Contains spoilers for
I didn’t cover the seal after
Andrew cried on it. We just left it, Andrew and I. With all the dead
Bringers-to-be lying around it. Because it didn’t matter if it was covered… we
beat The First tonight. We won a battle, and it was hard. And it will only
Andrew didn’t stop shaking all the
way up the stairs. When we reached the top the door opened, which made Andrew
jump with a squeal.
It was Spike, who held the door
open with a smile, “Got it done.”
Andrew zipped through the door
“Break his heart?” Spike asked.
“Been crying,” he motioned to Andrew.
“Oh, yeah,” I paused, wondering if it was that
easy for him to know when I’ve been crying… “His, uh, tears… closed the seal.”
“That right?” we followed Robin and Andrew down
the hall, “Get it on film?”
“I don’t think we’ll see much of that camera after tonight.”
“Because I’m going to break it.”
Spike nodded, and then smirked when Andrew
looked back, “Likely she means that, by the way.”
Robin held the door open, and we all left the
“So,” Robin locked the door… like it matters if
a trashed school is locked… “Go ahead and take the next couple of days off,
I nodded, “Sure you don’t want my help fixin‘ up
“Swings an ungodly hammer…” Spike took the lead, pulling out a
Robin glared at Spike’s back. Alright… I can
relate to that. I’ve glared at him before, too. Usually to his face, but…
“I really don’t think it’s fair to break the
camera,” Andrew came up next to me, “I mean, it could be useful for, like,
family occasions, or holidays, or… um, weddings?”
I plucked it from his hands, “No more camera.
And no more weddings… they’re very…”
“Catastrophic,” Spike murmured, blowing smoke
above his head.
“I was going to say demony… and it’d just be
more footage of me slaying stuff.”
“Bet that sets the newlyweds back a pretty
penny.” Robin said, “But then, which is more important in a wedding, anyway:
the cake or the bride and groom?”
I smiled, and Spike gave an annoyed glance.
“I think what’s most important is… remembering
the good times,” Andrew reached for the camera, “And looking to the future…” he
reached again, and I lifted it up higher, “And…” he jumped, “Come on, just one
more night. I won’t film you at all, I swear.”
We reached Robin’s car, which Spike was already leaning against.
“Alright,” I handed the camera to Andrew, “But I
want it back first thing in the morning.”
Andrew nodded, tucking it into his jacket.
“Sorry, Spike, no smoking in the car.” Robin’s
eyes were slits.
Spike took a long drag, tapping the ash when he
finished, “Come put it out, then.”
Robin’s fists clenched.
Spike tossed the cigarette at
Robin’s feet, “Bugger it. I’ll walk.”
Robin crushed the flicker of light
and opened his door.
“I, uh… think I better go with
him.” What? Why?
“What?” Robin almost barked, “Why?”
“You know… just don’t want anyone to—”
“Well, yeah, but I don’t think Spike would—”
“Right. The soul. Almost forgot.”
I nodded, very nervous about his
tone, “Besides, it’s been a while since we patrolled…”
Robin started the car, “Is that
when you hunt vampires?”
“Well, not really hunt, per se,
“I’d like to go one night, if
Okay, why does he keep cutting me
off? “Sure.” I looked past the car. Spike was already out of sight.
“I know you’re back there,” I
called down the dark alley, “I can see the light from your cigarette.”
“Aren’t you bloody clever?” the
light flickered, “Don’t ’spose anyone else in this town smokes.”
“No one else in this town calls me
‘bloody clever.’ Come on, we’re going by the Bronze.”
He was coming into view now, and dropped the
cigarette, “What for? Look like I’m in the mood for drinkin‘ and dancin‘?”
“No,” I said as he stepped onto the sidewalk,
“But you do look like you’re in the mood for a good fight.”
“Soddin‘ principal of yours…” he walked alongside me, “Why can’t
you ever make a friend I like?”
“You like you,” I crossed my arms, “Isn’t that enough.”
He looked surprised, then stared down at the sidewalk. It got quiet.
Ah yes, the old shocked-that-Buffy-cares look. Shocked-that-Buffy-understands.
I sometimes think that you really don’t believe in me at all, Spike. Sometimes
think that after everything I’ve done, you just don’t have any faith left in
“Good fight…” he muttered, “Like any o‘ the wankers
we stake tonight are gonna come close to a good fight,” that dark tone of his
took over, “Close to a good…”
It got quiet again.
And this time it stayed quiet… on the outside.
But my insides were ripping at each other.
What were you thinking? Alone, just you and
him, after what happened last night? Don’t you remember? What happened in the
basement with Spike? Do you remember that question at all? Are you insane?
Yes, I am insane… because only
insane people have mind-arguments with voices like this. Only insane people
follow Spike to a dark alley. Only one insane person. And that’s me. Insane
Spike lit another cigarette, oblivious to my
And just what did happen in the basement with
Spike? He’s obviously okay with it. He’s walking right next to me, isn’t he?
If he had been upset about it, he would’ve shown it by now. He’s terrible at
hiding that kind of stuff.
Besides… we’ve been through worse. A little
talk in the basement is a cakewalk compared to our worst times…
We walked past a smashed building. The roof had
caved in, and the walls were falling down. One of the windows framed a broken
lamp. It was familiar. It wasn’t the place… it wasn’t the house we smashed…
together. But it was close. Close enough to send shivers through every bone
in my body… to bring back flashes of memories shattering into each other… close
enough to make me catch my breath.
Spike was looking at it, too.
“They should knock that place down.” I looked
away from it.
“Probably still means something to somebody…”
I looked over at him.
He shrugged, “I mean… Magic Box’s still
“Barely,” I thought of the old store… the jingly
bell… the weird customers… Willow slamming me into hundreds of books, “I don’t
think I like what it means to me anymore.”
“Still means, though. Still important. Shaped
you,” he paused, “Part of you?”
He’s not just talking about the Magic Box…
“Spike! He went left!”
He backed up, then followed me to the left, “You
know, maybe you should try not tellin‘ every vamp you’re the Slayer…” he
panted, “Try to play the victim, lure’em in and stake’em up close and
personal…” we rounded a corner as he finished, “Save you a lot of bloody
“If they run…” I gasped, “They could… lead me…
“Or too many.”
“No such thing.” I sprinted faster, “C’mon, he’s
We raced down the alley, turned right and raced
down another. The vamp disappeared into a door on the left.
I slowed to a walk, and Spike jogged up next to
me. I pulled out a stake.
“What’s the plan?” Spike caught his breath… for
“Kick the door down. Slay.”
“That’s all there ever is.”
The door crashed to the ground.
Continued in Part 24