An Old Friend
She had used those exact words when she came to see him.
"The basement is making him crazy," she had insisted.
Clem didn't understand how a room could make you lose your
noodle. He'd had a few friends over the years who had been a
few fries short of a Happy Meal, but there was always a reason.
Something had to have happened to Spike, but what?
Clem put down his free weights and tore into a bag of cheese
puffs. Still miffed that his best demon friend in the whole
world hadn't come to see him when he returned, Clem
wondered if he even wanted to help.
"Naw, I gotta see what I can do," he admonished himself. He
picked Spike's infamous coat off the bier where the Slayer had
left it. She thought perhaps it might snap Spike back into
reality. For some reason she didn't want to give it to him
"Will this do the trick?" he wondered, shaking his head. He
folded it and tucked it into his backpack.
Clem snuck into the new Sunnydale High through a door left
open for basketball practice. The Slayer had given him
directions to the basement access.
He wasn't exactly light on his feet, and Clem grimaced at the
noise he was making while descending the stairs. Turning on
his flashlight, he rounded a corner and saw the double doors
Clem took a deep breath and pushed them open, peering inside.
"Spike!" he whispered. "Spike, it's me, Clem!"
There was no answer. He opened the door further and noticed
that a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling was swinging like a
pendulum. Before he could consider what that meant, he was
grabbed by the scruff of his neck and dragged inside, the doors
slamming behind him.
A deep, gruff voice resonated in his ear, "Do you have a
Clem shook himself free and spun around. Despite Buffy's
warnings, he was not prepared for what he saw. Spike's hair
was long and disheveled and he had allowed his roots to grow
out. Always impeccably groomed before, he now smelled like
death. His trademark black attire was caked with filth.
"Whoa, Spike, take it easy," Clem said in his most soothing
voice, holding up his hands. "No, I don't have a ticket, but it's
me, Clem...your buddy!" He flashed his best smile and nodded
Spike frowned and scrutinized Clem's face, walking a circle
around the demon. He suddenly turned and walked toward the
back of the storage room. Puzzled, Clem followed.
"W...w...why are you here? It's not nearly time."
"Hey buddy, I came to see you! I missed you! Buffy told me
you were here. To be honest, I was kinda hurt that you didn't
come to visit me when you got back into town..."
Hysterical laughter filled the room and Clem's eyes grew wide
with horror. This was really bad.
"I hurt the girl, you know. I'm a bad, bad man. Don't
deserve..." Spike slumped down to the floor between two filing
cabinets, drawing his knees to his chin. Clem sat down in front
of him and removed the heavy backpack from his shoulders.
"Spike. Look at me."
Spike hugged his knees, his gaze still on the floor.
"Buddy? What happened to you? "
Suddenly, Spike whipped his head around to look behind him
and shouted, "What are YOU laughing at?"
The tortured vampire swung back to look at his friend, his eyes
full of tears and whimpered, "Shhhhh, he's here too."
Clem could play along. He whispered, "Who's here?"
Spike frowned and looked into Clem's eyes. "Me," he hissed.
Clem frowned and took a deep breath. This wasn't going to be
easy. Buffy hadn't been kidding. His demon heart was about to
break. They sat there together for several minutes. Neither one
"Hey, I brought fresh blood for you."
Clem dug through the backpack and pulled out a pint. Spike
grimaced and turned away. Clem couldn't figure out what was
wrong, so he laid the bag next to him.
"I have some clean clothes, too. Buffy bought them today for
you." Clem put a long fingernail to his chin in contemplation.
"Let's see, she wanted me to tell you that's why she didn't come
to see you at lunch. Oh! And she said to thank you for helping
her save Cassie." Clem smiled with pride that he had
remembered it all.
"Couldn't let the girl get hurt. Died anyway. I know. Saw it.
Was watching." Spike hung his head.
"Spike, that had nothing to do with you, Buddy! She was real
Spike looked at his friend. "I'm sick...Clem?"
Clem grinned. Spike knew who he was, after all. Then,
something in Spike's eyes flickered and caught his attention.
He leaned forward and Spike immediately shied away, hiding
his face with his hands. Clem didn't dare believe it.
"By golly, you went and did it! You got your soul back!"
Spike hung his head.
"Spike! Is that what's wrong with you?" Clem wondered why
Buffy didn't tell him. This was big. This was huge! "How did
you do it?"
"Saw a demon...now they are all IN here...talking to me..."
Spike dug at his temple with his fingers.
"Hey, I got something here that will make you feel better, then!
A little piece of the old you!"
Clem produced the black leather coat from his bag and
ceremoniously presented it to its rightful owner, laying it on the
floor in front of him. Spike looked at it in disgust and kicked it
away with his foot.
"I don't want this. SHE'S in here, too, don't you know?" Spike
held his head in his hands and started to rock.
Clem leaned forward. "Spike, who is 'she'?"
Spike didn't answer, but covered his ears. After several more
minutes of watching his insane friend, Clem sighed and stood
up. He didn't think there was anything more he could do
tonight, but he would be back.
"Spike, I gotta go. 'Friends' is on tonight. I'm real sorry about
what's happened to you. If there is anything I can ever do, you
can find me in your old crypt. Um, you won't be wanting that
back, will you?"
There was still no answer. Clem dejectedly walked back to the
A hoarse whisper sounded, "Thank you."