Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?
Chapter Title:


Taking You Home


Time line:

(In the Rome!Universe)

June, 2004



Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004

Annie turned five on February 14th.

Spike and Buffy have been married five years in February. (seems longer, doesn't it?)

Buffy turned 23 on January 19th.


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions in May, 2003.



The warriors and soldiers have beaten back the Senior Partners' army of hell ... but Dru has turned Spike back into her deadly boy.  Can Buffy do anything to get her husband back? What will happen to their love after she sees, first hand, the things that Spike never wanted her to imagine?


Notes: Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta, PaganBaby, for her wonderful suggestions, much needed corrections and always appreciated encouragement!! 


Music Referenced:

Taking You Home, Don Henley


This story involves jumping dimensions to the Universe where Angel and his team work for W&H - where Buffy visited before and sent Spike to Rome to be with the Buffy in that dimension. In lieu of calling it the "EvilJoss!" Universe, which is what I normally call it in my own mind, I'm calling it the "Rome!" Universe. 

Where characters cross over (where the same character from both universes are in the story), I will differentiate the ones from the Rome Universe by calling them Rome!Spike or Rome!Buffy, for example.  If, however, only one of the characters is present, then I won't make that distinction.



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. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.


The Night of Monday, June 29th, 2004


Buffy tried to move back up, swimming her arms in the air and kicking her feet, trying to go back up the long line of memories, but no matter how hard she tried to go back up, she kept slipping further down the narrow shaft … surrounded by William’s life … and soon to be surrounded by Spike’s unlife… 


Buffy continued to fall slowly through Spike’s memories … she knew what lay ahead now … William the Bloody, Angelus, Darla, and Drusilla and their reign over Europe beginning in the late 1800s … still, she was unprepared for what awaited her.


Buffy wanted desperately to close her eyes … to not look, not see this – but she wasn’t seeing with her eyes, she was seeing with her heart, with her soul, with the bond she had with Spike. Now that she’d started down this path, she couldn’t turn back and she couldn’t close her eyes to it.


She knew, of course, about his history – he didn’t get the moniker ‘William the Bloody’ just from gits who mocked his poetry.  And certainly the name ‘Spike’ didn’t come from his ability to play volleyball …


Spike had told her before that he’d seen things she couldn’t imagine and done things he’d prefer she didn’t.  Now Buffy was going to have a front row seat to those things that he preferred she not see … not imagine.




Spike and Buffy knelt on the cold, hard floor near the pool, each taking as much support from the other as they gave, as Buffy’s mind delved into Spike’s, searching for the key to get his memory back … the key to getting her husband back.


Suddenly, the images that had been forming in Spike’s mind, images of a life he couldn’t remember … of a life that he wished was real, stopped coming, and all he could feel was Buffy’s emotions through the bond as she moved through his memories. 


He could feel her heart expand, as she watched his youngest childhood years, feel her heart break for him when she watched him take the ridicule from the bullies and then feel her fear when she realized that she was about to enter the world of William the Bloody.


Spike tried pulling back from the bond … tried to shut it down, when he felt her fear – but he couldn’t get that door to close. Normally, feeling fear from a Slayer would’ve sent him soaring joyously through the clouds, but for reasons he couldn’t explain, he didn’t want this Slayer to be afraid … he suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to protect her … to keep her safe, and that made this whole experience even more confounding to him. 


Unable to close the bond, Spike did the next best thing … he wrapped his arms around the Slayer, sat back down on his butt and pulled her to him – holding her cool, wet body against his – wishing he could give her some warmth … but having to settle for what little comfort his cold touch could provide.  So lost was Buffy in his mind, that she didn’t even realize he had moved or was now holding her.




Buffy watched as William told Cecily that he loved her and then watched Cecily rebuff him, telling him that he was beneath her, and sending him, heartbroken, out into the dark streets of London.  It didn’t take long for what she knew would happen next to appear … Dru.


Buffy watched as Dru drained William and offered her blood to him … changing him forever from the boy the bullies picked on to the one the bullies feared. 


Buffy pulled her arms in and folded them across her chest, trying to at least start moving faster … but that just made the images flash into her mind at an alarming rate … it didn’t stop them; it didn’t minimize them; it didn’t skip over them. 


She could feel what William was feeling … the strong emotions seemed to hit her physically, knocking her from side to side – spinning her first one way and then the other, until she wasn’t sure which way was up any longer.  She felt his love for, and his devotion to, his mother, then terrible, heart wrenching pain when the demon he created turned on him and he had to stake her; she felt his love for Dru … how strongly he felt she was his destiny, that they were forever … then his heartbreak when he realized that to her, he was just a ‘playmate’ … one of many, including Angelus … and The Immortal.


It was then that Buffy felt William change into Spike … to prove to Dru, that he could be just as menacing, just as deadly, just as fearless as Angelus … to gain her love and adoration for himself – to gain her fidelity and loyalty … but it never worked.  Angelus taught him well – showed him how to be a vampire, how to be a monster, and Spike worked hard to live up to what he thought Dru wanted … what he thought would keep her at his side forever.


Buffy felt the love and tenderness that had been in William’s heart get pushed further and further down as he transformed himself into Spike.  Any compassion, any kindness … any humanity that was left within him was tied up and locked away in the deepest recesses of his mind … they would be of no use in this new life and this is all he had now – all he wanted was for Dru to love him and only him, completely, unconditionally, and for eternity.


When Angelus told him about Slayers, Spike knew then – that was what would make Dru love him forever … and he was obsessed with finding them and killing them from that point forward.


Buffy continued to be pummeled with images and emotions from Spike’s unlife – she felt like a hummingbird caught in a hurricane … being blown from side to side, twisted and turned this way and that as she fell down the deep well of Spike’s mind.  Buffy would recoil from one image only to be slammed in the face by another – blood, torment, death … it was a way of life for Spike now – it was simply what he did – how he lived; how he survived.


More than once Buffy felt physically sickened by what she saw and more than once she screamed out at the horrors of Spike’s life with Dru, but the visions kept coming … pounding her brain like a prizefighter smelling blood and going for the knockout.


It was surreal seeing her husband doing these things – the same person that read bedtime stories to their daughter, the same person that rocked their son to sleep and sang lullabies and made sweet love to her and loved his family with his whole heart … doing monstrous, horrible things and taking pleasure in them with no remorse, no guilt, no second thought. Tears fell from Buffy’s eyes as the memories kept coming in a seemingly never-ending stream as she continued to fall slowly through his life.


She watched as Spike killed his first Slayer in China – his scarred brow that Buffy knew so well, coming to life in full color as the Slayer cut him with her sword. She could feel him swell with pride as Drusilla bragged to Angelus and Darla about him killing the Slayer … but it still wasn’t enough to get and keep Dru’s undying love.






Illyria watched from a distance as Spike held Buffy, keeping a watchful eye on the unconscious Drusilla.  It was clear that Buffy and Spike were going through something, but she was unclear what it was.  Since they appeared to be in no immediate danger, Illyria decided that simply observing would be her best course of action.




As Spike held Buffy on the floor, the emotions he felt from her through the bond physically rocked him. There was fright and disgust and sorrow and an underlying feeling of helplessness that he felt from her.


Buffy couldn’t stop the voyage, and she couldn’t do anything to change the memories – they were there; they were real and they were just as much a part of him as singing lullabies to their babies.  She wanted so badly to reach out and tell him it would be ok – he didn’t have to do these things … he didn’t have to keep trying to please Dru – she wasn’t his destiny, after all … but what was done was done, and nothing Buffy did now would change that.


Spike had the same feeling of helplessness as he held the Slayer to him and felt her pain. He’d given up trying to fight the feelings that she stirred in him … he’d fought his feelings for over a century and was good at keeping them hidden, keeping them in their dungeon … but this girl, this Slayer, seemed to have the key to releasing them, no matter how he tried to keep them down.


So, Spike sat on the floor and held his mortal enemy to him and rocked her and wished he could take her pain away and wondered what would become of him now.  A vampire that felt sympathy … that wanted to take pain away instead of inflict it – well, that wasn’t really the raison d'être of a creature of the night, was it? 


He momentarily thought that he should be worried about Dru … but somehow checking on Dru’s welfare seemed less important than what he was doing at the moment: letting a Slayer in for no other reason than that she asked him to; trusting a Slayer for no other reason than that she promised she wouldn’t hurt him; and undeniably falling in love with a Slayer for a hundred reasons … not the least of which was the love and devotion he’d felt from her and her bravery and willingness to endure what she was now for him. No matter how crazy her words seemed, he couldn’t argue with the feelings that came from her – they felt too real and he longed for them to be real.




The further Buffy went, the more she understood what Spike meant when he told her that Dru may have turned him, but it was Angelus that had taught him to be a monster.  It was abundantly clear that not doing as Angelus said met with severe punishment and, despite Spike’s ever increasing skill at all things physical, Angelus had over a century of experience on him and more than a few pounds; Spike could never win a physical fight with Angelus.


Then, suddenly, Angelus and Darla were gone and it was just Spike and Dru … and sometimes just Spike alone for long stretches of time.  Then Dru would return and Spike would inevitably forgive her and take her back and they would travel together again until she found someone else that sparked her interest.


But Spike never wavered from his belief that they were meant to be together forever, that Dru was his destiny. If he could just be that much better … that much stronger, that much more wicked or evil, then Dru would never leave again … but he never could reach that star – no matter what he did, it was never enough.


Buffy watched as Spike fought with, and ultimately killed, his second Slayer, Nikki Wood, in New York City.  Buffy thought of the  man that had brought her the duffel which ultimately helped them defeat The First, her son, Robin.  Of course, Buffy knew that Spike had killed her, but tears still stung her eyes as she thought of the young boy left without a mother.









She thought of Annie, Dani and Billy – waiting at home for her, for both of them, to return.  Suddenly guilt overwhelmed her – guilt for being so selfish to put herself in danger when she’d promised Spike that she would leave, that she’d find her way home and take care of their babies.  She simply couldn’t stand the thought of doing that without him – she couldn’t stand the thought of running away from the battle as he charged into it; and it had nearly cost her her life twice already.


God, Spike … I’m so sorry … I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep my word… I just love you so much – our babies love and need you so much, Buffy told him through the bond as tears fell from her eyes and she continued falling slowly down through time, but now all she could see were their children waiting at home for them – waiting for parents that may never return. 


She didn’t know if she could get Spike back – if she couldn’t – then what?  Would he try to kill her again?  Would she have to dust him in order to keep her promise that she’d get home to take care of their family?  With the PTB’s apparently love of irony, she couldn’t discount that possibility. 




Spike felt unbearable heartache coming from the Slayer … tears fell from his eyes as he held her tighter to him and began rocking gently back and forth, his face buried against her shoulder.  Then he heard her words through the bond, God, Spike … I’m so sorry … I’m so sorry I couldn’t keep my word… I just love you so much – our babies love and need you so much. 


Suddenly, images of a family … a dark-haired girl and two tow-headed babies, filled his mind and he recognized them as the same children she’d sent him images of earlier and the same children that were in some of the unconnected images that had popped into his mind just a few minutes ago.  The words and the images were so confusing … did she expect him to believe that not only did she love him and they were married but they had children, too?


He was beginning to wonder if this Slayer had escaped from a nuthouse, after all. There was no doubt that she believed it – he could feel her love, her heartbreak, her longing to get back to those children and her love for him through the bond.  But, just because she believed it didn’t make it true … after all, Dru thought she could see the stars when they were inside a bloody building for Christ’s sake… deranged minds can believe all kinds of deranged stuff…  Hell, she might’ve met Dru in a mental ward for all he knew.


Spike couldn’t really understand why he continued to hold this obviously delirious girl … why he continued to hope that what she was showing him was real - it just felt like the thing he should do, like the only thing to do.  He didn’t know what else to do.




Lost in her own mind, Buffy didn’t even notice the floor below her approaching quickly until she hit it with enough force to crumple her to the ground. 


“Fuck!” Buffy exclaimed as picked herself up and looked around. 


She was standing at the bottom of a long shaft … Spike’s memories towering above her like skyscrapers on all four sides.  The last rooms on the bottom were void of images like the others held – there were no victims, there was no blood, no gore, not even a mundane memory of him locking his keys in his car or nicking “Never Mind the Bollocks” from the music store.


Instead, the rooms that surrounded her now were full of clocks.  There were clocks of every size and shape and type imaginable – wall clocks, coo-coo clocks, alarm clocks, grandfather clocks, even pocket watches and Swatches and Rolexes … you name it and it was here, and they all seemed to be stopped – as if frozen in time – all at the exact same time.


Unlike the other ‘rooms’ of memories, Buffy found she could enter these bottom rooms and she picked up one of the clocks to examine it more closely.  It looked like just a normal clock … in fact, it looked exactly like the one they had in the kitchen at the mansion – right down to the spaghetti sauce stain on the face.


Buffy shook the clock and turned it over to see why it wouldn’t run, but didn’t see anything wrong with it.  Perplexed, she set the clock back down and walked back out into the shaft she’d been in to look back up at what had happened just before the clocks. 


It looked like a town in Europe with fountains and bronze statues and old cathedrals … it definitely wasn’t Sunnydale or California or even the United States. Spike and Dru seemed to be strolling through the town square, looking for their next meal … not doing anything out of the ordinary, for them, anyway.


What the fuck?  Where’s Sunnydale? Where are the rest of his memories?


Buffy went back into one of the clock rooms and picked up the clock from their kitchen and smashed it on the floor.  The whole floor trembled like an earthquake had struck when she did that and seemed to slide down a few inches further than it was before, but then all the remaining clocks ticked in unison one time and the floor rose back up again to where it was before.


When the clocks ticked, the sound was deafening. Buffy covered her ears but it was too late – her ears rang and her head felt like it might explode from the sound, dropping her to her knees as she clutched at her head, trying to stop the pain.


Buffy reached out from where she was on the floor and broke another clock, and the same thing happened. She held her hands over her ears and watched the clocks when they ticked – they all ticked forward once then backwards … counterclockwise. 


Even with her ears covered, she could feel a pounding in her head from the vibration of all those clocks ticking at once. She sat back on her heels, leaning her body down until her head touched the floor as she folded her arms over her ears, trying desperately to shut out the deafening noise that threatened to make her brain explode.    


Buffy struggled to just breathe, the pain was so intense in her head, but it finally subsided back to a dull ache and she pulled herself back up to her feet. She looked around at the hundreds and hundreds of clocks just in this one room – and there were four rooms of them … how could she smash them all and not have her head literally explode, she didn’t know.  What she did know was that she had to try – this was it – this is what was keeping Spike from remembering her – this was the key.


Buffy began smashing clocks in rapid succession, one right after another – sometimes doing two or three at once – stomping them, smashing them against each other or throwing them down on the floor or against the walls. 


As each one smashed into bits of plastic and springs, numbers and hands, the floor beneath her trembled and shook and dropped, then all the remaining clocks ticked and the floor rose back up. By smashing so many, so fast, the floor beneath her became like one of those crazy floors in the funhouse at the fair, going up and down and side to side and shaking beneath her feet as she tried to remain upright and fight through the pain in her head.


The ticking of the remaining clocks was just as deafening as the first time – making her head pound and ache and her eyes feel like they may explode out of their sockets. It felt like a stampede of horses, with hot pokers for feet, was running ‘round and ‘round in her brain while electric eels chased them – but she persisted, tears staining her face from the pain – screaming out with each tick of the clocks as a new wave of pain hit her; she was determined to do all she could to get Spike back.




Spike felt her heartache change to confusion and he pulled back and wiped the tears away that now stained her face with the pad of his thumb.  He wondered what had happened that made her mindset change so quickly, but he was glad for the reprieve from the rollercoaster that she’d been taking him on.


Suddenly, Spike screamed in pain and held a palm to his head – his head felt like it was going to explode for a few moments – like someone was sticking him in the eye with a hot poker that had been dipped in electricity … it lasted several seconds before the sensation passed – leaving him with a dull ache where the sharp pain had been. 


Spike rubbed his forehead, trying to dissipate the pain and wondered what had caused it…had she done it to him or had she gotten hurt and he was feeling her pain?  He really was having a hard time distinguishing the difference anymore.


Then the pain returned in force … worse than before, it was unrelenting and he had to drop Buffy from his arms as his hands shot up to his head and he screamed out. His head shot backwards and all the tendons in his neck looked like they might snap as he fell back onto the floor behind him, screaming and writhing in agony.  He could barely form a coherent thought, but one thing he knew – he had to get her out of there!  She was killing him from the inside.


Spike again tried to shut the bond down … each time the pain subsided slightly he tried to push her out, but he couldn’t get it to stop – he couldn’t get her out.  He saw her body, now lying on the floor near him as it also convulsed in pain … What the bloody hell is she doing!?


Unable to get her out of his mind, he changed strategies and dove into hers through the bond.  She was in a room full of clocks and she was smashing them – and every time she smashed one, the pain would return and push him back away from her.  Finally, at one lull, Spike dove at her, screaming at her to stop, tackling her around the waist, driving her against the far wall and breaking even more clocks in the process.


Both warriors thrashed about on the floor, screaming in pain and holding their heads as all the remaining clocks ticked backwards and the floor below them shifted up and down and trembled like an earthquake.  When the pain finally subsided, Buffy lay on the floor holding her head, trying to breathe and trying to figure out what had hit her.  Then she heard Spike moaning and felt him move beside her and she managed to open her eyes to see him in the same position she was, holding his head and trying to get the pain to stop.


It hadn’t occurred to her that it would be hurting him, too …


“Spike! Spike, I’m sorry! Are you ok?” she asked him sitting up and laying one hand on his shoulder – her other hand staying glued to her head.


“What the bloody hell are ya doin’, Slayer!?”  Spike croaked out hoarsely as he held both hands over his eyes, pressing his palms against them hard and hoping they didn’t pop out when he took his hands away. 


“Didn’ know you Slayer types were into torture … Angelus could take a lesson from you,” he informed her, finally daring to open one eye and sit up, leaning his back up against the wall and pulling his knees up close to his chest to lean his arms and head on – being careful not to break any more of the clocks, while he was at it.


“Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Mistress of … Time Torture?” he asked her, turning his head as it rested on his arms and looking at her with the one eye he’d opened.  “That’s a new one on me … and that’s sayin’ a lot.”


“Spike, God, I’m sorry - I didn’t know it was doing the same thing to you,” Buffy told him, as she leaned back against the wall with him, keeping a hand pressed against her forehead.


“Oh, so, masochist is it?  I could probably help with that, pet,” Spike offered, closing the one eye he had opened and turning his head back so it was facing down against his arms.


Buffy would’ve rolled her eyes, if she wasn’t afraid of them falling out of their sockets … so, instead she pushed one hand against his shoulder and said, “You’re a trip.  Making jokes while our heads are about to explode…”


“Who’s jokin’?” Spike questioned, not moving or looking at her.


“Yeah, yeah … I know, you’re a tough guy … all deadly and vampirey – I know what you’ve done … I’ve seen what you’ve done. I also happen to know you a little better than that, Spike.  You forget, we’re married – have been for over five years,” Buffy informed him.


“Ya know, I wish you’d quit with that load of bollocks … it makes my head hurt worse than your little clock adventure,” Spike informed her, finally turning his head back towards her and opening both eyes.


“It’s not bollocks – and you know it or you wouldn’t have let me get this far,” Buffy retorted, standing up and pulling on his arm. “C’mon – gotta show you something …”


Spike moaned but let her pull him up and followed her out to the shaft in the center of the memory rooms. 


“Where is that?” she asked him, pointing up to the memory that was just above the clocks.  “Prague?”


Spike looked at what she was pointing at. “Never been to Prague, luv… that’s Vienna … it’s in Austria … that’s on the Continent … you know, Europe?” Spike told her.


“I’m not an idiot – I know where Vienna is - it’s where those little sausages come from,” Buffy asserted.  “And you have been to Prague … in 1997 you and Dru were attacked in Prague – Dru was nearly killed … or more killed … you don’t remember that, either?”


Spike was still pondering the Vienna sausages thing, and didn’t answer her.


“Spike!” Buffy exclaimed, snapping her fingers in front of his face. “Try to focus here!” she demanded. “What do you remember after Vienna?”


Spike pursed his lips together and frowned at her. “No need to get shirty!” he told her before taking a deep breath and rubbing a hand over his forehead. “Don’t remember much after Vienna …” he admitted.


“Well, let me fill in a few blanks,” Buffy started. “You and Dru came to Sunnydale, California – that’s in the United States, by the way, you know, the Colonies? … A totally different continent … to find her cure… turns out, the key to her cure was Angelus … you cured her. I put you in a wheelchair for a while … you got better and helped me stop Angelus from ending the world and got re-ensouled in the process.  


We fell in love, we made a baby and we got married … we tried to kill each other a few more times – neither of us succeeded, obviously … we saved the world a few times … made more babies … and lived happily ever after, until we came to this Twilight Zone dimension and Angel fucked us again.


“You lost your memory somehow … either in the battle or maybe Dru did something to you.  These clocks are the key to getting your memory back – we have to destroy the clocks!” Buffy exclaimed, waving her arms around at the clocks and finally taking a much needed breath.


“You’ve lost your bleedin’ mind!  You’ve gone completely sack of hammers, Slayer!” Spike informed Buffy, backing away from her. “You expect me to believe that rot?”


“Spike, who could make up something that crazy?” Buffy questioned. “It has to be true … it’s too crazy not to be true and I can prove it!”


Spike cocked a brow and folded his arms across his chest. “Can you now? Then prove it.”


“Do you recognize this?” Buffy asked, holding her left hand up so he could see her ring. “You gave it to me … it was your mother’s.”


Spike looked at the ring with a furrowed brow. “That don’t prove nothing.  I haven’t seen it in a century – Angelus has it – he might’ve given it to you, or you stole it from him,” Spike asserted.


Buffy did roll her eyes at that. “Fine – how about your wallet, do you have your wallet?” Buffy asked, holding her hand out.


Spike fished the wallet out of his back pocket and handed it to her. “I know how much cash is in there…so don’t even think of nicking any from it.”


“We’re in a community property state, so half of it’s mine …” Buffy muttered under her breath as she opened the wallet, pulled his driver’s license out and held it up to him so he could read it, but she couldn’t. “See this?  Sunnydale, California – Crawford Street. That’s where we live – you and me and our kids …and … and a few other people.


“What did I say before? I told you about Sunnydale before I ever looked at your license,” Buffy pointed out. “Your real name is William Weckerly. Your birthday is August 20th … you’re a Leo, which means you’re an extrovert, faithful, loving, loyal, and self-sacrificing … it also means you’re bossy, impulsive, quick tempered, stubborn, and sometimes sensitive to a fault.  Your birth year is listed as 1971, but we both know that’s about a hundred and twenty years off…don’t we?


“How’m I doin’ so far?” Buffy asked, taking a breath and poking the driver’s license into the front pocket of his jeans.


“And this,” she said, pulling out the picture of Annie, “is our oldest daughter, Anne Joyce – named after your mother and my mother.”


Spike looked at the picture – it was the same girl that he’d seen in the images that Buffy had sent him … the same girl that appeared in the disconnected visions he’d had.


“Does she look the least bit familiar to you, Spike?  She should, she looks just like you … sans the peroxide…” Buffy pointed out.


“She fancies chocolate …” Spike mumbled as he took the picture from Buffy.


Suddenly, several clocks exploded from the rooms around them, sending them both ducking and covering their heads in anticipation of the pain that would follow. The remaining clocks ticked forward, then backwards, but then forward again. The floor shuddered and dropped, but this time didn’t rise back up. 


Spike dropped to his knees, holding his head and screaming out in pain.  Buffy knelt down in front of him and put her hands on his shoulders, trying to help. The ticking clocks didn’t hurt her this time, but she wasn’t sure why. Because she hadn’t been the one to destroy them?  Because Spike did it by remembering something that was beyond their barrier?


When Spike’s pain finally subsided, Buffy sat back on her heels and confirmed, “Yeah … she’s fond of chocolate…apparently, that’s the gene she got from me … along with her love for her father.”


Spike looked at Buffy with a furrowed brow and then looked back at the picture of the girl. “Got your mouth, your nose …” Spike muttered, shaking his head, still trying to process what she was telling him – trying to believe it, wishing it to be true, but still terrified that it was some kind of trick – that all this pain was some new tactic for … for … for what he didn’t know.


Buffy pulled out the picture of the twins. “These are our twins, William and Danielle …” she told him, holding the picture up to him.


Spike had seen these babies before, too … one in a hospital … what was it he had said to her?  Summers women are tough…


“Girl was in the hospital …” Spike mumbled reaching for the picture, but before he could take it from her, several more clocks exploded from the rooms around them.  They both ducked the flying clock ‘viscera’, but, just as before, the pain only hit Spike when the remaining clocks ticked forward, backwards, and then forward again, the floor dropped more, and didn’t rise back up.


“Your name is Summers,” Spike muttered when the pain had subsided, looking up from the picture to Buffy’s face.


“Yes … Buffy Anne Summers-Weckerly,” she told him softly.


“Summers…” Spike repeated under his breath, shaking his head as he tried to absorb everything.


“And this…” Buffy continued, her voice growing softer as she went, “… is us.”  She pulled out the pieces of photo that had been ripped up and laid them out on her palm.


“Not sure how it got ripped – my guess is Dru. She never really cared for me too much… actually, the feeling’s mutual…but that’s beside the point…


“Point is, that’s me … and that’s you …” Buffy asserted, pointing a finger at each of them in the picture. “We were at the Bronze … it was an engagement party for our friends, Xander and Anya… our friend, Willow, took the picture … she had to snap it quick ‘cause the DJ had just put on a song by the Ramones and you wanted to dance …”


Spike looked from the picture to Buffy’s face … it was her in the picture, and it most certainly was him.  “They have a whelp name a’ Joshua … The Joshua Tree …” Spike muttered almost to himself as another of the scenes from the tapestries came back to him.


As the memory materialized in his mind, more clocks exploded and the floor beneath their feet dropped what felt like twenty feet, sending them both falling through the air and landing hard when the floor stopped dropping. Spike screamed and writhed on the floor, pain ripping through his head as the remaining clocks struggled to tick backwards, but could only tick forward.


Buffy reached out to try and help him, but there wasn’t anything she could do.  Tears welled in her eyes as she watched her husband thrash about in agony, holding his head and screaming as the pounding and electrical shocks she knew all too well continued for longer than ever before.


When the pain finally subsided, Spike laid perfectly still on the floor, his palms pressed against his eyes as he took deep breaths of air to try and calm down and recover from the onslaught.


When Buffy looked up at the memories above them, it wasn’t Vienna any longer, it was Prague … at least she assumed that’s where it was.


“Dru was beaten by a mob in Prague … said we needed to go to California … Miss Edith told her that was where we could find her cure …” Spike told Buffy in a gravely voice, his eyes still closed and covered with his hands, as he remembered Prague clearly … and remembered arguing with Dru about going to California – notwithstanding what Miss Edith had whispered to her; but he could never tell her ‘no’.


“We have to get rid of the rest of these clocks … that’s the only way,” Buffy told Spike softly. “Please believe me. Please trust me.”


“Smashin’ ‘em will kill us both, Slayer …” Spike pointed out as he finally sat up and opened his eyes to look around at the multitude of clocks that remained unbroken.


“Me rememberin’ seems to do the same thing an’ only affects me,” Spike observed. “Help me … help me remember more.”


“Spike … it’s too much – it hurts you too much,” Buffy argued. “If we do it together then maybe it will only hurt each of us half as much …”


“No … if what you say is true then … well, then I wouldn’t do that to you if there was another way  - and there is another way, yeah?” Spike told her.  “Help me remember more…”


“Spike …” Buffy started with exasperation.


“What did you say before?  Bossy, was it?  Stubborn? Don’ argue with me – do as I say,” Spike demanded of her.


Buffy sighed and looked in his wallet for anything else.


“Your ATM card … the PIN number is my birthday – month and day.  What’s the PIN number, Spike?” Buffy asked him, holding the card up in front of him.


Spike looked at the card and tried concentrating on it, but nothing came to him. Then he closed his eyes and tried digging deep in his mind to find the number … finally he let out a long scream, holding his head with his hands in exasperation.


Spike jumped up to his feet and started pacing as far as he could back and forth in the small area before exclaiming, “I don’t bloody know!” and dropping his hands to his sides in frustration before turning back to look at her.


“I don’t bloody know …” he repeated quietly, looking into her eyes.


“Ok, that’s ok … something else,” Buffy assured him, digging in his wallet further, but there was nothing else in there other than a few dollars.


Buffy watched Spike rub his forehead with his left hand …


“Where’s your ring?” she asked him, standing up in front of him.


Spike held his hand out in front of his face and looked at it.  “Dunno … haven’ seen one,” he told her.  “Don’t know where this bloody scar came from either.”


Buffy furrowed her brow then unbuttoned the top couple of buttons of her shirt to reveal her matching scar from the amulet. 


“You got that scar,” Buffy started softly, taking his hand in hers and outlining the scar on his palm tenderly with one finger, “saving my life … we saved the world that day – and you saved me.  Do you remember?  You were stubborn and bossy and self-sacrificing … even more than me, that day …”


Buffy took his palm and laid it flat against the scar on her chest, the two starbursts that had been burned into their flesh matched each other perfectly.


“You told me to go … to take care of Annie,” Spike told her, looking deep into Buffy’s eyes. 


Buffy nodded slowly, tears welling in her eyes.  “You wouldn’t leave me there alone … just like I couldn’t leave you here alone. You are my destiny … I’m your destiny, Spike.”


“You said you loved me … I yanked the amulet off your neck,” Spike started as the memory clicked in place like a Rubik’s Cube in his mind and suddenly hundreds of clocks started exploding and the floor beneath their feet dropped out from under them.


Spike grabbed Buffy, pulling her to him to shield her from the flying clock entrails, as they fell through his mind.  Memories of their life … of Sunnydale, of Angelus and Dru and Acathla and the first time he saw Buffy dancing, and the first moments of their love, and of making Annie, and everything that followed flooded Spike’s mind as they fell. 


Spike tried breaking the bond … he didn’t know what would happen when they hit at the bottom – but Buffy resisted, clinging to him mentally – not leaving him to face it alone.


We’re stronger together, she told him through the bond as they continued to fall for what seemed a lifetime … in fact, it was more than one lifetime … Annie’s lifetime, Dani and Billy’s lifetimes. 


The images and memories of their life hit Spike hard … each second they fell added to the tapestry of a life dreamed of but never dared … a life he wished for, but never thought possible …


But here it was – a passionate, beautiful, strong woman who loved him unconditionally, children who he adored, friends that trusted and respected him, and the freedom to be himself. With Buffy he didn’t have to hide his poet’s heart … didn’t have to prove himself, didn’t have to always be Big Bad … sometimes he could let her be Big Bad and that was fine – that was perfect, that was love.


Spike and Buffy landed with a ‘splash’ and were both immediately immersed in thick, brown goo.  Buffy inhaled some of the goo when they hit and her mind immediately flashed back to the feeling of drowning in the pool … but Spike was there and he put his hands on her waist and began pushing her back up through the thick liquid towards the surface.


They both used their arms and legs to swim through the gooey substance towards what they hoped was air and freedom. When they finally surfaced, wiping the goo off their faces and out of their eyes so they could look around, they realized they’d landed in Annie’s Hershey’s chocolate syrup lake.


They both started laughing as they looked around and saw the animal crackers happily sailing their Kit-Kat rafts across the lake. Spike wrapped his arms around Buffy and drew her body against his as he took her lips in a soft, chocolaty kiss.


Spike pulled back and looked at her, his eyes soft, full of love. Buffy’s hair was covered in chocolate syrup … it dripped down into her face and she kept wiping it off and then licking her fingers.


“What’re you lookin’ at?” she asked him with a smile.


“My chocolate covered girl,” Spike informed her with a smile.


“You’re pretty full of chocolaty goodness, too, mister,” Buffy informed him, kissing the chocolate off the tip of his nose.


“I love you, Spike …” Buffy mumbled against his lips as she licked the chocolate off them.


“Your love is like nothin’ I’ve ever known … or ever dared to dream, Slayer. I’d forgotten how … how …” Spike started.


“Alone … frightened … cold,” Buffy supplied softly as she remembered the feelings she got when she entered his mind. Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck and laid her head against his shoulder as they tread water … or chocolate syrup.


“Empty,” Spike filled in, “my life was before you.  You give me strength I never knew I had … you give me hope – you give me love – you’re in my heart forever – you know that, yeah?”


Buffy smiled, lifting her head off his shoulder and looked into his blue eyes as chocolate syrup continued to drip off his curls and run down his face.  “You’re in my heart forever, too, William.”


Buffy motioned towards the shore with her head. “C’mon … I’m takin’ you home …”

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Don Henley, Taking You Home


Don Henley, Taking You Home

I had a good life
before you came
I had my friends and my freedom
I had my name

Still there was sorrow and emptiness
till you made me glad
oh in this love
I found strength
never knew I had

And this love, this love,
Is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love,
I’m taking you home
Taking you home

There were days, lonely days
When the world
Wouldn’t throw me a crumb
But I kept on believin’
That this day would come

And this love, this love,
Is like nothing I have ever known

No, no baby
Take my hand
I’m taking you home
I’m taking you home
Where we can be with the ones who really care
Where we can grow together
Keep you in my heart forever

Oh and this love
Is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love,

I’m taking you home

 Oh and this love
Is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand
Taking you home
Taking you home

Yes I am