By Ariel Dawn

Standard disclaimer, I don't own it Joss and Russell do.

Author's note: This chapter is NOT beta'd. It's been such a long time since I actually posted anything I figured it would be better if I just posted it, and dealt with mistakes later. AD

Part 3

“She’s a witch,” Gwen said with disbelief.

“That’s how she knew things…” Ianto muttered to himself, frowning. “No one knows Torchwood better than me.”

“Dan,” Jack called up at he cctv. “Get Willow down here now.”

“That’s how there were no bullets in the gun,” Ianto said to himself. “And you knew,” he continued turning to Buffy.

Ianto was no longer frowny. He was only one that seemed relieved that Willow was something other than normal. Like all the pieces of the puzzle he’d been forming in his head suddenly slotted into place.

Spike is so getting punched in the nose for this, she thought, scowling at the former vampire.

Buffy took a deep sigh and prepared herself for the response. In the mean time, Jack moved himself in front of her and looked her in the eye.

“You were spying on us?” he asked calmly.

“It makes sense, Jack,” Gwen commented. “The retcon didn’t work on Willow. She always knew what we needed before we knew we needed it.”

“Kinda like a fairy god mother then,” Buffy suggested, trying to slant this on the positive side.

“Oh, no, I’ve seen what fairies can do. Willow’s no fairy,” Gwen answered the Slayer.

“She doesn’t happen to ride a broom, does she?” Ianto asked with a half smile.

“I prefer to fly broomless,” came Willow’s voice from the other end of the cell bay, catching everyone off guard when she didn’t enter through the door. “You wanted to see me Jack?” Willow asked in that innocent way of hers.

“How did you…?” Gwen started.

“Pop,” Willow answered her with a funny hand gesture that only Buffy knew translated into ‘poof’ in Willow speak. “You had to go and let the cat out of the bag, didn’t you Spike?” Willow asked the former vampire in the cage. “You’ve been a bad boy. Soul’s all gone.”

“Wills, you’re channelling Vamp!Willow,” Buffy cautioned her friend.

“I wonder whatever happened to her,” Willow reminisced, still staring at Spike in the cell.

“Don’t bloody ask me,” John retorted.

The others were silent as Willow stared at Captain John Hart intently. To which he glared back with a forced smile on his face, like he was trying to keep her out.

“You’ve gotten stronger,” Willow commented, her voice light and without a hint of tension.

In a very Spike like move, John, curled his tongue behind his teeth and stared back at the witch with intensity.

“Always been strong,” he whispered back at her.

“You’ve gotten old,” Willow laughed suddenly. “How old do you think you are now, physically?”

“Wills,” Buffy warned. “This isn’t exactly time to get all reacquaint-y.”

“How else am I supposed to find out if this is our world saving vampire with a snarky attitude and a sad liking for the Sex Pistols.”

“And the Ramones, and the Clash, and the Buzzcocks,” added Buffy.

“How about we put the mind probe on his head?” Ianto suggested with a uncharacteristic smirk. “That’s something I’d like to see.”

“Mind probe?” Buffy asked more than a little worried of what said mind probe would do to Spike’s head. She liked Spike’s head the way it was. “I vote no to the mind probe.”

“I don’t think you get a vote, actually,” Gwen replied.

“Can we get back to the fact that Willow is a witch and has been spying on us?” Jack said bluntly.

“Yes, alright!” Buffy said with an exasperated sigh. “Willow’s a witch, and I’m a slayer.”

“And I’m a bloody former Vampire and the wife here is Immortal,” Spike/John blathered on. “Can we get on with this?”

“Wife!” Buffy spat, turning once again to the brunette in the cell.

“Ooh, did Goldilocks not like sharing her toy?” Spike taunted.

“Would you keep one personality for 5 mins!” Buffy shouted. She was really starting to get frustrated by the whole situation. She breathed deep for a moment, finding her center. “Willow? I need a verdict.”

“He’s our Spike. And he’s their John. Who knows what else. The only way I can get the truth out of him would be a spell. Not your simple truth spell either, this goes deep. I’d need the Coven.”

“How about we discuss jurisdiction then, yeah?” Gwen suggested. “I know that we would be extremely happy to get rid of John. He’s been more than a bloody thorn in our side.”

“Actually we’d be extremely happy to kill him,” Ianto added. “And let it be painful.”

“Hey I helped you!”

“Not until we find out why he’s here this time,” Jack retorted, ignoring John. “That’s what I’m waiting to hear. Not this former vampire crap. I wanna know what you are doing back here after you caused so much pain and anguish. I told you not to come back.”

The group turned to John with equal parts annoyance and apprehension in their eyes.

“Maybe it’s fate? It’s not enough that the one I’ve been searching for has found me? Imagine what Peaches felt after those hundreds of years in hell after you drove that sword through his gut? A little sympathy here?” Spike recalled, much to Buffy’s annoyance and looking straight at the blond, perhaps believing she would be the only one to give him that sympathy.

“Who’s peaches?” Gwen asked.

“You leave him out of this,” Buffy asked less than angry. “I’ll give you the sympathy when you start telling the truth.”

“The truth then? A little bit out of practise,” John added with a smirk.

“Try hard,” Jack ordered.

“Oh, it’ll be hard…” Spike smirked at Jack.

“Enough!” Gwen shouted. “You two leave your bloody pheromones for a bleedin’ second. Tell us. No more joking around.”

“Right then, respect a girl in charge. Got a lead, on an alien, one of those rule the universe types, or destroy the universe as we know it types, if you prefer, got this new device…”

“Radiation bombs again?” Ianto asked frowning.

“I would never be so predictable. This guy, hideous bugger, by the way, he’s done it all, drugs, whores, gambling, protection, planetary scale, mind.” John started laughing. “He’s responsible for the stoned planet in the Korbin system.”

Buffy glared at him.

“Right, back on the train. Decided the earth is his next target. Seems human females are just the ticket in some of the backwater systems.”

“Prostitutes?” Gwen asked.

“Some, some are being sold as fighters, gladiators, the like. And not all of them, but enough are coming through that just a little more extraordinary than ordinary.”

“Slayers,” Buffy whispered.

“Jogged a bit of a memory it did. Normally, I’m all for the plundering of the galaxy, but in this case, that little blond in the deep recesses of my mind just wouldn’t let it go. So I thought, what would happen if I set my coordinates for the source of these strong little girls?”

“And you ended up in Cardiff?” Gwen questioned.

“But there aren’t very many slayers in Cardiff,” Buffy countered, “We’ve had the recruiting teams come through. Why didn’t you come up to Scotland, we’ve got a whole castle of them up there.”

“Think about it Buffy,” said Willow calmly, “who’s the source of all the slayers?”

“You,” Ianto answered for her.

“And Willow,” Buffy added. She turned back to Spike. “You wanted to find me, find us.”

“No, I’m fairly certain he wanted to find you, Buffy,” Willow laughed.

“Right,” Buffy said, pausing a little. “So there’s Slayers up there in space being used and abused. What can we do?”

“Not much,” Jack answered. “We don’t control the rift. It takes, it spits out. We have no way of getting back what gets swallowed up.”

“He’s right,” Willow confirmed. “I don’t know what we are supposed to do here.”

“Maybe you can prepare for what’s coming then?” Spike said with a seriousness that she hadn’t seen since Sunnydale. “This device, the bloke’s got, it can track down slayers in a flash. And he’s got a mind stock up on this rare commodity. I think you’ve got yourself a problem.”

“Looks like she’s got herself a problem, not us,” Ianto added.

“Right then,” Gwen continued. “Just how is Torchwood supposed to help a secret organisation fight off an alien threat? And did that sound less stupid than I thought.”

“No, still stupid,” Buffy muttered.

“Ianto is right though,” Willow responded, stepping away from Spike’s cell and the group. “This is a Council problem, not a Torchwood problem.”

“Aliens Wills!”

“We might not have a rift manipulator, or a cool car,” the red head extolled, “but we have dealt with aliens before.”

“Hey, if he’s solid then I can kick the shit out of him.”

“And you’ve got me,” Spike spoke up, leering at Buffy.

“At least it looks like we are stuck with you,” Buffy said annoyed.

The slayer looked at the assembled crew and sighed. Now she had a major problem to deal with. She had to go and ask Giles about Torchwood. She had to be fixated on Jack. And yes, while having Spike back would be of the good, five years had passed since he’d gone. That was a lot of time to make up. Especially if time had passed differently for him.

“I think we can agree that you don’t want him, and that he might be useful to us,” Buffy continued, addressing Gwen, refusing to look at Jack. “I’ll take Spike, and Willow and you can go back to whatever it was that you were doing before I showed up. I’m sorry for the intrusion.” She felt defeated. This was not how it was supposed to go. She was supposed to go back to Scotland and announce to Giles that Torchwood was on their side, that Willow wasn’t needed as a spy anymore and that everything was Christmas and puppies.

And Spike. Or John, or whatever he was being called. She had lived enough times to know that when something too good to be true happens, it’s usually cause something demony wants you dead. Spike being alive again, was way too good to be true.

She looked back at Spike who would have been strutting if he had any place to go. She knew that look of self involved satisfaction. He’d gotten exactly what he wanted. He usually did, she recalled; he was nothing if not persistent.

“Go,” ordered Jack, refusing to look at her. “But I don’t want to see any of you in my city again.” He glared at each of them in turn, and Buffy thought he glared extra long at her.

With an uncharacteristic smile, Ianto moved away from the door to the cell bay and allowed Buffy access to the door. Buffy felt with a pang of regret just how much the man in the impeccable suit wanted to get rid of her.

She walked out the door and followed the path back up to the hub. She gave a sad smile to Oz before the others joined her again. Willow followed behind her, she knew, but didn’t see. And while she waited, her back turned on her friend, looking for the first time at the size and depth of the place, she had to force herself to not place blame.

Who was she to blame the PTBs? Sure they owed her a considerable number of favours for all that saving of the world thing she did on a regular basis, but maybe this was their way of paying back one of those favours. A warped way, yes.

In a heart beat, Jack and Gwen immerged with Spike, her former vampire cuffed and gagged. Buffy looked stricken for a moment, but then realised that it was probably the only way they were going to get out of here without someone being shot. They pushed Spike towards her and she steadied him against her. Touching him brought back that tingly feeling, that feeling that made this seem real, right some how.

Jack motioned for her to head towards the center of the room and stand on a concrete step. As the step started rising she realised that this was the last time she was ever going to see Jack again. She smiled. Buffy knew she didn’t need to. It wasn’t Jack she had been drawn to here. Those dreams, of being attracted to Jack, only to have him turn into Spike at the last minute, they could have been slayer dreams.

They reached the top, the outside world, as the sun started to set, or maybe it was rising. Buffy didn’t care. She reached up and took the gag out of Spike’s mouth and kissed him full on the mouth, hard and rough.

“You better be worth the trouble and embarrassment,” she said drawing back from the former vampire.

His look told her that she wasn’t going to be mistaken. “You always liked to dance.”

“You know I think your metaphor is all wrong,” Buffy said as she pulled him across the concrete and towards a waiting car, illegally parked, where Willow was waiting in the front seat. “It’s not a dance.”

“What is it then?” he asked.

“Got me,” she said shrugging, “I lack the vocabulary to describe it. But maybe, Mr, ‘I’ve been to outer space,’ can teach me so new words. ‘Course the first words I want to hear from you when we get to Scotland are going to be an apology for this mess. Get in the car, before I punch you in the nose.”

She heard Spike sigh and mutter something about never changing, even after a miraculous return from the dead.

“You wouldn’t want it any other way.”