Pairing: W/Wes, S/Fred
Disclaimer: Not mine; if you recognize it, it belongs to Joss Wedon, ME, WB, FOX, and UPN.
Distribution: My sites http://www.shadesofgrey.us/splash.htm , and http://dr.shadesofgrey.us/ NHA, WLS, anyone else with previous permission for other fics, anyone else wants it just ask first.
Spoilers: Anything up to ‘The Cautionary Tale of Numero Cinco’ and all of BtVS.
Summary: Fred thinks Spike’s problem is magical not scientific.
Author’s Notes: Sorry to all the W/S shippers, I seem to have lost that particular muse. But there will be a W/S friendship.
Willow stood next to the Wolfram and Hart sign staring at the building in front of her. It was definitely a step up from the run down hotel Angel Investigations had been working out of, though considerably more evil too. She glanced down, once again, at the letter in her hand; Spike was here and alive.
Well not alive, he technically hadn’t been alive in over a hundred and twenty years. But he was here--in some kind of non corporeal form, but he wasn’t dust anymore. She hadn’t told anyone why she was coming here. Just that she had received a letter from Fred and needed to go to Los Angeles. Buffy knew Fred was heading the research department here, and just assumed Willow was going to help with that.
Which she was in a way, Fred had been researching Spike’s current not dead, not alive state for months. It just wasn’t the research Buffy thought it was. She hated lying to her friends but Buffy was finally moving on, she was enjoying her status as a watcher of sorts and not having to keep a big chunk of her life secret from everyone. Dawn was finally starting to adjust too, she was back at school and making friends again. Finding out about Spike would cause way too many problems, especially if she couldn’t help, and Spike had to remain trapped here.
Willow sighed and approached the door, she didn’t like it here, she could feel the magic pushing at her, and it wasn’t good magic. This place was evil, with a capital E. She would have to find out what Angel had been thinking taking this place over. Pulling the door open she walked inside and approached the information desk.
“Hi, I’m looking for Fred Burkle?” Willow smiled at the bored looking woman behind the desk.
“Burkle?” The woman glanced at Willow, frowning at the jeans and t-shirt with the Dingoes Ate My Baby logo on it. “Do you have an appointment?”
“No, uh, do I need one?” Willow frowned, she hadn’t thought of that, she had gotten the letter and just packed and headed back here to help.
Willow turned at the familiar voice behind her. She must be hearing things she thought, no way is—“Harmony?” Willow smiled at the blonde vampire.
“Hi, what are you doing here?” Harmony smiled as she moved closer.
“Um, got a letter, you?”
“Work here,” Harmony explained, “I’m Angel’s secretary.”
“Angel’s--,” Willow frowned, “You’re a vampire.”
“So is he. I don’t kill anymore, Wesley says I’m reformed.”
“Right,” Willow smiled, she spent most of her life not understanding Harmony, why change anything now. “I need to see Fred Burkle.”
“She doesn’t have an appointment,” The woman behind the desk pointed out.
“Come with me, she’s probably in the lab, I’ll show you,” Harmony offered and led her to a large bank of elevators.
Willow shook her head and followed the other woman. She was Angel’s secretary, how did Angel possibly have the patience to deal with her every day. Then again before last year he worked with Cordelia. Cordelia was a lot smarter than Harmony though, a lot smarter than any one ever gave her credit for really.
“So I hear you made like millions of slayers,” Harmony asked as the elevator doors closed and she pushed a button.
“I doubt millions, and I didn’t really make them more like gave them the power they were born with,” Willow explained.
“Heard you tried to end the world too.”
“Well yeah that’s pretty accurate,” Willow sighed, “You work for Angel now?”
“Yeah, though he kinda yells at me a lot.”
The doors opened saving Willow from having to respond to Harmony’s comment and she followed the blonde across the large open area and up a set of stairs. At the top of the stairs Harmony pushed open the doors to a large lab, several people working quietly at computers or in front of test tubes of various chemicals, with microscopes next to them. They made their way past the people up another short staircase and Harmony knocked on the door at the top.
“Come in,” Fred said from her desk where she was reading from a very large book.
“I have to go,” Harmony told Willow, “Angel gets really cranky if I’m late.”
Willow pushed the door open as the vampire retreated back the way they had just come.
“I’ll be right--,” Fred looked up, “Willow hi!”
“Got your letter,” Willow held up the paper.
“You didn’t have to come all the way—thanks.” Fred came around the desk to greet the other girl.
“It’s no problem, getting away is good.”
“I’m not even sure if you can help,” Fred said motioning Willow to a chair, “Wes says there’s nothing that can be done, the amulet tied Spike to this place and he’s going to have to stay that way.”
“Well, you wrote to me so you must not believe him,” Willow sat down across from the other woman.
“It’s not that I think he’s lying but Spike says he’s the one that closed the Hellmouth,” Fred said, Willow nodded her agreement, “He’s a champion, like Angel, like Buffy and Faith I can’t just not try everything.”
“A champion huh?” Willow smiled, “I hadn’t thought of it like that but yeah, he died so the rest of us could get out. Doesn’t seem fair.”
“So you all got out then?”
“Spike!” Willow spun around to face the very familiar voice.
“Hi Red,” Spike smiled and sat on the edge of the desk next to Fred, “So you all made it out okay?”
“Well no,” Willow frowned, “Anya--she—she died, and we lost a lot of potent—slayers.”
“We knew everyone wouldn’t make it,” Spike said, “Anya, how did she--?”
“Protecting Andrew, at least that’s what he told us.”
“Andrew?” Spike frowned, “She died for that git?”
“Yeah, not her smartest move,” Willow agreed, “Spike, um, can you make phone calls?”
“Haven’t tried but I suppose so,” Spike glanced at Fred.
“Maybe one day,” Willow hesitated, asking him to do this could cause Buffy a lot of pain, but Dawn really needed it, “Spike one day, could you call Dawn?”
“Why? Thought the littlest Summers hated me?”
“That’s why,” Willow sighed, “She didn’t hate you, she was angry that you left last year without saying good-bye. Then blaming you for the thing with Buffy well—it was easier than admitting the real problem. She’s been so depressed since you—since we left Sunnydale because you died thinking she hated you.”
“I’ll call her,” Spike agreed, “After we find a way to uh, make me less ghost-y.”
“Deal,” Willow grinned, “Okay, so let’s see what we can do.”
“Have a spell to fix it all?” Spike asked hopefully.
“Sorry, if it can be fixed with magic I’ll find a way Spike, but right now I’ve got nothing.”
“So what do you need to know?” Fred asked.
“Lots,” Willow relaxed back in her chair, magic and science, she could learn to love this place. “In your letter you said he wasn’t a ghost, but he’s non corporeal?”
“Right he’s generating heat,” Fred said.
“She just thinks I’m hot,” Spike smirked.
“Spike if you’re not going to behave you have to leave,” Willow replied, “We are trying to save your ass.”
“Right, not ghost because I’m hot,” Spike replied, “But still can’t touch anything without concentrating and can walk through walls, nifty trick by the way for annoying my grand-sire.”
“Heat?” Willow frowned, “You shouldn’t generate heat Spike, even before--vampires are room temperature.”
“I hadn’t thought of that,” Fred scribbled a note on a piece of paper, “Uh, sorry I’m going to right this stuff down.”
“Good idea,” Willow agreed, “You came out of the amulet? Do you still have it? The key to fixing this is probably in it.”
“Wesley has it,” Fred said, “Do you think you need it?”
“I’ll get it,” Spike vanished from the room.
“I’ll need the information that Angel was given about the amulet too,” Willow said mostly to herself, “And you mentioned something about a prophecy about a vampire with a soul?”
“Yeah, but Wes says it can’t be about Spike. Says it’s about Angel.”
“Well does it specify Angel?”
“Nope, just a vampire with a soul fighting in an apocalypse,” Fred set her pen down. “I’ll call Wes and have him send over the prophecy source book.”
“Yeah, we have these blank books that are tied to different disciplines at the firm, you tell them what you’re looking for and it appears in the book.”
“Wow, not having to wade through a hundred books to find stuff,” Willow smiled, “That’ll save a lot of time.”
Fred dialed Wesley’s extension and explained the situation and what she needed. Spike reappeared in the room, and Fred hung up the phone.
“Here’s the amulet,” Spike handed the necklace over to Willow.
“Yep still ugly,” Willow turned it over in her hands a couple times.
“Wes is bringing the book himself, he’ll be down in a minute,” Fred told Willow.
While they waited for Wesley Fred explained what her research had found so far. It wasn’t much but would save Willow the trouble of going over stuff that Fred had already covered.
“Watcher boy is here,” Spike said looking up and seeing Wesley standing in the doorway.
“Hi Wesley,” Willow stood up and smiled at him. “Got rid of the Marlboro Man look I see. Still better than the stuffy suits though.”
“Willow, I brought the prophecy book,” He handed her two books, “I also thought this book on artifacts might be useful.”
“Thanks,” Willow set the books on the desk.
“Where are you staying? If you don’t mind my asking,” Wesley asked.
“Don’t know, came here right from the airport. I should probably look into that though.”
“I’m sure we can find someplace,” Wesley suggested, “There are apartments upstairs I’m sure we can find a spare room for you to use.”
“Thanks,” Willow said, “If it’s not too much trouble.”
“None at all,” Wesley picked up the phone and began giving instructions to someone to prepare a room for her.
“I need to tell you guys,” Willow said when Wesley was off of the phone, “No one knows why I’m here. They know I got a letter from Fred that she needed research help. They don’t know about Spike. I didn’t want to tell anyone until—I don’t want Buffy to—if I can’t do anything…”
“How is she Red?” Spike asked.
“She’s okay, busy,” Willow assured him, “We’re forming a new Watcher’s Council sort of, not as stuffy, Giles and Xander have been tracking down the new slayers and sending them to Buffy, Faith, Robin, Dawn, and Andrew to train.”
“Andrew’s training?” Spike raised an eyebrow.
“He’s kind of like the endurance test,” Willow laughed, “If they can keep from killing him they can face anything.”
“What happened to your girl?” Spike asked.
“She uh, she went back home,” Willow frowned, “She wasn’t as okay with the magic as she thought she was.”
“Not good enough for you Red,” Spike assured her, “The girl was a tad spoiled.”
“So don’t want to talk about Kennedy right now,” Willow told him, “But thanks. Wesley why don’t you fill me in on what you’ve found about mystical explanations for Spike.”
The four of them spent the next several hours going over the research that had already been done, and problems of fighting for good from inside an evil law firm, and possible explanations for Spike generating heat.