After three days of making very little progress, Giles was at the end of his tether.
“Buffy simply cannot function without a soul,” he said, to no one in particular. “We need to solve this as soon as possible.”
Xander threw a glance at Spike, who snapped at him, “What?”
“Well, it’s just, you know…” he shifted in his seat. “How come Buffy can’t function without a soul, but you could? Kinda hating myself for saying this, but you were almost human for a while.”
“I have a theory on that, actually,” said Giles, but Spike stood up and started pacing again, effectively silencing him.
“Is your theory gonna help Buffy? Because, if not, I don’t want to hear it. We have to help her now. All this is taking too long.”
The watcher was deeply affected by the pleading in Spike’s whole demeanor. “Yes, quite right,” he agreed, “That’s what I was saying – time is of the essence. We need to minimize the amount of stress placed on both Buffy and the baby.”
Spike growled. “Lot of words to state the obvious – again – watcher, but what do we do?”
The room went quiet, not a single suggestion left between the whole group.
“Bloody hell. Give her my soul, if it’ll help!”
“We can’t do that,” Willow interjected, then looked at Giles for confirmation, “Can we?”
“Perhaps,” he considered.
“Argh!” Spike raged. “Just do it. Find a way and just bloody do it.”
“Damn,” said Xander, when he stomped out of the room. “Has he always been like this? So…” he paused. “I think the word I’m looking for is… caring? Willing to do anything?”
“Yes,” Willow admitted, ducking her head, “We just didn’t want to see it.”
“Damn,” Harris said again, feeling guilty himself.
Willow sighed and turned the conversation back to Giles. “You’re saying giving Buffy Spike’s soul might be possible? But, how? Souls can’t live in a host other than the one of origin – or so says the book in front of me.”
“The claim,” said Giles, “I believe it exempts the rule. Because they are linked, Spike’s soul would still be tied to him, despite being in Buffy, therefore it should reside quite… ah, happily. I just wish we’d have thought of it sooner.”
“Okay,” said Willow, nodding and not feeling at all sure. “Then we try it, I guess?”
“Yes,” the watcher resolved, suddenly getting to his feet. “We must.”
The spell didn’t take long to prepare, but the hard part had come in convincing the Slayer. She loved and trusted Spike – with or without his soul – but she couldn’t bear to think of him going through that much pain for her. Again.
“Buffy,” he pleaded. “If not for yourself, then do it for the little one, eh?”
She frowned, knowing he had her over a barrel. She’d do anything for their child, but that didn’t mean she had to like it.
“Look,” Spike continued, “We’ll go in our room, just us, the watcher, and Red. And it’ll be over quickly. We have each other to get through it.”
“O-okay,” she stammered, caressing his face with the palm of one hand while the other lay against her bump. Then she turned to Giles, asking if the spell would affect the baby.
“There’s no reason why it should,” he told her, before swallowing his pride and admitting, “It would seem that this is why the Powers wanted you and Spike to mate. They most likely foresaw the attack and put measures in to limit how much damage it could do, providing a way for you to deal with it. You were right to trust your instinct.”
“I know,” said Buffy, her tone full of conviction as she nodded her head towards Spike. “He taught me that.”
Spike couldn’t help but smile. “Time to get this show on the road, then…”
Sat with his legs crossed on one side of his king size bed, Spike faced Buffy who was in a similar position. They held hands and sent silent waves of reassurance to each other through the Link.
When the incantation was done, they screamed in unison and clenched their hands together so hard the skin almost broke. Willow looked traumatized just observing the process of Spike having a part of himself ripped out and transplanted elsewhere. She glanced at Giles for confirmation that everything was going as planned, and he nodded, his lips pulled tight in a line.
Then it was over. Spike and Buffy fell into each other’s arms as the act was complete, and the watcher and Witch stepped outside to give them privacy.