|Story Title:||Can't Buy Me Love|
If I Were Brave
Slayer meets Slayer … sword meets scythe – will they all survive?
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.
If I Were Brave by Jana Stanfield: http://youtu.be/0Nx4JkCALec
ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:
Special thanks to 'epd4' for betaing this chapter!!
|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.
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010, 12:30am, London:
“NOOOO!” Spike screamed as he lunged forward and yanked the scythe from Faith’s hands with both of his, hitting her in the jaw with one fist wrapped around the shaft as he jerked it away and pulled the blood-stained blade from his wife’s torso. Buffy’s eyes were wide with fear and pain as she dropped her own sword and clutched her chest, blood seeped through her fingers as she sunk slowly to the floor. Faith was no better … Buffy’s sword had sunk deep into Faith’s stomach, just below the ribcage, and she dropped to the floor like a lead balloon when Spike hit her. Bess’ sword had missed the mark somewhat, hitting Amanda in the shoulder. Amanda had hit her mark perfectly … a direct hit in the middle of Bess’ sternum, but when Spike surged between the fighters, the sword had been knocked out and Bess’ wound healed almost immediately.
Suddenly everyone was talking and yelling at once as Slayers and Watchers rushed to the aid of their friends, but Spike could hear none of it – he could only hear Buffy’s heart racing and fluttering with fear, he could only smell her blood, he could only feel her pain. Spike dropped the scythe and caught Buffy just before she hit the ground. He could feel his own ‘stitches’ tearing through his flesh, but the only thought in his mind was for her and their baby. Spike sank to the floor with her, holding her against him and pressing his hands down on top of hers to stem the flow of blood, which seemed to be coming directly from her heart.
“Buffy … God, Buffy, please …no,” Spike prayed as he held her against him.
Buffy coughed and blood splattered a brilliant red veil over Spike's chest and ran down Buffy's chin. “Scythe …”she moaned, pulling one hand out from under his and reaching for the weapon.
Spike reacted immediately … it hadn’t even registered that the weapon he’d pulled from the ‘enemy’s’ hand was the scythe. He reached for it at the same time Wes did and for a brief moment there was a struggle for the healing relic, but the struggle was over in an instant when Spike growled low and threatening and jerked the weapon away from the Watcher.
Spike held it up in front of Buffy and helped his wife grip it tightly with both hands. She closed her eyes and leaned her head tiredly against her husband as she waited for the weapon's healing power to flow into her. It only took a moment for her to feel the Guardian’s magic surging out from the ancient artifact and through her body, causing her whole body to tense. It felt like pins and needles prickling her skin as the wounds and infection on her back healed, as the swelling and bruising on her knees and jaw cleared, and the bleeding from her chest slowed then stopped completely.
Buffy’s chest heaved as her breathing quickened and her heart raced even faster with the effect of the magic. She tried to release her grip on the scythe, but it seemed welded to her hands for a few moments before she was finally able to toss it away, over towards Wes and Faith. Buffy collapsed back against Spike, trying to slow her breathing and heart rate back to normal after the adrenaline rush of the magic, and Spike wrapped his arms back around her tightly. As Buffy’s heart slowed, Spike could hear the baby’s heart beating strong and steady along with his wife’s. Spike pulled in a deep breath as he buried his face in her long hair, relief washing over him and bringing tears to his eyes; he would’ve never forgiven himself if anything had happened to either of them – Buffy or the baby.
Wes immediately grabbed the scythe when Buffy dropped it and pressed it into Faith’s hands as Kennedy kept pressure on the wound in the elder Slayer’s stomach. Faith fought to remain conscious, but the floor had begun spinning not long after Spike had hit her and she felt like she was free-falling through a wormhole in deep space, with bright lights flashing by at warp speed. She swallowed hard and concentrated on holding onto the scythe when Wes pressed it into her hands until she felt the now familiar crackle of magic surge out of it and into her. Slowly, the floor stopped spinning and the feeling of falling through space was replaced with the feeling of a cold, damp, hard floor at her back. When Kennedy announced that her wound was healed, Faith released one hand from the scythe, breaking the magical circuit, as she tried to catch her breath from the adrenaline that surged through her.
Wes helped Faith sit up and took the scythe and gave it to Amanda to heal her shoulder as Kennedy and Vi kept an eye down the hall for more guards or vampires.
Faith looked over at Buffy and the two Slayers' eyes met across the short space. “Sooo … you guys been having a fun vacation?” Faith asked sarcastically.
Buffy snorted a soft laugh and rolled her eyes. “A giggle a minute … I honestly don’t know why this place isn’t in the Zagat’s guide…”
After regrouping and introducing Bess to Faith and the others, the Slayers turned their attention to the last door – the white door. Since the guards weren’t in the blue room, they must’ve gone into that room. By now, most of the other Slayers that Faith had brought with her had recovered from the tranquilizer darts and rejoined the group. Faith, Vi, Amanda, Kennedy, and Bess led the charge into the white room … Spike steadfastly refused to allow Buffy to go. Period. In all honesty, Buffy didn’t put up much of an argument … she’d had too many close calls these last days, her luck was surely running thin.
Giles, Wes, Spike, and Buffy waited in the blue room as the other Slayers charged through the door of the last room in the dungeon. Within moments, several of the younger, less experienced Slayers came running back out of the room, holding their hands over their mouths and trying hard not to puke … most of them didn’t succeed in their attempt to hold the bile back.
Buffy’s brows furrowed … what could be in there that was so vile to cause that reaction? Buffy grabbed up her sword and ventured cautiously out of the blue door and looked around the corner into the room next door. What had once been a sterile white floor was stained blood red … the drained bodies of Watchers and guards littered the room like yesterday’s newspaper. Up in the mezzanine, Buffy could see Slayers fighting with vamps … apparently quite a few of the vamps that the guards had released to fight the Slayers had turned on them – followed them into the white room during their retreat, and massacred everyone in there.
“Dear Lord…” Giles muttered as he came up behind Buffy and looked past her into the room.
“Pretty sure he didn’t have anything to do with any of it,” Buffy mumbled. “Stay here,” she ordered before she moved into the room, going from body to body, checking for survivors … there were none.
Buffy could hear the Slayers up above as they fought the vamps … one would call for ‘a little help’ … then there would be silence for a moment, just the sounds of the fighting filled the large area … then someone would yell out in pain or victory, then more sounds of the struggle until finally everything above went silent. Buffy heard Faith checking on her troops and doors above her opening and closing as they checked for more vamps in the private offices that ringed the balcony.
“We’ve got some live ones!” Faith announced after several minutes of searching.
“More vamps?” Buffy questioned from the floor below.
“No … guards and … doctors?” Faith called down.
Within a minute, several guards, a couple of Watchers, and what appeared to be three doctors in white lab coats, made their way down a hidden staircase and emerged at the back of the room, shaken but unhurt. They’d barricaded themselves in a maintenance closet when the vamps had attacked and had stayed there.
“This is it,” Faith affirmed when she emerged from the stairway behind the group. “This is all that’s left.”
Until the Sunnydale group could come up with some plan, the surviving guards, Watchers, and doctors were placed in the empty cells in the dungeon and secured there for now.
As Faith was leading one Watcher into Buffy’s old cell, Buffy stopped her and went in first. Going to her cot, she picked up the pillow from it and brought it out of the cell before letting Faith lock the woman in there.
Spike looked at her with confusion when she left his side to retrieve the pillow and now cocked a brow at it when she returned. “Souvenir?” he questioned as he wrapped an arm back around her shoulders for support.
“Weapon…” Buffy explained, pulling the pillow out of the pillowcase to leave just a sack full of all the hard, granny smith apples that she’d saved from all her meals.
Spike laughed lightly and shook his head … only Buffy could make a weapon out of her food.
“Never got to try it out,” she pouted, swinging it slowly by her side and testing the weight. “I really wanted to beat Travers’ hard head with it.”
“Sorry, luv … didn’t mean to take your fun away,” Spike apologized.
Buffy shrugged as the pair began walking slowly down the hallway towards the antechamber, Spike leaning heavily on her for support with one arm and holding his ravaged abdomen with the other. “It’s ok, in the end he got what he deserved,” she assured him. “I mean, who knocks someone’s tooth out then brings them crunchy apples to eat? What did he really expect?!”
Tuesday, 6:30pm, Sunnydale (2:30am Wednesday, London):
Clem opened empty cupboard after empty cupboard, then stood with the fridge door open, staring at the nearly empty shelves. Had Faith ever heard of grocery shopping? What had she been feeding these kids? He pulled three packs of dairy-free, instant pudding out of one cabinet … chocolate, pistachio, and coconut; from another cabinet he got a box of Oreo cookies and a large bag of gummy worms. In the fridge he found two beers, a container of almond milk and little else other than condiments and something in a Tupperware container that looked like it had come over on Noah’s Ark … it was a bit green and slimy, and he was pretty sure whatever it was wasn’t supposed to be green and slimy.
Clem took one of the beers out, opened it, and took a long drink as he looked at the collection on the counter … he was no expert, but that didn’t look like it would really fulfill the USDA’s food pyramid for proper human nutrition.
“What’s for dinner?” JJ whined from behind Clem. “I’m hungry!”
Clem thought of loading the kids up and going to Mickey-D’s … or to the grocery store, but his car wasn’t that big and the idea of driving with four kids in there with him was a bit daunting. Maybe he could have a pizza delivered... oh no, Dani can’t eat pizza … no cheese. Hmmm… do they make cheese-less pizza? Maybe Chinese food…
Dani and Billy came into the kitchen behind JJ and Dani’s eyes went wide. “OH! Are we having ‘Worms in Mud’?” she asked excitedly, clapping her hands and bouncing on her toes.
“Huh?” Clem questioned looking at her then back to the stuff on the counter.
“Worms in Mud!” Dani repeated. “Papa made it on Halloween! It’s the best!”
Clem furrowed his brow and looked back at the stuff on the counter … almond milk … that was protein, right? And sort of dairy? And the cookies … they were made from wheat … that was a grain. And the pudding, it had sugar in it … wasn’t sugar technically a vegetable? I mean they make it from cane, which is a plant! Plus … pistachio … that was a nut … and green, too, almost like lettuce. And wasn’t chocolate made from coco beans? Beans … those are protein rich, right? And coconut … that was definitely a fruit … wasn’t it? Hell … that just about totally covered that food pyramid after all, and Spike had made it before, so it must be okay.
“How do you make it?” he questioned the excited girl.
“You smoosh the cookies into crumbs and put the pudding on top and put the worms in the mud and then put more cookie crumbs …” Dani explained clearly.
Clem scrunched up his nose. “Huh?”
Just then Annie came in to see what was going on. “Do you know how to make Worms in Mud?” he asked the elder girl.
Annie looked at the stuff on the counter and her eyes went wide … chocolate! Chocolate pudding and Oreos! Yay! Dani could have all her worms, just like at Halloween … she just wanted the chocolate. “Yeah … the recipe’s in the drawer …” she offered, opening a drawer that was full of papers of all types – handwritten index cards, stuff cut off various boxes, pages from magazines … Annie rummaged through until she found the right paper and handed it to Clem.
“I get the chocolate, Dani likes the pistachio with extra worms, Billy likes the coconut, and JJ likes them all mixed together,” she explained as Clem scanned the simple instructions … this was gonna be easy-peasy.
** Worms In Mud **
·Place the chocolate sandwich cookies into a resealable plastic zipper bag, and crush with a rolling pin into crumbs. For a more mudlike appearance, untwist the cookies and scrape off the creme filling before crushing cookies.
·Whisk together the pudding mix with the milk in a bowl, stirring for 2 minutes. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the crushed sandwich cookie crumbs into the bottom of a serving bowl, and spoon the pudding over the crumbs. Smooth out the top of the pudding, then top with the rest of the chocolate cookie crumbs to resemble dirt. Poke gummy worms halfway into the dirt. Refrigerate until serving.
Yields: 4 servings
Clem got three large mixing bowls from the cupboard and sat them down on the kitchen table, then he emptied one pack of the instant pudding mix into each, added the almond milk and gave each of the Weckerly kids a spoon to start stirring with. As they worked on mixing the milk and the pudding (a lot of which ended up on the table and floor and all over the kids, but hey... whatever), he had JJ crush the cookies up in a Ziplock bag.
Clem did a final stir of the puddings with a whisk to get the remaining lumps out, then spooned some of the pudding from each of the bowls into a fourth bowl for JJ … then he just let the kids top it however they wanted … with as many worms and as much ‘cookie dirt’ as their hearts desired. When they were done, each child had a huge mixing bowl full of sugary goodness, which they dug into giddily. Clem was the best babysitter ever!
Clem leaned back against the counter smugly and took another long swig of beer as he watched the kids eat. What was the big, hairy deal? Faith had been complaining about how hard it was to feed them … Dani couldn’t have milk or cheese, JJ didn’t like anything green, Billy wouldn’t eat garden peas or whole corn ‘because I can feel their guts squish out in my mouth’ … She obviously just didn’t know the secret to feeding children properly … this was gonna be a breeze.
Just as the kids were really digging into their ‘meal’, the phone began ringing. Annie jumped up from her seat and ran to answer it, hopeful that it was Aunt Faith with good news.
“Hello?” she answered, her voice full of hopeful anticipation mixed with a little fear that the news wouldn’t be good, after all.
“’Ello Niblett,” Spike drawled on the other end when he heard her voice, tears stinging his eyes. He had been pretty sure he’d never hear her voice again – and more than ‘pretty sure’ he would never get out of that dungeon in one piece.
“PAPA!” Annie yelled back excitedly, jumping up and down. “Where have you been!? We were so worried and Billy had a dream and said you needed Aunt Faith at the watch bakers and to hurry! Are you okay? Is mama there?”
When all the guards, doctors, and Watchers had been secured, the rescuers and rescuees gathered in one of the conference rooms up on the first floor of the Council building to try and figure out what to do next. The first order of business was for Buffy and Spike to call home …
“We’re fine, pet,” Spike lied as he held his abdomen, which had started bleeding again from where he’d torn the stitches earlier. “Your mum’s here, she’s fine … we just had a bit of a row with the locals, but everything’s brilliant now. No worries,” Spike assured her.
“When are you coming home?” Annie questioned as Clem, Billy, Dani, and JJ came out of the kitchen into the great room to listen, too.
“Not sure yet, pet, but won’t be long,” Spike hedged. He really didn’t want the kids to see him this beat up … and they still had to figure out what to do with the Watchers and the doctors that were left in the dungeon and restore Bess’ soul and get her a passport...
“Did you save the girl?” Annie wondered.
“Yeah … well, more like the girl saved us, but she’s out of danger now – we all are,” Spike assured her again. “Is Junior there?”
“Yeah … hang on.” Annie started to hand the phone to Billy but then pulled it back.
“I love you,” Annie told him, her voice breaking with tears of relief that they were ok.
“Moi aussi, je t'aime … beaucoup … tons and tons,” Spike replied, using Buffy’s rough translation, as he clenched his jaw and blinked back tears of his own.
“Papa?” Billy called tentatively when Annie handed him the receiver.
“Hey, little man – do ya feel any different?” Spike questioned his son, wiping the tears from his eyes and forcing his voice to sound cheerful.
“Different than what?” Billy replied softly, not sure what he meant.
“Different than yesterday,” Spike clarified. “You’re an official member of the Scooby gang now – a Scooby-pup! Got one mission under your belt, you do. You were very brave … we’re right proud of you, your mum and me.”
Billy smiled brightly, his eyes going wide. “For real?!”
“For real,” Spike agreed. “We’ll get you an official super-Scooby decoder ring when we get back, yeah? And maybe a lightsaber…”
“Awesome!” Billy gushed, proud of himself for not letting Aunt Anya delay him from completing his first official mission. “Annie and Dani helped,” he admitted to his father.
“Ah, well then … I reckon you’ll all haveta get official decoder rings, yeah?”
Billy smiled even wider. “Yeah … we’re all brave Scooby-pups!”
Spike laughed as he fought to keep his emotions from overwhelming him. He hadn’t wanted to put that much pressure on his boy, but he couldn’t think of any other way to get a message to Faith. If something had gone wrong, if Faith hadn’t gotten there, if he and Buffy hadn’t made it out, the guilt and feeling of failure might have been something Billy may not have ever been able to recover from. Spike was thrilled and proud to hear that the girls had helped their brother, that they’d worked together to complete the mission, just as Buffy had always had her friends and family helping her.
“You’re all chips off the ole Slayer block,” Spike agreed finally, swallowing back a lump of pride that swelled within him for their children.
Spike and Buffy both talked to all the kids, including JJ, and assured them all that they were alright, they would be home as soon as possible, and that they loved them very much and admonished them to be good for Clem and Anya.
“Clem’s the best sitter ever!” Dani proclaimed to her mother near the end of the call.
“He is? Why is he so great?” Buffy wondered as her heart soared. There had been more than one moment during the last three days that she’d doubted she’d ever hear her children’s voices again. She’d fought her doubts, tried to stay positive and battled her own inner demons that made her question her ability to survive their ordeal – but she’d won – they’d won together, her and Spike, with the help of their friends and family … just as they always had.
“’Cos he let us make our own dinner!” Dani exclaimed excitedly. “And I got to have as many worms as I wanted!”
“Worms?!” Buffy exclaimed in shock, her brows furrowed in confusion. Surely Clem had spent enough time with humans, including every Thanksgiving and Christmas at the mansion, to know that kids, human kids, didn’t eat insects or … worms!
“Yeah! Worms in Mud! Just like we had at Halloween! It’s yummy!” Dani explained.
“Hang on a minute, ok, honey?” Buffy requested as she put her hand over the receiver and asked Spike what the heck Dani was talking about – ‘worms at Halloween’.
When Buffy came back on the line she said, “Dani, honey, put Clem on, ok?”
“Hi, Buffy!” Clem answered brightly. “Everything ok there?”
“Yeah, Clem … it’s fine now. Ummm … you do realize that letting kids choose their own meals is usually not the best idea, right?” Buffy questioned as tactfully as she could.
“Oh, sure, Buffy – I know,” Clem agreed. “But I’ve got everything under control. We’re following the food pyramid … protein, vegetables, fruits, and dairy … or sort-of dairy, ‘cos you know, Dani can’t have dairy dairy. I'm doing everything exactly right.”
Buffy’s brows rose and she rubbed at her eyes. “Clem, gummy worms with cookies and pudding really isn’t what they had in mind when they made the food pyramid. Just because it has all the colors of actual food … it really isn’t.”
“Oh …” Clem mumbled, discouraged. “But I thought since Spike made it before …”
Buffy sighed. Clem sounded so disheartened, it made her feel bad. “It’s ok, Clem, but maybe try some of the frozen meals I left there for tomorrow night, ok?”
“Frozen meals?” Clem questioned. “I didn’t see any …”
“Out in the garage … in the chest freezer, there are all kinds that the kids like – you just pop them in the microwave,” Buffy explained. Spike hated those frozen meals, but Buffy had bought them for Faith to feed the kids, since Faith was an even less talented cook than Buffy was.
“Ok, Buffy – don’t worry about anything. I’ve got it all under control. No more gummy worms for dinner from now on!” Clem assured her sincerely, eliciting moans from the kids who were listening attentively.
“Thanks, Clem. You’re doing great,” Buffy encouraged him. “Oh, and Clem?”
“I wouldn’t mention what the kids had for dinner to Anya if I were you …” Buffy warned. “She might get upset thinking all that sugar was the reason they can’t get to sleep tonight and why they’re bouncing off the walls like Wham-O Superballs on speed.”
“They aren’t bouncing off the walls …” Clem pointed out.
“They will be.”
If I Were Brave by Jana Stanfield
would I do, if I knew that I could not fail?
If I were
brave, I’d walk the razor’s edge,
would I do today, if I were brave?
we’re all meant to do what we secretly dream?
If I were
brave, I’d walk the razor’s edge,
would I do today, if I were brave?
refuse to listen to the voice of fear,
If I were
brave, I’d walk the razor’s edge,
would I do today, if I were brave?
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