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A New Hope

Angel flung the door open and called in, "Spike, come here."

Spike strolled over, closely followed by Buffy and Wesley.

"What's he doin' here?" he demanded, motioning at Past-Spike.

Buffy grabbed his forearm. "Be good." She glanced at Angelus' unconscious form before regarding Past-Spike. "Someone will be happy to see you."

Past-Spike stared at his boots. "Uh, really, who?"

Buffy motioned for Wesley to get Past-Buffy before she answered. "I think you know who."

"The Lil' Bit was worried, eh?"

Buffy heard footsteps speed down the stairs behind her. "Not her."

"Spike…" Past-Buffy whispered, frozen at the bottom of the stairs. Tears sprang to her eyes. "God, you're okay."

The muscle in Past-Spike cheek tightened and jumped. "Yeah, I'm fine." His eyes stayed fastened to the ground.

Spike drove his right fist into his young double's jaw.

He stumbled back and stared at Spike. His eyes burned with incredulous rage. "What…?" He couldn't find words through the red hot fog of anger that quickly consumed him.

"You're a prat," Spike spat.

Past-Spike lunged at him; the abuse given by his Sire had relieved him of his patience.

Right before impact his arm was grabbed and he was hauled back by Buffy.

"Time to settle the hell down." Buffy pushed Past-Spike towards his Buffy. "You two need to talk. Spike, you apologize for being an ass, and for hitting him. Angel, you and Wesley need to chain up our sleepy friend. Everyone got it?"

Spike scoffed and walked away.

Angel shook his head. "He never listens. He'll never change either." He grabbed Angelus' arm and threw him over his shoulder. "Well I better do what you asked me to." He flashed Buffy a smile and left to tie Angelus up.

"Come on, Wes," he called, and Wesley went obediently.

Buffy rolled her eyes at Angel's attempt to deface Spike, and turned to the last two. "Well?"

Past-Spike shoved his hand through his hair. "Yeah, umm, sorry for what I did in the cemetery. It was—"

Past-Buffy interrupted him. "No. You can't apologize for that. I made you do it; I wanted you to do it.

Past-Spike swallowed and shut his eyes briefly before nodding and striding out of the room.

Past-Buffy looked at her double with tear stained cheeks and glossy eyes. "What should I do?"

"Give him time." She patted her shoulder. "He'll come around when he's ready."

"Okay." She rubbed her face, straightened herself out and went off into the living room to hang out with the Dawn doubles.

XxXxXxXxXx

Past-Willow was frustrated. She had been to over ten magic shops around the USA, and still she was unable to find an Orb of Thesulah.

"Miss, do you need help?" the woman behind the counter asked in an overly pleasant voice.

"I was looking for the Orb of Thesulah," Past-Willow said as she approached the woman.

"I'm afraid a few years back we had a break in, all of our Thesulan orbs were destroyed." The young woman leaned over the counter, as though about to divulge a big secret, and asked. "Why are you looking for it? The orb is only known as a Spirit vault used in the rituals of the undead."

"I need it to ensoul a vampire."

The woman's eyebrows shot up. "Really?"

"Yes, but only if you believe in the walking undead. If not, I was kidding."

The woman's bounced on her heals and bit her lower lip. "I don't know if I should do this, but… I know how to help you."

Past-Willow was surprised. "So you do have an orb?"

She shook her head. "It's better, I think. I've never used it, but it was used by a powerful Wiccan in my family around the late eighteen hundreds."

"She found a way to give a vampire a soul?"

The woman looked around the shop and motioned Past-Willow to follow her to the back room.

She waited until they were seated at the table before she went on. "Yes. She was born with more power than I'll ever have. She was shunned by her family, as well as her lover's family because of it. To this day I have never met many people I'm related to."

"Why"

"Because all of her descendants are born with magical strength, and most people would rather mark us off as nuts than believe in the supernatural."

"So why did she put soul in a vampire?"

"Her lover was turned into a vampire. He tried to not kill, apparently he struggled with it a lot."

"Wow. So she just gave him his soul? No strings attached? No 'perfect happiness' clause?"

She nodded. "Of course. She created the spell on her own, and it was better than the Orb spell."

Captivated, Past-Willow asked, "What happened?"

"A… I don't know if you know what a Slayer is, but in the end he was staked by a Slayer. The sad thing is that he was trying to help her with a demon. After she staked him the demon killed her. Something called The Council threatened to kill my ancestor if she didn't destroy the spell."

"So how do you have it?"

"She lied to them, said what she had to in order to protect herself and her son."

"She had a son?"

"Yeah, James, he was the son of the vampire. He was a supremely powerful warlock. Blazed trails."

"Your family is awesome. That's amazing!" Past-Willow squeaked.

The woman smiled. "I always liked the story myself."

She excused herself and disappeared into a dark corner. Obscured by shelves and boxes Past-Willow was unable to see her, but she heard the creaks of unoiled hinges and moans of old wood stairs supporting weight.

After what Past-Willow assumed must have been fifteen minutes the woman was back, holding in her hand a small black bag.

She up ended the bag and a small, white crystal dropped into her palm. "Touch this to the vampire's hand and ask God to help him."

Past-Willow took the proffered bag and crystal as she stood. "Thank you. How much do I owe you?"

"Nothing, just do good with my gift."

Past-Willow prepared to zap back to casa de Summers, but stopped. "What's your name?"

"Jessica Pratt."

Past-Willow nodded and popped away, leaving Jessica to go back to keeping her shop.

XxXxXxXx

Angelus groaned as he regained consciousness. His head felt too heavy, the thumping in his ears too loud, his stomach ached and he could have sworn his mouth was full of cotton balls.

He heard talking, but could only discern male from female, beyond that he didn't know who was talking.

"I think he's awake," said a soft male voice.

"You sure?" another male asked.

"Don't know 'bout that, ponce still looks down for the count to me." Spike. He could pick that trader out of the crowd on his worse day.

He refused to be made to look weak by his errant childe. Angelus breathed deeply, pinpointing all of his focus into his dominance claim. This time he was going for the kill. This time Spike would regret ever being turned.

Past-Spike, who was brooding alone in the kitchen, felt a tingle travel up his spine. Suddenly pain shot through every nerve in his body. He collapsed on to the floor, writhing soundlessly.

He knew Angelus was going to dust him. He knew this was the end, which he was fine with, except he knew his Buffy needed him. She wanted him.

"Buffy," he whispered almost silently.

He summoned all his strength and fought against the claim. He broke the flow for a moment, long enough to alert others to his condition. He screamed in pain and rage and defiance.

Past-Buffy shot off the couch and was in the kitchen just as Spike flew in from the dining room.

She dropped to her knees; the speed she was moving at sent her skittering to his side. She pulled him into her arms.

"Spike. Spike what..?" Her eyes snapped to her lover's double. "Angelus."

Spike went racing back to Angelus. He tackled him, chair and all.

With Angelus' attention broken, Past-Spike was released from the torture he was subjected to.

Past-Buffy ignored the gathering scoobies as they crowded around them.

"Spike, are you okay?" Tears streamed down her cheeks as she cradled him in her arms, soothing her hand over his hair.

He shuddered and slowly brought his arms around her. "No," he croaked. "But I will be."

She pulled him back and smothered his face with kisses. "Thank you God." She hugged him again.

A scuffle could be heard from the other room. Spike cried out sharply.

Angel turned tail and went to help Spike with Angelus, Buffy at his heels.

Buffy gasped when she saw Spike laying amidst the broken wood of the chair Angelus had been tied to, a piece of it sticking out of his chest.

Angelus jumped to his feet and prepared to take on the Slayer and his worthless lookalike.

The lights went out; the house left shrouded in night.

Knowing it was his out, Angelus ran in to the dark abyss of the living room. The starless night gave almost no illumination, and the streetlights had gone off as well as the rest of the street.

Buffy dropped to her hands and knees and scuttled over to Spike. "It's okay, baby. I- I'll help you."

She wrapped her hands around the wood, having had to feel her way to it in the midnight black room. With a quick pull the wood was out and tossed aside. She stripped her shirt off and pressed it against the gaping wound. He shook and moaned.

She bought her face down to his ear. "It's okay, Spike. Just hold in there."

Simon's glowing eyes watched from the window. He smiled nastily. "Showtime."

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