When Spike careened through the gap and knocked himself out on the TARDIS floor, Buffy noticed several things for which she was completely unprepared, and that stopped her from immediately dropping to his side. First, he now had dark brown curls instead of blond bleach. Second, he was wearing a red jacket rather than his leather coat and some sort of wrist strap, carrying two guns, one sword, and a dagger on his belt. Third, he had a huge, black, and very dead beetle clinging to his back.
The Doctor immediately ripped the beetle off him and stomped on it like it was personally responsible for killing his best friend. Amy, who had been watching the supernova, shut the doors and went to nudge beetle-bits with her booted toe. "I suppose you've seen one of these before, Doctor?"
"Yeah. Could you get a broom from the cupboard, please? Where'd Rory run off to?"
"He said something about getting a med kit. I'll probably run into him. He gets lost a lot." With a fond smile she went on her search.
"Is…is it okay to touch him?" Buffy asked quietly. She'd worry about details in a sec. He was, in an odd way, a friend, and now the only relic she had of home.
The Doctor buzzed his buzzy thing – Screwdriver – over Spike. "Should be all right. He's alive. Whatever condition the Time Beetle put him in let him survive the jump. He's back to where he was when he started though. You see, Buffy, this type of creature feeds on potential energy by taking you back to a time in your past and making you change something. It traps you in an alternate future. Happened to someone I…knew…once…" At this last bit he choked something back.
Buffy put a hand on his cheek. It was warm. "Oh God. He's human."
"He wasn't before?"
"He was a vampire. Yes, I know how I'm the Slayer and everything, and he did try to kill me a bunch of times, but he got this chip in his head by medical-researcher-military people that meant he couldn't hurt a human being, and a lot of stuff happened and he fell in love with me and he started helping us."
"There's something on my back!" wailed Spike before sitting up abruptly. Then he looked around and blinked. He gazed at the strap around his wrist and pressed some buttons. He looked at the Doctor. "Oh…um…hello, Captain John Hart, Time Agency, human being, please tell me I'm not your prisoner or anything, and if I am, is that negotiable? Because you really are quite a foxy humanoid. Unless we've shagged already. How drunk was I?"
"You would be from the fifty-first century," the Doctor sighed. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"A bar on Shan Shen. Did you get me from there? I got ridiculously plastered and I had these weird dreams…"
"Oh, about the time I nearly got the mindwipe-and-random-temporal-shift penalty this one civilization has instead of execution…"
"Don't they do that on the Lost Moon of Poosh? I think they consider it more humane."
"…Only this time I didn't charm and blast my way out of it, and I got sent to the nineteenth century and got turned into a vampire…"
Buffy cleared her throat. "Weird dream."
"John Hart" stared at her for a few seconds. When recognition dawned, he turned pink and opened and closed his mouth six times. Finally he croaked, "Slayer?"
"This is like when we met the vampire version of Willow from that hell dimension," Buffy muttered, scooting away from the person she didn't really know anymore and crossing her arms.
"What's going on?" Rory asked as he and Amy appeared, him carrying a broom and dustpan and she a platter of fruits, biscuits, cheese, and cold cuts of meat.
The newest arrival rose to his feet and gave everyone an appraising glance. "Lots of pretty people on this ship. My congratulations to you, Mister…"
"Doctor. Just 'Doctor'." The Doctor looked more amused than anything.
"Your human personality is a time-traveling slut boy?"
"You twentieth-century types are so frigid. Anyway, He Who Rocks the Puffy Vest, I've just found out that two hundred years of my life didn't actually happen."
Rory nodded sympathetically. "Try two thousand. Takes getting used to."
"Would you like something to eat? The TARDIS kept offering this to me." Amy thrust the platter at him. "You're welcome too, Buffy, obviously."
The pace and delight at which John Hart scarfed down the food was simultaneously touching and a little gross.
Buffy needed some time to process this. "I've been awake for like seventy hours. Got somewhere I can crash?" She was disturbed at how much it hurt her feelings to have Spike no longer interested in her – or at least not especially.
"Should be a bedroom off this way," Amy suggested, leading her to a likely location.
Rory quietly tidied up, absorbing information for later, exercising the patience that was such a part of his character by now.
"Tell me, Captain John Hart, would you happen to know a former Time Agent most recently calling himself Captain Jack Harkness?" The Doctor turned to fiddle with the console as he spoke.
"Mmyrgh." He swallowed. "Yeah. Old partner of mine. You know him too?"
"Funny old world," the Doctor said cheerfully, pulling a lever. "I think I know what to do with you."