Second the First

By Heather Martin

Rated- R (rating risen in this chapter)

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?

Chapter 7- Puzzle Pieces

Buffy held the blue sheet up to her chin in order to conceal herself. She shyly turned her eyes away. They were strangers, Buffy realized. This bed was unfamiliar territory to him.

"I'm sorry. You were Spike," she explained. "We have to figure this out. I can't have you doing the musical chair game whenever you see fit."

"You think I want this?" he shot back.

She shook her head. "No. That's why we have to figure this out."

"You want him, don't you? You want me to disappear so you can have him."

Her eyes lifted. "Not disappear. You have good qualities. You two have to merge or something."

William seemed to deflate. "Better if we didn't. I heard you on the telephone. You need a warrior. I'll only make him weaker."

Buffy stood up, keeping the sheet wrapped around her naked form. She met his eyes gently.

Something akin to hope sprang up in William's gaze. She instantly felt sorry for him. This was a man that thought he was unworthy and in the way. She remembered the time she declared that Spike was beneath her and the expression on his face. The hurt she caused when she slammed the door in his face. When he cowered in the corner with guilt after he discovered he'd killed again after the soul. Glimmers of William. Sudden awareness took form and she knew who William was. She'd seen him. He'd always been a part of Spike but he'd hidden him in the depths of his essence.

Why was he separate now?

She slowly stepped over to William. She took her hand and cupped his cheek.

"I think I know what is going on," she said. "You aren't another person, you are part of Spike."

He stared back at her in amazement.

"But the question is 'Why have you and Spike split apart?'"

She took her hand away, but kept her meaningful gaze. He was the part of Spike that made the 'you are the one' speech. He was the one that patted her on the back when her mother was sick. She wanted to confess love for him, but she didn't want to frighten him. He didn't remember any of those things.

I think the soul gave Spike more than a conscience, Buffy thought. I think it made him unashamed to let that sweet, shy poet out a little bit more.

"I'm going to put on some pajamas," Buffy lamely said.

"Oh, yes, of course." William spun around.

Buffy rummaged through her drawers. She took out her heart patterned ones and put them on. Then she turned back around.

"You can look now."

William slowly rotated. He snatched up the khaki pants. "I'll put these on and go back downstairs."

"Or. . . You could stay."

He froze.

"On the floor," she quickly added. Don't want to scare him. He's so fragile. No wonder he hid in his Spike-shell.

"I-I. . ." William held tightly to the pants.

"Don't feel pressured. The cot is still open."

"That's very kind of you, Buffy." He averted his eyes. "It is rather chilly down in the basement."

Buffy smiled. "I wouldn't want you to turn into a vamp-cicle. It is toasty warm up here. Heat rises, you know."

After he was half-way dressed, Buffy made up a space for him right next to bed. He crawled under the blankets and closed his eyes. He fell asleep quickly. Buffy, however did not. She lay on the edge of the mattress and stared down at him in the moonlight. He was so cute, boyish.

A sense of peace washed over her. She'd been terrified that William had taken Spike's place at first and he might never return. Now she knew that he was a puzzle piece, the demon another. All she needed to do was put them back together.

Sometime during the night Buffy fell asleep. She woke up to meet the glare of the sun. She spotted William on the floor and her first impulse was to drag him into the shadows. Then comprehension set in. She watched him for a few moments in awe. He glowed.

Finally Buffy crept out of the room. She visited the bathroom and then went to the kitchen. She found Willow there. The witch stood before the stove with a spatula. Looking closer, Buffy made out that she was making pancakes.

Willow half-turned. "Oh, hey, Buffy. I thought I'd surprise Tara with some breakfast in bed. There's plenty to go round. You want?"

"Sounds good," Buffy said.

She hopped up onto a stool before the kitchen island. She glanced at the container of fruit and blushed.

"So, what happened last night?" Willow shot Buffy a quizzical look. "It sounded like-"

Buffy put her face in her hands. "Oh God," she moaned.

Willow's eyes widened. "It was! You and William?"

"No, not William. Spike."

"Spike is back?"

"For a few hours," Buffy said. "Long enough for-"

Willow flipped the pancakes. "Wow."

"I don't know what made him change back." She replayed it in her head. "Unless. . ."

"What?"

"He changed right after biting me."

"He bit you?" Willow scanned Buffy's neck. Buffy touched the place his teeth broke her skin. It felt mostly smooth from her slayer healing.

"Sometimes he does that. Scared me at first, mostly because I liked it." Buffy gave a slight smile. "It's kinda exciting in a good way."

"Kinky."

"He was a little rough. I wonder if he felt bad about it." Buffy paused. "I have this theory. I think Spike split himself up. Like there is William, his human side, and Spike, his demon side. But they used to both be together. I think he might be hiding behind William for some reason."

Willow turned off the heat. She got down some plates and set them on the island.

"Like dissociative identity disorder?" Willow suggested.

"You mean multiple personalities?"

Willow seemed shocked. Buffy slapped her arm.

"I know some stuff! I took psychology, remember? Maggie might have been warped-scientist-lady, but she was a good teacher."

Willow laughed.

"Something must have happened during the trials to make him split into two," Buffy said. "But he didn't split into two the first time he got a soul. He was crazy, but that was from the first." Buffy bit her lip.

"He didn't just get a soul, Buffy. He became alive. Maybe it was too much for him to handle," Willow said.

"Is there anything you can do?"

"I can look into it. But, Buffy. . . I don't know if magic is what Spike needs right now."

"I can't waste time being psychiatrist-Buffy right now."

Willow began to scoop the pancakes onto plates. "I'll see what I can dig up."

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Ok, I am getting to the actual First, but it is taking me some time.