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Unfinished Business by TalesofSpike
Chapter 5
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Note: Thanks to my beta t_geyer for her unending patience, perseverance and support.

Chapter 5

Buffy grabbed Willow by the elbow as the group began to filter from the room, pulling her to the back and letting the others enter Ilona's stateroom without them. "Did you know?" the slayer hissed.

Willow had no need to ask what Buffy meant and it had nothing whatsoever to do with why Spike had shot Giles. "How would I know?" the redhead answered question for question.

"Well, Giles didn't seem to be too surprised."

Willow's eyes narrowed slightly as she thought back over the last five minutes. "No-o-o," she finally agreed, "he didn't, but he didn't let me in on the secret."

Buffy's face twisted into a scowl as she thought about the talk that she and Giles were going to have later. "What about Giles? Can't you just magic him better?"

"You mean without the goddess in the room noticing what I'm doing?" Willow retorted. "I'm kinda thinking that they're not going to come half way around the world to shoot him and then just stand by while I mojo him better. Besides, I know I can do it but I don't know whether I could do it without the Goth look making a come back... and until I hear what they've got to say, I'm not even sure I want to."

"But this is Giles," Buffy opined. "We can't just leave him."

"And that woman with Spike? The soul, the consciousness... whatever is inside is ancient and powerful and quite possibly evil, but the body that she's walking around in used to be Fred , who used to be human and sweet and could do things with string theory that I could barely understand and she used to be my friend... Have you stopped to think how much Giles must have pissed the four of them off for them to drop everything and come all this way? You do know that there was every chance that Spike might have ended up dead if the security guys were quicker off the mark? I mean not exactly a kamikaze mission, at least not if he's still a vampire, but not exactly risk-free either."

Buffy didn't care if Fred had been world macramé champion, but her face blanched as a long ago memory played in her head. Spike looking coyly at his boots. "Right person. Person I loved." Bright blue eyes, brimming with sincerity as he looked straight into her own. "I’d do it." As for whether he was a vampire, hanging out with The Immortal meant that Buffy hadn't exactly done a lot of slaying lately, but she hadn't forgotten that particular kick to her senses that was Spike. "He's still a vampire, Will. The only thing that's changed is who he's in love with."

She painted a brittle smile on her face as she felt The Immortal's approach, taking his hand as he joined them.

"What is the problem, bella? Ilona, she send someone to say that I should come."

Willow sensed that Buffy couldn't work out quite how to answer that, so she stepped in. "Same old, same old. Buffy's ex just came back from the dead and shot Giles. We'll have it all sorted out in no time." She pushed open the door to Ilona's rooms, letting the slayer and her escort enter before she slipped through and closed the doors behind them.

"Okay, now we talk," Ilona stated. "Why don't you begin, Angel? Is only fair that Mister Giles, he should know why it is that you should be wanting to shoot him. You talk. I phone the doctore."

Giles rolled his eyes. "I'm sure that someone must have phoned for an ambulance already and the police."

Spike grinned. "And I'm sure you haven't checked out the brochure on this place. Soundproofed rooms part of the deal. Maybe not the ballroom or whatever that was, but if all the rooms between there and the ground floor..." He gave an eloquent shrug.

His expression completely deadpan, Angel locked eyes with the council chief as the security guard lowered him onto one of the room's sofas. "I don't want Giles shot. I want Giles to die an excruciatingly painful, lingering death as his entrails liquefy inside him, knowing that the only way the agony will stop is when he dies."

The door opened and closed behind them as Angel spoke, Buffy, The Immortal and Willow slipping into the room.

Spike gave a melodramatic sigh. "Unfortunately, we didn't happen to have a non-communicable version of the Ebola virus to hand... Oh, and we might be into the 'eye for and eye' thing but if you hadn't had a hand in destroying her soul so that we don't even have the consolation of imagining that she might be watching us from heaven, then I figure Fred might have been watching and she wouldn't have approved. Of course, I wouldn't let that make you feel too comfortable, watcher, 'cause Wesley, he probably is watching... and 'round about now he's probably thinking I should have shot your balls off."

"Wesley?" Giles uttered in a shocked whisper.

In a fraction of a second Giles found himself dangling in mid-air, only his feet still touching the couch, Spike's fingers buried in his shirt front and the vampire's demonic face so close to his own that he could barely focus. "You fucking hypocritical wanker! The fact that Fred died in agony and that her soul is scattered to the four winds means nothing to you. A beautiful girl, and when I say beautiful I'm not talking about the outside, not that she wasn't easy on the eyes as you can tell from looking at our friend Illyria here, but a girl who would go out of her way for a virtual stranger, who'd put her own life on hold to help them out, a girl who had the brains to be the next damn Marie Curie if you'd given her half the chance... And you wouldn't even so much as make a phone call for her. And why? Because she worked for Wolfram & Hart? But you'll swig their champagne and stuff your face with the profiteroles of evil?"

"I have-," Giles gasped out.

"You have about a minute to live if you don't shut the hell up and listen. Fred was special but you treated her dying like taking out so much rubbish. You have the nerve to say that we're evil but you chose to let her die. Couldn't care less until one of your blue-blood inbred watchers gets listed in the casualties." Spike threw the watcher back down onto the sofa in disgust. "All we wanted you to do was to tell Red what was going on and ask if she could help... And you were so arrogant, so fucking sure, despite all the times you've been proved wrong before, that you alone knew what was right that you let that brilliant, generous, loving, noble woman not just die but be obliterated in this world and the next... for your vanity... but that means nothing to you because her folks were just ordinary Joes with hick accents who drove a bus and did whatever it was that her dad did and not home counties, double-barrelled watcher spawn. You make me sick."

"Giles?" Willow's voice trembled a she spoke. "Is this true?"

"I- well, I made a decision. You were busy in the field, trying to track down slayers. In retrospect... I may have made an error of judgement but, even if by some stretch of imagination you think I might have contributed to this woman's death, I don't see how I can be held responsible for any part in whatever happened to Wesley."

Spike looked as if he wanted to tell Giles how he came to be responsible for Wesley's death but the witch held up a hand in front of his face.

"But you knew that Fred was dying? You knew that they wanted my help? And you decided to keep that from me?" the witch asked. "Did you know that she was my friend?"

Giles looked irate for a second. "I thought you knew of our policy of non-communication with Wolfram & Hart and their employees?"

"And your concept of non-communication involves attending their annual ball?" Spike snarled before Willow could reply, the veins in his temple throbbing.

"I can't believe that you even think you have the right to criticise me because I happen to believe that Fred was the same person after she took that job as she was when she worked out of a run-down hotel." Willow's gaze seemed to settle on Spike for a few seconds before she went on to look at Angel. "Start at the beginning. Tell us everything that happened."
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