Buffy gasped loudly and put a hand over her mouth in shock and
disgust upon entering Spike’s crypt. It had been three weeks since
the battle at the Initiative and Adam’s defeat, and she hadn’t
seen nor heard from the vampire since the event. All she knew was
that she didn’t have to worry about him killing anyone since he
wasn’t successful in removing his chip, and also that his big bad
comrade was toast, so worrying about Spike? Not big on her to-do
list. But you never know with him.
She’d imagined killing him thousands of times. It wasn’t something
she’d daydream about… well, sometimes, but whenever the Chipped
Wonder was mentioned she’d feel her throat tighten in loathing and
she’d picture herself cutting of his head or ramming a stake the
size of a railroad tie through his heart. Yeah, that was the
But this, Buffy realized in horror, this was too much. This was
something not even Spike deserved. She steadied herself by backing
up against the crypt door and leaning on it for support, all the
while unable to tear her eyes away from the horrific scene before
Spike was lying on the ground, and if she didn’t know any better
she would have thought he was dead. Well, he was, technically. But
Buffy resisted the urge to vomit just barely as she approached the
fallen vampire, her hand still covering her mouth and her eyes
wide and filled with horror.
He was lying on his back, his eyes bulging and his rigid, yellow
tinged fingers frozen over his face like he’d been clawing at
something attacking him. Spike looked like a corpse. His skin was
taut and yellow and his lips were pulled away from his teeth.
She’d seen many things during her days as the Slayer. Demon
entrails, human entrails, children lying dead on the
But this was too much.
Buffy fell to her hands and knees and retched, unable to keep it
in. It didn’t matter that he was already dead. It didn’t matter
that she hated him more than anything she could think of. It
didn’t matter that she wanted him dead in a permanent way. This
was just wrong.
Buffy sat back on her heels and focused her eyes on Spike’s face.
It still looked like him, but even in his demonic face he’d never
appeared so grotesque.
“Oh my god,” she muttered in horror, backing away from his body
like a fallen crab.
It was only then that she saw him move.
* * * *
Giles sat at his desk and blew softly on the surface of his warm
cup of tea. It was a warm June afternoon and it occurred to him
how odd it was that he wanted tea on such a hot day. He was
English, however, and it was time for his afternoon tea.
Giles frowned slightly, yet at the same time he was secretly
amused, as he remembered Buffy and Willow sitting in the high
school library one afternoon discussing how all of his British
traits were somehow linked to his genes. They shared several
giggles at his expense, especially when Buffy argued that “tweed”
was the secret ingredient to making British people. American girls
can be so nonsensical at times.
He sat up in alarm and closed the book that was resting in his lap
when he heard the door to his apartment slam into the wall. Buffy
stood in the doorway, her chest heaving madly as if she’d run
across the entire state of California.
“Buffy,” Giles said with concern as he rose to his feet. “What’s
wrong? You look ill.”
Buffy swallowed hard before attempting words. “Something
horrible...” she managed to say before averting her eyes.
His eyes widened. “What’s happened? W-Willow, Xander? Your mother
isn’t hurt, is she?”
Buffy seemed to calm instantly, although it wasn’t a relaxed sort
of calm. Her breathing slowed and her eyes narrowed in confusion
as she looked up at him. “It’s Spike.”
“Spike? What has he done?”
Buffy shook her head. “I don’t know what’s happened, but his face…
Giles, he looked dead. Really dead.”
Now he was really perplexed. Spike was hurt and she was this
upset? She was shaking, and her face glistened with sweat like
she’d recently been sick. He thought her reaction would be more
towards the other end of the spectrum. Pleased… relieved. “What do
you mean?” he asked, gauging her responses carefully.
“He looked shriveled, like bodies get when they decompose? But it
still looked like him, a-and he moved. We can’t leave him like
that,” she said seriously. “And besides,” she added quickly, “it
might come after humans. Whatever got him, I mean.”
Giles nodded. “What do you want to do?”
Buffy frowned, unable to believe that the words that were about to
come out of her mouth were actually about to come out of her
mouth. “We help him, if we even can.”
* * * *
“Did Giles say why we were meeting in the cemetery?” Anya asked as
she and Xander walked along the sidewalk. “We’re not doing a spell
or anything, are we?”
“What? No. I’m guessing it has something to do with Spike. Which
really shouldn’t be a guess, since Giles said ‘meet us at
Anya stuck her hands in the pockets of her long dress. “I hope it
doesn’t take long. There’s a movie on TV that I wanted to watch,
and if I have to miss it because of an apocalypse I’m going to be
Xander smiled. “I’m hoping it’s more along the lines of ‘hey, look
at this nifty pile of Spike dust.’”
Anya shrugged beside him. “I don’t see the big deal about Spike.
Vampires aren’t the most loathsome of creatures. Besides, he’s not
hurting anyone, and it wouldn’t be fair to just kill him since he
can’t defend himself.”
“Yeah, but he’s evil.”
“That’s not his fault,” said Anya. “He didn’t ask to become a
“How do you know that? How are we so sure that he didn’t prance up
to Angelus and say ‘hey! I wanna be dead like you!’ More than
that, how do you know he wasn’t some psyched out serial killer
when he was human? Ever think of that?”
“Angelus?” she replied, ignoring his last comment. “You mean
Angel? I thought Drusilla was his sire.”
They rounded the corner where they arrived at the edge of the
cemetery. Xander and Anya walked through the gate.
“But Spike called Angel his sire when he tried to bite me. He
called him Yoda.”
“Please. Yoda wasn’t a vampire, he was a bad representation of a
Grothnar demon. Look, it’s Willow,” she pointed out. “And she’s
carrying a sack.”
Willow was walking ten feet ahead of them carrying a large paper
bag. She stopped and turned when she heard them approaching, her
eyes wide and serious. “Hey guys.”
“Where’s Tara?” Xander asked. “I thought her summer class was on
“It is Tuesday, Xander,” Anya quickly informed him.
“Oh. Well, what’s up? Where’s the gang? What are we up to
Willow placed the bag on top of a large headstone and sighed.
“Tara’s inside with Buffy and Giles trying to figure out a spell
or something we could use to find out what’s wrong with Spike. I
just got back from the butcher’s.”
“What? We’re helping Spike? Isn’t the butcher closed? Tara’s
Anya stared at her babbling boyfriend. “Honey, relax. Your head’s
“Tara’s class is on Wednesday,” Willow pointed out quickly,
realizing that wasn’t the most important question to answer so she
might as well get it out of the way. “I don’t know what we’re
supposed to do. I don’t know if you guys should…” She swallowed.
“It’s really bad.”
Xander grew alarmed at her words. “What’s bad? What’s Spike done?”
Willow shook her head. “We don’t know. He’s just… he looks really
bad. I guess you guys should see. I mean, you’re here, aren’t
Xander and Anya exchanged confused looks before following Willow
into the crypt.
“Oh my god,” Xander muttered upon seeing Spike’s body. Giles was
crouched beside him, examining his face while Tara stood at the
vampire’s feet with her arms wrapped around a spellbook whose
pages she was thoroughly reading. Buffy was leaning against the
stone sarcophagus with her arms across her chest. Everyone looked
unnerved, and with apparent reason.
“Oh good god,” Anya exclaimed. “That’s disgusting.”
“What did this?” asked Xander.
Giles turned towards the younger man. “I don’t know. He’s in no
condition to speak, o-or anything, for that matter.”
“It almost looks like a Leech got a hold of him,” Anya commented.
“A leech? You mean those little worm parasite thingies?” Tara
asked, looking suddenly afraid. There must be a story behind that.
“No, it’s a demon,” Anya informed her. “It feeds off the life
force of certain demons, specifically those who’re immortal. Don’t
know what one’s doing in Sunnydale.”
“So it fed off him?” Buffy asked, looking down at Spike’s face and
quickly turning away when her eyes set on him. “Can’t say he
didn’t have it coming.”
Giles examined the vampire’s neck. “There aren’t any bite marks…”
he noted with perplexity.
“Oh, it doesn’t bite you,” Anya told him. “It kisses you. It’s
kind of like a succubus. I still don’t know why they call it a
Giles leaned forward and looked at Spike’s mouth. Buffy knew now
why his lips were stretched back. They were forced that way.
“Well,” she said. “That must’ve been a hell of a kiss.”
“If it’s Leech, then why haven’t we seen this before?” asked
Willow. “Sunnydale’s crawling with vampires. Plus it’s all
hellmouthy and bad. You’d think a Leech would love it here.”
Everyone turned to Anya, expecting some type of explanation.
“Well, they’re really rare. There was a worldwide Leech massacre
in the sixties.” Giles looked at her skeptically, obviously
thinking that he would’ve heard of this if it happened in his
time. “Oh, the seventeen sixties,” she clarified.
“This is all very interesting,” said Buffy impatiently, walking
towards the group. “But why isn’t Spike dead if this Leech thing
sucked out his immortality?”
“I don’t know,” she replied defensively, frowning at everyone.
“I’m no Leech expert.”
“They don’t harm humans, do they?” asked Buffy.
“Well, I don’t remember too many humans complaining about them.
Humans aren’t immortal. Well, except for Dick Clark.”
Buffy looked down at the vampire on the floor, inhaling sharply
when his head turned and his eyes focused on her. She tore her
eyes away. “Will, did you get to the butcher’s in time?”
Willow held up the bag. “Yeah.”
“Good. Let’s see if we can reverse this.”
Xander stepped forward, his nausea over seeing Spike’s body
slightly diminished. “Hold on a sec. Why are we helping Spike?
Don’t we hate him? Wouldn’t we rather see him dead?”
“But he’s not dead,” Giles pointed out. “I agree with Buffy. It’s
wrong to leave him like this. He’s helped us out before—”
“For money! And then he tried to kill us!”
“W-We can’t just leave him like this,” said Tara. “It’s not
“How do you know there’s any way we can fix him?” asked Anya. “I
can’t remember a demon ever recovering.”
“We’ll find a way. Let’s just do it and fast,” said Buffy, walking
over towards Willow. “Tara, keep looking in that book. There’s got
to be some spell or something we can do to reverse this. Will,”
she said quietly, turning to her friend. “Help me…” she wrinkled
her nose in disgust as she took a bag of blood from the sack.
“Help me feed him?”
Willow winced before nodding. “OK.”
“What are we supposed to do, Buff?” Xander asked.
Buffy stared at her friend. “Research. Find out what you can about
these Leeches. See if we can’t find this thing. I don’t want to be
finding more dried out vamp bodies…” she trailed off uneasily,
feeling queasy in the stomach again. It wouldn’t have bothered her
so much if she didn’t know Spike.
“Come now, we can begin research at my flat.” Giles took one more
glance at the vampire lying on the floor before ushering Xander
and Anya out of the crypt. “Contact us if you need anything.”
Buffy nodded. After the door closed behind them, she and Willow
moved to the floor on either side of Spike near his head. Buffy
sighed and opened one the bags and positioned it over his mouth.
“Drink,” she instructed, unsure of whether or not Spike could hear
her. She didn’t have to wait long before he began gulping on the
“Buffy? Why… why don’t you just kill him?” Willow asked
Buffy raised her eyes to meet hers. “Do you think that I should?”
Willow shook her head. “No. It’s just… I know you hate him. I
thought that you’d... I don’t know.”
Buffy shrugged slightly as she watched the vampire finish off the
last of the bag. “Me neither.”
* * * *
“I can’t believe you haven’t heard of these Leech demons, Giles.
What do they teach you at that Watcher’s Academy?”
Giles frowned as he handed Xander a book. “Well, I’m not a
thousand-year-old ex-demon. Then again, since they do tend to prey
on vampires you’d think we would’ve heard about them.”
“Well,” said Anya. “The more we know about the little bloodsuckers
the better we’ll be able to fix Spike.” She tilted her head
thoughtfully. “Also a bloodsucker.”
“They suck blood?” said Giles. “I thought you said they fed on a
“They do. But for a vampire, blood is the source of their
immortality, as it is for most demons.”
Xander frowned once again. “They don’t teach you these things at
the Watcher’s Academy? What, is it all ‘Glasses Cleaning 101’ and
‘A Brief History of Tweed’?”
* * * *
Spike had finished off half the bag before he passed out again, so
Willow and Buffy sat to the side and watched. But keeping vigil on
a dead person? Doesn’t involve much. Can’t check their vitals
(because they don’t have any), and it wasn’t like they were
worried about him dying, so basically they sat and thought about
what they were going to do. Or, in Buffy’s case, think about why
they were doing it in the first place.
It was somewhat ridiculous, wasn’t it? Here she was wasting a
perfectly good summer evening that she could be making better use
of doing anything else. Sure, Riley was in Iowa visiting
his family, so the boyfriend option was a bust, but, she still had
her friends, all of whom she’d dragged away from whatever they
were doing to help someone she wished were dead. So here they
What if Spike had found her like that? Lying as if dead on
the ground with no apparent reason? No matter what he’s seen in
all his unlife he’d probably not vomit at the sight of her, and
God knows he wouldn’t help her. He’d probably give her a good kick
and be off, or, maybe not, since that would hurt him. But, he was
an idiot, so he’d forget momentarily and cause himself tremendous
amounts of cranial pain. Buffy smiled at the image before being
called away from it by a low moan.
Buffy looked over at Willow and Tara for affirmation that they’d
heard the same sound before walking over to where Spike was lying
on the ground. If she cared she might’ve moved him on top of the
sarcophagus he used as a bed, but as it was, she was doing far
more for him than she should. Buffy knelt beside him.
“Spike? Can you hear me?”
“Slayer?” he wheezed. His eyes were no longer as bulged and
focused as they were when she first came across him. They were
quite the opposite, in fact – unfocused and barely open enough to
see through. “What… did you do to me?”
“It wasn’t me,” she pointed out with annoyance. Here she
was helping the idiot and he accused her? Her logical mind told
her that he was out of it, but when it came to Spike, she didn’t
really think logically. Apparently not, otherwise he’d be dust in
the wind by now. “Anya thinks it was a Leech. Do you know what
that is? Can you remember anything?”
“No,” he muttered, his head rolling stiffly to the side, away from
her. “What’re you doing here?”
Buffy almost didn’t understand him, not only because he wasn’t
facing her, but Spike found it difficult to speak with his lips in
the condition they were. That must hurt, she realized with some
“Tying to find out how to fix you,” she replied.
A brief silence followed. “What?”
Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed. “We’re trying to… help
Oh, God, she said it.
“What for?” he asked.
“Hey, we can leave you like this. It’s no skin off my back.”
“Isn’t it ‘nose?’” Tara whispered to Willow, who just shrugged.
“Did you see the big black thing that was in here?” he asked, as
if they’d been having a completely different conversation.
Willow spoke up. “I think he’s remembering what attacked him.”
“Oh, right. Big black thing, huh? Might’ve seen it. Wanna describe
it to me?”
The urge to smack him in the face was difficult to resist. She
wondered why she even bothered resisting. Oh right, that nagging
feeling of sympathy that she couldn’t shake off.
“Do you remember being attacked?” she asked impatiently. “Did it…
Spike rolled over, his eyes completely closed, and grinned at her
best he could. “Thought you might ask that sooner or later,” he
replied, apparently misunderstanding her question. “Don’t think
I’ll remember it after, but… ow!”
The urge to hit became a bit too irresistible.
* * * *
“Uh-oh,” muttered Xander, pulling the thick tome closer to him. “I
think this Leech thing might be a bit more dangerous than we
“Did you find something?” asked Giles, marking his place in his
own volume before shutting it and leaning forward curiously.
“Yeah. It’s… ew, it’s got pictures. That’s definitely not
something you’d want to make out with.”
Anya leaned over his shoulder to look at the illustration. “It is
a bit slimy, isn’t it? Never seen one up close.”
“Let’s hope not,” Xander replied. “Their favorite snack appears to
be heads, especially human ones.” He frowned disappointedly and
looked up. “Too bad he didn’t bite Spike’s head off.”
“It eats heads? I don’t remember that little detail,” Anya added,
rubbing her neck absentmindedly. “So, you’re saying this thing
sucked on Spike and is out now ripping heads off?”
“It gets worse,” muttered Giles, peering at the small text over
Xander’s shoulder. “It’s almost impossible to kill. It says here
that it can only be destroyed by one of its victims, who usually
Anya and Xander stared at him. “You mean Spike has to kill this
thing?” asked Anya.
“Um,” Xander began eloquently. “How the hell is that going to
“I don’t know,” Giles muttered, turning the page and finding
nothing more to help them with their dilemma. “But now it’s
imperative that we help him.”
“OK, but how do we heal him? He got his vamp power sucked out of
him. Plus he’s all yellow and gross.”
“As Anya said earlier, blood is the source of his immorality.
We’ll have to give him blood.”
Xander sighed with relief. “Will and Buffy are working on that
Anya shifted doubtfully. “Yeah, but… pig’s blood? Do you really
think that’s going to work?”
Giles frowned. “Let’s hope it does,” he said as he grabbed his
keys. Xander and Anya stood and followed him to the door.
“Otherwise there’s only one alternative I can think of.”