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Never Leave Me
Never Leave Me

-- Quotes --

Written by Zinna

Last we heard, Buffy and friends were debating Buffy's choice to keep Spike alive and worse, to keep Spike in their house. And while you might think that the Scoobs have moved on passed this, they have not. Dawn still thinks it is a bad idea to hold Sir-eats-a-lot in the house. Anya wants to know why they aren't stabbing him through the chest because isn't that what the Scoobs do when a former-Scoob turns evil? Well, that may have been the case when Anya racked up a body count but in this case, things aren't that simple, or so says Willow anyway. Anya looks to her big strong man (Xander) for support, but he's worried about putting the living room back together.

Elsewhere, Neo struts down the street looking for Trinity, I presume, until I find out (to my dismay) that at the top of the black leather boots and long black leather trench is the head of Andrew and not Keanu Reeves like I hoped (except I never really thought it would be Keanu I just hoped is all). Now, don't ask me who or what Neo-Andrew could be looking for, but eventually it doesn't matter because Warren (aka Evilikins) appears and tells Andrew, he's got work to do. Andrew is hesitant; he thought he'd have more time to strut about in his coat. So Evilikins changes into his Jonathan suit and tells Andrew that dying was the best thing that ever happened to him, even though his blood failed to complete the ritual. Jonathan goes on to reassure Andrew that the failure was not Andrew's fault. Andrew suddenly sees where this is going and tells Jonathan that he doesn't want to kill anymore people. Jonathan tells Andrew they can work around that…

So, I guess it's morning because the next scene happens in Princi Wood's office. Just as he is in the middle of out-witting some student vandals into repainting what they've damaged, Dawn comes a knockin' on the door. She's there to tell him Buffy will not be in. Buffy's sick. She's got it coming out of both ends. Princi Wood would love to stay and chat about how grossed out that whole sick excuse made him feel but he has vandals to tend to, so he excuses himself from the delightful conversation that is sure to ensue.

Back at the home for wayward youth, Buffy talks on the phone to Quentin Travers of Watcher Council fame. Apparently, Buffy's probing him for information on Giles' whereabouts. Quentin has no such information or none that he'll let on. After they hang up, Quentin tells the council that Buffy knows something. Buffy, on the other hand goes to check in on Spike. Guess what? He's hungry. So hungry that he can't control his bumpy face. So, Buffy sends Willow out to get some blood from the butchers shop.

Did someone say butcher? Maybe that's what I'll call Andrew from now on, since I can't bring myself to refer to him as Neo anymore. Why butcher, you ask? Well, even though he said he didn't want to kill anyone else, he didn't say he wouldn't kill any pigs. Yes, pigs. That's what Evilikins has him trying to do - trying to kill a pig for its blood to complete the ritual. What the butcher doesn't know is that pigs aren't as easily slain a humans. In fact, this pig is too quick for the butcher so guess where Andrew has to go instead? That's right - the butcher's.

So, I guess I'll stop calling him a butcher now, since he's going to the butcher shop and things could get confusing. And I can't call him Neo because that's what the butcher calls him as he tries to order all this stuff (like toothpaste) to make himself look less conspicuous while ordering lots of blood. So, it's back to Andrew, since that's what Willow calls him when she catches him in the butcher shop and Andrew hightails it out of there, thinking that maybe she's interested his blood, not the blood he's holding but rather spilling the blood pumping through Andrew's veins.

As Willow corners him, Andrew begins to plead for his life and Willow is suddenly reminded that she once inspired great fear in hearts of the dorky but evil men. Anyway, Andrew quickly figures from Willow's demeanor that she's no longer in the flaying business. So, he attempts to intimidate her by pretending to be all bad-ass and stuff, but Willow trumps him by pretending to be a powerful witch-lady. She is, of course, more convincing because well, she happens to be an actual powerful witch. Anyways she grabs Andy and drags back to the pad, but get this! None of the Scoobs have a problem with him hanging out. No one is like, "Shouldn't we kill him or something?" Go figure (wink wink).

Willow hands Andrew over to Xander and some blood over to Buffy. Xander takes Andrew up to Dawn's room for an old fashion dragnet interrogation. Xander gets to be good cop. So, he starts off by respectfully asking what's with all the blood. Andy Cab here concocts a mildly romantic but mostly sarcastic story about having fallen for a beautiful vampire girl, which brings us to bad cop-Anya. Anya runs up and grabs Andrew by the collar, basically telling him that she's not going to stand for him blowing smoke up their arses. Good cop pries her off of him and takes her out of the room to calm her down. Of course, once they are out to the room they commend each other on their fine Oscar-winning performances.

In Buffy's room, Spike feeds on a plastic bag of blood. After while it gets boring so Buffy leaves him to check on Anya and Xander's progress. She finds them in the bathroom and they exchange status reports. When Buffy goes back to Spike, it seems like he's finally ready to talk but he has nothing new or interesting to say. He just tells Buffy that he's been losing time and that it seemed to begin when he got his soul and Buffy's all, "How'd you get that soul anyway? Like was there a special a Neiman's?" and Spike is like, "Noo, I had to go the Neiman's in Africa and turns out souls weren't even on sale so I had to endure torture and stuff to get one for full price, etc. etc." Then their convo turns onto the topic of self-loathing. Apparently, Spike didn't understand the depths of such an emotion when last he allowed Buffy to use him as her sex-demon, but now with a soul all shiny and new, he finally understands. It's supposed be an epiphany of sorts - soulless Spike thought there were only two reasons Buffy could want him so, 1) Buffy had fallen for him or 2) she was just evil (I think he was hoping it would be a little bit of both). Turns out it was neither, she just hated herself (umm, duh!) and now that Spike hates himself, they can connect on this level too, except that Buffy's not really in the mood to rehash all this crap or hear how Spike only eats, breathes and thinks of her. She just wants to know what's the deal with all the evil doing.

In the next room, Andy's interrogation continues. Xander good cops his way through some stories about how evil, crazy, and out of control Anya is until his thoughts digress and he's going on about how one time Anya destroyed this guy by replacing his heart with darkness. It's obvious he's talking about the darkness that is now his love life since he royally screwed things up with Anya. I don't know Andrew if catches on but regardless the story isn't doing the job, so Xander quickly adds that she tore out said dude's intestines and took pictures. Andrew becomes a little more interested. Then Anya bursts through the door and pounces on Andrew, demanding he talk. Xander attempts to pull her off Andy, but in the commotion she smacks Xander. He plays hurt and then she jumps on Andy again and starts to threaten all kinds of physical violence until Andrew screams he'll tell them whatever they want to know.

Buffy hears the commotion and leaves Spike to see if everything's under control. While she's away, Spike's evil twin starts talking to him. Evil twin thinks they've got a problem.

Buffy finds things are under enough control so she goes back to her room. She hesitates at the door because she hears Spike talking to someone. Then he begins singing something. Buffy bursts into the room and looks around for signs of someone else. Spike explains that he was just keeping himself company and then he asks for blood. Buffy goes to get him some and as soon as she's not looking he vamps out and breaks free from the chair. He pushes her out of his way and goes straight for the wall.

Andrew is just in the middle of telling Anya what he knows about the seal when Spike comes through the wall and grabs him. Spike's just started to take a bite when Buffy comes in and kicks him off.

In light of recent events, the Scoobs regroup downstairs. Buffy explains how when she left the room, she heard Spike talking to someone and then heard him start singing (the same song from Sleeper), and then saw him go all ballistic on Andrew's neck, like he was being controlled by something. Buffy thinks the song is key because she believes it is the same one Spike told her about in basement of 634 Hoffman Terrace (Sleeper). Some people throw out theories until Xander tells them the most likely possibility: the song is a "trigger", a mind-control mechanism if you will. In like every army movie Xander ever saw (and in The Manchurian Candidate, which I saw), when the government or Spike's evil twin wants to brainwash someone they could make this person endure all these mind-numbing processes until one day the brainwashee can be controlled by something as simple as song. The Scoobs think this makes sense and everyone disperses to do more research.

Over at Hellmouth High, way after school hours, Princi Wood walks the halls. When he comes to the basement door, he decides to go in. In the basement he heads straight for the secret room (yes, the same secret room everyone else gets lost trying to find) where Jonathan's dead body is still over that goat-head seal thingy. Princi Wood sees this and is surprisingly not at all surprised. A little disappointed, maybe, but not surprised, scared, shocked, or panicky, just cool as only Princi could be. I guess he knew he'd find something like this.

Back at the slayer headquarters, Buffy and Spike pow-wow in her basement - Spike is shackled in iron cuffs, of course. Spike wants to know if he hurt anyone. Buffy tells him about Andrew. Spike becomes convinced that he must die and that Buffy must kill him. Buffy won't do it. So, Spike tries to persuade her by telling what he used to do to girls Dawn's age back when he was a soulless, chip-less vampire. It doesn't work. So Spike asks Buffy if she knows why she's keeping him alive. Buffy lists some reasons - he's sexy, he's has a cute accent, he can really give life to a scene, etc. Okay, you got me. Buffy really said something like: He helped them save lives and stuff. Spike thinks not. He thinks Buffy keeps him around because she has some intrinsic need for men to hurt her. Of course, this makes no sense, so Buffy just rushes right by it to say, she believes in him. Yes, Buffy believes that Spike is better than all this killing, feeding, singing, and forgetting. She believes he can be a man, a good man. Oh you'd think Spike would be touched to the core, but he doesn't have time to let it sink in. At that moment, those hooded dudes (that have been killing potential slayers all over the world) start busting through the windows and doors (there goes Xander's handy work).

The hooded dudes attack. Willow and Dawn give fight. Willow gets knocked out while Dawn bags herself a hooded casualty (Dawn's got some fighting skills!). Buffy runs up from the basement to get in to the fight on the ground floor, but a bunch of the dudes head up to the second floor presumably after Andrew. Buffy and Xander go after them and a fight ensues. Buffy reigns victorious and Andrew remains safe, but it doesn't take long for Xander to point out that there are way less dead guys than there were attackers. Where could the others have gone? They all run down to the basement to find… empty shackles. Buffy quickly concludes that they were after Spike all along. Score one for evil.

Back at the school, Princi takes Jonathan's body to a construction site, where he promptly digs a ditch and buries the body. Poor Jonathan.

Over at the Summers house, Buffy takes a closer look at the dead hooded dudes, only to realize she recognizes them. They are bringers of the First (Amends). Buffy finally knows what they are up against - The First Evil.

This would be a good time to contact the Council and see if they've got a line on Giles' whereabouts, since all of the watchers and their mamas seem to be running around the Council headquarters in London, England. Just as Quentin Travers gives a peppy we're-going-war speech and announces the Council is heading to Sunnydale, there is an explosion and poof (well more like BANG!) goes the entire Watcher's Council. Score two for the First.

Wait, there's still more points to be had. Back in Hellmouth High's basement, some more Bringers have tied Spike to a contraption and proceeded to cut pretty little curly Q designs all over his chest. By the way, Spike looks completely thrashed. Meanwhile Evilikins changes out of his Spike's evil twin suit into his Buffy suit. I guess the Buffy suit is a more comfortable fit for verbally tormenting Spike while the Bringers prepare Spike to complete the ritual (the ritual that Andrew and Warren failed to complete because Shortround's body didn't bleed enough). Once Spike has enough bleeding designs on his chest, the Bringers turn the contraption so Spike's body can bleed all over the goat head seal thingy. Evilikins tells Spike that finally she's going to get to show them what a real vampire looks like. Seconds later, the seal opens up and up comes the ugliest vampire creature ever created (kind of like a cross between Gnarl from Same Time, Same Place and a hellhound from The Prom). Final score:Evil 3, Good 0. Good thing they're just getting started.

The Usual
The Usual

Random Quotage:

It's funny how the Earth never opens up and swallows you when you want it to.
-Xander (Teacher's Pet)

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