|Story Title:||Can't Buy Me Love|
Will Spike or Buffy pay the ultimate price for Buffy’s hesitancy to stop the fight? Can they make it back to their family?
MacKenzie Verity Weckerly born October 9th, 2010
Edmond “Eddie” Giles Rosenberg-Maclay born March 11, 2010
Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004
The twins (Danielle Dawn, "Dani" and William Rupert, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.
Annie was born on February 14th, 1999
Spike and Buffy were married in February 1999
Buffy was born January 19th, 1981
William/Spike was turned by Dru in
All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.
Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.
The ‘Wish-World’ lasted from January 19th, 2005 to January, 16th 2010.
Space Oddity – Major Tom, David Bowie http://youtu.be/rKE3FSPJu-4
ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise: http://www.screencap-paradise.com/?cat=3
Thanks to 'epd4' for betaing this chapter. Any mistakes are mine because I can't stop fiddling ...
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.
Saturday, January 1st, 2011, 10:15pm at the fight arena:
As soon as Spike had pushed the other demon away from him, the Pele demon’s body slumped to the ground and burst into flames, filling the pit with even more acrid, black smoke. But Spike didn’t even notice, he was too busy trying to extinguish the flames that were starting to engulf him. At first, his mind couldn’t fully process what was causing them … then realization finally hit that it was the Pele’s blood that was the flint and Spike was the tinder. The more Spike scrambled to try and get away from the blood, the more it seemed to cover him. With his damaged knee, he couldn’t stand, couldn’t jump, and definitely couldn’t run, the only way out of the ring of fire was through it … crawling on his ass or belly – it was his choice which he preferred.
Spike could hear the ring announcer pronouncing him the winner and he thought that was a bit premature … it would be somehow ironic if the Pele won posthumously. Actually, no, that wasn’t irony, that was just plain fucked up, but definitely his luck. Maybe he and Buffy hadn’t made enough noise last night at midnight and evil spirits were haunting them. Oh man, if he dusted, Buffy was going to be soooo pissed. At least he wouldn’t have to be around to feel her wrath, although, knowing her, she’d hunt him down in hell just to say, ‘I told you so’.
Then Spike heard her screaming and he looked up from his task of trying to smother the flames on his body. He could just see her through the thick smoke – she was in the pit, engulfed in flames. “Oh, bloody hell…” It wasn’t bad enough that he was going to dust, she was gonna follow him into limbo and kick his ass to hell and back again.
Before Spike could move towards her, he was suddenly being smothered with a thick blanket. He could hear Raj telling him to stay still as the boy patted his hands down against Spike’s body and put the fires out. Then, still covered in the blanket, Spike was being dragged out of the pit, away from the acidic, combustible blood – away from Buffy.
“No! Stop!” he yelled as he pulled back against the clean-up boys, both of which were now there, pulling him away. He tossed the blanket to the side and sat up. “Buffy! Buffy’s in here!” he screamed at Raj in a panic, waving a blackened arm towards the spot he’d last seen her.
“Crazy girl?” Raj questioned. “No, crazy girl up…” Raj looked up where Buffy had been standing at the railing and she wasn’t there – then he heard her screaming as well. “You owe Raj! You girl nutso crazy!” the slim boy informed Spike tersely as he grabbed the blanket up and picked his way through the flames and sizzling blood towards her screams.
Spike tried to stand up, but only got halfway and collapsed back down. His knee was demolished, his skin was burnt and blackened; he barely had enough strength to remain sitting, let alone stand up. Then he saw a large blue flame shoot up from where Raj had gone and renewed strength came in the form of pure adrenaline brought on by fear for his wife’s safety. He pushed up, screaming out in pain as he put pressure on his knee. He grabbed the other clean-up boy for support, but the boy pulled back when Spike started into the burning ring of hell. He didn’t make enough to brave that. Spike stumbled forward, putting weight on his mangled knee regardless of the pain. He had to get to Buffy … it was his only thought, the only thing he could feel in that moment was fear for her.
Spike had only taken perhaps three or four halting steps back into the fire and smoke filled pit when he saw Raj picking his way through the flames towards him – empty handed, no blanket, no Slayer. “What the bloody hell!? Where’s Buffy!?” Spike screamed at the boy as he tried to quicken his pace towards him, but only managed to limp forward one or two small steps.
“You no worry! Raj A-number-one!” the dark-haired boy assured him, flashing a bright smile at Spike.
“I’ll bloody worry … I’ll worry your skinny ass with a bloody switch…” Spike began angrily when he saw Faith behind the young man, following in his footsteps to avoid the blood and flames, carrying Buffy over her shoulder, wrapped up in the blanket.
Spike’s anger and fear waned and he blew out a long breath of relief and exhaustion when he saw them. As the duo picked their way across the battle field, through the ring of fire, a flurry of activity erupted in the pit as two more clean-up boys came in and began spreading buckets of baking soda on the flames, blood, and the body of the Pele demon. Spike suddenly felt totally done in; a shroud of exhaustion the likes of which he’d only felt once or twice before in his long unlife descended over his body and engulfed his mind. The pain, which had been held at bay by his adrenaline, set in with a vengeance now that it was over. Just as Raj got near him, Spike reached out for the boy, suddenly unable to stand one second longer; his head spun from the searing pain that covered his body from the burns and shot out like bolts of agony from his demolished knee. The last thing Spike remembered was the clean-up boy trying to catch him as he lost consciousness and collapsed.
Spike opened his eyes but couldn’t see anything but a void so dark that it seemed like a black hole had swallowed every glimmer of light from the entire universe; not one star, not one flicker of a candle, not one firefly remained in all of heaven or earth. The darkness penetrated his eyes painfully and seeped into his brain, it was so utterly, completely black. How long had he been out? He wasn't sure ... a minute, an hour, a day? Longer?
“Buffy?” he called, but his voice came back to him only a moment after leaving his lips. Spike reached his hands up and was met with soft, silky fabric covering something hard, only inches above his face. He’d felt that before … a coffin. Had he died? Or perhaps someone thought he had and buried him? But, where was Buffy? Did that mean she’d also died? But surely their friends wouldn’t have buried him, even if that was true … would they?
“Hey! Let me outta here!” he cried, banging on the flimsy fabric and hard wood above him. The muffled sound it made told him what he needed to know – he was underground. Spike yelled and screamed and clawed ferociously at the fabric and wood, tearing his fingers on the jagged splinters he created. He didn’t know how long he fought against the casket and the six feet of soil above it to finally reach the green grass of the cemetery. It might’ve been hours or days… at one moment it seemed forever, in the next it seemed he’d only just started fighting.
He pulled himself up onto the cool grass and collapsed from the effort, panting for unneeded oxygen as he stared up at a dark, cloudless, moonless sky, thankful for the stars that winked, proving that the universe did still exist out there somewhere.
“There’s my sweet William … come home to mummy, he has,” he heard a familiar voice call from behind him. He turned quickly to see Dru sitting at a table that was covered with pastries with a large pot of tea brewing in the center. “You almost missed tea, William,” she continued with a pout. “Miss Edith would’ve been so disappointed if you hadn’t joined us. You know how cross she can get, won’t sing, won’t dance … like a little bird … frozen in the snow.”
“Dru … What?” Spike questioned, standing up. “What’re you doin’ here? Where’s Buffy?”
“Don’t worry about the Slayer, my Spike,” Dru assured him. “I took care of her.”
“What … what do you mean you ‘took care’ of her? What the bloody hell did you do, Dru?” he demanded, stalking slowly towards his sire – the person who he thought for over a hundred years was his destiny, his eternal love.
“Run and catch, run and catch, the lamb is caught in the blackberry patch,” Dru sing-songed as she twirled in a circle on the grass, ending against Spike’s chest.
“What did you do?” Spike demanded again, catching her by the shoulders and holding her still.
“Shhhhh!” Dru admonished him with wide eyes, holding one long red nail up to her lips. “You’ll wake the baby!”
“Baby? What…” Spike started as Dru pointed to fresh grave. The headstone read, ‘Buffy Summers-Weckerly, 1981 – 2011, Mother – Wife – Friend’.
“What the bloody hell?” Spike questioned with wide eyes as the ground began to move and roll and a hand poked out of the soil of Buffy’s grave.
Dru giggled with glee, clapping her hands and bouncing on her toes. “Isn’t she lovely, my Spike!? And she’s ours … a real live baby doll for Miss Edith to play with. We’ll have so much merriment … it’s her birthday! We’ll have cake and tarts and catch the stars with brilliant bubbling lassos.”
“What did you do, Dru!?” Spike demanded, shaking her by the shoulders.
“I made her … for you Spike,” Dru told him with another pout. “You killed your third, but I turned her for you. I thought you’d be pleased. I knew I could never take my big, bad dog away from the Slayer … so I brought the Slayer to us. Merry Christmas, my darling boy…”
(5 days after the fight) Thursday, January 6th, 2011:
Buffy and Faith tried to hold Spike still as he clawed and fought against the healing poultices that Tara had prepared for him. He hadn’t ever fully regained consciousness since collapsing in the pit after the fight. The best they could do was get him semi-coherent, just enough to sit him up and force some blood into his mouth, most of which simply spilled, but some got swallowed. His demon hadn’t abated since the fight, which Buffy thought might be a good thing, it was fighting his injuries and the pain; unfortunately, it was also fighting them and the cooling, medicinal compresses they had on his badly burned skin.
Of course, they knew Spike couldn’t get an infection from the burns, but the cooling properties of the medicines should make him more comfortable. They first thought the problem was that the poultices smelled funny … whatever herbs Tara had used seemed to incite the demon; she’d tried changing to different herbs, but nothing seemed to help. Buffy tried changing to simply cool, damp cloths, but even that caused the demon to react badly, so she went back to the medicinal ones, at least they were helping him heal, just as they’d helped her.
Buffy’s legs had been burnt, but her boots had shielded her skin from most of the flames. If it hadn’t been for Raj knocking her head into the rock wall of the pit as he tried to cover her with the blanket, she would’ve been able to walk out of the fire on her own. As it was, she regained consciousness not long after Faith got her out of the inferno; Spike however, wasn’t so lucky.
After the fight, they loaded Spike up into the minivan and brought him home. Buffy cut what was left of his scorched jeans off him and cleaned his wounds and skin the best she could. Tara made the healing balms for Buffy’s burns and they helped it feel better immediately and sped her recovery, so Buffy had been applying them to Spike’s whole body ever since – it had been five days now, and, apart from screams and moans and sometimes calling her name from his sleep, he hadn’t said anything or fully awoken since then.
Bess had volunteered the Gem of Amarra, surely that would heal him, but apart from knowing that it was somewhere in her thigh, Buffy didn’t know exactly where, or even which thigh – Spike had never been that specific. She didn’t want to just start doing ‘exploratory surgery’ on Bess to try and find it, not if Spike could heal on his own, but honestly, she hadn’t expected him to stay out of it this long. If he didn’t wake up soon, then she would have no other choice than to try and find it and extract it from Bess.
Spike moved over to his wife’s grave and took her smaller hand in his, pulling her out of the soft soil and up onto the grass with him. “Buffy … God, Buffy, what have I done?” he moaned when he saw her face. Her green eyes were yellow and feral, her forehead ridged with bumps, her fangs long and deadly sharp. It wasn’t the dark Slayer power that had always been within her; no, this was a demon, fully, completely turned – evil personified.
“Spike! Oh, thank goodness … I thought I’d be alone with insano Dru for all eternity,” she admitted as she stood up and began brushing the dirt off her clothes. “I’m not really sure about the etiquette on staking your own sire, but if anyone could drive me to it … she’d be the one. I mean I’d hate to, you know, disgrace us if staking her is like using the dessert fork to eat your salad with – totally uncouth. I’d hate to be a couth-less vampire … Oh, is that an oxymoron?” Buffy prattled happily as Spike stood slack jawed, gawping at her. Luckily there were no flies buzzing about to be gathered into his gaping mouth.
“So, mayhem and bloodshed now, right? Kinda like a rite of passage or something? Who’s up for the Bronze? I’m starving! There’s always some dumbass out back in the alley just begging to be a blood donor,” Buffy continued brightly. “You know, if we gave out t-shirts like the blood banks do, we could probably get the Happy Meals to just come to us. What would be a good slogan?” she pondered as she turned towards the cemetery exit. “Maybe: ‘vampires are people too – give blood,’ or ‘giving blood doesn’t suck!’ … whaddya think?”
“Buffy! Stop … this isn’t you!” Spike admonished her, finally breaking out of his stupor and grabbing her arm as she started to walk away.
“Sure it is! See! Buffy Summers-Weckerly,” she read off the tombstone brightly. “C’mon, it’ll be fun, right Dru?!”
“Oodles and oodles,” Dru agreed with a happy smile, taking Buffy’s other hand and pulling her forward, away from Spike.
“Buffy! Please, luv. What about the bits? Don’t we need to go home?” Spike questioned, following behind the two women.
“Oh, please, Spike! When did you get to be such a spoilsport?” Buffy chastised him. “Anyway – they don’t need us, they have all that money you won. They probably already bought some new parents …”
“Bought new …” Spike began with a furrowed brow. “You can’t buy new parents,” he pointed out.
“Oh, sure you can! You just have to know where to shop…” Buffy assured him as she and Dru kept walking away. “All the best stores have them now … haven’t you heard? Macy’s, Saks … it’s all the rage. I hear Wal-Mart will start carrying them next year … of course, they’ll all be cheap knock-offs from China. But Annie speaks Chinese, so it’s all good.”
“But, Buffy … we’re their parents. They need us,” Spike protested.
“Oh well … guess you should’ve thought of that before you went and got us all killed,” Buffy retorted blithely as she walked arm and arm with Dru towards the Bronze.
Buffy, Annie, Dani, Billy, and Bess sat at the kitchen table and ate their pizza and wings in silence. They all cast furtive glances at the empty seat on the end – Spike’s place, as they ate.
“So,” Buffy started, trying to break the gloomy silence. “Madame Bové said she thought you could be the understudy next year for Clara in the Nutcracker…” she offered, looking at Annie. “That’s great, isn’t it?”
“Yeah …” Annie agreed morosely.
Buffy blew out a breath. “Dani … when do your soccer games start again?”
“I think March…”
“Are you anxious for them to get going again?” Buffy prodded.
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Bess, how’s that algebra coming along?” Buffy tried.
“Billy … I heard they’re gonna redo all the Star Trek movies in 3D soon … that’ll be cool, huh?” Buffy continued.
“Star Wars …” he corrected her with a sigh as he picked at his pizza. “Papa says he’ll believe it when he bloody well sees it…” he continued, mimicking his father’s accent on that last part. The words were no sooner out of his mouth than the dark clouds hanging over the group seemed to open up and cover them with an even thicker deluge of depression.
Buffy sighed and dropped her napkin on the table. “Ok, guys … I know you’re all worried about your father, but I promise that he’ll be ok.”
“He doesn’t look very ok,” Annie pointed out with a frown.
“I know … I know it looks bad, but he really will heal,” Buffy assured them.
“Why won’t he wake up?” Dani wondered.
“Well, sometimes, when your body is healing itself, it shuts your mind down so it can just concentrate on the rest,” Buffy explained, although his not waking up was starting to worry her, as well. “A lot of times they actually put people into drug induced comas after they’ve been burnt so they don’t hurt while they’re healing.”
“Did he save whoever he was trying to rescue?” Billy asked.
Buffy bit her lip. “Yeah … yeah, I guess he did,” she hedged, figuring that, in Spike’s mind, he was fighting for all of them.
“He didn’t save anyone! He was fighting for money!” Annie accused with an edge of anger.
“Well, yes, that’s true – but he was fighting to get money for us … for all of us,” Buffy defended.
“Then why didn’t you help him? Why did you make him do it alone?” Annie continued harshly.
“Annie, honey – I couldn’t help him … I tried to talk him out of it, I tried to stop it,” Buffy explained.
“No you didn’t! If you wanted to stop him, you could have! You’re the Slayer! You didn’t really want to stop anything. You just wanted that stupid money! That’s all you guys ever talk about anymore!” her eldest daughter shot back accusingly, her voice rising in frustration and fear mixed with anger.
“Annie … that’s not true,” Buffy began. “I love him, I would give all that money back right now to heal him.”
“Yeah, right! Tell that to someone who’s young and gullible,” she spat back, standing up from the table and storming out of the kitchen. “Where’s your ice cream and chocolate syrup and cherries now!?” she called back over her shoulder as she mounted the stairs and ran up to her room, her heavy footsteps echoing throughout the mansion.
Tears stung Buffy’s eyes and her guilt over not moving fast enough to stop the fight when Spike was losing but still relatively unhurt caught in her throat and threatened to choke her. Was it her desire to be out from under the weight of their rising debt that had made her hesitate? She told herself it was her promise to not underestimate him; that it was her belief in him that held her back, but deep down she wondered if there was a more sinister, horribly vile reason for her freeze up.
“She doesn’t mean it,” Billy offered. “She’s just scared.”
“I know, baby … I’m a little scared too,” Buffy divulged, wiping at her eyes and giving him a small smile.
“May I be excused?” Bess asked as she laid her napkin down on the table.
“Sure…” Buffy agreed. “You two need to eat though,” she added before either Dani or Billy could ask the same.
Upstairs, Bess knocked lightly on Annie’s door. “Go away!” came the immediate reply from the other side.
Bess tried the knob, it was unlocked. She opened the door and stepped into her sister’s room.
Annie was lying on the bed on her stomach crying into her pillow. “I said ‘go away’! You don’t listen very well!”
“Yeah, I’ve been told that before,” Bess agreed, sitting down on the edge of the bed next to the younger girl and laying a hand on her back.
“Buffy really does love him, ya know,” Bess began. “You’ve never seen them in a fight … I mean, in a life or death battle – I have. They’d both lay their lives down for the other. They love each other very much.”
Annie sniffed and turned over onto her back and looked up at Bess; her face damp with tears and eyes red and swollen from crying. “Why did she let him do that?”
Bess gave a small shrug. “Probably because she loves him … she has faith in him. Spike’s strong, he’s smart, he’s an excellent fighter. I saw him beat a vamp twice his size … well, he would’ve … if he hadn’t gotten shot with those tranquilizer darts.” Bess shook her head – she didn’t want to go any further down that road so she started again, “Mom knows how strong he is … how brave he is. And he really wanted to do it … for us.
“I heard her trying to talk him out of it more than once … she wasn’t lying,” Bess offered in Buffy’s defense.
Annie sniffed again and picked up a stuffed bear that was lying next to her and hugged it to her chest tightly. “I don’t understand why he would do that…” Annie admitted. “I mean … I know vampire superhero and all, but it’s bad enough that they leave to save other people … strangers even, but to fight like that, risk everything, for money…” Annie sighed, shaking her head. “I don’t understand. I don’t understand why they can’t just get regular jobs like everyone else.”
Bess smiled softly at her. “You know they aren’t ‘regular’ and getting a job really isn’t that easy – believe me, I tried. I think he did it because he loves us – all of us, and he wanted to give us all everything we could ever want.”
“But all I want is him and he just lays there and moans, I know he’s hurting so much. Sometimes I go in there and I can tell he’s been crying … he’s never gonna get better!” Annie proclaimed as new tears filled her eyes.
“I know how you feel, honest I do. When Angelpie got hurt, I thought she’d never get better … I thought she was dead and it scared me to death. She was asleep for a long time, too … but she made it, ‘cos she’s a fighter – and so is Spike. Believe me, he’ll get better … everything will be all right,” Bess assured her as she leaned down and took Annie into a hug.
“I miss him so much…” Annie cried against Bess’ shoulder.
“I know – I do too. No one’s yelled at Angelpie in almost a week…” she quipped, trying to lighten the mood.
Annie laughed sadly against Bess and prayed that the Slayer-vamp was right, that her father would wake up and everything would be okay. “I can yell at her for something tomorrow if you want…” Annie volunteered.
“Thanks, I think she’d like that…”
Another knock on Annie’s door a few minutes after her sister left was met with a sigh, thinking it was Bess again, she got up and opened the door.
“Oh … it’s you,” Annie intoned, an edge of anger still in her voice.
“Annie … I know you’re upset and scared, but I really didn’t deserve that tirade earlier,” Buffy began, stepping into her daughter’s room and closing the door behind her. Buffy tried to keep her voice firm and confident … even though she wasn’t 100% sure Annie wasn’t at least partially right about her letting Spike down.
Annie sighed and dropped down onto her bed, pulling Miss Kitty into her lap as she sat on the edge heavily. “I’m sorry…” she offered without looking up at Buffy.
Buffy sighed and sat down next to her daughter and wrapped an arm over her shoulder, pulling her against her side. “Your dad wanted to do this, baby … I … I tried so hard to talk him out of it, but he had his mind made up. He was determined to get that money for us. He’s so damn proud …” Buffy’s voice faltered and she blinked her tears back.
“He’s stubborn …” Annie offered softly. “I know … I know how he can be.”
Buffy gave her a sad smile and nodded as she gave the girl’s shoulder a comforting squeeze. “Most people have life-sundaes that are built on vanilla ice cream,” Buffy explained. “Some people are lucky enough to have chocolate or even Neapolitan. We aren’t any of those. Our family has Rocky Road under the chocolate syrup and cherries. Sometimes we get a bite of marshmallow, and it’s nice and soft and smooth and sweet; other times we get bites of the almonds …”
“And it’s hard and nutty and … rocky,” Annie finished, rolling her eyes.
“Yeah, something like that,” Buffy agreed. “Annie, I promise that we’ll find a way to get your dad back … get him to wake up.”
“How can you promise that? You don’t know…”
“I do know. I know him. You think he’s just laying there doing nothing, but he’s fighting right now to get back to us, I just know it. And you said it yourself – he’s as stubborn as a mule and twice as strong,” Buffy assured her. “It’ll be okay. He’ll come back to us.”
Annie nodded lightly against her mother’s shoulder. “I’m really sorry I said those things to you. I … I was wrong. I’m just … scared. I miss dad.”
“I know, sweetie – I’m scared and I miss him too. Your dad asked me to not underestimate him – so we need to not do that. He won’t let anything stand in his way – he loves us and he’ll make it back, no matter what he has to fight to get here.”
When Bess finished talking with Annie, she pulled the door closed and sighed heavily. She felt so bad for her and Dani and Billy, too. They all missed Spike, they were all worried, and it was taking a toll on everyone. The Slayer-vamp crossed the hallway and opened Spike and Buffy’s door. Spike’s body had begun to heal; she could see new alabaster white skin on his chest covering the areas that had been burnt – only a few of the deeper burns remained black and unhealed, but even so, it must still be painful. As Annie pointed out, all he seemed to do was emit agonizing moans in his sleep.
Bess pulled the door closed, her mind set on what needed to be done. She headed for the upstairs weapons cache and picked out the sharpest dagger she could find, then she went into the bathroom and locked the door behind her. Spike and Buffy had risked everything for her – it was time she paid a little of that back.
“Buffy, please,” Spike begged as he followed her and Dru into the alley behind the Bronze. “Let’s call Red, have her mojo your soul back … everything will be alright, luv.”
“Screw that!” Buffy scoffed. “Look! It’s one of those stuck-up ‘Cordettes’ from high school! Oh, this is gonna be so sweeeet!” Buffy exclaimed, practically drooling, as she made her way with Dru towards the back door of the club.
“Buffy – you don’t want to do this!” Spike admonished her, grabbing her arm and pulling her back.
“Yes, actually, I do!” his wife retorted, yanking free of his grip.
Buffy took a deep breath and forced the demon down before walking up to the Happy Meal. “Aphrodesia!” Buffy began in a friendly tone. “Long time no see!”
The well dressed young woman turned and looked at Buffy. A confused expression appeared on her face, followed by one of disdain as she took in the Slayer-vamp’s dirty clothes and mussed hair. “Do I know you?”
“Buffy … Buffy Summers. We went to Sunnydale High together,” Buffy explained with an easy smile as she moved closer.
“Buffy, please!” Spike begged from behind her. As Spike moved up to stop her, Dru stepped into his path.
“Bad dog! Grrrrr! There will be no starfish and Christmas crackers for you!” his sire chastised.
“Barmy bint, get the bloody hell outta my way!” he exclaimed, pushing Dru to the side – but he was too late. When Spike reached Buffy, her fangs were already embedded into the girl that had been part of Cordy’s, and later Harmony’s, elite, holier-than-thou, designer clique in high school.
“Buffy! No!” he exclaimed as he tried to pull her off the girl, but she was too strong; he couldn’t budge his wife or free the girl from her grasp.
Buffy sucked hungrily at the young woman’s neck. The hot blood filled her with a feeling of being alive again – it made her warm and tingly all over and that only made her more ravenous. When she’d nearly drained the girl, she offered the half-dead Cordette to Spike. “Drink, baby … drink for me,” she cooed. “You know you want it … just drink.”
When the heady smell of hot, fresh, human blood assailed his senses, Spike flagged, his demon rose, and he was unable to stop the monster’s instincts. He yanked the girl from Buffy’s arms and ravaged the innocent’s neck, slurping and sucking against her hot skin.
It was his worst nightmare come to life – he couldn’t control the demon. He’d let it out of its cage, given it free rein, and now it wouldn’t go back in. During the fight with the Pele it had gotten a taste of freedom, a small reminder of the violence and bloodshed and the mayhem that William the Bloody had wrought for over a century, and now it wanted that glorious time back. The monster was free and taking control. Soon, he feared, it would obliterate the man and run roughshod over his soul. William the Bloody was back … and the demon grinned as it drank deeply … very pleased.
“C’mon, baby … please,” Buffy begged Spike as she held him upright in the bed, tilted his head back and poured warm blood into his mouth from a water bottle. “Just drink a little … for me …”
Spike sputtered and choked on the Slayer blood, her blood, that she was feeding him, but he finally swallowed once, then twice.
“Good … that’s good, baby,” Buffy cooed as she let him rest a moment before trying to get more down him.
Fred had a friend that was a nurse who had helped AI before with some supernatural patients, and she’d brought her by to try and put a feeding tube directly down Spike’s throat and into his stomach, but Spike just ripped it out. Without strapping him down, that wouldn’t work, and Buffy hated to put straps on his burnt skin; she feared he’d only pull against them and hurt himself worse.
She really was at her wits end. Despite her assurances to the kids, she really didn’t know if he would ever wake up. What if that Pele blood had something in it that was poisonous to vamps … something more than just the ability to set them on fire? Giles had checked every book he knew of and Willow had searched the web and the new Council database, but they hadn’t come up with any special powers for the Pele’s blood – other than burning like concentrated acid. Still … she worried. She worried a lot. Tomorrow she’d have to figure out how to get the Gem out of Bess; she couldn’t take this waiting and worrying any longer, and neither could the kids.
But all she could do right now was try to make him comfortable and try to get as much blood down him as she could … she didn’t know what else to do.
When the man finally wrested a small speck of control back from the demon, he dropped the drained and dead Cordette onto the cold, dirty pavement of the alley and backed up in horror. What had he done? Buffy and Dru were smiling at him; blood dripped from his wife’s chin and he watched Dru run her finger through it and suck it into her mouth. His sire closed her eyes and emitted a pleasurable moan, her body swaying to a tune only she could hear, as she licked every drop from her finger.
“I told you we could save him together. My pretty William’s back …” Dru gushed. “A killer … born to slash … and bash … and bleed like beautiful poetry.”
Buffy stalked up towards Spike, who was gazing, wide-eyed with shock and fear, at the dead girl at their feet.
“Is that true, William? Are you a killer?” she asked him as she ran a finger down from his scared brow to his blood-stained lips.
“N-no … no … not … not anymore … not like this,” he stammered, taking a step back from her.
“You killed that Pele demon,” Buffy pointed out, stepping forward towards him. “It was just like this … raw power, your fangs tearing into his flesh … that searing blood heating you, burning your soul out as the demon did your bidding. Now the demon demands his due, William. I know you can feel it – I can see it taking over. We’ll be a family, you and me and Dru. We’ll be unstoppable …”
“No. No … that’s not … not true. Still have m’ soul …” Spike argued, retreating away from her until his back was against the wall on the other side of the alley and placing his hand over his heart, trying desperately to feel his soul – is that where it resided? He wasn’t sure. “And … we have a family – at home. We just need to get Red…”
Buffy shook her head slowly as she walked towards him like a graceful panther stalking its prey. “No, Spike. Our family’s right here … This is all that’s left.”
“No, Buffy – the bits…”
Buffy snorted a laugh as she reached him and leaned in close to his ear. “Spike … there are no bits left. You killed them, just like you killed me – with your selfish pride. You tore our family apart…”
“NOOOOO!” Spike screamed, jerking Buffy from her restless sleep at his side.
Buffy put a hand on Spike’s shoulder, one of the few places that wasn’t burnt and painful for him, and cooed softly, trying to comfort him. Tears leaked from her husband’s open, but unseeing eyes and she longed to take him into her arms and rock him, hold him … somehow get him through whatever it was that was frightening him, but that would only hurt him more if she tried. So she lay near him, whispering words of comfort and love into his ear and caressing his bare shoulder until his eyes finally closed again and he calmed.
“Take that back! That’s bollocks!” Spike demanded of Buffy as he tried to slide past her.
“No, it’s true … it’s all gone, Spike. All of it,” Buffy asserted, grabbing his hand and spinning him back to face her.
“No! I don’t believe you! I’d never hurt the bits!” he argued, pulling free of her grasp and sprinting away from her and out of the alley, heading for Crawford Street.
“Poor, sweet William,” Dru moaned, looking after him. “Thinks he’s not a bad dog, but he is.” She growled and barked insanely to demonstrate.
“C’mon,” Buffy called to her. “Let’s go – he’ll find out soon enough – that soul of his won’t stand a chance when it sees what the demon’s done.”
Spike walked through the mansion in a daze … crumpled and bloodied bodies lay everywhere it seemed. Anya, Xander, JJ, Giles, Willow, Tara, Edmond, Faith, and Wes– all dead. All bloodied … throats torn out. But for his children, it was even worse; Dani, Annie, Billy, and Bess had been posed like Dru's dolls, all sitting straight up, leaning against the wall near the kitchen, their heads lolled lifelessly to one side, their dim eyes open wide in terror but now unseeing. Huge gaping holes in their chests told him that his children’s still beating hearts had been torn out while they watched. Their blue eyes were all wide with fright, frozen open in death, pleading with him to spare them, save them; but he couldn’t save them.
Buffy had been right – they were all gone, and he had done it, he’d recognize the handiwork anywhere, it was his demon, it was the work of William the Bloody. They had died at his hand … they had died being terrified of him, they had died horrible, painful, and frightful deaths – they had died begging him to help them and instead he betrayed them.
Spike’s legs turned to rubber beneath him. Unable to support his weight any longer, he collapsed down to his knees in the center of the massacre. A deep pool of blood stained the floor, the blood of his family, his friends … they had trusted him, let him in – let a demon walk among them and he had made them pay for it with their lives. Spike looked down at the red puddle beneath him, mixed in with the blood was something else … something green. Money, he realized. All the money he’d won from the fight was covered in the blood of his family.
“What have I done?” he moaned miserably, almost incoherently, to himself as he picked up handfuls of the cash. Blood dripped from the sodden bills, running in rivers down his arms, as he clutched the money in his trembling hands. What have I done? What have I done?
But the faces that surrounded him only mocked him with their stillness … accusing eyes stared at him unblinking. ‘Murderer. Killer. Monster. Vampire!’ they screamed at him silently. He covered his eyes and ears with his hands and arms, painting his face and head with a layer of red guilt, as he tried to block out the screaming – his children’s screams of pain and horror, but nothing could stop the chorus that haunted him now.
“Spike, honey … what’s going on?” Buffy questioned from behind him as she came in through the garden doors. “Oh, my God…” she muttered dumbly as the full scene came into focus for her. Buffy fought to remember that this wasn’t real, her hands going immediately to cover her mouth to keep from vomiting and her eyes closing to block out the horror of Spike’s hallucination – his dream.
“YOU!” Spike exclaimed, jumping up from the puddle of blood and money on the floor and rushing towards her. “You did this! This is your fault!”
“What? No! Spike … I … what …?” she began with wide eyes as he reached her and clamped his blood-stained hands around her throat.
“You trusted me! Believed in me! And now look what’s happened! LOOK what I’ve done!” he demanded of her, pushing her forward and turning her head forcefully to take in the full extent of the carnage.
“Spike … no, you wouldn’t … you couldn’t…” Buffy stammered. Bile burned her throat as it rose into her mouth and tears stung her eyes as the dead mocked her, as well.
Then Buffy heard MacKenzie crying. She looked up and saw Dru and a vampire version of herself descending the stairs. Dru was cradling the baby in her arms gently and cooing to it, using a long red fingernail to tickle the littlest bit under the chin.
“Look what we found, my Spike!” Dru called. “Such a sweet treat ... tastes like strawberries and cream, she does,” Dru cooed, licking a long line from the baby's throat all the way up its cheek to her light red hair.
Spike’s eyes went wide and he spun the Buffy in his grip around. Her heart was beating, she was warm … she wasn’t a vampire. “You have to save her. Save her Buffy!”
“Spike … what’s going …” Buffy tried again to ask.
“Save her! Save the bit! She’s all we have left … I’m so sorry, Buffy. I’m so sorry … please save her,” Spike begged his wife.
“Spike! Stop!” Buffy grabbed him as he started to move towards Dru and Vamp!Buffy. “This isn’t real …” she began, but it was too late, Spike wasn’t listening. He pulled away from her and rushed towards his two vampire women.
“Give me the bit, Dru,” he demanded as he met them at the bottom of the stairs. “She’s mine – I get the first taste…”
Dru smiled and started to hand the baby to him, but then suddenly changed and gave it to Vamp!Buffy instead. “For shame, pretty Spike! Naughty boy! Telling tales to your black princess,” she chastised him, drawing one index finger over the top of the other in a ‘shame on you’ gesture.
“Buffy … hand me the bit, luv,” Spike cajoled the Slayer-vamp, reaching for the baby as the warm Buffy came up behind him, still trying to tell him that this wasn’t real, but he didn’t hear her or it just didn’t register.
“Oh no, Spike, she’s mine now. One final meal to seal your fate – to get rid of your old life and catapult you into our new one. Did you really think you could keep the demon under control forever? You’re such a fool, William … a cheesy, romantic idiot,” Vamp!Buffy informed him before biting down on the baby’s neck savagely with a grotesque crunch.
“NOOOOO!!” Spike screamed. He lunged at Vamp!Buffy and wrested the baby from her hands with power he didn't know he possessed. Clutching its little body to his chest, he turned his back on the two vampire women to protect the baby from further attack.
Then the other Buffy, the warm Buffy was there, a stake in her hand, and Vamp!Buffy burst into dust with a perfect strike to her heart.
Dru growled, morphed into the demon and jumped atop Spike's back, her fists wailing, long nails scratchingg at him, trying to get the last living member of the Weckerly clan away from him. Spike fell to his knees under her weight, his arms wrapped around the baby, his head ducked down over it, protecting MacKenzie from his sire.
Then Dru was knocked off his back, her eyes met his for the briefest of moments as she landed on her back on the floor next to him. Then he felt Buffy moving again and heard the stake come down and embed into Dru's chest.
Just as she’d done all those years ago in the mansion when he’d accidentally staked her during the fight with Angelus, her eyes went wide with panic and fear and she called his name softly, “William...” Her voice was that of a forlorn and frightened child who had been betrayed by the one person in the world that she loved and trusted. It tore at Spike’s heart to hear it again, just as it had cut him so deeply that night so long ago, right here in this very place.
Buffy moved around and knelt down in front of Spike. Spike was cooing softly to the baby as he licked at the wound on her neck.
"Spike, give me the baby," Buffy requested, reaching out for her.
When Spike raised his face to look at Buffy, the demon had come up and he licked the blood of their littlest bit from his lips. "It does takes like strawberries and cream..." he admitted softly, dropping his mouth back down to the jagged wound on the infant's neck.
"Spike - give me the baby," Buffy repeated more sternly.
"Just a taste ... one little taste ..." Spike objected, even as he raised his mouth away from the sweet blood that covered the infant.
"Spike, this isn't you. This isn't real," Buffy admonished him. She could see him hesitate briefly, the inner turmoil evident even in his feral yellow eyes, and she took that moment to pull the baby away from him.
“Spike …” Buffy cajoled softly as she stood up and gently laid the baby down on the sofa. Buffy continued to take deep breaths and repeat to herself that this was not real so she could stay calm in the face of the unspeakable horror that her husband had conjured. It was working, but just barely.
Spike turned to her, his mind a jumble of rage and sorrow and confusion. Yes, he’d let the demon out … let it take control in the fight, fully, completely, but he had been fighting for his life – for his family. Did that mean he could never go back now? Had he fallen so far that he couldn’t control it now? Was his very soul tainted now? Not good enough, not strong enough to control the evil within? Or perhaps it had been burnt out of him. He touched his chest again, trying to feel it … what did it feel like? How do you know if you have a soul or not? Even evil men have souls … killers, human monsters … even Travers and Weatherby presumably had souls. What if his had always been evil and had just been waiting for this opportunity to side with the demon?
“Spike, honey, this isn’t real,” Buffy tried to explain again, turning back to him.
“Where’s the punkin? Is she … is she okay?” he asked, still not hearing her admonishments.
“Spike, she’s fine – she’s home in her crib and she’s fine. This is not real,” Buffy tried again.
Spike saw the baby’s bloodied and lifeless body lying on the sofa and his rage erupted again. “Nooo! No! Please!” he pleaded to heaven and hell and everything in between, dropping down next to the small, bloody bundle and picking it up, cradling the cold, mangled body of the baby gently in his arms.
Suddenly Spike was ravenous. The inner battle between his demon and his soul swinging to the side of the demon once again as the sweet aroma of the infant’s blood wafted up and surrounded him with a hunger he’d rarely known before. Before he could think or even try to stop it, he dropped his mouth to the wound on the baby’s neck and sucked hungrily at the sweet dessert that his sire had brought him.
This time, the strawberry-blood burned his mouth and lips like acid and snapped Spike out of his hunger induced trance. He quickly dropped the lifeless body back down onto the couch and scrambled back away from it.
“I’m a bad man… evil … can’t control … can’t stop … born to slash … must kill…” he muttered incoherently.
Spike picked up the stake from the floor where Buffy had dropped it and suddenly began tearing at his own flesh with the sharp wood, gouging his arms and chest, scratching at his throat. He had to get the demon out! He had to kill it … destroy it! Spike screamed in anguish as his dead family and friends watched silently – he had the heart of a monster, he had to get it out.
Buffy jerked awake and tried to capture Spike’s hands and still him as he began thrashing in the bed next to her.
“Spike, stop! Please don’t,” she begged him as he ripped at the medicinal wraps and then at his skin, scratching long gashes in the newly healed and tender flesh. “Spike! Stop!” she screamed at him, grabbing his hands and holding them above his head to keep him from hurting himself further.
“Spike, please … please, baby, stop…” she plead with him over and over, trying to keep her voice calm as he struggled to get away from her. “God, please…”
But Spike raged against her, unseeing, unfeeling – his only purpose to get the evil out of his body. He kicked Buffy off, tossing her against the dresser to the side of the bed. She hit hard and bounced down onto the floor. As she struggled back to her feet, Spike moved away from her, rolling to the other side of the bed as he continued ripping at his flesh with his fingers. Buffy ran around the end of the bed, quickly opened their door and screamed for Bess and Faith to come help her control him.
In the short seconds it took her to do that and turn back around, Spike had retrieved a stake from the bedside table and was wildly stabbing it into his chest and abdomen.
“Spike! No!” Buffy screamed, lunging for him and trying to grab the deadly stake from his hand.
Space Oddity – Major Tom, David Bowie
Control to Major Tom
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