|Story Title:||Turn Me On|
Epilogue – I'm Too Young to Die
Trying to save Buffy and the world, Spike risks his life in the Hellmouth fighting The First Evil. Can the darkness and the light meld into gray and find a way to save each other?
|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! Whatever this amulet thing does, I think it’s starting!” Spike yelled at her across the Hellmouth.
Buffy couldn’t hear him; she was fighting, along with Faith and all the newly empowered Slayers, against the Turok-Han who were climbing up the wall of the abyss, threatening to overtake them.
“Buffy!” Spike screamed at her as a powerful, bright light shot out of the amulet and up through the ceiling of the Hellmouth, all the way through the basement and Principal Wood’s office. The light rose up to the sky, bringing cleansing power straight from heaven into the Hellmouth. The power flowed down from above, through Spike and the amulet, sending rays of light out across the Hellmouth and dusting the Turok-Han that the Slayers had been fighting.
The ground began to shake and shudder under their feet. Dirt and rocks from the walls of the cavern began falling around them; the Hellmouth was going to collapse. “GET OUT!” Faith yelled to the other Slayers as she began running towards the stairs and the gateway out.
“Spike!” Buffy screamed, running to him when she finally saw him bathed in the brilliant light.
“I can feel it, Buffy,” he said as their eyes met.
“My soul. It’s really there – just like you said. It kind of stings,” he told her. His voice was surprisingly calm despite the white-hot power flowing through him.
It had taken some doing to talk Buffy into letting him, rather than the Magnificent Poof, wear the gaudy necklace. In the end, her own words, her own contention that he did have a soul, perhaps small and tattered, but there nonetheless, were her undoing. The necklace, Angel had told them, needed a champion, someone more than human, but with a soul, to wear it. Buffy could not dispute that Spike met all those qualifications. That didn’t make her happy about it. They didn’t know what it would do; it could be dangerous. Letting the First’s minions escape the Hellmouth and overrun the earth could be pretty dangerous too, Spike had pointed out.
“Let Angel wear it,” Buffy had pleaded with Spike.
“This is our town, Buffy – not his. I’ve been here beside you, fighting the fight, all this time. Don’t bench me now, Slayer – not when the whole bloody game is on the line,” Spike had argued.
Buffy had reluctantly given in, but her worst fears were coming true. The brilliant shafts of light were dusting the Turok-Han as if the hand of God was being channeled through Spike. And if that was the case, how long before it dusted him, too?
“Go on, then,” Spike urged her, willing her to leave the crumbling cavern.
“No! No, you’ve done enough! You could still . . .” Buffy started.
“No!” Spike interrupted her. “You’ve beaten them back. It’s for me to do the cleanup,” he said as the other Slayers rushed past them – running up the stairs and out of the collapsing cavern.
“Buffy! Come on!” Faith yelled at her from the stairs as more debris rained down from the walls and ceiling that made up the gateway to hell.
“Gotta move, lamb. I think it’s fair to say, school’s out for the bloody summer,” Spike quipped darkly, smirking.
“Spike! I need you! Please!” Buffy cried, imploring him to stop, to come with her. The Hellmouth was collapsing faster now, threatening to bury them both. They had to get out – both of them – now!
“I mean it! I gotta do this!” Spike insisted, raising his hands as if to push her back.
Buffy reached her left hand for Spike’s outstretched right and their fingers inter-laced, just as they’d done a thousand times before. Suddenly their clasped hands were engulfed in flames.
How many times had their souls danced together in the flames of heaven over the years since Glory’s defeat? He’d done everything that he’d promised – he’d given her demon a reason to live, a reason to keep fighting. He’d been her partner in all things, her best friend, her confidant, her lover. He’d shown her what love could be; he’d shown her how to live with the darkness and she’d shown him how to live with the light. He’d been the man that she knew she could count on to never, ever leave her. He was her equal, her demon’s perfect match, her soul mate. And now he was breaking his promise to stand by her forever – he was leaving.
“Spike … no … no, you can’t,” Buffy implored him with tears in her eyes. “Please come with me. Stop …”
“I love you, Buffy,” Spike told her softly, his eyes locked with hers. “This is for you. Go dance under the sun in a field of wildflowers … live your life under the blue sky, pet. You can do it – you know how now. Laugh and love in the daylight, Buffy. You deserve to live in the light.”
A giant chunk of rock, along with an avalanche of dirt, fell dangerously close to them. Buffy didn’t seem to notice. She could only see Spike. See his eyes. Then her life without him flashed across her mind. Tears fell in heartbroken rivers down her cheeks as Spike released her hand and pushed her back.
“Now go!” he implored her as more and more of the cavern collapsed around them.
“NO!” Buffy screamed at Spike, her voice shaking with terror at the prospect of a life in the sun without him at her side.
Before Spike could insist again, Buffy reached out for the burning amulet that hung around his neck with her right hand. Her palm was pierced with an icy saber of light as she did so. It felt like an icicle had been stabbed clear through flesh, sinew, and bone, and her blood ran cold … more than cold, frigid, freezing. Ice crystals formed around the wound and the skin around it began to blacken and die, as if from frostbite.
Buffy screamed in agony as her fingers closed painfully around the amulet, blackening and freezing in place as the necrosis spread. Spike tried to push her away, but where the amulet was freezing Buffy, it had begun to burn him and his effort to stop her, to make her leave, was ineffective.
Buffy yanked down on the amulet with as much power as she could muster, trying to remove it, get it off Spike, but the heavy chain and her weakened grip thwarted her. Buffy screamed in pain and frustration and fear as the dead, black flesh of the frostbite spread up her arm.
She reached her left hand out and closed it over her useless right and the amulet. More ice crystals formed, and the skin of her palm and fingers of her left hand turned black and agonizingly painful in an instant.
Where Buffy was being frozen by the power of the amulet, Spike was beginning to burn. Starting from the center of his chest, agonizing flames began to spread over him. He was aware that Buffy was still there, but the excruciating pain that was now filling his body with smoldering anguish made it impossible for him to do anything about it.
Using both hands and all her strength and weight, she jerked down on the necklace, but still the heavy chain would not give. In her desperation, all she’d managed to do was pull Spike off balance.
He fell forward towards her as the ground shook and the giant cavern crumbled around them. They both tumbled down onto the dust and debris littered floor. Spike landed atop Buffy as rocks rained down around them and atop them, threatening to completely bury them at any moment. Their bodies were crushed together under the onslaught of the earthquake, both aware that the other was there, but unable to do anything to stop what was happening.
Fire and ice met. Darkness and light met. Black and white, demon and angel, good and evil met.
Buffy and Spike were both suddenly spiraling through icy flames which at once burned and froze them. They clung to each other, one burning, the other freezing, as they fell down, down, down through blinding, unending darkness.
Buffy could feel something tugging at her as they fell. Not at her arms or legs or really any part of her physical body, but at her soul. She could see the colorful leopard print fabric unraveling behind her, shredding and reforming into something new. She looked at Spike and even his small, tattered soul was being unraveled and pulled out of him as nothing but individual threads.
“No, no, no…” Buffy muttered as she watched in horror. The threads now trailing out behind them where changing colors, and the pattern that had been woven into the fabric was fading and morphing into something completely different.
Spike saw it too, and he tried to reach out to grab the delicate strings of their souls, to stop the power of the amulet from … how did Angel put it? Cleansing them with scrubbing bubbles? But they slipped through his fingers like the wind. They seemed solid and real, but they where nothing but wisps of smoke and spirit – intangible, untouchable.
“Buffy … Buffy, what … what’s happening?” he asked her, his eyes wide with fear. They were still falling; falling through utter darkness, their shredded souls flapping behind them like tattered flags in a hurricane.
Buffy shook her head as tears welled in her eyes. “They’re … I think they’re taking … they’re taking our … souls and changing them … oh God, Spike. I can’t lose you, I can’t! I don’t want to live in the light. I want to live in the dark with you … or die with you – but they’re taking it away – they’re taking our souls and … I don’t know what will happen if ...” Buffy’s voice broke off with a choked sob.
She did know. She did know what would happen if they took their souls and changed them. That feeling would be gone – that feeling of wholeness, of completeness, would be gone. Whether they lived or died, and she wasn’t actually sure just then if they were alive or dead, their love would be pulled apart, quite literally, it appeared, by the seams.
Spike held her against him tighter and she buried her tears against his burnt chest as they continued to fall through the frigid flames. Spike wanted something to hit, someone to fight – but there was nothing there. This was to be their reward for saving the world? To be separated for all eternity.
“Buffy, listen to me,” Spike admonished her, lifting her chin so she was looking into his eyes. “I don’t care what they do to our souls, or where they send us, I will always love you and I will find you. I’ll never stop looking for you. Never.”
“Oh, Spike … I love you so much,” Buffy gasped out between ragged breaths. “I’ll love you forever … I swear it.
“God, please no…” she begged, looking back at the threads, which had morphed into solid colors and were now re-weaving themselves. Spike’s was pure black. Buffy’s was pure white. There was no pattern. There were no shades of gray. They were not from the same cloth – they were blank slates on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
“NOOOOOOOOO!” Buffy threw her head back and shrieked at the icy flames that surrounded them. “I will not leave him! I will not forget! I will not go back to black and white!”
Buffy looked back at Spike. Tears leaked from his eyes as the new fabric of their souls began to flow back into them, now rewoven. “I love you, Spike,” she whispered to him through her own tears. She took his burnt face in her frozen, blackened hands and pulled his lips to hers.
His flesh was hot, burnt, and it warmed her frozen mouth. She could feel the ice crystals melting away from her lips. The agony of the frozen crystals lessened, then disappeared. Spike too, could feel the change. Her frozen skin cooled his burns like a soothing balm, healing them, vanquishing the pain.
I will not forget, I will not forget, I will love him forever, forever, forever, Buffy chanted to herself as they deepened the kiss. The chilling flames licked at their bodies, but no longer burned or chilled them. It was like falling through tepid water – neither hot nor cold. The water looked like flames, but it simply flowed over their skin harmlessly.
Buffy could feel the coldness and pain retreat from her face, from her neck, her shoulders. They continued to kiss each other with passion borne of desperate fear; kiss each other as if it were the last time, because it very well may be. As they fell through oblivion, pressed together, silently pledging their devotion to the other, the burns on Spike’s face, neck, shoulders, and chest healed, replaced by the soft, creamy skin that he’d had before entering the Hellmouth.
“I love you. I’ll love you forever,” he murmured against her mouth before capturing her lips again with his and letting every drop of passion and adoration he had for her flow out of him and into her, willing her body to heal, willing her to be alright. He would give anything and everything he had to keep her safe, and he poured everything he had within him into the kiss – into her.
Buffy could feel the new, bright-white soul invading her, and she fought it as she continued her internal chant of devotion and love. She welcomed Spike’s tongue into her mouth, swirling hers around his and holding fiercely to the hard-earned knowledge that life is not black and white. It would be easier if it was; living in shades of gray is fraught with danger and confusion, but it was the only way to live. There was only one absolute in her life: Spike. She loved him wholly, absolutely, unendingly.
Spike growled against her lips as his new soul, made entirely of blackness, filled him. He too, fought against it, remembering Buffy’s lesson to him – he was made not just of darkness, but of light. He was not a slave to his demon, he was love’s bitch, and Buffy’s love had allowed the light within him to shine again. She’d allowed him to be a man again – a strong man, a good man, her man. He refused to give that back now. He would not allow himself to become a monster. He refused with all his heart to let go of her now. He’d come too far; they had come too far. He would not forget her. He would not stop loving her – ever.
They clung to each other, still falling through the unending fire. They poured every ounce of themselves into the fight against the ‘cleansing’ of their hearts and souls that the amulet’s power had wrought on them. The heat of the vampire healed the frozen, gangrenous flesh of the Slayer, and the chill of the Slayer healed the burnt flesh of the vampire as they tumbled together through the unending, dark flames.
Then, slowly, the fresh, new souls that were wafting into them like mist began to change. The bright white began to spot and tear, leaving gaps and stains on the pristine, clean fabric. The raven black began to fade as if it had been left in the sun too long, and holes burnt into it through which glowed gray and white flickers of light.
As they fell through the raven blackness, Buffy and Spike suddenly began being slammed back and forth violently. They held to each other even harder as their bodies were shaken and thrown against unseen walls, which were as hard and solid as granite. As they were tossed around like rag dolls, they each tried to shield the other from the brunt of the blows, turning over and around to take the punishment themselves. They fought against each other, still falling ever further through the strangely silky, but un-burning fire, both trying to protect their partner.
Buffy caught a glimpse of the misty fabric souls that were still trying to embed themselves into the warriors. They were both faded to gray now and tattered from the impacts against the walls. They were stained with blood, and spots of color had appeared where the champions’ tears had fallen into the mist. It wasn’t the old leopard print that Buffy had dreamed of so long ago, but still the two now looked remarkably similar, nearly identical to each other, especially considering that they had started as polar opposites.
A swell of overwhelming relief and joy washed over her just before she and Spike both crashed hard against a solid, unyielding floor. Whatever realm they’d been falling through had apparently not been unending after all. They both hit with tremendous force, and the misty souls that had been trailing out behind them crashed down atop them, suddenly feeling quite solid.
They screamed out in pain as the whole world – or wherever they were – shook and shuddered beneath them. Spike had landed atop her and he could feel more things falling onto them from above. He steeled himself, trying to keep the pressure off Buffy, trying to keep her safe from whatever new onslaught was coming. The deafening sound of a Mount Olympus-sized rock-slide resounded through the darkness, then suddenly stopped. Everything went still and frighteningly silent.
“Spike…” Buffy rasped out. “Spike, are you … ok?”
“Yeah … reckon … so,” he gasped back, using all his remaining strength to press up off her and support whatever was atop both of them so it would not crush her.
Suddenly the weight above him became less. Something moved and they could hear scraping sounds, and the weight lessened further. Spike pushed up, but still couldn’t free them from the crush. As he did that he felt the weight lift a little more and heard what sounded like rocks shifting and rolling, like a small avalanche.
In just a few more moments, Spike was able to push up and shrug off whatever was atop them. It was utterly and completely dark. Spike looked around, but even his vampire senses couldn’t see anything, but he could smell something: a demon.
“Can you stand?” he asked Buffy quietly as he reached down to find her hands and help her to her feet.
Buffy’s hand wavered in the air a moment, searching, then met his and he hauled her up, even before she answered him. If he had to, he could carry her – he just wasn’t sure where to go. “I’m ok,” she assured him as she found her footing.
Spike heard a sharp snap off to their right and then the sound of something liquid being shaken up. Suddenly a green glow appeared where the sound had been, and a chemical green glow-stick illuminated the face of what appeared to be a human, but Spike’s nose said it wasn’t.
“Who the bloody hell are you and where are we?” Spike demanded, stepping in front of Buffy and placing himself between the stranger and the Slayer.
“Whistler,” the man replied genially as he popped another two glow-sticks and shook them up. He tossed one over towards Buffy and Spike so they could see around them and another a few feet away. “And you never really went anywhere – you’re in the Hellmouth. You got sucked into the amulet for a while, but …”
“Whistler!” Buffy growled, stepping forward and picking her way through the rocks and fallen debris. “What the hell was all that?” she asked accusingly, waving her hand back at the place she and Spike had apparently been the whole time.
Whistler shrugged one shoulder and casually pushed off the boulder he’d been leaning on. “That was Wolfram & Hart’s idea of a good bubble bath. Of course, it was meant for Angel – not you. I guess they didn’t know there were two vampires with souls around … even if yours is a little … undersized,” he said, regarding Spike.
“OI!” Spike objected. “Nothing ‘bout me is bloody undersized,” he growled at the other man as he stepped forward with Buffy, hands planted angrily on his hips. “And who the bloody hell are you, anyway?”
“He’s a minion of the PTB,” Buffy offered, glaring at Whistler with her arms crossed.
“’Minion’ is such an outdated and derogatory term. We prefer ‘messenger’ now … it’s more politically correct,” the smaller demon related, his voice still amiable.
“So, just what was that supposed to do to Angel?” Buffy wondered, her voice still angry.
“Cleanse him of the gypsy’s curse … remove his soul,” Whistler informed them matter-of-factly.
“And Wolfram & Hart gave him that amulet?” Buffy asked, incredulously.
“Wellll, technically the Senior Partners gave it to him – that’s a fine distinction though. I guess they thought Angelus at the helm of the company would’ve been more in line with company objectives than having Angel,” Whistler explained.
“But, we aren’t cursed! Why did it try to take our souls and … redo them?” Buffy wondered.
Whistler shrugged again. “Actually, you are cursed … sort of,” he told Buffy. “The Shadowmen’s magic put the darkness and power into you against your will. To the amulet, it’s the same as Angel’s curse. Magic done to someone against their will is, technically, a curse.”
“B-but … it attacked Spike too!” she pointed out.
“It probably got confused with two of you in there at once. I don’t think it was created with the idea that more than one person would be caught up in it at a time. It tried to separate the two halves of both of you, cleanse them of the curse, sort them out, and put them back,” Whistler theorized. “That’s just a guess though – it’s not our magic, so I don’t know.”
“What would’ve happened if Spike had gone through that alone?” Buffy wondered.
“Since Spike isn’t cursed – he’s just a plain ole vampire…” Whistler started.
“OI! Not just a plain ole vampire, mate,” Spike snarled at the demon. “Got a bit o’ soul in here," he contended, thumping his fist against his chest. "Bloody thing proved it.”
Whistler shrugged nonchalantly. “No offense,” he offered. “Anyway, if Spike went through it alone, I doubt anything would’ve happened other than a really good scrubbing. It probably would’ve just kept trying to find a curse and cleanse him. It may have held him inside it until … well, someone found the amulet and magicked him out. But, since you went through it with him and brought your Slayer curse along, its job was complete and it spit you both back out – cleansed.”
Spike pulled the amulet off over his head and dropped it on the ground. He stomped down on it and crunched the large jewel with the heel of his boot. It shattered into dust.
“But … it didn’t cleanse anything. It … we …” Buffy looked at Spike. “I don’t really feel any different, do you? You aren’t all … Angelus or anything … right?”
Spike cocked a skeptical brow at her. “I’m not a bloody poof that needs a soddin’ curse t’ keep a bit o’ my soul, am I? Still got it … still kinda stings though,” he admitted, rubbing his chest with one hand.
“Well, that’s true,” Whistler agreed. “Which is what brings me here today,” he continued, pulling a scroll of parchment from thin air. “The Powers have sent me here to offer you the Shanshu for your heroism here fighting against the First Evil.”
“What the bloody hell is that?”
“Put simply, you’ve earned the reward of being made into a real boy. You’ll be alive again – heartbeat, warmth, sunlight … hell, you can go to church if you want and swim in the holy water. You could have kids – whatever. You’d be alive,” Whistler explained, holding the parchment out towards Spike.
Spike took it and looked at it, scanning it quickly. There was a place for him to sign at the bottom, accepting it.
“One-time offer,” Whistler continued. “Which expires in,” he made a point of looking at a non-existent watch. “Five minutes.”
Spike looked back up at him angrily. “Five minutes!? Bloody Powers got a goddamned warped sense o’ humor.”
Spike looked back down and began to actually read the contract, but stopped when he got about halfway through. “I’ll be a real boy … get my whole soul back, sunlight and whatnot, but I won’t have … I’ll just be … human.”
“That’s what being a ‘real boy’ means,” Whistler agreed. “You won’t be a demon. You won’t be a superhero. You won’t have demon strength; you’ll be human: normal, mortal … a man.”
Spike looked at Buffy, who was looking concerned and conflicted. “What do you think, luv?”
Buffy shook her head. “I … I don’t know. You … you deserve to … you so deserve it, Spike. To walk in the sun and … live in the light. You could … have kids and … you’d be such a great father. You could have the life back that Dru stole. You should … you should do it,” she advised, nodding decisively, but there was hesitancy to her voice.
“Ta ever so,” Spike nodded, as if agreeing, but handed the paper back to Whistler. “Think I’ll just make do with what I got.”
“Spike! No! Don’t throw that away! It’s … you can’t tell me you don’t want it,” Buffy admonished him, grabbing the paper before Whistler could get it.
Spike turned to face her, his expression solemn. “What I want is to be with you. Told ya before, Slayer, a human can’t give you what you need. You’d be holding back, havin’ to protect me – afraid I’d be hurt or killed … afraid you’d hurt me. I’d lose the true you in that moment, and sooner or later, your demon would give up and I’d lose you completely.
“I love you, Buffy. I want to be the man you need … but more importantly, I want to be everything you need. I don’t want to be some git staying ‘ome and washing the blood out of your skirts while you save the world. I want to be at your side – and I will, forever.”
Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes and her chin quivered with emotion. “But … Spike. This is …”
“Nothing without you,” he finished her sentence as he plucked the paper out of her hand. Then, he had a new thought. He turned back to Whistler and asked, “What about the Slayer? Can she have one o’ these Shanshu-bugaboos too?”
Whistler hesitated a moment, looking perplexed.
Buffy looked confused too. She laid her hand on Spike’s arm. “What … you mean? I won’t be a Slayer anymore?”
Spike dropped his eyes to hers. “Isn’t it what you’ve always wanted, luv? A normal life? There’s a bloody army o’ Slayers now … you can … walk away. We can walk away. We’ve done our part … we could … go live on an island somewhere ... Bora Bora or Timbuktu … have a normal life, a family.”
Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes as the possibilities ran through her mind. A normal life. It was what she’d always dreamed of, almost since the moment she’d been Called: to just be normal again. She'd shed an ocean of tears wishing and praying to just be normal again.
They both turned and looked at Whistler with questioning eyes.
After a few more seconds of silence, he finally nodded. “You can both have it … or both decline. It’s your choice. You have three minutes left to decide.”
Buffy’s heart leapt in her chest – they could actually walk away from this life. They could be a normal couple living in a normal town, living a normal life. They could get married and have kids. They could go to soccer games and PTA meetings and to the beach and the amusement park. They could argue like normal people, with just words, not fists, they could … they could …
They couldn’t fight the forces of evil that they both knew existed in the world. They couldn’t protect anyone – including any children they had. They would just be people; people with the knowledge that evil exists but without any means to fight it. Would they be able to live that way? Without the constant danger? Without the adrenaline rush of out-witting death time and time again? Would their passion wane and fade if the dark power was taken away from them? Buffy absently touched the scar on her neck, Spike's bite, which stood out bright white against her tan skin. If she did that, she’d never again feel that dark lust that his fangs piercing her flesh provoked in her … and oh how she’d miss that.
But wasn’t this what she’d longed for? It seemed like the normal life she’d had as a child belonged to someone else … like it was a dream – someone else’s dream. She felt like she’d been trying to get back to that for an eternity. Back to sanity; back to normalcy. And hadn’t she just said that Spike deserved that? Didn’t he deserve to walk in the sun? Didn’t he deserve to have a family? To have children? To have all those things that Dru stole from him? Hadn’t they both paid their dues, suffered enough for the world? Wasn’t it time for a little payback … a reward?
“It’s up to you, Buffy,” Spike whispered. “I’ll love you and follow you to the ends of the earth, no matter what. I want what you want …”
“Forever love’s bitch?” Buffy asked, giving him a loving, teary smile.
Spike nodded and returned her smile. “Always and forever, pet.”
Buffy’s smile widened. “Me too.”
Buffy turned and looked at Whistler. She took a deep breath and made her decision…
What did Buffy decide? To take normalcy, settle down and have a family with Spike, or keep fighting evil? I leave the decision to you. Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know if you did (or didn't), email link is below. I'd love to hear from you!
Turn Me On, David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj
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