"Alone at last!" Spike fairly yelled as he kicked open the door of his crypt. He was carrying a large bundle draped in an old tarp. If anyone had examined the object carefully, a dainty, high-heeled foot would have been noticed peeking from the edge of the covering.
He quickly put his burden down on the moth-eaten sofa in his lair and whipped the canvas away to reveal a perfect duplicate of Buffy Summers.
"Warren, mate, you are one phenomenal artist," he said in appreciation as his eyes roved over the robot. If the real Slayer wouldn't give him the time of day, he'd make his own fun. And, best of all, since his new toy wasn't human, he could even spar with her without the fear of a mind-numbing migraine. Unlife was starting to look pretty darn good again. Strangely, though, he was feeling a bit nervous about his first encounter with the robot.
"Cor, Spike," he said to himself, a habit he'd acquired since he was living alone and the Scoobies would no longer speak to him, "get a grip and just flip the silly switch. It's not like she's going to reject you... again."
He took a deep breath then quickly clicked the tiny switch behind the Slayer's right ear. Instantly, her eyes opened.
"Hello, luv. Had a nice rest?" he purred at the now conscious living doll.
"Yes. I am fully rested," she responded in a strangely even tone.
Spike sat beside her on the couch and gazed into her hazel eyes, realizing that he could finally have what he'd wanted for so many months. A smile flickered briefly on his face, but it was quickly replaced by a frown. There was something wrong. Without ceremony, he turned off the robot, threw the tarp over it, slung the dead weight over his shoulder, and went back out into the night.
"WARREN!" Spike hollered as he beat on the door. "GET OUT HERE!"
A few moments later a terrified Warren opened the door a crack.
"Is there, uh, a problem?"
"Yes, there's a bloody problem! You need to fix her!"
Warren was startled that something had gone wrong with his work. His professional honor, what there was of it, in question, he opened the door and allowed Spike in. Spike plopped the pseudo-Slayer on the couch and glared at the other man.
"What's wrong with her?"
"Her eyes! They're the wrong color!"
Warren activated the robot and looked carefully into its eyes. "They're hazel, just like in the photograph."
"No, they're not. There's too much brown and not enough green," Spike said as though he were explaining something a two-year-old would have noticed.
"Oh. Well, I can do something about that," Warren said as he silently thought that the other man had completely lost his marbles.
About an hour later, Spike was back in his crypt with the newly repaired robot. Once again, he flipped the switch behind her right ear.
"There we are. Much better," Spike said as he looked into perfect replicas of Buffy's eyes. "Well, now that's settled, what would you like to do tonight, Slayer?"
"Whatever you want to do is what I want to do," she replied in a very cheerful tone of voice.
He certainly couldn't find fault with that response. Sliding beside her on the couch, he gently ran his hand over her blonde hair. She looked just lovely in the candlelight. Just... he frowned.
"WARREN!" Spike roared as he once more pounded on the door.
The robot's inventor was quite startled to find the blond man on his doorstep once again.
"You've got another alteration to make," Spike said as he pushed past him into the living room, dropping the robot onto the couch again.
"The eyes still aren't right?"
"No, the eyes are fine," he said in exasperation. "It's the hair."
Warren looked at it critically. "I'm sorry, but I can't see what exactly is wrong with it."
"Her roots aren't showing. They should be about a third of an inch long," Spike complained. "And not only that, but hers is shinier, with a bit more bounce to it. And it's softer. And more goldeny. This robot's got a mop like straw!"
Warren sighed and went to work making the requested modifications. The guy wanted a girl with her roots up? Yup, definitely bonkers.
"Take three of 'A Night of Passion'," Spike muttered to himself as he once more crossed the threshold of his home, Robo-Buffy in tow. Once again he plopped himself down on the couch next to his new companion and activated her.
"There now, that's a bit more like it," he said as he stroked her newly refurbished locks. "How you doing, pet?"
"I am fine. It is very considerate of you to ask," she replied in her chipper voice.
"Well, now, where were we?" he said as he focused on her lips. Her lips… oh, dash it all!
For the third time that night, Warren confronted the strange customer on his porch.
"There's another problem, I take it?" he said in a voice that, despite his fear of the weirdo, was beginning to sound unmistakably aggravated.
"No, I keep walking over here to get my exercise. Once again, Warren, you have goofed," Spike said as he dumped the Slayer on the couch. "Her lips. Wrong color, wrong shape."
"But I followed the photograph..." he started to say before Spike cut him off.
"Her lips are poutier, and they're a deeper shade of red. More like claret wine," Spike barked as he began to pace back and forth in frustration while waiting for Warren to work on her.
"Alright, this time everything is going to be perfect," Spike promised himself as he once again entered his lair. The robot started up perfectly. Eyes, check. Hair, check. Lips, check. He sighed in contentment.
"Well now, that should be our last interruption. Here, let me slip off your shoes and give you a little foot massage," he said as he removed her pink stilettos. Her toes were absolutely perfect, feeling wonderful in his hands. Except… oh, bloody hell…
He hadn't even bothered to go back to bed after the last visit. "What is it this time?"
"You've given her feet like boats! They must be at least two sizes too big. Not only that, but I know for a fact she has a mole on the bottom of her left foot. Saw it when she kicked me last summer without her shoes on."
Warren sighed. It was going to be a long night.
Spike had inspected the robot before he left Warren's home in order to make another trip to the inventor's home unnecessary. He had also insisted that the elbows were too bony, the ankles not chubby enough, the neck too long by a quarter of an inch, and the nail polish a shade that the Slayer wouldn't be caught dead in. After bidding Warren a none too fond adieu, he had whisked his new possession back to his lair once again. She was now an absolutely perfect physical replica of Buffy.
"Hello again, cutie," he cooed as her hazel eyes fluttered open. "That should be the last mad dash tonight. Now, why don't we have a bit of a chat, just you and me. Get acquainted, like."
"Okey-dokey." He frowned at the choice of words but decided that one little vocabulary problem wasn't going to send him running back to Dr. Frankenstein yet again. "What would you like to talk about?"
A woman who let him pick the topic of conversation? Warren, he thought silently, I take it all back. You are a miracle worker.
"Well, why don't we start with how you feel about me?" he said, knowing she had been programmed to find him irresistible.
"You are Spike. You are my boyfriend. You are the most perfect specimen of mankind on the planet," she intoned in a singsong.
Oh, this was going to be a wonderful evening.
"Please, continue," he said, relishing her complete adoration.
"You are wonderful, superb, breathtaking, astonishing, amazing, fantastic…" she continued to give synonyms for perfection until she ran out of adjectives.
It should have been exactly what he wanted to hear, but something was already starting to bother him: her voice. She sounded like a cross between a chipmunk and a kindergarten teacher. His eyes slowly started to glaze over as he began to realize she was listing off his qualities in the same tone of voice as that woman on "Romper Room" used to say "I see Billy and Tommy and Susie and…" He shivered involuntarily as he added "Spikey" to the list. This was worse than Harmony.
"WARREN! MAKE HER TALK LIKE AN EFFIN' HUMAN BEING!"
After the impromptu surgery which succeeded in giving the robot a slightly less annoying tone to her voice, Spike was feeling incredibly overwrought. The evening, to say the least, was not going as planned. He sat next to the once-again-activated robot and rubbed his temples.
"I am thoroughly tense," he pouted.
"Oh, poor baby," the look-alike said sympathetically. "Would you like to..."
The next words out of her lips made Spike's eyes increase to three times their normal size as he gave a giant blink of shock.
"Oh for crying out loud, what is it now?" Warren said, throwing caution to the wind. It was obvious he was probably going to die from sleep deprivation anyway.
"What were you thinking when you made this thing!"
"Alright, slowly, what is it this time?"
Spike had already deposited the robot on the kitchen floor and was rubbing his lower back. Hefting the Slayer around town was starting to twist his spine into knots.
"Well, uh..." he paused and would have blushed if it had been possible.
"Spit it out already."
"She... she... propositioned me," he said so quietly the words were almost inaudible.
Warren looked at him in disbelief. "This is a problem? What did you want her to do? Your bookkeeping?"
"Look, I've dealt with professional girls who used a less direct approach. Couldn't you give her a bit of… modesty or something? I mean, the Slayer isn't some bimbo."
"You know, I don't think this is working out too well for you. How about I return your money and we drop the whole thing?"
"I never gave you any money," Spike said shortly.
"Then I'll pay you to go away," Warren said desperately.
Spike shook his head slowly. He simply couldn't take the possibility that he would be going back to his empty crypt, knowing full well that not one creature on the face of the earth cared whether he continued to exist or not. "I'm sorry I've been so rude to you. Please, would you just try one more time? I give you my word I won't bother you again." His words were so soft that they were actually more painful to the heart than tears would have been.
"She must be some girl," Warren said as he began to reprogram the robot once again.
"Yeah. That she is, mate. That she is."
It had been two weeks since Spike had gotten the robot. Absolutely nothing had happened between them, and that's the way he wanted it to stay. There were moments he could fool himself into believing she actually cared about him, but they were few and far between. Slowly but surely, the robot became a constant reminder that he was, in fact, utterly alone. There were times he found himself thinking of Drusilla. Had she chosen the companionship of her dolls because she needed desperately to be loved in a way he hadn't been able to? Would he eventually become as deranged as she was? He sighed quietly.
"Are you okay?" said a familiar voice.
"Yeah, pet. Just a bit lonely. Why not come over and sit by me for a minute?"
Buffy looked at him in disbelief.
"Spike, have you lost your mind?"
It took him a moment to register what had actually happened. He turned around to find the real Buffy standing in the doorway. Her robotic replacement was still in the basement of the crypt.
"What do you want with me? Looking for somebody to use as an emotional tackling dummy again?" he said bitterly.
"I... I haven't seen you around in a while, and, as bizarre as this sounds, I started to worry about you. Did you actually say you were lonely a minute ago?" she said as she did, in fact, sit down next to him.
No. Warren could never hope to get the light behind her eyes right. He doubted that Da Vinci could have.
"Look, I still don't trust you, and I am deeply of the not happy about that whole chaining-me-up-and-having-Drusilla-kill-me thing."
He winced. That had definitely not been his most shining hour. He'd regretted it immediately, not that that fixed things.
"But, I was thinking about it, and I realized you'd done a heck of a lot of kind things for me and the rest of the gang and I never once bothered to thank you for any of them. Look, if you give me your word that you won't do anything like that ever again, the Scoobies and I are prepared to call a truce again. You break your word, chip or not, no one will be able to tell you from your cigarette ashes. Agreed?"
As much as Spike would have liked to play it cool, he was too thrilled not to respond immediately with "agreed."
"Fine. Be at the Magic Box tonight at 8:00," she said as she walked out the door.
Spike couldn't bring himself to destroy the robot who had been his only friend, but he also knew he couldn't keep her around. He gave it an affectionate pat on the head and tried to think of a pleasant retirement for the not quite human. Suddenly, a grin spread across his face as he had the perfect idea.
The next weekend, a very odd thing happened. A brand new audio animatronic robot showed up in the Haunted House ride at Disneyland: a blonde teenager who appeared to be fighting the imaginary ghosts and goblins. Nobody could explain how it had gotten there, but one thing was certain. The female robot seemed perfectly happy making the park's guests smile.