave. She grabbed his arm, and Xander smiled.

"All right! It's slayage time!" he said, and the other Scoobies nodded, waiting for the inevitable violence.

"Behave," said Buffy firmly.

"Or what?" he asked, a dare in that voice.

"Or I'll hit you again," said Buffy matter of factly.

Spike chuckled. "Oh, yeah. Hit the vampire, keep him in line. Like that one's bloody worked before!"

Buffy looked at him sternly. "I mean it. Behave, or mom's hearing about it."

Xander's mouth was hanging open. Cordelia reached up and closed his mouth with her hand. "Hello, Buffy," she said. "Back so soon?"

Spike grumbled. "Back so soon? Oh, yes, off from her vacation time already," he complained.

Willow charged forward and grabbed Buffy in a hug. "Buffy!" she squealed. Oz and Xander were still watching Spike cautiously, while Cordelia just put her hands on her hips and gazed at all of them as if they'd gone insane.

"Uh, Buffy," said Xander. "The vampire. Big with the vampire."

"It's okay," said Buffy, letting go of Willow to look at Spike with a bemused expression. "He has a soul."

"I do not!" yelled Spike, offended. Xander took a step back.

"Do too!" shot Buffy. Now Willow was backing up too. Oz just kept a firm grip on his stake.

"Do not! I'm the big bad!" he whirled around, facing Willow. "Look at me, pet. I'd eat your friends here in an instant. I'm bad! Evil! And I don't have a soul!"

"I'm convinced," said Xander, tightening his grip on the stake in his hand. Oz nodded.

"No!" said Buffy. "He's, he's in the process of making a life change."

"Please!" snorted Spike. "And where will you keep me?"

"I'm going to talk to mom, and I think she'll let you stay with us." Buffy frowned. "I mean, after all we went through..."

Xander looked closer at Buffy. There were bruises up and down her arms and neck, and an awfully familiar scar on her neck. He glanced at Spike, who, if anything, looked in worse shape. "Um, Buff, what exactly happened?" he asked, still holding his stake at the ready.

"Long story," said Buffy.

"I'm evil!" complained Spike.

"Fine, then you can stay in our basement," said Buffy.

"And how do you know I won't eat your mum?" asked Spike triumphantly.

"You wouldn't," said Buffy confidently. "You know, I know."

Spike glowered at her.

"Uh, Buffy," said Xander. "Not to be weird, this being the first time we've seen you since, well, uh. Not to be weird, but what's up with Deadboy Jr.?"

Buffy sighed. "Really long story."

Buffy approached the Watcher's apartment. She looked around at all her friends, her gaze lingering a bit on Cordelia and Xander, then to Spike. "You know, maybe it's too late. Maybe we should just come back tomorrow," she said dubiously.

Spike snorted. "Afraid?" he asked her, not meeting her eyes. He had his own fears tied up in all this.

"What if he's mad?" asked Buffy.

Xander shook his head. "Mad? Just because you ran away and abandoned your post and your friends and your mom and made him lay awake every night worrying about you?" He paused, thinking about what he'd just said. Some of it even sank in. "Maybe we should wait out here."

Buffy tapped on the door resolutely. Giles opened it, staring.

Xander nervously gave a shot at breaking the ice. "Check it out. The Watcher is back on the clock. And just when you were thinking career change, maybe becoming a... a looker or a... a seer."

"Thank you, Xander," said Giles, and there was a note of relief in his voice. "Welcome home, Buffy." Having said that, he turned to stare at Spike.

"Yeah, that's what I said," sighed Spike.

"Er," said Giles.

"Invite us in, please," said Buffy. "I mean, specifically, Spike. Invite him in. Because otherwise, uh, he can't come in, and we have to have this whole conversation right here. And that's bad. With the lurking on your doorstep. Uh. Can we come in?"

After they'd moved inside Spike sat next to Buffy, staring at the ornaments. He stood up, moving to the wall with nervous energy crackling off of him.

Buffy glanced up at him, her eyes tracking him as he moved, watchful, defensive. Giles noted this unhappily.

"I got in a few hours ago, but we wanted to go see my mom first," she apologized, trying to sound ... apologetic? But it wasn't her tone Giles latched onto.

"We?" he asked, his eyes flicking to the vampire prowling through his apartment. The vampire he wished he hadn't invited in...but how could he say no, in the face of the Slayer? In the face of the girl he'd hoped to see all summer?

"Spike and I," said Buffy.

"Yes. Yes, of course. How, how did you find her?" asked Giles, trying to ignore the elephant in the room. Trying not to let the conversation get out of control too soon.

"Well, I pretty much remembered the address."

"Ah, eh, I mean, uh. . ." The teakettle in his kitchen began to whistle. "How are things between you? Ah. Excuse me."

Spike reached forward and turned a knick knack angel to face away from him, towards the wall. "Tea, Watcher?" he asked, his tone sarcastic. Questioning the trope, perhaps.

Giles looked at Spike, perplexed. "Er, yes."

"May I have some?" asked Spike, staring at the other knick knacks as though they had the meaning of life hidden among them.

"Er. . . of course."

Oz turned to Buffy. "Hey, so you're not wanted for murder anymore," he said, trying to change the subject.

"Good. That was such a drag," said Buffy.

Spike laughed. "Cause you're so bad." He continued scowling at the knick knacks.

"So where were you? Did you go to Belgium?" asked Xander. They were all desperate to ignore Spike, not to call attention to the strange traveling companion that had come back with her. Not to break the fragile illusion that everything was normal.

"Africa," said Spike. "Much better than Belgium."

"So, uh, Deadboy Jr. was there for the entire trip?" asked Xander. His facade was cracking. He couldn't maintain this polite face very much longer.

"From LA, anyway," said Spike. He turned to face Xander, but instead of smirking he was scowling unhappily.

"What about you, Xander? What's up with you?" asked Buffy quickly, trying to cover.

Spike laughed.

"Oh, you know, same old, same old," said Xander, staring at the vampire.

"Hardly," said Cordelia.

"Okay, I lied, a whole lot is new." Xander continued staring at the vampire, shaken.

"Oh, yes, stare," whispered Spike. "You see a monster before you, a thing that could kill you all. No conscience."

Giles reentered quickly. "I, uh, believe that this is, uh. . . time for an explanation of Spike."

"She says he has a soul," said Xander quickly, unnerved by Spike's monologue.

"I don't bloody have a soul!" yelled Spike, pointing at Buffy. "I don't. What right do you have, anyway, to force a soul down my throat?! I don't bloody want a soul! I was happy the way I was!"

He accepted the tea Giles offered him and sipped from it genteelly.

"A soul?" said Giles calmly, as if Spike hadn't just thrown a fit.

"Well, it's a long story," said Buffy, sighing.

"Oh?" said Oz.

"Perhaps Buffy could use a little time to adjust before we grill her on her summer activities," said Giles gently.

Spike nodded. "Yeah, leave well enough alone!" he snapped.

"Fair enough," said Xander. "In fact, you can leave the slaying to us while you settle in. We got you covered."

"I noticed. You guys seem down with the slayage, all tricked out with your walkies and everything," said Buffy.

"Yeah, but the outfits suck. This whole Rambo thing is so over. I'm thinking more sporty, like Hilfiger maybe," said Cordelia.

"Still, we were getting good. We dusted nine out of ten," said Willow. Oz corrected her quietly. "Six out of ten," corrected Willow.

"Whatever, we were kicking a little undead booty."

"Yeah, sure," said Spike. "Six out of ten. Pathetic!"

Xander turned on him. "What is your problem?!" he asked, unable to hold his anger within any more, even in the face of Buffy's scowls and smiles.

"Me? Slayer! That's my problem," said Spike. "She's supposed to kill my kind, not shackle them up and drag them to her mum's house and stuff them in the basement!" He turned on Xander. "You think you know pain and suffering? I cause pain and suffering. I don't belong in her basement! I am the big bad, your worst nightmare"

Oz stood up. "Definitely feeling that now," he said quietly. Willow just stared at Spike.

"I'll kill you all," said Spike darkly. He turned on Giles. "You're a watcher. You know what I bloody am! You know what I do! Tell her! Tell your Slayer what her job is! She stakes us! That's what she does!"

"No!" said Buffy. "Stop it! We are not having this conversation again! You are not staking yourself!" She glanced at the others. "Keep him away from stakes," she said, barking the order. "Don't give him a stake, even if he's fighting a vampire."

"Fighting a vampire?" said Xander. "He fights vampires now?"

"He's good at it," said Buffy, a little pride in her voice. "But then he just gets suicidal when he kills his own kind."

Giles raised an eyebrow. "This is. . . unorthodox."

"I know," said Buffy. She sighed. "And I still have to go back to high school. I'm worried he'll stake himself while I'm out."

"Stake himself?" said Xander. "Aren't you worried he'll kill somebody?!"

"Spike hasn't killed anyone all summer," said Buffy.

"Only because you were there twenty-four seven, Slayer!" growled the vampire.

"No. You escaped twice, and you didn't kill anybody," said Buffy. "You just tried to commit suicide." She glanced at the others, trying to make sure they'd listen to her orders.

"I can't believe this!" raged Buffy.

Joyce nodded. "It's just, just, horrible!" she said. They both stomped into the house.

"Stupid principal," muttered Buffy.

Spike was sitting on the couch, a beer in his hand. "A big welcome to the ladies of the Summer," he said, saluting them with the beer. He glanced around. "And we're all here!"

"Uh, Buffy, is he okay?" asked Joyce, her brow furrowing.

"He has moments. When he gets a little crazy," said Buffy, her face falling. She went and sat down beside him. "Spike, what's happening?" she asked in a soft voice.

"All the people came to visit," said Spike. "Nice of them, even if they're dead."

"Did you kill them?" asked Buffy.

"Yes," said Spike. "They want me to be sorry." He grinned wickedly. "But I'm not. Let them chant, you killed me, you killed me, I don't care. I'm glad I did it. It was bloody fun!"

Joyce watched, disturbed. "Uh, Buffy. Would it be all right if I invited over Giles and Willow and everyone?" she asked, trying to change the subject.

"Sure," said Buffy. Spike stood up.

"Bloody hell!" he yelled, pointing at the wall. "I did not kill you! What are you here for? I didn't even kill you!"

He turned and ran down the stairs to the basement. "Oh, god." said Joyce, disturbed by the sight.

"He'll be okay," said Buffy. "He doesn't like that guy. He doesn't think he should be held responsible. Says that Angel's kills are, well, Angel's."

Joyce stared. "Um, honey, about inviting them over. . ."

"Sure. That would be fine," said Buffy, staring down the stairs where Spike had run, licking her lips.

"Would you get out the nice china?"

"What? Mom, they're ordinary plate people. Not nice plate people."

"Indulge me?" said Joyce. Buffy sighed.

"Sure," she said, heading down to the basement. Spike was sitting there rocking.

"Why do they blame me?" he asked. "Angel killed them. "Why blame me?"

"You're a good scapegoat," said Buffy. "That's all. And Angel's not around to torment." Her voice gave a waver as she said Angel's name, but not a very big one. She moved closer to Spike, staring down into his eyes.

"Good point," said Spike quietly, staring up at her.

For a moment they just stared at each other, lost in a moment. Trying to gauge each other, trying to gauge the situation. "This is all wrong," said Spike. "You shouldn't...you should be afraid of me."

"I can't, Spike," whispered Buffy. "I can't be afraid of you, even if I should. You're...you."

He turned his head away. "I refuse to be part of this!" he hissed. "Just...stay away from me! Stay far away, Slayer!"

Buffy sighed, nodding and turning away, searching for a box. She spied it over head and nodded resignedly.

Buffy reached for the box, and a dead cat fell down, off the box. "Ew," said Buffy squeamishly.

Spike stared. "Dead, like everything. Dead. Dead. DEAD!!" He screamed it, clutching his head.