“How did I get here?”
How many times has Spike asked that question? More times than Buffy can count and she’s pretty sure that somewhere in the back of her mind she’s been trying to keep track, hoping there’s a magic number where it will be the very last time.
She remembers her answer the first time. It was “I don’t know.”
But days and days of fractured ramblings and shifting sanity have given her enough bits and pieces that today’s answer is “You were in Africa. You came back here because you got your soul.”
There’s a mug of blood in her hand – the stash in the fridge courtesy of Willow, the only one who understands why, after everything, Buffy is willing to take care of Spike – and she hands it to him.
As much as every day starts the same way, they never quite go the same direction. Willow tells her that even amnesia and insanity can’t keep someone from reacting to the subtle differences in each minute that isn’t the same as the one yesterday.
Amnesia. That’s what Spike has, Willow told her, only it’s backwards – some technical name Buffy can’t remember and doesn’t care about anyway. Giving it a name doesn’t change it and Willow doesn’t know how to fix it. Vampires are different, she says, and then there’s the chip.
The unspoken whisper of a question: What about magic?
Buffy never asks it and she can see the relief in Willow’s eyes whenever they meet.
That could change, though, and they both know it.
There’s trouble coming. Big, apocalyptic trouble. She can smell it in the air, feel it as the itch under her skin.
“Hurts,” Spike whimpers. “Why does it hurt?”
She fights exasperation because she knows he has no idea how many times he’s made that same observation in one way or another.
Tomorrow there will be more forgetting and he will ask again.
Tomorrow the trouble might come, and then the world will need the Slayer and she’ll have to choose.
How long has it been since she’s even gone on a nightly patrol? It’s not as if she can leave him alone.
That can’t last much longer, though Willow assures her that she’s doing just fine at keeping up with the vamp slaying and the demon wrangling
She doesn’t talk about Xander or Anya.
Buffy doesn’t ask about them either.
It’s a precarious way to live and it’s too fragile. Sooner or later...
With a sigh she takes Spike’s hand, memorizing the temperature of his skin.
Today might be the last day she touches him.
Because a Spike lost to eternal forgetting is a Spike who could take the whole world into the dark with him… and that… that…
Buffy is the Slayer.
Tomorrow she might have to do her job.
She keeps hold of Spike’s hand.
Tomorrow, if there’s still time, she will ask a question. If there isn’t…