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Empathy Sucks - Chapter 1



‘Err, hello, this is Rupert Giles.’


‘Ah, Angel. I thought you might phone tonight.’


‘Oh yes, everything is normal. Everyone is normal. Nothing to report really. How are you?’

‘Fine. Are you sure everyone is alright? Buffy and Willow, Joyce and err, everyone?’

‘Yes, all quite well, just like last week when you called and the week before that. All quite well.’

‘Good. Well, that’s all I…’

‘I know you haven’t asked about him. Just like you didn’t ask about him last time, or the time before, but I’m actually a bit worried about Spike.’


‘Angel, are you still there?’

‘I…tell me what’s happened Giles.’

‘Nothing’s actually happened yet. It’s just a feeling. I’m beginning to worry that Spike may be up to something…’

‘What’s he done, Giles. Just tell me what’s happening there.’

‘Calm down Angel. As I said, nothing has happened yet. But Spike’s behaviour is becoming increasing strange. Frankly I’m rather worried that it may indicate some sort of threat to Bu…’

‘I’ll be there in two hours.’

‘You didn’t need to come, Angel. This is rather embarrassing. As I tried to say on the phone, until you slammed it down and made this impetuous journey, as I was trying to say, nothing has actually happened yet. However, he is not acting like…well, like Spike! That’s all I can say really.’

‘Giles, I have just driven here in a little over one hour. I drove very fast. If you don’t stop prevaricating, I may as well have walked here! Just tell me about Spike. What has he done or said to cause you this concern and what does it have to do with Buffy?’

‘Gosh, I really am feeling rather silly now. It’s because nothing is happening. He’s not doing anything out of the ordinary. That’s why I’m worried. He’s had the chip for six months now and he seemed to have completely accepted it. Accepted it to the extent that if you met him you would not suspect he was a vampire. Well, except of course for that slightly strange pallor and bizarre hair. Oh, and the black nail varnish I suppose – bit of a give away that really. No, he was completely normal. He ate with us, he watched TV with us – well with Xander mostly. He trained and fought with Buffy. But he didn't fight her. I mean he was just not the demon we had all come to know and hate. He dropped by, just for a chat. He borrowed my books. And returned them! He even gave Willow a Birthday present last month. And it was not connected to a body part of any sort. It was a ring. Made from a piece of Welsh Blue Granite – same material as Stonehenge…fascinating. He was telling us how he found it. Sorry, I’m digressing. Suffice to say, it’s extremely odd. He was almost…God, I can’t believe I am actually going to say this…he was almost pleasant to have around. We liked him!’

'Well, what's changed? What's wrong.'

'I don’t know really. It's more what he isn't doing than what he is. And it's very subtle, I'm not sure the others have even noticed. Goodness, the best I can describe it as is clingy. He's clingy. He is always here, always watching them. He won't let Buffy out of his sight when she patrols. He is always checking up where they are. Whether they are well even.'

‘And this is what has got you worried?’

‘Yes. I think he must be up to something. I think this must be part of some sort of diabolical plan. You know, lure us into a false sense of security and…’

‘What do you want me to do?’

‘I don’t know how to raise this with him without tipping my hand, as it were. I mean, if he is up to something, I don’t want him to know, I know. If you see what I mean.’

‘Perhaps I should take him away from here for a while.’

‘What, back to LA with you?’

‘Yes, I could observe him there. Without the threat to you all.’

‘What about you?’

‘I think I can handle Spike. Normal or abnormal, I can handle Spike.’

‘He won’t just go with you. I mean, he never speaks of you, but he seems to have a fairly noticeable antipathy towards you, whenever you are mentioned. How are you going to get him there?’


‘No way! No fucking way. I am not going anywhere with that tosser.’

‘Spike, Angel thinks Wesley may be able to find out some more information about your chip. If he can study its effect on you for a few days he can work out what type of chip it is. Then at least he may be able to modify it so you can defend yourself. In extremes of course.’

‘You. You tell me this, Peaches. Don’t let the Watcher do your job for you. What do you know about this soddin’ chip and why the fuck do you want to help me?’

‘I don’t.’

‘Oh. Well, fuck you, prick!’

‘I don’t care what happens to you as long as you are effectively neutered. But Buffy sometimes has to fight humans too. I want you to be able to defend her.’

‘Cheers. Always the concerned Sire ain’t you?’

‘I stopped being concerned about you Spike when a certain mutual friend called Marcus dropped by. Remember?’

‘Oh, yeah. Well you should have just given me the soddin’ gem.’

‘This is getting old, Spike. Do you want Wesley to examine the chip or not? Make your mind up because it’s a long drive back and I’m leaving now. If you want to come, go and collect your belongings.’

‘He won’t be long, Angel. He doesn’t seem to have much stuff these days. I think that went really well though, don’t you? That was a stroke of genius of yours.’


‘The lie. Telling Spike that Wesley might be able to modify the chip. Guaranteed to get him to go with you. Inspired.’

‘That’s not what I lied about.’