Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Everything I Own

Chapter Title:


You'll Never Walk Alone

Chapter Summary:


Buffy goes on a quest to find out what the tribunal has done to Spike’s soul, but can anything be done to delay his judgment day?


Time line:

February, 2005



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

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

Annie was born on February 14th, 1999

Spike and Buffy  were married in  February 1999

Buffy was born January 19th, 1981

William/Spike was turned by Dru in 1880; first came to Sunnydale in September of 1997


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

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.



Music Referenced:

You'll Never Walk Alone, Elvis


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:


Thanks: Thanks so much to Paganbaby for her continued support and wonderful ideas. I especially needed her help with this story because of the complexity of it! {{Thanks PB!}}

Thanks also to 'u2fan2005' and 'epd4' for their suggestions, corrections, and help betaing this chapter!!

Rating / Warnings:


NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.

Sunday, February 19th, 2005:


Buffy awoke to Dawn’s panicked screams. The scythe was in her hands as they sat in the rental car, which Dawn had parked in the parking lot of a Speedway gas station, just off the interstate.


“Buffy! Buffy are you awake? Please wake up!” Dawn yelled as she tried to stem the bleeding from the wound on Buffy’s neck and keep Buffy’s hands on the scythe to try and heal her sister. She’d injected her with the stimulant to counter the tranquilizer a few minutes ago, as soon as Buffy started bleeding profusely from the wound on her neck.


“Dawn…” Buffy moaned again, opening her eyes and trying to fight the fatigue and dizziness from the loss of blood and drugs rushing through her body.


“I’m right here – hold the scythe, Buffy! You’re hurt! You’re bleeding!” Dawn advised, the panic in her voice just barely contained.


“Ok…I think I’m alright,” Buffy told Dawn as she closed her eyes, leaned her head back, and held tightly to the scythe until she could feel the magic flowing through her and healing her wound.


“What happened? Another werewolf?” Dawn asked as the bleeding stopped and the bite marks on her neck began to heal over.


“Spike…” Buffy answered simply, never opening her eyes.


“What!? Your husband did that?” Dawn asked incredulously.


Buffy let out a long breath and opened her eyes. “He wasn’t my husband … something’s happened … he’s …” Buffy shook her head and looked down at her clothes, which were drenched in blood. “They’ve broken him … they’ve shattered his soul,” Buffy offered in Spike’s defense as tears threatened her eyes and she closed them again.  “There was no trace of the man there … only the demon …”


“I’m sorry…” Dawn offered softly. “Are you ok now?”


“Yeah … I think so,” Buffy assured her. “Let’s … let’s just go. I need to get back in and find out what the fuck they’ve done to him – we need to get back to L.A. and back to the tribunal.”


Dawn sat back and re-buckled her seatbelt before starting the car and heading back towards the interstate.  “How are you going to get back in without Doyle?” Dawn asked as she drove. “How will you open the portal?”


“We have the Key …” Buffy offered with a small smile, before leaning her head back on the headrest and closing her eyes, trying to stop the tears that were threatening to overtake her. Was Spike … her Spike, gone forever? Could she do anything to get him back? Had his soul been taken away – cast into hell, or perhaps, if Lilah had done as she said she would, sent to heaven, so all that was left in limbo was the demon?  She had to know … she had to know whether she had any chance of getting Spike back now.




Stopping at a blood bank under the pretense of giving blood and then grabbing the plastic IV bags filled with Dawn’s blood and bolting, had netted them a ‘Key’ that would open the Gateway for Lost Souls.  The girls divided the blood up into some small plastic containers that they bought at the Dollar Store and then headed underground to the gateway.


“Ok ...” Buffy started, opening one of the containers. “I assume they’ll eject me back here – hopefully not before I can get to talk to the tribunal again.  If I’m wrong and I don’t come back out in a half-hour, then go to the Hyperion and wait and I’ll find you there, ok?”


Dawn bit her bottom lip and nodded. “Be careful,” she advised Buffy before giving her sister a hug and backing away from the portal.


“That’s my middle name…” Buffy quipped with a small smile before pouring the blood onto the portal.  The portal opened with a sudden flash of light; Buffy looked back at Dawn one more time and gave her a ‘thumbs up’ before stepping through and into the world of the Higher Beings.


Buffy walked slowly and silently down the long hallway that she’d walked before, unsure if anyone monitored the portal or the hallway or if there were any guards she might have to fight to proceed to the tribunal, but she didn’t see or hear anything or anyone as she walked further and further down the apparently endless hall.  Buffy was just starting to wonder if she’d be able to find the place she’d been before without the aid of the Oracles when Lilah stepped out from behind one of the many archways that lined the endless path.


“You aren’t supposed to be here,” Lilah informed her, crossing her arms over her chest.


“What the hell happened to Spike? What did you do to him? Did you send his soul … away?” Buffy demanded angrily, ignoring Lilah’s protest as she came within arm’s reach of the lawyer.


Lilah held her hands up as if in surrender. “I didn’t do anything to him; I’m just an advisor. His soul’s still where it always was, though.”


“Then what the hell did they do to him?” Buffy demanded again, her hands going to her hips.


“The same thing they’ve been doing – holding his trials, showing him his crimes, asking for his atonements …” Lilah offered.


“I think the last one was … ummm…” Lilah started, holding her hand out. Her paper-thin computer appeared and she touched the screen a few times then looked back up at Buffy. “Oh, yeah … attempted rape of a Slayer after she broke off relations with him …”


The disturbing scene from the other life, the other dimension of Spike forcing himself on Buffy and Buffy fighting him off flashed through Buffy’s mind and her stomach knotted. She knew that as much as that frightened and angered her, it tore Spike up after he’d done it, so much so that he traveled thousands of miles and faced who knew what to win his soul back. Seeing that again, reliving it, must’ve been the final straw that drove him over the edge … that sent his soul scurrying for cover and left the demon in control in the hell-limbo dimension.


“I thought you were going to fix that so they could see the good, too! What happened to that?” Buffy asked angrily.


“I said I would try … and I did try – but whatever mojo was used to alter your dimension altered it all the way to the top.  All that exists on any of the records is the bad … the rest is just … gone – erased from all the memory banks,” Lilah explained with a shrug.  “I set it up to transfer your good deeds to his account, but that’s all I could do.”


“Then how do you know about it? How do you know history was altered?” Buffy asked suspiciously.


Lilah shrugged again. “I was probably elsewhere … in some other dimension perhaps, when the spell was cast…”


“Or you had something to do with it…” Buffy accused.


Lilah rolled her eyes and shook her head. “You really have no idea how much I hate Angel, do you? He’s been a thorn in my side in every dimension he’s in! There’s no way I would go to all this trouble just to make him out to be a big hero, saving the world and all that crap – putting him first in line for the Shanshu.” Lilah snorted softly and rolled her eyes again. “Trust me … I had nothing to do with it.”


Buffy narrowed her eyes and studied the lawyer a moment. “But you know who did…”


Lilah shrugged again. “So do you – a vengeance demon.”


“Do they have that much power?” Buffy questioned. “To reach all the way up here? This is ‘up’ isn’t it?”


Lilah sighed. “More like … sideways - parallel,” Lilah advised before answering her other question. “If they worded the wish exactly right … maybe – I've never seen it happen before, but anything's possible. They’d have to know exactly how to word it … I mean, exactly. It would have to be someone with lots of experience with wishes…”


“Like a vengeance demon …” Buffy offered.


“Actually, vengeance demons can’t wreak vengeance all on their own, they have to have a human to help them – ‘the human, or injured party, must make the wish; the vengeance demon can then choose to grant the wish – or not’. Rule 0960.959.95V,” Lilah clarified.


“Do you have a rule for everything?” Buffy asked cynically.


“Of course … What, you think they stopped at ten?” Lilah snorted sarcastically.


Buffy rolled her eyes and folded her arms across her chest as she considered what Lilah said. “So, a human has to make the wish … one vengeance demon can’t wish to another one?”


“Against the rules…”


“Can I counter the wish and wish it away?” Buffy wondered.


“If you can find a vengeance demon that will grant your wish – I suppose you could, but they choose whether or not to grant a wish, just making the wish doesn’t make it come true … otherwise there would be complete chaos,” Lilah informed her. “Now, if you could find a Genie and release it, then they must grant you three wishes, Rule 0850.849.56G … but Genies are historically tricksters – they grant wishes, but they generally don’t come out the way you intended.”


“What do you mean?” Buffy asked the lawyer.


“Well, say your mother was sick and you wished that your mother was no longer sick … the Genie would most likely have your mother die, thus granting your wish of her no longer being sick, but not in the way you intended. That’s a classic,” Lilah snickered lightly at the thought.


“That’s just wrong,” Buffy protested.


Lilah shrugged. “Just the way it is. Vengeance demons can do the same thing, by the way … there’s no guarantee that your wish will come out exactly as you intend unless you are extremely specific … and I mean extremely specific and have it worded perfectly.”


Buffy rolled her eyes. “So, how do I fix it?”


“The best way would be to find the demon that granted the wish and destroy their power center … of course, that only reverses the last wish they granted – so if they granted someone else’s wish since the one you want reversed, then even that won’t help you,” Lilah provided.


“That’s actually a new rule, 2005.598.14V … ‘only the last wish granted will be reversed upon the destruction of a vengeance demon’s power center.’ We had a big problem with the old way when all the wishes got reversed, it sent all kinds of dimensions and realities crashing into each other … it was a big mess. It took weeks to straighten them all out last time.”


“Swell…” Buffy moaned. “So what you’re saying is, I’m screwed.”


“Not as screwed as you were earlier by Spike – he’s very impressive, by the way, I can see why you want him back … but yeah, you’re screwed,” Lilah verified with a nod.


“You were watching us?!” Buffy asked, incredulous, throwing her arms out from her sides in protest.


“Well, duh! Gotta have something to break up the monotony around here!” Lilah snorted. “What did you expect? Privacy out there in the open? Please!”


Buffy sighed, rolled her eyes and put her hands back on her hips. “I hope you enjoyed him almost killing me …”


“Yeah, it was just getting good there when you disappeared,” Lilah snickered. “You should’ve seen the look on his face when you were just gone … you left him completely dazed and confused. It was really … priceless.”


“You’re a piece of work …” Buffy moaned, rolling her eyes again and tried to focus on something productive. “Ok … so do you have any other ideas about how I can fix this and put everything back?”


“Well, I know a couple, but you aren’t gonna like them – they involve giving up your first born to Gamangi demons or Sacatari Brethern eating your children’s brains with a ceremonial spoon…”


“You’re just full of fun facts and sunny suggestions,” Buffy intoned with a sigh. “What about D’Hoffryn? Does he have the power to reverse the wish?”


“The power? Yes. The inclination? Probably not,” Lilah answered with a shrug.


“How can I get some leverage on him?” Buffy questioned.


Lilah shook her head. “All he has is the company … his ‘girls’, as he calls them. They’re his family – he recruits and grooms each one personally.”


“I guess there’s no rule on nepotism, then…”


Lilah gave Buffy a sarcastic smile. “No, I guess not.”




When Buffy re-emerged from the Gateway for Lost Souls after talking to Lilah, Dawn wasn’t in the antechamber.  There was a note and a white Swatch wristwatch that looked like it had angel wings coming out from the face on the floor just beyond the portal. Buffy picked up the note and read aloud, “Meet me at the Hyperion … it’s been two hours, you’re late! You need a watch!”


Buffy shook her head – time must move even differently in the … she didn’t know what to call it, the ‘Land of the Higher Beings’, than it did in limbo, she had only been gone a few minutes, she thought. Buffy sighed and buckled the watch on her wrist before heading out to find Dawn…she still had no real plan on how she was going to fix things. She wished with all her heart that she had Spike to talk to … to bounce ideas off of, get advice from … get support from.  Tears stung her eyes as she walked through the sewers towards the hotel – what he must’ve been put through to drive his soul so deep that not even she could touch it. All alone in that cold, red world with nothing but ghosts and guilt for company … nothing to do but think about what he’d done and all that he’d lost.


“Spike…” Buffy cried as she splashed through the muck. “God, baby … I love you so much. Please, please, God, please,” Buffy begged as she trudged along, but unless rule number … ummp-teen hundred and eleven, got broken, Buffy knew that help from above … or wherever … wasn’t coming. She had to do this herself.


At the Hyperion, Buffy found Dawn waiting in the lobby of the abandoned hotel … all the previous inhabitants were now living elsewhere; working for Wolfram & Hart and living like normal people in normal houses, like she should be – but her normal house was at the bottom of a crater once called Sunnydale.


After Dawn gave Buffy a relieved hug, she asked, “What happened? What’s next?”


Buffy sighed and plopped down on the round settee in the center of the room.  Buffy leaned down and retrieved her legal pad from one of the bags that Dawn had brought in from the car and looked at her idea list.


D’Hoffryn – Get talisman and summon


Go back in time and kill Hallie


Find another vengeance demon and make my own wish


Go back in time and talk to Anya


Buffy thought about going back in time and talking to Anya, but she was relatively sure that what Lilah had told her was true, so she didn’t know how productive that would be and it would take more time … time that Spike didn’t have. If they were already up to the ‘attempted rape’ then time was definitely running short.


She crossed out the third idea of finding a vengeance demon and making her own wish – first of all, she doubted any vengeance demon would grant her a wish and second of all, if they did, if she didn’t word it just right, it could backfire.


She thought about going back in time and killing Hallie and that made her tingle slightly inside … she would soooo love to kill Hallie. “Ok,” Buffy started, looking up from her list to Dawn. “What do you think would happen to the time warp loopy thing if I go back to 1881, after the new reality started, and killed Hallie? Or, more precisely, tortured her for information, then killed her?”


“Well…” Dawn started as she took Buffy’s pad and started drawing Hs and Bs representing Hallie and Buffy again, “…let’s see. Ok, she’s already changed reality so she’s already part of this reality, so if you go back now and kill her after that…” Dawn paused to think a few moments as she studied the little drawing she made on the paper. “I think that would only change things that Hallie had direct contact with after that point – like, if she had kids or invented something … or her kids invented something or did something that affected the world. I don’t think it would undo the wish or get Spike back.”


“But if I could get her to tell me who the vengeance demon was that granted the wish and if that demon hasn’t granted any more wishes since then … I might be able to find that demon and destroy their power center and reverse the wish,” Buffy clarified. “Right?”


“You don’t think Hallie’s a demon?” Dawn asked, slightly confused.


“No … I think she might be human,” Buffy supplied, before filling in for Dawn what Lilah had told her.


“So, you’re going to kill a human?” Dawn asked with raised brows. “Isn’t that like … against the rules?”


“Yeah, well, a great man once said, ‘rules are made to be broken’,” Buffy insisted. “‘You’re remembered for the rules you break.’”


“You’re quoting MacArthur now?” Dawn questioned.


“Oh … no, I was quoting Spike. You mean he stole that?” Buffy asked, shaking her head in disbelief.


Dawn rolled her eyes. “Well, at least he was well read,” she quipped before turning somber. “Seriously, you can’t really be thinking of killing a human, no matter what they’ve done.  Think about the consequences … think about … think about what Spike’s going through now – do you really want to go through that one day?” Dawn warned.


“What am I supposed to do, Dawnie? Just let her get away with it? Just let her steal my family? Condemn Spike’s soul to hell? It’s not like I can call the police and have her arrested and punished, is it? I’m the only one that can deal with it – I’m the only one that can fix it,” Buffy defended.


Dawn gave Buffy a disapproving look. “You know, if she’s gone to all this trouble, and put this much thought into her plan, then it’s hard for me to believe that she hasn’t prepared for the possibility of you coming back in time and trying to get information out of her. I really don’t like the idea of going back in time and I'm not even sure how to do it. You never know what you can affect unintentionally, the smallest mistake could have catastrophic results – and I’m afraid that it won’t do any good, anyway.”


Buffy sighed and rubbed tiredly at her eyes. Of course Dawn was right about one thing – Hallie had thought this out really well. Buffy guessed she used all that time as a rat to her advantage. Who knew rats were so good at making plans while they ran on their exercise wheels and kept their butts in shape?


“Do me a favor – find out if Hallie … errr … Cecily and William had any kids and see if you can find out anything about what happened to them – I mean, did they stay married, get divorced, did he maybe kill her after a few months of wedded bliss … did Cecily suddenly disappear from the face of the earth…anything like that might help,” Buffy requested. Spike had asked her about that anyway … so it wouldn’t be a complete waste of time, even if she didn’t go back in time.  “Then, see what you can find on how to summon D’Hoffryn with this doohickey,” Buffy added, fingering the talisman around her neck.


“Sure … but can we get cleaned up some first, get some food, and some rest? I’m exhausted.  I didn’t have a nice, wet dream where I almost got killed to refresh me today …” Dawn pointed out.


Buffy snorted a laugh. “Sure … sorry. Is there water and electric still working here?”


“Yeah – I checked it out while I was waiting. Angel must still be paying the bills here,” Dawn confirmed.


“Ok – let’s find a room … or two and order in some food. I hope Riley hasn’t canceled that credit card yet. Now that you mention it, I think I could eat a cow,” Buffy rubbed her empty stomach as she stood up then picked up their bags and the scythe and headed for the stairs.


“Which part?” Dawn asked, following Buffy towards the stairs.


“All of it…”




Monday, February 20th, 2005, early morning hours:

Buffy and Dawn had long ago finished the Chinese food that they’d ordered and Dawn had done as much research as she could on the various genealogy sites about Cecily and William Weckerly.  Now, Buffy sat under the stars in the garden of the Hyperion alone, going over the notes she’d made about what Dawn had found out.


Cecily and William Weckerly had three children, two girls and a boy. Their names were Anne, Elizabeth, and William.  Tears stung Buffy’s eyes as thoughts of Hallie raising what were rightfully her children bounced around her heart and cut gashes in her soul.  Hallie had truly stolen everything – not only had she taken Buffy’s family away, she had kept them for herself – she even had the gall to name the youngest girl after Buffy. That was no accident, Buffy knew – Anne she could understand, that was William’s mother’s name; the son, of course, named for his father … but to name one Elizabeth, that was meant to cut Buffy to the core, and it did.


Dawn had tried to track what happened to their children; William Jr., the youngest child, she found, had died in World War I – he had been only seventeen, unmarried and had no children that she could find.  Anne, the eldest, had married an American soldier and moved to the United States after the war … Dawn would have to try different sites tomorrow to get more information on her. Dawn could find no information on Elizabeth, the middle child – no death certificate, no marriage information … nothing. It was like she had just vanished. Buffy had no idea what that meant … she hoped that it wasn’t because Hallie had done something to the child that she’d named after the one person she was trying to hurt most in the world.


Cecily and William had remained married until William’s death. The records showed that William had died of ‘consumption’ in January of 1917; Dawn couldn’t find a death certificate for Cecily … at least not in the records in the U.K.  If Cecily had moved to the United States or some other country, then that could explain the lack of a death certificate in England … or, Buffy thought, part of Hallie’s wish was to be immortal or perhaps she was turned back into a vengeance demon after William’s death.


Buffy picked up the fortune cookie that Dawn had left for her and opened it. Follow your heart, her fortune read. Buffy snorted a laugh through her tears – her heart was broken in a million pieces … which piece did she follow?


Buffy looked up at the stars above the garden – the moonless sky held few stars in L.A. because of all the lights of the city – not like in Sunnydale, but there were some to be seen and two familiar ones next to the Big Dipper held Buffy’s attention.  Tears fell from Buffy’s eyes as she gazed at the star that Spike had named for her and the one next to it that she had unofficially named for him.  The phrase ‘star crossed lovers’ popped into Buffy’s mind from Romeo and Juliet and she wondered if that was what she and Spike were – doomed from the start. Were the stars working against them? Was it just too much against the laws of nature for a Slayer and a vampire to be in love and have a happy life?  Buffy thought back to high school and the affair she’d had with Angel, which had also seemed doomed from the very start … perhaps it was just too much to ask for a Slayer to be with a vamp, even one with a soul. She certainly felt like the whole world was against her – against them, like she was a salmon swimming upstream, but the stream she had to get up was the Niagara River … and she was getting battered and bashed by the insurmountable falls.


Buffy pulled her legs up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them, laying her head down on her knees as sobs began wracking her body.  She only had two ideas left on her list, she had no real confidence in either one of them and Spike was running out of time … in fact, he may already be out of time and if he was out of time, that meant she was, too.  Spike’s words rang in her head, “If you can’t get me back, get our babies back…” and Buffy’s sobs came harder – his babies had already lived and died, even if he didn’t remember them.  So, what was left? If she was too late to save Spike, if neither of her plans worked – what was left?  This life, in this world without him, without their children … without love, without hope. Was that a life she even wanted to live?


“Pull yourself together! You will not give up!” Buffy admonished herself. “You’re wasting time!”


Buffy wiped her tears and tried to focus again. She picked her pad back up and flipped the page to the page that had information about summoning D’Hoffryn that Dawn had found in one of the books they’d gotten from Andrew.  There were a few magical herbs that they would need … Dawn said she would go in the morning to get them. Buffy read the list: blue cornflower, dandelion leaf, thistle flower, and mandrake root.


“What, does he live in a field of wildflowers or something?” Buffy wondered aloud. “And what’s with the mandrake root in every spell? I need to plant some of that when I get home, I could make a million …”


Buffy looked at her new watch, 3:30am – it would be hours before the stores were open, wasted hours. She decided a ‘want, take, have … leave some money to cover it’ mission was in order.  Buffy wrote the ingredients they needed down on another piece of paper to take with her, then wrote Dawn a note telling here where she had gone and left it in the kitchenette where they’d eaten dinner, then she headed out to find a magic shop.


When Buffy returned two hours later, she had all the ingredients they needed for the spell.  She was pleased that she’d been able to find a magic shop that was actually open twenty-four hours a day, so she didn’t even have to break in, which saved her … or Riley, from having to pay for damages. She wondered how long he would let her and Dawn keep using that credit card before he reported it stolen and shut them down … of course, they were married, so technically, that card was just as much Buffy’s as it was Riley’s.  Buffy put that thought aside, choosing to burn that bridge when she came to it rather than add to her list of things to worry about.


Buffy crumbled up all the ingredients in a bowl she found in the kitchenette, then went out into the lobby of the Hyperion and sprinkled them in a circle about six feet across, per the instructions from the book.  Buffy then stood next to the circle and read the summoning spell from her notes. It was in Latin, or something … she thought about waking Dawn for this part, but decided she could do this – she’d just sound the words out…like phonics in second grade.


“Beatum sit in nomine D'Hoffrynis. Fiat hoc spatium porta ad mundum Arashmaharris,” Buffy read the spell aloud and waited, but nothing happened.  She sighed and tried again, changing the pronunciation of some of the words … still nothing. She tried again … and again and again. Nothing.


“Fuck…” Buffy muttered to herself in exasperation.


“Pretty sure that’s not part of the spell,” she heard from behind her.  Buffy swung around to find Lilah Morgan standing at the garden door, her arms folded across her chest.


“Yeah, well – this stupid spell doesn’t work anyway,” Buffy defended. “What do you want?”


“If you want to see your husband and say goodbye, you better come with me now,” Lilah informed her. “They’re about to pass judgment.”


“What!?” Buffy exclaimed, dropping her paper and stepping away from the ring of herbs towards the lawyer. “So soon!? Can’t you stall them?”


Lilah shook her head. “I tried everything I could think of … they aren’t biting.”


“Fuck!” Buffy exclaimed. “Let’s go.”




Lilah and Buffy walked into the familiar tribunal ‘room’ … a room that seemed to be surrounded by nothingness that went on forever … ‘ad infinitum’, apparently unlike the trials. As much as Buffy hated seeing Spike put through the horrors of the trials, it was much better than having them end … especially since neither she nor Lilah had been able to reverse any of the magic that seemed to be blocking the judges from seeing the good that he had done in any life.


“Spike!” Buffy exclaimed when she caught sight of him, standing in what was apparently the defendant’s box in the center of the room … neither the Mayor or the Guardian were there. Probably going to pass judgment from ‘on high’, Buffy thought as she rushed towards her husband.


Buffy threw herself into Spike’s arms just as he turned to see who had called his name.


“Bloody hell!” he exclaimed in surprise when she hit him and knocked him down to the hard floor at their feet.


Spike pushed her off him and sat up. “Slayer!” he growled with the shock of seeing her again … then a knowing smirk came to his lips. “Didn’ get enough o' Big Bad, eh? Back for more, are ya? I reckon I got a few minutes to scratch your itch…”   


“Spike! Please, listen to me!” Buffy pleaded, ignoring his smirk and innuendos. “I love you … never forget that I love you and I’ll fight to my last breath to get you back.”


Spike stood up from the floor and stalked over to where he’d pushed her, reaching her just as she got back to her feet. Spike grabbed her by the upper arms and pulled her to him, capturing her lips in a rough and passionate kiss.  “You taste like lemon drops … sweet and tart all at once,” he informed her when he released her lips.


Buffy gasped for breath and tried to get her head to stop spinning and her heart from racing. She held onto his shoulders, afraid that her knees had gone too weak to hold her. “Spike, please …” Buffy begged, trying to get her body to stop reacting to his kiss, to his touch, to his hands on the bare skin of her arms. “Please tell me that you won’t give up!”


“Ole Spike never gives up, Slayer … don’t they teach you anything in Slayer-school? William the Bloody never stops, never gives up, never quits until …”


“…everything in his path is dead,” Buffy finished. “Yes, I’ve heard the rhetoric. Points for motivation and thoroughness. Now, how about this one … William’s a good man, he’s got a heart the size of Texas and he loves with every bit of it – he loves his family, he loves his wife and his friends and he’ll never give up on getting back to them.”


“William’s a ponce!” Spike exclaimed with a sneer, pushing Buffy away and releasing his hold on her arms.


“You’re William!” Buffy insisted.


“I am William the Bloody! I’m Spike! I’ll never be that weak, lovelorn tosser again and you’d be wise to remember that, Goldilocks!”


Buffy opened her mouth with a retort when suddenly a large, booming voice announced, “William the Bloody, do you have any final words before judgment is passed?”


Spike looked to the black sky above them, from whence the voice came. “Yeah, I do … sod off! You can all bend over and stuff this whole thing up your godly arses and kiss mine while you’re down there!” he screamed at them in anger.


“NO! NO! He didn’t mean that!” Buffy interjected, pushing Spike down onto the floor in an effort to shut him up.


“I bloody well did!” Spike retorted, standing back up quickly.


“Shut up, Spike! Can’t you shut up for once in your life?” Buffy yelled at him angrily, before shoving him back down on his ass.


“He’s a good man – he loves his family … he’s saved the fucking world, for God’s sake!” Buffy screamed at the sky. “Just give me more time … I’ll prove it! Lilah! Tell them!” Buffy demanded from the lawyer who was still standing off to one side.


Lilah shrugged. “I’ve tried …”


Spike jumped back up and shoved Buffy out of the way. “Don’t need no Slayer sullyin’ m’ good name.  Nothing they can do to me can come close to what I’ve had at the hands … and other bits … of Angelus …” he informed her. “They don’t scare me.”


“Damn it, Spike! This could be forever! It’s not a year or a decade or even a century … it’s forever! You might not be scared, but I am!” Buffy exclaimed as she turned and moved back towards him.


“The fated has spoken,” announced the booming voice from above them.


“NO!” Buffy begged. “Just give me a little more time!”


But the tribunal ignored her and just kept talking, “William the Bloody, you are hereby condemned to eternal damnation for your sins against mankind…”


“Don’ forget womankind…” Spike interjected sarcastically. “Equal rights now, ya know.”


“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” Buffy screamed at the black sky as tears stained her face and her whole body shook in fear and rage and frustration.


“Spike! No, please no!” Buffy sobbed as she made her way back to where he now stood stoically, legs spread wide, his arms folded across his chest, in the round ring that had been used to hold him still and silent as they forced him to relive every crime he’d ever committed over the last century.


Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck and sobbed against his shoulder, but Spike never moved to hold her, standing perfectly straight and still as he waited for his sentence to begin.


Spike could feel it starting deep in his gut … like a fire was starting at his core and burning him from the inside out.  He could actually feel his physical body begin to turn to ashes … to dust, little by little as the flame spread out from his center in all directions. When the fire reached his heart, he felt something explode within him like a keg of dynamite … he knew it would only be a few seconds now before he would be no more of this world or the last, but of the next – of hell. 


He took Buffy by the arms and pushed her back away from him, lest she burn as well. For a moment he wasn’t sure why he cared if the Slayer burned … then their eyes met. Her green eyes glistened with unshed tears and suddenly he was afraid … more afraid than he’d ever been of anything in his life. A rush of love poured over him, as if that explosion had broken the damn that had been around his heart and freed his soul from its hiding place. In that moment he realized, the fear he was feeling wasn’t of hell, it wasn’t of the torment that he would face, it was a fear that he had broken his promise to her and left her to walk alone. It was fear that he would never find her again – ever, never feel her soul next to his again, never feel her heart beating next to his, never feel her love again.


“Buffy …” Spike whispered softly. “I’m sorry…”


“Spike!” Buffy cried, trying to move back towards him, but he held her at arm’s length as he felt the fire rise through his chest and up towards his neck. “I love you … please … please, God!” Buffy begged through her sobs.


“I love you, too, Buffy … I’ll always love you, I’ll always search for you – I promise I won’t stop until I find you again – somehow, someday. Keep me in your heart and you’ll never walk alone … don’t give up hope,” Spike told her as tears fell from his own eyes.


“Tell them you’re sorry … you didn’t mean it! Beg them for another chance … for more time!” Buffy admonished him, but Spike just shook his head slowly.


“It’s too late, luv. I’m so sorry,” he whispered to her as he looked deep into her eyes one last time … past the green pools of sorrow on the surface down deep into her soul, he needed to have that one last glimpse of his final glimpse to last him for eternity.


Then Spike closed his eyes, holding that vision behind his closed lids, and pushed Buffy away from him with all his strength as he felt the fire within him expanding and growing.  Within moments, he was engulfed in flames. He screamed out as his head snapped back and his body tensed in agony as he burned from the inside out … and then he was just gone. The entire world seemed to go completely silent and perfectly still in that moment, as if it had stopped spinning for that split second.


“SPIKE! NO!! GOD, NO!” Buffy screamed, moving back to where he had been standing, but all that remained was a pile of dust and hot embers.  Buffy dropped to her knees next to it as she sobbed and screamed out from the pain which stabbed and burned her soul. The heat from the fire blistered her legs and hands as she pounded her fists down in frustration and anger and heartbreak, but she didn’t feel it – she could only feel the void that was left within her soul, it was like a black hole had opened up and swallowed everything that was good in her life.


“Please, please, please … No … Please, God, no! I need him! Please, bring him back!” Buffy begged. “I’ll do anything! Just tell me what to do!! I’ll do anything!” Buffy bargained … but there was no response from above – there would be no answer to her prayers.


Buffy collapsed down onto her side next to the pile of embers and sobbed uncontrollably.  She’d failed. She’d failed to save him, she’d failed to save her family and her friends … she’d failed to save herself. It was over, Spike was gone, her family was gone, most of her friends were gone. The most important mission of her life was over and she’d failed.




“You’ll Never Walk Alone”, Elvis


When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark

At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on walk on with hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk

You'll never walk
You'll never walk alone.


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