"Chief, you may want to open the door." Said Jim.
"Because Buffy has been standing out there for about three minutes now, she's nervous as hell and she hasn't barged in, a fact that in itself can be consider as a sure sign of a coming apocalypse."
"Please, Jim, no apocalypse jokes! I think that should be a new house rule."
"And the fact that you are suggesting a new house rule should probably qualify as another such sign... maybe I should go pack."
"I'll get the door." Said Blair with a smile. It had taken some getting used to for Jim to quit locking that door, but the massive slayer invasion had eventually left its mark as Jim had gotten tired of having it repaired on a daily basis and had given in to the inevitable, trusting their other defenses to keep intruders at bay. "Buffy, come in."
"I guess it doesn't make much sense to fidget by a Sentinel's door, uh?" Said the girl in question.
"I don't think you can flush a toilet anywhere in this block without Jim being aware of it. He can hear every breath you take so no, it doesn't really help much."
"I so didn't need to know about that... though I may ask for his help the next time Dawn has a date, you know, maybe he could check her boyfriend out, make sure he doesn't smell like other girls, that they mean it when they say they intend to behave, that they are actually going to be where they say they are going to be and that they..."
"Buffy!" Exclaimed Blair in mock horror.
"What? If I've learned one thing in eight years as the slayer is to take advantage of every available resource."
"In a battle... it's supposed to be in a battle."
"Well, this could qualify... it's a battle to keep my little sister safe. I'm sure Jim wouldn't want to see Dawn heartbroken, right Jim?"
"Oh, no. I want no part of this. I assume you have something you want to talk about?"
"I'm not sure. I thought maybe, but now that I'm here ..."
"It's okay, Buffy, take your time." Said Blair.
"I just don't know what to do."
"Something Giles said, I can't stop thinking about it. He said we are all here..."
"And you are not so sure about that one, is that it?"
"Nm-m." Buffy said, shaking her head.
"You think there's someone missing?"
"Yes, but it's not that simple."
"It would probably be easier if you could tell us just who do you think is missing."
"That's the thing, I'm not sure if he's missing or if I'm being selfish, and I can't tell anyone else about it 'cause they'll either hate what I have to say or they'll agree with me and I'm not sure which one of those two options scares me the most right now."
"It scares you?"
"Yes, I don't want to hurt him."
"Why would you hurt him?"
"Well, we have two watchers, two witches, two humans, an Immortal, a slayer, a Key, a shaman and a sentinel, and that's probably quite a few people more than Giles would have expected, and certainly more than were represented in the old Council but..."
"I think we are missing an ensouled vampire here. I know the Council doesn't exactly have a longstanding tradition of working with vampires, but I've had one by my side almost since I was called and I kind of got used to it."
"But Angel is working with the Council, he's helping Wesley train the other slayers even if he's not in Cascade." Blair reminded her.
"We are not talking about Angel here, are we?"
"No. I can't quite explain it, but no."
"And what do you think we should do about it."
"That's the thing, I don't know what we should do and I don't know what we could do. I can't tell Giles because he would probably freak out on me and I don't even know if what I'm thinking makes any sense at all... besides, even if I were to learn that there is something we can do I'm not entirely sure that we should and everything is really messed up inside my head right now."
"Calm down, it's going to be fine. First let's try to figure out where we stand and the rest will hopefully fall into place, okay?"
"I don't know where we stand."
"You think we need an ensouled vampire?"
"Forget the buts for now, we will get to those pesky little critters later."
"Okay, yes, I feel we need a vampire in the Council."
"I can see that my father wouldn't be particularly happy to hear that, but let's ignore that fact for now. You believe that that vampire should be Spike, not Angel?"
"You believe there is something in Spike that would make him better suited for that role than Angel, even though Spike is dust and Angel is far more readily available?"
"So you see a significant difference between the two of them, in their natures?"
"Yes, I think there's a difference when it comes to the nature of their souls."
"What kind of difference?"
"It's hard for me to explain."
"Give it a try."
"I guess the difference is that Spike had to defeat his own demon in order to earn his soul whereas Angel's is more of a fluke... he didn't earn it and his demon certainly doesn't want it."
"And you think that matters?"
"Yes. Spike wasn't so torn by his soul. I mean, he had a hard time adjusting to it --of course-- and the First certainly didn't help matters but his demon seemed willing to accept his soul, Angel's is always at war with it. For Angel his soul is and will always be a curse... that wasn't necessarily true of Spike. It's kind of like Spike is always Spike, with or without a soul, with Angel there's the whole Angel/Angelus thing going on, it's like he has these two personalities he just can't seem to reconcile."
"So you think we need Spike in the Council, but he's gone."
"Yes, and that's kind of the problem, isn't it?"
"And what do you think we could do about it?"
"Us? Nothing, but maybe Willow..."
"You want Willow to see if it would be possible to bring him back."
"Yes. No. I don't know. I know they brought me back so maybe they could do it but if Spike is at peace I don't want to take that away from him. I don't want him to be..."
"You are worried that he will be torn from Heaven like you were, is that it?"
"Yes, after more than a hundred years he has earned his rest. I want him back but not if it's going to hurt him... and I keep telling myself that we need him but I don't know if we really need him or if that's just an excuse."
"Because you need him."
"It's not a crime for you to say that you need him or that you miss him. You don't need an excuse to be human, Buffy."
"But I don't know what to do. Do I want Spike back because we need him or am I being selfish?"
"You are not being selfish even if you just want him back because you want him back, of course that doesn't necessarily mean that you should act on that desire to get him back. I think you should consider your options here."
"So what can I do?"
"Well, first of all, do you agree that if Spike is meant to be brought back it should be possible to bring him back?"
"I'm not following you."
"I mean that if Spike has a role to play in the Council then the Powers probably left some sort of loophole that would allow us to bring him back in the first place."
"I guess, but then again they allowed for a loophole to bring me back and we all know how well that went."
"Which only goes to prove my point. I believe that you were meant to be brought back... of course I'll give you the fact that the Powers could probably have found a less painful way to do it."
"Well, I'm not sure about that one, but even so... if that's the case I don't care how meant to be it is. If Spike is better off dead then he should be allowed to stay that way. You see? Even if it were possible to bring him back I'm not sure we should and if I were to tell the others they would either shoot the idea down in a hurry or they would bring Spike back regardless of whether or not he wants to be brought back... and it's not like we can ask him for his opinion now, can we?"
"What do you mean?"
"Talk to Willow and Tara, find out if bringing Spike back is even a possibility, if they say 'yes' come back to me and I'll try to contact the spirit realm. I'm not making any promises here but I think that I may be able to pull it off. I must warn you that I've never tried anything like this before --not deliberately-- but last time I checked I think I saw it listed somewhere in my job description as this tribe's shaman."
"You'd really do that for me?"
"Sure, what are big brothers for?"
"Could I ask you something?"
"Even if Willow says 'no', could you try it? Contacting him, I mean."
"Because he didn't believe me... I need him to know that I meant what I said."