Previous parts here: Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four
Angel of the Morning
I’d thought things were a bit strained between me and Buffy before that big revelation, but that was nothing to how it was afterwards. We hardly spoke. Well, I tried, but I didn’t get much of a response most times. I felt sorry for her, but I was starting to get pissed at her attitude too, ‘cause it was totally unfair blaming me for stealing Spike when she had kept it all as a big secret that he was even hers to steal. And hello, what was this about him being her property anyway? We’d had a Civil War about people being property and, hey, the ones who said that people aren’t property won.
Although, Buffy didn’t seem to think that Spike was a person. That made what she was doing with Spike kinda ooky when you think about it. Like she was using Spike the same way as he’d used the Buffybot. We’d all thought that was pretty ooky. Even Spike had realized that and after Buffy died he could hardly even bear to look at the Bot. So Buffy regarding Spike pretty much like he was a Spikebot was just bad.
Okay, Spike didn’t have a heartbeat, didn’t have a Green Card, and he didn’t have a soul, but I’d learned that that didn’t mean he wasn’t a person. He was. The whole soul thing was a huge deal to Buffy but I was beginning to rethink it for myself. It wasn’t just soul equals good, no soul equals bad; maybe it had been that way with Angel, but Spike wasn’t Angel, thank goodness. If soul equaled good then what was with all the humans who did bad things? Maybe the soul was kinda like road signs? Made it easier to find the right way, but didn’t mean that people wouldn’t ignore it, or them, sometimes, or that somebody couldn’t learn to be a good driver on a road without signs. Dumb metaphor. Whatever.
Anyway, the thing between me and Buffy kinda poisoned me giving her the money ‘cause it made it seem sorta as if I was giving it to her out of guilt, which was so not true. I’d meant to split it with Spike getting the most, maybe four thousand for him and three thousand each for me and Buffy, but after that talk with Buffy I thought I’d better make it as clear as possible that it was a share and not any kind of pay-off or anything to do with guilt. I talked it over with Spike and we split it exactly three ways right down to the cents; three thousand three hundred and thirty three dollars thirty three cents each. Well, I kept the odd one cent, but somebody had to, and Spike still had the five hundred bucks that he’d gotten up front, but then it was him who’d taken most of the risks. The eggs should have been refrigerated, according to Riley, and they were pretty close to hatching; they might have hatched before he got here if Spike had kept them in his bedroom like he’d first planned. The alcove in the tunnel was just a little cooler and that might have made all the difference. So Spike didn’t get his face eaten, and I was really glad about that ‘cause, hey, I was getting real fond of that face. And the whole rest of the guy too.
The thing with Spike turning Buffy down for me gave me this whole new set of warm fuzzies. Kinda wigged me out, too, ‘cause that was getting into commitment areas. What would I do if Tara wanted to come back to me? I’d thought that it would be a gimme that I’d just jump straight into her arms but I wasn’t so sure now. I kinda owed Spike, and, okay, maybe that wasn’t the best basis for making a decision, but it was a good feeling knowing that Spike needed me and that I was helping him be a better person. Tara had never needed me that way and I’d kinda gotten to be a much worse person while I was with her. It was all pretty confused and I decided I’d just cross that bridge when I came to it and, hey, if I never came to that bridge that was just fine with me.
- - - - -
One of the first things I did with my share was to get myself a motorcycle helmet, and I saw this neat set of motorcycle leathers at the same time, and I bought them too. ‘Cause, hey, if I fell off the bike I was pretty keen on my skin staying peachy and not getting all scraped and scarred, no vampire or Slayer healing here remember. Plus they looked super cool. Only the first time I wore them it sparked off something I hadn’t bargained for.
I went into the Magic Box wearing my leathers, ‘cause Spike was going to be picking me up there, and we were going to go to a place a few miles out of town. We were going to meet up with Jenna and Joel there; but to be honest the main reason we’d fixed up the date there was ‘cause it was somewhere we could be sure we wouldn’t bump into Buffy. We’d have to face her together at the wedding rehearsal dinner in a couple of days and that was quite soon enough.
Xander was there, sitting at the table looking at a comic book, and Anya was behind the counter. For once neither of them was busy with anything to do with the wedding; guess it was so close now that it was too late to make any changes. I gave both of them a smile and a wave. “Hey,” I greeted them. “How’s it going?”
Anya gave me one of her little perfunctory smiles, like I wasn’t worth a big one because I wasn’t going to buy anything, and Xander started to smile at me but then his lip curled into a sneer. “God, look at you,” he said, and not in a nice way. “It didn’t take long, did it?”
I frowned at him. “What? Can I say, huh?”
“Why, Willow? I don’t know how you can bear to even touch that dead thing. He’s dragging you down. Can’t you see it?”
“Again I say, huh?” I looked down at myself trying to work out what on earth Xander was talking about. Had I left some important zipper open or something?
“Well, I think Willow’s outfit is eminently practical,” Anya chipped in.
That’s when I caught on to what was bugging Xander. “Thanks,” I said to Anya, and then turned to Xander. “What, you think that I’m turning evil ‘cause I’m wearing leather?”
“I think you’re being led astray by Spike,” Xander said. “Dump him now, Will, before he leads you into doing something really bad.”
“We’re going to Goleta to see a band that plays Green Day covers,” I told him. “Ooh, scary. The first step on the slippery slope that leads to The Distillers.”
“It’s not funny,” Xander insisted. “You remember Vampire Willow, don’t you? You’re turning into her.”
I gave him an eye roll. “What, you think I have that leather corset thing on under this jacket?” I pulled down the zipper and held the jacket open, revealing a sweatshirt with a picture of Garfield hanging on to my boobies as if only his claws were stopping him from falling off. “Sorry to disappoint you, Xan, but Spike is not leading me into evil one garment at a time. I just want a bit of protection in case we have an accident and I fall off the bike.” I zipped up the jacket again. “Bored now.”
“See! See!” Xander spluttered.
Anya echoed my eye roll. “She’s teasing you, dummy. She isn’t really transforming into the evil and sexually ambiguous vampire version of herself. I very much doubt if she’ll be taking everybody in the Bronze hostage any time soon. I think you look very smart, Willow, and it’s very sensible of you to wear protective clothing.”
“Thanks, Anya,” I said again. Anya and I had had our disagreements in the past but I was really glad to have her support now and, hey, the new improved honest-with-herself Willow could finally admit that Anya had been in the right at least half the time in those disagreements.
Xander was still being an asshole, however. “It’s no joking matter. It’s going to end badly, Will, I know it. He’ll hurt you; he’ll hurt all of us. You’re forgetting what he is.”
“He’s a vampire. I know that. He’s also the guy who fought alongside us all last summer and hardly even got thanks for it. He’s changed, Xander, he’s not really evil any more. He’s proved that over and over again. Why not admit it? You used to play pool with him yourself. Come on, he’s not so bad.”
“Demons can’t change,” Xander insisted. Anya’s lips went tight and she gave him a pretty dirty look.
“Demons can’t change? You sure? Well, I guess Spike’s due a whole load of royalties and a place in history,” I said.
“What are you talking about?”
“Well, if demons can’t change, how do you explain Spike being big into punk? It wasn’t part of the scene back in Victorian England, unless I’m way off in my history. So, you think everybody else was all ‘For I'm called Little Buttercup, Dear Little Buttercup, Though I could never tell why’, and Spike was all ‘I am an anarchist and I am the antichrist’, and ‘I don’t want to be buried in a pet sematary, I don’t want to live my life again’? Hey, I’m dating the guy who invented punk, a century before it caught on.”
“That’s not what I mean,” Xander said, pouting. It suddenly hit me just how much weight Xander had put on in the past few months, he looked pretty plump and flabby, and hey, any last vestiges of Xander-lust that might have been hanging on in me just went pfft! My guy had those chiseled cheekbones, and that washboard stomach, and I glanced at Anya and thought ‘hey, I have the better deal here’. “Keeping up with music isn’t change.”
“Yes it is,” I said. “Hey, I’ve managed to get him into Blink 182, which is more than I ever managed with you.”
“Demons can’t change in anything important,” Xander said. “He’ll always be evil.”
“He’s done a lot of good things,” I reminded him. “Tara backed me up on that. I don’t see any reason why he can’t go on doing good things.”
“He’s just doing them to get into your pants.”
“Hey, that’s what you said about him and Buffy, and he kept right on doing good things for the five months that she was dead. Explain that, Xander.”
Xander looked taken aback for a moment, but then perked up and spoke with a smug look on his face. “If he’d really loved Buffy he wouldn’t have moved on to you. It was just a sick obsession, just like I always said.”
I was at a bit of a disadvantage here, because I couldn’t tell Xander the full circumstances without breaking confidences, but I rolled my eyes at him. “Are you saying that I never really loved Tara? Or Oz? ‘Cause, that’s the same thing. Look, I’m not saying I’m in love with Spike. I’m not saying he’s in love with me. But we’re dating, and we enjoy being together, and we’re not going to stop just ‘cause you don’t approve. Just learn to deal, Xan.” I heard the motorcycle pulling up outside and I decided to go out to Spike rather than wait for him inside. I turned around to walk out. “Bored now.”
The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.