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“Spike,” Buffy’s voice floated through the light fog that surrounded him. Spike lifted his head to see her, beautiful and glowing in a sleek white gown. Her arms stretched out towards him, begging him to come and get lost in their soft embrace. But he couldn’t move, no matter how hard he tried. He struggled and strained against whatever was restraining him, but his body simply refused to move an inch.

“Buffy!” Spike jerked awake, a bit disoriented as the light filtered into the room. He soon realized that it had been a dream. Buffy hadn’t really been there. She was out there in the real world somewhere, enjoying the normal life that she had always wanted.

“Bloody hell,” Spike cursed as he realized that he was tied up to the leather chair behind Angel’s desk. Not only was he tied up, but he was tied tight. Only one person could be responsible for this. “Angel!”

“I see you’re awake,” Angel stepped into Spike’s line of vision. His smile was cruel and malicious. Remorse and sorrow were now absent from his eyes, they were now only full of anger, hate, and the darkness that Spike had only seen in the vampire that had stolen Dru from him.

“Angelus,” the younger vampire growled, vamping out himself.

“Give ole Spike a prize,” Angelus grinned, approaching his prisoner. “I must say Spike…I’m surprised that you were the one to release me. But then again…you have always been a screw up and a disappointment. Just ask Drusilla.”

“Shut up,” Spike growled, struggling to get free from his ropes. He was going to rip Angelus apart when he got free. Just on principle alone.

“Not to mention Buffy. Tell me Spike, how does it feel to be the substitute for the real thing? Huh? Tell me, what did you do when the slayer yelled out my name instead of yours in the heat of passion? Did you want to rip that lovely throat out? Or did you do what you do best? Did you crawl into a dark corner and bawl like a baby?”

Spike’s angry roar was his only answer as the struggle against the ropes increased. He was going to do more then rip Angelus from limb to limb, he was going to gut him, then hang him out in the sun to fry.

“Got to control that temper. Hey, want to hear my plan? It's genius really. Something that you, William the Bloody, slayer of slayers can appreciate,” Angelus knelt down to be face to face with his childe. “I’m going after a slayer. Not just any slayer either. I am going after the slayer. I’m going after Buffy.”

“You bloody pillock, you go anywhere near her and I’ll rip your throat out! I’ll send you back to hell and this time you’ll stay there!” Spike growled.

Angelus just laughed as he got to his feet. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep Spike. It doesn’t become you. Hey, don’t be so put out. I’ll bring you back her body,” Angelus smirked one last time before sauntering out of the room, leaving Spike tied to the chair.

“Angelus! Come back here you bastard! Just wait until I get out of these ropes! I’ll rip you in two! I’ll tear your throat out if you go ten feet of Buffy! I swear I will!” Spike kept yelling, not caring if his sire was out of earshot or not.

“What in the…Spike? Why are you tied up? Where’s Angel?” Wes entered. He had heard Spike’s threats from his office and was worried that Angel and Spike were at their constant bickering once again.   He had not expected to find Spike bound to a chair and Angel absent all together. 

“Wes, quick! Untie me! I have to get to Buffy right away!”

“What? Why? Where’s Angel?” Wes knelt to untie the ropes, curious about what had just taken place and what Angel was up to now.

“Angelus is back! Somehow Angel got a happy and reverted back to his old ways,” Spike rubbed his sore wrists. “He’s going after Buffy. He’s going to kill her if we don’t get to her first.”

“Dear lord,” Wes gasped and looked more closely at the vampire. “Are you sure?”
“Bloody well positive! Giles, we have to call Giles! I need to know where she is if I’m going to protect her!”

“I’ll call,” Wes picked up Angel’s phone and hit speed dial. After a few minutes, Wes had Giles on the other line. “It’s of the utmost importance that we know where Buffy is…yes, we’re still in charge of Wolfram and Hart. Now Rupert…if you’d just listen…”

“Bloody hell, let me have a go at it,” Spike took the phone from Wes, getting more and more impatient by the minute. The longer they wasted time like, the sooner Angelus got to Buffy. “Listen here Ripper, Angelus is back and he’s going after the slayer. Now you can be nice and tell me where Buffy is, so I can protect her, or I come to England and beat it out of you; but either way, you will tell me where Buffy is. One way or another.”

“Spike?” Disbelief was clear in the watcher’s voice. Giles hadn’t been expecting this at all.  Spike had died along with Sunnydale.  There was no way he could have survived the collapse.  What was he doing talking to him over the phone.

“Yes, it’s really me, Ripper. Now, are you going to tell me where Buffy is or not?”

“How…how did you come back? When did you come back?”

“Story for another time. Right now, I need to know where Buffy is. Angelus is already on his way…”

“Oh, right. Of course,” Giles sighed, pushing away his shock.  He can find out the details of Spike's return later.  Right now, getting to Buffy took top priority.   “Do you have a pen and paper?”

“Right here,” Spike grabbed what he needed from Angel’s desk. Quickly, he jotted down Buffy’s address. “Do me a favor, will you? Call Buffy and warn her about Angelus. Tell her to keep as low of a profile as possible.”

“Yes. I will do that. Would you also want me to tell her that you’re back as well?”

“No. It’s best if I told her myself,” Spike quickly refused the offer. Yes, it would be easier if Giles just told her, but after they had left things in Sunnydale…the news had to come from him. “Just tell her that help is on the way.”

“Spike, before you hang up…I’d like to apologize. My behavior the last month in Sunnydale was inexcusable…”

“You were just trying to protect her. I probably would have done the same thing.”

“But still…” Giles began, feeling the need to be express his guilt.

“Rupert, forget about it. Just do as I ask and we’ll call it even,” Spike sighed, trying to be as patient as possible.

“Oh. Ok, very well the. I’m off to call Buffy now.”

“Take care,” Spike hung up the phone before Giles could reply. To be honest, the apology had surprised him. He hadn’t been expecting it, but it was nice to hear. He would have talked to Giles a bit longer, but time was of the essence. There was no time for small talk. He had to get to Buffy fast.

“What do we do now?” Wes asked, looking at Spike quizzically.

Spike looked out the window, steely determination in his gaze. He knew exactly what to do next. It was the only thing that he could do. “Fire up the jet and rally the team…or rather what’s left of the team together. We’re going to the hell mouth.”

Wes nodded and left Spike alone to his churning thoughts. He was going to see her again. Spike was both excited and nervous. The last time they had been together, she had told him that she had loved him; but he had denied her claim, fearing that she wouldn’t have left him if he had accepted her words as truth. Now he was back and hadn’t bothered to contact her. Yeah, that was out of fear of rejection and the reluctance to interrupt her normal life, but would she understand that, or would she stake him first and ask questions later?

There was also the matter of Angel. His true sire. In order to protect Buffy he may have to stake Angel himself. In fact, he was almost sure of it. Sure, Buffy could do it herself, but killing Angel the first time had nearly destroyed her. Spike was not going to let her go through that again. Sure, that would leave him with out a true sire once again, but she was so much more important to him then that.

Spike found it somewhat ironic really. Just when he had thought that they could work out their differences, Angel had to go lose his soddin soul once again. Shaking his head, feeling somewhat disappointed, Spike headed for his apartment to prepare for the flight to Cleveland, Ohio.