Chapter Three: Wisdom
When Spike came into the kitchen he found Dawn sitting, staring into space. He looked at the clock on the wall and saw that it was only noon.
“Niblet?” he queried, concern tingeing his voice. “What are you doing here, pet? Shouldn’t you be in school?” When she still didn’t respond he got frightened. “Dawn, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” As he reached out to touch her shoulder she whispered accusingly,
“Everything would be okay if you had just done your job.” Spike jerked his hand back as though he had been burned. He could barely speak as he gasped,
“What?” Dawn turned and looked at him angrily.
“If you had protected me, like you promised, she’d be here now instead of you. I’d still have her with me!”
“I-I tried. I thought- I did everything I could…” Spike shook his head, his eyes bleak.
“You did NOTHING!” Dawn interrupted him coldly. “You’ve wanted her dead for years. You saw your chance, and you took it! You wanted her gone; you’ve always wanted her gone! You pretend you care about me; you act like you’re my friend, but inside you’re laughing at me, at her, at all of us for ever trusting you. You think you can live in this world with me, but you will always be a monster!”
“No! Dawn, please,” he pleaded. “I loved her! I love you; I tried. I tried. I TRIED!” Spike sat up in bed with a start. He choked back a sob as he collapsed onto his pillow. The dream again. It was always the same, Dawn hating him, blaming him. Sometimes she raged at him throwing things and screaming, but usually she was just coldly bitter like tonight. The coldness was worse, at least with the rage she still showed him some level of emotion, but this one, in this one she looked right through him, like he was already gone to her.
It was his biggest fear; that she blamed him, and would eventually grow to hate him. He had tried to take his own advice and talk to her about his fears, but he never managed to force the words out. He could tell she knew something bothered him, and she had done her best to be reassuring. She was really something special, his Dawn. Trying to ease his conscience when she was suffering her own guilt. Although she seemed to be slowly getting over that. He was truly happy that she was finally letting go and getting on with her life. Soon she wouldn’t need him anymore. The thought both elated and saddened him. He wanted her to not need him, but conversely it was nice to be needed. God! Listen to me, he thought. I’m turnin’ into a bleedin’ sap! He smiled slightly. In all honesty, he didn’t really mind.
It hadn’t been long since he’d gone to bed, but he didn’t think he’d be able to get back to sleep anytime soon so he got up and padded into the kitchen for a drink. He stood in the dark bathed in the soft glow of the refrigerator light. He grabbed a beer, and without turning around said,
“Couldn’t sleep, either, huh?” Dawn stepped out of the shadows and just looked at him for a second. Spike flashed back to his dream and broke out in a cold sweat, but then she broke the silence as she walked closer.
“You always know when someone’s there. How do you do that?”
“I always know when it’s you, too. Vampire senses and all.” He gestured towards himself with the beer bottle.
“So what’s driving you to drink in the middle of the night?” Dawn took his hand and he followed her in to sit on the couch.
“’Bout you.” Spike took a swig of beer.
“Me? What happened?” Spike sat silently for a moment, debating if he should tell her. He should get it out in the open, clear the air, so to speak. He looked at her silently. She was all tensed up in nervous anticipation. He couldn’t look at her while he did this so he stared into the darkness in front of him and told her about the dream. When he was done she was very quiet. He was starting to regret his decision when he felt Dawn’s hand on his cheek, turning his face towards her. She spoke softly,
“In a million lifetimes I could never hate you. You’re the bravest, most honorable man I know. I don’t blame you for anything that happened, and there won’t ever come a time that I will. I’ve never seen you as a monster; I know you’ve done horrible things in your past, but I also know what you’ve done here, for me. You will always be my friend. I love you.” Then she pulled him close and held him. His eyes filled with tears and he clung to her tightly.
“I don’t ever want to lose you,” he said desperately. She pulled back and looked at him her voice firm,
“You never will.”
They sat like that for awhile, just holding each other until Spike pointed out that morning was fast approaching, and she should get some rest before she had to get up for school. They both walked upstairs and he gave her one last hug before sending her off to her room. He stood in the hall in thoughtful silence for a moment before going into his own room. He crawled back into bed thinking of what she had said. A smile touched his lips as he laid his head on the pillow. Yep, she was something special alright. And he fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
The next few months passed in much the same manner as the previous months had. Since that night in the living room, Dawn and Spike talked openly about his feelings of guilt along with all the things they usually discussed. Spike was glad he had opened up about his feelings; their friendship was stronger than ever, and he had started to feel like maybe it hadn’t all been his fault. He had even started to become better friends with the Scoobies, which he still couldn’t believe. Giles spoke to him in a normal tone rather than the constant sarcasm to which he had become accustomed. Willow and Tara joked around with him as they would a friend. Even the whelp occasionally talked to him as though he didn’t want to stake him on sight. Spike would never admit it but sometimes, not often, but sometimes he was amused by Harris and found him to be almost bearable, bordering – on rare occasions – on likeable. Anya, while having always been friendly to him, showed her acceptance of him more overtly now that Xander didn’t hate him outright.
He and Dawn often went for long drives in her birthday car after the sun went down. Sometimes Dawn drove, but usually she let Spike drive. She enjoyed watching him while they talked, and liked to be able to fidget all around the car. Both activities somewhat limited when she was in the driver’s seat. Tonight she had tossed him the keys before dragging him out to the car with a hastily shouted,
“G’bye!” to Will and Tara. He chuckled at her impatience to be out of the house.
“What’s with the mad dash, sweet?” he asked indulgently.
“Movie. Fifteen minutes. Hafta see it. Get a move on.” She spoke so quickly the words all sort of ran together, but he got the gist of it. He started the car and kicked it in gear.
“Are you dragging me to some sentimental chick flick? ‘Cause I gotta say, with what you and the witches have been picking for rentals lately, I think I’ve reached my quota for sap.”
“First of all, I object to the label ‘chick flick’. That implies that men are incapable of enjoying an emotional movie which, if you’re anything to judge by, is a total fallacy.”
“Hey!” Spike interrupted, and Dawn grinned.
“It also means that a woman can’t appreciate a well written action flick, which is completely untrue.” Dawn reached down and started flipping through the CDs. Spike glanced over curiously.
“What?” Dawn looked at him funny.
“You said ‘first of all’; it’s generally followed up with a ‘second’,” he explained dryly.
“Well, then. Just pretend I started my statement with ‘I object’.”
“What? Built up a little too much righteous anger; couldn’t follow through?” Spike smirked. Dawn smacked him on the arm with a grin.
“Oh, shut up! Where’s the CD I always listen to?” Spike glanced over to see where she was looking.
“Fit to be Tied? I think it’s in the glove box.” Dawn opened up the compartment and smiled as the CD slid out into her hands.
“Yeah, baby,” she announced happily. “Gotta have my daily fix of Joan Jett.”
“You have very eclectic tastes in music,” Spike commented.
“Variety is the spice of life.”
“You never answered me about what we’ll be viewing this evening.” They were pulling into the parking lot.
“Oh, it’s a chick flick.”
“But, you said…”
“I never said I didn’t like chick flicks; I just object to the term.” Spike growled at her, and she smiled mischievously.
They had a lot of days like that, rushing to one thing or another, being silly and having fun. There were also days where they just sat around, relaxing, and talking for hours. Spike sometimes wished they could go places together during the day, but he knew that would never happen so he was content with what they could do.
Dawn came home from school one day shortly before her seventeenth birthday and ran around the house squealing in excitement. Spike came tearing down the stairs, thinking someone was hurt. When he saw she her smiling and laughing with Willow he felt foolish and got a little angry.
“What the bleedin’ hell is all the yelling about?” he grumbled. Willow looked up with a giddy smile.
“Dawnie has a date!”
“This Saturday! He’s a senior!” Dawn said excitedly. Then she did a cute little victory dance, and Spike laughed along with Tara, who had come in from the kitchen.
“Oh, really? A date, huh?” Spike slowly circled Dawn with his arm crossed over his chest and his chin resting in his other hand. He stopped suddenly. “You want I should do my scary-big-brother routine. Make sure he minds his manners?” Dawn gave him a look and said,
“Nooo, I want you to do your disappearing man routine, right about the time the doorbell rings!”
“What, and miss a chance to torture you unmercifully? Now why would I do that?” Spike grinned as Dawn gave a beleaguered groan. “What do you think, Red? Should I cut her a break? Hide out in my room?” Willow laughed. He grabbed Dawn in a bear hug. “Don’t worry, bit. I’ll behave, I promise.” He gave her a kiss on her forehead, and then headed back upstairs. “Make sure you do your homework before you start phoning all your mates. I’ll be upstairs if you need me.” Dawn smiled at his retreating back.
“’Kay. Thanks.” She spun around to face Willow and Tara. “He’s so great! Isn’t he great? I love it when he’s feeling playful. He’s so much fun!” She spun back towards the stairs. “Better get going on my homework. Later!” The two girls smiled at each other. Spike, having heard everything Dawn said, stood inside his room smiling.
When Saturday rolled around the house was buzzing with excitement. Spike watched as Willow helped Dawn experiment with her make-up; trying different color combinations to achieve ‘just the right look’ as she called it.
“I don’t know why you’re even bothering with this junk,” he commented as he looked through the carry case. “You’re perfectly beautiful the way you are. And what’s with this lip gloss? Berry Wet? Cherry Rain? Where do they come up with these names?” Dawn looked at him.
“What did you say?” Spike looked up.
“Names, they have crazy names.” When he noticed her expression he said, “Oh. I said beautiful. Why do you want to hide behind all this, this stuff?” Willow took a lipstick from his hand as she answered him,
“She’s not hiding, Spike. She’s accentuating her assets.”
“Just be sure that those are the only assets being accentuated.”
“Aww,” Dawn murmured. “I just love it when you get all protective.” She hugged his waist. “Now get out.” She shoved him towards the door.
“Alright. I know when I’m not wanted. I’ll just go practice my speech.”
“My speech for your little boyfriend. It’s gonna be a real winner.” He could hear Dawn starting to protest so he called back down the hallway, “Kidding! I’m kidding!” Then as he got to his room he muttered, “Maybe.”
Spike was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when the bell rang at seven. He lowered the paper and peered at the stairway, but there was no one in sight. He walked over to the bottom step and shouted,
“Dawn! Prince Charmin’ is here.”
“Well, why don’t you answer the door, Spike?” Dawn hollered back. Tara peeked over the banister and whispered,
“She has to make an entrance. Could you get the door? Please?” Tara smiled. Spike plastered on a fake smile and dragged the door open. The whelp on the porch was about Spike’s height and obviously a football player, if his build was anything to go by. He had black hair and a cocky grin that Spike instantly wanted to wipe off his face. The boy stepped inside before he was invited and glanced behind Spike into the rest of the house.
“So is Dawn ready to go?” Spike felt an evil urge take over at the boy’s insolence.
“Yeah. She should be right down.” He shut the door and reached out for a handshake. “I’m Spike.”
“Jake,” he replied as took the proffered hand. Jake’s eyes widened as he felt the crushing grip. Spike smiled innocently, ignoring the sharp pain in his skull.
“Pleasure to meet you.” The boy tugged at his hand and Spike released him. He watched with satisfaction as Jake flexed his sore hand a couple times. Spike heard footsteps and said, “Ah, here she is now.” He turned to watch Dawn, at least he thought it was Dawn, slowly descend the stairs and barely kept his jaw from dropping. She was dressed to kill in a velvet, burgundy sheath that ended about an inch short of mid-thigh and was held up by two very thin straps at each shoulder. She had on sheer black stockings, and strappy heels that matched her dress. Her hair had been curled and artfully piled into a topknot, with several curls left loose in front to caress her face. Spike had to admit her makeup did enhance all her best features, not to mention that she looked about five years older, but he still liked her regular face the best, without all the paint. Jake stumbled all over himself in his hurry to get closer to his date. He took her hands and pulled her in far too close to whisper in amazement,
“You look incredible! Let’s get out of here.” As the boy helped her into her coat, Spike noticed that he found little ways to constantly touch her bare skin. What had Willow been thinking with that dress? Spike dropped a heavy hand on the kid’s shoulder as he told him menacingly,
“She had better be home by midnight.” But Dawn interrupted sternly saying,
“Spike.” She gave him a warning look and he gave her a big grin and switched to a jovial tone of voice in hopes of placating her,
“Right then! You know your curfew. You two have a jolly good time.” Dawn gave him a hug as she headed for the door, and Spike whispered in her ear, “See. No threats, no bone breaking. I’m being a good little boy.” She just smiled and snorted,
“Yeah, that’ll be the day.” Then she was gone. Now for the best part of the evening, Spike thought to himself sardonically. Staring at the clock and worrying.
It was around eleven thirty when the sound of the front door closing softly awakened Spike. He couldn’t believe he had fallen asleep. He had gone up to his room to read while he waited for Dawn to get back. Next time he’d have to pick a more exciting book. He figured Dawn would come in soon to tell him all about her night, but instead he heard her go into her room. Spike quickly got to his feet and went to see how things had gone. Her door was open a little bit, but she hadn’t turned on the light. He could just barely make out her figure standing by the dresser; she had taken her hair down so it swung against her shoulders. He nudged the door wider.
“Dawn?” She jumped, obviously startled, but she didn’t turn around. “How’d it go?”
“Fine. Spike? I’m tired now; can we talk about it in the morning?” Her voice sounded funny; something wasn’t right.
“You’re lying to me.” Spike’s voice was flat. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing! I just- can you just leave me alone? I want to go to bed.” He was beside her in an instant.
“Dawn, you’re scaring me. Why won’t you look at me? What happened?” He pulled her around to face him, and the soft glow from the hall fell across her face. The first thing he noticed was that the makeup around her eyes was smudged. She’d been crying. Then his gaze fell to her left shoulder. The strap of her dress was broken. He looked up and Dawn saw his eyes flash yellow, but when he snapped on the lamp his human features were still in place. “You have bruises,” he said, his voice deathly calm, his words short and clipped. “Little. Finger shaped. Bruises. What did he do to you?” Dawn bowed her head, suddenly very tired.
“Can we sit first?” Spike said nothing, but he led her to the bed and held her hand comfortingly. “We- he took me to this party. Nothing too big, just some people from school; I knew most of them. We were having a good time. We danced, he told some funny jokes, and I thought he was really nice.
He said he wanted to go sit somewhere quiet so we could talk. I’ve seen the movies, I was cautious; I wasn’t going to follow him blindly into some deserted bedroom like an idiot. But he didn’t even try that, we just went into this little sitting room off the main hall. The door was open; there were people right outside.” Her voice rose alarmingly, and Spike squeezed her hand to reassure her. “He kissed me and it wasn’t a big deal, but then he started trying to…touch me. I pulled back and told him not to, but he didn’t stop. I was getting ready to give him a piece of my mind when he reached up, covered my mouth and nose with his hand, and shoved my head back against the couch. His other hand was… everywhere. I tried to fight him off, but one arm was trapped between his body and the couch, and the other…I punched at him a few times and tried to shove him off, but nothing seemed to faze him.” Dawn’s voice kept breaking and she had started to cry again. Spike just held her tightly. The way she was sitting she couldn’t see his face, but she could feel it changing, back and forth, above her head. Strange.
“I started to panic because I couldn’t breathe and I kept trying to hit him, but I just got weaker and weaker. He threw his leg over so he was straddling me, and finally I knew there was something I could do. I brought my knee up as hard as I could, and he rolled off me in pain. I got up and ran into the hall. I saw a girl I know from school and asked her for a ride home.” Dawn’s voice shook with fear as she thought about what might have happened if she hadn’t gotten away. “I don’t have the strength tonight, but I promise I’ll report him in the morning.” Spike nodded his head as he held onto her, thinking about all the ways he could kill Jake if he didn’t have the bleeding chip in his head. Dawn reached up and touched his cheek. “I know you. I know what you’re thinking, but please don’t do anything foolish. With that chip in your head you could wind up getting yourself killed.” For her sake, he smiled and said,
“Don’t worry, luv. I won’t do anything foolish. Now let me take a look at that shoulder.” She leaned up slightly so he could examine her bruised flesh. “Bloody hell! These are pretty bad; he must have damn near crushed the bone!”
“S’okay, I’m tough.” He gently stroked the skin where that creep had hurt her.
“This is gonna hurt like hell the next few days. Wish there was something I could do.” He sat for a moment, then leaned down and kissed the spot. Dawn shivered and as he lifted his head their gazes caught, and something blazed to life in Dawn’s eyes. Spike froze, then in a flurry of movement he was off the bed and moving toward the door. “Well, uh, why don’t you get changed into some pjs or whatever and I’ll bring you some cocoa and something to dull the pain.”
“Like a shot of whiskey?” Dawn said weakly, and Spike turned back to look at her, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.
“No, like an ibuprofen. I’ll be right back.” Spike went into the kitchen and leaned his hands on the counter for a moment. Yeah, ‘I won’t do anything foolish’ he thought sarcastically. Where’s your head you stupid, git? It’s Dawn. Get your mind out of the gutter! Real sensitive thoughts to be having when she’s just been sexually assaulted! Get it together. Spike made the cocoa and got out the pills, and by the time he finished, his emotions were well under control. He decided that it had just been an aberration. Dawn is my best friend. I’ve never had romantic feelings for Dawn. It must have been a fleeting moment brought on by stress. He opened the door. Okay. Back to normal. Dawn was asleep so he left the cocoa and the painkiller on her nightstand, in case she woke up. He covered her with a blanket, and switched off the lamp. He was almost out the door when she called his name tremulously.
“What is it, sweetheart?” Spike asked in concern.
“Please stay.” He could hear tears in her voice. “I feel…scared by myself.” Spike swore silently at the damage that uncaring jerk had caused.
“Of course I’ll stay.” He lay down next to her. He pulled her back against his chest, and tucked her head beneath his chin. He pressed a kiss into her hair. “You get some rest, bit. I’m here now; I’ll keep you safe.” She snuggled into him, but she was still crying. “Do you need to talk about it?” he asked her gently. She didn’t say anything for awhile and he thought that maybe she had decided not to.
“He was talking, saying…horrible things the whole time,” she whispered. “He called me awful names. He said he liked it when I fought; he liked it rough. Said it excited him. He said he’d seen me look at him in school, and he knew I wanted him. He told me I was lucky…” her voice cracked. “I was lucky he asked me out; I’m not really his type. H-He said, he said when he saw me in that dress, he knew he was right about me ‘cause only a girl who was begging for it would dress like such a, such a…” her voice faded out.
“Such a what?” Spike asked tensely.
“Such a slut.” Dawn began to sob. “I just wanted to look pretty. I thought he liked me! I didn’t know that he would think – that.” Spike swore viciously, and held her a little closer.
“Dawn, listen to me! That dress, you looked beautiful. Only a sick, perverted mind would twist that into some sort of invitation. You did not do anything wrong. This didn’t happen because you were ‘asking for it’ or because your dress was sexy. Jake is sick. Rape isn’t about sex; it’s about power. You could have worn an old sweat suit, no makeup, and he probably still would have been an ass. This wasn’t about anything you did or didn’t do. It was about his twisted fantasies and his need to dominate. I know that doesn’t make what he did go away, but I will not let you walk around thinking you unknowingly caused this or encouraged him. This was not your fault Dawn. Not your fault.” A sense of déjà vu washed over Spike and he hoped that this awful night hadn’t set back all the progress Dawn had made the last two years. It seemed as though she could read his thoughts because no sooner had the idea crossed his mind, she said,
“Don’t worry. I won’t slip into another trance. I know, deep down, that everything you said is true. It’s just; I think it’s normal to feel ashamed. Not that I should, just that it’s a normal reaction.” Spike stroked her arm. “Next time you can give the arm-breaking speech.”
“See? You’re already working through the shame and moving into that righteous anger I know and love.” Dawn managed a weak laugh through her tears and relaxed into Spike.
“I’m so glad you’re here.” Spike barely heard her whisper, and then she drifted off to sleep. Once he was sure she was in a deep sleep he got out of the bed and went to get Willow.
“Hey, Red can you sit in with Dawn? She’s sleeping for now, but I’ve got something I need to do and I don’t want her to wake up alone.” Willow looked worried.
“What’s going on? Did something happen?”
“I’ll explain later. Right now I need to go. I’ll be back soon.”
“Okay, but you better explain when you get home; you’re scaring me.”
“I will. Don’t worry; I’m taking care of the problem.” Spike headed downstairs and started rummaging around until he found what he was looking for, last years Sunnydale High Yearbook. He flipped through it; Jake would’ve been a junior then. Spike spotted the familiar cocky grin. Ah, there you are, you bastard! Westermore, Jake Westermore. Spike grabbed the phonebook; there was one listing. He noted the address, and went to check it out.
The house was dark when he got there, and he wasn’t sure if this was even the right place. The family could be unlisted. Just then, he saw Jake’s car cruise up and park in front of the house. Guess he decided to stay at the party even though the evening’s “entertainment” had left. Lucky me. Spike thought with a tight smile. He watched the kid go in the house. Spike flicked his cigarette into the street with a spray of sparks and headed toward the house. After awhile he saw a light come on in the back of the house. He hurried over in time to see Jake closing the blinds in what must be his bedroom.
Spike walked over and rapped on the window, then stood to the side where he wouldn’t be seen. The blind parted slightly as Jake peered out into the darkness; then, when he didn’t see anything, the idiot let the blinds close again. Spike sighed in frustration and knocked again, moving to the side once more. This time the dope pulled up the blind and reached to open the window. An evil grin lit Spike’s face. That’s right. Open the window. Jake leaned slightly out the window and Spike made his move. He grabbed him by the back of the neck and dragged him out. He couldn’t hurt the boy, but he should have no trouble restraining him. He shoved Jake up against the side of the house with an arm across his throat. He growled,
“Heard you tried to have a bit of ‘fun’ with Dawn tonight.” Jake, obviously begging for a killing, actually smiled.
“Man, she totally wanted it!”
“That is really not the right answer,” Spike said pressing his arm deeper into the jerk’s throat. Jake choked slightly; Spike winced at the pain in his head and eased off just until it went away. Jake’s self-preservation instincts appeared to kick in as he groaned,
“What do you want, man?”
“See, this is how it’s gonna play out. The police will be showing up here sooner or later to take you in for questioning once Dawn reports you tomorrow. You will deny nothing; you’ll confess to everything you did to Dawn down to the minutest detail. Then you will let them lock you up,” Spike explained patiently.
“Why would I do that?”
“Believe me. You do not want to be out here where I can get at you.”
“Oh, yeah? And what if I refuse? What are you gonna do?” Spike shifted into his game face before quietly saying,
“I’ll kill you.” He watched the terror slide across the boy’s face as he realized he wasn’t dealing with a regular guy. Jake tried to back up even though Spike had him pressed tightly against the house.
“O-O-Okay, man whatever you say! Please don’t hurt me!” Spike face darkened with fury.
“Is that what Dawn said to you? How many other times have you heard some poor girl say those words?”
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry! I’ll do what you said; I promise. I’ll do whatever you want.”
“Fine.” Spike shoved away from him, and his human visage slipped back into place. “I better not hear different. I don’t want to have to pay you another visit.”
“You won’t. I swear,” Jake promised frantically as he clamored back through his bedroom window. When he looked back the vampire was gone.
When Spike got home Dawn was still sleeping soundly so he explained everything to Will and Tara.
“Oh my god!” Tara whispered. “Is she alright? I mean, of course she’s not! But do you think she will be?” Spike nodded.
“She’s tough. Right now she’s hurt and ashamed and disillusioned, but when we talked earlier I got the impression, well I think with some time and support; I think she’ll be okay.”
“Uh, I hate to ask,” Willow started uncertainly. “But, well, you didn’t kill him, did you?”
“No, there’s no way I could do that, me being chipped and all. But it’s been taken care of.”
“I’m afraid to ask what that means.”
“Don’t worry, Red. No one is getting killed. I’m just taking care of mine.” Tara and Willow exchanged a nervous look.
Spike figured Will must have called the gang very early about the situation because everyone was there for breakfast. They offered to all go with Dawn to the police station, but she felt it was something she needed to do herself, to take control. They reluctantly agreed, and Spike hugged her tightly until she laughed and said,
“I’m coming back! You’re hanging on like I’m moving to Brazil or something.” She gave him a peck on the cheek and then left.
“I hope they fry his ass!” Xander said in disgust.
About twenty minutes later, Dawn’s car came zipping back in the drive. The door burst open and she came tearing into the kitchen, slamming the door behind her.
“That was quick,” Giles said glancing at his watch. “Everything go alright?”
“Better than alright,” Dawn gushed. “You’ll never believe it! He was there. In custody! The cop said he came in last night; told them he felt bad about what he’d done and confessed to everything! Can you believe it? They said I could come in later to give my statement; that I deserved to rest after the night I had. He felt bad! Wow! I’m going to take a shower.” She skipped out of the room. They were silent as they all turned to stare at Spike.
“Good work, man,” Xander said quietly and patted him on the back.