"BLOODY CHIP" Spike shouted to no one in particular, glaring out the window at the retreating pack of freshman he'd attempted to menace. He was lurking in an empty UC Sunnydale classroom - he had planned a nice twilight stroll culminating in a verbal (or actual) spar with the Slayer, but, of course, his new accessory chose to remind him of his new place in the world. Sod that, Spike thought, a man should be able to do what he wants without fear of electrocution.
"Spike?" called a soft, gentle voice. "Is that you? Are you alright?"
Spike cursed inwardly - of course the Witch had found him. The one member of Buffy's gang with supernatural powers. The one with whom he had the least amount of quarrel and against whom he had no desire to fight.
"What, love, don't I look alright?" he responded, watching Willow enter the room. Her eyes darted about nervously as she adjusted to the darkness, though her stance remained neutral - shoulders square within a garishly floral-printed blouse, feet planted in sensible flat shoes.
"Sorry to intrude, I was on my way to meet... someone, and I thought I heard you yell." Willow seemed to be satisfied that Spike wasn't going to attack her, her face relaxing in to a smile. A charming smile, Spike thought ruefully. A witch's smile. "Chip giving you trouble?" Willow continued, a hint of sympathy in her tone.
"Nothing I can't handle, don't worry your pretty little head about it." Spike replied, moving towards one of the combined desk and chair apparatuses favored by educational institutions these days. Blasted torture devices, Spike thought derisively as he struggled to fold himself in to the necessary position to sit. It took more effort and coordination than he was willing to allow Willow to witness him struggling through.
“What brings you out and about this fine evening?” Spike queried. “Full moon making you nostalgic?” Willow winced at this subtle dig, her expression falling so fast Spike was surprised he didn’t hear a clatter on the floor. He was startled to note tendrils of remorse chewing at the pit of his stomach – more side effects of the damned chip? Had those Initiative idiots really been that thorough?
“That’s harsh, Spike. Oz…” she faltered, taking a moment before smoothing her features back in to a small smile. “Well, anyway, like I said – on my way to a meeting.”
“Ahh yes, a secret late night rendezvous. Because those always seem to end so well for you Scoobies.” Spike shot Willow an attempt at a placating grin – his version of an olive branch. The grin turned in to a grimace as the implications of his new situation dawned on him. Apparently he now felt remorse at torturing people, both psychologically and physically, on top of the pain from the chip itself. Well that’s another reputation shot to hell, Spike mused. Some Big Bad you are. He’d prefer just the pain.
Willow seemed to recognize his internal struggle, making a soft noise of empathy as she moved to sit at the desk next to him.
“So you care about us now, huh?” She gently teased. “I don’t know, I could get used to this Chipped Spike. Unless you’re thinking of trying to attack me again, of course.” Her fidgeting with the gaudy bauble of her horrid necklace betrayed the lightness of her tone. No accounting for taste, but at least I still make her nervous, Spike thought fondly. Bloody hell, fondly? This would have to stop. Unless…
"Say, here’s a novel idea.” Spike offered. “What about if you and I bugger our respective plans and meet with each other instead?” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “The night is young, after all.”
Willow’s eyes widened in a combination of mild horror and sympathy. "Oh, Spike... I'm oddly flattered, though also a little bit creeped out." She paused, her eyebrows furrowing in consternation. “I’m sure with the chip’s help, you will one day be a halfway decent person.” The corner of her mouth quirked up at the thought, as if even she didn’t believe it.
Spike snorted. “Dream on, Red. You know I’m not that easy, though I kind of thought you might be.” He considered her, eyes narrowing. “Something’s gotten in to you, hasn’t it? Love spell gone awry?”
“Funny you should put it that way,” Willow said, barking out a mirthless laugh. She appeared to be fighting an internal battle at her next words, reluctance radiating from her every pore. “Look, can you keep a secret? I haven’t even been able to talk to Buffy about this yet…” Willow’s eyes keenly searched his face for answers.
“My lips are sealed,” Spike assured, though a small bloom of intrigue erupted in his chest. The next best thing to a warm body and willing blood source was scandalous information for future leverage. If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em!
“Well… I’ve sort of been… seeing someone.” Willow squeezed her eyes shut. “And that someone may be another witch… and they are a she.” She finished with a rush.
Now THAT is interesting. Not a bad visual, either... but damn it all the same. Spike fought against the impulse to laugh, instead composing himself into the picture nonchalance and indifference. “Good for you, girl on girl. Every man’s fantasy.”
“Spike, please!” Willow cried. “This isn’t a joke or to give you any ideas, this is real. Do you understand what I am saying?”
“Yes, yes, of course” Spike replied, impatience hiding his disappointment. “You’re a bird who likes other birds. Not the first, and certainly won’t be the last."
Willow gaped at him. “You mean… You know what, never mind. I’m not going to push it. Just please, don’t say anything to the others just yet? I don’t know how to tell them, I’m a scared of what they’ll say.”
“Your delivery could use some work, to be sure,” Spike quipped. “Don’t worry about it, Red, I couldn’t give a damn anyhow. Go to her, I’m sure she’ll wonder where you’ve gotten off to.”
Willow’s face split in to a wide smile. “Thanks, Spike. This is unexpectedly and uncharacteristically great of you.” She walked to the door of the classroom before pausing, her body already halfway in the hall. “Her name is Tara, by the way. I’m sure she’d like to meet you.”
“Whoa, slow down there. One Witch is more than enough in my life, no matter how hot the action.”
Willow laughed softly. “Whatever you say, Spike. Have a good night!” She waved cheerily as she practically skipped down the hall like the silly schoolgirl she still was. Alone at last… again.
Spike returned his gaze to the window, noticing the smattering of stars beginning to appear over the horizon. To anyone who asked, he would blame the entirety of this exchange on the chip’s inexplicable power. This is what conscience did to people, right? Made them want? Made them feel?
There was a rustle in the bushes outside, and Spike’s keen senses alerted him to the Slayer’s presence. Yes, there she was, bathed in moonlight and crouching next to some honeysuckle. Maybe this night wasn’t a total bust after all. With one last look at Willow’s vacated desk, Spike turned and exited the classroom. The night was calling with new purpose, for no matter where he went or for how long he hid, there would always be the Slayer.