Summary: Sometimes it's the little things that have the biggest consequences.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note #1: This story was inspired by a vignette written by aaronlisa, and has been written with her permission to expand on it. (Alternate Realities: Willow #2)
Author's Note #2: I played around with the timeline a bit during Season 2 for this story. Pretend that Willow and Oz had been dating for a month or so when Phases occurs. (Dialogue borrowed from both Phases and Becoming I & II courtesy of www.buffyworld.com)
Author's Note #3: Thank you to my tireless betas for holding my hand through the months it has taken me to write this story.
That night, Spike tracked the Slayer as she did her nightly patrol through the cemeteries. He took a demonic glee in the fact that she was distracted, most likely by what would be happening to her little friend for the next three nights after tonight.
He watched her dust a fledgling before announcing his presence with a tap to her shoulder. He received a punch to the jaw for his efforts.
"Hey, now, wait just one minute," Spike exclaimed, holding his hands up in a surrendering gesture. "I'm just here to talk," he added when Buffy pulled a stake from inside her coat.
"Talk? We're enemies, we don't talk," Buffy reminded him.
"If you'd rather receive a sound thrashing, I'd be happy to oblige, but if you want to stop Angelus, we should talk."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about your ex, pet. I'm talking about putting him in the bloody ground," Spike answered in a serious tone.
Chuckling as she lowered her stake, Buffy said, "This has got to be the lamest trick you guys have ever thought up." She shook her head in disbelief as she found herself asking, "What do you want?"
"I told you, I want to stop Angel." He snickered at the irony. "I want to save the world."
"Okay. You remember you're a vampire, right?" Buffy asked, feeling like she'd stepped into an alternate universe. First Willow became a werewolf and now Spike wanted to play nice.
"We like to talk big, vampires do. 'I'm going to destroy the world.' That's just tough guy talk. Strutting around with your friends over a pint of blood," Spike pulled out a cigarette and lit up. "Truth is, I like this world. You've got… dog racing, Manchester United. And you've got people. Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals with legs. It's all right here." He paused to take a drag off his fag. "But then someone comes along with a vision. With a real… passion for destruction. Angel could pull it off. Goodbye, Piccadilly. Farewell, Leicester Bloody Square. You know what I'm saying?"
"Okay, fine," Buffy said with a nod. "You're not down with Angel. Why would you ever come to me?"
Spike sighed, hating to sound like a ponce, but knowing the truth would more likely get Buffy's cooperation. "I want Dru back. I want it like it was before he came back. The way she acts around him…"
"You're pathetic," Buffy interrupted. "The whole earth may be sucked into Hell, and you want my help 'cause your girlfriend's a big ho? Well, let me take this opportunity to not care."
Buffy turned to leave, wondering why she even bothered to listen to the bleached idiot.
"I can't fight them both alone," he called after her. "And neither can you."
Buffy paused, knowing he was right, but unwilling to admit it. "And why should I believe that you'll help me?"
"Because I can help your little friend with her problem," Spike said, playing his trump card. "You know, the little redhead with the monthly problem of turning into a wolf."
Buffy spun around to face Spike again, barely restraining herself from punching the knowing smirk off his face.
"What do you know about Willow?" she demanded coldly.
"What, she didn't tell you I'm the one who found her in the woods last month?" Spike asked, feigning shock. "How did you think she knew what had happened to her?"
Buffy's face paled slightly. "That was you?"
"That it was," Spike confirmed.
"What is it that you think you can do for her? She's a werewolf, Oz too. There's no cure for that."
"Isn't there?" Spike countered, raising his scarred eyebrow to imply that there was, and he knew what it was.
Buffy's eyes momentarily lit up with hope, until she remembered who she was talking to. "You're lying."
"But what if I'm not?" Spike asked.
"What is it?" Buffy demanded.
"Not here," Spike said.
"Fine. We can talk at the library. Willow and Giles should be there researching this whole Acathla thing. She may as well be there for this."
Silently, the two enemies turned in the direction of the high school. They walked shoulder to shoulder, not wanting the other to attack from behind on the way. Luckily, it was a short trip, the uncomfortable silence wearing on both their nerves.
When they entered the library, it was to find Willow and Giles huddled together at the table, excitedly discussing what was on the paper between them.
"Buffy, you'll never guess what I found!" Willow excitedly told her friend when she saw her come in. She was halfway across the room when she saw Spike enter behind Buffy and immediately fell quiet.
"What is it?" Buffy asked, not having seen her friend this excited since before the last full moon.
"Um, it can wait," Willow said, glancing at Spike.
"Buffy?" Giles asked, coming to stand next to Willow. "Is there a reason you brought William the Bloody with you?"
"Just Spike," he corrected, not liking the feeling that he was a fly under a microscope. He kept reminding himself that he was doing this to get Dru away from Angelus.
"Y-yes, o-of course," Giles stuttered. "Again, why are you here?"
"He wants to make a deal," Buffy answered.
"A deal? What kind of deal could he possibly want to make with us?"
"I want to stop Angelus. Get Dru away from him," Spike succinctly answered.
"Why should we believe you?"
Spike rolled his eyes, finding it annoying to keep repeating himself.
"Because I can make Red's little problem go away," Spike said.
Willow gasped, meeting the vampire's piercing blue eyes. "Really?" she whispered.
"Why would you want to do that?" Giles asked, sounding doubtful. "And more importantly, how do you propose to do that? From the research that we've done, we have not been able to find any mention of a way to cure lycanthropy."
"Doubt my method would be in your books," Spike said.
"Why didn't you help me last month?" Willow asked.
"Didn't know then. Only found out later when I got home."
"But it's been a month," Willow pointed out.
"Didn't have a reason to before now. Why should I go helping you when I get nothing in return?"
"Because it would have been the right thing to do!" Willow exclaimed.
"Demon," Spike retorted.
"Again, I ask: How do you propose to cure Willow and Oz?" Giles pressed.
"By bitin' her o' course," Spike said, as if it were the most natural answer in the world.
"B-b-biting?" Giles stuttered, taking a step back.
"Here's something for your Watcher's Diaries," Spike gloated. "A vampire's saliva counteracts a werewolf's. I bite your girl here, no more wolf."
Giles and Willow wore matching wide-eyed, slack-jawed expressions at Spike's pronouncement.
"How can we know you're telling the truth?" Giles finally managed to ask.
Spike shrugged. "Can't until I do it, can you? It's not like I have written documentation."
"And, in exchange, you simply want a get out of jail free card for you and your lover?" Giles clarified.
Giles looked to Buffy. "What do you think of all of this?"
"I think he'd say anything to get Dru away from Angelus," Buffy said. Then, with a sigh, she admitted, "But he also seems sincere in wanting to stop Angelus. I'm not saying we can trust him, but I think he's telling the truth about Willow."
Giles processed Buffy's evaluation of the situation and found himself agreeing with her. He nodded.
"How is it that you propose to stop Angelus from opening Acathla?" Buffy asked.
"Isn't that your department?" Spike shrugged.
Willow tentatively spoke up. "I think that we may have found a way." She moved back to the table and the others followed her. Picking up the piece of paper she and Giles had been looking at, she handed it to Buffy.
With a nervous glance at Spike, she said, "This afternoon I found a disc that had fallen between Ms. Calendar's desk and the file cabinet. Looks like she was trying to replicate the original curse, to restore Angel's soul. It looks like it might have worked."
"You think this will work?" Buffy asked, tears of hope shining in her eyes. She might get Angel back! She'd nearly given up all hope that she'd ever have him back.
"I do," Willow confidently said.
Giles couldn't help adding, "It certainly points the way. However, the ritual itself requires a greater knowledge of the black arts than I can claim."
"Well," Willow admitted, "I've been going through her files and, and researching the black arts, for fun, or educational fun, and I may be able to work this."
Sounding very concerned, Giles said, "W-Willow… channeling… such potent magicks through yourself, it could open a door that you may not be able to close."
Stepping up to her friend, Buffy said, "I don't want you putting yourself in any danger, Will."
"And I don't want danger. Big 'no' to the danger, but I may be the best person to do this," Willow insisted.
Spike's laughter reminded the Scoobies that he was still in the room.
"Find this funny, do you?" Buffy bristled.
"Yeah," Spike laughed. "I find it right hilarious that Angelus is going to get locked back in his cage by this little slip of a girl."
"Y-you aren't going to try to stop us from giving him back his soul?" Willow asked in surprise. She'd fully expected Spike to rip the curse to shreds so that they couldn't do this.
"Are you kidding?" he asked, humor still lacing his voice. "That wanker has been nothing but a thorn in my side since he returned. The soul made him mad, livin' with it for nearly a century. I'd much rather have that pathetic, soulful Angel running around than the psychotic sod who's stolen my Princess."
Willow and Buffy stood there blinking in disbelief, hardly believing their ears. Willow was going to be just a regular girl again and Buffy was going to get her boyfriend back.
"So how do we want to do this? The sooner the better, I'd imagine. Don't want him to figure out how to awaken Acathla before this gets done," Spike reminded them.
Coming back to the situation at hand, Giles agreed. "Yes, it would probably be best if we take care of Angelus first. Then Spike, you can… help Willow and Oz, and be on your merry way. We wouldn't want the bite to weaken Willow too much before the spell is performed."
"Uh, what's this about an Oz?" Spike took a step forward. "I said I'd help the girl, not her lover."
"What?" Willow exclaimed. "Why not?"
"I kinda like you," Spike admitted. "You've got fire. Plus, you're going to be the one to rid the world of Angelus. I couldn't care less about your beau."
"B-but…" Willow stuttered.
"Come, Willow," Giles interrupted. "Let us get prepared for the ritual. We may not have much time." In a whisper he added, "And perhaps we can change his mind when the time comes."
"Buffy, can you call Oz and Xander? They should know what's going on," Willow said as she moved to help Giles gather the ingredients they would need.
"Of course," Buffy agreed. Turning to Spike she said, "Why don't you make yourself comfortable. Don't want you going to warn him about what's going to happen."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Spike smirked. He wandered over to the bookshelves and picked a volume on demonology at random, then settled at the table to enjoy the show.
To be continued...