As everyone unfroze from the natural terror they felt at seeing a young woman crying, and began rushing around to help her - or, at the very least, feel as though they were - Spike noticed that Buffy and Sam were off to one side, Buffy for some strange reason waving her hand around as though it were a snake, and Sam looking increasingly more exasperated. It seemed like a good time for Spike to join in.
So Spike got up and ambled over, avoiding the bustling Xander darting here and there, and stood slightly behind Buffy, listening for a moment as he heard her give quite possibly the most garbled directions he'd ever heard anyone give - and he'd lived with a crazy woman for about a century. Sam caught his eye, mouthing silently "Help me!"
"Slayer, what are you doing?" Spike said, letting just a hint of amusement colour his voice.
Buffy whirled around, flushing. She fought the urge to do what she normally did when a vampire appeared behind her - kill it. So Buffy struggled to calmly say "I'm giving Sam directions to the ice cream bar."
Spike didn't need to force a chuckle. "Is that what you were doing? I thought you were telling Sam, with accompanying hand gestures, about that time a sea serpent attacked you on Main Street."
Buffy blinked. "I've never been attacked by a sea serpent on Main Street."
"Exactly." Spike smirked. Then he turned to Sam, aware that, if his heart still beat, it would be racing now. "D'you want me to show you the way?" he said.
Sam shrugged. "Why not? Ice cream is the cure for all ills - or so they say."
"Who says that?" asks Spike conversationally, as the pair head for the door, leaving an extremely surprised Buffy behind.
"Jack, mainly. You should see him with ice cream. And pie. Oh, and when he gets the two together..."
Sam and Spike ambled casually down the road towards the ice cream bar, just talking about anything that ran through their minds. Spike was glad that he hadn't yet spouted a poem.
"Major? Major Carter!" called a voice from across the street. Sam tensed, turning to look. It was Riley, casually dressed, with two other men of similar appearance flanking him. The civilian look was rather spoiled by what were clearly guns of some kind wrapped in coats. No wonder Hammond disapproved - this seemed like a poorly-run shambles of an operation. Spike tensed too, and Sam wondered why, before remembering that he had been experimented on by people like Riley. Perhaps by Riley himself.
"Lieutenant Finn." she said blandly, aware of Spike readying himself for some kind of assault next to her.
"Where are you going, Major? Have you found Willow yet?" Riley asked eagerly, apparently not having noticed Spike - which was odd, given that his peroxide blond hair seemed to glow in the dark. Sam felt Spike stiffen, and spin round to stare at her. Her heart sank.
Then Riley caught sight of Spike, at last. "Oh, hello there. I was just wondering if the Major here had seen a friend of mine." he said coolly, hoping that he wasn't too suspicious. Well, given that this was Sunnydale, he doubted anyone would notice if he ran around wearing nothing but a Viking helmet, but orders were orders. Then Riley felt a sneaking suspicion that he knew man currently intently staring at Sam. "Do I know you?" he asked, cautiously.
Spike started, and Sam found herself wishing he wouldn't do anything stupid. He was still a vampire, after all - wouldn't it be possible he might just savage the soldiers in front of them? From what she had heard, Spike had escaped from them before.
"Nein. I am new to this country, I am just visitink an old friend of mine." Spike said with a thick German accent. Sam fought the urge to either double up laughing or gasp in surprise. "Vell, my dear, it has been nice to be seeing you again. Auf Wiedersehen." he said to her, doing a casual salute before turning and striding off, the darkness enveloping him quickly.
Riley watched him go, then shook his head. "I could've sworn..." he began, before trailing off. Then he gathered himself. "So, no news on the Willow front, then?" he asked hopefully.
Sam found she didn't like the young man. Oh, she was sure Riley was nice enough, but he was just so incompetent! "No, Lieutenant. There isn't." she said coldly.
Riley didn't seem to notice. "Okay then. Back to work, men." he said, and headed off back down the street. Sam watched them go, then sighed. She got the feeling that, just when things had started to go right again, they'd taken a turn for the worse.
Spike materialized behind her, which should've been impossible given that Sam had seen him go the other way, and there was no way he could've had time to go all the way around the block. "Give me one good reason I shouldn't go and tell the Slayer to go and thrash those guys." he said flatly.
"And then you can tell me why she shouldn't beat you and your little squad up too."
"I'd do it myself, but those soldier boys decided to mess around in my brain, just to see what would happen, to make it so I can't even defend myself. Then they thought they'd have a spot of torture. So explain it to me, Major
" Spike spat.
"Spike, shut up. Let me answer, will you." Sam finally managed to say. Spike subsided slightly, and Sam forged on. "We were working with them to find Willow. We only met them a few hours ago. Hell, we only found out they existed
a while ago. So, no, we're not in cahoots. And, if you happened to be lurking around, you would've noticed that I didn't tell them anything." Sam said quickly, all in one breath, watching Spike's face intently to see how he took it.
Spike blinked. "Oh."
"I feel a right ponce now." he said sheepishly.
"Oh, that's quite alright, I understand." Sam said, smiling slightly. "So, shall we go get that ice cream?"
"I think so, yes."
"Why did you act German, by the way?" Sam asked curiously as they began walking again.
"I spent some time there during the war. I guess all soldiers remind me of them, a little." Spike replied.
"The war? The world war? Which one? Hell, you've probably lived through both." Sam said, taking a deep breath. Spike just grinned. "So, do I remind you of the Nazis?" she asked jokingly, guessing he meant them - his salute had been vaguely similar to theirs.
Spike seemed to take it seriously. "Well, you do
look Aryan." Sam burst into peals of laughter at that, and Spike just looked at her wondering what was so funny.
When Spike and Sam returned a while later, carrying enough ice cream to feed a small army (just so long as they weren't fascists. According to Spike, they loved their ice cream) they saw that Willow had calmed down somewhat, enough to join in a mammoth game of Monopoly, at any rate. Everyone was playing - Xander and Jack seemed to have formed an alliance that pretty much dominated the board, which had Anya pouting as her money reserves dwindled.
But Willow's mind wasn't on the game, much. Oh, she was glad it was there, that it served as some distraction, but she couldn't stop glancing at the cage that Oz's prone werewolf form was lying in, or at Daniel who sat across from her. Her thoughts were spinning, round and round, and she just wasn't getting anywhere. She wasn't sure, at this point, that she wanted them to. Willow just wanted to enjoy the moment, with all her friends around her.
Jack had said he would call the General in the morning to ask for some leave. He had no doubt Hammond would allow it, given that his team were, by and large, workaholics who rarely had holidays. Anyway, Willow knew she wouldn't be coming to a decision about where she stayed - who she stayed with - for some time. And it would probably only get harder when the sun came up and Oz awoke. So she focused on the game, as much as she could. But still, the need to make a decision niggled at the back of her mind.