|Story Title:||Turn Me On|
Don't Let Me Die Young
Despite Spike’s wish, the Scoobies don’t leave Spike in the desert to dust. Can he redeem himself or will he dust trying?
Spiral – Weight of the World – The Gift
|Thanks:||To YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.|
|Rating / Warnings:||
SPOILER ALERT: This story is a cross-over with the 'Miles to Go' story in the Unexpected Universe Series. If you have not read that story, but intend to, then you should read it first! You do not have to read it for this spin-off to make sense. There is a *lot* more detail of what lead up to this story there, much more than is contained in the prologue, however. If you have read that story, then this prologue will be review for you.
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.
Buffy collapsed to her knees in the sand, her eyes open, swimming with tears, but unseeing; her expression blank. Dawn was gone. She’d failed. It was over. She’d killed her sister. She’d ended the world.
“Buffy!” Willow exclaimed, running over to her. “C’mon! We have to go! We have to get Dawn!”
But Buffy didn’t hear her. Didn’t see her. Didn’t even feel her friend shaking her shoulders in earnest.
“Buffy! Buffy! Buffy you have to get up, we need you! Buffy, please! Buffy!” Willow pleaded with her.
As Willow was trying to get Buffy to come around, Xander walked over and started kicking Spike’s prone body in anger and frustration. “This is your fault! If you hadn’t gone and gotten yourself all screwed up by attacking Ben, you could’ve helped fight Glory!”
Spike’s brain exploded when Xander kicked his spine and sent new pain signals back up into Spike’s cerebral cortex. All the synapses in his brain had been overtaxed by the chip firing, and the new stimuli set them blazing with a fire hotter than the sun. Spike screamed out for a moment, clutching his head tightly, then fell still and silent as his brain defended itself the only way it could: by shutting down.
“Xander! Stop!” Willow cried, jumping up from Buffy and running over to Xander and Spike. But Xander didn’t stop; he continued kicking Spike’s back furiously, relentlessly.
“Damn it! Separate!” Willow commanded, extending her hand towards Xander. Xander stumbled back away from Spike and fell onto his ass on the ground. “Now stop it!” Willow ordered, glaring at the brunette. “Buffy's out. Spike’s out. Glory has Dawn. Sometime real soon she's gonna use Dawn to tear down the barriers between every dimension there is, so if you want to take out your frustrations on Spike, you do it after the world ends. 'Kay?” Willow demanded authoritatively.
Xander nodded grudgingly, more than a little shocked at the power with with Willow had flung him across the ground, and stood up as Anya, helping Giles, and Tara made it outside to them.
“Alright,” Willow continued in her no-nonsense tone. “First, we head back to Sunnydale in Ben’s car. Xander'll take Giles to a hospital and Spike back to his crypt. Do anything stupid to him like you were just doing here, and I will get very cranky,” she warned Xander. “If Spike recovers enough to fight, we’ll need him. Anya's looking after Tara. Everyone clear?”
Anya raised her hand hesitantly.
“What will you be doing?”
“I’ll be helping Buffy,” Willow replied flatly. “We’ll all meet at the Magic Box as soon as we can and we’ll come up with a new plan to find Glory and save Dawn.”
“Ok, get Spike and Buffy and let’s go,” she ordered no one in particular as she headed for Ben’s car.
“Uhhhh …” Xander interrupted tentatively. “Ben’s gone and we don’t have any keys.”
“I don’t need keys,” Willow announced, as she touched her hand to the hood and commanded, “Discharge and bring life.” The engine of the car turned over and hummed easily.
“Handy,” Xander admitted. “But what about Ben? He must’ve run off into the desert or something. Are we just gonna leave him?”
Willow looked around at all the dead and dying Knights for a moment. “We don’t have time to waste. We’ll leave our supplies here for him. If he’s still alive, hopefully he’ll come back looking for his car. If the world doesn’t end, someone can come back for him then.”
Xander nodded, further amazed at Willow’s logical level-headedness, then he picked Buffy up and carried her to the car.
Back in Sunnydale Willow explores Buffy’s mind:
“I can't keep following you around like this, Buffy. We have to go. You have to talk to me!” Willow pleaded with her as they walked down the upstairs hallway in Buffy’s house. Buffy opened one of the bedroom doors and stepped inside; Willow followed her.
“Buffy, what…” she began, but stopped short just inside the door. Kendra, the Vampire Slayer, and Jenny Calendar were sitting on the floor like limp ragdolls. The teacher’s head was turned nearly around backwards on her neck and Kendra was covered in blood from a long gash across her neck.
Buffy looked at Willow, her arms folded across her chest. “Death is my gift,” she supplied calmly.
“Buffy … this … wasn’t your fault,” Willow assured her, pulling her eyes away from the two dead women.
“Really?” Buffy asked incredulously.
“No!” Willow admonished her. “It was Angelus … and Dru.”
“And just who do you think turned Angelus loose on my friends? I’ll give you three guesses and two of them don’t count,” Buffy replied sardonically.
“Buffy – we’ve been over this before! You couldn’t have known what would happen,” Willow continued.
“Sure. Right,” Buffy agreed sarcastically. “When Buffy, the Vampire Slayer makes a mistake, people die,” she asserted as she turned and headed back out into the hall.
She opened the next door and entered it.
Willow followed, and inside that room she found Joyce Summers’ grave. “Buffy … you can’t think this was your fault!”
“Death is my gift,” Buffy repeated.
“I keep hearing that, but I don’t understand what that means,” Willow told her sadly.
“It’s not really that complicated,” Buffy asserted as she walked past Willow and back out into the hallway. She stopped, opened the next door, and stepped inside. Willow followed right behind her.
Spike was lying on a raised sarcophagus in the center of the room, his eyes closed. His arms were crossed over his chest, as if ready for burial. He was dressed just the way he'd been when he'd first come to Sunnydale, black tee, black jeans, black boots, and ruby-red overshirt. “It's what I do. C'mon, you've known me for how long? It's what I'm here for. It's all I am,” Buffy explained casually as she pulled a stake from her pocket and slammed it down into Spike’s chest.
Spike’s eyes flew open and he gasped in pain and shock, then disintegrated into dust.
Willow gasped too, looking at Buffy with wide, surprised eyes.
“Eventually, I’ll kill everyone around me,” Buffy asserted matter-of-factly. “Including you. It's just what Slayers do – it's what I do.”
Buffy walked out of that room, back into the hallway, then through the last door. Inside that room, Dawn was sleeping in her bed. Buffy sat down next to her and pulled a pillow over Dawn’s face. Without a thought, she pressed down, smothering her sister.
“Buffy, no! Stop!” Willow screamed at her.
“What? I keep telling you, Will. I figured it out. Death is my gift,” Buffy explained calmly as Dawn went limp under the pillow.
“This never happened!” Willow argued. “You didn’t kill any of these people! You certainly didn’t kill Dawn … or Spike for that matter. We need your help to get your sister back. You’ve gotta snap out of this. Death is not your gift! I don’t know what that means, but this is not what you were put here for.”
“Really? Pretty sure it was. I’m a demon … it’s what demons do, Will,” Buffy explained casually. “You know that.”
“Buffy … no,” Willow assured her. “You aren’t a demon.”
“Yes, I am. Spike showed me … the Guide told me – even Giles knows. I’m made from darkness. I just suck the life out of everything around me. It’s what I was made for,” Buffy explained again.
“Didn’t you see Spike attack Ben and Dawn? I gave him my love and it just … it turned him back into a monster. He loved me and that was fine as long as I ignored him, but when I returned it…” Buffy stopped and sighed woefully. “I’m made of darkness. I’m a giant black-hole that swallows up everything good and light – it kills everyone around me. Since Spike’s already dead, it did the next best thing – it sucked his soul out and turned him back over to the demon.
“Why put off the inevitable? I might as well just kill everyone and get it over with. It’s what’s gonna happen anyway,” Buffy asserted.
"Buffy …” Willow started in a soft, cajoling voice. “That’s such a bunch of hooey!” she continued angrily.
Buffy blinked and looked at her friend in shock, dropping the pillow away from Dawn’s face.
“You’re full of … shit,” Willow reiterated daringly, throwing caution to the wind. “Yeah, ok, when you make a mistake maybe people die, but that doesn’t make it your fault! No one can be perfect. We do the best we can and that’s all we can do. How many people have you saved? I bet if you ask them, they’d say you were a hero – an angel, not a demon. But do you ever ask them? No – you never even think about all those people who are still walking around living their lives; you only think about the ones you lost. Well, here’s a news flash: everyone has failures in life and in love. Everyone loses people they’ve loved. People change. People die. People leave. It’s not just you! Get over yourself already!” the witch advised reproachfully.
“Dawn is not dead, and neither is Spike!” Willow continued. “I don’t know why Spike attacked …” Willow stopped talking, a sudden epiphany lighting up in her brain. “Ben is Glory! Glory is Ben! Ben’s the human vessel! Spike … knew!” Willow exclaimed, her eyes wide with sudden understanding. “Spike didn’t just go off the deep end! He … he was trying to protect Dawn, just like he said! Ben is Glory!” the Willow repeated, her eyes wide with sudden understanding.
“Ben is Glory?” Buffy questioned, her brows furrowed. Then she, too, got a look of understanding on her face. “And Glory is Ben. Kill Ben, kill Glory,” she realized, her eyes wide, mimicking Willow’s.
“Buffy! Don’t you see?” Willow asked in a pleading voice. “You didn’t suck Spike’s … uhhhh … did you say soul?” Willow asked, suddenly confused again.
Buffy closed her eyes and nodded, then slowly looked back up at Willow. “Spike has – I don’t know how, but I’m sure of it – he has a part of William’s soul still in there. I thought … I thought I’d … stolen it or killed it or something. I thought he’d … turned into a monster. I thought …” Buffy closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands. “Oh, God, what have I done?”
“It’s not too late, Buffy. Dawn isn’t dead. Spike isn’t dead ... or not any deader than always. But Dawn certainly will be if you don’t snap out of this, and now!” Willow admonished her.
Buffy looked up at Willow and in that second the weight of guilt that had been keeping her locked in her own mind lifted. Back in the darkened room where she and Willow sat facing each other, Buffy collapsed into sobs, allowing her emotions to flow out and release the strangle-hold they had on her psyche. Willow sighed in relief as she moved forward and hugged her friend. Buffy was back; it would be alright.
Meanwhile, at Spike’s crypt:
Spike moaned as the blackness that had engulfed him began to clear. He fought to remember where he was and what had happened, but his brain was still cloaked in a dark mist of pain. He blinked his eyes open slowly, afraid he’d find light on the other side of his eyelids that would pierce his eyeballs like skewers. But there was no light – everything was dark. He blinked a few more times and then squinted into the darkness – it was his crypt. He was lying atop the sarcophagus in the center of the room. He tried to remember how he’d gotten here, but couldn’t. He tried to find a point of reference and work forward, trying to remember what had happened. Then it came back to him. Ben. Glory. Dawn. Buffy. Buffy’s words rang in his ears and it felt like a stake to his heart. “I can’t believe how goddamned selfish you are. I fucking hate you! If we get out of this, I never want to see you again.”
He closed his eyes and massaged his throbbing temples. At least the pain had subsided enough for his limbs to begin working again, but it didn’t help the ache in his chest. Spike pressed his palms against his eyes. Tears leaked from beneath his closed lids as the rest of the events of the night flooded back into his ravaged mind. Ben is Glory. Glory is Ben. Glory took Dawn. He’d failed spectacularly. He’d not only failed to keep Dawn safe, he’d actually hurt her. On top of that, he’d managed to show Buffy, and the rest of her troupe, what a pathetic excuse for a vampire he actually was.
“Bloody hell,” he muttered, pushing up to sitting on the stone lid. His head whirled with pain, fear, and anger. His only consolation was that he had been right about Ben. He should’ve killed Ben when he’d had the chance. Just more proof of his impotence.
Spike slid to the edge of the tomb he was atop and lowered his feet to the floor. The world tilted a moment, but then stilled as he held to the stone lid for support. He’d promised Dawn that nothing would happen to her, and as long as he was still walking this earth, he would fight to keep that promise. Since he and his crypt were still here, he had to assume that the world hadn’t ended yet and Dawn was still alive.
Spike rummaged around in his weapons chest and pulled out a few implements of destruction that he thought might come in handy. Armed to the teeth, figuratively and literally, he stumbled out of the crypt and into the night.
Buffy and Willow streaked into Spike’s crypt, breathless and panicked, but Spike wasn't there. Buffy checked downstairs, but it too was empty.
“Where is he? I thought Xander was supposed to leave him here,” Buffy demanded of Willow, a tinge of panic in her voice.
Willow shook her head. “I’m sure Xander did – look, there’s fresh blood on the sarcophagus,” Willow pointed out.
“Oh, God,” Buffy moaned. “He’s going after Glory on his own! Let’s go!”
“Buffy, wait! Where are you going?” Willow asked, grabbing her arm.
“To Glory’s apartment. We have to find him – he can’t … she’ll kill him,” Buffy explained quickly, her panic rising.
“Buffy, she’ll kill you too. We need a better plan than just run in all pell-mell and … get dead,” Willow admonished her.
“But … Dawn … Spike …” Buffy stammered, looking conflicted.
“Buffy, it won’t help anyone for us to just hurtle ourselves into something with no plan. Everyone should be back at the Magic Box by now. We need to go back there and put our heads together before we rush in blind,” Willow reasoned.
Buffy sighed heavily and rubbed her tired eyes. “I hate it when reason and logic win out over irrational pummeling.” Buffy blew out a resigned breath and the two women headed for the door.
“Pell-mell?” Buffy questioned, cocking a brow at Willow as she pulled the door closed behind them.
Willow shrugged. “How often do you get to use ‘pell-mell’ in an actual conversation? I’ve been waiting for this chance for ages!”
Buffy laughed lightly. “I’m glad I could make your life complete.”
“Yeah, with the world ending and all, I thought I better get in as many vocabulary words as I could before, you know … the universe is cast into perdition,” Willow grinned.
No one was home when Spike arrived at Glory’s mansion. He took his time looking around. He found Ben’s room, including what appeared to be all his meager possessions, but all of Glory’s things were gone. As Spike was leaving what was obviously Glory’s bedroom, he stopped in a side-room … a lounge or dressing room, perhaps? Whatever it was called, there was a very familiar scent to it: Dawn. Dawn had definitely been here, and not long ago. If Glory and her entourage of warty minions hadn’t taken a car, he might be able to track where they’d gone with their precious Key.
The minions had a very distinctive aroma. It was along the lines of a very mangy, wet dog. Glory also had a strong scent, which, if he wasn’t mistaken, was a designer perfume by Ralph Lauren called ‘Notorious’. Not that Spike was an expert in designer fragrances, but the empty bottle of the stuff that had been left on the dresser was a pretty big clue. And then there was Dawn. Fearful, tearful Dawn. He’d try to follow Dawn; if that didn’t work, he’d follow Glory and, as a last resort, if he lost the hell-god’s trail, he’d follow the minions’.
He took a flask out of his pocket, poured the last third of a giant bottle of aspirin into his mouth, and washed them down with bourbon. Maybe if he took enough of the infernal pills the throbbing in his brain would subside a little. It hadn’t worked with the first two-thirds of the bottle, but maybe three times would be the charm.
Spike crept down Main Street, keeping to the shadows as he followed Dawn’s scent. He’d lost and regained both the minions’ and Glory’s scent over the many blocks from Glory’s mansion to downtown, but he had never lost Dawn’s. He’d been to the warehouse, but Dawn was gone, as was Glory and most of her minions. The hobbits that remained were working with the brain-drained humans, building some sort of structure in the parking lot. So engrossed were they in their work, they didn’t even notice him. He’d picked up Dawn’s scent again on the other side of the building, heading towards the center of town. Glory, as such, wasn’t with her, he knew that for certain – but Ben, still smelling quite bloody, was.
Spike kept to the shadows, trying to see without being seen. Surprise would be his best weapon. If he could just get Dawn away from Ben/Glory, send her scampering to big sis, and delay the hell-god long enough for Dawn to get away, that would be all that mattered. If he got lucky, he could kill Ben and end this whole thing right now. It would probably end him too. He was pretty sure his brain wouldn’t take much more electroshock therapy without permanent damage, but that didn’t matter anymore. I never want to see you again, Buffy had told him, so what difference would it make if he dusted or became a blithering idiot? His life had ended on the dirty floor of that gas station in the desert – the fact that he was still walking around was just a technicality.
Just as Spike slid around the corner of the Sun Cinema, he saw them: Dawn and Ben … and three of Glory’s minions. Ben was pulling Dawn by the arm, handing her back over to the minions. And this is the berk Buffy thought he was jealous of? Pfffft. That’ll be the bloody day. Spike watched, staying hidden in an alleyway beside one of the many downtown businesses, weighing his options. As he watched, Ben began walking ahead of the minions. He was still pulling Dawn along by one arm while the three warty-toads followed behind, apparently ready to catch Dawn if she got away from Ben. They were going to pass right by Spike’s hiding place. Perfect.
Spike ducked back out of sight, flattening himself against the building and becoming as unobtrusive as he could, while he waited. As Ben and Dawn passed, he could see Dawn was still pulling against the brunette, flailing her free arm, screaming, and looking around for someone to help her. There were a few other people on the street, but no one seemed to even notice or hear her. Perhaps it was part of the spell that kept people from noticing that Ben was Glory – or maybe they just didn’t want to get involved.
In an instant of wild terror, as she looked around for someone to help her, her eyes met Spike’s. She began to cry out – to call his name – but Spike quickly brought a finger up to his lips, admonishing her to be quiet. Her eyes were wide with fright and hope as she pulled harder against her captor, but physically bit back her primal urge to call Spike’s name. She craned her neck to keep her eyes on the vamp as they moved past, and he shook his head adamantly. Dawn swallowed hard and forced her gaze away from him; it was possibly the hardest thing she'd ever done in her whole life. As they moved by, Dawn continued trying to pull free from Ben, but hope swelled in her heart: Spike had come for her, Buffy must be nearby also.
As soon as the three hobbits passed, Spike crept out of his hiding place and fell in step behind them. As soon as he was close enough, he yanked the minion bringing up the rear away in one deft move that broke his neck instantly. Spike silently tossed the body behind some garbage cans that were lined up along the sidewalk, out of sight. The other two guards didn’t even realize their comrade was gone. Spike took the minion’s place behind and in between the other two. After only a few paces, he grabbed both of the warty elves by the back of their robes, jerked each of them backwards and up off their feet, and slammed their heads together with bone-crunching power. They dropped to the sidewalk in an unconscious heap, their skulls cracked and bleeding.
He knew there was no way that Ben hadn’t heard that commotion, but Spike was ready for him. Without missing a step, Spike pulled his pump shotgun out from under his duster and raised the weapon just as Ben spun around. Dawn was hauled around with him in a wide arc; she stumbled at the change in direction, but continued to pull back against Ben. Spike judged her to be at least three, maybe four feet away from her captor – the length of her arm and the length of his. At this range the shotgun blast shouldn’t spread far enough to hit her, but just to make sure Spike lunged forward with it as if it were a sword, in an effort to bury the muzzle in Ben’s gut.
He’d no sooner gotten the gun raised and aimed at Ben than the chip began to fire wildly. Spike screamed out in agony as he flung himself and the barrel of the gun forward. His eyes closed involuntarily from the pain that rocketed out in all directions and began to ricochet through his whole body. All Spike’s muscles began to twitch and tremble from the shocks, and he felt himself start to fall. He couldn’t see, but he could hear Dawn screaming – he knew she was out of harm’s way. He fired the gun.
The kick of the weapon, which would normally not be an issue for him, literally ripped the gun from his hands in his weakened state. He heard Dawn screeching in terror, he heard the gun clatter to the concrete sidewalk, and he heard the unmistakable sound of the double-aught buckshot tearing into flesh.
“Spike!” Dawn screamed as he collapsed in pain on the sidewalk, clutching his head frantically.
He felt Dawn next to him, her hands on his arm, trying to drag him back to his feet. “Oh my God! Spike! Run! Get up!! Run!” she screamed at him as she tugged at his arm. “Spike! Glory’s coming! Run!”
Spike’s pain-clouded mind took a fraction of a second to process her frantic plea. Glory. Not Ben … Glory. With considerable effort, he forced his eyes open as he scrambled back to his feet. The streetlights seemed too bright and cut into his eyeballs like scalpels, but he refused to close them. Before he could get his bearings and locate Glory, the sound of the shotgun firing blasted double-aught pain into his brain through his eardrums. He ducked and clamped his hands over his ears, as he tried to scan the street and sidewalk for the hell-god through the haze of pain.
The few bystanders that had been in the street finally took note of them. Apparently the gunshots were more than even the residents of Sunnydale could ignore, and the sound sent them screaming and running for cover now. The added noise from the people fleeing made it hard to hear where Glory was, and his eyes, although open, had bright bursts of white stars exploding across his field of vision, making it almost impossible to see anything. Suddenly Dawn was tugging at his arm again and he stumbled back with her fear and adrenaline-enhanced strength.
“Run!” she admonished him, but he pulled out of her grasp.
“NO! YOU run! Get to the shop! Get to big sis!” he commanded as he yanked the shotgun out of her hand and pumped another shell into the chamber. “GO!” he screamed at her as he finally blinked enough of the blinding spots out of his eyes to see. Glory was indeed closing on them. Spike unloaded another round of buckshot into her abdomen. It sent her stumbling backwards a few steps and ripped more holes in her dress, but no blood appeared on the shredded fabric – not a single, solitary drop.
“SPIKE!” Dawn screamed again from behind him.
Spike spun around to face her, his demon rising in anger and frustration. “GET THE BLOODY FUCK OUTTA HERE! GO!” he roared at her, pushing her with one hand before spinning back around to face … Ben.
Spike slid the pump, ejecting the spent shell and loading a new round into the barrel, and began to take aim. He stopped breathing and clenched his jaw, bracing himself for the pain that would be coming from the chip. This was it – he could kill the bastard now. Spike raised the gun to his shoulder, but, before he could fire, Glory was there; not there where Ben had been a few feet away, but right there, on him.
She yanked the gun out of his hand and bent the barrel into a passable imitation of a pretzel. “That wasn’t very nice,” she informed Spike coolly. “And you ruined my ceremonial frock. What are my subjects going to think when I return in this?” she asked, waving a hand at her ravaged clothing.
Glory backhanded Spike, sending him flying across the street and crashing into a brick wall on the other side. He hit with a sickening thud and a crunching of bones, and slid down the wall ten feet to the sidewalk below. The stars bursting in front of his eyes returned with a vengeance, morphing into blinding supernovas fueled by the agony of multiple broken and cracked bones that littered his body.
“And on top of everything else, I’ve lost my pretty little Key,” she pouted, suddenly standing over him as if she’d simply materialized out of thin air.
Glory raised a foot, preparing to bring it down on Spike’s skull and squash him like a bug when suddenly Ben was there. His foot came down on Spike’s head, but compared to everything else that Spike was feeling, it barely made an impression. In desperation, Spike grabbed Ben’s foot and twisted with every ounce of strength he had left. The chip fired again, sending burst after burst of debilitating lightning out in all directions inside Spike’s brain.
Spike screamed out in pain; so did Ben. Ben tumbled to the ground next to Spike, clutching his broken ankle while Spike clutched his head.
Then Glory was there, even angrier than she’d been before. “You broke Ben’s fragile, human bones!” she accused Spike bitterly before kicking Spike in the stomach from her position on the ground next to him.
Spike ‘oomphed’ and crashed against the brick wall behind him once again. Glory kicked him in the stomach again and he felt like one more kick would embed him permanently into the façade. He could hear her getting to her feet. He had to stop her – he had to delay her long enough for Dawn to get to Buffy and them to get away. How far was it to the Magic Box from here? Not far, he assured himself. Could she have gotten there by now? Could she and Buffy have escaped yet? His mind was awash with pain, making it impossible for him to judge how long it had been since Dawn had run – a minute? Two? Ten? He didn’t know.
“As fun as this has been, I really don’t have time to play with you,” Glory announced. “Time to get my Key back. She couldn’t have scampered off very far.”
Spike roared in pain and determination and freed himself from the wall by pushing and rolling away from it and back onto the sidewalk. Bricks and mortar rained down into the void he’d just vacated. The wall teetered – the foundation in that nearly six foot length of the wall had been decimated. Spike could only see vague shapes and colors now and the ringing in his ears was making hearing anything difficult, but he could still smell the hell-god well enough.
He lunged at her ankles and yanked hard. In his weakened state he doubted it would have any effect on the fallen god at all, but it was his only chance. To Spike’s utter amazement, Glory stumbled and fell. Spike reacted immediately and dove on top of her. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her body to his with every ounce of power and determination he had left, and began to roll back towards the weakened brick wall. To his shock, she didn’t pull away or simply drive her elbow through his torso. He had no idea why, but wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
Suddenly, Spike’s chip began firing again, faster and stronger than Spike had ever felt it. There weren’t words to describe the pain that engulfed him. A hundred million yellowjackets buzzed inside him, each with white-hot, electric stingers full of fiery poison. They coursed through him, out of his brain, down his spine, and into every nerve ending in his body, ravaging him with unbearable agony. He convulsed and screamed as the chip fired its excruciating warnings, but Spike held on to the person in his arms with every drop of love and devotion that he’d ever felt for Buffy, Dawn, and Joyce.
The time he’d spent with Joyce in her kitchen, when she’d made him cocoa with little marshmallows after Dru left him, danced across his mind. The blood-soaked Red Velvet cake that Dawn had made him after he’d saved her from Dru followed quickly in his mind’s eye. Then the first time Buffy had kissed him, really kissed him with no help from any spell, flooded his mind through the pain. He remembered the song from the first dance he’d danced with Buffy and how wonderful she’d felt in his arms. Then the first time Buffy’d made love with him after Glory had tortured him in her effort to find the Key. Buffy had been so tender and loving, it hardly seemed possible that she was the same woman who had kicked his ass so many times. All those memories, all those feelings, fueled his resolve and overpowered the agony of the stinging wasps. Save Dawn. Save Buffy. Keep promise, were his only thoughts as his back hit the unstable brick wall.
He felt the wall shudder and tremble behind him. He felt the man in his arms struggling to get away, and Spike tightened his grip on him until he felt bones crunch. Spike felt his own body jerk and twitch as the wasps, hot and electric, stung him over and over again from the inside out. He felt Buffy’s lips against his, soft and warm. He felt three stories of red brick and mortar, tons of debris, crash down on him. He felt the man stop struggling. He felt Ben’s heart stop beating. He felt darkness engulf him as the chip redoubled its punishment.
Spike surrendered to the black oblivion that unconsciousness offered as the wall of debris continued tumbling down atop him. He could just see the sky lightening above him as the sun made its unending journey around the earth. If his luck held out, it would be high enough to dust him there on the sidewalk within minutes. Buffy appeared in his mind’s eye. She was laughing and dancing in a field of wild-flowers, her golden hair shining in the sun. She looked like an angel. Her eyes gleamed with happiness and a joy he’d rarely seen in them. Spike sighed one last time before the darkness claimed him, secure in the knowledge that he had kept his promise. Buffy and Dawn were safe. His job was done.
Dawn flinched when Spike screamed at her, “GET THE BLOODY FUCK OUTTA HERE! GO!”
Her eyes flicked from Spike’s distraught and determined face to Glory’s, who was closing on them quickly with a murderous gleam in her eye. Dawn didn’t want to leave Spike there alone, but she was terrified, beyond terrified, petrified. All she wanted to do was get away from the hell-god. Spike spun away from Dawn, turning back to face Glory. The moment she lost sight of his angry, yellow eyes, Dawn bolted.
She ran a short distance down the street behind him as fast as she could, then ducked down a side-alley and out of sight of Glory. She’d never been so frightened or run so fast in all her life. Her lungs burned, her legs ached, and she had to hold her hand against the stitch in her side to keep from keeling over. She hurtled down the alley, turned at the next street, and then turned again. She chanced a quick glance back as she turned the last corner and barreled towards the backdoor of the Magic Box. No one was following her, but she hadn’t heard the gun go off again since she’d run. Worry for Spike blossomed in her as she flung herself at the backdoor of the shop and crashed into the training room, screaming for help with what little breath she had left.
“Buffy! Help! Buffy!” she shrieked as she stumbled into the shop itself, utterly exhausted and filled with panic and dread. Suddenly Buffy was there, along with all the others. Everyone was talking and asking questions at once as they helped Dawn to one of the chairs. The exhausted girl collapsed down into it just before her legs gave out. Dawn grabbed Buffy’s shirt and pulled her close. Her chest was heaving and her entire body was trembling with exhaustion and fear, but she finally managed to gasp out, “Spike! Glory … has Spike! He … saved me!”
“How? Where!?” Buffy demanded in alarm.
“Near … the … Sun … Cinema,” Dawn panted out between deep breaths. “Hurry!” she admonished her.
Buffy looked at Xander and Anya. “You two take Dawn and get her out of here. Drive as far and as fast as you can – don't stop for anything! NOW!” she commanded. Xander nodded resolutely and grabbed Dawn’s arm, hauling her to her feet. Dawn’s legs felt like they’d turned to Jell-O; she wavered and nearly fell. Xander caught her around the waist and ushered her towards the front door of the shop with Anya right on their heels.
“Will – you ready?” Buffy asked anxiously.
Willow nodded, already moving, and pulled Tara to her feet. “Let’s go.”
Not worried about being followed, Buffy, Willow, Tara, and Giles took a more direct route to the section of Main Street near the movie theatre than Dawn had taken. Giles was having a hard time keeping up due to the injury he’d sustained from the javelin that one of the Knights had impaled him on in the RV the previous day, but Buffy couldn’t wait for him. Buffy, along with Willow, were both dragging Tara along quickly. Buffy longed to go faster, which she could’ve done without the extra burden, but she knew how important it was for Willow to get close to Glory, and Buffy was determined to help her.
Buffy and Willow watched in horror as they ran up the street, now close enough to see the battle between the god and the vampire. Glory was kicking Spike viciously in the mid-section and actually embedding his entire body into the brick wall at his back. “I need to get close … really close,” Willow reminded Buffy in a hoarse whisper as they came up behind Glory unnoticed. Luckily for them, Glory’s full wrath and attention was on Spike – not so lucky for Spike.
Buffy nodded to Willow as they slowed then crept up behind Glory. They’d gotten within arm’s reach of the hell-god just as Glory turned around, presumably preparing to abandon her game with Spike in order to track down her Key. Buffy had never seen Willow more determined or brave – and that was saying a lot. In the split-second before Glory could react to their presence, Willow attacked. Using the spells she’d been researching since the attack on Tara, she called on all the magical forces at her disposal, fueled them with undying love, and reversed the brain-drain that Glory had performed on her girlfriend. It was over in a just an instant, although it felt like a lifetime. Bright lights flashed, and Tara’s essence, the energy that made Tara Tara, suddenly flowed out of the hell-god and back to its rightful owner.
As soon as the life-force had been returned to Tara and Willow broke the spell, all three of the women collapsed onto the sidewalk. In that same instant, Spike dove atop Glory and wrapped his arms around her. Willow and Tara began crawling away as Buffy shoved the Dagon Sphere, the magical globe that is said to ‘repel that which cannot be named’, down the front of Glory’s shirt. Glory screeched in pain, clawing at the glowing orb, seemingly unaware, or unconcerned, that Spike had ‘captured’ her. Buffy watched as Spike began rolling away, heading back towards the weakened brick wall with Glory. She looked up, assessing the situation in a fraction of a second; then her eyes flicked to Willow and Tara. They weren’t far enough away! If that wall fell, it would crush them.
Buffy reacted on instinct alone, lurching forward and grabbing Willow and Tara each under an arm and hauling them away from the wall towards the street. By now Giles had arrived and he gave assistance, pulling Tara up to her feet as Buffy helped Willow. In the center of the street, they all turned around just in time to see the wall tumble down atop Spike and Ben. The air was suddenly filled with thick, white dust as the wall crumbled and crashed down, covering the sidewalk, and a good portion of the street, with bricks and mortar ... and wood. The sound was deafening as the old bricks of the solidly built wall hit the sidewalk below in an avalanche of cement and red clay. The side wall of the ‘G-strings and F-holes’ music store had been completely obliterated. Where only a moment before there had been a solid barrier, there was now a void large enough to sail the QE2 through.
Buffy shrieked in alarm and horror as Willow and Tara clung to each other and simply stared at the devastation, utterly gobsmacked. Giles muttered, “Dear Lord,” as the thunderous sound of the destruction filled the empty street, reverberated off the surrounding buildings, and echoed back onto itself. After a few moments, everything went utterly and completely still. The air seemed to fill with an ominous foreboding as the dust began to settle lightly to the ground, covering everything and everyone in a fine layer of white.
The four people in the street looked like ethereal ghosts standing stock-still and wide-eyed, as if waiting for the two souls below the rubble to rise and join them. Nothing moved … seemingly in the entire world. Buffy’s hands were clamped over her mouth in shocked disbelief. If not for her heart thundering in her ears she might’ve thought she’d gone deaf – there was absolutely no sound. Not a bird sang, not a horn honked, not a dog barked. Not even the ever-present sound of the traffic on the distant highway could be heard over the deafening silence that chilled the air.
Buffy’s last words to Spike out in the desert brandished themselves like hot pokers inside her heart as she stared at the giant pile of rubble. He had known. He had known that Ben was Glory. He had been trying to save them and she’d dissed him. Worse, she told him that she hated him, that she never wanted to see him again.
The four stared at the pile of debris in shocked silence. Among the bricks and mortar were a hundred ... a thousand jagged wooden stakes. What had been the interior wall of the shop – narrow strips of wood lath covered with plaster – had collapsed along with everything else. The old wooden strips had been broken, ripped from their moorings, and now stuck out of the pile of detritus like the ends of arrows – as if the mound were a great beast that had been brought down by an arrow-happy tribe of American Indians.
Buffy's vision blurred as hot tears welled in her eyes and she imagined what just one of those innocent pieces of wood could do to him – and there were so very, very many of them. "Death is my gift ... God, Spike..."
Ok, anyone that knows guns knows that the shotgun Spike has in the photo is a double-barreled shotgun, not a pump-action riot gun. What can I say? My Spike has more sense than to use a gun with only two shots against a hell-god, okay?
My biggest regret with the way this played out is I was unable to use the classic line, 'Are you all very stoned?' That was a real shame, but just couldn't fit it in anywhere. :(
Next: Has saving Buffy wrought a different death-toll from the fates? The Universe gives nothing for free...
Turn Me On, David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj
Doctor, doctor, need you bad, hold me babe
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