Second the First

By Heather Martin

Rated- PG13 (bad language mostly)

Disclaimer- Joss owns everything important in this life (Buffy TVS and Angel)

Summary- Sequel to Replay. It has been months and Spike still hasn't come home from his journey to Africa. Buffy goes in search of him, not only because of her aching heart but also because he is vital against the battle with the First. When she finds him, will he be the Spike she knew?

Recap- Dawn accidentally sent Buffy and her back to the sixth season. They managed to save Tara from a terrible death, keep Giles in town, and prevent Xander bailing out at the wedding. Buffy and Spike got together, but the vampire left at the end to win not his soul but . . . life.

Prologue

In all his one-hundred and plus years Spike had never felt such excruciating pain. Wave after wave of heat shot into his system. Suddenly the demon dropped him to the stone floor. Spike gulped air into his unused lungs and clutched his chest.

"The deed has been fulfilled," the cave creature proclaimed. He turned, disappearing into the darkness.

The vampire/man lay helpless. The hotness had faded to be replaced with icy coldness. He shivered involuntarily. An explosion of images flashed before him. He shut his eyes in protest but it kept coming. Civilian after civilian showed themselves. Countless, nameless, innocents that he had killed. Mothers, fathers, children, and even a few babies that Dru had coaxed him into snatching. There were so many, and yet he recalled all their faces. They each shared the same expression of terror right before he sunk his teeth into their neck.

Spike cried out. It was too much, too fast. He couldn't take it. He curled into a fetus position, wishing to fade away.

In a way he did.

Chapter 1- There's More than Corn in Indiana

When it reached the one-hundredth and forty-eighth day Buffy became furious. He had been gone longer than she had. How had he survived it without her? How could he expect her to without him? For longer?

On the one-hundredth and forty-ninth day Buffy became worried. Her fury was still there, but the worry overpowered it. Something must have happened, she thought. Spike never would have left me alone for this length of time. He loves me too much.

She even turned down Principal Wood's job offer. She'd deal with him later. Right now she had to find Spike and bring him home. Not only for her empty heart but also for the fate of the world. He was needed in the battle against the first. If worse came to worse (and she prayed it wouldn't) she'd let him wear the damned amulet again, because she was a hero and that was what heroes did.

Willow just come home that day. She hated herself for it, but she had to ask her friend to conduct a locating spell. She caught Willow in the master bedroom, cross-legged on the bed and in a trance. She stood there for a few moments and watched her.

"She's connecting with the universe. You shouldn't disturb her. The coven warned us that we have to shift out of the state gradually."

Buffy turned toward the gentle voice. She stepped out of the room and into the hall, shutting the door. Her eyes found the soft brown of Tara's.

Every time she came face to face with Tara it felt like a miracle. It 'was' a miracle. Buffy had to wonder if the scoobies still felt that way around her. Did they sometimes have an uncontrollable urge to hug her in order to prove she really was there? Does anyone ever forget the amazement of a resurrection? Not that Tara truly came back from the dead, but it sure felt that way to Buffy.

I forgot Tara was a witch, Buffy thought. The warm-hearted blonde hardly did any spell-casting and it was easy to overlook the power that resided within her. Actually Tara didn't even pop into Buffy's head when she decided to find Spike. She had to remind herself Tara and Anya were even around a lot of the time.

"Tara, do you think you could help me?" Buffy questioned.

The woman smiled. "What is it you need, Buffy?"

"I um . . . Could you do a spell for me? I'd ask Willow . . ." Buffy glanced toward the closed door.

"Oh- S-So what sort of spell do you need? I'm not good with the really involved – The coven helped, but Willow's the powerful one," Tara said.

Suddenly Buffy felt like crying. It was dumb and stupid. She wanted to fall into Tara's arms and sob her eyes out, confessing about how she feared something dreadful had happened. 'He wouldn't have left me alone this long', she'd tell her. She knew Tara wouldn't have judged her. She'd sooth her with understanding words. But Buffy didn't let it all out. Action caused things to happen, not dwelling over the problem. She had learned that when facing the first . . . Oh God, the first is coming! Calm down, Buffy told herself. You have time to prepare and plan. You still have time. Your priority is Spike. You need him to face the first.

"We have to find Spike," Buffy calmly said. "He's important for the future."

He's also important for 'my' future. Screw Giles and his 'keep focused on mission' policy. He was right in that the mission came first, but that didn't mean she was going to make it the only thing she put her effort into.

"A locator spell? I can do that. Just give me a few moments to set up," Tara said.

Tara snuck into the room she shared with Willow. She quietly came out with a box of magic supplies. They went down into the basement where they would have room. Buffy hugged herself. Her eyes kept going to where Spike's cot used to- uh would- oh hell, time travel really messed with the brain. Spike's cot used to sit against the wall right over there. But it wouldn't this time because when she dragged him home they would shag like bunnies upstairs (in 'their' bed) for over a week.

The normal circle was made with white candles. Then Tara sat in the middle with a world map and pendulum. Tara closed her eyes, let the pendulum swing, and started to hum lowly. Buffy wondered if the humming was something the two wiccans discovered in England.

The crystal on the pendulum fell to the map like an anchor. Tara's eyes shot open. She sucked in a breath and looked down.

"Indiana," Tara said. "He's in Indiana."

Indiana? What the fucking hell was Spike doing in Indiana?

Sexy bleached-blond vampires don't go to Indiana. They went to exotic places like Africa, Brazil, Egpyt . . . not the Amish countryside. Something wasn't right. And Buffy was going to find out what.


Sometimes he came down in the evening to sit in the recliner. She'd lounge on the couch; take out one of her heavy textbooks and study, listening to the scratch of his pencil (which would occasionally halt while he pondered over which word to choose). The only time they spoke was if she needed help. He always knew the answers to classic literature and world history questions. She refrained from vocalizing anything too modern because she knew he'd get embarrassed with his ignorance.

Lately, however, he stayed up in his room. When he came down for dinner he ate fast and hurried back up. He seemed preoccupied and distracted. She respected his privacy but missed his company.

Velvet stretched out with her Jane Eyre novel and flipped to where she left off. Smoky, her gray kitten, jumped up on her lap. Velvet smiled and scratched the feline behind the ears. Loud purring emerged into the air. Velvet became so relaxed that her eyes began to flutter. She closed the book in defeat and let out a yawn. She picked up the cat and set her on the blue carpet. Smoky looked up as if to say 'hey, I was comfy'. Velvet stood up, set on going to bed.

The doorbell rang. Who would be coming over at this hour? She glanced over at the wall-clock. 10:30. She thought about asking her room-mate to answer it, considering he was a big-strong man. But she didn't. This was the twenty-first century. Women were capable of taking care of themselves.

She opened the door and stared out in shock. "Josh?"

"Hey, baby."

Velvet blinked. She ran a hand through her tangled dark locks. She became self-conscious over her attire of oversized sweatshirt and faded jeans.

"Can I come in?" Josh asked.

"Oh, sure," Velvet said quickly. She opened the door in invitation.

They stood in the living room awkwardly. Finally Velvet said, "So- it's been a long time."

"Too long. I know things ended badly but I was thinking-"

Oh God! She had dreamed about this for months. Now that it was actually happening she didn't know how she felt. No, she did know how she felt. She didn't care. No, not one bit. Hah! She was over him.

The sound of the toilet flushing could be heard from upstairs. Josh lifted his head.

"Someone else is here?"

It took her a moment to respond.

"Yes. William."

"William?"

"My-My boyfriend!" My very attractive, well muscled boyfriend.

Josh's gray eyes became enlarged. She used to find his eyes entrancing, now she found them to be as dull as an overcast sky.

"I waited too long, didn't I?" Josh asked. He stuck his hands into his pockets.

"I'm sorry, Josh." No I'm not! I dwelled over you for four months, you asshole!

"Can I meet him?"

Velvet opened her mouth. No. Because . . . Because . . .

Footsteps could be heard venturing down the stairs. Oh no.

Velvet launched herself at her room-mate. She stole his arm.

"William, honey, this is Josh Holloway," she greeted.

William covered his surprise quickly. He held out his hand politely. "Pleased to meet you."

Josh shook the other man's hand. He shook his head sadly. "You are a very lucky man to have Velvet. She's a truly extraordinary woman. I wish I had realized that sooner."

William shifted so that he had his arm around Velvet. "You must have been a fool not to see the beauty this lady has to offer. She's like the combined colors of the sunset, yet never fading into darkness. No, she is even more effulgent than that."

Velvet felt her heart melt. What girl's wouldn't?

Josh knew defeat when he saw it. "I'll be going now. Maybe-Maybe I'll catch you on IM."

"Sure," Velvet said.

Josh turned to go.

William let go of Velvet. "Excuse me, mister, may I inquire as to what an IM is?"

Velvet's ex spun back around. "Whoa, man, you are really out of if. You know, IM, instant messenger."

"Instant messenger? Do you mean the mail service? They are rather instant now a days, aren't they?"

Oh boy. Josh had to go and start it.

Giving William a funny look, Josh said, "It's on the internet."

William's face lit up as if it were Christmas. "Oh, yes, the internet. A wonderful contraption. Not as miraculous as the television or automobile."

Joss gave Velvet a pitying look before he left for good. She knew what he thought. 'Poor girl, you really found the pick of the litter didn't you?'

"What was that display about?" William asked.

"That used to be my boyfriend. I wanted him to think I had moved on. Thanks for going along with it," Velvet said.

William nodded. "I was happy to do it." He paused. "Have you moved on?'

She thought for a moment. "I'm over him. I don't have a new guy, if that's what you mean."

"You should go out and make friends," he suggested.

I can't, Velvet thought. I have to stay home and take care of you. Instead she said," I have you."

He blushed. He was cute when he did that. Made him seem like a little kid.

"Why don't you go get your poetry and bring it down? I miss that."

He agreed and went up to retrieve his work.

Velvet smiled, but it didn't meet her eyes. William had become her best friend. Her 'only' friend. Too bad he was crazy.


William collected his notebook with the blue cover. He stuffed the other one, the special gold one, under his pillow. The 'other one' contained his hidden passages about 'her'. No one would ever read them except himself. He had learned his lesson. Never let anyone read what really mattered. That way you never got hurt by the criticism.

He went down to join Velvet. He wrote about flowers and sunsets, just things to pass the time. Later that night he'd continue his unraveling of the mystery woman; the blond goddess with green eyes. The one he dreamed about with a heavy heart. The one that saved him from the demons.

Sorry this took so long to get out. I hope you haven't forgotten Replay.

So what do you think so far?