|Chapter Title:||Trigger, Chapter 42|
Early January 2003. Annie will be 4 years old in February 2003.
Buffy died in early May 2001, brought back in September 2001.
Buffy will be 22 years old on January 19th, 2003.
|Summary:||Spike, Angel and the Scoobies figure out that the First has planted a trigger in Buffy which is causing her to attack Spike. Can they diffuse it before she dusts him?|
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, violence, sex and adult themes which may include rape, attempted rape, blood play 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. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.
“Early one morning, just as the sun was . .”
Buffy’s whole body tensed in Spike’s embrace as he started singing the lullaby. Before he realized what was happening, Buffy lunged out of his hold, off the bed and onto the floor to retrieve the stake that lay there.
Spike, taken off guard, just watched as she lunged at him with the stake. Luckily, Angel hadn’t even gotten past the doorway before Buffy attacked. Angel threw himself at her just as she lunged at Spike. Angel and Buffy tumbled down onto the floor. She tried to free herself of the hold Angel had around her torso so she could get to Spike.
“LET ME GO!!” she screamed at Angel as she twisted and pushed against him so she could get to Spike.
“LET GO! ONLY I CAN STOP IT!” she screamed again.
“BUFFY!” Angel screamed at her. “BUFFY! STOP!”
But she didn’t hear him, her whole focus was on Spike, who had moved off the bed and was now standing near the door way.
“SPIKE! GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!” Angel yelled at him as he felt his hold on Buffy slipping.
Spike hesitated momentarily, trying to decide whether to help Angel control her or get out and, in that split second, Buffy was free of Angel’s hold and rushing towards Spike with the stake.
Spike blocked the hand that held the stake and it thrust into his shoulder instead of his chest. He screamed in pain as Buffy tackled him to the ground, half in and half out of the doorway to their room. Buffy yanked it back out of his shoulder and he screamed again, clutching at the injured shoulder with his other hand. Raising the stake up over her head, Buffy prepared to drive it deep into his chest when Angel knocked it from her grasp.
Buffy went scrambling into the hallway after it, leaving Spike momentarily unguarded. As soon as Buffy was off him, Angel dragged Spike back into the bedroom and shut and locked the door, leaving Buffy out in the hallway.
All their friends had come upstairs earlier, but they’d kept their distance when it seemed that Angel and Spike had the situation under control. Now, they all rushed forward towards Buffy as she kicked and punched at the locked door that was between her and her target.
“NO!” Faith yelled at them. “STOP! Stay away from her! She’ll hurt you!”
Everyone stopped moving except Faith. “BUFFY!” Faith yelled at her as she approached the out of control Slayer. Buffy didn’t seem to even hear Faith as she continued her assault on the door, which was starting to splinter under her attack.
“BUFFY!” Faith yelled again, now just a foot away from her, but she still got no response. Faith grabbed the arm that had the stake in it and Buffy swung wildly at her with the other fist, hitting Faith with a glancing blow off her temple.
“Game on,” Faith said and she hit Buffy square in the jaw with a left hook then twisted the arm that had the stake in it up and behind Buffy, shoving her face first into the wall next to the door. Buffy hit Faith in the sternum with a hard elbow and Faith stumbled backwards enough for Buffy to knock her back into the opposite wall with a side kick.
Buffy started towards Faith, stake raised, ready to attack again when Annie, who had been awoken by all the noise, came out of her room and started running towards the fighting Slayers. “Mama!” she cried as she ran full speed down the hallway towards them.
“ANNIE, NO! STOP!” a chorus of voices from the other side of the Slayers yelled at her, trying to get the child to stop, but Annie’s only focus was on Buffy.
Annie wrapped her arms tightly around one of Buffy’s legs.
Buffy took one more step with Annie clutching her leg before she changed the hold she had on the stake and readied it to plunge downwards towards the new threat.
“MAMA!” Annie cried again, clinging to her tightly. Buffy looked down at her daughter then back up at Faith who had recovered and was preparing to defend Annie from Buffy’s attack. Buffy stopped moving, her eyes suddenly full of confusion. The stake dropped from her hand and hit the floor with a loud clatter.
Faith used the opportunity to yank Annie free of Buffy’s leg and hand her to Xander, who was the closest person to them. Annie screamed at being torn from her mother and fought against Xander to get free.
Spike had heard Annie, too, and he and Angel were now in the hallway with the rest of the group. Spike winced in pain as he took Annie from Xander’s grasp and held her against his chest with his good arm. “It’s ok, Niblett. Shhhh, now. You’re ok.”
Annie calmed in Spike’s arms. “Mama’s back,” she told him.
“Yeah, baby. I know.” Spike looked at Buffy, who had crumpled down to the floor exhausted and confused, after Faith pulled Annie away. “Listen, you go back to your room and I’ll have Mama come see you in a little while, ok?”
Annie frowned, her bottom lip stuck out in a pout. Just like your mother, Spike thought. “You know, one day your face’s gonna’ freeze like that, Niblett. Now, go on back to your room and you can see Mama later.”
Spike set her down and Annie walked dejectedly back to her room. Spike waited until her door closed before he approached Buffy, who hadn’t moved from where she’d collapsed on the floor. She was curled into a small ball with her knees pulled up against her chest, as if trying to disappear.
“Buffy?” he said softly as he approached her. Faith and Angel positioned themselves on either side of Buffy, ready to grab her if she attacked again. Spike squatted down next to her and laid a hand on her back. “Buffy?” he said again. “Are you OK?”
Buffy shook her head “no” but he got no other response from her.
“Are you hurt?” he prodded.
Again, she shook her head “no” but otherwise didn’t move.
“What’s wrong then, luv?”
“I don’t know,” Buffy whispered so low only Spike and Angel could hear her.
Spike sighed and looked up at Faith who shook her head and shrugged.
“Ok, luv. Let’s get you back to bed then. You’ll catch your death here on this cold floor.” Spike stood up and started to lift Buffy off the floor, but his wounded shoulder gave way. He would’ve dropped her if Angel hadn’t caught her just in time. Angel pulled Buffy out of Spike’s arms, took her back into the bedroom and laid her down on the bed. She didn’t say anything more. She just curled back into a ball on the bed, just as she had been on the floor. Pulling a pillow against her, she buried her face in it as Angel left the room and shut the door behind him.
“What the fuck happened, Spike!?” Angel said as the bedroom door clicked shut.
“Perhaps we should take this downstairs,” Giles suggested, looking at the closed door, knowing Buffy could hear everything they said.
Everyone turned and headed back downstairs. When they’d all taken their places again around the research table, Angel asked again, “OK. What happened!? She was fine. She knew you weren’t the threat. What the hell did you do to her?”
Spike jumped up from his seat. “I didn’t do a bloody thing to ‘er, Angel! She just went off like a soddin’ roman candle! BOOM!” Spike flung his arms in the air to illustrate how a roman candle explodes.
“Everyone calm down,” Giles said. “Spike, sit down and tell us everything that happened leading up to the, umm, ‘boom’.”
Spike sat back down and took a deep breath. “She was cryin’. I pulled her to me and held her, just like I’ve always done when she’s upset.”
“And then? Did you perhaps say something to her?” Wesley asked.
Spike closed his eyes and sighed. Bloody hell!
“He started singing a lullaby,” Angel said. All eyes turned to Spike.
Spike glared at Angel. “Nobody asked you!”
“A lullaby?” Xander asked, barely able to contain a grin. “The Big Bad sang a wittle wullaby?”
Spike pursed his lips together and rolled his eyes, “Yes! Alright, I sang a lullaby! It calms ‘er down.”
“So, you’ve done this before?” Giles asked.
“Yesss,” Spike dragged the word out across his tongue.
“Buffy said The First knew things that only Spike would know,” Angel interjected.
“Indeed,” Giles said. “So, if it knows things that Spike knows, then, presumably it would have known about this song.”
“It’s a trigger,” Xander interjected. When everyone looked at him in confusion, he explained further. “It's a brainwashing term. It's how the military makes sleeper agents. They brainwash operatives and condition them with a specific trigger, like a song, that makes 'em drastically change at a moment's notice.” When everyone just stared at him, he said, “Don’t you people ever watch war movies?”
“So, The First has got Buffy on its payroll now?” Anya asked. “A hired gun with a hair trigger? Or a song trigger . . .”
Giles removed his glasses and cleaned them furiously. “Yes, well, it would appear so.”
“How do we diffuse it?” Willow asked, looking at Xander.
“Well, usually the operative completes his task and either blows his head off or steals a submarine,” Xander said with a shrug. “Thinking I’m not liking those choices.”
“So, what’s her task?” Tara asked the group.
“To kill Spike,” Angel concluded.
“’S not a problem. I just won’t sing that song again. No trigger, no hired gun,” Spike said confidently.
“I’m not sure it’s that simple, Spike,” Giles admonished him. “What caused her to attack you earlier? Did you sing the lullaby then, too?”
“No, but she thought it was me who hurt ‘er then, so that doesn’t count,” Spike answered.
Giles nodded, but wasn’t entirely convinced that Spike not singing the song again would solve the problem. “I suggest that you sleep in a different room for a while, Spike. If she attacks you when you’re asleep . . .” Giles let the rest remain unspoken, everyone knew what would happen if Buffy attacked Spike while he was asleep. He’d be dust.
Bugger that! Spike thought as he nodded his agreement. “I’m gonna go check on ‘er and then get some sleep,” Spike said as he got up from the table. “You lot can do whatever you want.”
About halfway up the stairs, Spike called back down, “Angel, if you need a place to stay, I understand the Sunnyhell moto-lodge is lovely this time of year.”
“Thanks, Spike! You’re a peach! No need to thank me for saving your ass! Three times!” Angel called back to him.
Spike entered their bedroom silently, closing the door with just a light “click”. Buffy was asleep, still curled up in a ball on the bed. Spike went to her night stand and quietly removed all the stakes from the drawer, hiding them in a box at the bottom of the closet before he lay down next to her, still dressed.
Spike smoothed her hair away from her face and Buffy opened her eyes.
“Hey,” Spike said softly.
“Hey,” she said back to him as she reached up to touch his hand, assuring herself that it was really Spike.
“You ok?” he asked.
“I guess. What happened?” Buffy looked into his eyes.
“What do you remember?” Spike asked as he pulled her to him. Buffy laid her head on his good shoulder, one arm across his chest as he wrapped his arm around her, hugging her tightly against him.
“You, me and Angel were talking and – and then you were holding me and then . . .” Buffy rubbed a hand across her forehead, trying to remember what happened next.
“And then?” Spike prompted.
“And then we were in the hallway and Faith was pulling Annie away from me. Was that a dream? Isn’t Faith in a coma?” Buffy was so confused. She was having a hard time telling what was real anymore.
“No, not a dream. Faith’s out of the coma. She said you told her you needed her help. That I was possessed and so you needed Faith to wake up. So, I guess she did.” Spike explained.
Buffy nodded. She did remember telling Faith that. Was that a dream or was Faith in the dungeon, too? “Everything’s so muddled,” Buffy said aloud.
Spike dropped a soft kiss on the top of her head. “It’s ok, luv. Let’s get some sleep and it’ll be better tomorrow.”
Spike looked around, trying to get his bearings. He was in the dungeon again. He scanned the area and he saw her sitting on the floor on the other side of the cell. “Buffy!” he yelled and ran over to her.
Buffy jumped up as he approached. “Spike?” She reached her hand out and touched him, he was solid, real. He was her Spike. Buffy looked around and suddenly realized where she was and what was going to happen next in her dream.
“NO! No Spike, you can’t be here! They’re coming! You have to go!” she yelled at him.
“Buffy, I can help! Let me help you,” Spike begged her.
“NO! You can’t. You can’t see this . . . GET OUT! GET OUT OF MY DREAM!” Buffy screamed at him. She never wanted him to know what had happened to her in the dungeon. “NOW! OUT!” she screamed again as she heard her cell door open.
Spike felt an invisible force pushing him out of Buffy’s dream as she willed him away. He fought it, struggling to stay and help her and, suddenly, the feeling of being pushed out stopped. But, when he tried to move back towards her, there was an invisible barrier stopping him. He banged on the unseen wall and screamed at her to let him back in, but she couldn’t hear him now. Spike could see what was happening to her, but was powerless to do anything to help.
Spike watched as someone that looked and sounded just like him entered Buffy’s cell. The First, Spike realized as he watched and listened.
“Well, look who’s up and ready for another go!” First-Spike said to her.
“You fucked up! You’re not Spike!” Buffy yelled back at him.
First-Spike laughed. “Did I, now? Do tell!”
“Goldilocks,” Buffy said simply.
“Just ‘cuz I never said it out loud, doesn’t mean you aren’t my Goldilocks, luv.” First-Spike countered.
Spike saw Buffy shake her head as she said, “You’re not Spike.”
That’s right, Buffy! FIGHT HIM! Spike thought as he watched her dream unfold.
“PPPPFFFT,” First-Spike snorted. “Ask me anything! Anything only I would know!”
“When did you fall in love with me?”
“Oh, PLEEASE! That’s child’s play! Ask me something hard!” First-Spike taunted her.
When Buffy didn’t respond, First-Spike answered her. “Fine. Fell in love with you at the Bronze, the first time I saw you.”
“WRONG!” Buffy retorted. “I knew I was right! You’re not Spike!”
“I’m not wrong, Buffy. I know when I bloody well fell in love with you! You were dancing with your boy Harris and Red at the Bronze. You had on that halter top and short skirt and your hair shone like spun gold under the lights, Goldilocks. You were laughing and your body moved to the music with the grace of an angel. That’s when I fell in love with you. Not the night we made Annie, like you thought,” First-Spike told her.
“Bloody hell!” Spike said as he listened to his imposter tell Buffy nearly word-for-word what he’d told her about the night he fell in love with her. Although “Goldilocks” wasn’t something he’d ever called her or even thought of as a pet name for Buffy. He wasn’t sure where that came from.
“No. No, that’s wrong. You . . . Spike tried to kill me after that! More than once! That’s just not true.”
“Never succeeded, did I, luv?” First-Spike asked her. “Ever wonder why that was, with all the chances I had?”
“Why?” Why’re you doing this?” Buffy asked the imposter.
“Ah, well. Vampire, remember?” First-Spike smirked at her.
Spike could feel her deflate, feel disappointment and sadness overwhelm her. “FIGHT HIM BUFFY!” Spike screamed at her as he banged on the invisible barrier. “BUFFY! FIGHT!” But she couldn’t hear him.
“NO! No, no, no . . .” Buffy said as she moved away from First-Spike. Then Spike saw them. Two of the vampires like the one he and Angel had fought when they’d rescued Buffy from the dungeon. Spike could feel her fear, he’d never felt her so afraid. Not when they were fighting Angelus or the commandos or Glory. Even when she knew she was going to die, he never felt this much fear in her.
“Now, Buffy. There’s nowhere to go, luv.” First-Spike said as he stalked slowly closer to her. “You can stop it, pet. Stop the pain. All you have to do is dust me.”
“DUST HIM! BUFFY DO IT!” Spike screamed at her still banging against the barrier in vain.
Buffy shook her head. “Please, please stop this. We can - we can fix whatever it is, Spike. Just stop now,” she begged him.
“Only you can stop it, Buffy.”
Spike watched as one of the beastly vampires tossed a stake at Buffy’s feet and she picked it up. “YES, BUFFY! DUST HIM!” Spike screamed at her, but she didn’t hear.
Spike watched in horror as the First and his beastly vampires trapped Buffy between them.
First-Spike was talking again. “Or, maybe Angelus was right, after all, Buff. Maybe you would love to get fucked in the ass and the quim at the same time. Would it made you scream and beg for more? Let’s find out, shall we?”
“NO!! BUFFY! FIGHT! DUST HIM!” Spike continued to scream at her as he backed up and threw himself at the barrier separating them with all his strength, but it didn’t give.
Spike watched as Buffy swung the stake as hard as she could at one of the beasts, but it had little effect. Spike knew it wouldn’t. He’d found that out how hard way when he and Angel fought the one that guarded the dungeon. It wasn’t until they were finally able, between the both of them, to cut its head off, did the uber-vamp dissolve into dust.
“Missed the heart, luv,” First-Spike was saying now. “Gotta shove it in deeper than that. I’m sure they’ll show you, pet.”
“NO! BUFFY! NO! WAKE UP, BUFFY! NOOOO!” Spike screamed and pounded on the barrier. He watched helplessly as the two beastly vampires grabbed his wife.
Then he heard it, First-Spike was singing, “Early one morning, just as the sun was rising . . .”
“SPIKE! WAKE UP, YOU PRATT!” Spike yelled at himself within the dream. “WAKE THE BLOODY HELL UP!”
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