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Previous Chapter: Chapter 11

Neither Buffy nor Spike had wanted to set foot in the Wolfram & Hart building again, leaving it to Dawn to go in and see if Willow was ready to go yet. She’d stayed behind to get all of her magical things sorted and packed while the three of them had gone to McDonald’s for Big Macs and a Happy Meal. Spike had still been brushing out the hair of his Bratz doll when Dawn had left him and her sister waiting outside.

Willow was packing away the last of her supplies when Dawn walked into the hospital room. Without Spike actually in it, the bed looked smaller, like there was no way it could possibly have held him and still had room for either her or Buffy to snuggle in beside him. That was one of the many things they had in common. Both Buffy and Spike were kind of on the small side, but seemed larger than life.

“I think I have just about everything,” Willow told her. “I just need to tape up this box, then I’ll be ready.”

“Okay.”

Dawn wandered closer to the bed, frowning when she caught sight of the amulet. It didn’t look any different. Shouldn’t it look different, now that they had Spike out? She tilted it, squinting as she looked into the gaudy gem. Huh. If she hadn’t known any better, she’d swear she see fuzzy, ghostly images in it. Her eyes widened as she realized that’s exactly what she was seeing.

“Willow!” she called, whirling around to face the witch.

“What is it?” Willow abandoned her box to come to Dawn’s side. “What’s wrong?”

“Look.” Dawn held the amulet up, her hands shaking slightly. Spike had seemed pretty much himself, but what if they’d left a little bit of him behind? Could he survive like that, or would he slowly fade away? Or be dragged back in? “What do we do?”

Willow flashed her a reassuring smile. “It’s okay. I thought this might happen. Spike’s out of there, but it’s still connected to Angel’s psyche. It’s getting just enough input to keep going as a sort of shallow mockery of things. It’ll play out a bunch of flat, two-dimensional events based on his random daydreams.”

“So, what, you mean lots of hero worship for Angel and, like, crazy, flying space sex with my sister?”

“Ew, no.” The redhead wrinkled her nose in disgust. “Angel has better taste than that.” She returned to her box and picked it up. “Okay, let’s go.”

“What about the amulet?” Dawn asked, staring down at it again. “Shouldn’t we destroy it or something?”

Willow shook her head. “A lot of magic was stuffed into that thing. Trying to destroy it could wipe out the entire city.”

Sunnydale was quite a bit smaller than L.A. and most of the damage had been from the sheer power of Spike’s soul, but the amulet had already basically destroyed a city. Dawn shuddered and tossed the thing back onto the bed before wiping her hand on her jeans.

“It should be safe enough to just leave it here,” Willow said.  “It can’t do anything unless a champion deliberately puts it on while near an active Hellmouth. Ready?”

“Yeah.”

Dawn gave the amulet one last look before following Willow out of the room. The light was turned off, leaving it to softly glow as time went on inside of it, the inhabitants living shallow lives while the ones outside set out on a journey to discover the true depths in store for them.

 


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