Chapter 2
It had taken Spike multiple attempts to finally speak directly to Willow. He finally had to resort to paying a girl to make the call for him. She pretended to be a girl that Willow had a one-time date with in California.

Spike had been right about Giles and his unwillingness to allow Spike access to Willow. Spike wasn’t even sure if Willow had known he was alive, or undead, after the closing of the Hellmouth. She had certainly sounded shocked when she heard his familiar voice as he took the phone from his ‘helper’.

"Um, you sound a lot like someone I used to know", Willow had said quietly. "You don’t happen to be someone that has a severe sunlight allergy and strong emotions for my best friend? I mean you can’t be cause he’s dead. Well, he was always dead, but he’d be dead dead this time", Willow rambled on.

Spike chuckled and replied, "Yeah, Red, it’s me. Long story. Thought you’d have heard from Junior Watcher Boy after our run-in over the daft slayer. Never figured him to be able to keep a secret. Miracles still happen I guess."

"Talking to you…now, THAT’S a miracle! Spike! You can’t imagine how glad I am to hear your voice", Willow exclaimed.

Spike was touched and more than a little surprised. The little witch had always been nice enough to him, but he couldn’t fathom why she sounded so very glad to be in touch with him. She sounded relieved in some way that caused his senses to go on alert.

"What’s up, Willow? I’ll get to why I’m calling you in a minute, but you sound unnaturally happy to hear from me and that must mean something. Everything all right there? Dawn okay? Buffy?" He nearly whispered that last name. "Saw her in Rome last spring. She looked fine, happy even. Moved on to that normal life she always was going on about, even if she did pick that pillock Immortal to do it with. No accounting for her taste, eh?"

Willow was quiet on her end of the conversation for a long enough time to make Spike wonder if she had hung up on him. The absence of a dial tone made him reject that possibility. "Red, you there? You’re startin’ to scare me now. Tell the vampire you can’t seem to be rid of what’s up."

"Spike, I need you to get to London as soon as you can. Buffy’s gone missing and we’re pretty sure that Immortal, what did you call him…pillock…yeah…has
something to do with it. Dawn is beside herself, blames herself for encouraging Buffy to date him. Giles keeps going on about having warned her, and how she always picked dangerous boyfriends. I’m not getting a thing trying to locate her, or him. Your calling like this has to be a sign. I know you’d never stop until we find her."

"M on the next plane, luv. While you’re waitin’ on me to join the search and rescue,see if you can get any results doing a locate on Angel and Illyria, will ya?"

Spike was beginning to throw things in his duffle bag as he spoke. He hadn’t planned to push his way into Buffy’s life again, but he had no intention of allowing anyone to hurt his Slayer--not as long as he was still in existence anyway. She might tell him to go away and move on, but, by God, she’d be alive enough to tell him to his face.

"Sure thing, Spike". Willow’s relief was palpable. "Um…who’s Illyria?"

Spike was startled by how little Willow seemed to know about the goings on of the L.A. group. Giles had evidently played everything very close to the vest,
giving nothing away to the former Scoobies. Spike began to wonder just how much Buffy herself had been told. "Illyria’s an ancient god king, sort of a super demon. You might try the locate on Fred’s body, though, ‘cause that’s where Illyria was last seen livin’. I’ll explain THAT story to you when I get there. Just look for Fred and Angel, would you?"

"Sure thing. Can’t you tell me a few things now, though? I thought you burned up in Sunnydale. How is it you’re alive? Why didn’t you let any of us know?"

"Maybe you should ask the Watcher that last one, luv. I did burn up. Hurt like a bitch, it did, too. Still not alive though, same handsome vampire you all knew
and hated. Long story, Red. Somehow tied to that bauble I was sportin’ in the Hellmouth. Came to in hell…all right, Angel’s office, but close enough. Was
kinda body challenged for a bit, like a ghosty, so not too able to phone home. Angel was predictably not too interested in informin’ the Slayer that yours truly was back, so to speak. Finally got the body back, but things just seemed to get in the way of a grand reunion. Giles knew though, after the whole ‘Dana the barmy Slayer cuts off Spike’s hands’ incident. He decided that Angel and all of us here were workin’ on the side of Evil, Inc. without so much as hearing anything from our side of it. Cost Fred her life, that did. I’ve been trying to call you for days now and the wanker has blocked my calls. Had to get Ginger here to make this call." Spike hurried through the explanation.

He promised to fill Willow in on all the details when he got to London and hung up to start making reservations. Soon Mr. Rice-Stoker was booked on the next available flight to the motherland that William hadn’t seen in decades.


Spike carefully read out the address to the cab driver he had hired at Heathrow. The man, clearly Pakistani, had a loose grasp of the Queen’s English and Spike
didn’t want to go on a long tour of the capital right then. His plane had conveniently landed just at dusk and by the time Mr. Rice-Stoker cleared customs, it was dark enough to move about safely. The last thing he wanted now was a language mix-up to delay his arrival.

Once more, things had rapidly changed for Spike. He had sought out the help of the witch to find Angel and Blue only to find himself in London on a search for the love of his unlife. He felt sure Buffy would turn up fine. After all, the girl had cheated death twice and even survived the assistance of Xander in carrying out her calling. Surely nothing could defeat her if she had managed to overcome that!

Willow had a small flat above a Curry house on Brick Lane in East London. The boutiques and Bangladeshi emporiums lining the street seemed a fitting setting for the Scooby witch. Somehow Spike couldn’t envision that stuck up bint Kennedy in this setting, however. Maybe Willow gave her the old heave-ho, he thought cheerily. She could never hold a candle to Glinda. No heart in the dark Slayerette like there had been in the gentle white witch who had been the only one to show a bit of kindness to Spike that awful year after they brought Buffy back from heaven. "Good riddance to bad rubbish--least I hope so", he muttered under his breath.

Willow looked genuinely pleased to see him when he knocked on her door. "Spike! You got here so fast. I thought you said vampires didn’t really fly except in books, and maybe Dracula. Come in. I don’t have any blood to offer you, but I think I can brew up a decent cuppa by now."

"Thanks. Wouldn’t mind a proper bit of tea. Been a while since I’ve had one", he replied.

While Willow prepared the tea and some fresh cookies, they caught up with all the necessary information about what had happened since that afternoon in Sunnydale.

"You mean Giles just assumed that you and Angel were all evil and fangy again? I just don’t know what his problem is with you any more. Okay, I see his
prejudice where Angel is concerned, his having murdered Miss Calendar and all, but you saved the world! I’m really gonna have to chew his tushie for screening my contacts, that’s for sure. I mean I liked Fred. I would have done anything I could have to help her even if Angel had gone all soulless and evil. Giles needs to learn that we aren’t teenagers any more and can make decisions for ourselves. Okay, some of our decisions haven’t been so happily ever after, but still they’re our decisions to make."

"Take it you and the well-trained slayer didn’t go the distance?"

Willow looked wistful and was rather quiet for a bit before replying. "No, Kennedy and I just weren’t the long haul pair. I guess I needed someone when it started and she was kinda pushy too, it all started pretty fast. I’ll never find another Tara--I know that--but I want it to be about love, you know? Sex is great, but I want the whole enchilada. Heck, I want the whole Mexican plate special! I guess I don’t have to explain the "love being important" part to you, huh?"

Looked like at least one of the Scoobies had finally realized that vampires could love and that Spike had adored the Slayer.

"Right there with you, Red. You’ll find the right person. Got a lot to offer and I know Glinda would want you to be loved again. Just give it time and stay open to it. I wanted Buffy to move on when I combusted. Never thought I’d be coming back and all. I have to admit I would never have wanted that bloody bastard the
Immortal to be the fella. Overstuffed, legend in his own mind bugger made life miserable for me and Angel back a century ago. Had another couple of run in’s with him after Angelus got all souled up too. Wouldn’t have expected him to take Buffy in like he did Dru. I mean Dru was loose in the attic, so she had an excuse. Darla’d screw anything, so no surprise there…but Buffy? Slayer I knew had standards. What the hell happened to make her fall into his hands and other parts?"

"I’m not sure how they met. Dawn can tell you. She’ll be here in the morning. I didn’t tell her you were coming. I wasn’t sure if she knew you were undusty or not and thought it would be easier in person. I haven’t been as close to Buffy as I used to be. I was all caught up in the coven and learning to use my powers wisely and Buffy was so different after Sunnydale. It was like she was bipolar or something. Some days she just was quiet and off to herself and other days she was a whirlwind of shopping, dancing and being the good time girl. It was kinda exhausting to me trying to keep up. Finally, she and Dawn moved to Rome and I’d hear from her occasionally, but not too often. More like the odd email. I don’t think she’s even e’ed Xander more than a handful of times! He’s coming too, to help plan the search for Buffy."

Spike ignored the news of Xander’s planned arrival and remarked on the state of the Scooby friendships. "Sad, that. You all may have been a right pain where I was concerned, but the lot of you were close. I think it was your friendship that helped the Slayer survive as long as she has. Too bad she changed her circle
of friends. At least you lot were loyal and really cared about her, even if you didn’t have great taste in picking out her boyfriends."

Willow laughed lightly in response, but inwardly agreed on all points. Maybe once they found Buffy, repairs could be made where needed. As long as you were still alive, it was never too late. At least that’s what Tara had always told her.

"You can have the couch as long as you are in London. I’d offer you the bedroom, but there’s no window in the parlor to worry about sunlight issues, so the couch should be safer", Willow offered.

Spike was overwhelmed at the thought of being welcomed in a home of a Scooby. Things had changed a bit or so it would seem. Still, it remained to be seen what sort of reception he’d receive from the Watcher, the whelp, and his niblet.

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