As Spike and Buffy pulled out of their embrace, Giles stood up and stepped closer to them, wagging his glasses in his hand as he did so.
“Just what on earth is going on?” he demanded. “Buffy, I must say, your behavior is deeply concerning, and Spike – well, I’m really not sure you’re helping the situation at all.”
“You’ve just said you know nothing of the situation,” said Spike. “So why don’t you pipe down, Watcher.”
Before Giles could speak again, Buffy interjected more quietly saying, “Really Giles, you don’t understand. He’s the only one that helps. The only one holding me and Dawn together.”
Obviously taken back at her words, even though he wasn’t sure he fully agreed with them, Spike took a moment to revel in how they made him feel. The Slayer, standing up for him, who would have thought it? Did he really keep Dawn and Buffy together? He certainly tried to help, but he thought he’d ruined his casual friendship with Dawn, and–
Suddenly remembering his mental note from earlier in the day, Spike realized she still wasn’t in the house. He must have looked really worried, because Buffy was staring at him like she was going to cry again.
Pushing his concerns aside and forcing a small smile, he told her, “I’m just going to look for Niblet,” then placed a nervous kiss on her hand before making his way back into the hall.
“Yeah,” said Buffy lamely as she watched Spike leave, trying and failing to pretend she wasn’t bothered by said leaving, or by the fact that she’d not even once questioned where her teenage sister was.
As soon as the front door was closed, Giles began questioning her again, deeper than before, but with less of an edge.
Admitting defeat, Buffy slumped into a chair and resolved to explain everything to him properly.
“You’re trying to infiltrate our little gang, is that it?” Warren pressed. “You’ve already got to Jonathan, and now you’re working on the rest of us.” He turned around to address Andrew. “Do you know what this means?”
“Uh, that we’re cool?” Andrew hedged.
“That we’re a threat,” affirmed Warren. “Buffy’s scared of us.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” said Jonathan. “If Buffy was scared of you, why would she send Dawn to confront you on her own?”
Realizing it was a good point, Warren paused to think about it. “She must be wired,” he concluded. “Or carrying weapons. Let’s search her.”
“Wait!” cried Dawn. “I’m not doing anything. There’s no big plan. I just thought hanging out here would annoy Buffy and, and–” she looked away, ashamed, before finishing her admission in a quiet voice. “I thought maybe then I’d feel better.”
While Warren was intrigued, he still wasn’t completely convinced. “Why do you wanna hurt your sister?” he questioned.
“No!” Exclaimed Dawn. Her eyes shot up to meet his again. “Not hurt! Just… annoy, a little.”
“Why?” repeated Warren, his tone steely.
“Because of the baby,” she blurted. “Buffy’s crazy and pregnant and I’m not going to matter to her anymore. She already doesn’t care about me!”
Andrew made ‘Aww’ sounds at the revelation while Jonathan looked at her with concern. Both of them jumped when Warren started maniacally laughing.
“This is perfect!” he declared, rubbing his hands together. “There’s nothing I love more than a weakened opponent.”
“I don’t understand,” said Tara. “Buffy just kicked you out? That doesn’t sound like her.”
“Well, no,” said Willow, fiddling with the hem of her shirt. “There wasn’t kicking, exactly, but she said that if I was really that bothered by her and Spike then I could leave.”
Tara’s eyes widened. “Buffy and Spike are together?”
“Kinda. Y’know, since the whole pregnancy thing came out.”
“Whoa!” Tara stood up. “Pregnancy?”
Guilt flooded Willow’s expression as she looked up into Tara’s eyes and realized she hadn’t even tried to keep her in the loop.
Horrified by Warren’s attitude and really regretting her ill-conceived plan, Dawn exclaimed aloud, “What’s wrong with you?”
Warren stopped laughing and hauled her up again. “Do you think you can talk to me like that?”
“Warren, stop,” Jonathan pleaded.
“Really? Again with the false heroics? What is it with you two? Defending each other.” Warren shook his head. “I mean it’s sweet, really. I bet you’ll cry when I have a little fun with Dawn, here. Hey, sweet cheeks, you ever been with a real man?”
“What?!” Dawn screeched, her eyes scanning the room for an escape, or a weapon, before coming up empty and returning to meet Warren’s glare. He was not joking. “You’re sick! Let me go!”
For resisting, Warren struck her across the cheek. It was mere moments before Spike started hammering on the barrier to the open front door upstairs. With that distraction in place, Jonathan shoved Warren one way and then pushed Dawn in the direction of the basement steps, telling her to run.
“And that’s pretty much it,” Buffy concluded. “We don’t know if I’m pregnant with a demon baby, or not pregnant at all. Maybe I was, but I….” She looked away, unable or unwilling to finish. Perhaps both.
Giles was speechless. Whatever he expected, it wasn’t that. There was another half-formed question on his lips when Buffy spoke again, to ask him not to research her situation. He was going to argue, of course, but then Spike walked in with a crying Dawn in his arms. Giles was horrified when Buffy didn’t immediately get up and try to see what the problem was but, more confusingly, Spike seemed to take it all in his stride.