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In Pieces

By Ariel Dawn

Summery: Willow finds out how to switch Buffy back, and it’s not that easy.

Disclaimer: Joss is master of the Buffyverse, I am a lowly peon that plays with his characters.

Author’s note: Lots of huggles to BTL who helped with a major plot point in this chapter, gave me the title and who beta’d too!

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Chapter 4: Switch-a-roo

Buffy crashed into Spike’s crypt, her anger at Riley translating into several broken tombstones along her path. Which was so Faith’s fault.

Sunlight streamed in from the open door, its beams ending at the foot of the sarcophagus Spike had been lately using as a bed.

Spike jumped up as the slayer strode into his home.

“What the bloody hell are you doing, Slayer?” he shouted annoyed.

“I hate Riley!” she screamed as she slammed the door close.

“Not too fond of the wanker either love, but it’s not reason enough to wake up the dead,” muttered Spike as he sat up, swinging his legs around to the side of the tomb.

Buffy stalked over to the tomb and sat down in a huff.

“You know, it would be so much easier if I could stake him.”

“That’s gotta be the Faith bint,” commented Spike.

“Probably. I had some wicked strange dreams last night,” Buffy admitted.

“Slayer dreams?” he asked.

“I wish!” she muttered, as she scraped her nails against the stone tomb absently.

Spike chuckled. “Naughty dreams were they?”

“‘Pole stuck up her ass’ Buffy can’t have naughty dreams?” she queried with a coy smile.

“Care to tell me about them?” Spike purred, curling his tongue at her.

“I don’t think I’m ready for that,” she answered with a blush.

“Is it that ‘R’ word coming into play again?”

“’Course not,” she said with another smile.

“Then why are you here?”

“I needed to vent, you’re as good as anyone else.”

“Really? Putting me into the same group as the Whelp? I’m honoured,” he said sarcastically.

“Sure you are.”

“No luck with changing back from this?” he asked waving his hand in her general direction, before reaching towards his coat that hung on a stone fixture and rifled though the pockets. Finally he took out a pack of cigarettes and his Zippo lighter.

He lit up and turned to face his companion, half expecting her to complain about second hand smoke. Instead he saw her licking her lips, her eyes fixated on the cigarette dangling from his lips. For a moment, Spike couldn’t decide if she was staring at the cigarette or his lips.

That was until she plucked the cigarette out of his mouth and took a drag, her face lighting up in a blissful smile until the smoke hit her lungs, causing the slayer to erupt into a coughing fit.

Spike reached around and tapped Buffy on the back as she coughed. He took the cigarette from between her fingers as he laughed at her.

“Remind me never to do that again,” she coughed, her eyes watering at the corners.

“I would have, if you had let me know what you were about to do.”

“I don’t think I knew what I was going to do,” she admitted. “I...I never thought I’d ever smoke again.”

“Again, love?” he asked, brow raised, curiosity piqued.

“Okay, it’s not like I ever really did. I was fourteen, peer pressure. It was a thing,” she shrugged her shoulders as she spoke.

“Another Faith thing?”

“Yes, blaming that one totally on the Faithness,” she admitted. “I’ll be happy slayer if I can just get my nose back.”

“What’s the story with that?”

She sighed. “I don’t know. Giles says they’re close. That’s all I know. Faith’s all drugged up in Giles’ bedroom. Willow and Tara are all magic research girls and Xander, well I haven’t seen Xander since this while thing started.”

“Wonder what the Whelp would think of the new you?” Spike wondered aloud.

“Who knows.” Buffy sighed again, this time leaning on the vampire beside her. “I can’t figure myself out. I can’t imagine how I’d figure out my friends.”

There was a pause.

“Like for instance, I’m leaning on my so recently mortal enemy’s shoulder. That’s how confused I seem to be.”

“Your mortal enemy to whom you were so recently engaged,” he added.

“You had to bring that up,” she whined closing her eyes and pouting.

“You brought it up first!”

“Last night!” she countered, sitting up properly to look him in the eye. With a sigh, she placed her head on his shoulder again. “Why is it it’s so easy to talk to you?”

“Don’t know.”

“What help are you then?” she laughed.

“Why aren’t you over at the watcher’s getting all nose jobbed?” Spike asked and Buffy frowned at him.

“Maybe you’d like to patrol with me later?” she asked avoiding the question. “When it’s less vampire barbeque outside?”

“Sure, pet.”

Buffy jumped off the tomb with feigned enthusiasm.

“You know,” she said turning towards the vampire. “Except for the whole nose thing, and the Faithness, I’m kinda glad this all happened.”

“Why’s that pet?” Spike asked as he took a puff from his cigarette.

“’Cause I’ve got a whole new friend,” she said with a wink.

Spike was still shaking his head long after she left. He was never going to figure that girl out.

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She was stalling, she knew it, she had no guilt about it. But that was only probably because she wasn’t face to face with Giles. That was a completely different story.

The sun hadn’t set yet and she was wandering the cemeteries. Great, she moaned internally. I’ve got Faith’s loner tendencies.

Truth was she was hurt that Spike didn’t want to hang out with her. She was getting mixed signals. Yes, she was giving mixed signals but that was hardly her fault.

She trudged towards Giles’ house, eager for the change back and yet...She twirled her stake absently. Would this thing with Spike suddenly disappear? Was it all due to Faith?

Yes, she wanted her nose back, and she wanted to get the crazy Faithness out of her head.

Would she want Riley back?

She cringed, then kicked a tombstone, breaking it off. Another intentional destruction of private property she could blame on Faith. Rolling her eyes, she banged open the gate, cursing her crazy messed up life. As if being the slayer wasn’t enough.

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Buffy barged into Giles’ house, startling the occupants of his living room.

“Buffy!” Giles exclaimed looking up from his ever present book.

“Buffy!” Willow added, her exclamations taking on a little bit of the hysterical, from her place by Tara’s side.

“I have some bad news,” added Giles.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Faith escaped,” Buffy stated as if she knew what the problem was. “Faith’s escaped and she has my nose and I can’t get it back without her. I’m screwed. I’m going to be stuck like this until I can get a job and pay for plastic surgery.”

“Buffy...what are you...” stammered Giles.

“Face it Giles, I’m doomed,” Buffy explained with a huff, letting herself land on the couch.

“Buffy...wait...” Willow tried to add before Buffy started in on a more detailed rant as to why her life was doomed to be unhappy.

Giles, Willow, and Tara sat back and let her rant, knowing full well that once she was on this train, there was no derailing it.

“And then there is Riley and Angel. Why do I attract guys that always seem to think they know better than me?” she ended her rant.

“Faith hasn’t escaped!” Willow exclaimed as Buffy paused for breath.

“Huh?”

“Willow is correct Buffy,” added Giles. “Faith is quite safe upstairs.”

“So nothing’s gone wrong?” Buffy asked.

“Oh things have gone wrong,” sighed Giles. “It wouldn’t be natural if it didn’t. I think you’ve expertly complained about that.”

“Then what?” Buffy asked sitting at rapt attention.

“Perhaps Willow would better explain it for you,” said Giles after a pause, clearly unable to find the words needed to convey in the information.

Buffy turned to Willow with wide eyes, wondering exactly why it was that Giles couldn’t tell her what was going on.

“We’ve found out what you need to do, what you both need to do to get back to normal,” started Willow.

“Finally!” Buffy breathed. “Wait, how has this gone wrong? What’s the wrong with that?” Buffy asked looked expectantly between Giles and Willow.

Willow exhaled and looked to Giles for support. The watcher offered none and Willow was obliged to continue her tale of woe.

“The spell isn’t that complicated, but what is the hard part is that you will have to act like the person infecting your body.”

“I have to act like Faith?” Buffy questioned.

Willow nodded. “And if it works, you’ll start to change back…”

“Into myself? Thank god.”

“…into Faith.”

“What!” Buffy exploded jumping up from the couch.

“It’s the only way to get you all back into one body. You have to get back into each others bodies before you can use a katra again, to try the switch back again.”

“Try again? ‘Cause it went oh so well last time.”

“You were fighting then, if you don’t damage the katra the second time, it should work,” added Giles.

Buffy sat down on the couch again with a sigh.

“I have to act like Faith? For how long?”

“Until all the Faith mental bits are in your body and all the Faith physical bits are in hers,” concluded Willow.

“And again with the huh?”

Willow sighed. “You acting like Faith will get you all of Faith’s physical parts and Faith acting like you will get her yours. Once you’ve both got all of the other’s, we can do the switch-a-roo,” Willow finished explaining.

Buffy rolled her eyes.

“The difficulty lies in that Faith will have to act like you as well, or this won’t work,” interjected Giles.

“She won’t do it, Giles!” exclaimed Buffy. “She wants my life. Her body is wanted for murder.”

“I think that’s what Giles meant by difficulty,” whispered Willow.

Buffy cast a glance at the stairs leading to Giles’ second floor. “I want someone with her all the time, and I want her to not have slayer powers if that is possible.” She had gone from girl to slayer in a microsecond.

Giles nodded. “I still have the drug I used during…”

Buffy cut him off. “That’s fine.” She rose from the couch. “Tell her when she wakes up. I’ll start acting Faith-like in the morning.” Buffy stepped towards the door only to be called back by Willow, her hand on Buffy’s arm.

“I know this isn’t what you wanted. I’m so sorry this went wrong,” sympathized the witch.

“I’m just afraid it’ll go wrong again,” noted Buffy before exiting her watcher’s home.

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Buffy practically ran to Spike’s cemetery. The sun had set now, and they did have a patrolling date. That wasn’t foremost in Buffy’s brain as she jumped over the high cemetery wall, like there was something big and terrifying after her.

She flung open the door to Spike’s crypt, finally standing in front of the vampire she had been in such a rush to rejoin.

“Where’s the fire, luv?” Spike quipped as he was faced with the brunette slayer, her green eyes panicked. “What’s happened? Did the other slayer fly the coup?”

Buffy shook her head. Her eyes locked with his for a brief moment, and Buffy knew exactly what was going to happen. She didn’t know what was happening between her and Spike right now, but the fact that she was going to have to act like Faith for a couple of days (at most, she hoped) was going to ruin it. Everything Faith touched in her life was ruined.

“You ready for patrol?” she asked.

She felt guilty for avoiding, but she was avoid-o girl through and through.

With a nod of his head, Spike picked up his duster and slung it on, following her out the door.

They were only halfway through her regular patrol route when Buffy had decided that she’d had enough. They’d only seen two freshly risen vampires, the Initiative having already hit the cemeteries tonight.

Buffy grabbed Spike’s hand, startling the vampire.

“Let’s call it a night,” she said softly, carefully not meeting his eyes.

“Sure, luv,” he agreed, looking down at their joined hands and then trying to catch her eyes.

They walked in step with each other the distance between Shady Pines and Restfield in silence.

Buffy’s mind was working a mile a minute. She had to admit that she started the hand holding, but she really couldn’t place a reason, a good reason to the action. She was going to have to tell him. He had to know.

She stopped in front of his crypt, dropping his hand from hers.

“Spike…” she started. “Things may change tomorrow.”

“Gonna go back to being a bitch tomorrow?” he asked with a resigned sigh. “Hand holding the tip of the Slayer iceberg?”

“Stop!” she yelled at him. “This isn’t easy for me, you aren’t making it easier! I am telling you this ‘cause I don’t…’cause you’ll hate me if I don’t.”

Spike raised his eyebrow at that.

“You probably already hate me.”

Spike reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling her towards him. They stood face to face for a fraction of a second, Buffy couldn’t decide if he was going to kiss her or bite her. She really wanted him to kiss her for some reason.

“I don’t hate you, Slayer,” he whispered more tenderly than his actions had demonstrated.

“Really?” she asked, looking up into his blue eyes.

“I hate the nose,” he retorted, pulling back from her personal space.

Buffy rolled her eyes, but did not let go of his hand. “Well, give it a couple of days and it might go away. Willow’s working a spell tomorrow, it should get me back to normal, but I have to act like Faith for all of the Faith bits and the Buffy bits to get back into the wrong bodies again.”

“You’re gonna act like the Faith bint?” he asked, stepping a little closer to her.

Buffy nodded. “Acting like Faith shouldn’t be that hard on me, on my friends though…”

“And I’m your friend…and you wanted to warn me?”

Buffy nodded again.

“Did you warn the Whelp?”

“No,” she whined. “I haven’t seen Xander.”

A slow smile spread over Spike’s face.

“I just wanted to warn you, and to say I’m sorry for anything I do that ruins whatever we have, or don’t have.”

“What do we have, Buffy?” he prodded gently.

“Whatever it is, it’ll have to wait until I’m all back to ‘pole up her ass’ Buffy.”

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Tbc…

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