Our story is set in season five of Buffy the Vampire Slayer...Spike, Buffy's once vicious
nemesis, his violence against humans now restrained by a behavioral modification
chip implanted in his brain by the Initiative, a US government
research group which had been studying the underworld
of vampires and demons in season four, has to his horror, found himself in love with his
foe...And is increasingly moving toward the human world...

Equally interesting, we have learned that as a human, Spike...William the Bloody...Was a
gentle and charming poet...Whose transformation was a stroke of very bad luck and
unfortunate timing...

After meeting April the robot and being thrown through a plate-glass window by her...In a
season five episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Spike sought out Warren her creator and
threatened him unless he constructed a Buffy robot for him...The only way he can see to ever getting
his girl...

He's about to get more than he ever bargained for...

digital art courtesy PB
Opening theme (When You Wish Upon a Star)
Sunnydalopolis part I

"Now, Warren, you're a scientist aren't you? A bold pioneer into the reaches
of the new frontiers and all that. This is a challenge, lad. You can't tell
me you're not into a challenge."

Warren Mears, short, slightly pudgy young scientist regarded his slight blond visitor...Hard to
believe such a small fellow could pack so much menace in a single look...

Courtesy of an injudicious invite into his apartment, Spike has been working on the
little scientist nightly for nearly a week now and although Warren clearly is interested in
the idea of another robot and is terrified by Spike's "working face" and other vamp tricks, he's
still edging away from the cliff.

"Look it's not that simple." Warren backs away..." I didn't stick April
together in my dorm room. I need an advanced lab, manufacturing equipment.
And it takes time. I mean if you want everything perfect."

Spike looks at him intently...

"Well, now, how'd you do it with the first junior miss?"

Warren squirms a bit under his gaze...

"At my job...I used the Xortox company lab facilities. They may not let me get
away with it a second time."

"And how'd you manage that little bit of larceny?"

"At night, when I was supposed to be working late."

Spike grinned at the young scientist...Perfect...

"Lad, that's my time of day. We go in at night and we get my girlly girl up
and running-nobody the wiser."

Warren shook his head...

"You can't get in there that easily. There's security, you'd be caught right
away."

"Not old Spike. Besides who's to say I'm not an honest and dutiful employee
going around about me business-especially if their own boy Warren takes me on
board as his new assistant."

Warren thinks a moment...

"That's...not so crazy. I guess if you come by the lab and I told them I was
taking on an assistant, they'd probably go along with that." He nods-this
could work-then brightly..."Do you have a resume?"

"Mate, I've been dead for a hundred years. I don't think 'poet' followed by
'mass slaying experience' will go over big. Just work it out."

"Then, no college degree I suppose..."

Spike looks indignantly at him.

"I'll have you know I spent two years at Cambridge, the greatest university in
the world in my time."

"Can you come by my office tomorrow, say 10am."

Spike looks at him...

"Are you kidding? In the morning? In the daylight?"

"Vampires can't go out in daylight?" Warren...innocently...

The lad was still obviously not getting the key point about his nature...Spike sighes...

"Haven't you ever heard of vamps? Never seen our movies? Dracula? Those
Hammer films?"

"Well, I never had much time for that sort of thing. Movies and all." He
brightens. "I did see 'Bride of Frankenstein' once. But no vampires."

"Warren,...lad, I spend my days in a crypt and I have more of a life than you."
***

The next day Warren let the company office know he'd be taking on a new
assistant, a graduate student from England who would be working on his own grant
and on a night-time schedule due to his studies...

That evening Spike is a bit put out on learning he will not be paid by Xortox but in all finds the
process of id photographs, company security lecture, and issuance of a badge and coat to be
rather amusing...

***

Later that first night Warren finds him, decked out in lab coat and glasses, talking
to a couple of young women who clearly find the distinguished young scientist
from England intriguing. As he is lugging a case of various parts of April,
Warren is naturally somewhat nervous and anxiously urges Spike on to the lab.
Spike, who has been doing a really excellent Giles imitation, is annoyed to be
rushed away but manages to refocus back onto the project at hand. On listening
to Warren's description of his plan to reassemble April in Buffy form, he is
quick to make his dissatisfaction known...

"No, no, no. I'm not looking for a bloody drooling doll here. We're supposed
to be breaking new ground here, a full and complete Buffy Summers is what I've
ordered and that's what I'll settle for."

Warren was puzzled...

"But...I thought Ms. Summers hated you. You want the robot to hate you?"

Spike put his hand to his head and sighed...

He pauses, looking at Warren...The lad is definitely not vamp material...But...He's all
the Spiked One's got...

"Arghh...look, son, it goes without saying that I want my girlly girl to love
me like no one else exists. She should be for me and only me-forever. But...
forever is a long, long time and I want to be able to talk to her in words of
more than one syllable."

He now paces the lab, he's not talking to Warren now but to himself, Buffy, the
world...

" I want her to be Buffy Summers, whining, raging, yelling, sweet,
loving, vampire-slaying Buffy Summers. I want her to hang with that gang of
hers and no one-not her Watcher, not her own mum knowing it's not the original.
I want to see the look on their faces when she tells them she's realized ole
Spike is her true soulmate and she's got to have him like nobody's business and
she hopes they can be happy for her but hey that the way it's gonna be."

"Excuse me,... vampire-slaying?" Warren looks up from his chair...

Spike glares...And yet...William the Bloody knows his humans...And this one...
He knows...Somewhere inside...Has more interest in this project than he cares to let on...

A challenge, Spike thinks, looking at Warren...That's the key...

"Look Warren, can't we do a little more, push the envelope. You had some ideas
up your sleeve, I know it. You've been keen on this project from the day I
came to you, admit it."

Warren nervously rubs his face and looks down at his feet. "Socrates." He
calls. A small, furry dog comes running from a back corner of the lab and leaps into his arms.

"Nice pooch, Warren." Spike impatiently glares at the poochee. "You look good
in slobber, it suits you."

"We love our kisses don't we Socrates, don't we Soc, hey little boy... Here,
Spike..." Offers the dog to Spike who backs off. Warren sets the dog down and
it runs off. "Well?" He takes a chair.

"Well?...What?"

"Socrates." Warren grins up at Spike. Spike glares at him a moment, wondering
if he should don his "working face" and scare the bejesus out of the little
grinning twerp. "Socrates?..."

"Or should I say RoboSocrates. My real dog died six months ago."

Spike looks at him...frowning...

"So...You've got a robodog? Are you suggesting Robobuffy should act like your
dog?"

Warren cocks his head and smiles at him...

"Wouldn't you say Socrates was a real dog? I mean if you didn't know?"

"Warren, lad. Clear understanding and plain-speaking, please."

"I copied my dog's memory, personality, soul-if you like, into RoboSocrates.
It's a new technique, my real work for the past couple of years. It wasn't
ready for April...but well..."

Spike blinked at the little scientist...Copied the soul?...A light clicks on in his mind...

"What?...You're saying that you could copy Summers' soul into that robot of
ours?"

"Well, I'm saying that anything that the brain contains could be copied into an
artificial brain...An artificial, human brain."...Warren grins at him...

Spike thinks a bit, resisting the temptation to swat the smug little...

"But wait...man, Summers doesn't...like me...What good
will it do me to have two Buffies who can't stand my presence."

"Well, you say she can't stand your presence. I know how that feels. But how
come you love her?"

Spike frowns and resumes his pacing...He'd like to know the answer to this one
himself...

"How should I know? I should hate her. I did hate her. But...now... The
girl is just everywhere, I can't explain it. She's all over me, I can't chase
her out. I can't even try. How it happened I don't know. Maybe the bloody
chip in my head..."

Warren smiles...

"Exactly. You should hate her, you don't... You don't know why, it just is. A
perfect application of chaos theory to neural net modeling. She's Buffy and
she cares for you...She doesn't know why she just does."

"You can do that? You can make Buffy-er Robobuffy love me? And still be Buffy
Summers?"

"Well, it has to be rational, it has to be an affection that she can accept in
the context of her-Buffy's personality. See if we push the neural structure
too far out of its original state, we run the risk of neural collapse, freezing
the brain into a few single patterns of behavior. We'd end up with another
April or worse."

He paces the long lab in his turn...Clearly he has been working up to this moment for
some time...

He looked at Spike...

"It's really like...Casting a net...Into the infinite universe of potential Buffy
Summerses...Something of a gamble of course..." He smiles at Spike...

"But if you're game to make the try...And we can work it just right..."

"We might catch the right one..."

Spike looks at the little scientist...

"So she won't know...What she is I mean."

Warren shakes his head...

"Don't be ridiculous. Of course she'll know. She'd have to if you want to
keep her for any length of time. She'll have to perform self-maintenance and
recharge...She'd have to know what to do with whatever biomass she takes in
when she eats and drinks."

"Eats? Drinks? Is that why she has a stomach in your design there? I thought
robots didn't need that."

"They do if you want them to pass as human. And those are important to the
robot's socialization skills,personality integration..."

"I don't need a party hostess you know. I'm not planning a run for Congress."

"Ms. Summers likes to eat doesn't she? Then the robot will too."

"But she'll know...Then how can she be Buffy? Knowing she's not Buffy?..."

"She'll know and she'll accept it. Just as she'll accept having a soft spot for
a certain blond vampire. If we succeed...It'll just be part of her nature, the way
things are."

Spike thinks a bit...If we succeed...But...

A Buffy Summers who could...Care...

For me?...

He looks at Warren...

"But wait, you said we couldn't push things too far. This is pretty far out of
Buffy Summers' present life I can tell you right now."

Warren sighes in his turn...

"Love? That's easy. It's the most chaotic thing in our world. Look,
Spike...this is our universe but it's part of an infinite series of universes
with unlimited potential. All of them intersect at infinite points and cross
over in infinite ways. Now somewhere in there is a set of events in which
Buffy Summers as we know her could grow to care for you. We just have to get
the new brain to generate that set of events internally without wiping out the
rest of Ms. Summers in the process."

"She could still be the same girl? Ms. Save the World Vampire Slayer and all
that? And still care for ole Spikey? Yeah, yeah. Warren, that's what I want.
Exactly."

"Vampire-Slayer again? What is that? She slays vampires?"

"That's what a slayer does, son. Now can you do it? You seemed to think so
the other night. And now this pooch of yours?..." He glares at Warren.

"I don't know about this. I mean...I think the robot could be improved but the
brain...The personality and memory transfer...I haven't worked on a human.
Besides she'd have to be willing. I...."

Spike stares at him incredulously...Hopping up...

"She'd what?! Willing? Why willing?"

He stands over the little scientist...

Warren explained patiently...

"Well, at least as it stands now just to get her physical attributes right
would take a full body scan. Maybe we could get around that with video scans
if they were detailed enough. But the mental transfer would take several
hours of direct contact."

"Several hours?! You want the slayer to sit still for us for several hours
while we tape off her memories and personality into some kind of gigantic
computer thing?!"

He moves towards Warren, nearly forgetting the chip...

Warren scrunches back in his chair...

"Um well...but it's actually about the size of a CD recorder, with sort of
headphones. At least the model I used on Socrates was. I don't think the
neural recorder would have to be much larger for a human."

Spike calms down just before a first wave of pain can hit him. "The size of a
CD recorder and the headset is just like headphones?" An idea strikes him.
"And you'd want a video scan and probably her voice on tape wouldn't hurt?"

"That would be great. Can you get her to sit for that? I mean, I'd really
feel better about this if she's willing to go along with it."

"Pal, don't worry your head over it. Spikey will charm it out of her." Seeing
Warren's doubtful face, he chuckles. "Well, when she learns it will be the end
of Spikey in her life, she'll go along. You'll see. How soon can you have the
things ready?"

"A couple of days if I can modify the original recorder."
***
Back in his lair the next evening, Spike is found sorting through a box of
painful memories-Buffy's as a matter of fact. He pulls out a paper and reads...

"Dear buff, Will be away for the day. Can never stop thinking of my girl.
Love, Riley."

"Dear God, this is what won her? I wrote better on my worst day." He sets
himself to work copying Riley's handwriting.

"Dearest,

I have no power to speak, or to make any
Every day empty.
Without you I sit in a black, blank space where my life is a tedious string of
hours that can not be filled.
Buffy, I need some small fragment some..."
He crumples the paper.

"Oh God, forget it. Riley, Mr. Foursquare,...use the direct approach."

"Buf,

Am having a wonderful time down here killing defenseless peasants, err..I mean
demons. Wish you were here but could really use some apple pie and ice cream,
vanilla of course. God bless America.

Riley

P.S. Please use the enclosed to make a video, audio, and neural recording of
yourself, preferably naked. The guys are really curious.

Later, Riley"

Spike grins and crumples up the paper.

"Dear Buffy,

It was tough leaving you back there with so much unfinished and unspoken. I
know you can't forget the way things worked out for us but I hope that you can
forgive. I had to go. I can only hope that your heart can still feel a little
of what it once felt. I want so much to try to find someway for us to say the
things we couldn't when I left. Perhaps there is a way we can at least be a
little closer.

I'm sending you by way of an old grunt pal of mine, this recording system.
It's pretty hitech and I hope you'll use it-I need more than a letter or a
phone call for this. I can't go on without seeing you, hearing you, knowing
what you're thinking.

Use this and return it to me. What ever anger, rage, or sorrow is in your
heart, let me have the chance to feel it with you. Give me just a little of
your soul to keep by me here. Let me send you a bit of mine.

I hope but let me leave that for now. I've got to go, we have to pull out.

Love,

Riley"

Spike frowns. "Ok a little melodramatic but hey what sweetie would refuse a
request from her gallant soldier boy advancing into the jaws of death."

"And now as to delivery and retrieval." He grins. "Time to call on an old
friend."
***
Warren, nervous but obviously driven by a mix of fear and vanity, delivered the
recording system on time...

The next evening Spike drifts quietly through Sunnydale in his car until he
spots a large deliveryman, spic and span to a T in his uniform, carefully
unloading his van outside an office building.

"Ah, Phil, old pal."

The man turns, a little nervously, to face Spike. Recognizing the vampire, he
relaxes a bit but is wary.

"Spike. I'm working. And you're no pal of mine."

"Just a vamp doing his honest night's work, eh? Winning the blood money for
the vampress and kiddees?"

"I'm legit, Spike. And if you want proof, I'll be happy to call a cop."

"Phil, Phil...after all our grand old times together. All those folks we've
chowed down...say, remember that little waitress in Frisco?"

"I do...and I remember not killing her and being set to transform her. But you
just ripped her to pieces, you and that psycho girlfriend of yours."

"Ah, well. Had to impress my girl then Phil. Didn't know you'd lost your
heart to the kid."

"And now you kill your own kind. Regular slayer, aren't you?" Phil glares at him...

Spike smiles...Dear old self-righteous Phil...Hard-working, practical...Ready to accept
the human world without complaint...

Hard to believe he must have been even more of a bore in human life...

"Do I detect a note of hypocrisy? Tell me did you list 'actual Boston
Strangler' on your application? How'd the human resource people take it? Or
are they that hard up for help?"

"Now just a minute, there. When I'm on company time, I'm a professional. I
don't go around killing customers or eating my fellow employees. "

"Tell that to the two corpses back there in your van, Phil"

"Well...they were competition, trying to cut in on the company's territory.
Can you believe it-on my watch, no way." Phil was still clearly annoyed...The
idea...

"You're a credit to American values, Phil. Now about the task at hand? Do you
understand the setup? You just hand over the box and the letter, leave like a
good like mailman. Then in a few days, you return when she calls you by, pick
up the box and bring it here to me"

"Don't push me around like those idiots who are afraid of you, Spike. You
know, I'm damned sick and tried of lazy, worthless leechers like you, hanging
around, begging and stealing, blackmailing those of our people who go out and
earn their blood with honest, hard work."

"Having rotting corpses found in one's van is no way to impress the boss,
Phil."

"All right, I'll do it...for the good of the company. We can't have our good
name sullied. But Spike," he glares severely. "That's CPD-Certified Postal
Delivery ground courier-I'm no mailman."

"Phil, at that you're not a man period."

Frowning Phil grabs the letter and box and stalks off to the van.

"Address, Phil?,,,"

He turns and hands Spike a clipboard and form. Spike shakes his head as he
fills out the address and return.

"God, vampires worrying about their ruddy pension plans and company scorecards.
Mark my words, you'll be hanging around the water cooler next, trying to hear
what the other drones are up to so you can get to the boss first. What the
hell is the world coming to, that's all I want to know."

Phil grabs the clipboard. "We're done here? Cause I've got work to do."

"Just remember, no sampling the customers at this address. And don't try
wangling an invite-just drop the package off, get your forms, and make the
pick-up yourself when they call you."

"You don't need to tell me how to do my job, Spike."

"Yeah, I know, you're a professional."
***

Buffy was at the Magic Shop checking on Glory news with Giles when Dawn's
excited phone call comes in. "A package just came, From RILEY!" Giles made
speed with his summation of the latest events, noting that Buffy's nonchalance
act as especially poor. He's almost as pleased and nervous as Buffy, hoping
she'll finally be getting some little bit of reasonably good news. As she
nonchalantly nearly broke down the door leaving, he hoped Riley had had the sense
to send a present, preferably something ridiculously frivolous.

***
"Look at this thing? Is it a video camera? Hey..." Dawn grabs at the
recorder.

"Will you back off, Dawn?" Buffy pulls it back from her...

"Is there a letter? Did he say anything for me? Lemme read it too.
Come on!"

"You break this and you're dead. Just leave it a minute. Leave it...Dawn!"

"Why can't I be in the video, too? Riley likes me. Geesh..." This continued
for some time as Dawn felt she was making a reasoned and sensible request and
her sister was being a total... She settled down only after realizing that
Buffy had been starting to tear up for a while and was barely able to hold back.
Buffy carried the recorder and camera back to her own room, and closed the
door.

Feeling properly noble and martyred Dawn settles down to watch TV in the living
room-in a chair-by unspoken agreement between the sisters, the couch is
off-limits.

It's not very pleasant being alone in that room and Dawn continually calls out
to Buffy to find out how it's going or tell her what's up on their TV show.
When Giles calls to casually ask how things are going, he's a little startled
to find himself suddenly the intense object of Dawn's curiosity. Even in
happier days when he had come over to take Joyce to dinner, Dawn had never been
so anxious to have the minute details of his daily life.

No Watcher ever took on such a hazardous duty as Giles that night in allowing Dawn to happily
chatter for the best part of two hours...
***
Buffy woke startled the next morning to find she'd fallen asleep with the
recorder on while making the tape "Riley" had requested. While she couldn't
see why Riley's electronics friend couldn't have sent the recorder to him first
instead of to her, she was feeling just a bit less numb after pouring out to
him in her tape. She had held back the news on Joyce but she wanted to see his
tape first and find out what his plans were without that to tip the scales
towards his return home. When Dawn insisted on seeing the tape, she agreed,
anxious to see if she seemed normal and calm. However, this particular tape
did not seem compatible with their VCR. They gave up and included photos, a
long Dawn letter again minus Joyce's death, and a hastily-baked batch of burned
cookies. Buffy was a bit surprised that the delivery company could indeed pick
up the package for return that evening but they got everything securely packed
in plenty of time...

***

"It's a good recording." Warren pronounced after reviewing the various data the
recorder had produced.

"Then let's get moving."

[Spike and Warren at the assembly lab (When You Wish Upon a Star)]
The robot's bodyframe was obscured by the assembly chamber and its apparatus
but Spike could see that it was roughly of Buffy's size. Stripped down as it
was, wires, plastic, metal, it wasn't too pretty but neither was Michelangelo's
David when it was still a bare marble block. Warren was scurrying around the
equipment. "Ok, I guess we're ready to go." He sat down at the computer
console, the switches to the assembly chamber just beside. Spike leaned over,
his eyes still on the body in the chamber...

Warren now looks at Spike, hesitating, reluctant to throw the final swishes on
his own. "Go on, go on, now..." Spike is relentless, clenching his fists as
he wanders the room. "This is it Warren, no U-turns now, kid...Are you the
man on the edge, or the little wuss on the seat? Do it now, Warren! Come on lad, say
what you are now!...Warren, the genius, Warren, the real article, Warren the
man who creates a new world!"

[See the creation (click the creation video link to run video clip:Xortox Labs Security Cam #1)]

With a grimace, Warren shuts his eyes and lets his hand throw the last
switches. A ring of a dozen robot arms begins running up and down over the
body frame, spraying some kind of plastic shell over it. At the head, little
seems to be going on until one looks at the computer console where a 3D image
of the brain circuitry begins to rotate in various directions and angles,
lighting up where ever the recorder is initiating a new connection.

"There!" Warren points at the screen. "You're seeing the first artificial
human brain coming to life!"

Spike watches the body with its encompassing ring now moving too fast to be
anything but a rosy blur and the image on the screen now bursting into vibrant
colors at too many points to watch at once. He grips the chair with a
triumphant excitement. Suddenly it's over. The ring becomes a series of arms
now separating. The computer image settles into a multicolored portrait of the
new brain. Warren hammers away at the keyboard, and a second brain appears,
rather like the first but somehow a little different.

"That's Ms. Summer's neural profile, now we just superimpose it on the robot's
to see if everything we wanted to match is fit in place..."

The brains move on top of each other, with a near perfect fit. Only in a
couple areas are the patches of light slightly different...

"Is that what it's supposedly to be?" Spike looks at the screen, not sure what
to expect.

"Yes...of course the profile has to be a little different to fit in what we
wanted to and to adjust the brain to accept those things. But in everything
else the match is perfect." He is still nervous and keyed up, but clearly
elated. Spike pounds him on the back, triggering the chip.

"God, arghh!...Doesn't matter, doesn't hurt it a bit. Can we look now?"

"She's no where near ready, Spike. We have to get her transferred to the
biotank."
***

As they manuever a large, body-sized tank up to the assembly chamber, Spike
can't resist taking a peek through the glass of the chamber. "God, bloody
hell!"

"I warned you it wouldn't be pretty. It's the internal skeletal structure and
musculature. It's just plastic and synthetic membrane."

"Warren, you didn't prepare me for it being a 'Visible Woman'. God...she's not
going to look like that for long is she?"

"It's just until the outer layers and skin are finished. I told you she would
be in the tank for several days. Here, try this." He hands Spike a small bag
of blood.

"Warren?...Well thanks mate, I guess this does call for a celebration. Not
bad, where the hell did you get it anyway?"

"Oh, it's hers... It's synthetic blood, to fill the vessels and keep the skin
and underlying muscle covers alive. You like it?"

Spike nearly gags but it does taste like blood, pretty top quality blood,
actually. "It's...first rate,...you said synthetic? When you said she'd have
blood fluid, I thought you were putting in some kind of machine oil or maybe
red water or something. I could live on this."

"Uh-uh. And she generates it herself. I've set it so she'll produce a couple
of pints a day-if she's charged and has the raw materials on hand. Is that
enough for you?"

"Seriously?...You mean she can give me all the blood I'll need?"

"As soon as her bioareas are fully grown and the systems are operational."
"All right, well, lets get her in this thing and get her home."

The body is moved into the biotank and Warren and Spike load the tank to a
small truck...

***

Back at Spike's lair they quickly set up the tank alongside Spike's coffin
slab.

Warren frowned at him...Spike was clearly ready to hop out of his skin in anticipation...

"Just let her sit for the full cycle, Spike. Don't disturb the process."

"Does it have to be 4 days?"

Warren sighed...

"No, if you want her new skin and undersurfaces to rot off her in a few weeks
or so, you could pull her out in 2 days."

Spike nodded...Just a little patience...A bit of old Brit pluck...he thought...

Warren was ready to head out...Promising to check in tomorrow...

Spike...As much to his surprise as Warren's...Put out a hand...And shook the
little scientist's hand...

Warren silently grinned and gave a thumbs up as he left...Spike nodding

***

Spike finally gave up pacing the lair and headed out for a smoke and look
round. He didn't notice that someone had been watching the lair for some time...

Someone who slips in even as he leaves...
***

Harmony sees the new "coffin"set out alongside Spike's slab. So he hasn't
wasted any time she thinks. Some new little playmate for Spikey, well...sister
it's time to clear out. She forces open the tank and shrieks. Spike comes
running in. "Damn you, what are you doing here, Harmony?" He slams down the
cover.

Harmony's horrified look gradually changes to something like admiration.

"You got her...the Slayer I mean. You actually got her at last. You can't
fool me Spike, I saw her in there."

"You saw her? You recognized her?"

"Of course...but God, I mean, Spike what did you do to her? I mean I really
hate Buffy Summers but even I wouldn't do what you did to her. Geesch...did
you like, throw acid on her or what?"

She shakes her head at Spike.

"You know she's gonna be one powerful slay-vamp when she wakes up and boy is
she gonna be pissed at you when she sees what you've done. I mean
she's...bald, practically, and her skin is all...yeech!"

"Yeah...well, you know what Harm? You're right, I did get her. I got the
Slayer with a gallon jug of good old 100 proof sulfuric acid. And you know
what Harm? I still have plenty left where that came from."

A sound comes from the tank, almost like a cry. Harmony's eyes bulge. "She's
alive...well, our kind of alive...or dead, I mean undead...kind of... Oh,
she's not gonna come out now? Yuck!"

Spike checks the seals on the tank and clamps down the locks. "No, not for a
few days yet. And you're not gonna be here when she does come out, Harm.
Good-bye."

"Well, why I can't I drop by and see her if I want to." Harmony has
immediately forgotten her plan to destroy her new rival in her enthusiasm for
finally having an old friend, well...acquaintance, well...someone who went to
Sunnydale High... to talk to about the old days over a kill or two. "We're
old...classmates. We were cheerleaders together."

Her eyes narrow. "You know Spike, just because you're her sire doesn't mean you can go around
choosing her friends and forcing her to wait on you hand and foot. I'll show her how to
stand up to the likes of you, I'll show her how to be a person on her own, like me. I mean well,
an unperson like me."

"I'm sure you'll be quite a twosome. But let's leave that up to her when she's
up and about."

"The Slayer, dead and one of us... I can't believe it, it's just too
wonderful..."

"Well, why don't you go and just spread the glad tidings, Harm?"

"Oh, wait a minute. Spike, how could you? Didn't her mom just die?" Harmony
is quite disturbed by Spike's breech of etiquette. "I mean, shouldn't you have
waited...? She has that little sister now, all alone...Why didn't you get her?
Oh, gee...the poor little thing. Well, I'll have to take care of her. She
can't be left all alone like that."

"Leave the little Nibs alone, Harm. For your own good. Now, get out of here
before I find that other bottle of acid!"

Harmony leaves but the thought of poor Dawn, all alone, preys on her
long-dormant maternal instincts-almost as much as her hunger seeks to prey on
poor Dawn. And nothing would cement a new friendship with Buffy the Vampire
like providing for her family. After all she herself was squeamish about
transforming her own family and had had to settle for eating Gram and that
idiot brother of hers. And then the others had all run off before she could
get up the nerve to do it...

If only some friend had been willing to do the icky part for her...

***
Back at the offices of Xortox Labs, two men are watching a tape taken from a
newly installed hidden security camera. The tape is of Warren and Spike
working in the lab...

"And the next tape, Mr. Willes. Tonight's activities."

Mr. Willes views the tape of Robobuffy's creation in the assembly chamber with
Dr. Severn, head of Xortox Labs.

Severn leans back in his chair and looks at Willes. Willes looks back
expectantly.

"Then no actions are to be taken...Against Warren and his assistant?"

"No, not at present. No, we want Warren to complete his project."

"But should we allow him to continue off-site?"

"Mr. Willes, Mr. Willes, Warren is my niece's fiancee. Why he's practically
family...I'm sure we can confidently expect him to keep this in-family."

"And if not, sir?"


"We'll keep him under surveillance. And his friend, the Englishman. I don't
know what role he plays in this but we'll want him as well I'm sure."

"All right, sir. We'll keep our best on them both."

Severn leans back again and looks at Willes...

"Do you know what our boy Warren is offering Mr. Willes?..." Severn pauses...

"Immortality."
***


Sunnydalopolis part II

No, Spike thought...You want to be causal. No fancy airs, no
straightening up the place. After all, Buffy II has to know who's in charge
here in Spikey's crypt. Right from the start. None of the stuff those idiot
boyfriends put up with. Right from the start. But not too causal. Mustn't
let her think she's not appreciated, not welcome, not longed for, not...loved
and worshiped...

He looked around. Bare white stone slab walls, broken only by the occasional
ancient plaque to some family member of a long deceased clan...

The lower depths...Bare rock, with pipes...Dank...With the vague smell of an
long-abandoned sewer system still hanging on...A few sticks of furniture collected
here and there...

Not much of a place for a Buffy Summers...he thought...

Well, nothing to be done about it.

He looked round again...It'll be lonely for her here...what if
Warren's sell is the truth, what if she's Buffy completely, she'll hate it
here, she'll hate me, she'll leave me...

Maybe some pillows would brighten up the place...
***

"Warren, old pal. Welcome to the digs." Spike is genuinely happy to see
anyone right now and he has grown a little fond of his partner in cybernetics.
Much to his surprise, Warren is equally enthusiastic to see him.

"Well, how's going? Is the tank stable?"

"If the little green light means stable, we're home free. Otherwise, it's your
call kid."

Warren checked the tank monitors. All's as well as can expected...

"So...tomorrow the big event. You must be going crazy. I know I am."

"Nah..." Spike was causal, a poised vamp of the world... " It works or it doesn't...no big deal.
Nice of you to check up though."

"Of course, I'll leave the opening to you. You'll want to be by yourselves for
that I'm sure."

"You won't drop by...to be certain?" Spike's nonchalance was fading...

"Spike, she'll be fine..." Warren now smiles at him... " And you
won't want me around. But I'd like to drop by later in the day, see how she's
doing."

"Yeah, certainly, but shouldn't you be here in case something goes wrong?"

Warren actually pats the vampire on the shoulder. "Spike, you'll be fine.
Just go easy with her and let her set the pace." He frowns. "I mean of
conversation, walking, that sort of thing...don't push her too fast. Remember
her neural structure will need to accept the idea...of you, I mean."

"In some existence Buffy Summers could care for me? That's what you said isn't
it? And the robot's brain could create the scenario for that? Is that really
possible?"

The little scientist grins..."Well, yes...Why not? You're a charming fellow in
a dark but blond sort of way...But, Spike...it really might help...if you made a real
effort...well, to be the sort of man Buffy Summers would be able to care for."

"Right. I'll do my best imitation of a dim-witted soldier boy. Or a soulful,
reformed vampire."

"No...Spike, look. You didn't want a 'drooling doll' and our Ms Summers is not
going to be one. She'll see right through any act you try to put on. Just
try...I don't know...try to be..."

"Xander Harris? Rupert Giles?...look doc, I'm reaching here." He grins at the
frowning scientist. "A good man...That's it, isn't it? She'll want someone
who'll fight for the right, save babies from the burning fire...demon, that
sort of thing? Well, ole Spikey will come thru in short order."

"She may have her own ideas about what she wants from you Spike. All you can
do is try your best." He gets up to leave and turns to the vampire. He senses
Spike's fear and nervousness. "She'll be on your side, Spike. If you make an
honest effort."

"Warren...what happens... if I don't measure up. Not that I can't measure up
if I want to. But Slayers have unusual ideas about things..."

Warren looked at him...A long moment...

"She'll do what Ms. Summers would do...if someone she cared about let her
down."

"But what about...the friends, the damn family gang...the little Nibs? She'll
want them, won't she?"

"Spike...I don't know the lady that well, but you should know better than I
do...that change is part of life. And, she'll know what she is, after all and,
maybe, you'll both find some way to fill that gap. I'll see you tomorrow."

Ok, he thought. Ok, it's not going to be easy. But I don't want it easy. He
looks at the tank. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. The blasted sun will come up
tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.
***

The rest of the day he spent fitfully dreaming on his slab...For the first time
since his death he dreamt of Cambridge, England, poetry. He was teaching a
class in...British poetry to a class of Buffies...all laughing at him. "I'm
trying, please, ladies, I'm trying...now please,..." They laughed,
hooted, and stood up to point at their ridiculous teacher. He sweated,
trying to stammer out the lesson. But one, in the front row, smiled at him. He
stared at her and as he started to relax a bit, awoke...

He suddenly sits bolt upright. He has just realized that Buffy II is going to
wake up stark naked...

"Good God, she'll kill me!"
***
Glory awakened in her rather palacial apartment...The involuntary gift of a wealthy
businesswoman...Feeling rather miserable. Her counterpart Ben has been getting the upper
hand of late and has obviously been working like a dog, treating the miserable
wretches flung into her path and wrung dry by her.. She is aching all over and very
much out of sorts. Dreg, her minion, is nervously awaiting her pleasure in his
usual corner.

"Oh, joyous incredible bliss to have you with us again, our Glorious one! Oh,
let my worthless life be again at your blessed disposal. Let my..."

"Yeah, yeah...please I'm really exhausted. Lets have the report and hold the
blandishments for later."

"A thousand pardons, oh Gloriousness! May my wretched foolishness be punished
with a thousand years of piercing, burning tortures!"

She glares at the little minion...

"Now as to events in your absence... I beg to report that our brethren have detected the presence
of additional Knights in the area, though no more as yet in Sunnydale..."

"Key!" She stamps the floor...Oops, a new hole in the floor...

"Yes, oh goddess. As to the Key...I regret there is no news as yet. The
Slayer has been watched carefully, but she has made no move that would suggest
its whereabouts...or that she has learned to make use of it. I..."

"Arghh...give me that glass thing..." she gestures wildly...Glass thing already broken, Dreg
notes... "Give me something to break...now!"

Dreg looks around, there is nothing left to break.

"My humblest apologies, my goddess...please take my unworthy body and smash it
to pieces to your hearts' content-both of them."

"Time, time so little time." She paces then stops, looking at the waiting
Dreg. "You look awful. Do you always have to wear that same outfit?"

"My craven apologies, most Glorious one. I have no other garment...we do not
have any time to spare on such things in our quest to fulfill your slightest
wish, perform your every command..."

"I feel awful...What is with Ben these days? Doesn't he ever sleep? Say,
where is the Slayer now? Is she in walking distance? Not that I want to go
walking."

"The...Slayer. Well, your gloriousness, I am reluctant to speak...for fear of
awakening Ben...The Slayer has had a death in her family. She is not at home
at present, but we believe she is in Sunnydale...somewhere."

Glory's face turned a deep shade of red...

A lovely shade...Dreg loyally noted...

"Somewhere?! Somewhere?! Is this how I am served?! I...the glorious one,
I...the...The Slayer's had a death... in her family? Who? No, don't tell me,
don't tell me, lets stop talking about it...I feel Ben circling around in
there. I need some quality time outside here. Ok, ok... You know, what we
need is a little pick-us-up."

"Ah, I'm sure we can find someone suitable just outside. Let me go and see..."

"No, Dreg. Not that... I need a little distraction." She looks at the minion.
"And you could definitely use a new suit."

"Oh, your gloriousness..."
[Play Glory and Dreg theme]
"Dreg, my shoes...Call a cab...Minion, we are mall-bound."
***

"About yea high, about your size there." With one hand raised to Buffy's
height, Spike points at the salesgirl's middle. By his sides are bags loaded
with every outfit he could remember from Buffy's wardrobe. Just one more
dress, courtesy of Xortox Labs' company credit card and he will be...in debt
for the length of even his existence. He doesn't notice the man in trenchcoat
causally strolling by who regards him sharply. If he had, he might have
recognized a fellow member of the Xortox family...
***

Dreg, clutching an Orange Julius, and now wearing a rather expensive three
piece suit, is also strolling along. For him, this is the happiest night of
his miserable existence. His dearly beloved goddess has made him the focus of
her attention for the better part of two hours, and, thanks to the unconscious
kindness of a passerby and a saleslady, both now mentally incapacitated, has
enjoyed all the blessing a cash-flush Glory and the Sunnydale Mall can offer.
Unfortunately it is coming to an end as Glory, sensing Ben's presence, has
dashed for the ladies room. But happy as he is, Dreg is a worthy minion and is
quick to remember the pale blond man standing in the store as one of those
unworthies he has seen in the presence of the Slayer. Doubtless one who serves
the Slayer. He rushes to the restroom to alert his mistress, but emerging from
the room looking apologetic is good old Ben wearing one of the outfits Glory
had purchased for the minion...

Dreg, rather crestfallen, heads sadly home...
***

Spike unaware of the interest in his activities, heads lairward.

At the lair he enters, as quietly as he can with five overstuffed bags, and
noting the tank securely closed, goes over to a ladder leading to the larger
section of the lair below. He drops the bags down below and climbs down to
pack things away. As he climbs back up, he feels a tingling sensation, a
warning that something or someone is in killing range. He tenses, turns, and
finds himself grabbed from behind...

A rather familiar feeling...

"Spike! Just what the hell have you been up to?"

It's Buffy, standing near the doorway. She regards him and glares at the tank.

"So...you and Dr. Warrenstein have been making a Barbie doll? Don't lie to
me."

"Buffy, nice of you to call. I just got back myself. Glad to see you found
your way in..."

She jerks him back to her. "What have you been doing, shopping? Whataya
think, you've got a little dress-up dolly and you need clothes for her?"

"What?...Can't a fellow go out and do a little shopping in Sunnydale now? I
had a little honestly earned cash and I go out and do my bit for the American
economy and you think you can just come in here and start pushing me around
about it?"

"I can just imagine what you bought...Well, you better make some new plans
because there is no way in hell you are getting any version of me into whatever
kinky little wackoness you're dreaming up."

She tosses him down....

"Didn't I tell you to clear out of Sunnydale? To keep out of my way? But you
stay on here and you start playing around with this..." She rubs at her head.
"I don't need this now, I really don't. If I had any brains I would stake you
right now and be done with it. But..."

"I like that...now where do you get off, coming into my digs, poking round my
stuff, and telling me to get out...Why are you here, anyway?" He's about to
ask if Warren has spilled the beans but there's something about the sweater
outfit she's wearing that strikes him as strange.

"I want you to go patrolling with me...Now! This minute. I'm not having my
friends at risk, patrolling for me while they're half out of their skulls over
my mom and Buffy is in no shape to go out with Dawn and all and..."

"Buffy is...in...no...shape to go out."

"No, of course not. So we go. Now, before someone gets killed. What's the
matter?"

"That sweater and skirt is one I kept...isn't it? From Buffy's?"

"Yes, did you expect me to go running around naked? What am I saying, of
course you were...
Spike!..."

He runs over to the tank. The green light is out...

"Actually, what did you get? Did you get one decent thing I can wear? Cause
this sweater is smelling like your lair. Well, where are those things?"
"Down below, in the chest...the wooden one."

She looks at him and for the first time, a grin appears on her face. "A hope
chest?...You have a hope chest?..." She shakes her head and goes below. "And
Spike..." she calls "The only water in this place is up there, so get out while
I change."

As he, dazed and bludgeoned,. moves to leave the lair, a slowly flickering
light is now burning bright in his mind...

[Playtheme for Buffy Rebecca]

"Are you getting out, Spike. Cause if I come up and find you leering there...
You won't be fit for patrol tonight."

"Ummn..." He calls back down. "What should...I call...you?"

"Buffy...what else? Now get out..."

***

Sunnydalopolis part III...

Spike hangs by the door until the last possible moment. Buffy II's mutterings
as she pokes through his "hope" chest drift up from below. "No, he wouldn't
think of that, of course not...no deodorant, no toothpaste,...Hey, I have this
one at home, too...that little pervert must have gone through every one of
my...Spike! This is not my size! Who does he think I am, Xena?"

As she starts climbing up he flies out and tries to assume a nonchalant
expression standing in the yard of the crypt. He does not entirely succeed...
***

Dreg is reluctantly plodding home in his new suit, the best evening of his life
abruptly over. He pauses to view himself in the new Glory-chosen togs in a
window. "Dreg! " A familiar voice calls. It's Ben and Dreg feels himself
whirled around. As he looks at Ben in an outfit several sizes too small, he
can't repress a feeling of profound satisfaction...

"Ah, sir...I see my mistress has as always thoughtfully provided you with
suitable raiment before her departure."

"Very funny. What were you two up to at the Mall? How many people did Glory
stricken this time?"

Dreg is dignified as befitting his new status as Glory's favored...and his new
suit. "Sir, you must be aware that I cannot provide you with information
unless my mistress herself has first consented to allow it. Her activities are
beyond the strictures and reckonings of this petty existence and no
explanations are required."

"Nice suit."

"Her most glorious divinity did deem my unworthy self to be its recipient."

"She chose it for you? Well, Dreg...you are the Minion tonight, huh?"

"Her gloriousness doth on occasion find my meager services of some use."

"Say Dreg, why don't we call a truce for one night and grab some dinner? I
have some clothes back at the hospital. We can talk things over...maybe I can
be of some help in sorting the situation out."

Dreg sucks thoughtfully on his Orange Julius, regarding Ben warily. "I think
not sir. Events have shown you to be quite opposed to her divinity's wishes
and plans. No, I think an exchange of information is not in her gloriousness'
interest."

"You know I should write you a prescription for that skin condition of yours.
You'd be a pretty decent-looking fellow in that suit if we could take care of
those scabs." Ben pulls out his pad and starts to write, Dreg peering over his
shoulder...

"This should do the trick, you can get it filled at that drugstore over
there...Glory left you some of whatever she came by tonight?"

"Her gracious solicitude for her unworthy minions continues as always." Dreg
begins to wonder if dinner with Ben is such a bad idea. He doubtless would
have information on his friend, the Slayer and her family...and a skillful
master of intrigue, trained in the sacred halls of the divine order should have
no trouble concealing anything useful in exchange. And it has been such a
grand night, a fine dinner with a companion sure to be interested in any
trivial details of Glory's existence would be a preferable ending to gruel made
from wallpaper paste and toilet water, eaten alone in his dark basement...

"Come on Dreg, I promise not to press for anything that would get Glory upset
at you. How bout it?"

"Well, sir...perhaps a small meal before retiring, eaten with you as token of
respect for my mistress' counterpart."

***
[Play...A 4 day old robot is driving my car theme]

Much to Spike's discomfort, Buffy II insists on driving his car to the patrol
site. While he is naturally worried about a four day old robot with no driving
experience or license driving his car, his principal concern is that it leaves
him with nothing to do during the drive. His eyes are continually drawn to
Buffy II's slender arms turning with the wheel, the slant of her head as she
watches the oncoming traffic. She glares swiftly at him and he finds some
fascinating reading in the glove compartment on car maintenance. Where to put
the hands drumming along nervously, where to look without staring, what clever
remark to make, perhaps an interesting bit of news from the four days she's
been in the tank? That's it. Some family news...

"Your mum's funeral went off just boss yesterday, I hear, Buffy."
***

Something is clearly weighing on Ben's mind, Dreg realizes as he gobbles his
third plate of a wonderous food known as spaghetti. The waitress, alerted by
the manager to the pitiable condition of the young doctor's terminal patient,
casts a sympathetic look on Dreg. He notices that the major part of her
attention is focused on the handsome young doctor. Ah, even these worthless
humans can sense the Presence... Ben nods smilingly to the waitress and turns
back to Dreg...

"Dreg, I was wondering...in regard to Glory's sudden interest in you?..."

Dreg is caught by surprise. He had expected more probes about the Key or the
role of the Slayer, perhaps even a direct question as to Glory's full plans...

"Sir?"

"You know, in the past...Glory has, well occasionally...gotten close to a
follower... It never lasts you know...but..."

"Any brief showering of her divine favor upon me is cause for my eternal
joy...I..."

"Yes, well, Dreg. You see it's been a while since Glory...well...The last one
was the emperor Commodus. And since then she really hasn't gotten that close
to anyone...I would imagine she's been getting a little...lonely?"

"Sir, I would rejoice if my humble presence can even briefly ease any lonely
moment in her divine hearts..."

"Look...have you and Glory been...intimate?"

"Sir...?"
***



Spike looks apprehensively around at the dark cemetery grounds. Buffy II is
striding along, carefully listening for sounds, in trim Slayer form, stake by
her side...

"Look this is not a good night to be out...Every vamp in town is sure to be
gunning for the Slayer tonight, thinking she'll be off her stride. I can see
them all now, down there pulling down the booze, until one blowhard sounds off
and they all go out, an instant Slayer lynch mob."

"Exactly why we're here. And we're going to stay here."

"For what...Buffy and Dawn are safe at Giles'. Your idiot gang of friends?
They'd help to tear you apart if they knew who you were. Besides, they'll make
a quick turn of the town and head home to hold hands with the Summers girls."

"My friends are out there. And I know Buffy will be here. She'll be here to
check on Mom."

"Your mother...Her mother is safe as can be in this world...No vamp can hurt
her now."

"I'm not leaving until I know for sure. Go if you want to...I don't need any
help."

"Buffy..."

"No vampire, no demon, no idiot drunkard tping the graveyard is touching my
Mom's gravesite, do you understand!": She rages on, shaking the stake at his
startled face.

"You're absolutely right, every slimy little cowardly vampire in Sunnydale will
be looking to do whatever he or she can to me tonight, even if it's only to spit
on my Mom's stone."

She calms down and looks determinedly at her hands. There is no stopping this
Slayer, even in robot form, Spike realizes...

"That's why Buffy will be here and that's why we're here."

"But...if Buffy sees you?" Spike tries a new tack. "This isn't really the
night for you two to meet you know."

"She won't see me. But I'll be there." Buffy II marches off, toward the tree
grove overlooking her mother's fresh grave...

"WARREN!" Spike screams to the stars, beating his head with his fists...
[Play theme...Spike in the Graveyard]


"Dear God, do I owe you a drink, you goddamn...Michelangelo." He chases
after the vanishing figure of Buffy II...

***

Sunnydalopolis part IV

[Playtheme...One Unholy Wedding Night...]

It's nearly a mile through the trees to the gravesite and Spike, running to
keep up with the rapidly striding Buffy II, continues to scan about nervously.
Something is twinging his sense of danger and he can tell from Buffy II's
careful if swift moves that she senses something as well...

She halts and whirls back to him. "Something's up over here...Wait." She looks at him and
frowns.

"Still planning to come along? You'd better be ready for a long
night...Spike!"

She screams as the six hooded figures burst upon the vampire, knocking him to the ground. She
deftly stakes two before they can do any more damage to the now unconscious Spike and the
others pull back into the trees...

A voice, laughing through the trees..."Sl-a-yer...Slay-er"

Buffy II looks carefully through the trees. No movement. She turns to the
prone Spike, "Spike!...Spike!" She hisses. He's out for the moment.

"My...hero." She breathes to the trees, again scanning the grove carefully...

Suddenly out of the wind, she hears the disembodied voice of Joyce Summers.
"And you know, my Buffy's been having some terrible nightmares recently. I
don't know why, I try to keep her away from scary movies and TV..." A tape
machine is fast-forwarded with a gurgle. "I've been so worried about my girls,
sometimes it seems like there's no time for me to even think..."
Joyce's soft laugh echoes through the trees...

"Mom?! ...Oh, you bastard...you bastard!" Buffy II screams at the trees. A
laugh comes drifting back to her...

"Sla-yer... I've been waiting so long to use these tapes...just waiting for the
right moment...And here it is...If only your mother could be with us right
now...to really make the moment complete..." Shadows flit through the trees,
moving in on them...
***
Spike starts and slowly begins to come round. He feels himself flat on his
back. God, all a dream...home...safe on the slab. Then he sees the two vamps
holding Buffy...and feels the ropes around his arms.

A chubby, bearded fellow in slacks and sweater is clearly the Leader here. He
grins at Spike and points to the struggling Buffy II. "You know, friend, she
could have left but she waited for you. If I were still a therapist, I'd say
Ms. Summers here has a serious problem with her relationships to vampires."
***

Warren is swiftly finishing up work at Xortox. He's been going like a dog to
catch up on his bionetics project, paperwork, reports, paperwork, and more
paperwork-all dangerously backlogged during his two weeks of all-night sessions
with his new assistant "Dr. Walthrop". He's looking forward to a reasonable
night's sleep but even more to spending an hour or so visiting Spike and the
new Ms. Summers. A third young woman stops by to ask about the intriguing
young British scientist. "CalTech," Warren repeats for the third time. "He's
giving a seminar this week at CalTech." He starts to stuff some papers in a
bag, ready to head out. A call, from upstairs, holds him. He's wanted by Dr.
Severn, head of the company. A brief meeting, if he has a moment.

You always have a moment for Dr. Severn if you work for Xortox.

Trouble, no doubt about it-trouble...

"Warren, come in, come in" Severn is in an expansive mood. Warren notices that
Willes, "The Hatchet", Severn's right hand man in administration is also
present. Willes has one of those oily, semi-smiles that could mean anything.
Severn points to a chair and grabs some papers. Who was it, Kat said her
uncle looked like...Oh, right the Dean...the Dean from the "Animal House"
movie...After seeing the movie, he knew she was right...the same phony
heartiness, the same combination of ruthlessness and pompousness. And
Willes...Needlemeyer? No, a better image from his history reading...Beria,
Laventi Beria, Joe Stalin's favorite hatchet man...the one who killed the
killers...the same piggy little eyes.

"Warren, son...we have a little problem... Mr. Willes here has just brought
some rather startling expense reports to my attention...All of them seem to be
on your company card."

He gazes at Warren, smiling, but dead cold...

"Twelve hundred dollars in one week...But that's not the problem" he's quick to put in
as Warren, a little surprised, is about to point out the paltriness of the
sum, barely enough to cover a day's operational expenses at the lab...

"It's the items that were ordered, all of them apparently at the Sunnydale Mall..."

He reads slowly through the list of Buffy II's wardrobe. Willes' smile gets just
a bit more oily. Warren squirms a bit, waiting for a chance to interrupt...

"...twelve sets of ladies underpants...and ten pairs of...stockings." Severn
finishes, staring at Warren.

God, Spike...you said you just needed a couple of things...Warren nervously curses "Dr.
Walthrop"...

"Dr. Severn, if I could explain..."

"I think you'd better, son. You know...if I didn't know you were engaged to my
dearest niece, I'd wonder if you might be keeping a mistress on the company's
dole."

Mistress? Warren thinks. Dearest niece? That would really amuse Katrina, if
she ever came back...

Warren clears his throat...

"My new assistant Dr. Walthrop..well, he's just arrived, with his...wife. He
needed a few things for her and well, he had to borrow my card...Of course I'll
refund the money to the company account."

"Ah, the mysterious Dr. Walthrop. Tell me what exactly does he do here? He
assists you in some way...?"

"He's...a real genius in cybernetic development...He's helped enormously in
cracking some of the problems in my bionetics project."

"Well, we must meet this fellow. I understand he works off his own grant...If
he's as good as you say we should have him on the team permanently. Certainly
anyone you would stick your neck out so far for must be of considerable help to
you."

"CalTech...He's away at CalTech. For the week."

"Well, next week then. Please set up an appointment with my secretary. Now,
as to your project and this little incident...You two have been putting in some
long night hours, I understand...Have you anything to show for it?"
"We've been constructing a complete body unit...To test the limbs through the
full range of everyday motions."

"I think I'd like to see the fruits of your labors..."

Warren, not quite the novice he seems in dealing with the workings of the
world, is prepared for this...
***

"Lad", Spike hisses at the younger of the two vamps near him. He's noticed
most of the waiting vamps looking edgily at the Slayer as Mr. Remington, former
therapist to Joyce Summers continues his gloating. Their confidence in their
Leader is clearly fading as fast as the buzz from their drinking...

"Say, lad...You don't really believe this fellow is going to kill the Slayer do you?
THE Slayer?...Why not save yourself some trouble and earn some Slayer points in
the process?"

The young vamp pulls himself up. "DR. Remington is a great man, an annoited
one, blessed with great insight into the workings of the universe."

God, thought Spike, not another Annoited One. They fall out of the trees these
days. Great, just great...I pick the one religious fanatic in the lot...

Remington leers at Buffy II...

"Slayer...before I make you my bride...would you care to hear more from your
dear, departed mother? To be honest, I kept these tapes mainly for my own
amusement-before and after my transformation...but when I heard my old patient
was the Slayer's mother...Oh, I knew I was blessed by the gods to be your
destroyer."

He signs to his followers and the two holding Buffy II drag her over to where
Spike is tied down.

"My only problem is...do I sacrifice this worthless traitor to his people first, or leave
him to witness your transformation?"

"Say, doc...what were you annoited in...Crisco?" Spike turns to the gaggle of
nervous-looking vamps. "Is this the fellow who's going to take the Slayer? I
don't think so... Just what has he got, anyway?"

A chorus of voices...

"He's got you...he's got the Slayer's mommy on tape...He really helped me out
with this problem I have with my mom..."

"Ah, my tapes...thank you Benedict..." A vamp brings in a couple of recorders
left in the woods, along with a stack of tapes.

Buffy II looks fixedly at Spike. He suddenly realizes this is what she was
waiting for...

Vampires who have seen the Slayer in action have often been surprised by her
bursts of strength, even after clashing with her several times. It goes
without saying however that when Buffy II pulled the two vampires holding her
apart in a single violent surge and then killed half a dozen vamps, including
her mother's slimy former therapist, by splintering the table in front of her,
that this evening was to become legendary among survivors...

"I told you this was a bad idea," one of the four battered survivors muttered
to his colleagues. "We should have sent her a sympathy card like I wanted to."
***


Sunnydalopolis part V

Xander, Willow, Tara, and Anya are on patrol near Buffy's house, anticipating
possible attempts to harass the Slayer while she is in mourning. So far so
good except for their nearly killing two young boys throwing eggs at people in
the street...They were getting near Buffy's and Xander felt they had had the
"vamp" look to them...

Will is upbraiding him...

"Xander you're really getting to be the trigger-happy type. Anyone could see
those were just two boys."

Harmony approaches, dressed in an attempt at mourning, waving a yellowish white
cloth on a pole...

"I have come in the spirit of truce-seeking to offer my sympathies to the
survivors of the Slayer's family and friends.." She glances at the yellowed
flag and sighs. "This flag was supposed to be white, but the washing machines
in the laundromat down the street are really the pits."

Willow, always sympathetic. "Harmony, that's really nice of you to offer
condolences."

Xander puts his hand to his head. "Will? Harmony-vampire, us-slayer
assistants?"

"Is Dawn here?" Harmony struggles to tone down her eagerness. "I have a
present for her."

"Ah, yes Harm..." Xander nods... "A present. Would that be the gift of eternal life by any
chance?"

"It's...chocolates." She waves a box. "They always made me feel
better...before I found other things."

Will motions to Xander to take the box. He starts at the idea. "Xander, be
nice...condolences...special occasion...eternally damned without her consent."
She hisses...

Tara and Anya are clearly uncertain who to back here. Harmony seeeemss nice
but she is a vampire. Maybe Willow is a little too sentimental over her former
classmate. The chocolates swing Anya over...

"Go ahead Xander, take them." She urges. Xander, muttering, cautiously grabs
the box from Harmony and darts back.

"I just really felt so bad hearing about Mrs. Summers and Buffy. I mean both
in the same week and all...and Dawn such a little girl...all alone in the
world. Where is she by the way?"

They all look at Harm. "What about Buffy?" Xander moves back toward the
vampire...

"Why...that she's dead of course. Well, nondead...I mean undead..., like us.
We're going to be sisters now." She looks at their faces. "Don't you
know?...Oh, gee now I'm really feeling bad...Spike killed her and she's in her
coffin in his lair right now."
***

Rumors of her demise notwithstanding, Buffy II has reached the nearest area
around Joyce's grave where trees can still hide her from the main road without
further incident. Spike continues in reluctant tow, nursing his bruised head,
battered pride, and slowly rising libido. As long as they have to be in a
cemetery tree grove...under the stars... She is all attention on the
gravesite. Just give her a little comfort, and before you know it... Next to
the grave of her newly deceased mom...that thought comes crashing down on him
like a tub of ice water. Not the way to begin, lad, if she really is as Buffy
as she seems... And Joyce was always a kind one...not too difficult really to
behave oneself under the circumstances. His innocent return of her next glare
is therefore almost sincere. But he is genuinely surprised by her following,
questioning look at him...What now?

"You look awful, you're pale as a ghost." She regards him keenly, "Have you
fed at all this week? I bet not...You've been hanging around that hole for
days, haven't you, waiting for me to climb out of that tank?" She snorts in
exasperation, "No wonder you've been dragging all night. You may as well go
home for all the good you're doing me tonight." Spike starts to protest but
she cuts him off...

She sighs. "I can't watch out for Mom, Buffy, Dawn, my friends...and keep you
from falling on your face. Turn around." She points to the road. "Turn
around...and don't look this way till I tell you." Spike is puzzled but
complies...Some secret Slayer ritual for deceased mums?

"Here." She hands him a packet. He realizes it's blood...Her blood? Ah,
Warren's artificial cocktail...She's feeding me? He is genuinely astonished...

"I've only generated a half pint and it will be a couple of days before I can
regenerate it so...make it last... And be quiet...Buffy will be here soon to
check on things." She turns and goes back to her observation without another
word...

***
Xander comes strolling back, cell phone in hand. He is even more amused than
when he burst out laughing at Harmony's declaration...

"No problem, everyone's fine. That is, no problem, except for you and Spike,
Harmony. I think Buffy's patience with you is a leettle exhausted."

Harmony's eyes narrows as she struggles to think. A depressing feeling that
Spike has done it to her again is coming over her.

"Well, how do you know she wasn't dead when she spoke? It's after dark, you
know...she could be dead and just talking to people on the phone. We do
that...all the time."

Will is clearly a little nervous at that...This has been a really bad week and
you never know... Tara puts an arm around her...

Xander smiles...

"Well, Giles was home when I called and I said 'Hi Giles, can I speak to
Buffy?' Buffy came to the phone and said 'Xander, is everything all right?' so

I said, 'Buffy, Harmony is here and she says Spike just killed you and
put your soon-to-be-awakened corpse in a coffin in his lair.' So then Buffy
said...well I think you can guess what she said."

"Oh...well, please tell Buffy I'm really sorry about her mom...I mean
especially when I could have helped...You know, raising from the dead and
all..." She backs away as they look at her in growing anger. "Now, you people
really should rethink your prejudices...I mean, well, Joyce wouldn't be alive
alive, but she'd be around...Umm...I'll be going now..." Brightly, as she
backs away. "Say, Willow, are you seeing anyone now?"

Will looks at Tara. "Harmony's a little out of the loop these days..."
***

"Spike! They're here. Get down." Buffy II drags the vampire to the ground.
It's fast approaching midnight. About 200 feet away a car has pulled up,
carrying Buffy, Dawn, and Giles. Buffy II's attention is riveted to the two
sisters and for the first time Spike notices how haggard her face has become
since they reached the gravesite. My God...he thinks, she really is in
mourning...and she knew...she knew they'd come...

Giles carries something from the car and begins to pace around the grave in a
circle, dropping some bits of something. Ah, Spike thinks, a little protection
for the mum's grave...placed at just the right hour. Good man, Rupert. He
glances at Buffy II but she is absorbed in watching her original. He starts to
feel nervous again...this definitely is not the sort of first evening out with
his girl he was expecting. He too looks at the original Buffy. She is holding
Dawn's hand firmly and...what?...praying? But looking at Dawn is what really
gets to him...she is clearly flat broken...so calm, so pale, no liveliness at
all...all the tears must have drained out of her and left nothing behind. He
finds himself putting his hand on Buffy II's shoulder. She shrugs it off, but
he is able to sense it is not in anger...She is sobbing quietly,
quietly...Desperate to hold a little back until her 'sisters' leave. In a few
moments they do, after Buffy has carefully looked around and Giles has
pronounced the site secure for the night...

"Well, there they go...Can we go now? Your mum won't bothered tonight."

"Let me alone, Spike...Just leave me for a bit."

BuffyII approaches the grave and stands quietly by it for a moment...Spike
watches her and tries to think...What to do...What do you say? It's been so
long since I cared about anyone's death...What did people used to say when I
was one of them..? Suddenly an idea occurs to him and he approaches the grave
cautiously and edges towards Giles' magic circle. He then thrusts his hand
into the area of the circle, setting it aflame...

"Slayer, look...arghh...oh...Goood!" He bangs the burning hand to the ground,
trying to suppress a full-blooded scream...

[Play theme]

She runs over to the groaning vampire. "Circle of fire...good one...see...it
works." He holds up his badly burned hand to her. She rolls her eyes, shakes
her head, and heads back towards the trees leading to his car. "Spike!...I
have to check on the others, you know...Come on if you're coming."
***

Sunnydalopolis part VI.

All's well as they leave the area around Buffy's home, but Buffy II is pensive
and looks weary. Spike is bothered by her silence and nervous about her
condition...batteries up to snuff and all..?

"Are you...tired, Buffy?"

"I'm exhausted...Spike, it's been a long day and I don't feel like talking."

"Just wanted to know if you were all right. Sorry to remind you I'm here."

"Spike, Buffy would be exhausted...so I'm exhausted. There's nothing wrong
with my insides if that's what you're thinking."

"Well, at least there's nothing to worry you here. Gang's in one piece and
headed home for naptime...Buffy and Dawn are safe back at Giles'."

"Where's my dad?" She looks at Spike. "Where is he? Why aren't they all at
the house? What...couldn't he be bothered to come to Mom's funeral...for
crying...out...loud? My father couldn't be bothered to come home for my mom's
funeral..." She is in tears...

Spike is lost for words again. He looks around, nothing to hit...or burn his
hand in...
***

Warren, now pacing Spike's crypt, is a man with a mission...to collect
$1200 dollars in company credit card funds from a certain blond vampire...

Not that things didn't go reasonably well...Severn and Willes seemed suitably
impressed by the full body construct of his bionetics project that he claimed
was what he and "Dr. Walthrop" had been working on. Thank God he'd realized he
need something to show for all those late nights...

Besides he was desperately anxious to see how the new Ms. Summers was
doing...But, where were they? It was almost dawn and don't vampires have to
sleep all day in the dark?

"Spike!? Ms. Summers?" The two pull in in Spike's car, both looking dead to
the world. He goes over to them, but Spike is naturally anxious to get inside.
Buffy...Ms. Summers...er Robobuffy?...looks worn out...

"Are you two all right? Where've you been?"

Safely in the crypt as the sun appears, Spike is able to take in the nervous
scientist. BuffyII is headed straight for the tank. Her new skin is still
vulnerable and she needs to let it regenerate. Besides some privacy is
desperately needed and the crypt is not exactly bursting with private spaces...

"Hi, 'dad' " She nods to Warren as she climbs into the tank...
***
Spike is extremely pleased to see the effect of new fatherhood on his friend's
face. Finally, someone else is getting it from her...

"Oh, Spike...I want you to call Giles today and get him to give you some
computer data for tracking info about Glory...he can get it from Willow. Oh,
god..I've got to get over to school later and see what I can do about my
classes...Maybe I could audit something under another name?..." She thinks a
moment. "Maybe I could try and see Giles, find out what's going on without
telling him about me...just yet. Warren..., could you get us a computer today,
a good one and show Spike what the computer era is all about?"

They look at her and eye each other...

"And Spike...this tank locks from the inside...so don't even think about it."

The green light on the tank clicks on...

"Weell 'dad', pull up a chair and sit a spell." Spike grins at Warren...

"What glory? Is that a report for her classes?"

"Nah, mate. Megalomanic goddess is what she is. Has it in for the Slayer.
Nasty character, as they all are. I think it comes from the omnipotence and
all."

"Spike, about that company credit card I lent you...$1200 dollars in ladies
garments and things from the mall? You said 'a few nickernacks for the
lady'...?"

"What can I say, son? The Summers girl is high maintenance." He frowns a
little...

"Has she...Ms Summers been active all night?"

"Active?...she never stopped for a minute... And when we weren't making the
rounds we were chasing down her bloody favorite brand of toothpaste in every 24
hour store in town."

"Wow...You know, she seems a little high-strung. Is she behaving normally?"

"Normally...? Well, Buffy Summers...Mom just passed away...woke up in my
crypt...vamp attacks all night long..." Spike thought a bit. "Well, you saw
her...yes, that was Buffy Summers to a T."

"Incredible..."

Spike grins again. "Our girl made her first kill tonight...Warren, you should
have seen her...six vamps at one blow...even Buffy on her best night could
barely top that."

"Kill?...She killed ...vampires...tonight?" Warren looks thoughtful. "So the
mortality fail-safe didn't prevent her from killing vampires? Well,
that's...good, I wasn't sure if there would be a conflict but I guess she's
able to make the distinct..."

"Mortality what?..." Spike turns, startled. "Do you mean she has a bleeding
chip?"

"Oh, no, it's part of her neural net. After April, I naturally had to be sure
this one wouldn't harm people so..."

"You let me wander out in the night with a Slayer who might not have been able
to kill anything?"

"You never said you were planning to take her out killing things..."
***
When Buffy II emerged from her "bath", Spike was below, snoring for all he was
worth. At least he went downstairs, she thought...

No sign of Warren. Good, no full body exams today please Dr. Warrenstein...still, I hope he
looked things over.

She cleaned up, as well as she could in a crypt, dressed and left. On the
street, she begins to think...School? Giles'?...Anyplace where I could get a
half-decent shower?

Giles'?...But what do I say to him? What I always say to him, she reflects...I
am Buffy after all, robotic or not...

She looks back at the crypt...Spike...well, he'll have to get used to the idea
that he wanted Buffy and he's got Buffy...the whole deal...

I can't go home, she thinks...I can never go home...Buffy will never accept me...

Well...Slayers are needed elsewhere...I can make a life for myself...somewhere.
And still look after Dawn...and Buffy...like I promised Mom last night. As for
Spike, well...if he does all right in this fight with Glory, we'll talk... after all
eternity is a long time...and I think I understand him better now...at least I
understand the loneliness...but it will be on my terms. If he can't handle
it...

But Glory first...

The thought strikes her. A promise to a dead mother, from an artificial
daughter to protect a daughter who never existed...This could only happen in
Sunnydale ...Sunnydalopolis ...Metropolis... Metropolis, a 1926 silent film
about a robotic woman who goes insane and destroys a city...Damn that Warren
and his supplemental memory. No, that was not going to happen...but every
movie about robots I ever saw had the robot turn on people... No...No...never,
push that out of your mind. I can't even think about things like that now.

I just have to trust that Warren and Spike did a competent job in constructing
the first artificial human brain. Warren and Spike...


Mr. Billings, postman in the area for 20 years, would have stopped to greet Ms.
Summers as she stood in the street but seeing her laughing so heartily,
couldn't bare to interrupt her. Poor girl, she never laughs these days, he
thought.
***


***

Giles is surprised to see Buffy entering the store. She can't have gotten more
than three hours sleep last night. Does look a little worn, poor girl.

"Buffy, is anything wrong? There's no need for you to be out today...I told
you I'd call if there was anything to bring you out."

"I...umm...I couldn't stay home, Giles...Is there anything new on Glory?"

"No, nothing...now Buffy, really you must try to take care of yourself, my
dear, if only for Dawn's sake..." He feels helpless to comfort her. And is
still raging inwardly at the absent Hank "will have to see if I can get away"
Summers. Spike isn't the only one who needs something or someone to hit when
poor Buffy is around right now.

"Can't I just hang here for a bit, Giles? Just in case anything comes in..."

Buffy II has turned to the store bookshelves...It's so good to be back...home.
Giles attends to the customer, but is suddenly struck by the sound of Buffy,
humming as she picks through the books on the shelves...carrying a tune in
actually quite pleasant fashion...an old tune he knows, from back in
England..."I Know Where I'm Going." He's not nearly so much surprised by her choice
[Play I Know Where I'm Going...]
of tune as by the fact that he is actually enjoying the sound of Buffy making
musical sounds. Buffy Summers, whose loving friends have been known to claim
fake deaths in the family to avoid having to hear her sing or even hum. She
feels his startled gaze and catches herself...Spike! You and your 'extra
requests'!

"Sorry, Giles, I didn't realize I was...making audible sounds...'Cuse me."

She moves to a rear section of the store and occasionally glances over at him
as he deals with more customers who have entered. Tell him, she thinks
guiltily, it's better to tell him now....Oh, right...Giles, I'm a robotic
neural copy of Buffy, commissioned by Spike, but I'm really a very nice person
and here to help...that'll do it right. I wouldn't trust me myself...it would
be crazy...and how can I help if I don't know what's going on...Spike!...this
is your fault...if you could have just maintained a thin sliver of credit with
my friends and me...I could speak right out to Giles and tell him and... I
can't stand lying to him like this...

"Umm...Buffy?" Giles has freed himself from the customers and come over.
"Have you done anything regarding Spike yet?"

She's surprised not so much by the question as by his slightly guiltly look. Spike must have
called him...

She can't help being a little pleased with the vampire's willingness to put his
pride on the line to satisfy her...

She looks at him...

"Umm...Spike?"

"I mean..." he goes on, "After Xander's call regarding Harmony's little
announcement last night you seemed quite ready to...well..."

Harmony? She thinks fast...

"Oh... well, you know Harmony...No, I didn't think it was worth it to waste my
time with Spike this morning...maybe later."

"Well, you see the oddest thing happened earlier...Spike actually called me
this morning...Several times actually, as I repeatedly hung up on him.
Unfortunately he seems to have learned how to tap into cell phone systems from
his crypt or wherever he's currently hiding."

"What did he want?" She tries to look extremely annoyed with the meddlesome
little pest. It's not hard.

"He...wanted to...help..." Giles pauses. "At least he claimed to... With
Glory, that is... In point of fact, he told me he has gotten hold of a
computer and wanted to know if I had any useful ideas about getting information
on her."

"Wow...He's...obviously trying to put something over on us...Maybe he wants to
make a deal with Glory?"

"Well...frankly, I was thinking that myself...but it occurred to me that
considering our current lack of information on Glory and ways to contain
her...well, perhaps we should..."

She nods in quick agreement...
"Oh, by all means, Giles...Use the sneaky little rat to get anything you can on
her...Let him think he's setting us up. Great idea.."

"Well of course we can't trust any information we get from him, but..." He's
pulled away by the ringing phone in the back room.

I should go, she thinks...I should go right now...But it's so nice to see Giles
again and maybe someone else will drop by. Someone...like Buffy?...Well,
she'll sleep in...I would...or maybe she's killing Spike...What would Harmony
have to do with anything?

Why is he taking so long on the phone? She strains to hear something. Musical
ability...Warren gives me musical ability...he couldn't give me superhearing or
something else useful to a Slayer?

He returns. She looks him over, nervous...Nothing seeemss to be wrong...He
doesn't have a gun or a cross or a screwdriver in his hands.

"Xander and the others are coming over."

"Oh, they must be exhausted after last night, they were out all night...umm, I
suppose..."

"Well, I'm sure they're coping...Buffy, would you help me in the back
storeroom...just for a moment...I have some things to get out and I think
there's one thing you should see."

She follows...well, if they're all coming over, maybe she could just grab a few
minutes with them...

"Giles, what have you got? Is it important?..." She precedes him into the
storeroom, suddenly realizing that this was a bad idea. He shuts and bolts the
door behind her.

She bangs at the door. She could smash it down, but she wouldn't dare damage
Giles' property without a very good reason. Besides it would hardly engender
trust on his part...

"Giles!...What's going on? What are you doing? Are you ok?"

He calls through the bolted door.

"Buffy, or whatever you are... If I'm making a mistake I sincerely
apologize...but I just spoke to Xander and he is with Buffy and Dawn right
now... So, please, let's be patient and wait for the others to get here."
***

Sunnydalopolis part VII

The gang is assembled. All are trying to avoid looking at each other. Buffy
is here but if Giles is right, Buffy is also inside his back storeroom...

Xander, last to arrive, is first to speak. "So...what have we got
here?...Daylight vampire, clone, robot, ...Toth type Buffy-splitter?" Willow
looks at a very tired looking Buffy... "Buffy, do you feel aright?...You're not
a Buffy-split are you?...I mean...well not a Buffy-split... a split Buffy?"

"No, Will...that is not half of me in there, whatever it is. Giles?" Buffy
looks at him.

"Well, Buffy, she certainly seemed like you...Except perhaps for her
humming?..." He looks apologetically at her.

"Humming?" says Willow. "Oh, well, then robot for sure...humming..." She
smiles, problem solved.

"I was referring to her humming a tune, Willow...Very nicely as a matter of
fact."

"Buffy? Humming a tune?" Xander looks at Giles. "Well, that's not Buffy..."
He looks at Buffy who is looking at him. "Buffy would be
singing...beautifully...but not humming..."

Dawn is still barely able to follow the conversation having just woken up after
three hours sleep...But the talk of another Buffy in the storeroom gradually
penetrates and wakes her. As she listens, she can't help wondering about the
Buffy sitting next to her...You never know...Maybe...

Xander is secretly (at least to his own mind, secretly, to everyone else it's
pretty obvious what he's thinking) having the same thought...Maybe...But
humming a tune...distinctly?...Nah, can't be Buffy.

"Maybe we should talk to her?..." Tara suggests.

"Talk." Anya agrees "Talk is good."

"Umm...killer robot...daylight vampire...open door...bad idea." Xander

"Talk is no good." Anya agrees.

"We could talk through the door." Tara tries again.
***
Inside the storeroom Buffy II is getting desperate. Her friends will never
believe a word she says now...she can't blame them... neither would she. In
fact, she can't help being a little proud of her Watcher for his fast action.
Giles, did you have to be so sharp today?

"Hello?...umm...Buffy?" Will calls through the door. "This is Buffy's
friend...Willow."

"Will...is that you? Can you open this door? I think Giles made some kind of
mistake and I think I can explain."

"Hi there, infamous Buffy-poseur...We have a line on your boyfriend so you may
just as well confess before he gets hurt." Xander is quite pleased with his
attempt to frighten the hideous whatever with a Spike threat.

"Xander, don't be ridiculous...Is Giles there? I can explain this to him."

"Well, as long as you're explaining this to Giles, why not explain it to Buffy?
She's right here too."
***

Sunnydalopolis part VIII

Buffy II, "trapped" by the gang in the back storeroom of the Magic Shop is
really not ready to face her original...

"Explain this to Buffy?...Oh,umm...wait...umm...Will, Please tell Giles I'm
really, really, really sorry about this...The window is just too small..."
they hear...There is an enormous crashing sound, just as if someone had smashed
through a brick wall in the back of the storeroom. They all run outside...The
whatever she was is gone...

Giles upon brief reflection can't help noticing that she must have taken pains to do as little
damage in breaking through his wall as possible. The hole is really not much bigger than
Buffy...
***

"Well, it certainly wasn't Glory...in a Buffy suit. She'd have destroyed the
whole building and killed us all by now." Xander reflects. "Clone...I don't
think so...Daylight vampire? In Buffy makeup?" He still likes the daylight
vampire idea...And Harmony did say...

"It couldn't have been a vampire, no vampire could survive breaking through all
that wood before the brick." Buffy notes. She looks at Xander. "Not even a
'daylight vampire'."

Will can't help sounding a little proud...She nailed it right from the start.
"Robot" She says, happily. "Definitely robot."

***
Spike is enjoying a moment's peace in the lower depths of his crypt...

[Play...Moving Day theme]

"Moving day!....Spike!...We're moving!..."

He hears crashes and slams from upstairs as Buffy II dashes around the crypt,
feverishly grabbing and stuffing things into boxes.

"What the bloody hell?!..."

She has climbed down to his area now and shoves past him with a grim
expression. She continues to pack up everything in sight.

Doesn't she like the place?...I knew I should have gone for the pillows...the
vampire thinks.

"Buffy?..."

"I have a trailer on your car...we'll have to fit my tank on it...just take
what you need!..."

"Now wait a minute...It's daylight outside!...What the hell is going on?..."

"You!...You and your idiotic longings!...You told Warren to give me musical
ability...old English songs?...You idiot!...Why couldn't you just buy a CD
player?"

"Old English songs?...What are you talking about?"

"Giles knew I wasn't the original Buffy!...Well, only after he spoke to Xander
and Buffy on the phone...but still...It didn't help...Oh, come on, hurry!"

He catches on..."They're coming...That gang of yours?"

She stops, and nods, glumly. She now has calmed a little and even looks a
little guilty...

"It was so stupid of me to stay...But I had to see them...and see what was up
with Glory...and..."

"Right. Ok, lets get moving." For once this is something he is proficient in,
the fast pull-out in the face of the Slayer's imminent arrival...This he can
handle.

Warren pulls up near the crypt. He is lugging an older computer from his
office stores. It's surprising the things the new Ms. Summers is interested
in, encouraging really, he thinks. I've really done it, an artificial human
brain...what an accomp...

"Warren, just in time, throw that back in your van and lend a hand with the
tank here."

Spike dragoons the confused scientist into the moving business without further
ado.

"Spike? What do you think about the McGarvey cemetery? There are some big
crypts there..." Buffy II is rifling through a phone book list of Sunnydale gravesites.

"Please...that's the worst part of town...You can't walk through that area in
daylight."

"Hi, Warren...Say...do you have room for us?...We have to move...right
now...And I don't think we can put the tank in any old motel room..."

"Do you really need the bloody thing?" Spike interjects. "You look...fine."

"She should go on using it for the next week or so...No, Ms. Summers...I live
in a studio apartment, pretty crowded...lots of neighbors...I don't think it's
the place for you two..."

"Buffy...Please, you can call me Buffy. Well, I guess it's got to be another
crypt for now...Greenwood?"

"Greenwood?...Your mother's cemetery?..." Spike looks doubtful. It's a nice
place, but if the Slayer finds out they staying in her mother's cemetery...and
she'll be sure to be coming to visit...

"Greenwood, yes...it's the best choice, Spike...and I'd be near Mom...almost
home, sort of... The big crypts are way in back, anyway...It'll have to do
until we can get a real place."

"Get a real place?..."

"Warren, it would save room if Spike could go in the tank..." Spike looks at
her...the tank? "He has to be protected from sunlight anyway..." She
continues, ignoring him. "Is it all right if he goes in it? He won't dissolve
or anything? Not that that wouldn't be an improvement."

"It shouldn't hurt him...It might even...help with his hair." Warren is
starting to enjoy the excitement, what a past couple of weeks this has been he
thinks.

Spike glares at him. "What about my hair?"

[ Play Tank theme...]
***
Fortunately, the gang was not quite as hot on their trail as all that...

They returned inside the store after inspecting the damage to discuss their
next move. Willow, Tara, Dawn, even Giles seemed a little reluctant to set out
in fury after the robot...She had seemed kind of nice, actually... Maybe they
shouldn't be too hasty... The others, even Buffy, though leaning toward robot
demolition, were a little uncertain as to what to do as well, although Xander
felt taking Spike out for a brisk walk in the daylight was certainly a good
place to start.

"Why do you think she came here, Giles?" Tara asks.

"I don't know...From what Harmony said last night and the timing of his calls
to me today, Spike is clearly involved in some way, perhaps he sent her to get
information...perhaps...she was...acting on her own. There's no way to tell."

"Maybe she's not evil?" Willow asks, hopefully. "She's certainly no April..."

"Spike's sex ro..." Xander stops, looking at Buffy and Dawn who are both
looking at him. "Spike's Step-Buffy can't be trusted Will."

"I know...but she seemed so...Buffy. She could have been a twin."

Tara nods in agreement. But suddenly the others realize Buffy has reached the
breaking point as she jumps up and faces them...

"She's not my twin! What is the matter with you people? Spike has a robot
copy of me, running around, doing God knows what...And you stand around like
idiots worrying whether it's ok to hurt her or not..." She rages at them.
"This thing has to be destroyed...now! I haven't got enough on my mind without
having to worry that you...silly, stupid...will get killed try to befriend
Spike's doll."

They are startled by Buffy's outburst...They'd forgotten what strain she's been
under, at least just for a moment.

She shakes off Will's attempt to put a hand on her. "My father doesn't come
home for my mom's funeral...Glory is running around...Now this... I have to
have some support from you people...God,..." She moves back from them.

Dawn looks at her sister and tries to apologize for her. "Buffy's really been
upset...She didn't sleep at all last night...After my dad called she was
just..."

Buffy interrupts her. "Do you know what my dad called about, Giles? I mean,
besides being really sorry he couldn't get away from his girlfriends for a
couple of days... He wanted to know when we would be selling the
house...Selling our house. He couldn't come for Mom's funeral, but he'll be
right in line to collect his share."

"Buffy, I'm so sorry...." Giles' calm manner masks his intense desire to meet
Hank Summers for about five minutes...in a locked room.

"But what can I do now?...I haven't got a job, I can't keep up a mortgage...I
can't even pay for my mom's funeral...College, well, that's gone..."

"But, Buffy...you know, anything you need..."

"No,..no Giles...Thank you." She wipes away tears and smiles a little. "You
have a hole to fix in your back room...courtesy of my double..."

"It's insured...In the Watcher business, the first thing you learn is to always
carry insurance... Speaking of which, surely your mother had some life
insurance, mortgage insurance?..."

Dawn looks at Buffy sheepishly. "She did...but we can't find the papers...We
were through the house again all morning before we went to meet
Xander...Nothing."

"Well, why don't we put the robot problem on hold and all go over and look...If
your mother's papers aren't there...We'll try her office." Giles puts a hand
on Buffy's shoulder.

"I...cursed my mother this morning, Giles." She looks at him and then all of
them and their shocked faces...Dawn looks at her feet.

"Buffy...it's only natural to be angry...even at your mother..."

"I hated her for leaving us like this... Why didn't she let us know, have
everything arranged?...She's dead and that's all I could think about... What's
going to happen...to me...to Dawn and me? And, then... I remembered..." She
sobs. "Last year Mom went over everything with me...I was supposed to write it
down, remember it...I couldn't be bothered...didn't want to think about
it...And now, I can't remember any of it."

Tara nudges Anya. Anya pulls up a piece of paper...

"Buffy...I found this in the back room while we were looking around." She
hands the note to Buffy who looks blankly at her.

"We weren't sure if we should give it to you, now." Tara chimes in. "But
maybe...you should read it."

"Giles,

I'm really sorry about any damage I'm going to do and I promise, I swear I will
pay you back for it. As soon as I can. I don't mean to harm anyone but I had
to see you guys again and I had to know what was going on with Glory. I know
Buffy can't deal with this right now and I can't either. I love you guys.

Tell Buffy that Mom's life insurance forms are in the bedroom linen closet in
the small metal box under her big carton on the left, the one with the
Christmas ornaments. There's a mortgage insurance form there too. She should
speak with Mr. Masters at the museum about Mom's death benefits. I know she's
forgotten where this stuff is, I did too. My one advantage, a back-up
supplemental memory.

Love,

Buffy

***


Sunnydalopolis part IX

Spike couldn't help enjoying the idea of getting into Buffy II's biotank...sort
of like...sharing her coffin, you could say... He gets in as Warren and Buffy
II finish emptying out the crypt.

He finds himself in a small sea of green goo...Cold green goo...

"Arrgh...what is this muck?... Hey..."

Buffy II slams down the lid on him...

"It's just the biogel for Buffy's skin." Warren calls to him. "It won't do
you any harm...I think."

"You...think?!" Spike yells from inside the tank. "You bloody well
think...How about you riding in this muck?!"

"Well, I'm not experienced in vampire physiology but..."

They haul him outside. And head out to the new crypt at Greenwood.
***
The gang arrives at the old crypt nearly two hours too late...Most of them are
secretly relieved not to find the robot, all are disappointed not to find
Spike.

The crypt is bare.

[Play theme for Buffy and Gang at the Crypt (Adagio for Strings)]

They search around. Buffy regards the empty space and folds her arms,
grimly...Dawn looks at her...She has seen this look...And knows enough not to
speak up for Buffy II right now.

"We should have come right out. I never should have waited...I won't make that
mistake next time..." Buffy is set and determined.

"What can we do? They could be anywhere..." Willow looks around. Not in the
corner crack, not on the ceiling...

Buffy frowns...

"Well, there's only one person who could have made a robot like that that I
know of..."

"Warren..." Tara, Willow, Xander.

"He's really getting good at this...isn't he?" Anya notes. "I mean...she's
much better than his first one..."

"Will, find out everything you can about our Dr. Warrenstein. Where he lives,
where he works, everything...This is going to end as soon as possible."

"Warren-stein...great one, Buf" Xander laughs until a glare from her cuts him
short.

Dawn goes over to Will and hugs her, "But, she did help us with Mom's forms..."
She breathes to Willow, too soft for Buffy to hear. "Can't we try to..."

"Buffy!" Giles calls from below where he has been poking around. They moved
to the ladder and he climbs up, carrying a box. A box of audio tapes.

They examine the tapes...Property of Dr. Milton Remington, tapes of patient
Joyce Summers 1-10... A note on top. "For Buffy and Dawn."

"Remington...that sleaze-ball therapist your mom went to a few years back?"
Xander asks. "The one who was caught forging patients' names on checks and
diddling..." He looks at Dawn and Buffy looks at him. "And...other things."

Dawn grabs at the box. Mom's tapes...A gift.

"How did she get them? That guy disappeared when the cops caught up with
him... Do you think Spike had them?" Xander wonders.

"She got them...for us." Dawn looks at Buffy. Buffy looks at the tapes, but
the expression on her face is still grim...

"We can't just go after her..." Dawn looks at her sister hopefully...

"Dawn...I think you should go home with Giles. Willow and I will get some
information on Warren."

"Buffy...you won't...hurt her? Please..."

"I won't if she doesn't try to hurt us. Now, go on Dawn...Giles? Please take
her."

But Dawn is a Summers and she knows her sister...sisters? She stares evenly
back at Buffy. "You're lying. You're going to kill her." She says flatly.

Buffy looks back at her but says nothing.
***
The move would not have been so bad if they hadn't had to lug the biotank
downstairs, Spike reflects. But Ms. Buffy "Virginia Woolf"Summers II wants "a
room of her own". And as she points out, the biotank is a dead giveaway as to
which crypt is occupied.

All in all, the new place is an improvement, really.

Warren comes in with one last load, books. He drops them on the left bench of
the crypt and looks around... Buffy II has determined that this one has no
surviving family members...at least so far as they can tell it should be safe
enough...

Spike looks at the books. "Weighty tomes, lad...Cybernetics, Robotics...For
me?" Warren has told him of Dr. Severn's wish to get acquainted...Not
necessarily a bad thing if he can continue to play a convincing role as "Dr.
Walthrop" the British cybergenius... So the boss wants me "on the team", eh?
Well money is likely to become rather important to him in the near
future...especially if Buffy is serious about the "get a real place" and that
reference to "my classes"...

"For Ms. Summers...she's interested in the field. This one is for you..." He
hands Spike a thin folder containing a few brief descriptions of basic
cybernetic terms. "Try and understand some of these by Tuesday night. Ms.
Summers...Buffy...can help you."

"Did I mention I was at Cambridge for two years?..." Spike is offended.

"Spike, I'm a little worried about...Ms. Summers..."

"Warren, lad, there are three Ms. Summers, you know. A little more clarity..."

"Umm...our Ms. Summers...umm...she's very interested in her...origins...I don't
know that it's all that good so soon for her to get wrapped up in that..."

"Then why the books?"
"Well, she asked and I thought it would be better not to prevent her from
getting information...But maybe you should think about...distractions?"

"Manic goddess on the loose, Slayer-led lynch mob in pursuit of us...That
distraction enough for you?"

"Well, maybe you should try...taking her out somewhere."
***

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