Giles, looking over the list as they
left the grocery store. “We’ve got
tomatoes for the sauce, angel hair
pasta for Dawn…”
“I can’t stand regular spaghetti, it’s
“Yes, and that will be your fifth
lament on chewy pasta this evening.”
“Two six packs of beer,” Andrew chimed
in, lifting the beer cases that he
held in each hand and grinning.
“Tonight we shall drink like men.”
Buffy, Dawn and Kennedy shot him a
“And women. Really strong, scary
Buffy smiled. Part of her never could
get over the fact that she struck fear
into the hearts of men. Wait, was that
a good thing?
“So Buff," Dawn began. "Barring any
random raids by the under-aged
drinking police, could I join in the
Buffy didn’t hear her. Her attention
had been caught by the little shop
nestled in between the bakery and the
“What, she won’t let you drink?”
“The drinking laws in Britain are
considerably more lax than in
America,” Giles added. “But um, if
Buffy doesn’t want you to drink then
you shouldn’t. You’re seventeen. Yes,
much too young.”
Dawn stared at Giles in amazement.
“Madam Zora’s,” Buffy whispered,
reading the hand painted sign in the
window. It was half past six and she
was still open. Why this mattered,
Buffy wasn’t quite sure.
“Oh hey,” she called to the others. “I
forgot something. Catch you back at
Everyone nodded in agreement and kept
walking. Buffy slid into the shop as
soon as they were out of sight.
The small entryway smelled strongly of
incense and scented candles, and Buffy
marveled at how anyone could stay
awake with such an overwhelming scent
invading their nostrils all day. Buffy
inhaled deeply before passing through
the beaded doorway.
“Hello?” she called. A short woman
stood across the room with her back to
her. She obviously hadn’t heard Buffy
Buffy took this opportunity to take in
her surroundings. The walls were
paneled with wood, though across them
hung several different colored silk
scarves. Several rickety shelves were
covered with packages of incense, jars
filled with familiar looking powders,
and in the center of the room was a
small circular table covered in a
large indigo tablecloth. No crystal
balls in sight.
“You may have a seat, my dear.”
Buffy jumped, startled. The black
haired woman hadn’t turned from the
table at the far end to address her,
and she never realized that she was
aware of her.
She sat down in one of the creaky
seats at the small table, wondering
why she came here. Madam Zora, as
Buffy assumed her to be, soon appeared
on the other side of the table. She
had a white and purple scarf wrapped
around her black hair and large brown
eyes. She wore a meshy black shawl
around her shoulders and several rings
on her fingers.
“Now, my dear,” the elderly woman
asked, her large eyes searching
Buffy’s face. “What brings you here?”
It wasn’t until she was asked that she
knew the answer. “I feel kind of…
“Ahh, lost. In love?”
“No, not really. It’s just… I’ve lost
so much in the past few years. My mom,
good friends… people close to me.
Where I used to live, it’s gone, and
“And now you’re trying to find home?”
Buffy smiled. “I guess.”
“All the signs are misleading, hmm?”
Madam Zora slid a hand beneath the
tablecloth and pulled out a pack of
tarot cards. “Let’s see if we can find
Tarot cards. You’re sitting in a
smelly English magic shop with the
most stereotypical fortune teller
reading you tarot cards.
The first card hit the table. The
words were in a language Buffy did not
understand, but the images
“A former lover will resurface.”
Oh really? Buffy thought,
slightly amused by the cliché.
Another card hit the table. “Hmm,” the
woman hummed, placing more cards after
it. “Darkness lies in your path.”
No surprise there, Buffy thought.
“Death.” Madam Zora looked down at the
card she had placed on the table.
“Death?” Buffy repeated. “Right.” Did
fortune tellers ever predict happy
things? “So, does this mean I’m going
to die? ‘Cause,” she laughed softly.
“Death has been transcended.”
“He will return.”
“He? He who?” Buffy flashed back to
her last encounter with the Immortal
and hoped he wouldn’t be flinging more
daggers her way any time soon.
Madam Zora raised her large eyes to
meet Buffy’s. “No, he has returned.”
She flipped another card over. “And he
A lying man. That really narrowed down
the list of suspects.
“Thank you,” Buffy said slowly,
sensing that there wasn’t much more
that she wanted to hear. She’d hoped
for some sort of revelation, but all
she got were more random images that
meant nothing. “That’ll be six pounds,
Madam Zora blinked as if startled and
then smiled warmly and nodded. “Yes,
Buffy reached into her wallet and
pulled out a ten pound note. “Do you
have change?” Her words were cut off
as Madam Zora grasped her hand
tightly. “Or you could keep all of
it,” Buffy replied quickly.
“Be careful, dear girl,” she warned.
“Your heart, I fear, is in for a
Buffy glared at the woman as she
pulled her wrist away. “Well I’ve got
good insurance,” she replied, speaking
as if she were addressing a crazy
person. As if? She placed the
bill on the tabletop and exit through
the beaded doorway.
* * * *
“Fred? Is that you?” She must be
Xander’s mysterious blue person. “Why
are you blue?”
“You knew Winifred Burkle?” Illyria
asked, her posture becoming less
“Yeah,” Willow answered slowly. She
looked down at Spike’s body.
“She is gone. I am Illyria,” she said
proudly, sticking her chin into the
“What?” Willow asked distractedly.
“Fred’s gone? What do you mean?”
“I am one of the Old Ones.” Illyria
stepped towards her, recognition
flashing in her startling blue eyes.
“I have memories of you.”
“Yeah,” Willow said uncertainly. “We
met last year. You… listen, is he OK?”
she asked, nodding towards Spike.
Illyria turned to look at her wounded
companion. “He didn’t burn when the
sun rose. He is mortal, and his wounds
are affecting him.”
“Mortal,” Willow whispered in awe,
seeing his chest rise and fall as he
breathed. “How?” She moved closer
towards him, but Illyria stood in her
“You will not harm him.”
“I don’t want to harm him,” Willow
assured her. “I came to help.”
“Another of his former acquaintances
attempted to touch him.” Willow
glanced at Pavayne’s body. Fred did
that? “I cannot trust you.”
“No, you can. You remember me, right?
Even though you’ve had some sort of
identity crisis,” she grinned
sheepishly as she took in the tight
leather outfit. “Not that I’m
complaining. But you know that I’m not
Illyria stared at Willow with her
large blue eyes boring into her.
“You’re Willow Rosenberg. A witch.”
“Yes, a good witch. Like Glinda.”
“Never saw Wizard of Oz? OK, then
let's just settle on me being good.
Ignore the pop culture reference.”
Spike moaned on the ground behind
them, silencing them both. His head
rolled to the side and Willow could
tell that he was in a great amount of
pain. “He needs to get to a hospital.”
“I suppose I may trust you,” Illyria
commented before disappearing.
“What?” Willow squeaked in confusion,
looking around her. She shook it off
and rushed over to Spike. “My god,
you’re really alive.” She watched as
he breathed, slightly unsettled by the
peculiarity of the sight. “Spike?” she
probed, reaching to touch his
shoulder. Her senses were weakend, but
she could feel the leather beneath her
fingers. He was really there.
A few minutes later her head snapped
around when she heard tires squealing
nearby. A battered maroon Taurus
whipped around the corner and into the
alley, stopping abruptly right in
front of them. Illyria sat behind the
wheel. She opened the door. “Get him
inside. We will move much faster with
Willow moved to lift Spikeoff the
ground but turned and shot Illyria a
Illyria stepped out of the car.
“Weakness is a common plight among
your kind.” She lifted Spike off of
the ground as if she were holding a
teddy bear. Illyria placed him in the
backseat of the car. “Get in.”
Willow hopped in the passenger’s seat
and they sped off.
“No, reverse!” Willow shouted as they
zoomed forward. She pointed towards
the gear shift and Illyria considered
it with interest before pulling it
back. They grazed the side of a brick
building as they turned out of the
alley, and after several shrill
driving instructions from Willow,
Illyria set them on a course towards
the nearest hospital.
* * * *
“We’re back,” Dawn called out as she
and the others returned to Giles’
apartment, sans Buffy. They
wandered into the kitchen and placed
the grocery bags on the table. Giles
balled up the note he’d left for
Xander and Willow and tossed it into
“Willow?” Kennedy called, walking
towards the guest bedroom. She knocked
softly before opening the door. “Hey,
are you awake?”
One look at Xander’s alarmed face
froze her where she stood. Willow was
on the bed, and she wasn’t moving.
“What happened?” she asked urgently.
Giles and Dawn appeared in the doorway
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I’m
pretty sure she did a locator spell,
but I don’t know why she won’t wake
Kennedy and Giles moved towards the
bed. Dawn stood frozen in the doorway.
“She’s OK, isn’t she?”
Giles removed his glasses and examined
Willow’s face. Her brow was furrowed
in distress. Kennedy took one of her
hands in her own and then her eyes
widened. “Oh my god, I think she’s
“She whattled?” Xander asked
“Yes,” Giles concurred. “Astral
projection,” he explained, facing
Xander. “She’s in another plane.”
“Another plane?” said Dawn. “Is she
OK? She doesn’t look good.”
“Last time this happened she was
looking for a Slayer that an evil
shaman had banished from our plane,”
Kennedy explained. “She was like this
for three days.”
“Is it safe?” Dawn asked as Andrew
entered the room behind her.
“That all depends on where she is,”
Giles replied grimly. “Astral
projection requires most of her
energy, leaving her defenseless if
something should attack her. Doing
this without telling anyone… she’s put
herself in serious danger.”
“Why would she do that? Where did she
go that was so important?”
Kennedy looked to Xander, causing the
others to turn and look to him as
“There was more to my vision than I
told you guys,” he confessed. “I saw…”
He was interrupted as a voice drifted
through the hallway. “Guys? Is anyone
Buffy walked into the bedroom and took
in the scene before her. “What’s going
“Willow astralled herself onto another
plane,” Dawn informed her.
“That’s a good question,” Kennedy said
sourly, returning her gaze to Xander.
His focus was on Buffy. Would it be a
good idea to tell her?
* * * *
Two medics arrived at the emergency
room entrance with a gurney.
“What happened?” they asked as they
lifted Spike onto the stretcher. He
hadn’t stirred since they left the
alley, and his breathing had become
shallow. Willow looked to Illyria.
“He was badly wounded,” Illyria
The young medic with glasses stared at
“…in a car accident,” Willow added.
Now both medics stared at them in
disbelief. How were they going to
explain those wounds? “A-after a bad
bar fight,” she continued. More raised
eyebrows. She frowned. “Are you going
to help him or not?”
“Dr. Clark!” one of them shouted as
they wheeled Spike towards the double
doors. “We’ve got a trauma victim.
Multiple cuts and stab wounds on the
lower abdomen and right chest…”
“Wait a minute.” A large nurse stepped
in front of Willow and Illyria and
held a clipboard in her hand. “We’ll
need some information.”
Willow hesitantly took the clipboard.
The nurse wrinkled her nose at Illyria
in distaste before turning away.
Willow sat down in one of the cold
seats in the waiting room. “Name?
Er, I guess I should put William,” she
said, quickly scribbling it down. “Last
name? Oh god, what’s his last
“He doesn't have one. He and Angel
were like Madonna,” Illyria told her.
Willow stared at her in disbelief.
"You know Madonna but you don't know
the Wizard of Oz?"
"I met her one day while following the
green horned demon. She has strangely
"Spike needs a last name," she said
with a sigh. Without giving it much
thought Willow wrote Rosenberg.
“Insurance? Oh boy.”
* * * *
“Where did she go?” Buffy asked.
Willow had a frustrated expression on
her face. “That can’t be good.”
“L.A.,” Xander blurted out. Giles
stared at him.
“L.A.? Why would she…”
“She did a locator spell. There’s a
map on her computer.”
Buffy and Dawn stared at the monitor
and saw the light glowing through it.
“Why would she go to L.A.?”
“Because…” Xander was practically
hyperventilating in fear of the
response his next statement would
receive. “Because she was looking for
Kennedy looked incredulous, Giles
awed, Dawn amazed, Andrew sheepish,
and Buffy... laughed.
“What?” she replied shrilly. “Xander,
“Actually,” said Andrew. All eyes
turned towards him. “He’s kinda not.”
“What are you talking about?”
“When Giles sent me to L.A. to pick up
that wacko Slayer-”
“Dana,” Buffy and Kennedy offered.
“Right, her. Well, I saw Spike. He was
there with Angel.”
“How is that possible?” asked Giles.
“Spike was burnt alive… more or less.”
“I’m telling you, he was there. All
corporeal and stuff. And he
came to Rome.”
“He what?” Buffy was on the
verge of hysteria. Spike was alive and
no one told her? He came to Rome? He
went to Angel instead of her? He
“Y-Yeah.” Andrew was slowly backing
towards the doorway. “He and Angel.
They came looking for you when you
were out with the Immortal.”
Buffy sighed and closed her eyes. “Why
didn’t anyone tell me he was alive?”
“On that subject,” Xander interjected
quietly. “His aliveness is still up to
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I saw him in my vision. He was
alive, but bleeding.”
Tears fell from her eyes, but
miraculously Buffy was managing to
keep it together. For now.
“And he was human.”
“What?” It was Andrew’s turn to shriek
in surprise. “No, when I saw him he
was still a vampire. Dana tried to
kill him, she even cut off his
"He doesn't have arms?!"
"He had some when he came to Rome!"
Andrew put his hands over his ears.
"Oh, this is bad. This is why he
didn't want me to tell you."
"He didn't want me to know?" Buffy
replied. She was hurt. Spike had been
crazy about her, why wouldn't he come
to her first thing?
“I saw him in my vision," Xander
repeated. "He was human. The sun was
out, he was breathing…”
“Guys, stop it!” Dawn shouted. Buffy
was slowly falling, and Dawn quickly
got to her in time and set her on the
edge of the bed. “Buffy?”
“Oh god,” she wept. “All of my exes
are going to live forever.”
Everyone wanted to laugh, but no one
“Except maybe Riley,” she said. “Oh
god! I jinxed him. He’s probably out
there, dying because I… I…” Buffy
gasped for air. “Alive?” she squeaked
miserably, turning wide, frightened
eyes to Xander.
“Let’s hope so.”
Dawn sat beside her on the bed and
wrapped a comforting arm around her
sister’s shoulders. “What do we do
now?” she asked Giles.
“I think the best thing to do right
now is to bring Willow back. I can
only imagine what sort of danger she’s
* * * *
“Are you of any relation to the
“Um, yeah,” Willow replied. “He’s my,
uh, my cousin.”
“Do you not have any information
regarding your cousin’s insurance?”
the nurse asked.
“No, he’s kind of a distant cousin.
From England. Can we see him?”
The nurse sent another perturbed
glance in Illyria’s direction. “I’m
afraid you’ll have to wait in here
until we hear more from his doctors.”
“I will wait no longer,” said Illyria
regally, moving towards the double
“What she say?” asked the nurse.
Willow followed after her. “Hey!”
Willow jogged slightly to catch up.
“Stop calling me Fred.”
“OK, um… what was it that you called
“Illyria, right. I don’t know if we
should be in here.”
Illyria stopped. “You.”
“Me?” said Willow. Has she gone
mental? Well, yeah, with the hair and
“I think she’s referring to me.”
Willow stopped and noticed tall man in
a nice suit standing in front of them.
His face was covered in blood and his
neck appeared to be twisting towards
“You’re supposed to be dead,” said
“Who says I’m not?”
“Oh,” said Willow. “You must be a
Hamilton grinned at her. “Don’t insult
“You will not touch him,” Illyria
growled. Hamilton laughed.
“My dear, who said I came for the
He threw a punch at her and she dodged
it. She whipped around him and kicked
him in the legs. Hamilton laughed as
he fell to his back.
“Come on, great one!” He threw her
into a nurse who was pushing a cart of
instruments past them. Illyria, the
young woman, and the cart flew into
the wall and onto the floor. “Show me
what you can do with that wimpy little
The nurse scampered away in fear as
Illyria growled and shot to her feet,
lifting Hamilton by the lapels of his
jacket and flinging him through the
“Oh my god!”
Several of the doctors and nurses in
the room shrieked and fled. Willow
followed Illyria into the room.
Spike was lying on exam table,
connected to tubes and all sorts of
monitors. His shirt and jacket had
been removed and his chest was covered
in gauze bandages. He had stitches on
the side of his face and an IV in his
“Is that all?” Hamilton laughed,
struggling to his feet. “I won’t die,”
he laughed madly, coming at her. Blood
streamed from a large cut across his
forehead. “You’ll never win!”
Illyria placed her hands on the side
of his head and twisted it roughly.
Not only did his neck snap, but his
head came clean off.
“Neither will you.”
His head landed next to his body with
a thud. Illyria turned to Willow. “We
Willow nodded fervently and rushed to
Spike’s side. She pulled out the tubes
and the IV and grabbed his leather
jacket off the side of the chair.
“You’ll be wanting that,” she
muttered, throwing it over him. She
placed her hands on either side of the
table and pushed.
The waiting room was filled with
confused family members and nurses.
The admittance nurse stood near the
doorway. “What the hell?” she bellowed
as Willow and Spike wheeled through
the doors, Illyria hot on their tail.
Once they were inside the sedan they
sped off. Willow sat in the back seat
with Spike’s head resting in her lap.
“We can’t keep doing this,” she said
as Illyria drove aimlessly away from
the hospital. “He needs more
“They’ll keep coming. Wolfram & Hart
will send more after us.”
“Well, you can just rip off more
Illyria shot around a tight corner.
“Please don’t speak. I need to
Oh god, she’s going to kill us. Why
didn’t I drive?
Spike’s eyes were opened slightly,
tiny slits revealing blurry blue eyes
“Spike, you’re awake?”
“Where…” he gasped and started over.
She shook her head. “No, Buffy’s not
here. She doesn’t know.”
Spike’s eyes closed in relief, either
that or he didn’t have enough strength
to keep them open anymore. “Don’t tell
her. Don’t want her to see… not like
“OK, I won’t tell her - ahh!” Willow
gasped at the end of her promise,
feeling as if she were being ripped
from the vehicle.
“Where are you going?” Illyria asked,
unaware that her cohort was being
pulled through several planes. There
was a white flash and Willow opened
her eyes, shooting upward off the bed.
“That was a very stupid thing you just
did,” Giles admonished in shaky voice.
“Oh no,” said Willow, noticing that
there were several more people in the
room than had been there when she'd
left. Buffy stood near the door with
tears in her eyes. Giles closed the
book in which he’d found the spell to
bring Willow back.
Willow whimpered. "You don't
"Oh, we understand," Buffy told her
firmly. "Did you see him?" she asked.
Willow looked nervously to Xander as
if seeking out permission to respond
truthfully. He looked away.
"Yes," she replied.
"Great. Spike's in Los Angeles. So
that's where we'll go."