A/N: Short chapter, but better than nothing. I've been ridiculously busy with work and travel lately. Hope you guys enjoy this. Review and let me know what you guys think. Hopefully the next update will be more timely than this one. Thanks, Trim59.
Spike stayed in his crypt the night Buffy left. He was too busy pacing back and forth across his cold crypt as his mind raced. Regardless, the visions in his head acted as satellite television. Surprisingly, when he saw Dru get dusted by Buffy in a random, dark alley, he felt relief. It was crazy what having a soul, morals, and true love for someone else could do. Dru was evil, and dead. Deep down he felt pity. Still, he was somewhat relieved and joyed that Dru met her end before she added further to the victim's list. He was happy that Buffy finally freed her from her own living hell Angelus thrust on her.
Over the next few days, his condition did not improve. Spike tried to watch television. It didn't work. Spike went out a few nights to kill vampires. It didn't help. Luckily, Spike managed to avoid Buffy and all members of the Scoobie gang during his rounds. Spike knew that Buffy wouldn't come back to his crypt. He was a little surprised he wasn't dusty at this point. The next move was on him and it had to be a cautious one.
Spike realized something. This whole time continuum thing was stupid. Spike, somewhat like a normal human being, couldn't tell you what unfortunate animal he had for breakfast the previous day. How the hell did he actually think he could remember everything that happened and the sequential order? Maybe, that was why he had these visions.
It was Tuesday afternoon. Tonight he was supposed to be getting thrown through a window by April, the other sexbot. He refused to go. The exchange between Buffy and himself had went horrible before. This time he imagined it going even worse. The more important thing on Spike's mind was tomorrow was Wednesday night. The night he gave Warren the pictures and clothing of Buffy. He hadn't actually missed the opportunity like he previously thought. Regardless, he knew he would be too busy. He had to be to busy. He had to get Joyce to the hospital. Otherwise, she died tomorrow afternoon.
Even worse, Spike had an extremely busy schedule. There were a few things he had to do this evening, and he had to get to the Magic Shop. Luckily, this time he wouldn't be thrown out on his arse by Giles. Spike also doubted Buffy had de-invited him this time. At least, Spike hoped he still had an invite to the house. Kissing Buffy wasn't as bad as holding her hostage, admitting his love, and feasting off humans with Dru. Truthfully, he prayed that he had the invite. He would test it out tomorrow and being able to access Buffy's house would help considerably.
As before, Spike saw the door to the shop opening as he sprinted towards his destination. "Coming through! Coming through!" Spike screamed. Once he had managed to put his blanket out by stomping it on the ground, Spike looked up at the group.
"Hello all. What's going on then?" Spike questioned as before. Spike swallowed back hard as he saw the look of panic on everyone's face. Even worse, Spike witnessed Giles slowly withdraw the stake he had on him. Spike cursed himself internally. He really hadn't thought this one through. Without a doubt, they already knew via Buffy that he no longer had a chip in his head.
Spike's eyes scanned across the room as he looked for his best chance for an escape. Hearing a sound from behind him, Spike turned his head. He narrowed his eyes as he saw Buffy, refusing to make eye contact with him, walking up the small staircase.
"Buffy?" Spike questioned. "Aren't you supposed to be taking care of Warren and his little robot right about now?"
Spike knew something was wrong. For the first time, Spike was caught unexpected and didn't like not knowing his environment.
"Already did…" Buffy muttered, unable to keep eye contact for more than a brief second. "How did you know?"
Buffy's question fell on deaf ears as Spike looked towards Giles. "Look mate, I can explain!" Spike exclaimed as he pointed his hand out at Giles, completely ready to admit he had a soul no matter how badly he didn't want to. His secret being out was better than a stake through the chest. "Yeah I got my c-"
"Spike." Buffy whispered as she grabbed Spike by his closest arm. "They don't know."
Narrowing his eyes, Spike stared at Buffy longer than necessary. When he finally looked back towards Giles he already had his stake out of sight. It was a defense mechanism, Buffy really hadn't told them.
Looking back at Buffy, who had finally removed her hand from his arm, he whispered, "Why didn't you tell them love? I mean I'm grateful and all…"
"Not now Spike, please." Buffy whispered back. Spike followed Buffy's eyes and noticed she was staring at her friends. Next, Spike noticed how they were staring back at Buffy and himself. Spike didn't really feel like putting Buffy in a more awkward position.
"Right." Spike replied as he gave a small nod.
Giles and Xander's words overlapped as they both asked similar versions of, "Spike, what are you doing here?"
"Right," Spike started as he stared at the group. "I know you all hate me and the lot. So i'll get out of your hair quick…I just have to speak to Buffy for a minute."
After a few seconds of silence, Xander crossed his arms over his chest. "Okay, speak here. In the company of good friends and pointy weapons."
Spike let out a scoff as he threw his hands out to his side. "Blood hell! You're not supposed to say that yet." Spike paused as he shook his head. Looking down at the ground, he continued muttering, "You guys hate me more now…sodding figures. Your witty one liners start getting out of order…next thing you know we burst into song and dance. Bullshit."
"What are you talking about?" Xander questioned.
At the same time, Willow asked, "Bull…bullshit? Do you say that?"
Looking at Willow, Spike replied, "I can." Next, he replied to Xander. "Nothing don't worry about it…"
Trying to stop the conversation before it became more hostile, Buffy quickly reached out and gently tugged on Spike's coat again. When she gained his attention, she asked, "Alone?"
Spike nodded towards Buffy, then towards the small staircase. Once they both got down the stairs, Spike heard Giles from behind him. "Spike,"
"Bloody hell Rupert!" Spike said as he turned his head toward the Watcher. "Two minutes…and I'll run away on flames."
"What is it Spike?" Buffy asked when they stopped moving. When she turned to face Spike he could see the fear and nervousness on her face.
"I need you to do me a favor Buffy…" Spike trailed off as he grabbed something from his pocket. Next, he placed the small wad of money in her hand.
"Are…you bribing me?" Buffy asked, her voice holding a mx of confusion and anger.
"No," Spike replied as he let out a grunt. "Hold on…" Buffy listened as she watched Spike return to digging in his trench coat. After a moment, he pulled out a folded piece of paper. Without saying a word, he placed it in Buffy's hand along with the money.
"What is it?" Buffy asked in a confused voice. Quickly, she shot her eyes up to her friends by the door to make sure they weren't eavesdropping. They were too far away to hear the conversation, but Buffy could clearly make out the concern on their faces.
"It's a recipe…it's for a spell." Spike trailed off waiting for a reply. When he didn't receive one, he continued, "Please Buffy, I need you to grab all that stuff from here…and when you are done…" Spike did the same thing Buffy did as he quickly looked back towards Xander and the rest of the Scoobie gang. "Give it to Tara to give to me?"
More than one question came to mind as Buffy hit Spike with a barrage. "What kind of spell? Why Tara? Do you remember last time what-"
"Yes," Spike said in an angry voice, knowing Buffy was talking about the time he kidnapped Willow.
Buffy placed both hands on her hips as she looked at Spike. She wanted an explanation.
"I can't tell you the spell…but it's important." Spike said as he stared into Buffy's eyes. "It's not bad…if you don't believe me have Tara get the things with you. She'll be able to tell if all the things on that list can be mixed up to create something nasty."
Concern grew on Buffy's face.
"Which they don't," Spike replied quickly. "They can't. The reason I want Tara is well…she's the only one beside you that treats me decent. Probably cause the lucky broad didn't see me at my worst."
Buffy nodded her head, accepting Spike's assumption as probable.
"And well," Spike nodded his head in Willow's direction, "Willow didn't have the best experience working with me on a little magic last time."
In a clearly sarcastic tone, Buffy replied, "You don't say."
Spike let out a sigh as he looked at the ceiling. Hearing footsteps behind him, Spike realized her friend's were coming down the stairs. "Please love, it's important."
Slowly, Buffy nodded her head. Spike smiled at Buffy. Next, he threw his blanket back over himself and left in his normal fashion. Buffy was happy that Spike didn't bring up what happened in his crypt. It was a mistake. It was better if it was never brought up. Still, a part of her felt like how teenager girls did when the guy who promised he would call didn't. While short, Buffy had spent a good 15 seconds making out with him, and Spike didn't even give her a compliment or say "good job". She couldn't help but think maybe she shouldn't throw someone off a coffin if she wanted a compliment. Buffy shook her head and cleared her mind of thoughts. She refused to act like a regular teenage girl, not again.
Spike and Faith both leaned their back against the walls of the small room. Looking around, they watched as the small group of witches lit the candles. Next, they began stirring in ingredients to the pot in the middle of the circle. Spike noticed as they added a few of the ingredients it took Faith and himself weeks to find.
"Funny," Spike said as he readjusted his back against the wall. Faith looked over at Spike as he brought her out of thought. Still staring forward, Spike finished his statement. "All my times around witches and I've never actually seen a cauldron used."
Faith didn't reply. Still staring forward, they both watched two of the witches continue to light candles. Spike's shook his head. He was used to seeing maybe half a dozen candles make a barrier around a spell when Willow performed magic. This time, there had to be close to a hundred candles.
"Overkill on the candles, eh pet?" Spike said in Faith's direction. "It's like a vigil in here."
Faith shook her head as she let out a small laugh. Removing her back from the wall, Faith stood upright. "Maybe that's the point…if this spells backfires they have all angles covered."
Spike's jaw dropped as he stared at Faith. Mirroring the Slayer, Spike stood upright. After a moment, he managed to share a laugh with Faith.
Taking them both by surprise, one of the witches appeared in front of them both. Looking at Spike, she said, "It will be ready in a minute." Spike nodded. Without hesitation, the witch turned around and went back to her preparatory work.
Spike looked at Faith when he felt her eyes on him. Faith offered a smile, but it quickly faltered as she looked towards the ground. "So…this is it…" Spike took a step forward and placed a hand under Faith's neck. Spike dropped his hand back to his side when he noticed the glossiness in Faith's eyes.
"Are you alright love?" Spike said in a concerned voice. It was not like Faith to get emotional.
Faith let out a deep breath as she scanned the room. Fighting back some stinging at the corner of her eyes, Faith looked at Spike. "I need to quit getting a soft spot in my heart for Big Bads… about as bad as Buffy needed to quit dating vampires."
Opening the door to Spike's crypt slowly, Tara took a deep breath. Once she was inside, she managed to let out a pensive, "Hello?" Tara froze in her tracks as Spike came around the corner. A big smile that came across Spike's face eased Tara's mind a little. Still, Tara didn't have the courage to begin descending the stares.
"You should already know pet," Spike said. "I can't bite."
Tara let out a small laugh as she stared at the ground. Finally, she found the courage to enter Spike's crypt.
"I ummm…got your stuff…" Tara said as she tried to avoid eye contact. "What is it?"
"I'll tell you," Spike said slowly. "If you promise you are actually going to stay and help me do the spell."
Tara swallowed back hard as she stared at Spike. "Deal…as long as it isn't black magic or anything destructive."
Spike nodded his head. Due to wanting to commence as soon as possible, Spike was blunt. "It's like a conscious….memory sharing spell thing…"
"What?" Tara said in a shocked tone. She had never seen or heard about a spell like that. She knew that were spells for everything and anything, but she was still taken back slightly. "Where did you find the spell?"
Taking a step forward, Spike replied. "From a friend, well actually he's a slimy, little lizard that will get his…but in due time pet."
Taking Spike's words on Doc as more of a joke, Tara replied. "Oh…"
"How did you not know what the spell was?" Spike asked. "I thought witches could look at any ingredients and know what kind of spell it is?"
"No way," Tara retorted, "There's tons of spells…and tons of spell I don't even know about like this one."
Spike nodded in understanding.
"Besides," Tara continued, "I haven't even been around magic that long…" Tara broke eye contact with Spike briefly as she began to take in his crypt. "But…I had a feeling it wasn't a bad spell…none of the ingredients seemed like they would make something volatile…"
Spike didn't reply but nodded his head. As usual, Spike offered Tara one of his Diet Cokes, to which she politely declined.
"To be honest," Tara said in a low voice, "I don't know if it's going to work. You being a vampire…and not alive…it just might not work."
Spike could easily sense the nervousness in Tara's voice. It was expected. He knew that Willow must have told her about her own experience helping him with magic. She was more comfortable than when she first came, but Spike could still tell she wanted to run. Luckily, all of that would change if this spell worked.
"It's okay…really." Spike said in the nicest voice he could manage. "I just have to try…"
Tara nodded as she let out a deep breath. "Okay," Tara said as she motioned for Spike who was standing a few feet away, "You have to sit with me for this to work."
"Inside the candles?" Spike questioned. Tara nodded her head. Spike scanned the set-up before him. Not that physical contact could be weird with a lesbian, but he didn't really feel like having to touch knees with Tara. "Can I make more room…or with that mess up all the witchy mojo?"
Spike let out a sigh as Tara shook her head.
Spike felt awkward at first. It didn't help when Tara made him flatten his palms, put them on top of her own, and close his eyes. Furthermore, the constant mantra of Tara saying, "Just relax." was having the opposite effect. It was silent besides the meditation sounds that came out of Tara's mouth. Internally, Spike cursed himself. He watched enough spells be performed in his lifespan. More often than not, there were words that needed to be said to perform a spell.
Spike was about to give up when he felt something change. It was slight at first. The only feeling that compared was when he had something to say, but forgot what it was. It felt like every train of thought he ever had was being forgotten, even stolen. After a few seconds, it got more intense. Spike could barely think about how odd the sensation was as it seemed like his entire memory bank was being erased.
Startled, Spike snapped his eyes open as Tara let out a borderline scream. "Holy…shit!" Tara managed as she scooted back and knocked over a few candles behind her. Before Spike could react, Tara slid back a few more feet. Spike began to stand as Tara did the same.
"Holy…God!" Tara exclaimed as she turned her body towards Spike, then away again.
Tara continued to turn pace back and forth without covering much ground. Taking a step toward Spike, she met eyes with him. "Oh my god, Spike!" Just as quickly, she turned back around. "Oh my god!"
Spike let out a sigh as he placed his hands on his hip. "Bloody hell woman, you sound like Anya."
Tara spoke immediately, but with no intent on answering his question. Like usual, Tara's slow rate of speech returned as she tried to dissect everything she had just witnessed. "Buffy…then the soul…then Buffy again…and then everything…Buffy...Oh my god!"
Spike smiled as he crossed his arms over his chest. "So I'm guessing it worked."
Tara shook her head. "Uhhh, yeah. Wow…who would have thought? When are you going to tell B-"
"I'm not," Spike said in a stern voice. Taking a step towards Tara, Spike swallowed hard. "If it worked…you saw everything pet. Buffy can wait…she's not going anywhere and neither am I. You know what I need you're help with…and I need it now."
After a brief pause, Tara nodded. "Buffy's mom…"
It was more a statement than a question, but Spike nodded his head regardless. "Yeah…"
Tara nodded her head. Next, she returned to her previous statement. "And time travel? Wow…"
"Yeah…" Spike muttered.
"You really love her…you really aren't an ass-"
"Yeah," Spike replied again, this time in a annoyed voice. "So, are you going to help me with-"
"Yes, I'll help you." Tara said before Spike could finish. "Of course I'll help. We could actually save her this time…this is amazing Spike."
"Thank you." Spike replied.
Tara nodded her head. "We will figure it out…we can think of a plan in a little bit. But you can't honestly drop something like this on a girl…and not expect to answer my questions."
Spike let out a short chuckle as he dropped his eyes to the ground. It worked. He had another ally. He needed another ally. All he had to get through now was about a thousand questions.