May 12th, 2008

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Rebuilding continues

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

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Rebuilding

Ch 6 – Returns

 

Xander sat on the warm hood of his car as the engine ticked and cooled under his butt. The night was a nice one out as he waited patiently for the train from L.A. to arrive. It was relatively early in the evening, so he could hear sounds from Main Street only two blocks away and the occasional car passed by the parking lot. The town was getting back to what passed for normal in the wake of the ‘storms’ earlier in the week. Sixth Street was still barricaded, routing traffic around a two block collapse. It looked as if one of Glory’s portal lightning blasts had hit the tarmac, causing the ground beneath to give way. Work crews had been surveying it for the last several days.

 

It was Saturday night and Spike was coming home. Xander wanted desperately to take the vampire back to the apartment and drink beer, hear about Angel and then get to a serious, Olympics-level make out session. They could even skip the Angel part completely.

 

Not that I was planning on doing those things, he sighed. Spike would no doubt want to rush over to the Summers’ and check on Dawn and they would probably end up staying there… or at least Spike would.

 

Why does she have to be so needy, Hyena piped up. We haven’t even gotten to have one good, hard lay with him yet!

 

“Dawn needs him right now,” Xander said aloud. “Besides, I’m not so sure that ‘hard lay’ is something I’m ready for. I’m still dealing with having a guy’s tongue in my mouth.”

 

I don’t get the big deal. I’m sorry, I just don’t. Spike is sexy and you want him… end of story.

 

“Maybe,” Xander said. But things aren’t that easy… ever. And besides, what does it matter what Spike and I do… it’s Spike and I. It’s got nothing to do with you.

 

Yeah, right…, she smirked as she sank back within his mind.

 

The hairs on the back of his neck suddenly stood on end and Xander stood up and turned around surveying the night. A few cars passed and he saw nothing unusual in the light given off by their low-beams, nor by the streetlamps that bathed the train station. Still, he’d been on patrol countless times since forming the Scooby Gang with Willow, Giles and Buffy and he could swear that someone was watching, or stalking, him.

 

Someone other than a disembodied Hyena-spirit.

 

The sound of an approaching train’s whistle broke the eerie mood and a moment later he laughed at himself.

 

Being on the Hellmouth is finally making me paranoid, he thought with an amused shake of his head.

 

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“Anakin to Obi-Wan, no sight of Leia. I have Chewbacca in my sights, though. I think he’s waiting for the arriving train. Do you think he has company coming from out of town,” Andrew said into a walkie-talkie.

 

“Who cares?!” Warren had yelled at him from the device and he sounded annoyed. He often sounded annoyed to Andrew. “Look, if Buffy isn’t with him then proceed to watch point two. I almost have Adam remotely connected to the bank’s security system.”

 

“Not Adam, Warren! Remember, his code name. And the target is Leia,” Andrew whined.

 

“Fine,” Warren’s irritated voice sighed. “I’ve almost got Darth Vader ready to go, Anakin. Obi-Wan to Luke, any signs of Leia, over.”

 

The next voice from Andrew’s talkie was Jonathon’s, “Negative Obi-Wan. No sight of any of the Alliance, I’m proceeding to area five, over and out.”

 

“I’m surrounded by nerds,” Warren’s voice sounded.

 

“Uh… don’t hold the button down if you don’t want to transmit stuff, Obi-Wan. Anakin is headed for the Espresso Pump,” Andrew reported.

 

“Bring Obi back a chocolate donut and a large coffee. Out.”

 

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Below the streets of Sunnydale, Vanessa wandered the natural cavern systems toward Spike’s crypt. She was hoping there’d be signs that he’d come back and seen her message. In her hands, she carried a crossbow, but she was hoping she wouldn’t need to use it. Simply shooting him into dust was far too quick and easy for the bastard. Still, it was best to remain ready in case she ran into him down here. It was a sure bet that he would not be pleased to see her.

 

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The train pulled into the station, depositing only one person who wished to visit the town, Spike. As he jumped down to the platform, he saw Xander waiting for him near the purple Taurus. He really hated that car.

 

“Glad to see you back Evil-one,” Xan smiled.

 

“And I don’t even have a stake mark on me,” he smirked. “How’s my Bit?”

 

“She’s fine, Spike. And so am I, thanks for asking.”

 

“I was going to, after I was sure that Dawn was alright,” Spike smiled. “Why are you standing out here unarmed? If you get yourself bit out here, I’m going to kick your ass.”

 

“I have stakes in the car. AND,” Xander added as Spike opened his mouth to point out that he wasn’t in the car, “I have a bottle of holy water in my jacket pocket and a stake strapped under my pant’s leg. Relax, Baby, I’ve been doing this awhile, you know?”

 

“Yeah, yeah,” Spike smirked again as they got into the car. “You’re just a regular bad-ass… my mistake.”

 

“So, Dawn first?”

 

“Drive on, Love.”

 

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“Spike!”

 

Dawn rushed to the front door and threw her arms around him even before he’d gotten completely in the door. “I’m glad you’re back. C’mon, we’ve got new clothes for you. I picked out the shirts! You’re going to look so cool.”

 

“I already look cool, Half-Pint.”

 

“Cool-er, then,” Dawn smiled while dragging him toward the stairs.

 

“Is everything alright,” Tara asked Spike as he made his way behind Dawn.

 

“It’s fine, Tara. Angel will cope; he’s got his own crew to help him,” Spike shot back at her.

 

“C’mon, Xan, I have a pot of coffee on,” Tara led him into the kitchen.

 

“Where’s Will?”

 

“Guess. She’s running herself ragged, but she won’t listen when I tell her to take a break.”

 

Xander sighed. Willow had looked like she was sleeping on her feet this morning when they’d met to storm Giles’ place. He’d tried to ask her about how she was sleeping, but she’d put him off by pushing them all out the door to find out what Giles was up to.

 

Now, he gratefully took a cup of coffee (just the way he liked it, too, Tara must have been watching over them all these last days) and headed for the basement.

 

“I’ll check on her,” he told Tara, who just gave him a worried nod.

 

As Xander entered, he saw Willow quickly close her laptop. She grabbed a pair of needle-nosed pliers and began to extricate a wire from April.

 

“Hey, Will… how long you been down here working,” he asked, trying not to sound concerned. He didn’t like how she seemed to be a bundle of nerves.

 

“N-nothing! I mean, I’ve, uh, been busy with the robots.”

 

“Will… we’re a bit worried upstairs. Are you sure you’re not overdoing it down here? I mean, we don’t need the robots done tonight, you know.”

 

“Well, they’re not going to repair and program themselves, you know. Was that Spike I heard,” Will asked him, but he thought she was only trying to distract him.

 

“He’s back and fine; now let’s talk about you. You don’t look like you’re sleeping, Will. I’m worried about the circles under your eyes.”

 

“I’m fine, Xander. I just have a lot to do. We especially need the Buffybot up and running. I’ll rest more once I’m done with them. And by the way, your pot is calling my kettle….”

 

“Can I do anything to help?”

 

“Not down here. I’ve got it handled, but you could take a look at the hall window upstairs. The Knights broke it when they were ransacking the place,” she offered what she hoped would be an ‘everything is normal’ smile.

 

Xan only sighed at her, obviously not convinced. They knew each other so well, so of course he could see that she was stressed. She just wasn’t ready to reveal why. Not yet, anyway.

 

“I’ll take a look. Listen though, I’m putting a one hour limit on you for the rest of the night. If you’re not upstairs relaxing in sixty minutes, I’m coming down and dragging you up. Deal?”

 

“Y-yeah, okay. One more hour,” she smiled falsely again. And then she blew out a sigh of half relief and half frustration after he’d gone back upstairs, closing the door behind him and getting out of her hair.

 

Instantly forgetting the robots, she returned to her laptop and continued delving into the lore surrounding Osiris.

 

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Rupert Giles sealed the large security envelope and turned it over in his hands. It was already addressed to the recipient, Quentin Travers, London, England.

 

He blew out a breath and took a sip of his whiskey-spiked tea. Hopefully, the chronology of events was logical enough that there would be few questions. He’d called the Council to report the defeat of Glory earlier this afternoon. By reporting things as sketchily as possible, he was able to use Travers’ questions to beef up the fairy tale he was mailing them.

 

He glanced nervously at the envelope in his hands again, before placing it back on his desk. He’d send it by special courier in the morning and then hold his breath and wait. There would be follow up questions, of course. There always were, but he believed that he’d constructed the narrative relatively straight-forward so that it would be commented upon and then filed rather quickly. The next trick would be conditioning the Buffy robot to pass examination by the Council, should they wish to question ‘Buffy’ about her experiences against Glorificus.

 

He hoped it wouldn’t be necessary, but he was anticipating that Travers may wish to come over to congratulate her in person. Not to mention his questions regarding the Knights of Byzantium and their ultimate fates.

 

Thinking of the Knights had him adding a little more whiskey to his already strong tea. They had no way of knowing if all of the Knights who knew Dawn’s secret had been eliminated by Glory. If not, there could still be zealots in the area that may wish to target her.

 

Grabbing the phone, he called over to Buffy’s house to check on things.

 

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Anya looked over her suitcases sitting by the bedroom door and felt sadder than she had expected. It wasn’t like she was leaving for good, after all. But still, just the fact that she wouldn’t see Xander everyday anymore felt oddly strange and unsettling to her.

 

Shaking her head she pulled out a highway map of California and looked at the surrounding towns and then followed her route with her finger northward. She knew Angel was in L.A., and so intended to skip by it. Not that the city wasn’t so big she could easily avoid them, anyway, but it would be easier this way. And it wasn’t that she necessarily disliked the idea of seeing the L.A crew, but she didn’t really know any of them that well and besides, this trip was about avoiding demons and vampires and the responsibilities of world saving.

 

She just wanted to be a tourist for awhile. Of course, her new automobile would be fully equipped with crosses and stakes, anyway. She didn’t want to be a blind and stupid tourist.

 

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End Chapter 6

 

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Ch 7, day 6

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 7 – Sunday, Day 6

 

“Anya,” Dawn greeted her at the front door. “We had so much fun last night, you should have been here. Oh! And I used your strategy at Monopoly… totally won!” Dawn gave her a ‘go-me, go-me’ dance.

 

“Well, that’s wonderful Dawn. Although I must insist that you don’t use it when I play next time. I’m considering filing for a patent,” Anya said distractedly as she breezed by her on the way to the kitchen. She wasn’t looking forward to being here, but she’d picked today as the day… her bags were already in the trunk of her little, used Mazda.

 

Dawn rolled her eyes and followed.

 

It was about ten a.m. and everyone was at the Summers’ household, but Giles. Spike was upstairs, presumably doing the deep-sleep thing. The others were in the kitchen, quietly sitting or standing at the island and eating waffles that Tara had whipped up. No one had said much of anything to that point.

 

“So… does anyone know if Giles is going to re-open the store,” Anya asked after clearing her throat. She sort of needed to know about how long she had before she needed to return to Sunnydale.

 

“Worried about your job,” Willow asked judgmentally.

 

“I wasn’t thinking about that specifically but, well, I do still have bills,” Anya stated. “I mean, I do need to work somewhere.” As soon as I return, anyway, she thought.

 

“I can’t believe you’re worried about that now!”

 

“Girls…,” Xander tried to interrupt.

 

“Well I’m sorry that life didn’t just stop because Buffy died! Not all of us can just crash here for free now, you know,” Anya raised her voice. “It’s been nearly a week and we all have to decide what we’re doing next.”

 

She’d always disliked Willow’s ‘holier than thou’ attitude and since she was leaving anyway, there wasn’t any reason to stop herself from pointing it out now.

 

“Girls…,” Xander tried again seeing Dawn turn pale, her eyes wide with tears. He was growing angry at seeing Dawn upset… she’d just gotten to where she could laugh again. And she was still struggling to deal with her losses; it must seem to her like the only family she had left was trying to rip itself apart.

 

“You are so goddamned cold, Anya! I can’t believe how selfish you can be,” Willow glared, at the same time shrugging Tara’s restraining hand off of her arm. “Buffy died for us and all you can think about is ‘la-la-la, I don’t care, time to make some money!’”

 

“For your information, Ms. Holier-Than-Thou, I was thinking about Giles’ well being! He needs something to do or he’ll just continue to lock himself into his apartment and drink himself to death!”

 

“Don’t try to pretend this is about Giles,” Willow yelled. “This is about what it’s always about… Anya’s bank account!”

 

“Girls, stop it,” Xander shocked the room into silence by yelling as loud as he could. Both Anya and Willow stared at him wide-eyed.

 

Tara looked uncomfortable, while Willow and Anya continued to glare at one another. Dawn just looked from one to the other miserably before excusing herself and running out the back door.

 

“Nice, Anya,” Willow said. “Way to go.”

 

“Me?! I’m not the one yelling at people!”

 

“Will, honey, please… enough,” Tara said.

 

“I’m just trying to figure out where we go from here,” Anya nearly pleaded. “We can’t just stand here like life isn’t going to continue on. You have to come up with a plan of action. What about patrolling? Who’s going to take care of Dawn and the household expenses while you and Tara are not earning any money, wasting all day in school?”

 

Willow opened her mouth, her face in a severe frown, but Xander pre-empted whatever she was going to say.

 

“We’ll work it out. I have my check. You can file for unemployment until you find another job, Ahn. Giles will figure out something to take care of Dawn and the house… Mrs. Summers would have had life insurance, we just have to find out where that money is. Besides, wasn’t the Council supposed to be offering a stipend… whatever happened to that?”

 

“Xander… I’m not staying. My bags are packed and in the car. I… I need time away.”

 

“What? Anya… come on, w-we need to draw together now. This isn’t the time to run away.”

 

“I’m not running, Xander. I’m traveling. I will be back; I’ll keep in touch and let you know where I’m at. As soon as Giles is ready to re-open the store, I’ll be here. But I’ve got some money now, thanks to my investments, and I need to spend some time with me. Please try to understand.”

 

“I’m going to go out and see to Dawn,” Tara said quietly.

 

She directed to Willow as she passed, “If you and Anya can’t get along long enough to give Dawn one quiet, civil breakfast, then maybe you should just leave the house right now as well!”

 

She turned to Anya, “Good luck, Ahn. Please let me know where you are so I can keep you updated.”

 

Willow watched in surprise as Tara all but stomped out of the back door.

 

“She’s right,” Xander directed at both girls. “I’m going upstairs to see Spike. You two need to work out a way to be civil with one another before Dawn comes back in and before Anya leaves for… wherever.”

 

“I didn’t mean…” Willow started to say.

 

“… I don’t care what you meant, Will,” Xander threw over his shoulder. “You’re both acting like five year olds and I don’t have the patience for it. Anya… I don’t want you to go. But… I do understand. After what Glory did to you… after Buffy… I get it. It’s okay; you’re always welcome here, though… please remember that.”

 

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With the softest of knocks, Xander entered Dawn’s bedroom. The shade was pulled down on the window, blocking out most of the dangerous sunlight. In addition, he saw that Spike had pulled a sheet up over his head and was lying completely covered and still. He turned around to leave, but Spike stopped him:

 

“I’m still awake. If the girls are upsetting Dawn, I’ll kill ‘em both.”

 

“We’ve got it handled. I didn’t mean to wake you,” Xan nearly whispered.

 

Spike moved the sheet from over his head and looked at his man. Xander’s eyes were haloed in dark circles, his mouth drawn down in a perpetual look of grief. He had bags, showing at the least one night of sleeplessness… not that that was a shock.

 

“You didn’t wake me. My mind’s full, thinking about how I can help the Bit get through this.”

 

Spike’s pale and bare torso nearly glowed in the ambient light of the room, the sheet now down around his waist. As Xan came further into the room, he closed the door behind him and began removing his shirt.

 

“What you doing,” Spike asked.

 

“Crawling into bed with you,” Xander answered as his shoes came off, followed by his unzipping his pants.

 

Spike simply watched him, a questioning look on his face. As Xander shoved his pants down and kicked them off followed by white sweat socks, leaving only his boxers, the vampire raised his eyes to meet his.

 

Xander gave him an embarrassed half-grin, but lifted Dawn’s sheet and crawled in next to the vampire. When he’d gotten himself settled, he turned so that he faced Spike, who still lay on his back perfectly, supernaturally, still.

 

“You can touch me, you know,” he said.

 

“I thought you weren’t ready for… stuff,” Spike said as he also finally turned onto his side to face the warm human body next to him.

 

Lying chest to chest, Xander allowed one hand to reach out and settle on Spike’s hip. He was foolishly surprised to feel the cool bare flesh under his fingers. He’d forgotten that Spike apparently had never heard of underwear.

 

“I said I wasn’t ready for everything. And that was before…. Let’s just say I’m feeling a little more ready than before,” Xan smiled before leaning into Spike and capturing his lips with his own.

 

“Xan,” Spike whispered, his voice strained. “Don’t start this if you’re not sure.”

 

Instead of answering, his fingers crept around from Spike’s hip and down his waist until they touched his full erection. Wrapping a hand around Spike’s hardness, he began to gently fist him forward and back.

 

“No more talking,” he commanded with a smile. “Just kiss me.”

 

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Tara found Dawn sitting on the bench under the tree in the backyard. It was where she always went when she was upset and needed out of the house.

 

She took a seat near her and put her arm around Dawn’s shoulder. “Those two,” she said in frustration.

 

“I hate it when we fight with one another. I-I can’t lose anyone else,” Dawn said, wiping her eyes.

 

“It’s not that serious, Sweetie. You know they just tend to rub each other the wrong way. Besides, Anya is going away for awhile. Not permanently,” Tara added quickly as Dawn looked at her with surprise. “She just wants to see the country… try to deal with what Glory had done to her. She needs some time to heal.”

 

“We all do. Shouldn’t we be doing it together?”

 

“Oh, Honey. We all have to find our own way and Anya’s is to spend some time alone with Anya. We have to give her that, don’t we? And she promised that she isn’t leaving for good… it’s just a little vacation.”

 

“Do you think,” Dawn hesitated, “Do you think she’ll really come back? It’s weird, but even though she’s not my favorite person, I still can’t stand the idea of her not being part of our family.”

 

“There’s nothing weird about it. And yes, I’m sure she’ll come home when she has her mind together again. Besides, she’d never allow Giles to run the new Magic Box without her!”

 

That had the effect she had hoped for as Dawn gave her a smirk, “No… there’s no way she’d trust Giles with the money. I just,” she grew quieter; “I just thought we were starting to be okay.”

 

“We are, Dawn. Really. But we’re going to have good days and bad days for awhile.”

 

“That’s what Xander told me.”

 

“Xander is a smart guy. Now come on and finish breakfast,” Tara stood up and gave Dawn her hand.

 

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When they’d re-entered the house, Anya was making a sandwich at the island. There was no sign of Willow.

 

Tara sighed, “Have you two made up?”

 

Willow is very judgmental,” Anya complained. “I’m going to make a few sandwiches for the road and then I’m going. Dawn? I’m sorry that I helped upset you. But everything I said is true; you all need to figure out what happens next.”

 

“And we will,” Tara said. “We have school tomorrow and Xander goes back to work. That’s step one. I’ll talk to Mr. Giles later about getting the Magic Box cleaned up, assuming he’s going to re-open. I hope he does.”

 

“Yes. I still plan on creating a Magic Box chain of shops,” Anya nodded.

 

“I’m sorry to see you leave,” Dawn said as she re-sat down while Tara placed her cold plate in the microwave.

 

“But Tara explained and I think I understand why you need some time away from Hellmouth Central.”

 

“It’s only for a little while,” Anya told her.

 

Dawn only half-nodded, still not happy about it.

 

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End Chapter 7

 

space2

Ch 8

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 8 – Investigations

 

Xander glanced out of his trailer window, looking over his busy crew. He noted that Kyle and Kenny were once again bullshitting instead of hanging drywall. With a sigh he determined to give them five minutes to get back to it before he headed out and showed his face. That was usually enough to get them back to work. Across the expanse of dirt lot, Eddie was on the steamroller and seemed to be ready to complete the flattening of the expansive parking lot by the end of the day. That put them one day ahead of the new schedule he’d given to Joe to pass onto Mr. Greeley. He smiled to himself that something was going a little bit right around him.

 

Until the phone rang on his desk and the I.D. revealed Giles. With a glance of the clock, he saw it was a few minutes after one.

 

He’s calling to invite me to lunch, Xander willed, not believing himself for a second.

 

“Hey, Giles. What’s the disaster?”

 

“W-what… oh, no, it’s no disaster. But we do have a case that Detective Stein would like us to look into. I’ve been reading over a report from last night and there’s been a robbery. I’d like to meet for a meeting, perhaps over dinner tonight?”

 

“Sure. Have you round-robin-ed the gang, or you want me to do it? But it doesn’t sound like a robbery falls into Scooby territory,” Xan said.

 

“Well, ordinarily I’d agree except that this has been the third of the same sort. A, uh, New Age store was also stolen from and a natural foods store. Among the items missing are several crystals with little cash value and various cooking herbs. Place these specific items together and we have a possible magical connection.”

 

“Hmm… but they stole the more valuable stuff, right? Still sounds like regular burglaries.”

 

“My thoughts exactly,” Giles admitted, “Until Mr. Stein also mentioned that the security systems on all of the shops happened to be deactivated the same way allowing the thieves to walk in at their leisure. The thing that caught my interest in the cases, however, is from the foods place. An eyewitness provided a sketchy account of a, and I’m quoting, “A large man who appeared to have a mangled face… like from an accident, maybe. He was wearing a really bizarre metal vest on him and he ran really, really fast. I’m talking about Olympic sprinter fast,” end quote.”

 

“Okay. I’m on board… maybe a super-dude is involved. The others?”

 

“I haven’t called them, yet, but I’ll take care of it,” Giles assured him. “But I believe the ‘mangled man with the metal vest’ could refer to Adam. We haven’t seen any signs that he was destroyed since Buffy… (there was an uncomfortable pause on the line)… since Buffy last faced him.”

 

“Damn. Adam was one tough S.O.B. I think Wills has Buffybot ready for patrol. Maybe we should send her out tonight to scope around for the big lug?”

 

“I think it merits consideration,” Giles said. “Once we have April up as well, it will help immensely.”

 

“Okay, Giles. I gotta get back to work. See you tonight at six-thirty? Dawn’s?”

 

“That will work. Until later, Xander.”

 

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Madeline, a prostitute who worked the eastern warehouse district, rolled over in her bed. She gasped at the pain in her arms and back.

 

Covering her wrists and forearms she could see ugly purple bruising from her last john the night before. No doubt, there’d be similar marks on her back. He’d been pretty rough, which was alright since he’d paid extra for the privilege, but the morning after aches were annoying. And she had to admit to herself that sometimes, like last night, she had to wonder if she’d lost her mind. There were a lot of sickos out there and who knew when she’d bring home one who didn’t know when to stop. She’d wondered if the English guy was going to be her mistake a few times during the three hours he’d spent tying and squeezing her, but it had worked out.

 

Marc would, no doubt, bitch to her about the bruises. It made it harder for her to bring him the bread when she was marked up, but he didn’t know about her charging her customers a little on top for being allowed to go a little more on the edge. It was the only way for her to make any money at all with the bastard taking nearly everything she brought in. And the fact that he paid for the rent on this shit hole, in no way made things fair.

 

But it wasn’t like she could complain about it or go solo. She’d seen what happened to Trix and Spice when they’d gotten an attitude. Neither of the girls was around anymore and it didn’t take a PhD to figure out that the weird strongman with the long teeth and deformed face had ‘taken care of it’ for Marc. No, she’d have to keep her mouth shut and put up with her pimp cleaning out her purse. But she wasn’t going to let that get in the way of keeping herself well fed, either.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Anna sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, spiked with a bit of brandy. Randy was still in a foul mood over her going off with that guy from the bar. She was kind of sick of hearing about it, already. It wasn’t like she was expecting him to be loyal, either. She’d seen the way he’d been checking out Sherrie’s hooters on more than one occasion. She just hadn’t turned into a whiner over it.

 

Men! Always wanting us to be the housewife while they’re out playing the ‘big stud’, she sighed aloud.

 

“I’m looking for that dude! I’m going to fuck him up,” Randy fumed over the stove where sausage was frying.

 

“Baby, you really need to calm down. It wasn’t nothin’ but a thing and it’s over. You know you’re the one I love,” Anna replied, bored.

 

“Yeah… acting like some cheap tramp! I can’t believe you went with that psycho! Did you see what he did? Who the hell brings a Taser to a fistfight? A fucking British coward, that’s who! He knew I was gonna kick his blimey ass back to England!”

 

“Well, it’s over now. Besides, it was only once. Tell you what, you got a freebie coming, alright?”

 

Randy looked at her aghast, “I don’t want freebies, damn it! I want you. I love you, Anna, don’t you get it? I’m not like the others. This is serious.”

 

“I know, Baby. And I’m sorry… it was his eyes. Those dark, hypnotic eyes…. But, like I’ve been saying, it was just that one time. You know I’m yours. Just tell me how I can make it up to you? How’s about a three-way with Sherrie? I know you’ve been checking her out,” Anna said slyly with a grin. “I mean, I ain’t going downtown on her, but we can work something out.”

 

Randy looked askance at Anna and then smiled. It wasn’t like the British dude had showed up again, right? And it was just that one time and she was gonna make it up to him now.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Detective Morris searched the body stuffed in some bushes for a wallet, but came up empty. He sighed out into the afternoon warmth.

 

“Anything,” his partner, Donna Redsoe, asked.

 

“Nah. This looks like a lot of the others, but….”

 

“Yeah,” she nodded as he stood to join her, “They’re not usually sporting a chunk of their neck removed. Poor guy.”

 

“He look familiar to you,” he asked. Sunnydale was relatively small, so it was worth a shot.

 

“Sorry. Guess we better post a picture on the news, put up some flyers. Maybe the M.E. can identify him from dental records.”

 

“Sure,” Morris nodded. “Wish he’d get here and wrap this thing before too many flies come buzzing. I hate flies.”

 

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In Los Angeles, Wesley sat before a sheet of thick Plexiglas separating him from the dark haired Slayer on the other side. In his hand, he gripped a telephone handset tightly.

 

The sun was streaming into the window behind him and the row of his fellow visitors. It shined through the security window and onto the bowed head of dark hair, fingers currently running through it.

 

“I know this is a shock,” he said pointlessly, just to fill the silence.

 

“I knew it. I knew she was in trouble, damn it,” Faith said. She lifted her head to look at her former Watcher and he was surprised at the redness around her eyes. “If I wasn’t stuck in this dump, maybe I coulda helped out.”

 

“You tried, Faith. You told me you warned Mr. Giles. I’m sure that Rupert took as many precautions as he could, but these things happen.”

 

“Happens to Slayers, you mean? I thought having super powers was so cool… well actually, okay, it is really cool. But I forget sometimes that it doesn’t mean we always get to win.”

 

“Buffy was an accomplished young woman and she died for a noble cause. Her loss is terrible, of course, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that she died a hero. We should all be given the dignity of doing so,” Wes said.

 

“Poor, Giles. I can’t even imagine what the Sunnydale crew is going through now. How’s Angel coping,” Faith asked as she brushed at her eyes.

 

“Not well, I’m afraid. He’s run off to spend some time alone. Cordelia is very unhappy with the fact that he didn’t deign to tell us where. I’m not very happy with it, myself.”

 

“I can’t believe they sent Spike to break the news,” Faith said with a little bit of anger. “Couldn’t Willow have come? At least she would have been gentle about it.”

 

“Things have changed a little between them,” he pointed out. “Spike seemed… less spiteful when he arrived. And they managed not to get into a fist fight.”

 

“That’s a miracle, alright. Any chance that was a sign of another apocalypse?”

 

“Well, I did have the same thought,” Wes smiled for the first time since coming to the prison. “But there have been no further signs. I believe, perhaps, the planets were simply aligned just right.”

 

“Are we sure that Spike is still chipped,” Faith suddenly asked. “I mean, the ‘Dale crew are sitting ducks if he’s not chained. Hell, even if he is, I wouldn’t trust him as far as Dawn could throw him.”

 

“I have no doubt that Rupert is keeping a close eye on the situation; especially, with this new news.”

 

“Yeah, I can see Giles flipping over Xander getting involved with Platinum-Head. Didn’t we already do this storyline with Buffy and Angel? I gotta admit, I didn’t see Xan as playing stick. Of course, we only got physical that one time.”

 

“Well, I would like to suggest to Giles he put his foot down and end this before it gets too complicated,” Wes said. “But it’s best if we leave them to deal with things internally while we take care of our own. It’s not like we don’t have enough on our plates with the return of Darla, and Drusilla still out there causing trouble.”

 

“And here I sit, uselessly cooling my heels.”

 

“Are you regretting turning yourself in? Because, I was very impressed with your willingness to begin accepting responsibility for your prior, poor decisions, Faith.”

 

“’Prior poor decisions’… talk about major understatement! But, hey, I made my bed and I’m lying in it. Just frustrating when things are going on that I was meant to fight and I’m not able to get in there and do what I was meant to do,” she blew out a breath of frustration and again raked her fingers through her hair.

 

“How is your class going,” Wes said to change the subject. He had been living with the worry in the back of his mind that Faith may give up and break out. He had little doubt that if she really wanted to be free, she would be. And when he considered the last time they’d met with her outside of bars, he thought his concern understandable.

 

“It’s a constant reminder of why I dropped out,” she replied wryly. “But I know that some people never get a second chance, so I’m sticking with it.”

 

“Well, I should go. I just wanted to tell you in person.”

 

“Thanks, Wes. I know… it’s not that easy being this close to me.”

 

“I believe in you, Faith,” Wesley told her, clearly surprising her. “I think you really are turning yourself around. I have no trouble believing that you’ll continue doing the right thing.”

 

ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Giles stuffed an egg roll into his mouth, and then vaguely waved in Willow’s direction. “Do you think the robot is ready to patrol on its own? I was hoping that one of you could accompany it.”

 

The Buffybot smiled beamingly at her Watcher and mentor. “I can handle it, Guy-iles. I’m a Slayer… we’re very strong.”

 

“Oh, really!”

 

“Sorry, Giles,” Willow said with a tired yawn. “I’ll fix that. And yes, I think she’s good to go. This is just a recon mission, not a battle. And thanks to Warren’s original programming, she’s more than able to take care of the stray vamp already.”

 

“As long as it’s not Spike,” Buffybot grinned. “He’s so delicious.”

 

All eyes turned toward the vampire, who virtually snarled. He also looked slightly sick, “Willow….”

 

“I know, I know,” she sighed. “I’ll add that to my trouble-shooting list.”

 

“Make it a priority.”

 

“Relax, Spike,” Xander told him. “Consider it just desserts. You’re just gonna have to overlook the occasional slip.”

 

“You could act a little more jealous, you know,” Spike glared.

 

“Can we return to the topic at hand,” Giles told the table with discomfort. “Has anyone heard from Anya, today? And when can we expect April to be functional?”

 

“Nice desperate attempt to switch attention from the boyfriends,” Dawn smirked. “You really need to get more comfortable with guys doing it, Giles. It’s the 2000’s, you know?”

 

“Dawn… don’t torture the Watcher,” Tara giggled before turning to Willow. No one caught Giles’ flinch at being referred to as a Watcher still. “I’ve loaded up some holy water bottles that the robot can carry tonight on patrol. Do you think she’ll bother using them?”

 

Tara turned toward the robot before Willow could respond, “Do you understand that holy water can work against vampires?”

 

“My programming indicates so, but it is illogical.”

 

“Well, just toss them on them anyway, okay,” Tara sighed. “We kind of need you to not get too damaged for awhile.”

 

“And remember,” Xander added, “You’re not engaging Adam. Just follow him from a discreet distance if you see him and remember where he goes. Unless, you know, he’s going to hurt someone,” he added looking at the rest for conformation. “I mean, we can’t let him go on a rampage.”

 

“Right, then,” Giles said. “I believe it’s ready for its first official patrol.”

 

“Creatures of the night,” Buffybot nodded enthusiastically, “Except for Spike, beware!”

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

End Chapter 08

 

space2

ch 9

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 9 – Serious Discussions

 

Spike and Xander walked down the dark and quiet streets toward the apartment. Xan could have drove, but they were performing a sort-of patrol and the night was very pleasant. Since he lived within a forty minute walk from Dawn’s home, they’d decided that Spike would leave the Summers’ before sunrise and drive the car back in time for Xander to get to work.

 

They were now walking along the low-slung rock wall of Heavenly Fields cemetery. They needed to walk one block up and two blocks over to reach Xan’s apartment building. Spike came to a stop suddenly and pulled him down to sit on a bench abutting the wall. The bench sat at one of the stops for Sunnydale’s very small city bus routes. Coincidentally, many of the stops on its route tended to be at cemeteries. Equally coincidentally, they stopped running to this end of town at dusk.

 

“Let’s talk,” Spike said, entwining his fingers around Xan’s.

 

“Sure. You want to know about that morning?”

 

“What’s happened to you, Luv? The scent, the violence… all of it.”

 

Xander sighed as he felt Hyena tense. He was wondering if he was going to be able to voice what Spike wanted to know, but though very clearly worried, she seemed to accept that this was unavoidable now.

 

“You remember Toth?”

 

“How could I forget,” Spike smirked. “The triplets running around like a poor comedy.”

 

“Yeah, well, when Willow did the re-combine spell? It didn’t quite work the way we thought.”

 

Spike’s eyebrow shot up at this news, “What do you mean?”

 

“I mean we may have joined physically, but their personalities have been hanging around. Not just voices in my head, but them. They’ve been… separate from me,” Xan shrugged, fighting to explain what exactly he’d been living with.

 

“Like split-personality?!”

 

“Not exactly,” Xander admitted. “If I remember right, usually personalities don’t know about each other. But I’m able to talk to Soldier-guy and Hyena-girl like they’re different people… just not with their own bodies.”

 

“Why the fuck didn’t you say something,” Spike was showing effort in trying not to yell.

 

“They wouldn’t let me before,” Xan snapped back. “You think I would have been acting like Sybil’s brother if I could have told Will and Giles?”

 

“Xander… wait, you said they wouldn’t let you before?”

 

“Yeah… well, it seems that Hyena blew the secret when she flipped out. Which by the way shouldn’t have happened,” Xander stared down at the concrete sidewalk.

 

Hyena-Xander subtly shifted forward, blocking out Xander for seconds, “Not that I’m not grateful to her for fighting,” she insisted before Xander was once again in charge. It had been such a quick moment he didn’t even realize that he’d been subsumed again briefly.

 

“This is… disturbing, Xan. But now that we know, maybe we should talk to Giles and Willow about an exorcism or whatever.”

 

“But we’re alright the way we are,” Xander’s voice said, his downcast eyes briefly shining.

 

Spike put his arm around Xander’s shoulders and sighed, “No wonder your scent has been doing the funky tango.”

 

“We had accommodated each other, but now something weird has happened with Commando-guy,” Xander said briefly making eye contact with Spike. When he’d looked down at the sidewalk again, he added, “He’s faded out or something.”

 

“Commando-guy? You’re not hearing the soldier-voice anymore?”

 

Xander gave Spike a confused look, How’d he guess that?

 

“Uh, no, as a matter of fact. I think that’s why Hyena was able to take over during the fight. I mean I saw you getting beaten by the crazy people and I was out numbered and didn’t have a decent weapon,” Xander leaned into Spike. “I sort of loosened her reigns a bit. She somehow took control.”

 

“Must have been adrenaline, I’m sure it can’t happen normally,” Hyena added in Xander’s voice.

 

“But you’re okay, now? I mean, she isn’t endangering you,” Spike asked, his voice full of concern that made both Xanders feel warm.

 

“We’re trying to accommodate each other. But I’m worried about this no show from Commando, Spike. We were kinda just becoming a ‘unity’ deal. I don’t know how his sudden ‘absence’ if that is what’s happened, affects us.”

 

“We need to bring this up to the witch and the Watcher.”

 

“Yeah,” Xander said. “I’m not sure how Hyena will react if they try to banish her, though. I don’t entirely trust her.”

 

“Yet. But I think we can work with each other,” he added suddenly.

 

“We’ll talk to the red head and see where we are,” Spike decided. “Now let’s get you inside. I want to patrol, see if I can’t find this robo-dork.”

 

“Don’t take him on by yourself, Spike,” Xander insisted. “Buffy had a hard time with him. Plus, you’re part of a unit now. We don’t put ourselves in danger for kicks. You got me?”

 

“I got you, Love,” Spike smirked, before laying a kiss on Xander that left him breathless.

 

When they started for the apartment again, Xander couldn’t resist taunting his alter-personality. Willow and Giles are going to free me from you, you bitch.

 

Hyena’s only reply to Xander was to growl in frustration. But in the portion of his mind that was no longer accessible to him, she thought back, I wouldn’t bet on that Xander. If it comes down to it, I’ll take you with me.

 

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At the Summers’ house, Tara was in the basement. Dawn was working on her Social Studies assignment in the living room, while Willow was upstairs soaking in a hot tub. Tara was using the quiet time to run a load of laundry. It was amazing how fast the three of them went through clothes.

 

As the washer started its first cycle, she went to separating out another pile of dirty clothes. Against a wall stood the makeshift table that they’d laid Buffy’s body on and Tara felt a pang of grief looking at it. It was now the home of Willow’s laptop and various strips of wiring and a soldering iron. Nearby, April sat propped up against the cement wall. Her abdomen was uncovered and the synthetic skin torn away from her innards. It gave Tara the creeps, but it was also sort of fascinating to see what went on inside the robots.

 

Tara dropped the bed sheets she had been sifting through and walked over to April. Stooping, she looked closely at the internal make up of the phony girl and felt a mixture of awe and admiration that Willow was able to make any sense of the spaghetti she saw.

 

With a smile, she stood and then casually opened Willow’s laptop. The smile on her face froze for an instant before turning into a confused frown. As she read through the web page displayed and began opening the half-dozen additional web browser windows an icy breeze seemed to flow through her insides. The blood drained from her face as she found herself reading a supplication to Osiris to return the dead.

 

She couldn’t, Tara shook her head. It was impossible. Except for zombies and ghosts, and poltergeists, and wraiths… well, except for evil things it was impossible to bring the dead back to life. It just couldn’t be done. They’d already had this discussion after Joyce had passed. She wouldn’t….

 

Tara took off at a run for the basement steps. She had to get to Willow and stop this right now before she did something that none of them could live with!

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Giles pulled his sports car into his parking space at his apartment. He sat for a moment and listened to the ticking of the engine and the soft sounds of Bach from the radio. A smile played about his mouth; it had felt good to feel the old rush of a meeting. Seeing the children banding together to investigate the next supernatural threat.

 

He stopped smiling when he thought, again, of Buffy.

 

You should be here, he winced. With resolve, he shook the shadow of grief away. They all needed to move on and they would be alright without her. They would have to be. This constant focus on his pain was self-indulgent and he would cease such selfishness immediately.

 

He stepped out of his car and started for his walkway to the door, when he felt himself tackled to the ground. He felt a man’s weight pinning him to the ground, a growling from behind him.

 

Struggling, he was just able to turn enough to see a vampire and thought: Well, that was brilliant. Good show, Giles!

 

As he began to struggle with the superior strength of the demon atop him, the thing hissed at him annoyed, “Quit fighting me! I’m hungry!”

 

“Oh, yes… of course,” he replied facetiously. “How rude of me not to acquiesce!”

 

Giles desperately rolled around on the ground, partially getting the beast off of him. He could tell by the thing’s lack of strength that it was a fledgling. One of the many newly minted creatures that they’d destroyed weekly. With some more struggling he was able to get to the crucifix in his front shirt pocket.

 

As the thing helpfully rolled him over in order to straddle him, he stuck the cross out toward its face. The demon hissed and jumped from his prone body, backing away with a mixture of fear and rage.

 

He sat up, angry at himself for leaving his stake in the car.

 

Your Slayer dies and you turn into a senile, old man, he berated himself.

 

As the thing turned and took off, Giles blacked out for a moment.

 

Ripper eyed the creature as it made to dash away and find some other innocent blood to spill. With a feeling of loathing, he pointed an index finger at the vampire’s retreating back. With a cry in Turkish, he sent a small fireball crashing into the beast’s back. Instantly fire engulfed the thing and with a screech it faded into dust.

 

Giles came back to himself, dizzy and looked around in a panic for the monster. Fortunately, his lack of cognizance had gone unnoticed by the vampire. But unfortunately, that still left a blood drinker out there to terrorize someone else. He ran to his apartment and dialed Xander’s phone in hopes that perhaps Spike could try to locate and dispatch the thing.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

After checking on Dawn’s homework progress and making sure she wasn’t watching television, Tara made her way upstairs to Joyce’s bathroom. With a gentle knock, she opened the door to find Willow snoring softly in the tub of water.

 

She bit her lip, not wanting to wake her when she hadn’t been sleeping since the night Buffy had died. On the other hand, what she was researching was serious business. She sighed once with indecision, but then backed out of the bathroom. She knew she had to confront her about this resurrection garbage, but it could wait until later.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

End Chapter 9

 

space2

ch 10

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 10 – Getting Back to Things

 

Several days later and the gang were still trying to accommodate Buffy’s absence. It had been twelve days since Buffy’s burial.

 

Will we ever reach the day when I don’t measure time like that anymore, Spike thought to himself. He was lying in Xander’s bed in the small room with no windows. Xander was at work and Dawn was at school, both of them outside of his protection and he didn’t like it.

 

Especially, since there was a new vampire in town that had him feeling uneasy. Whoever it was, they were trying to lay pretty low, but Giles had mentioned there’d been a few bodies found. They’d had their throats ripped open, all of them male. It was an unusually violent show, not to mention the waste of blood that such gaping wounds would cause. The gang had already tried to find any sort of demons who practiced such an M.O. but when Spike and Willow had broken into the funeral home to check on one of the bodies, it all screamed ‘vampire’ to him.

 

In addition to this new vampire, the search for Adam wasn’t going so well. The ruins of the ‘Magic Box’ had been disturbed as if someone had been looking for something. And another hit was performed at the local museum with the same M.O. as the others that Adam was involved in. The security system was disabled, the crooks broke into a secured door and they’d been interested in very specific items… in this case a large diamond on a public tour.

 

It was baffling what they’d want with it. Unless he or she was just a collector; the diamond was too well known to just pawn. And it didn’t seem to fit with the other robberies which seemed to be more focused on specific items only useful to a mage with the money being taken almost as an afterthought. Spike couldn’t come up with any rituals that would require a large diamond, though of course, that wasn’t really his area. He had to hope that Tara and Willow came up with a lead.

 

Finally, there was the disturbing aggression he’d been feeling lately toward Xander. They’d progressed from yanking each other’s pull toys to some oral play, but Spike was beginning to feel his demon rising when things began to get too heated between them. He wanted to yank Xan over and bugger him ‘til he screamed. Thankfully, he was confident in the chip stopping him from hurting his human lover, but the fact he was feeling so edgy could end up dangerous. This morning in the shower, he’d also been transfixed by Dracula’s bite mark. He wanted to obliterate it with his own bite, leaving his ownership over Xan clear and unambiguous. Again… dangerous; natural for a vampire-human consort relationship, but not what they were supposed to be about. He hadn’t brought up these things, however; he didn’t need Xander afraid of him.

 

He sighed, rolling over onto his stomach and bunching at his pillows, struggling to get comfortable. He wanted to be awake and refreshed when Dawn came over after school and he wasn’t going to be if he didn’t enter the coma-like sleep very soon.

 

But his mind seemed to keep returning to those young men with the torn throats. It was bothering him in a vague way he couldn’t quite put his mental finger on. Something about it seemed distantly familiar.

 

Well, it would come to him. Right now, he was more worried about Xander Harris. Not just his own impulses, but what he’d found out a few nights ago. He was determined to bring it up at the next meeting set for Friday. Xander kept saying that he didn’t want to make a big deal of it, which was weird because Spike would have thought he’d be more upset by this alternate ‘animal-spirit’ personality than he seemed to be. Of course, he’d had months to get used to it when he was being kept silent. Still, they needed to at least investigate what exactly had gone awry with the re-uniting spell and what, if anything, they should do about it now.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Ripper sat on the bed stroking, almost sexually, the large tome in his hands. With a reluctant sigh, he replaced it into its invisible chest and re-enabled its protective magicks. The pick-me-up was just what he needed, but he still had trouble absorbing more than just a small bit of the potential power with the Book of Midnight. The mage who’d created it must have been a prodigy in wizardry. It was almost heartbreaking that he couldn’t use the entire potential locked within its bleak pages. With a last glance at the bottom of the closet, he limped down the stairs from his bedroom.

 

Moments later, Giles perused the morning newspaper, keeping one eye on the mid-morning Sunnydale newsbreak on the television. He and the others had begun to establish a routine. He gathered odd occurrences, as he had for Buffy, and then planned out a patrol for the Buffy and April robots (whom he refused to refer to as Faith, despite Willow’s sense of whimsy). When they returned at dawn, they would give a full report to Tara and Willow before the ladies headed off to their college courses. Tara then typed up a report for him, highlighting anything unusual that they’d found or fought.

 

In the meantime, Spike had also begun to patrol more. So between the three of them, the rampaging demon community was being thinned out nicely, while the more peaceable were keeping low profiles.

 

Now, all they had to do was find this rather vicious vampire that seemed to be making the rounds of Sunnydale. So far, they had four bodies, all of which were younger men. They’d each had bite marks that hadn’t stopped at feeding, but had literally torn the flesh from the body. It was a rather brutal and wasteful way of going about getting blood, but nevertheless, if Spike stated it was definitely a vampire, then Giles could accept that.

 

The other priority was these odd robberies by Adam, or whoever had control over it. Buffy had stated that the last time she fought with the brute that he’d been more robotic than usual. With the sketchy eyewitness accounts passed onto him by Rick, it didn’t appear that Adam was much more than an electronic zombie at this point. Still dangerous, of course; there was no need to underestimate its strength, but obviously there were other brains behind these operations.

 

At least Willow had been able to bring the robots online. Despite her lack of expertise in programming, they hadn’t needed Warren Meers, after all. Which was fortunate considering that he’d dropped off the face of the Earth. Giles had already begun to wonder if perhaps Warren’s disappearance and Adam’s reappearance weren’t connected in some way. After all, he’d been responsible for the creation of both Buffybot and April… if anyone could utilize the deactivated Adam, it was certainly him. That led to the question, how was it that Adam wasn’t still deactivated? Riley had seen the body carried away by the Initiative scientists that had been changed into vampires, but Buffy was able to defeat them. And vampires didn’t seem to have much use for the spell ingredients and money that had been stolen. They certainly wouldn’t care much for the huge diamond that had just been taken in the latest robbery of the Sunnydale Museum.

 

After everything that had been lost from it over the past few years, you’d think that no one would allow their precious things to be shown here. Giles grimly smiled to himself at the thought when the phone rang. The grim smile turned to a grim frown when the user ID showed it was an international call.

 

“Hello, Rupert Giles speaking,” he said with no enthusiasm upon answering.

 

“Hello, Mr. Giles! This is Ian Bladesworth with the Council.”

 

“Yes, Mr. Bladesworth, what can I do for you?” Ian was a sort of executive secretary and surrogate, all around pain-in-the-arse for Quentin Travers.

 

“I’m just giving you a ring to let you know that Mr. Travers is on his way to the United States as we speak, sir. He requests that you have, uh, one Buffy Summers, Slayer ready to present an in-person report on the Glory matter, sir.”

 

Ian gave him a small chuckle of amusement; “Buffy? Really?”

 

“When is Quentin due to arrive in Sunnydale,” Giles said while struggling to keep the worry out of his voice. From his time at the Council, Giles knew that Ian was nearly empathic when it came to other people.

 

“He wants to investigate this outfit involving Buffy’s former-beau,” Ian stated with obvious distaste and derision. Angel had no fans back at the Council and many also held Giles personally responsible for the entire Acathla affair for ‘allowing’ the Slayer’s involvement with him. To be fair, the vast majority of them had never met Buffy. ‘Allowing’ wasn’t really a factor when it had come to her.

 

“He isn’t going there with another Black Operations group is he? Wes is there now and by all accounts they are doing good work.”

 

“As far as I know, there’s to be no direct contact between the Council and, uh, ‘Angel Investigations’… how original,” he stated drolly. “However, I’m sure I need not tell you that Wesley Wyndham-Pryce’s word holds little currency here. I would not take anything he says at face value, Mr. Giles.”

 

Mr. Giles wanted to tell the wanker to piss off, but held his tongue. The important thing was that the Council wasn’t planning another operation. Or at least, he hoped not. Obviously, he would call Cordelia immediately to warn her, however.

 

“Y-yes, well, back to the main point. Quentin’s arrival,” Giles questioned. His mind was already filling with dread. Of course, they all knew this was a distinct possibility and had been preparing for it. He could only hope that Buffybot was truly ready to pretend to be her namesake.

 

“Oh, I should imagine Friday morning, sir. I have so much to do, so must ring off, but give my personal congratulations to Buffy for her latest victory, Old Man. Ta-ta!”

 

Giles hung up the phone with a grim look. I’m sure Buffy would care about the ‘personal congratulations’ of a Council toady, he thought a little sourly. And the ‘old man’ comment was entirely unnecessary!

 

With a sigh, he picked up the phone and dialed Xander.

 

“Hello, Xander. This is Giles. I know we agreed to a, ah, ‘Scooby’ meeting this Friday, but I’m afraid we’ll need to meet this evening.”

 

“Have you found a lead on our robo-thief or the new vamp?”

 

“No, I’m afraid its different bad news,” Giles sighed. “Travers is on his way here.”

 

“Shit.”

 

“I expressed similar sentiments. Regardless of our feelings, however, we need to re-check the Buffybot’s socialization programming. Not to mention the fact that she cannot use her more robotic behaviors while interacting with the Council contingent. In the plus column, he won’t be here ‘til Friday. That gives us a few days to work out any behavioral kinks.”

 

“Okay, no problem Giles. I’m stuck here until about 7 tonight, but I’ll head directly to Buffy’s from here. I’m going to arrange with Dawn to stay the night at the apartment with Spike so she doesn’t have to deal with the fussbudgets, though. Do you think we can keep her out of it,” Xander asked. “They tend to upset her and with them talking about Buffy and stuff….”

 

“I completely agree,” Giles stated. “I must go now. He’s dropping in and spying on Los Angeles. I want to give Cordelia some warning that they’re in the neighborhood, so to speak.”

 

“You don’t think they’re going to cause trouble, do you? Not that I care overly much what kind of headache Deadboy gets, but, well, they are on our side. Kind of.”

 

“According to my source of information, this is strictly surveillance. And Quentin is far more interested in speaking to ‘Buffy’ about how she defeated a god.”

 

“Okay, Giles. I’ll see you tonight.”

 

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Tara sat in the cafeteria over her lunch but found she had little appetite. She hated confronting Willow in regards to magic use. She hated arguing, period. But she’d sat for the last couple of days in silence, knowing what she was researching and she couldn’t just ignore it. She had to bite the bullet and find out what Will thought she was doing.

 

This afternoon when they got home, Dawn would be at Spike and Xander’s. She was determined to have this out without involving the rest of the family. She’d find a way to make Willow see reason and to give up on any crazy notions of bringing Buffy back.

 

She picked up her plate of food, mostly uneaten and dropped it into the trash.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Willow sat in her dorm room reading over print outs. She’d skipped her classes for today so that she could focus on what was important; rescuing Buffy.

 

She’d had more dreams overnight of the Slayer calling to her for help. Buffy had been tied between two posts and some goblin-type demons were whipping her naked back with thorny branches. Her back was raw and bloody and she was crying for Willow to get her out of there.

 

She had woken up with a start at five this morning and she’d been glued to her laptop ever since. Now she read over her screen prints and cross referenced with some of Tara’s books that hadn’t been moved to Joyce’s yet. They still had the room until the end of the semester so they hadn’t been in a rush to pack the non-essentials, thankfully.

 

She could get a lot more work done if she didn’t have to worry about Tara coming across what she was doing; at least, not until she had decided on their most likely course of action for success.

 

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Much later in the day, Dawn had walked to Xander’s apartment. She was biting at her lip and trying to work up her nerve. It wasn’t really her fault; not with everything that had been happening in the last few months, but still…. She didn’t know how they were going to get her out of trouble.

 

The last thing she needed was this hanging over her!

 

Using the key that Xander had made for her, she let herself inside and let out a breath of relief to see no one moving about. Spike was still sleeping.

 

Or so she thought. She let out a yell of surprise as he suddenly came out of the bathroom wearing a robe.

 

“Geez, Dawn! Give a bloke a heart attack why don’t you,” he said grumpily. “Or… at least if my heart was actually working, anyway.”

 

“Sorry, Spike. But, you scared the crap out of me! I thought you were still sleeping. It’s only, like, ten to four.”

 

“I wanted to be up when you got here. You hungry? Want a snack?”

 

“N-no, uh, I’m good. Kind of.”

 

“Dawn?”

 

“I’m kind of in trouble, Spike,” she sighed. Coming the rest of the way into the apartment, she took off her jacket and shoes. He watched her without comment until she’d gotten herself sat down at the dining room table and pulled a sheet of paper from her backpack.

 

“You better read this,” she said, not meeting his eyes.

 

Spike took the sheet from her with a frown of puzzlement. As he read the bureaucratic jargon, he glanced at his Nibblet chewing at her bottom lip.

 

“Don’t chew your lip. You’ll bleed,” he said. “So, according to this, you’ve been a very bad girl.”

 

“No! I mean, not really, just, you know….”

 

“Quote- we have been very disturbed by Dawn’s lack of interest in her schoolwork while in school and her penchant for skipping in the afternoons- unquote. That isn’t bad,” Spike asked her skeptically while doing that eyebrow thing.

 

“I-it’s not like they make it sound. Okay, I might have taken off early… a few times! But not, like, in a whole week! That should count for something, right,” she winced a bit. She also didn’t mention that the only reason she didn’t skip classes in the morning was because she was too tired from the sleeping pills still to bother.

 

“I’ll let you know after I get somebody without a chip in their head to tan your hide.”

 

“Spike, I’m fifteen! I’m a little old for spankings,” she sulked. “And besides, most of what they’re complaining about is from right after mom died. I mean, things were really bad then. I just… needed to not be there.”

 

“Damn it, Dawn. You think I give a shit about whether you go to school or not? It’s a factory for mindless automatons. I can teach you a hell of a lot more than you’re ever gonna pick up listening to some droning clod.”

 

“Cool. Think you could say that stuff to Xander and Tara?”

 

“And get my ass tanned? Yeah, right. No way, kid, you’ve broken the ‘rules’, you’re gonna have to face the music.”

 

“I know. But… I mean with everything….”

 

“I know, Bit. And the others know how tough things have been. But, there’s no way that the school’s gonna let this go without a meeting with Buffy, according to this letter. This is really not good.”

 

“I know. I didn’t think, alright. I should have stayed in classes and tried harder, at least until I turn sixteen and can drop out.”

 

“We’ll discuss that later. Right now, we need to make sure that the Buffy robot can pass as big sis long enough to get you out of hot water. It says here that they may need to recommend ‘home visits’ by a professional. What the hell does that mean?”

 

“I think it means they may want Social Services to drop in on us, Spike. To make sure that Buffy is taking care of me. Maybe Willow can just do a spell? Make them go away?”

 

“I’m not a general fan of magic, Bit. Let me talk to Xan; we’ll see if there’s something we can do to head them off before we resort to the ‘ooga-boogas’, okay?”

 

“Spike? I’m really sorry,” Dawn said, looking a little afraid and very contrite.

 

“We’ll work it out. That’s what the Scoobies do. But for the rest of the year, you need to bust ass, you got that? Now, let’s get a look at the homework for tonight.”

 

“T-they won’t take me, will they? I mean, if the robot blows it? They won’t send me away somewhere? Foster care, or to Portugal or wherever my dad and his tramp are?”

 

“Over my ash-ed body.”

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

End Chapter 10

 

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11

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 11 – Getting Back to Scooby-ing

 

When seven-thirty rolled around that evening, Xander finally walked into Buffy’s home. A quick hug from Willow and he joined the group, with the exception of Dawn and Spike, seated around the dining table.

 

“So, anything change since I left work,” Xander asked.

 

“No, no further news,” Giles stated. “However, I’m very worried about Quentin’s arrival.”

 

“Well, I’ve spent the last few hours reviewing the ‘do not speak about’ security folder of Buffybot. I think we’ll be okay,” Willow said, chewing at her bottom lip. “I’m more afraid of her behavior routines. I’m not sure I can completely compensate for some of her robotic tics… especially that cocking her head thing with the time delay when she’s considering a response.”

 

Currently, the Buffy robot was sitting on the living room floor powered down. On the coffee table sat Willow’s laptop, still connected to the machine-girl’s abdomen.

 

“W-we should make sure that Faithbot is nowhere nearby when he arrives as well,” Tara added. “Xander, maybe you should take her home tonight and keep her at the apartment until after he leaves?”

 

“Swell; where is she,” he replied with no enthusiasm.

 

“She’s doing a short patrol,” Tara told him. “But I’ll have her go to your place when she gets back… or tomorrow if it’s late.”

 

“How long do these things usually take, Giles,” Xander asked while nodding to acknowledge Tara’s plan.

 

“A day; perhaps two. I’m afraid it will depend on how much other business Quentin has on his plate. The good news is that his secretary called me. That indicates that he’s been too busy to call himself.”

 

“How are you, by the way, Mr. Giles,” Tara asked. “The ankle?”

 

“Oh! I’m fine, thank you. I get the cast off tomorrow, as a matter of fact. And you? No further discomfort from the hand?”

 

Tara had gotten her cast off that very day.

 

“It still aches some, but they say it’s healed. It’s nice to be able to scratch an itch on my hand again. And, Spike,” she added to Xander.

 

“Oh, he’s fully recovered. Vampire healing? We should all have that.”

 

“I think Dawn is doing better, too,” Tara said. “I mean, her finger has healed pretty straight but more importantly she seems to be recovering from Buffy’s loss. I think we all are,” this last statement she added while staring intently at Willow.

 

“Y-yes, well,” Giles interrupted to get things back on track. “It may be necessary for each of you to answer questions as well. I’ve b-brought this along….”

 

He pulled out a few stapled packets of paper, handing one to each of them. “This is the final report that I sent to the Watcher’s Council. I’ll need you to review it. If you should be asked any questions, you’ll need to be ready to stick to this timeline of events. Remember, there are things that each of you probably wouldn’t have been in a position to see. Just be conscious of that and don’t be afraid to answer with ‘I’m not sure’ or ‘I don’t remember seeing that’. I’m afraid Quentin will be looking for every minute detail and its important we don’t trip up trying to give him the answer he’s looking for,” he wiped his brow.

 

“Relax, Giles. We’ve dealt with him before, we’ll do it this time, too,” Xander replied.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Faithbot patrolled the back alleys of Sunnydale and listened to the crowds wandering down Main Street from the theatre and the restaurants. April’s small form and dark clothing allowed her to blend into the dark shadows around her while her ocular scanners scoured the area looking for the smallest signs of movement. So far, there’d been no vampires or other non-human, aggressive lifeforms for her to dispatch, however.

 

With the human equivalent of a ‘start’ she stopped and cocked her head. Fine tuning her aural detectors she picked up the faintest of creeks and began heading for the source, fifteen meters away and around a corner of the alleyway.

 

Carefully peaking around the corner, she saw a large, lumbering figure which her onboard database identified as ‘Target: Adam’. Opening a subfolder she reviewed her response choices: a) Follow, b) Engage, c) Report back to Willow, d) Attempt to over-ride control centers.

 

Faithbot immediately rejected option D. Willow had yet to purchase and install the remote transmitter which would have allowed the attempt. She knew she had an inbuilt access cable which she could use to connect to Adam’s receiving port but she had already calculated the chances of Adam allowing her such a connection as less than one percent. Option B was also discounted due to her direct instructions. Unless Adam was actively threatening a human being, she wasn’t to engage. Right now, he was standing in a darkened alley in which no one but her was present. Moving to option A and C, she chose Option A. She would follow Adam and ascertain where he goes and only then report this back to Willow.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

The Scooby meeting broke up at ten with Xander letting Tara and Willow know that he’d get Dawn to school in the morning. In addition, Faithbot/April would be sent over if she arrived back before eleven-thirty otherwise, they’d wait until tomorrow.

 

When he’d reached the apartment he found it quiet. Peeking into Anya’s room, he saw Dawn curled in a ball, snoring softly. A quick glance at the multi-paned window behind the sofa told him that Spike was sitting on the terrace smoking. He went to the refrigerator and grabbed a beer, then joined him.

 

“Hey, Baby,” he said softly, leaning over to kiss Spike’s waiting lips.

 

“How was the big meetin’?”

 

“Boring, mostly. Giles is having a small panic attack over Quentin dropping in on Friday, but we’ll be okay.” He sighed gratefully as he slid into one of the deck chairs. “I’m afraid, though, we’re stuck hosting the April robot until after he leaves.”

 

“It follow you in,” Spike asked with a glance back into the living room.

 

“She’s patrolling. Tara will send her this way when she gets back or tomorrow if she’s late. I have a packet for you to look over from Giles.”

 

Spike gave him a look, “We have homework, now?”

 

“I know,” he chuckled. “But it’s basically the story that Giles gave the Council about… uh, what happened that night. We just need to know the basics of it, so we don’t trip up and make him suspicious.”

 

“I’ll read through it tomorrow, then. In the meantime, we have another fire to put out.”

 

“Ugh. Now, what,” Xander groaned.

 

“Bit has gotten herself in a bind at school. Read this,” he said pushing a folded sheet of paper that Xander hadn’t noted across the patio table.

 

Once he’d read it and put it back down, he rubbed his eyes. “Swell. Have you thought of a way out of a Buffybot-Parent/Teacher meeting?”

 

“Dawn thinks we should just throw a spell.”

 

“You sound less than enamored with the suggestion,” Xander pointed out.

 

“Magic is unpredictable. There’s a reason we didn’t go much into rituals when I was playing on the bad team. Besides, simpler is always better.”

 

“So? You think we can risk the ‘Bot talking to them?”

 

“Not by itself. But we send Rupes to deal with this with her… I think it’ll work out alright.”

 

“I was thinking that I’d go talk to them,” Xander said.

 

“Better Rupert, Xan.”

 

“Why,” he questioned. For some reason he felt just a little insulted. He was practically taking care of Dawn, anyway… well, with help from Willow and Tara.

 

“Simple… Rupert is used to dealing with the brain dead bureaucracy. He knows how to talk to ‘em on their own terms. Send him in and by the time the meeting is over, Dawn more than likely will be nominated ‘student of the year’.”

 

“I guess that makes sense. I’ll have to call him tomorrow and we’ll have Buffybot arrange a meeting for next week. That way the Council will be out of our way and Giles won’t be distracted,” Xander reasoned.

 

“Sounds like a plan,” Spike agreed. “I’m not letting them take her, Xan. I don’t care who I have to hurt.”

 

“Let’s relax a bit. It’s just a meeting and Giles will be able to smooth their feathers.”

 

“I don’t know,” Spike said worriedly. “There’s a strong hint in there of Social Services. If there’s anything I know after over a century of existence, it’s that government involvement in anything is never a cause to celebrate.”

 

“We’ll deal. I’m not worried. If Giles can keep a lid on the Council’s interference, then he can take care of a school principal. Especially one as overworked as Ms. Portlynn. She’s not only dealing with the junior high age group, but the high schoolers like Dawn and even older students, at least until the new High School gets funded and built. I’m sure she just wants this to go away as badly as the rest of us,” Xander tried to assure him.

 

“I hope you’re right, Xan. I really do.”

 

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Once everyone had left, Tara pulled Willow down onto the couch and gave her a lingering kiss. Willow had just begun to think that they were going to fool around a little, when Tara stroked her hair and got a serious look on her face.

 

“What,” she asked the blonde.

 

“Will… I saw what was on the laptop when you were in the basement a few days ago.”

 

There were several moments of utter silence. The only sound was the breeze outside and the ticking of a clock from the mantle in the dining room.

 

“The programming,” Willow asked innocently.

 

“No, and you know that’s not what I’m talking about,” Tara sighed while frowning. “We need to talk about this, Will. I thought we’d gotten past this sort of thinking.”

 

Willow stood up suddenly and started to pace the living room floor while Tara waited for her to say something.

 

“That was different,” Willow finally said.

 

“Will, we can’t bring Buffy back.”

 

“Yes, we can,” Willow turned and faced Tara.

 

Tara’s breath caught in her throat at the intensity of Willow’s glare. She looked like a zealot about to preach and Tara grew even more worried than she’d started out.

 

“Will…?”

 

“She came to me, Tara. She came to me and she needs us,” Willow exclaimed, tears forming in her eyes.

 

“I-I don’t understand.”

 

“Buffy has been coming to me in my dreams; she’s crying for help. A-and I’m not just gonna leave her….” Willow’s tears began falling and Tara caught the hitch in her breath. Wiping angrily at them, Willow told her, “She’s in trouble, Tara!”

 

Tara swallowed over the lump in her throat, trying to understand what was happening here. She tried a little bit of logic, “Will, Buffy is dead. She’s not in trouble; she’s, uh, you know… dead.”

 

“She’s in Hell, Tara. I know it! I saw it!”

 

“Baby!? No… that doesn’t make sense. She couldn’t be… where did you get an idea like that? Is that why you never sleep? God, Willow, why didn’t you tell me you were having nightmares like this?!”

 

“You don’t get it! They weren’t nightmares! It’s Buffy… she’s screaming for help,” Willow collapsed onto the floor. Burying her head in Tara’s lap she released her fear and horror at her best friend’s fate that she had been holding in for weeks.

 

Tara stroked her head and listened to her nearly frantic cries, unable to figure out how to fix things for her. Obviously, she had gotten it into her head that Buffy was suffering but that couldn’t be so. Buffy died a hero… she’d have to go to Heaven, wouldn’t she? She thought about her last moments and the portal that was shimmering and spinning in the air above them all came to her so clearly that it stole her breath.

 

The portal? Glory was going to use that portal to go to her Hell. Buffy jumped into it, but… but her body landed on the ground. She didn’t go anywhere… she thought with desperation. No, she couldn’t have… it was a physical gateway; her soul wouldn’t have been displaced?!

 

Tara,” Willow glanced up and met her eyes. “I know it was Buffy. She died in Glory’s portal and she… they’re making her pay. Please help me!”

 

“Oh, Goddess,” Tara whispered, horrified.

 

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

End Chapter 11

 

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Ch 12 post

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 12 – Night Moves

 

Faithbot recorded Adam as he snapped the lock off of the comic book store and entered. Her audio sensors recorded no human signs of alarm and she experienced something akin to disappointment. She wanted to engage her battle programming, as a Slayer should.

 

When he left the comic shop carrying assorted plastic figures in their see-through boxes, she puzzled over the tactical purpose for them. Slowly she followed, always keeping exactly twenty-two feet behind to avoid the large humanoid from detecting her presence.

 

It was one hour and forty-five minutes later when she arrived outside the confines of a rusted out ore processing plant that appeared to have been abandoned for years, if not decades. Waiting until Adam was well inside, Faithbot scanned the interior with her audible sensing equipment and detected three human voices, all male and all sounding young. She tensed for action, but instead of hearing sounds of fright it seemed that the young men were excited to have Adam in their midst. A moment later she identified a voice that rung her deep internal programming that Willow hadn’t been able to completely erase: she recognized Warren.

 

As if a remote control switch had been thrown, Faithbot found herself violating the twenty-two feet rule and marched into the facility. Her visual sensors found dim lighting at the far end of a large room filled with abandoned and rusted equipment and conveyor infrastructure.

 

“Intruder alert,” Adam said suddenly, interrupting the boy’s excited exclamations over the mint condition Star Wars action figures he’d delivered. His voice was flat… mechanical and without any interest.

 

All three humans spun toward the entrance of their secret headquarters (nicknamed ‘The Cantina’ by Andrew) and found themselves confronted with a short girl with long, brown hair and large, dark eyes. She was dressed in dark green khakis and black boots. She also wore a dark leather jacket over a black shirt.

 

“W-warren,” the girl questioned, sounding unsure and confused.

 

“April?”

 

“April? Who is April,” Andrew asked sounding a bit peeved as he turned his attention to code named: Obi Wan.

 

“My name is Faith,” April responded. “And you are engaged in illegal activity utilizing a supernatural zombie. Prepare for battle.” She assumed a defensive stance, arms raised and ready.

 

“Oh, crap! Faith is the other Slayer,” Jonathon exclaimed. “We’re so going to get our asses kicked!”

 

“Relax guys.” Warren took two steps toward ‘Faith’ and began to speak as if to a little girl. “April… you remember me. It’s Warren. It’s your Warren. Put down your arms and wait to receive further instructions.”

 

April had a confused expression on her face, but didn’t lower her arms. When he took another step in her direction, her expression changed to a glare.

 

“I’m Faith, the Vampire Slayer! Surrender or get a beat down,” she nearly growled.

 

Warren,” Andrew whined questioningly, while Jonathon backed away.

 

“Let’s sic Adam on her,” Jon suggested.

 

“I’ve got this under control,” Warren shot back over his shoulder. To April, he stated, “Faith, I want you to listen now: activate over-ride code W-Cylon-0-1-2-3-Blue.”

 

“Complying,” April stated. Almost immediately her eyes went as blank as any doll’s. Her entire posture seemed to sag and she stood stock still as Warren walked up to her. When he waved his hands in front of her eyes, there was no response.

 

“Wow. What did you do to her,” Jonathon said.

 

“And how do you know this leather-wearing tramp, anyway,” Andrew asked.

 

“It’s not a ‘she’. Well, I mean, it is sort of a ‘she’, but she’s a robot guys. One of my robots, in fact. I just had her go into emergency stand by mode. I wasn’t sure it would work… it’s one of the quirks that never worked out well when I had her finished.”

 

Warren looked at the machine thoughtfully as Andrew and Jonathon joined him. “The real question,” he said, “Is why she’s calling herself Faith, now. The last time I saw her, she was fighting Buffy.”

 

“W-what are we going to do with her,” Jon asked.

 

“We should tear her to scrap before she… I don’t know… wakes up,” Andrew suggested, glaring at the robot.

 

“Short-round, power up my laptop,” Warren ordered. “Obviously there’ve been some alterations… I can guess by Willow.”

 

“What are you thinking,” Andrew asked.

 

“I think we’ve just found ourselves a mole inside the Scooby-gang,” Warren smiled at him.

 

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Vanessa Reston sat in a rough bar surrounded by men with too much hair and a distinct lack of social grace. It was appalling, really, but Sunnydale closed down so early on week nights that she was having trouble finding a more appropriate ‘beau’ for the night.

 

She sipped at her whiskey, straight, and felt an overwhelming sense of boredom with her plan. So far she’d only actually laid eyes on Spike once but she wasn’t able to confront and capture him because he was with some girl. No doubt his victim for the night though what they were doing visiting a morgue left her puzzled. Perhaps, he had already turned someone else?

 

If she didn’t know any better, she might think she had been jealous when she’d noticed the red-head. Of course that was ridiculous. She didn’t have any feelings for Spike; not even sire-sired love was left. She only felt a sense of disgust and a want for revenge, she was determined to believe.

 

So, why am I sitting here nursing another drink instead of grabbing one of these humans and going home? Why do I feel so… blue? Am I actually hurt that he hadn’t even sensed my presence?

 

She thought perhaps she was. Maybe. A little bit. Spike should have immediately felt her nearby as she had detected him before actually espying him. But it was obvious he hadn’t.

 

She sighed and ordered another from the fat, old bartender. When the fifth guy of the night tried to talk her up, she waved him away. This whole night wasn’t turning out the way she had planned it.

 

After downing the drink and throwing a ten on the bar’s counter, she got up and walked out ignoring the glares of the few women and the desire of the men’s stares. It turned out that she didn’t want to take a man home after all. She’d just have to grab something on the way back to the abandoned inn.

 

Her night seemed to turn around when she noted a preppy looking man and woman loading two girls into a mini-van. Looking around to see the street deserted, she suddenly had an inspiration. It was time to step up the pressure on her hated Sire.

 

She had a new plan of action in mind and approached the couple with a huge, hungry smile.

 

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It was around midnight when Giles went to bed, worrying over the coming Friday with Quentin. He tossed and turned for awhile before he finally got comfortable enough to drift off.

 

Once he’d reached a deep sleep, his eyes shot open and he got up. His eyes were strangely dark as he pulled on a new set of clothes and left his apartment.

 

Ripper went searching for a woman for the evening.

 

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At the apartment, Dawn was sleeping in Anya’s room and Spike listened from the bed he shared with Xander. When he was sure that she was deeply asleep, he nodded to Xan with a smile and welcomed him into his arms.

 

Xander’s mouth was hot and needy against his and his large, warm hands were roaming his cool chest. He loved the heat of the contact and pulled at Xander’s shirt to get it off.

 

His scent filled Spike’s nostrils and added to his lust. Pulling the shirt from the human’s torso and throwing it across the tiny room, he darted his head forward under Xan’s arm and pulled in a deep breath. Sifting the scent of deodorant and discarding it, he focused his attention on the musky smell of the real Xan. Flicking out his tongue his licked and sucked at his skin, eliciting a deep moan from the young man that only made his dick harder.

 

Flipping him onto the mattress on his back, he covered him and began a slow and sensual grinding of their groins together as now hot hands grabbed and kneaded his ass through his too tight jeans.

 

“God, Xan… you feel so good! So warm,” Spike whispered into his ear.

 

“Spike…,” Xan panted, but couldn’t complete whatever thought he’d wanted to voice.

 

The vampire licked long strokes up Xander’s neck, sucking gently on the pulse point of the throat and feeling the hot, salty goodness that pumped away under the skin. Without meaning to, he shifted into vamp-face and rubbed the fangs against the tender skin.

 

Xan groaned as he stretched to rub his neck against the vampire’s teeth. At the same time he began to arch his back up and down, increasing the contact between their groins.

 

Rubbing his hands against Spike’s back, he managed to tell him to take their pants off. As he sat up to comply, Xan attacked his nipples with his own teeth.

 

“I love you,” he said against the pale skin.

 

“I know. I love you, Xander,” Spike whispered as he struggled to control himself. He wanted to tear the resistant denim from the man before him, and certainly had the strength. But he had already complained that morning about the third ripped shirt he needed to replace.

 

Again, they lined up their bodies so that each of their cocks was lined with one another. This time silky cool skin came into direct contact with hot and sweat-slicked causing moans of pleasure from both participants. Spike set a rapid rhythm and reveled in the sounds of Xander’s breath near his ear and the comfort he felt with his ridged brow and fangs. It made it easier and therefore more enjoyable that he didn’t need to repress his real face and in a weird way made it less likely he’d lose control.

 

“Spike….” Xander gasped as Spike felt his muscles tense underneath him. “Bite me…!”

 

“What?!” The moving of their bodies against each other came to an abrupt stop as Spike stared down into his partner’s flushed face.

 

“Bite me… sink your fangs in,” he moaned with frustration at the cessation of sensation.

 

“Don’t say that! Don’t ever invite a vampire to do that, Harris!”

 

Xander gazed up at the vampire and Spike tensed uncertainly. The human’s scent had just undergone a dramatic shift and left him confused of what was happening. Gone was the scent of dark chocolate, though sunshine remained. But now there was something animal in the musk, a tantalizing odor to be sure but one that put the vampire immediately on edge.

 

The boy’s eyes were also a weird shade. They almost gleamed in the light from the alarm clock near the bed and were more amber than Xander’s true dark brown.

 

Spike leapt from the bed, his erection gone and growled down at the imposter in their bed. Xander’s body shifted to sit up against the bunched pillows leaning on the wall. The cheap bed didn’t have a headboard. He lounged there, casually stroking his still quite prominent hardness.

 

“What’s the matter, vampire? You know you want it,” his voice said huskily.

 

“You ain’t Xan. Where is he,” Spike growled menacingly.

 

“Oh, he’s here somewhere. But he can’t give you what you want, Spike. You can’t bite a man… but a Hyena? Well… let’s see what the chip makes of that.”

 

“Stop it!” Spike backed away until he felt his rear bounce against their closed door. With a fierce concentration, he shifted to his human face hoping that it would help him stay in touch with the echo of William. Because the demon was clawing at his insides… he could feel the powerful temptation to claim what he really wanted.

 

“Stop fighting me, Spike. He’ll be fine and we’re both alike, you and I. We both like it rough.”

 

“That’s not the way things are with Xan and I. He’s not ready for pushing the envelope. And I’m not interested in sex with you.”

 

“You don’t sound very certain of that,” Hyena chuckled with her unnerving version of a cackle. “Look at you, you’re nearly shaking. Stop resisting this, Spike. We can both get what we want.”

 

“I don’t want to hurt him. I don’t need that.”

 

“But you do like it. And you can say it as many times as you want, but I can feel you holding back… you want to squeeze him; to bruise him, and yes… to bite him hard.”

 

“No…,” Spike shook his head, but his voice sounded weak.

 

“Spike, you can’t put a claim mark on him as long as he’s in charge. At least, I don’t think you’ll be able to. But with me here; I think it’ll work. You know as well as I do that the claim mark is important… both to you and to me. I want us to be owned by you and I want to own you, too.” Hyena shifted forward onto her right hand and both knees. She still sported Xander’s hardness and began lightly stroking it again with her left and savoring the slickness against the shaft of the pre-cum that dripped from it.

 

“Take me, Spike.”

 

He stood transfixed on the body of his lover and felt his resolve weakening. He didn’t know how far this could go, if he could stop. He’d never tried to consort with anyone before.

 

“If I start, I might not stop,” he admitted, his voice quaking in a most un-Spike way. “I could kill him,” he nearly pleaded. “I can’t take that risk!”

 

“I’ll stop you if I need to,” Hyena said with no doubt in her inflection.

 

Spike’s jaw bunched as he gritted his teeth with the effort not to give into the thing in front of him. It was hard to resist his nature, but for Xander, he’d do it. Turning away with a grimace and groan of frustration, he plowed his fist into the door, causing it to crack down its center.

 

Before Hyena could respond any further, he ripped the door open and rushed naked into the living room beyond. Going straight to the phone, he dialed up Buffy’s phone number.

 

This ends now, he thought as he stabbed a finger into the dial pad.

 

When Willow answered, sounding exhausted he said simply, “Come to Xander’s.”

 

“Spike?”

 

“We’re in trouble, Red,” he hung up and slid down the waist high wall of the kitchen counter and to the floor. Wrapping arms around the knees held against his chest, he closed his eyes and focused on breathing in and out. The sound of the useless air moving inside dead lungs became his world as he struggled to be the Spike again that the Scooby Gang needed him to be, that Xander trusted.

 

Mere minutes later, the mortal emerged from the bedroom in his jeans and nothing else. He glanced nervously at Anya’s room, expecting Dawn to emerge at any moment. He had heard Spike’s voice on the phone and a glance at the clock revealed to him that he’d fallen asleep as it was later than he remembered. Confused because he remembered they were having sex and he didn’t recall ‘finishing’, he stared at Spike on the floor, naked and, was he shivering?

 

“Spike, what are you doing,” he whispered urgently. “Dawn could come out and get an eyeful, for God’s sake!”

 

“Xan…,” Spike looked over and saw dark brown eyes and a very confused look. A deep breath revealed the scent of the ‘new’ Xander, with far less of the animal muskiness that had permeated the bedroom, though it never went away completely.

 

The mortal took a few steps in his direction, but he held up a refraining hand. “Don’t come near me! Xan… just stay there… please. Let me make sure I’m in control of myself, Luv.”

 

“Spike,” he said, still lost as to what was happening. He glanced at Anya’s door again, but apparently Dawn was sleeping deeply, thank goodness. “Spike, what happened? Are you alright?”

 

“Hyena happened, Baby. Just… stay away, okay? Red is on her way.”

 

Xander backed away and fell heavily onto the sofa and wondered what his alter-ego had done. Minutes later when he realized that she must have overtaken him again, this time without him even consciously loosening her mental reins, the fear came. It was obvious he’d been fooling himself… he wasn’t in as much control as he had led himself to believe.

 

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When a bleary eyed Willow and Tara arrived, they found Xander hunched in on himself on the sofa with Dawn sitting next to him. One hand was laid comfortingly on his bare shoulder. Spike answered the door in an ill-fitting robe… obviously Xander’s. As he ushered them in, he sat himself across the room from the other two on one of the dining room chairs.

 

“Hey guys,” Dawn greeted them. “Now that you’re here, I need to try to get some more sleep. I can’t afford to skip school tomorrow. Or ever again, apparently.”

 

She gave Tara a kiss on the cheek and then hugged Willow.

 

When she went to approach Spike, he leaned back in the chair with a flinch and looked away.

 

“It’ll be alright, Spike. Willow and Tara can fix anything,” she said. He refused to meet her eyes and she thought she might cry on his behalf if she didn’t get out of the room. They’d told her only that Xander’s hyena-spirit was still hanging around in his head and she must’ve done something to really upset them. After the initial shock, she just felt worry. She remembered the weirdness the last time that Xander had personality-issues.

 

“Okay… so… what’s the urgent,” Willow asked after Dawn had gone back in Anya’s room.

 

“You start Xan,” Spike said in a hushed tone. “I’m going to heat a tea pot for a cuppa. I think we could use it.”

 

“You better sit, girls. There’ve been some things that have been going on that you’re not aware of,” Xander sighed.

 

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End Chapter 12

 

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Ch 13

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 13 – Round Robin Secreting

 

It was two days later, the dreaded Friday and the mood of all of the gang had become more morose and worried.

 

Tara and Willow had agreed that they couldn’t burden the gang, especially Giles and Dawn, with what they’d come to suspect about Buffy’s predicament. That left both of them under a tremendous amount of pressure. Suddenly Tara could understand why Willow seemed so stretched beyond her limit. In addition to the robot issues that only she was qualified to tackle, she had been suffering the horror and guilt alone of Buffy being in torment.

 

Tara didn’t want to believe that it was true, but she couldn’t stop herself from getting wrapped up in Willow’s terror and pain. With them needing to shield the rest of the gang, she’d taken it as her personal responsibility to assist Willow in finding a way to rescue Buffy if they needed to. In the meantime, she had begun to research Slayer lore in alternate resources, trying to find proof that Willow was wrong without her girlfriend and partner getting wind of what she was up to. She hated going behind Will’s back, but what they were talking about was some heavy-duty magic, here. The risks were enormous and that was something that Willow rarely, if ever, actually considered. Tara had to know for her own sake that Buffy was really in trouble before she could allow herself to participate in such dangerous action.

 

Willow, Tara, Dawn and Spike had agreed with Xander to keep his issue with the Hyena-personality from Giles. At least until after Quentin’s visit. He had taken Buffy’s death so hard and none of them were convinced that he wasn’t spending his evenings alone in that apartment with his scotch bottles. They didn’t want to burden him any further at the moment.

 

The fact that they also didn’t want the robots saying anything by mistake around him meant that they couldn’t talk about it around the apartment, either. April, or Faithbot, had made it back home in the wee-hours of Thursday and had taken up residence later that day and would be an unwanted ‘houseguest’ until after Quentin left town.

 

Spike had taken to staying up all night and sleeping during the day, avoiding sharing intimate space with Xander. Not that he didn’t understand it, but it made things tense for Xan and he couldn’t help but feel some resentment that Spike still didn’t trust himself that he’d changed; that he wasn’t a danger to him, no matter what provocation Hyena tried.

 

Xander had berated Hyena in his skull and the two of them had stopped talking. Hyena felt completely justified in enjoying Spike’s desires as well, since in her mind, she was the reason why they’d gotten together in the first place. She was angry at Spike’s rejection and resentful of Xander’s ‘selfishness’ in trying to stay in control all of the time. Finally, she was getting a bit sick of hearing her host’s thought projections still looking for the weeks-gone Commando-boy.

 

Of course with the threat of a Hyena takeover at any moment, Xander also wasn’t sleeping well and was turning impatient and bad-tempered. Especially with Spike’s constant guarded looks as if Hyena was about to impersonate him at any minute. More than once he’d had to bite his tongue not to tell Spike to pack his shit and get out if he was that worried over it. He wanted Willow to get with the magic-works, but she was acting unusually reticent about casting any spells to take care of the problem. He could only hope that once the Watchers Council was out of the way again, that Giles would have some ideas.

 

Hyena’s constant threats to take him out with her weren’t helping him. This fact he was keeping from everyone else and it only added to the unconscious, collective strain among the group.

 

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Giles read the morning paper article again. An entire family had disappeared, their van left with doors ajar only three blocks from his place. Apparently, the relative quiet caused by Glory’s presence in town was well and truly over. He jotted notes for the next Scooby meeting, which was tentatively scheduled for tonight depending on Quentin’s agenda.

 

When a knock came at the door, Giles grimaced. He knew who it would be and felt his insides clench with tension. Wanting to ignore whoever was there, but knowing that would only invite more trouble, he answered it with an insincere smile.

 

“Quentin. Welcome back to Sunnydale,” he said as friendly as possible as he stepped out of the way to invite his boss in.

 

“Thank you, Rupert. And congratulations on stopping Glorificus and her machinations.”

 

“Please, do sit. I have a kettle on already. Let me get you tea.”

 

“I would appreciate a good cup. American tea is a gross tragedy,” Quentin replied.

 

“Y-yes… quite.”

 

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Dawn looked at the test score circled in red at the top of her paper. She sighed while rubbing her dry eyes and tried to stifle another yawn. Without the sleeping pill hangover, she thought she’d feel better, but without them she slept a lot less.

 

Damned if I do and damned if I don’t, she thought.

 

And another ‘D’ is not going to help smooth things with the principle, she sighed. She had felt better after she’d talked to Xander and found out that they were going to have Giles schedule a meeting via the robot. Not only would he keep the Buffybot from blurting out something inappropriate, but he would know how to settle the principal down before she did something wacky… like report her ‘lack of a stable home life’.

 

She should try living with a robot duplicate of a Vampire Slaying sister, a Watcher, two witches, another phony Slayer robot and a tamed vampire. Then she can lecture me about schoolwork and ‘paying attention to what’s important’, Dawn grumbled to herself.

 

Of course, she knew she’d brought this on herself. Skipping didn’t seem like such a big deal when she was actually doing it and there had been those days when it was necessary, when they were all trying to avoid Glory. Studying had felt and still did feel pointless when there were exciting Scooby meetings going on around her.

 

I hope Spike can talk the others into letting me drop out in September, she thought. And then grimaced as she heard her name called; it was time to pretend to care about this junk again.

 

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Tara entered the U.C. Sunnydale campus library between classes. Looking around furtively to make sure that Willow wasn’t in sight, she went to the desk.

 

“Hello, Ms. Mills,” she addressed the assistant librarian.

 

Tara? It’s been weeks since you’ve been in, dear,” Lavinia smiled warmly. “What can I do for you?”

 

“Oh, uh, I-I have an unusual request,” Tara said. “I sort of need any books or papers dealing with Osiris.” Tara leaned closer over the counter, “You know… the stuff not on the shelves?”

 

Lavinia Mills looked around to ensure there were no casual eavesdroppers. “Osiris? Tara, I hope that you’re not allowing your Wiccan studies to delve into black magic. Nothing good can come of getting involved with him, you know.”

 

“I’m afraid this is a ‘special project’”, Tara replied, her voice dropping even further as she continued to lean close. “I’m also looking for anything on Slayer lore.”

 

“Hmm. And have you spoken to Mr. Giles about this?”

 

“Not yet. This is strictly fact-finding. And he… there’s just a very good reason for not bothering him with this right now.”

 

“Alright. But if you get in trouble, I hope you’ll come to me, Tara. Even though Rupert and I aren’t dating any longer, I would still be happy to help where I can,” Lavinia stressed.

 

“I appreciate that, Ms. Mills. That’s why I’ve come to you. And as for Mr. Giles; well, give him a few weeks, but I think he may be ready to ask you out to dinner again. There was just some… business… uh, reasons that he wanted to put some distance between he and you. It was for your own safety. But that, uh, issue, has been resolved.”

 

“Really? Oh, well… uh, please tell him that I look forward to speaking to him again.” Lavinia straightened and returned to a regular speaking voice, “Please give me until the end of next week to see what I’ve got squirreled away on your topics of interest, dear.”

 

“Thanks. It’s really important,” Tara said before turning and leaving the library.

 

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“… so what the Council is really interested in is how Glory’s defeat culminated in the apparent destruction of the so-called Key,” Quentin said as he sipped at his tea.

 

“Apparent destruction, Quentin? You don’t believe that the Key is no longer in existence,” Giles nervously asked.

 

“Oh, I’m not doubting what you’ve reported,” he assured his Watcher, “I’m simply stating that being energy, it seems dubious to accept it’s destruction at face value. Especially since your report was lacking in any eyewitness details of its final dissolution.”

 

Damn, Giles thought. I should have been more explicit about ‘seeing’ it blow up or something.

 

“W-well, I can certainly state that it wasn’t in the area where Glory’s tower was built and over which her portal was opened, Quentin.”

 

“What of the Dagon’s Sphere? And I believe there was something about a ‘Troll Hammer’?”

 

“Yes, I’m afraid the Hammer was lost during the battle as well.”

 

Actually, they simply had to abandon it as no one but Buffy could lift it. Even Spike’s vampire strength wasn’t able to budge the item, suggesting powerful magic was to blame. Giles had been willing to entertain the idea of summoning a Troll to retrieve it and take it back to their Asgardian dimension, but apparently the strip mall developer had their own way of covering and forgetting the unusual object. Giles had seen the area, where he knew the hammer to be, covered over in cement. It was destined to be part of the foundation of one of the coming boutiques and good riddance to it.

 

“As to the Sphere,” he continued, “I was able to rescue that, which I have in the trunk behind the sofa. Or, I should say its damaged remains. Of course, it is the Council’s….”

 

“Wonderful,” Quentin complimented. “I’m sure our mystics will be thrilled to study it before it is placed in our secured vault. Have you informed Ms. Summers of my arrival?”

 

“Oh, yes. She should be at her home, ready to answer your questions.”

 

“That will be a nice surprise,” Quentin said.

 

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End Chapter 13

 

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ch 14

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

 

Rebuilding

Ch 14 – Buffybot’s Test

 

Giles nervously shifted from foot to foot as ‘Buffy’ invited him and Quentin in with a huge smile.

 

Already she’s not acting Buffy-ish and she hasn’t even opened her mouth yet, he thought fearfully.

 

“Ms. Summers. I must say, I expected much more your usual greeting,” Quentin dryly commented.

 

“I could adjust my behavior if you wish,” she responded with confusion. “However, I believe that a Slayer’s role is to be subservient and respectful to her Council.”

 

“A commendable attitude, if surprising,” he responded. All the while Giles was blanching at how unlike Buffy the robot was acting. She should have hurled a poorly covered insult several minutes ago already. “And one which is appreciated for a change.”

 

“Please sit, Mr. Travers. Willow made a pot of coffee before leaving for classes. Giles? Why have I not been attending my courses?”

 

Giles’ eyes widened in nervous surprise, since he didn’t have an immediate answer. Buffy, of course, would have gone back to class but it didn’t seem to be important for the robot to emulate that behavior. Of course, they really should have had her go through the motions of dropping out. That was an error which was now going to bite them.

 

“Uh… oh… uh, I-I thought we had discussed this. You remember? You wanted to stay home to provide Dawn more stability?” Giles tried to will the robot to just agree and shut up.

 

The Buffybot searched her data banks for the information that her Watcher was referring to, but there was nothing. Still, he must have discussed this with other-Buffy and since she was pretending to be her sister during her absence, she supposed she could agree.

 

“Oh, yes. Of course,” Buffybot responded. “My sister is very important. I will pour coffee. Please sit at the dining table.”

 

“I-I’ll help you,” Giles said nervously, while Quentin sat and pulled out a small notebook.

 

In the kitchen, Giles whispered, “Please do not ask any questions about anything which Quentin doesn’t bring up! Remember, he must believe that you are Buffy.”

 

“I am Buffy, Giles. And you are my Watcher,” she smiled brilliantly.

 

Giles sighed.

 

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“There were four vampires slain,” Aprilbot’s tinny sounding voice rang out of the speaker. Warren sat in front of the PC watching Spike through April’s eyes.

 

“No sign of Adam,” the vampire asked.

 

“Negative. No sightings.”

 

“How about any bodies? We’re investigating a rash of men with their throats torn out.”

 

“No bodies were discovered,” Aprilbot reported, utilizing the script that the Trio had come up with to explain her last patrol. He’d wiped her memory of her encounter with the cyber-zombie and her discovery of their location.

 

“Damn,” Spike was saying. “There’s something about these killings that I could swear I recognize.”

 

“Ooh, is that Spike,” Andrew excitedly asked over Warren’s shoulder. “He is so ho… uh, cool. He’s so cool.”

 

Warren smirked but didn’t reply. On the screen April was asking Spike if it reminded him of any of his kills. She managed to sound belligerent, which was a nice touch in keeping with Willow’s re-programming efforts. Warren had worked with Jon to keep as much of Willow’s changes in place as possible to put off any suspicion that she’d been tampered with.

 

Spike growled and turned on his heel, “I’m turning in. Re-charge your robo-batteries or something, ‘Faith’.”

 

“Why is she at Xander’s,” Andrew asked petulantly. “How are we supposed to figure out Buffy’s plans if she’s wasting time not being at her house?”

 

“Relax Andy-pandy. She’ll show up for their little Scooby-meetings, at least. Besides, I’m sure we can still learn a lot from Xan and Spike’s conversations. So far, it’s obvious they have no clue where we are or what we’re up to. You just be ready with the demon summoning to keep them busy if we need it.”

 

“No problem. I was thinking of trying the flying monkey thing again, but they’re not very housetrained. I’m thinking demon beetles, instead.”

 

“Whatever. Where’s Jon? We’re supposed to be working on the Ice-Ray Gun.”

 

“He had to get to work at the Espresso Pump,” Andrew replied.

 

“We just robbed a bank. We’re surrounded by money, and he’s working for minimum wage? What’s wrong with this picture?”

 

“Well, we’re not really surrounded with money after spending it on the high tech toys,” Andrew said. “And then there are the ones we can’t spend because of the exploding dye packets. And… uh, the serial number problem….”

 

“Okay, okay… so our big ‘get rich quick’ scheme had a few bugs. We still have bigger things to plan than serving Mochas!”

 

“Oh, a Vanilla Latte sounds really good about now,” Andrew brightened at the thought.

 

“You’re right. And there’s nothing going on with our spy right now. Let’s go,” Warren grinned.

 

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Buffybot placed a hand over Quentin’s, causing Giles to grimace nervously. He was just waiting for Quentin to realize he was chatting away amiably with a huge fake. Instead he simply placed his hand over the Buffybot’s and continued on as if he and Buffy had always had such a good relationship.

 

“I must again state how sorry I was to hear of your mother,” he was saying to the robot. “I’m sure it must have been quite a blow.”

 

“Yes. I’m sure it was,” Buffybot agreed. “However, the stipend that the Council is providing is helping in taking care of my sister and I am grateful to them and to you,” she smiled.

 

“Y-yes, well,” Quentin said, uncharacteristically embarrassed, “We at the Council are very gratified with our new relationship with the Slayer. Especially, with Faith being such a bitter disappointment. Anything we can do to assist you, you have only to ask.”

 

“I appreciate that, Mr. Travers. Thank you,” Buffybot was trying to reconcile how Faith was a disappointment. She seemed to be performing her Slayer duties adequately and she was happy to have her fellow Slayer to help guard the Hellmouth and kill the evil-vampires-who-were-not-Spike.

 

“Well, I believe we are finished here. Thank you again for making this visit so surprisingly pleasant, Ms. Summers.”

 

“Thank you for visiting, Mr. Travers,” she beamed.

 

Giles, in the meantime, stood in a state of shock that apparently Quentin bought everything.

 

Does he actually remember who Buffy is? Or was, he felt another brief ache for the missing young woman who should be here instead of the automaton in front of them.

 

“I believe I’d like to discuss Mr. Harris’ impressions and observations next, Rupert?”

 

“Xander is my best friend,” Buffybot replied.

 

“Yes. I’m sure that’s true,” Quentin replied, unimpressed.

 

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Minutes after Spike had gone into Xander’s bedroom, Faithbot answered a knock at the door. Signing a form she accepted a very large and heavy package from a pair of deliverymen, shocking them by lifting the huge crate as if it weighed nothing.

 

“Thank you,” Faithbot said. “I don’t have money. Run along,” she added, closing the door on them.

 

When she opened the crate to reveal its contents she noted it contained a large slab of marble. Next to the large slab were also three smaller tablets.

 

“Odd,” she commented, not understanding that the large one was to be Buffy’s tombstone.

 

She was even more confused when Spike returned. He’d looked into the crate asking Faithbot what this was about. Before she could formulate a response, he’d looked at the granite and immediately paled, which was impressive considering he was always pale.

 

“Oh,” he said. “I-I can’t believe I forgot….”

 

He reached in and hefted one of the ‘practice’ slabs, a look of sorrow on his face. When he returned to the bedroom, he took the stone tablet with him and muttered that Xander’s heart was going to break again, leaving Faithbot more confused than ever.

 

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End Chapter 14

 

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ch 15

Disclaimer: Legal stuff, don't own characters, haven't made any money, this is for entertainment purposes, no profit earned, lawyers go away. –kisses-

Emails are welcome as are honest reviews. I respond to all correspondence.

Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past BTVS episodes and especially the Spanderverse series of stories.

Notes: Story number Twenty-One in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Spanderverse: Points of View, Four”.

Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.

People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.

WARNING: Adult language and disturbing sexual content ahead. This story starts to curve close to Dark!Fic territory in later chapters.

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Rebuilding

Ch 15 – Sunday Stresses

 

The rest of the weekend managed to go by relatively smoothly. Quentin Travers remained until Sunday night, causing Xander to spend far too much time with the Aprilbot who refused to answer to anything but Faith. She also tended to remind him and Spike at least every hour that she was ‘The Vampire Slayer’, which had him worried that she was out there accosting people on the street with her supposed identity. He was pretty sure that giving her an alternate identity was going to be a mistake on Will’s part… the real Faith was not going to be amused.

 

In addition, Spike was unusually combative around the robot. Mostly this was verbal, but his jibes that ‘Buffy is The Slayer, you’re just a knock-off’ made April growl and threaten him with bodily violence. Very much like Faith actually; at least Willow couldn’t be accused of not doing an accurate job.

 

“I need to patrol,” Faithbot argued.

 

“When Giles gets here and we know Quentin is out of town,” Xander repeated again.

 

“The vampires aren’t waiting for him to leave, why should I?”

 

“We need Willow to overhaul her programming,” Spike muttered. “No need for her to act like the real bitch.”

 

“Adam is still out there,” Faithbot reminded the humans in her midst. “I’m supposed to be tracking him down for Willow Rosenberg.”

 

“And you will,” Xander sighed. “When Giles gets here.”

 

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Andrew sat bored watching and listening to Xander and Spike argue with the robot. At least, in between his surfing the more risqué websites and looking at naked people. So far April or Faith or whatever the skank-bot was called now hadn’t seen Buffy once. And Spike and Xander had discussed nothing remotely connected to the Trio. It was Dawn, Dawn, Dawn and men having their throats torn out… hello? Town full of vampires? How was any of this news?

 

Finally Mr. Giles, who Andrew had respected even when he’d just been the librarian, finally knocked on Xander’s apartment door. Aprilbot, unfortunately, was finally able to leave, just when somebody with something to say arrived.

 

At this rate, we’re never going to know what Buffy is doing, he whined to himself. And now I can’t even watch Spike! There are some weird vibes going on between him and Xander. I wonder if they’re doing it? Nah, that’s stupid. God… I am getting punch-tired. Wonder if Warren will yell too much if I sack out for a nap for awhile….

 

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“Finally,” Faithbot exclaimed. “Giles, will you please tell the vampire and Xander that they are not my Watchers and I don’t have to listen to them. ‘Cause I’m getting ready to kick some ass up in here.”

 

“Er, I’m sure they had a reason for… uh… whatever,” he said as the robot passed him.

 

“Whatever! I’m outta here. I’ll report back to Willow when I’ve made a sweep of the town,” she huffed as she left the apartment.

 

“She really does sound a lot like Faith,” Giles said, as they all sat down.

 

“Which isn’t working for me, anymore,” Xander complained.

 

“I’m out of here as well,” Spike said, putting on a different leather jacket than the one he used to where. The long coat hung in the closet but Spike had deflected Dawn’s enquiry about why he didn’t wear it anymore. “I’ll look for evidence on this new vampire. I’m telling you, this M.O. is familiar. Haven’t you found anything yet,” he directed at Giles.

 

“It’s been very difficult finding this specific wound pattern,” he replied impatiently. “Since we’re sure it’s not a werewolf or other semi-animal attack, no, I haven’t found anything yet. Although I’m wondering if anyone would bother to mention it… a vampire attack is a vampire attack.”

 

“Not bloody detailed of the past Watchers,” Spike muttered loudly as he marched toward the front door.

 

“Be careful,” Xander said, but kept his distance. Spike had been avoiding any attempts at physical intimacy, afraid that it would encourage his alter ego to make another appearance.

 

“Tell him about Dawn,” Spike said and then swept out of the apartment.

 

“Dawn,” Giles sighed.

 

“Yeah. I’m afraid that we need the Buffybot to convince one more person,” Xander commiserated. “On the other hand, we also have to deal with Buffy’s headstone. The granite arrived and is in the crate on the veranda. I’m not looking forward to doing this, Giles. Dawn is finally getting settled.”

 

“She needs to see this done, Xander,” he said kindly. “We all need to see it in writing on a permanent surface. She’s gone. And we haven’t been back to the site since that night. It isn’t right.”

 

“I know. But every time we return to the burial plot, there’s the chance of being spied on. Plus it’s such a hazardous trek to get through there, I was kind of breathing a sigh of relief that Dawn hasn’t asked to go back there.”

 

“Which in itself, is unusual. I hope that she really is as alright as we think.”

 

“You think she’s faking it,” Xander questioned, worried.

 

“Dawn is a strong girl… like her sister and her mother. But this has been an extremely traumatic several months of constant stressors. Her not mentioning returning to Buffy’s burial site to place flowers or just to ‘visit’ seems odd to me,” he said. “Of course, she hasn’t really mentioned Joyce’s gravesite either. Perhaps it’s a side effect of the magic used to create her… to help her deal with emotions she wasn’t meant to have.”

 

“I-I hadn’t thought about that,” Xander admitted. “And now there’s a new ‘stressor’ at school.”

 

To Giles’ questioning look, he provided the form letter about Dawn’s truancy.

 

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It was after midnight when Giles left his own apartment after returning from Xander’s earlier in the evening. He was dressed in dark jeans and a sweatshirt that usually he would pretend he didn’t even own. His eyes were unusually dark and he strolled down the streets of Sunnydale without a care. Around him, the town was in deep sleep as even the jazz club had closed its doors at eleven-thirty.

 

Rupert walked directly toward the seedy end of town, but frowned in disappointment when he found the underground biker club closed as well. Sunnydale was far too sedate and boring when he wasn’t looking for vampires to slay. The night life was non-existent. It was appalling and he missed London terribly.

 

Wandering aimlessly through back alleys and warehouse lots, he finally saw something that would save the evening from being a total loss. In one of the alleyways behind a furniture warehouse stood a woman of the evening looking to ply her trade. She was a red-head with far too much makeup and too tight clothing squeezing her generous proportions. She was a real tart-looking hag and Giles considered leaving her be, but he’d gone days without a good shag. With a shrug he approached the woman, reaching into his pocket for his wallet.

 

“How much,” he said in a bored tone. She wasn’t much to get excited over, especially this close where he could make out the dark shadows she was trying to hide with her under-eye foundation.

 

“Depends on what you’re looking for,” she said with equal boredom. “Full package is $160.”

 

“In this neighborhood,” Giles scoffed. “I’ll give you eighty for straight copulation. There’s an extra twenty five if you don’t mind a few bruises.”

 

The woman looked him over with a barely restrained hungry look but she only shrugged.

 

“Sure, whatever.”

 

Slipping the money into her cool hand, he instructed her to face the wall. When she’d done as instructed, he began to hike up her jean skirt, but it was too tight. Annoyed, he attacked the zipper tab on the side of the skirt. He stopped suddenly when he felt the hairs on the back of his neck straighten. The woman’s skin was far too cold, even for someone standing outside in her state of dress. Casually, he reached out and felt her neck, detecting no pulse.

 

Quickly taking two steps back, he watched her turn around. Her face morphed into that of the vampire; her eyes yellow and teeth a gleaming white in the alley light shining down from the roof of the nearby warehouse.

 

“Demonic bitch,” he spat at her.

 

“What’s the matter, baby. I thought you wanted it rough,” she laughed as she stalked toward him.

 

Footsteps to his side caught his attention and a quick glance showed him two more vampires stalking toward him. They were both male and both dressed in dirty blue jeans, white T-shirts and leather jackets with studs.

 

“You catch something, Simone,” one of them asked with a smirk.

 

“Do you like English food,” she asked.

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Ripper interrupted their complete lack of sparkling wit. “You’re all going to be dust within the next ten minutes.”

 

As the vampires laughed at him, he summoned up the powers he had access to now. Pointing toward the harlot, he unleashed a stream of black lightning that had the demon dancing a jerky jig before she burst without a sound into ashes.

 

The two male vampires came to a halt, hissing and growling. Ripper smiled icily. With another incantation, he sent one of the vampire-men flying against the warehouse wall hard enough to hear a satisfying crack and a howl of pain. The other rushed toward him, but when he lifted his hand, it skidded to a stop unsure. It was a mistake; not that Giles had felt particularly threatened anyway. With a quick gesture a miniature fireball flew from his hand, instantly consuming the vampire and cutting off its scream.

 

The injured vampire had gotten to its feet during this and was now trying to race down the alleyway. Its arms were crossed over its chest and it was running hunched, telling Ripper he’d broken ribs. He gave a small laugh and another dark muttering caused the vampire to collapse in screeching pain as his fibula bones snapped.

 

“Oh, shit,” the vampire yelled in pain. “Come on man… we weren’t going to hurt you! It was just a little fun,” he insisted as Ripper approached.

 

“Yes. Because vampires are a barrel of monkeys. You’re all so well known for your jaunty sense of humor.”

 

“Man! We didn’t know you were a warlock, okay? Just… let me go. I’m sorry! Okay? It was that slut’s idea!”

 

Giles smiled down at the vampire, who had shifted into his human face. He hadn’t been a bad looking man… probably late twenties with a wiry build. If Giles was still with Ethan ‘experimenting’ he may have given the bloke a ride.

 

Instead he shook his head sadly, “I’d like to help you out. But I’m just having too much fun.”

 

With a smile, Ripper released another incantation similar to the one which snapped the vampire’s leg bones. He laughed in delight as the demon’s jaw bones cracked sending the creature rolling in pain on the dirty ground. Next came more of the thing’s ribs and then its larynx… his screaming was becoming an irritant. Finally, when Giles was feeling relieved of the stress he’d been hoping to expend on a woman for the night and the thing’s spine had been snapped in three places, he reached slowly into his pocket for a stake. Opening the young man’s jacket, he ripped the T-shirt and gazed down on the smooth white skin. Pressing the pointed wood against the chest of the thing, he ever so slowly forced it to break the skin, watching blood flow up and cover the torso.

 

The vampire was only barely conscious by this point which muted the pleasure Ripper received. Finally, after several long and suspenseful minutes, he reached the shrunken and atrophied muscle so important and watched as the vampire finally disintegrated away.

 

“You can thank Dawn for the amount of stress I needed to work off,” he told the drifting ash. “I’m sure you understand.”

 

He stood up with a large grin pasted on his face. As he looked casually around the empty alley he realized that his money had turned to ash with the hooker. “Well… damn.”

 

He strolled out of the alley, still smiling. When he reached the apartment, he poured himself a large scotch and carried it with him to his bedroom. He slept like a baby that night.

 

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In the morning, Giles frowned at the empty glass of scotch sitting on his bed table. He hadn’t recalled himself bringing such a drink to bed and he certainly should have remembered if he’d gotten up in the night for a capper.

 

Lifting the glass, he had the flash of memory of pouring it, but nothing more. With a frown, he brushed aside the question of why he couldn’t recall clearly drinking it and carried the glass to the sink.

 

Starting water for tea and pouring a bowl of bran cereal, he concentrated on the coming day. He and the Buffy-robot had an appointment with Dawn’s principle for four o’clock. He was irritated with the young girl for not concentrating on her school work and especially for her skipping out during the day. Joyce would be quite livid with the girl. And of course, it just added another complication to their attempts to get life back to as normal as they could manage with a robot pretending to be Buffy. In addition, he was going to take the robot to U.C. Sunnydale to officially drop Buffy from the school roster, as if they thought she was still attending. He planned on meeting Tara at her dorm room while there so that they could pack the last of her and Willow’s things and bring them over to Dawn’s house.

 

It was going to be quite the busy day. He was grateful that he’d managed to sleep so well last night, rather than be plagued by his disjointed and disturbing dreams. Now, if he could only explain the brandy glass by the bed sufficiently.

 

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End Chapter 15