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The Ring Talks

Part 1: Taking Initiative

Chapter 11: Restrained Things

Xander, Anya, Willow, and Tara have all taken me out to the Bronze, far away from the UC Sunnydale campus. There’s a party at Lowell House tonight. While I appreciate the ‘no hard feelings’ olive branch of Riley inviting us, I’m really glad my friends decided I needed to be elsewhere tonight.

“I think I like Tara,” Xander says, after Willow and Tara excuse themselves to the ladies’ room. “She’s quiet, but sweet.”

“I think they’re having sex,” Anya says.

Xander’s eyes get wide, and he starts making sputtering noises. “What?!

She shrugs. “I’m not saying I know. That’s just the vibe I’m getting.”

I hadn’t even considered the possibility of Willow being gay, or bi, or whatever. It never even crossed my mind that this new witch friend of hers might be a girlfriend. Of course, I’ve been pretty caught up in my own stuff lately. Maybe I haven’t noticed things I should have. Am I a crappy friend for not picking up on what Anya has?

Then again, Anya tends to see the world through sex-tinted glasses. She could be way off base. “Guys, maybe we should just wait to see what Willow says. …If and when she thinks there’s anything to say,” I add, giving Anya a pointed look.

She rolls her eyes and pouts slightly. “Fine. But if the conversation gets boring, it’s all your fault.”

“I can live with that.” I turn in my chair, looking around. “There’s a vamp here. I can sense it.”

I spot Spike near the stairs, and he holds up his hand just long enough for me to see the ring on his pinky. Then he turns and heads upstairs.

I pretend to keep looking for an unknown vamp for a minute, then I stand up. “I’m going to nose around, see if I can find something to slay. I’ll be right back.”

I find Spike standing alone on the catwalk. I step up beside him. “Hey. I can’t stay long. They’ll get curious, and come looking for me.”

“I’ll make it quick, then. Slayer, that thing you’re hunting–”

“Adam?”

“Yeah. He’s organized. Got demons teaming up who’d have sod all to do with each other under normal circumstances. Don’t know what it is, but I thought you should know he’s up to something.”

I lean on the railing. “I don’t know what’s going on, either. But I’m glad I’m not the only one seeing the weird. Riley and I had a very odd patrol last night. We got a vamp and an ugly, horned demon, and they seemed to be out hunting together. You think Adam’s behind it?”

He shrugs. “Seems likely. Nothing else going on just now, ‘sides that mess.” He gives me a smirk that seems kind of fake. “Couples’ patrol night, then? Guess you and the tin soldier patched things up.”

“Not exactly.” I point down to the Scoobies’ regular table, where Willow and Tara are returning to their seats. “Table for five. No Riley. ”

He gives me a look I don’t understand, then steps back from the railing. “I’ll, um, catch you later, love.”

I watch him turn and head down the stairs. I can feel my face scrunch up in confusion. Is it just me, or is Spike acting really strange? He seems like he’s full of words he doesn’t want to say, which isn’t how things usually are with us. And I’m not sure, but I think that vague report was just an excuse to check up on me, since we haven’t talked much lately. It strikes me as sweet, for some reason.

I drop my forehead to the railing. “No, no, no,” I whisper to the metal grate I’m standing on. Not sweet. Evil. And probably up to something, because that’s what evil vamps do. They don’t tell slayers their schemes, and slayers end up dead. That’s how it works, right? Definitely not sweet.

I lift my head and look down at the main floor in time to see Spike’s blond head disappear in the crowd near the door. I’m doing a terrible job of convincing myself I don’t think this little visit was sweet. I’m also doing a terrible job of convincing myself it doesn’t hurt a little that he’s clearly holding something back. And -no matter how much I really, really should know better- I can’t make myself believe he’s up to anything evil. Still, I wish he’d say what’s on his mind.


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Previous Chapter: Chapter 10: Guiding Stars

Reviews ( 1 )

Zab Jade
March 15, 2022 02:18

I love Anya. She's always so blunt and way more observant than people give her credit for. I agree with the part of Buffy that she's arguing with. It was very sweet. Spike checking in on her and seeing if the way is clear for him to court her.