Ten Years After

Chapter 7

Sleep did not come easily to Dawn, despite her busy day; her mind was much too busy going back over the time in Spike’s company. She mentally berated herself again for not trying to find him earlier. During the last weeks in Sunnydale, it had been obvious that Buffy trusted him and had forgiven him for whatever had happened, whether attempted rape as Xander had interpreted it, or something different (after all, Buffy had said later ‘mutually destructive’ – that meant she’d been destroying Spike as well as the other way around).

Dawn had felt that if Buffy was OK with Spike, then maybe she, Dawn, had got some things wrong, and had tried to get back onto their old footing, but there had always been too many people around, and on the odd occasion when she had tried to see him in the basement Buffy had been with him. So she had talked to Spike, but only in a group, and had expected, in the way of teenagers, that he must know that she was no longer angry with him, and everything would be fine after they’d won. Only he had gone up in flames, and she hadn’t been able to talk and laugh with him after they’d won after all.

But she had known for the last eight years or so that he was still around, and she’d been too busy living her own life to try and find out where he was, and now there was so much catching up to do. At least he seemed willing to catch up. She tossed and turned, and even when she went to sleep pictures of dragons and blue women in lab coats continued to chase through her brain all night.

That was why she was still eating breakfast from a tray in her room when her phone rang next morning. Fortunately the screen said it was Giles - not Willow, who would expect a blow by blow description of her evening with Spike - and so she answered it. After he had asked whether she was enjoying her break, and had she been to Notre Dame and The Louvre yet, he got down to business.

“I have decided that you are right to want to know more about The Key, and I have decided that I must do the research myself, rather than involve anyone else, except yourself, of course! But it is proving to be extremely difficult. If I pause for a cup of tea, or because someone wishes to talk to me, I find that I cannot remember what I was doing. Yesterday I started to write every single little thing down in a notebook rather than trying to commit it to memory. But if I had not had the forethought to leave myself a note on my desk saying ‘Look in the notebook in your top drawer before starting work’ I would have quite easily have started a totally new project this morning, because my only thought about you was ‘Now where is Dawn? Oh, yes, she’s having a few days break. I wonder why she decided to go to Paris at such short notice.’

Dawn tried to muffle a laugh, but was not successful. Fortunately Giles also seemed to find it amusing, as he continued “There are only two possibilities, and I have written them down. Either I am rapidly developing Alzheimer’s disease, or the layers of cloaking spells that we had, I think, deduced were in place are even thicker than we thought, or at least than I think we may have thought!

“I seem to have no problem remembering obscure facts about anything else, or the names, marital status and birthdates of my work colleagues, and so have decided that the first hypothesis is unlikely. I have therefore rung you to ... um …” Dawn could hear him turn the page of his notebook, “to ask you if you will permit me to get Willow to see if it is possible to lift at least some of the spells, but not fully, just as they apply to me. And possibly also as they apply to Willow herself, so that she could perhaps help with the magical research if necessary.

“Of course if Willow says that it is not possible to only allow one, or possibly two, people to avoid them without lifting them fully then I would suggest that they remain in place, and I will continue to write myself notes, and notes telling me to look at my other notes, ad infinitum! If you would feel safer if we do not tamper with them at all, I will, of course, forget we have had this conversation!”

Dawn was laughing out loud by now, at the picture of poor Giles behaving as if he was totally senile, funny only because he wasn’t. “Have you got your pen there? Or actually it might be better if you hit ‘record’ on your phone and keep this conversation – oh, and write yourself a note telling you to listen to it, and another one telling you not to inadvertently put the first one in the bin, and ...”

She was interrupted by a low moan from Giles “Good grief – I wonder if I may already have thrown away some of the research I did over the last few days – you are right, the spells would probably make me do that. Now what was it you just told me to do?”

Eventually Dawn was fairly sure that Giles had a record of her giving him permission to ask Willow whether selective lifting of some of the cloaking spells was possible. Then before she could change her mind about what she was going to do next, she plunged in with “Giles, I want you to know that I’ve met Spike here in Paris. I’m seeing him again today. I have a lot of information about the big battle he was involved in at Wolfram and Hart nine years ago, which I think needs recording for Council records, and I want to see him again anyway, even if you are mad at me.”

There was a pause for a moment, and then Giles answered slowly “I think you are quite old enough to make up your own mind about who you meet. I also think that Spike has proven himself to be totally unique amongst his kind, and is no threat to you. In fact, I would ask you to pass on my apologies to him – I treated him badly in the past, and the fact that all my training insisted that I should do so is not a fair excuse. His nature should force him to behave in certain ways, and he overcomes it. I should have been able to overcome what was, after all, purely conditioning, and I made no attempt to do so.

“When we have had reports of sightings in the last few years I have thought of him with regret, because when Slayers did see him, he did not exactly give them a forwarding address. That I can quite understand. However, if you are to meet him again, you can pass on my apologies, and also tell him that should he ever wish to avail himself of it, there will always be a glass of fifteen year old single malt here for him.”

Dawn was slightly taken aback. She had expected a lecture, not acceptance of her renewing her friendship with Spike, and had definitely not expected Giles to ask her to apologise for him to Spike. However, she was able to reassure Giles that she would tell Spike what he had said, and then changed the subject, by reminding him again of why he had rung her and asking him to tell Willow that she was fine, before finishing the call and finishing her breakfast.


If Dawn had been slightly taken aback by the message that Giles had asked her to pass onto Spike, Spike was completely taken aback. Dawn had once been told that the expression taken aback came from boats – sloops and things – it meant a big wave hitting the boat from the stern, and swamping it so badly that it could even sink – and Spike was hanging onto his coffee cup at that moment as if it was a life-belt.

He didn’t say anything for a minute or two then he said “Well bugger me! After all this time….never thought I’d get an apology from old Rupert … means a lot you know… even though I didn’t think it would. Used to dream about it sometimes … old Rupert coming over all nice and me just laughing in his face! But you know it really means something and I’m touched. Next time you’re talking to him tell him I appreciate it, really appreciate it, and who knows, one of these days I might just come to Milton bloody Keynes and then call in at the Council HQ for a whisky! How damned good would that be, Bit?”

Before Dawn could think of a suitable answer Spike shook himself, and asked her if she was as addicted to impractical but stylish footwear as her sister, because if so, there was a very good shoe shop just a few minutes away inside this mall.

As they left the coffee shop Dawn remembered to ask one of the questions she had meant to ask the night before. “Have you given up smoking, Spike?”

“Most of the time. Too many places now where it’s banned. Had to make a run for it too many soddin’ times a few years ago, from security guards who wanted to haul me outside the building because I was about to light up. Might have given ‘em a nasty shock if they’d managed to get me through the doors and I’d done a bit more smoking than they’d expected! Used to say when people told me it was unhealthy that it might be for them, but it didn’t do me any harm – but it’s become a bloody life threatening pursuit these days for me. Mind, I still have the odd drag now and again, at appropriate moments!”

“Oh, of course – I hadn’t thought about that!” Dawn laughed. “I’d just always thought of you as a bit of a rebel, and I’d wondered at you toeing the line about it so well that you hadn’t even been tempted in the park last night!”

“Well – I was tempted there in the park last night! After all I am a bloody vampire. But the smoking – no, just got used to not doin’ it in public now.” Spike answered.

‘Tempted?’ Dawn thought, ‘but somehow that didn’t sound like he meant he was tempted by the urge to smoke. Tempted by what?’ But before she thought about it any more they’d reached the shoe shop.

Shopping with Spike was fun – arguing about which was the best notebook to buy Giles (although Dawn didn’t explain exactly why a notebook would be the ideal present for Giles), or the best silk scarf for Olivia. Helping Spike buy a couple of designer shirts – as the changing room mirrors weren’t a lot of help to him, although he had said that the advent of the camera phone had been a great step forward for sartorially minded vampires! (‘And where does he get the money?’ Dawn wondered again.)

Sometime during the afternoon, as Dawn ate cake and Spike watched her, a rather swarthy looking man came up and greeted Spike in French, by name, reminding Dawn that Spike had a life he had been leading since the battle in LA, a life that he had been living quite successfully without any input from her, or her friends.

The trouble was that the thing she most wanted to discuss with Spike wasn’t the sort of thing you could discuss in a busy shopping mall, and he wasn’t inclined to go into much detail when she asked him to tell her more about what he’d been doing for the last nine years. All she knew about those by the end of the day’s shopping was that he’d ‘been all over the place, met people and done things’! Although she did discover that he wasn’t staying in a hotel in Paris, he’d rented a small apartment because it saved discussion about living a nocturnal life-style, and you were less likely to become a victim of spontaneous combustion caused by a maid coming into the room uninvited and opening the curtains. Spike told Dawn that personally he didn’t believe in spontaneous human combustion at all; he reckoned they were all vampires caught in unexpected sunlight!

Spike didn’t look as if he was going to invite her around for the evening, and so Dawn took the initiative herself, and suggested that he come back with her to L’Hotel du Vieux Saule, and they could eat in her room as long as he didn’t need to have blood just yet; she wasn’t sure room service would cope with that. “’S all right,” he’d said, “found a source of the necessary, couple of glasses of wine’ll be fine for me.”

Dawn said that she hadn’t ever really seen Spike as a wine drinker, and he grinned and asked her “Haven’t you ever heard ‘When in Rome …’? Well when in Paris do as the Parisiennes do!’’

As they walked through the dusk from the Metro Station to the hotel Dawn told Spike about her encounter with the vampires in the Gay Quarter, and was gratified to see his eyes flash yellow in response (‘So that’s who Scaramouch reminds me of – I couldn’t place it before!’ she thought). “If I see any trace of the one that got away the phrase ‘You won’t see him for dust’ will take on a whole new meaning”, he threatened. “The bloody cheek of it – threatening my Bit – perhaps we should go on the hunt after supper, pet!”


  • Chapter 7

  • The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only and all rights remain with Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, the writers of the original episodes, and the TV and production companies responsible for the original television shows. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER ©2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer trademark is used without express permission from Fox.