|Story Title:||Miles To Go Before I Sleep|
The group tries to come up with ideas on how to get Buffy and Annie back through the portal above the bug pit. Well, the group minus one: the jealous guy.
Music Referenced: Roxy Music, Jealous Guy, http://youtu.be/hRzGzRqNj58
|Thanks:||To u2fan2005 and epd4 for their suggestions, corrections, and help betaing this chapter. And giant thanks to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections, wonderful commentary, and final review. Final thanks to Capella42 for her insightful suggestions that made the whole story better. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.|
|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.
(a few hours after Spike and Buffy got back to base)
Monday, April 18th, 2011, Gift-less Dimension, in the Initiative / Base Camp:
“So … I need some bloody ideas from you lot now,” Spike demanded of his core group. “We need to get the Slayer and the Platelet back to their dimension to get the girl to a proper doctor.”
Tara, Xander, Oz, and Warren sat around their normal table in the cafeteria and listened to Spike’s plea. Riley didn’t show for the mandatory meeting. Spike would deal with him later.
“Maybe…” Xander suggested, “…if we could somehow move that crane around and drop the boom down over the spot where the portal is, they could climb up it and … ya know, do whatever they do to open it, and climb back through.”
“Alright,” Spike agreed. “How do we do that?”
“I’ll have to go out there and look again – I can’t remember how far away it is or what position it’s in now,” Xander told Spike. “If it’s facing the right direction, we just need to loosen the bolts holding the boom to the frame and it’ll fall down. If it’s too far away …” Xander shrugged. “…not sure how to move it. We’d need diesel fuel and even then, after ten years, it probably won’t crank up.”
“What about magic? Glinda – can you move it with magic?” Spike asked, looking at the white witch turned warrior.
Tara shrugged and fidgeted with a loose string on her shirt. “Maybe – yeah, I could try. It’s really heavy though – I don’t know…”
“Oz, you got any ideas?” Spike continued around the table.
“How far out into the bug pit is the portal?” Oz wondered.
“Round-abouts half way – Slayer said she fell right down in the bottom of the pit,” Spike provided.
Oz nodded thoughtfully, fiddling with the thin beard on his chin for a few moments. “If you could get it open, I might be able to jump into it from the edge of the pit … Then get a ladder or a rope … something to lower down and pull them up. How long does the portal stay open?”
Spike shrugged. “Not rightly sure on that.”
Buffy stayed with Annie as Spike and the others brainstormed on ideas to get them home, but she was getting antsy; she felt like she just couldn’t stay in that small room another minute.
“Uhhh … hi,” Andrew greeted her sheepishly, stopping short just inside Annie’s room. He hadn’t really expected anyone to be in here except his patient. “I’m … ummm …” he stammered, not sure he really wanted to tell her he was the one that had cleaned and stitched her daughter’s wounds.
“Andrew,” Buffy filled in. “You’re the medic, right?” Buffy eyed him a little suspiciously; after all, Spike said he was Warren’s ‘puppy’. Anything to do with Warren was suspect as far as she was concerned.
Andrew gave her a nervous smile, then straightened, drew up all his courage, placed his hands together as if in prayer, and begged earnestly, “Please don’t kill me.”
Buffy stared at him blankly. “Why would I kill you? Did you do something?” Her voice was accusatory; her features crinkled with concern as she looked at her daughter and then back to the medic.
“No! No, no!” Andrew waved his hands back and forth quickly. “I just … I did the best I could on the stitches and stuff.”
Buffy nodded and blew out a breath. “Oh. I know … Oz told me. It’s ok. I appreciate what you did,” Buffy assured him.
Andrew gave her a relieved smile and finally moved further into the room towards his patient. “Yoda knows there wasn’t a lot I could do. I’m sorry they aren’t … better. Unfortunately, my Jedi training … well, ummm … there’s not a lot of human first aid instruction in the handbook.”
Buffy shook her head and closed her eyes a moment as a vision of Billy and JJ playing ‘Jedi Scoobies’ with their light sabers flashed in her mind. She bit her bottom lip and swallowed back tears that seemed to swell up from her heart. She and Annie had to find a way home – soon.
“Did I say something wrong?” Andrew wondered worriedly.
Buffy opened her eyes and shook her head. “No … it’s just … my son’s a … big ‘Star Wars’ fan. He’s seen all seven. I think a hundred times each.”
“SEVEN!” Andrew exclaimed, his eyes wide with surprise and wonder. “There are seven now? What … when … what happened in them? Tell me everything!” he demanded excitedly, moving towards her with wide, expectant eyes. “Please tell me Jar Jar Binks wasn't in the other movies! What about Jake Lloyd? I hope they didn’t keep using him for the young Darth Vader … he was soooo lame. He couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag.”
Buffy held her hands up, stopping him. “I don’t know.”
“You don’t … know? How could you not know? You haven’t … watched them?”
“No. That’s Spike and Billy’s thing, not mine,” Buffy told him. She started thinking that maybe Spike encouraging Billy to be a big ‘Star Wars’ fan wasn’t really the best idea, if Andrew was any indication of what could happen to him. Boys playing Jedi was cute; grown men … maybe not so much.
“What about ‘Battlestar Galactica’? ‘Indiana Jones’? Or ‘007’? Did Timothy Dalton make any more Bond films?” Andrew pressed. “He was supposed to make three.”
Buffy sighed. “I don’t know who Timothy Dalton is,” she admitted.
At Andrew’s shocked and deflated look she offered, “I think I heard Spike talking about some prequel show for Battlestar … ummm …” she thought a minute. “Cap … something ...‘Caprica’ maybe? Something like that, but I really don’t know, Andrew. Sorry.”
Andrew sighed and nodded sullenly. “No one appreciates good television anymore,” he muttered as he turned back to Annie.
“Will you be here a while?” Buffy asked. “I really need to take a walk. The walls are closing in on me.”
Andrew nodded. “I have to clean her wounds to try and keep the infection down. I’ll be here a while.”
“Great, thanks. I won’t be too long.”
“Hey,” he called after her.
“Yeah?” Buffy stopped and looked back at him.
“Spike likes … sci-fi?” he asked shyly, a slight blush coloring his cheeks.
Buffy laughed lightly and nodded. “Hugely. But don’t tell him I told you.”
Andrew grinned to himself as he turned back to his task. Spike likes sci-fi!
Buffy meandered around the cavernous common area. The small community of people that lived here seemed content to spend their days playing checkers, chess, or card games, reading books that had been brought in from the various libraries in town, and doing simple daily chores like cleaning and laundry. Apparently they were happy with this existence for the mere fact that they still existed. The world outside these walls was a dangerous place and very few outside Spike’s core group of warriors ever ventured out. There was no need for money – there really wasn’t anything to buy. Money couldn’t put food on the table or clothes on their backs. If something was needed, they put in a formal request with Riley and, when the warriors were out in the world of demons, they’d try to find the things people asked for and bring them back.
When they first moved in here, Spike and Riley had made many trips to hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, and even veterinarians to get medicines and supplies for the wounded and sick. But the sheer number of wounded at the beginning took a heavy toll on the supplies. As it turned out, many of those people couldn’t be saved despite the best efforts of the doctors and nurses that had, at one time, lived among the refugees.
For a while, everyone hoped that the army or the National Guard or even the Red Cross would show up and help them – but no one ever did. When that hope faded, some people couldn’t stand being cooped up in here any longer and fled – none ever returned. No one ever knew if they actually made it out of the demon-zone or not; they didn’t even know if there was any part of the world that was not a ‘demon zone’.
Riley helped Spike bring order out of chaos, and with 'survival of the fittest' rules now in play, Spike became the leader. He was the strongest … well, actually Riley was the strongest, but Riley would always be subordinate to Spike, so Spike, was, by default, the strongest. At that time, with the chip still functioning, Spike couldn’t harm humans, but Riley could. So, the ex-soldier became Spike’s enforcer. Riley was happy to keep order in the community. He liked order, regimen, routines – and he made sure everyone else started liking them too.
Tara and Oz hadn’t really been adverse to the idea of Spike being in charge. Xander, however, was a different story. It had taken a long time for Spike to earn the respect of the younger man.
When Anya died, after pushing Xander out of the way of the falling tower, the only thing Xander wanted was revenge; the only thing he felt was absolute, gut-burning hatred. He hated everyone and everything. The happy, jokester died that day with his fiancé; well, he thought of her as his fiancé, even though she hadn't actually accepted. He wore the engagement ring he’d gotten for her on a rough, leather lanyard around his neck as a reminder – he never wanted to forget what he’d lost. From the ruins of Xander’s life, a demon killer, a ruthless hunter, rose up like a phoenix. Despite Xander’s loathing of Spike, the peroxided vamp proved to be quite adept at knowing where the demons would be and how to destroy as many as possible with each strike. Over time, that skill earned Spike Xander’s respect, and ultimately his loyalty. It didn't happen overnight, and there was more than one blow-up between the remaining Scoobies during the first tumultuous months, but eventually everyone accepted Spike as the leader.
After Willow had restored Tara’s mind during the battle with Glory, the two witches tried to stay out of harm’s way for the majority of the fight. Willow had been able to magically clear the path to the stairway up the tower for Spike while Buffy battled Glory. It seemed like the battle was over when Buffy raced up the tower, leaving Ben battered and beaten on the ground, and everyone left below began to relax a little. Then, suddenly, all hell broke loose again: Glory was back, Giles was tossed against the base of the tower, and a portal swirled to life above their heads. Willow reacted immediately to Giles' distress, leaving Tara’s side and racing forward towards her friend, her mentor, but she couldn’t help him. All she’d done was race into a death trap.
Tara could see the portal opening high above them. Then she saw Buffy jump from the tower just before the whole thing collapsed like a house of cards. Willow, horrified by what Glory had done to Giles, was weaving a spell to send the hell-god exactly where the bitch wanted to go – straight to hell. But before Willow could complete the spell, the tower buckled and collapsed, crushing her under tons and tons of steel and iron. Tara watched helplessly as her whole world was torn to shreds ... again. She'd just gotten her mind back and, in the next instant, her heart and soul had been torn from her chest.
The memory of Buffy simply giving up, jumping off the tower and committing suicide, as the love of her life was still fighting, hardened the white witch's heart. Tara vowed to continue that fight, just as Willow had. Tara would not give up. She'd worked on her conditioning and become an expert in hand-to-hand combat. She made Spike or Riley teach her how to use every weapon they had available to them and she spent many long hours honing her skills. Her magic would never be as strong as Willow’s had been, but she could still fight, still avenge her lover’s death. Every demon she killed was for Willow.
The group that survived and fought together weren’t friends, not like they had been friends in the time they simply referred to as ‘before’. They were combatants, comrades in arms, fighting for a common goal – for vengeance, and nothing more. They watched each other’s back, they trained, they planned, they killed demons, but they weren’t friends. There were no celebrations, no parties; there was no laughter or jubilation, there was no joy. They all carried their own reasons for the fight within their hearts: Anya, Willow, Buffy and Dawn, and even Giles – and each kill they notched on their belts was in memory of everything they’d lost.
Buffy passed through the common area and turned onto a ‘side-street’, a narrow hallway that led away from the large hall. She just needed to move – to walk, to feel like she wasn’t a rat in a cage for a few minutes so she could think and figure out how she was gonna get Annie home. She’d hoped to fix this world for Spike … somehow. She didn’t know how, but that hope flew out the window when she saw her daughter’s injuries. If Annie didn’t get some real medical treatment she could easily die; at the very least, she may never walk properly again. Certainly Buffy's friends were looking for them by now. How long had they been here? Buffy tried to remember, it seemed like weeks … months even, but in fact had only been three days, two nights – this was the third night.
She wasn’t really paying any attention to where she was going; she didn’t think she could actually get lost down here. After all, there was just so far you could go before you hit a wall and had to turn around. She was walking down one of the long corridors in the ‘demon containment area' which now served as living space for the inhabitants of Sunnydale. She didn’t recognize it; it wasn’t the one her room was in – of that she was fairly certain.
“Avengelyne,” she heard a voice call out as she passed one of the converted cells. She stopped dead in her tracks.
She whirled towards the voice, her eyes wide. No one had called her that since … “Rack?”
Rack sauntered slowly out of his room; the quilt covering the front of it had been pulled back so he could ‘people watch’. It wasn’t the most original thing in the world to do to pass the time, especially since there were so few people, but every now and then something interesting happened.
“You double-crossed me, Avengelyne,” he accused, but his voice was calm, almost congenial. He even had as small smile on his lips.
“I double-crossed you? Seriously? You trapped me in your magic – you never intended on sending me anywhere!” Buffy retorted, planting her hands on her hips and jutting her right hip out to strike an indignant pose.
“Very true,” Rack agreed with a nonchalant shrug. “But whoever it was that trapped me in this hell-hole of a dimension finally brought you back to me. I knew you couldn't resist my call for long. What’s it been … a year, Avengelyne?”
"Did you even know how to send me back, or was that all a lie?" Buffy demanded angrily.
Rack's smile returned. "Oh, I know how, Slayer. I well know how..." he purred, low and breathless. "Just couldn't lose you – all that pure, white power. We could've been sooooo good together. I would've kept you on top of the world.
"How did you get out of my spell, Avengelyne? How did you turn it around and send me ... here? More clever than I imagined you were."
Rack continued to move forward, nearer to Buffy, as he talked. Buffy tried to take in what he was saying and sort out all the confusing dimension-jumping and time travel and wish-worlds in her mind. This would be the Rack from her dimension – he’s from the same place she is. Apparently, he still remembered what had happened in the wish-world. Why could he remember when no one else except Buffy did? Buffy ran what he'd said back through her mind: he had been transported out of that dimension when he'd double-crossed her. Had Wanda done that, too? Apparently, when the wish-world changed and crumbled, he wasn't in it; he was here. Was he actually the cause of Annie’s accident? Had his magical ‘call’ somehow conspired to bring them here?
“What do you mean you're ‘trapped’?” Buffy questioned, taking a step back from him, and focusing her attention on the part about him calling for her.
Rack held his arms out as if to encompass the whole dimension. “Trapped. Like a roach motel – the roaches crawl in, they don’t crawl out. You think I’d be living in this squalor if I could get out?”
Buffy looked behind him at his room and shrugged. “Looks nicer than that roach motel you used to live in.”
Rack turned back towards his room as if just seeing it for the first time, then looked back at her with calm indifference. “I kinda miss that old couch. I’d just gotten it broken in when – poof … I’m here and I can’t get back … or even forward … sideways – nothing. Stuck. Trapped. How'd you do that, Slayer?” he asked again.
“I didn’t. Maybe it was karma,” Buffy suggested with a slight snarl to her lips. “You know, a ‘what goes around comes around’ kinda thing?
“Why aren’t you helping them fight?” Buffy continued. “With your power, you could…”
Rack snorted and waved a hand dismissively, interrupting her. “I have more pressing issues – like finding my way out of this hell hole.”
Rack cocked a brow at her. “So what did you do to get stuck here, Avengelyne?”
“Who says I’m stuck? Maybe I just came for a visit … you know, like a survivalist training camp for Slayers. It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure,” Buffy quipped.
Rack actually laughed at that. It was the first time Buffy had heard anyone laughing in this place.
“Well, then, you wouldn’t mind taking me back with you, then,” Rack suggested.
“Why the hell would I do that?”
“Old times’ sake,” he purred, stepping closer and reaching a hand out to touch her.
Buffy shifted to the side, out of his reach. “If you’re the least bit attached to those appendages, you need to keep them away from me. Reach out again and I’ll rip it off.”
Rack pulled his hand back and shrugged. “Just a little taste … you know you want it as much as I do.”
“Actually, I know very well that I don’t want it. Stay outta my way and you may live long enough to find a way outta here,” Buffy threatened as she started walking away from him.
“You’ll be back, Avengelyne – you always come back,” he called after her.
Buffy shuddered. Rack gave her the wiggins, but at the same time she could feel her skin start to thrum just being near his magic. Yet another reason to get the hell out of here, like now. However, in addition to the wiggins he gave her, he also gave her an idea … a way to fix things here.
Buffy poked her head in and checked on Annie. Andrew was still there, nothing had changed, so she headed down the hall to the cafeteria and the meeting going on there.
As she approached the door, she paused and listened a moment when she heard Tara’s voice, strong, adamant – angry …
“I’m just saying, why are we going to all this trouble to save them? We’re putting our lives at risk, jeopardizing the entire community, for what? A suicidal Slayer who jumped off the tower and left us all to fend for ourselves!?"
"Not just the Slayer, Glinda ... the girl, too," Spike pointed out.
"Oh yes, her daughter, who we all know is not going to live," Tara retorted. "No one’s ever survived a bat attack like that, even with antibiotics. I think this whole thing’s a waste of time and effort,” Tara argued to the rest of the group.
Spike narrowed his eyes at her. “Too bad for you this ain’t a democracy, Glinda. Don’t rightly care what you think. The doing ain’t up for debate – the how we do it is.”
Tara sighed heavily and crossed her arms over her chest. She knew better than to argue with Spike, but that didn’t mean she had to agree with him.
Buffy stepped into the large room, which was empty save for the community leaders, sans Riley, who had still never shown up. Everyone looked up as she walked in. In the past, if she’d overheard something that she wasn’t supposed to hear, her friends would be shifting uncomfortably in their seats right about now – but no one here did that. They really didn’t care that she’d heard Tara’s argument against helping her and Annie, or the witch's announcement that the bat attack was a death sentence for her daughter. Buffy was again taken aback by the change in her friends. The Tara she knew was the most empathetic, sweetest person in the world; she’d give a stranger the shirt off her back. This Tara wouldn’t give Buffy the time of day.
Buffy walked up to the table, stood behind Riley’s vacant chair, and looked at the group, her arms folded over her chest. Finally she took a deep breath and addressed Tara. “You think your Buffy jumped off the tower to get out of this … to get out of her obligation. You couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t know why she missed, but she jumped off the tower to save you – to save all of you, to save the world from this,” Buffy began, waving her arms out to indicate the demon world they lived in.
“Dawn was made of Buffy. To close the portal, the blood had to stop flowing … someone’s blood – Dawn’s or Buffy’s. Death was her gift. She gave it willingly, heroically, if, apparently, in vain.
“Buffy loved you, all of you,” Buffy stressed, purposely laying a hand on Spike’s shoulder. “And she would not have knowingly left you to fend for yourselves. She was trying to close the portal. She was sacrificing herself to save you – all of you, she just failed.
“I’ve been to more than one dimension in my life, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that in other dimensions, Buffy did close the portal by jumping off the tower; she saved you all by giving her life.
“Now, I know you don’t know me – and I don’t pretend to understand what you’ve all been through, ‘cos I haven’t been here. But I’ve lost people I’ve loved before and I can assure you that I know the sweet taste of revenge," Buffy paused a moment and looked at each person in turn, then continued emphatically, "But let me tell you something: revenge doesn’t bring anyone back from the dead.”
“Revenge is all we’ve got. Nothing can bring them back,” Xander informed her. “Dead is dead.”
“You’re wrong. I got my family back after it was stolen from me. And, just like your Buffy, I died fighting Glory. You all brought me back from the dead. It’s called dark magick … and it’s more than a theory – it’s real and it can work,” Buffy argued.
“We don’t have that kind of power,” Tara pointed out.
Buffy shrugged. “It’s true, it would be easier with Willow here, but you’re a powerful witch in your own right and you have the most powerful warlock I’ve ever known living down the hall.”
“Who?” Xander asked.
“Rack?” Spike questioned, his voice rising in surprise. “He’s lower ‘an a snake’s belly and twice as slippery.”
“Right,” Buffy agreed. “That’s why we never trust him; we use his power, and the power of my scythe, funnel it through Tara, and fix this mess.”
“Could you define ‘fix’?” Oz asked, his brows furrowed in confusion.
“Fix. Everything,” Buffy replied firmly.
“World peace. I’ll finally master E-flat, diminished ninth. And the Doobie Brothers will reunite?” Oz questioned, giving her a serious, yet hopeful, look. “’Cos that would pretty much rock.”
Buffy rolled her eyes. “Fix everything within reason. Anya, Willow, Giles...”
“Buffy ... Dawn?” Spike questioned hopefully, looking up to meet her eyes.
Buffy gave a little shrug. “Possibly even Buffy and Dawn,” she confirmed.
“How?” Xander asked; his skeptical voice had just a tinge of hope attached to it.
“My initial thought would be to send Spike back in time and let him try out one of those hundreds of ways to save me that he’s been working on for the last ten years,” Buffy suggested.
“Bloody hell. You’re serious,” Spike realized, his voice a mixture of disbelief and hope.
“As a heart attack,” Buffy confirmed. “You know what went wrong – you know what you’d do to change it. You’re the strongest fighter, so saving Buffy … saving everyone, would be up to you, Spike.
“But it’ll take some time to work out,” Buffy continued. “We need to figure out the spell – or beat it out of Rack, and figure out how to use Rack’s power while keeping him from screwing us over. Annie doesn’t have that time. I need to get her home – now. I promise I’ll come back and help you, but I’m begging you – help me get her home.
“Please help me,” Buffy pleaded with them, clenching her jaw and blinking back her tears.
Everyone nodded solemnly, the earlier animosity replaced with a faint glimmer of hope that things could be changed, fixed … well, everything except, perhaps, the Doobie Brothers and E-flat, diminished ninth.
Riley moved away from the door of the cafeteria without showing himself. Just as he thought, that bitch was going to ruin everything. He was losing Spike even now – if Buffy could actually pull off her crazy plan to send Spike back in time, then what would become of Riley? He’d pull up in Sunnydale and they’d be throwing Spike a ticker-tape parade – he could see it now. Buffy would be swooning over her hero, falling into his arms, riding off into the sunset with her white knight – where would that leave the solider? Alone. That was unacceptable.
Buffy sat in the chair next to Annie’s bed, leaning forward and resting her head on the mattress next to her daughter. Annie was burning up with fever. Andrew was bringing cold compresses and ice in every few minutes to keep her fever down as best they could. They couldn’t keep it down too far; it was, after all, her body’s way to fight the infection, but they had to keep it under control to prevent damage to her brain and organs. They were walking a tightrope without a net. When Andrew went out to get more ice, Buffy allowed herself to rest a few minutes, allowed her exhausted eyes to close for just a moment. She was so very tired.
She heard the door to the room open and willed her eyes to open, to help Andrew with the cold compresses, but they were fighting her, her whole body was fighting her. Just another minute, her weary eyelids begged. Just one more minute, then we’ll …
Suddenly, Buffy was hefted from her chair and tossed like a ragdoll against the wall behind her. For a moment, her exhausted mind thought it was a dream – like when you dream you’re falling and you wake with a jerk. She shook her head and opened her eyes, trying to focus on what happened. Had she fallen out of her chair? She’d no sooner started to clear the sleepy fog from her mind than she was picked up by the front of her shirt and her back was slammed against the wall again.
“I don’t know why he still loves you,” Riley growled at her. “I give him everything he needs. Indulge his every whim, every fantasy, endure every torture he can conceive … but that’s not good enough, he still wants you.”
“Riley…” Buffy moaned, her mind finally realizing it wasn’t a dream.
“That’s right, Riley. You remember me, right, Buffy? You used me for what you needed but otherwise just shut me out of your life. The big, stupid soldier who would do anything for you, but, just like Spike, everything just wasn’t good enough for a bitch like you, was it?"
“Riley, let me go! Put me down!” Buffy demanded as she started to struggle under his grip, finally coming fully awake. His red eyes simply glowed brighter as he tightened his hold and pressed her even harder against the wall at her back.
“Spike always said you needed a little monster in your man. I guess we found out that was true the last couple of nights, didn’t we?” Riley taunted her.
“What are you … Let me go or I’ll kick your sorry ass!” Buffy threatened, trying to kick or knee him in the groin but missing. Her flailing feet and legs landed ineffectually on his hard thighs; his grip on her tightened further.
The ex-soldier laughed scathingly at her vain attempts to escape and her empty threats. “Been to any nice beaches lately, Slayer?” Riley snarled at her, ignoring her demands to be let go. He knew he was stronger than she – he could rip her head off with one hand … and he would, soon enough.
“What are you talking about!? Put me down!” Buffy ordered him again.
Finn simply snickered.
“You know – you and me and Spike … nice warm sand, that pretty little mouth of yours doing things that you never did to me when I was human. And the night before in the water … mmmm, Buffy – you never let go like that when it was just me. Such passion and desire – for your monsters,” Riley taunted her.
Buffy was having a hard time breathing, not from the grip he hand on her, but from his words. “I … you … no …” she stammered. “That was a dream ... only a dream … and Spike … just Spike ... my Spike. You … how do you ...?”
Riley smiled ruefully. “‘I want to feel him inside you, pumping you, ravishing you. Want to see the pleasure of him on your face… I want his cum filling you,’” Riley repeated what he’d said to her in that first dream. His mouth was near her ear, his breath cold against her skin, his words icy. “Of course, it wasn’t really your pleasure I wanted to see … it was his, but I said what you wanted to hear.
“Both of us moving inside your heat.” Riley let out a guttural moan and his red eyes flared brighter. “Almost be worth keeping you around for – if you weren’t such a holier-than-thou, whoring bitch.”
“No! It was … just a dream! It was a dream of Spike! My husband, Spike!” Buffy argued, lashing out at him wildly with her fists and feet.
Riley laughed cruelly as her punches just bounced off his arms. “No, it wasn’t … it was us. You saw Spike, but you fucked us, Buffy. Spike didn’t even know – he’s so caught up in the fantasy of you, he didn’t even realize you were actually there. He still thinks they were just dreams, just his dreams. But I knew – I knew by the way you looked at him afterwards – like a big cat eyeing a little, helpless bird.
“You’ve learned a lot about pain and pleasure since I knew you, but I bet I could teach you more. Spike’s been a wonderful mentor for me; it’s the least I can do before I kill you.”
Buffy felt bile rise in the back of her throat and she thrashed and struggled against Riley’s grip, trying to get away. Then she heard a knock on the door and Andrew calling her name. Riley had locked it when he came in. There would be no interruptions. Buffy opened her mouth to scream but Riley dropped his mouth over hers and smothered her cry for help with a painful, violent kiss.
Riley ripped the front of her shirt open, tearing long gashes in her flesh with his nails, and Buffy screamed against his mouth. It was really a shame he couldn’t actually let her scream out – it would make this sooo much sweeter.
Buffy struggled against his superior strength, kicking and battering him with her fists and feet even as her mind reeled in revulsion. The dreams weren’t just dreams? It wasn’t some fantasy conjured by her subconscious of two Spikes – of her Spike? Riley was there? Riley was one of her lovers? The thought tore deep gashes in her heart and soul; she felt used and abused and ... violated.
Tears stung her eyes and bile threatened to suffocate her as she fought against him. Riley shifted his hold on her, grasping her with one hand clamped tightly around her throat. He held her up to his level, her feet off the ground, as his other hand tore savagely at her jeans. She felt the denim dig into her hips and her back as he pulled the front, trying to rip them open. She heard the heavy fabric starting to tear in the front as it embedded more deeply into the flesh of her hips. The button at the top flew off and the zipper gave way under his strength, then his hand was there – against her bare skin, plunging down and ripping at her underwear.
She finally landed a solid kick right in the balls and Riley’s grip loosened momentarily. She came down on his arm with hers, mustering all her strength in that one blow, and knocked his hand away from her throat. Falling to the floor, she tried to scream, but nothing came out – she had no breath. She gasped for air and began to crawl away from him towards the locked door of the room – towards help. But Riley wasn’t that easily defeated or deterred.
His vampire visage was grotesque, pure evil. In that moment, he seemed more evil than anything she'd ever seen before. His red eyes danced like the flames of a roaring fire as pure hatred burned in them. It was as if there was glowing, red-hot lava just behind his eyes and it wanted to devour her – burn her alive. Buffy had nearly made it to the door when he caught her by the foot and flung her savagely against the furthest wall like she weighed nothing. The Slayer crashed against it hard, knocking the air she’d managed to get back into her lungs out again. The drywall shattered from the impact, almost like it was made of glass, and white dust rained down on her and filled the room with a fog of plaster. She coughed the dry, white powder out of her throat and lungs and began scrambling again in an instant, trying to get to her feet, trying to reach the door.
Riley kicked her in the ribs, sending her crashing back against the wall again, then he was standing over her, kicking her again and again in the ribs and stomach and head, just as the Reds on the ship had done. Buffy tried to curl up, to protect herself, but he was too close and kicking too hard. He drove her body back into the wall at her back, cracking the drywall further and splintering the two-by-fours behind it.
“How’s it feel, bitch? How’s it feel to know you’re gonna die because you couldn’t keep your filthy mitts off him? Spike’s mine! I’ve given him everything! You’ve never given him anything!” Riley raged at her. He dropped down atop her and ripped at her jeans again, this time tearing the seam beneath the zipper completely in two.
Buffy was dazed. She couldn’t tell where the door was anymore – wasn’t 100% sure which way was up. For a moment she thought she should jump. She needed to get off the ship … over the edge, into the water. Annie was in the water, she needed to go … get away from the vampires.
“Look at me, bitch!” Riley demanded as he spread her legs with his knees and climbed atop her. “You need to see who’s fucking you this time – Riley Finn! Say it! Riley! Say it!” he demanded as he freed his erection from his pants.
“Spike…” Buffy muttered incoherently, still trying to get up, get away.
“Bitch!” Riley screamed at her, slapping her face with a vicious backhand and raising an immediate welt on her cheek.
“Spike…” Buffy moaned again as her head spun from the force of his blow. She again had the strange sensation that her head may have actually come off and was rolling around on the floor. She desperately wished it would stop doing that.
Just as Riley pulled back to slap her again, the door splintered, was ripped out of its moorings, and flew into the room with a loud crash. Before Riley could do more than look up, Spike was on him, knocking him away from Buffy and to the floor. “You bloody wanker!” Spike raged at his childe as he kicked him unmercifully in the chest, stomach, and groin. “Couldn’t leave it a-bloody-lone, could ya? Bloody stupid git!”
Despite his superior strength, Riley cowered away from his sire, as he’d always done, covering his head and curling into the defensive ball that he wouldn’t allow Buffy to find earlier. “I did it for you! For us!” Riley screamed at him even as Spike continued kicking him savagely.
Spike stopped and stood over the fallen vamp, hands on hips, his chest heaving in fury and frustration. He looked over at Buffy, who Andrew had helped to a sitting position. The geek was pressing the ice pack that he’d brought for Annie against the bruise on the Slayer’s face. When Andrew couldn’t get in the room, he’d immediately gone to get Spike. The little ponce may have saved Buffy’s life.
“Spike, I swear, I was only thinking of you … she’s trouble! She’s twisting you up inside, I can see it! She’s gonna kill you!” Riley asserted, sitting up with his back against the wall.
Spike dropped down into a crouch in front of Finn, his forearms resting against his thighs. Spike’s lips were pursed, his head titled, and eyes narrowed as he studied his childe. “How did I get so bloody lucky? All m’ lovers having the gift of sight… Dru … even Harm – she could see a sale comin’ a month ahead o’ time, and now you.”
Riley looked at him blankly for a moment, not really understanding Spike’s sarcasm. “She can’t send you back in time! That’s a bluff to get you to help her. She’s gonna get you dusted! Don’t you think if people could go back in time the government would be doing it? Think of everything they could’ve avoided. World Wars could be stopped before they’d even begun … famines wiped out, epidemics erased! It. Can’t. Be. Done. She’s playing you, Spike!” Riley asserted through blood-stained lips and teeth, his arms wrapped around his painful ribs that Spike had broken.
“We need to kill her – kill her before she kills you! That’s what I was doing. For you,” he continued in earnest. "I was doing what you couldn't ... for you!" he insisted.
Spike raised his brows. “Killin’ her, eh? Looked like you were rapin’ her t’ me. Pretty sure I can tell the bloody difference. Was that for me, too? Have a poke for ole Spike?”
“No … Yes … I just …” Riley stammered. “You have to understand – she pulled us into those dreams, but she couldn’t even see me! Fucking bitch called me ‘Spike’! I just wanted her to know before she died …”
Spike’s jaw dropped open and his eyes narrowed to thin slits as he looked from Riley to Buffy. Tears welled in her eyes as she clutched a sheet around her body, covering her torn clothes and bruised flesh. Buffy met his gaze across the small room as she held the ice pack against her cheek. The one eye on the side Riley had slapped was nearly swollen shut, but in the other eye he could see it: shame. In that moment he knew that Riley was telling the truth. They weren’t just his normal dreams and fantasies. No wonder they felt so real.
“You’re part o’ the clan … been claimed then. Took the blood oath, yeah?” Spike asked her, his voice soft. “Share a bond with … him …with your Spike?”
Buffy nodded almost imperceptibly. That had been part of the fairy-tale she’d left out before. On that first night they spent on Revello Drive when she’d told him about her life, he seemed so … heartbroken. He’d never had a chance to earn his Buffy’s love, never had a chance to touch her heart. She could feel his pain and thought that tidbit would only make it worse for him.
Spike pursed his lips and turned back to Riley. “Ever think maybe we pulled her in, you bloody nimrod? Only way her bond could accept it would be for the both of us to look like her soddin’ husband? She wasn’t with us, you berk! She was with her bloody mate! You think the Slayer would a’ touched either of us if she’d a’ known?”
Riley shook his head, disagreeing. “She pulled you in … she’s trying to take you away from me. You can’t let that happen, Spike! I’m the one that’s got your back! Me! Not her! She’ll get you killed!” Riley asserted again.
“Ya know, I reckon I’ve had my fill o’ lovers who can see the bloody future. At least Dru’s visions, muddled as they were, usually had some miniscule grain o’ truth to ‘em.”
Riley clenched his jaw and tears welled in his eyes. “Please, Spike … I love you. I’m the only one that ever has.”
Spike bit down on his bottom lip as he studied his creation. Since his mother, he’d never made another vamp – not until Riley. Both times he told himself that it was to save the other person – but the reasons were more complex than that, more personal, perhaps more selfish. He loved his mother and couldn’t bear the thought of losing her to the consumption that was slowly, but surely, draining her life. He longed to see the vibrant woman she had once been, longed to make her well, see her happy again.
Riley was a completely different story – he didn’t care one wit about the enormous hall monitor. The day before he would’a been happy to see him die – danced at his funeral, pissed on his grave. But at that moment, when Riley showed up on Buffy’s doorstep, Spike needed help. He needed someone to watch his back, help him keep Dawn safe; so he’d ‘saved’ him.
“Spike?” Riley questioned softly, reaching a hand out to his lover’s face. “Please believe me. It was for you.”
Spike nodded slightly and let Riley pull him forward. Their lips met, gently at first, then with more fervor … more passion. Buffy watched from the other end of the room and her stomach turned. Not from seeing the men kissing, but because she knew Spike was forgiving him. She’d felt that kiss before; she’d seen that look in his eyes before.
Riley would’ve raped her, nearly did – would’ve killed her. In the process, he would’ve sentenced Annie to death, as well. And Spike was forgiving him!? No, not Spike … not her Spike, certainly. This person wasn’t the man who loved her – not any longer. Trust no one.
Anger boiled up inside her like a geyser, exploding in a powerful flood of red-hot, furious emotion. She dropped the ice pack and picked up a piece of the splintered door: a long, jagged piece of wood … a stake.
Just as she made it to her feet to start across the room towards the two men, Riley exploded into a cloudy mixture of red glitter and grey, sooty dust. Spike’s lips were still kissing the ghost even as the dust floated softly to the floor in front of him. In his hand was a stake, still embedded in the air where the half-breed’s heart had been, in his chest. Buffy stopped short and looked at Spike with shock – she hadn’t expected that at all.
By now a crowd had formed outside the door in the hall; Oz, Xander, and Tara were at the front of the group. Xander and Tara gasped when Spike staked Riley; they hadn’t expected that either. Oz, as normal, took it in stride. Not much shocked him, or at least, he didn’t let his shock show.
Spike dropped backwards, down onto his ass, still holding the stake in his hand. He looked up at the ceiling, every tendon in his neck and every muscle in his cheek strained to the breaking point, and screamed. He screamed like he was being torn apart from the inside; a long and agonizing bellow that filled the room and shook the rafters. Finally, with no breath left in his lungs, he lowered his head onto his knees, and began to sob.
“Oh, Spike,” Buffy moaned as she dropped the stake she had and moved over to him. She knelt down and put an arm over his shoulders.
“I’m sorry, Buffy … sorry for what he done t’ you. Sorry for … the dreams. I didn’t know … I swear I didn’t,” Spike offered, never looking up.
“I know,” Buffy accepted his apology with a heavy heart. She was glad that he hadn’t knowingly taken advantage of her ignorance of how the bond had reached out to the nearest clan members it could find, but she still felt violated. Not just in the last few minutes by Riley, but by both of them in her dreams. To make matters worse, she felt like a fool and a slut for letting them do it – and for enjoying it. She’d welcomed them – let them take her where only Spike had taken her in the past and, worst of all, she let her guard down, lying in their arms afterwards feeling so very safe and loved.
She thought about Spike – how hurt he would be if he found out that she couldn’t tell the difference; found out that she'd allowed herself to be fooled, that she'd betrayed his trust. Yes, it was a dream, it didn’t actually happen … but it did. How many times had she and Spike connected through the bond and shared a very real dream, just like that? More than she could count. It wasn’t like the dreams you had no control over, like standing naked in front of class while trying to deliver a book report – these were … interactive. She was a willing player in them; she hadn’t said no, in fact, she’d said yes quite eagerly.
Andrew cleared his throat from behind them and Buffy looked up. “Her fever’s worse – we need to get her into an ice bath.”
Buffy nodded and stood up, still clutching the sheet around her body. “I’ll get the girl – you should …” Spike looked up, wiping his eyes, and saw his lieutenants standing in the doorway. “Glinda … you got some clothes the Slayer can change into?” Spike asked as he stood up, switching immediately into leader mode.
As Tara nodded and turned to go get something, Buffy began to step past Spike towards Annie. “It’s ok – I can get her.”
Spike’s eyes met Buffy’s for a brief moment and Buffy could see searing pain in their blue depths, but also determination. “We can fix it, Spike – I swear we can,” she promised.
He nodded gravely, then Buffy turned, tucked the sheet around her like a toga-wrap, and picked Annie up. As she followed Andrew out of the room and to the locker room to get Annie into an ice bath, Spike stood perfectly still and watched her go. The tears he’d shed weren’t for Riley or even for himself, but for her, and they still fell from his eyes now as his subordinates watched. It was a weakness he’d never shown them before, not once in ten years.
He looked at the two men still standing near the door and, for perhaps the first time since this whole nightmare started over a decade ago, Spike connected with them. Not as a general connects with his lieutenants, but as a man connects with his friends – as brothers in arms, fighting in life and death battles every day, would connect. Somehow, that brief moment of showing his raw heart to them had opened a bond between the allies on a level so deep that it frightened Spike a bit.
“We’ll get them outta here, man,” Oz assured him as he and Xander began clearing away the pieces of splintered door.
“Yeah – the kid’ll be ok. We’ll figure something out,” Xander agreed.
Spike nodded and slid his stake back into the scabbard on his hip, taking a deep breath and trying to compose himself.
“‘Preciate it,” he offered sincerely as he headed out of the room. Ironically, he actually felt like he wasn’t completely alone any longer – but Buffy had paid a heavy price for that revelation, for that new connection. Her pain and the look of wild terror that had been in her eyes had cut him to the core. He had to get her out of here, get her and Annie back home. This was one mission he couldn’t screw up, one promise he had to keep, no matter the cost.
Roxy Music, Jealous Guy
I was dreaming of the past and my heart was beating fast
I'm sorry that I made you cry
I was feeling insecure you might not love me anymore
didn't mean to hurt you
I'm sorry that I made you cry
I didn't mean to hurt you
I'm just a jealous guy
If you'd like to get notified of updates, email me here: Updates
Feedback: Email me feedback, I'd love to hear from you! passionate@passion4 spike.com
Go back to: The Main Home Page The 'Teach Your Children Well' Home Page