Meanwhile back in Sunnydale, December 2000 For those wondering what was happening with Spike, Lizzy and the Scoobies.
It was almost Christmas. Joyce had returned home five weeks before from the hospital to recover from her surgery aided by Spike, and Lizzy rather than by Spike, and Buffy. Spike had wanted to go back to his crypt, but Joyce had insisted he stay because she was still worried about Glory, and protecting Dawn. Then she wasn´t quite comfortable with Lizzy yet. Spike she knew, and trusted, and he got along well with Dawn. Though she looked like her daughter, the girl from the past was so different from Buffy, it was very unnerving to her, even though Lizzy tried hard to fit into this future world. She was so shy, and timid, afraid to go anywhere without an escort. When she wasn´t helping Joyce, or doing household things, she stayed in her room, and read. Watching television, or videos unnerved her, but she did like listening to the classical musical station. Though she would willingly go to the Magic Box, she resisted going out with the gang to the Bronze, or on patrol which was a big problem which meant the gang, and Spike had to do it in her place.
Giles had stepped up her training, but she had no fighting spirit whatsover, or any desire to have any. She still had Buffy´s strength, stamina, and was able to fight when pushed, she just refused to. The thought of fighting vampires, and other creatures terrified her. Even looking through the reference books was almost enough to make her faint, or cringe back, and hurriedly close the book. Giles was totally mystified as to why, or how she had been called to be a slayer in her own time. She was displaying behavior totally opposite of that in the original journals that had described her slaying career in the 1880´s. The only thing that the Scoobies had been able to figure out was that the trip into the future, and revelations from the hidden archives of the Watcher´s Council had so traumatized her that she was rejecting everything slayer related including them. It was like she was creating a bubble around herself to keep everything out she couldn´t cope with which was rapidly becoming a long list.
Once she understood the real nature of Willow, and Tara´s relationship she was horrified, and appalled. It had taken a week after Anya had bluntly announced the situation to her that Lizzy could even face the lesbian witches, or be in the same room with them. As it was she always sat away from them, and was uncomfortable with any demonstrations of their closeness. Which in turn made the witches uncomfortable, especially Tara who tired to make friends with her, but Lizzy rejected all overtures. Anya also unnerved her because of how blunt, and brassy the ex-demoness was, along with her frequent references to sex, and her relationship with Xander. Xander she did get along with, and actually laughed at his jokes. That Lizzy was not fitting in with the Scoobies was clear to everyone. Any mention of Buffy would also upset her too.
Her relationship with Giles was pleasant enough most of the time except when he tried pushing her into taking up her duties. Then she would withdraw into herself, and go hide out in the bathroom, and crya lot. Finally, he had given up, and was seriously thinking of asking Keith to bring Faith to Sunnydale to deal with the slaying duties that Lizzy wouldn´t do. Though he hadn´t yet discussed this possibility with the group yet, he was going to because the vampire, and demon population was growing noticeably, and the team even with Spike just wasn´t enough to do the job.
In LA Angel had come back, but had put Wesley in charge of the group. There was still an uneasy truce between Wesley, Cordy, and Faith because of events over the last couple of years. The physical wounds may have healed, but the emotional ones were still just under the surface with both Angel and Keith having to play peacemaker between the three. Darla and Drusilla, with their new consorts of Riley, and Lindsey continued to evade the groups´ grasp. They were seemingly laying low for awhile, and no underworld sources had information on their present whereabouts.
Mercifully, it had been quiet on the Glory front since the switch. Giles wasn´t sure what that meant. The Council was still digging for information, but nothing really useful had surfaced. Given that Lizzy refused to fight, he wasn´t sure how effective she would be against the Hell Goddess when she appeared again. This worried everyone. Though she was bonding with Dawn, and a little with Joyce, she did not have Buffy´s innate protectiveness towards family, friends, and the larger world. The slayer from the past tried to ignore the larger world, and people as much as possible.
The relationship between Spike, and Lizzy was strained on a number of levels. He was still in love with Buffy, and was not going to renew a relationship with his former fiancée under any circumstances. He still cling to the hope that somehow the two girls would get switched back, and this was not a permanent state of affairs despite the unearthed hidden journals that showed that he as William had gotten together with Buffy, married, and had a family together. He could not believe it because he still existed in the future as a vampire as did the others of his vampire family. According to the journals Buffy had managed to kill Angelus, Darla, and Drusilla, ending the line of Aurelius through them. No one at the Council had been able to figure out what the existence of these journals meant, and how two, seemingly separate timelines could have happened/ were happening. Since the vampires that were killed in the past still lived, and the two girls seemingly never switched in the original diaries, and Spike and Angel´s memories clearly remembered Lizzy dying in the past, everyone was thoroughly confused, and hoped an explaination would be eventually be found. Meanwhile the only thing they could do is accept the status quo.
Lizzy on her part had been overjoyed to see her William again, and had accepted him as a vampire. She had wanted to take up where they left off once she had gotten over her initial shock of being in the future in someone else´s body along with that person being a slayer, and what that job entailed. It was after the revelations of her past that she started to withdraw into herself. She now knew in her original timeline that she would never see William again once she was chosen. He would never recover from her disappearance, and he would try to love a society girl who would then reject him. In his pain be would run into Drusilla, and be turned. As a slayer she would try to hunt Angelus, and his crew, but instead would die at the hands of the vampires. The alternative past with William, and Buffy in her body didn´t make her any happier, because she wasn´t the one having the life she had wanted with him. Whether in the past, or present she still wasn´t going to be with the man she had loved. And it was clear that Spike no longer loved her. Cared about her welfare, and was willing to help her adjust to her life, but beyond that he wouldn´t betray Buffy, even though it was clear that Buffy had fallen in love with his past self which was eating at him as he had no memories of such a thing happening, and wished he had.
At home at Joyce´s Spike, and Lizzy had reached compromises about personal space, and their relationship. She would talk to him, and trusted his explanations of how things worked in this future time as he could translate it into terms she could understand from her perspective in time. Beyond that he would not allow anything more that simple friendship between them. He kept to it despite efforts on her part to change his mind. Finally she had accepted the state of things between them, but she still grieved for the loss of his love. In an attempt to get her over him he had tried to get her to interact with the gang more, and other people, but she steadfastly refused to.
Willow had ended up unenrolling Buffy from her college classes because the busy, active campus life of UCA Sunnydale was too overwhelming for Lizzy to deal with, especially the mixed sex classes when she tried going with Willow and Tara to fill in for Buffy. She did however begin studying on her own from Buffy´s books, and ones Giles, and Willow loaned with the goal of if´ the situation did indeed prove to be permanent that she would try going back to school when she could cope with people. She began to use Joyce´s home computer, and was showed the wonders of the Internet. That was the only modern device outside of microwaves, and phones, she was comfortable with.
If they didn´t need an active, fully functioning slayer Lizzy´s withdraw from the world wouldn´t have been a problem as it was a Scoobie meeting minus Lizzy was called to discuss options before they did have a crisis that they could happen.
"I understand what you´re saying, Giles, but do we really need Faith?" Willow asked, the older man.
"Red, we´ve been over this. Lizzy isn´t going to slay. I have talked to her until I am bloody blue in the face, and she won´t budge. She´s just as stubborn as Buffy was when she gets something in her head. The idea of slaying terrifies her, and we all saw how she almost got killed that night on patrol when that Haffor demon jumped us. I couldn´t get her out of her room for three days after that. The other slayer is the only answer especially if Glory tries anything. Lizzy will just cower in the corner," Spike told the group, leaning back in chair at the study table.
"I know you, and Xander have issues with her, Willow, as I do. But if Wesley, and Cordelia can overcome their problems with her, surely we as a group can? We can not live the Hellmouth unprotected, even though we all are doing our best we aren´t up to the task. So far none of us have been hurt seriously, but without Spike more than a few times, we wouldn´t be sitting here, and you know it," Giles said serious, taking off his glasses.
Willow looked down at her hands in her lap, and nodded, having to agree with him on that point. Her own powers were growing, and she had been using magic more and more to fight with, but she knew she wasn´t a substitute for a slayer none of them were. "Okay, Giles, make the call. But are you sure that they will come here? Faith likes hanging with Angel, and she´s not wild about us either. She does know about Lizzy is not Buffy, I hope," Willow asked.
"Yes, I told Keith, and he filled everyone in. Since this happened he has also been trying to find ways to help us get the two girls switched back with his own sources. With the current crisis we have been staying in close communication. Neither of us want to get blind sided by events taking place," Giles told her and the group.
What he wasn´t telling the Scoobies was that he, and Keith had already discussed the problem, and he and Faith would be arriving in Sunnydale tonight. Angel was going to let them use the Crawford Street mansion since he still owned it, so they wouldn´t have to stay with Giles, or in a motel. Surprisingly, Faith had been cool with the idea. Keith had made arrangements for his belongings and Faith´s at his condo, and at the hotel to be moved in before they arrived, and Giles had taken care of food and other necessities. The Slayer, and the Watcher would not come to the shop until in the morning.
"So where are they going to stay? Faith´s old digs?" Xander asked, grabbing a slice of pizza from one of the boxes on the table.
"No, arrangements will be made for them to stay at Angel´s old place. It is not being used currently and is large enough that for their needs," Giles explained.
"Peaches kept the bloody place? I´m not going to be going over there making house calls. I can´t stand the bleeding place too many bad memories.," Spike spoke up, and he could tell that the core Scoobies agreed with him too.
"I understand that. Hopefully you won´t have to," Giles replied, having his own bad memories of the place as well.
"So how soon do you expect them to show up?" Spike asked, looking at him indifferently to mask his mixed feelings at running into the other slayer again, and having to work with her.
"Maybe as soon as tomorrow morning. And we will welcome Faith," Giles told them emphasizing the words, and looking disgustedly at their shame faced expressions before he continued. "She has changed considerably with her time in jail, along with Keith and Angel working with her, and helping her adjust. Part of the problem before was her rivalry with Buffy, and feeling like she didn´t belong. Faith is not as tough inside as she makes out to be. Wesley, and I both didn´t see that, so she became the monster she was by our neglect of her human needs. I will not allow that to happen, is that understood?" Giles said, specifically looking at Willow, and Xander.
There were yes, sirs" all around the table and Giles nodded, glad to see his point had been gotten. "Good, now I´m going to go call Keith. So I guess this meeting is adjourned," he told them, and the group got up, and quickly left except for Spike who wanted to talk to the watcher alone.
"What do you want me to tell Lizzy? I think she and Joyce needs to be warned about the other bird coming in and taking over her job," Spike asked getting up from his chair to talk.
"Whatever you feel that is appropriate, Spike. She does need to understand that she is being replaced because she has failed to do her duty. Maybe that will snap her out of this whatever. Just do, what you think since she´s living with you," Giles said, maybe a bit harshly, as he had tried earlier in the day to get the girl to train and take up her duties and had met with total apathy before she had stormed out of the shop to go back to Joyce´s.
"She not 'living with me'don´t even say that! She, and I we´re just staying at Joyce´s to help out. Living together means a whole different thing which I have no intentions of doing with Lizzy, or anyone else. I may be a monster, but I respect Buffy and Lizzy, and am not going to make this more complicated for either," Spike told the man defensively.
"I know, Spike. This whole mess has me on edge too. With Faith coming I am just hoping this is not going to be a mistake," he confined in the vampire since the others had left.
"I can´t see how it could be. We need a bloody slayer, Rupert. Lizzy won´t do it, and if this Faith is willing to come back here after all the shit that came down last time to her, it shows she has guts. I never met her in the flesh, I only saw her in Buffy´s body at the Bronze. She´s got fire. I just hoped she´s learned control. I´ll work with her, but she´s got to work with me, and you know that´s not easy at times," the vampire told him seriously.
"I´m quite aware, but you, like Faith have adapted and grown a lot."
"Because I wanted to, and because of Buffy. She was the one willing to give me a chance, and see that I had changed. And she was brave enough to love me back," Spike replied, his voice betraying how much he was still missing his golden girl.
"Yes. I miss her too. Having Lizzy is just not the same. We will find the missing ring and the answers. At least we know that Buffy in her time recovered it, and wore it. Then it was passed to her oldest daughter. So far the Council hasn´t been able to locate any trace of these children that your human self, and she had. They will keep looking," Giles reassured him.
"For once I believe them. Hope they find something soon so we can figure whether they were for real, or not. I still can´t believe I was a father in that other life. I wanted to be back before I was turned. Lizzy, and I had all these plans what we were going to do. Then with Buffy I began to regret being a vampire wishing I was human, she wasn´t a slayer, and I could give her a life--everything. Probably sound like a real pounce, don´t I? But meeting Buffy, getting to know her, and wanting to be more than what I had become has been the best thing that ever happened to me. I don´t regret any of it," Spike told him sincerely.
Giles shook his head in amazement, though he was getting used to hearing such things from the vampire. He was finally believing that Spike did love Buffy that much, and that he was willing to change for her, even without her being there to protect her family and friends because he wanted to. It would have been difficult a human man to do so given the circumstances, as a vampire without a soul it was unheard of in Watchers history. He now had the most profound respect for Spike now as did the others of the group.
"I´m glad. You going to patrol first before you go home?" Giles asked.
"I´ll make a quick sweep so I can get back early enough to have a family discussion with the ladies. Nibblet´s got a test in history I promised to help her with, and Joyce´s medication tends to knock her out early, and she needs to know Faith is coming seeing what happened last time. I don´t know what Lizzy´s reaction´s going to be. She´ll either be tickled pink that the pressure is off her, or go off to her room in bloody tears because she´s being replaced. I really can´t say anymore. And I got to stop at the store too, almost forgot that. Joyce gave me a grocery list. Lizzy still can´t do American money that good, and has no clue what to get. I´m still working on her living in this world skills," Spike rambled on, while Giles smiled at the domesticated vampire.
"Just let me know how it goes, and I´ll call you when I know they´re here," he assured him.
"Right, night, Rup´," Spike told him as he left, his duster tails swirling behind him, while Giles turned to the counter to get the phone, and call the other Watcher.
End Part 48
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