Story Title: Spirit Indestructible


Season 5. Begins with ‘Spiral’ in the abandoned gas station, and goes far off-canon almost immediately.

When Dawn makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her sister, friends, and the world, Buffy’s mind snaps. When Buffy's friends give up hope of her ever recovering, and become afraid that she’ll turn violent and uncontrollable, they call in the Council to help. Fearing what the Council will do, Spike, forgotten and ignored by her friends, steps in. Will he be able to reach the Slayer when no one else could? Will he be able to keep her out of the hands of the Council and away from her ‘helpful’ friends? How much heartbreak, guilt, and failure can one girl stand before her indestructible spirit finally resigns the fight and gives up hope?




4. Wish You Were Here


Music Referenced:

Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

Nelly Furtado - Spirit Indestructible


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:



Thanks to Paganbaby for taking time out of her hectic life to beta this for me! Her suggestions and commentary that always makes me smile! All mistakes are mine because I can't stop fiddling right up to the last moment.

Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Spike/Other. Threesome B/G/G action involving Spike, Buffy, and BuffyBot. Main Character Death. Plenty of angst.

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.


While Buffy devoured the best meal she'd had in days, Spike and the Bot got the other bed put back together and the sheets and blankets  arranged on it more-or-less properly. When they’d finished, Buffy had pretty well decimated all the food he’d ordered and was sitting at the small table in the room finishing the last of the coffee.


“Buffy, luv?” Spike began, talking in a gentle, reassuring tone like you might use with a frightened pet … or a wolverine. He slid the other chair away from the table so he could sit facing her without the table between them and sat down. Buffy didn’t look up at him, but didn’t move away, so he continued on his next mission: check those bandages on her arms.


“Need t’ get that plastic off yer bandages, luv,” he continued in the same melodious tone. He reached out, putting one hand on each arm of the chair she was in, and twisted it away from the table so she was facing him directly. He kept his movements slow and deliberate, as if she were a spooky horse that might bolt at any moment if startled.


“Can I … have a look, luv?” he asked, dipping his head and leaning into her line of sight so she had little choice but to look at him.


“No die,” was Buffy’s only reply as she set her coffee down and turned her arms over so the wounds on her forearms were up. She held her arms out to him as her eyes searched his face with the confusion of a lost child.


Spike nodded and swallowed back a myriad of emotions, at once thankful that she seemed unafraid of him now, but heartbroken at her vulnerability – it didn’t suit her, his strong Slayer.


“Won’t let ya die, Buffy,” he agreed as he began peeling the tape off that held the plastic in place which he’d put over her bandages the previous night. When he got the bandages themselves off he was pleased to see that at least her Slayer healing hadn’t suffered any setback due to her mental state.  New, bright pink skin had formed thick, wide scars over her wounds, and they were closed completely now, making the stitches superfluous.


He looked up to meet her eyes and gave her a reassuring smile. “They look good, Slayer. All healed up, yeah? Gonna need t’ take those stitches out ‘fore your skin grows over ‘em. Will that be alright? … Gonna need t’ use some scissors,” Spike explained. “Need ya to hold very still while I do it, yeah? Can you do that for me?”


Buffy looked at him and he could see the effort behind her eyes as she tried to focus on his words and decipher their meaning. Flashes of confusion coupled with frustration blazed across her features until she finally shook her head in defeat. “Spike fix,” she said at last, thrusting her arms toward him further.


Spike nodded. “Right – Spike’ll fix ya up, luv.”


Spike retrieved a few pairs of scissors that he’d liberated from the hospital, looking for the ones that were small enough to get under the thin line of the stitches. Buffy watched him warily as he set each discounted pair on the table, finally deciding on one.


Buffy reached one hand out as if to pick up one of the shiny, sharp instruments, and Spike grabbed her hand in a crushing grip. “No! No die, remember, luv?” His voice was harsh with anger and fear as he squeezed her hand in a painful grip.


Buffy looked at him sheepishly. She didn’t seem to notice, or at least didn’t acknowledge, any pain from his fingers that wrapped around her own, nearly crushing them. Spike instinctively tensed, waiting for the chip to fire, but it didn't. Did it know that he had no intention of hurting her, or was it because she didn't react to his outburst that made the 'behavior modification device' remain silent? He didn't know, but was thankful in any event.


After a moment Buffy nodded her understanding, and he released his grip as she pulled her hand back. “No die. Try. Dawn. Try,” she agreed, nodding determinedly.


Save Dawn.

Dawn’s dead.

Blood. Drown. Sleep.

No! Try!


Buffy turned her arms over and rested them on the arms of her chair, palms up, and held very, very still. Spike took a calming breath and began snipping the myriad of little black knots and pulling the slick, plastic line out of her flesh.


“Used t’ use thread, they did,” he spoke as he worked, unable to abide too much silence. “Some kinda plastic now I reckon … comes out easier, yeah? Looks like soddin’ fishin’ line,” he rambled. “Still black. Wonder why that is? Could ‘ave pretty multicolored stitches like they do casts these days. We could’a gotten you … what? Pink t’ go with your knickers, luv? What’s your favorite color, Slayer?”


“Purple,” Buffy replied without hesitation.


Spike stopped and looked at her, his brows raised in surprise.


Tears shimmered in Buffy’s eyes as she met his. “Dawn. Purple.”


Spike nodded. “Yeah … our girl liked purple alright,” he agreed sadly as he set back to his task.


One million and fifty-nine stitches later, Spike ran a cotton-ball soaked in alcohol gently over the new skin on Buffy’s arms to disinfect all the new little holes the removal of the stitches had opened up. Then he dabbed some antibiotic ointment on her arms and spread it over the little wounds with gentle fingers. Finally, he looked up at her and pronounced, “All fixed.”


Buffy nodded and pulled her arms back to look at them. After a moment, she met Spike’s gaze. “Thank you.”


“Buffy?” he asked hopefully, tilting his head and studying her. Every time she said something lucid like that Spike’s heart leapt at the possibility that she was back – wholly back.


“Buffy try,” she said in the same short, clipped, forced, pronoun-deficient cadence that he’d come to know so well over the last few days since she’d began speaking again.


He sighed and nodded, giving her a sad smile. “Good … ‘try’ is … good.”




Although Spike wasn’t sure Buffy really understood what she was agreeing to, she had nodded at his suggestion that they all stay in for the day and then they could go out that night. He didn’t dare tell the Bot that he didn’t trust her watching over Buffy without him any longer – it would hurt her little, heart-shaped microchip, and she’d give him that damn pout. After running the channels a few times, purposely skipping the porn selections, Spike settled on a channel running an NCIS marathon. He liked the lab girl, Abby: smart, spunky, witty, tattooed in interesting places, slept in a coffin – what wasn’t to like?


When Buffy crawled into her bed and covered up, making no hint at inviting Spike to join her, he settled onto the other bed to watch the show. Sometime between Abby roller-skating through her lab, nearly bowling over one of her co-workers, and solving the crime with impossibly thin evidence and supernaturally fast computers, Spike fell asleep.


He couldn’t be sure how long he’d slept, but some sixth sense woke him up. When he opened his eyes he saw Buffy standing right next to him, the stake he’d given her the previous night in her fist, drawn back as if ready to strike. "Bloody hell!"




After Spike took her stitches out and suggested they stay in for the day, Buffy had gathered up Mr. Gordo and the stake from the floor where she'd dropped them earlier, and crawled under the covers of the bed furthest from the door. Curled on her side with the blanket tucked under her chin, she watched the TV as Spike flipped through the channels, but it was nothing except a frustrating annoyance to her: random sounds and pictures that made no sense. As soon as she started to focus on what was on the screen, he'd change it, never allowing her enough time to really comprehend whatever it was. When he finally stopped the infernal channel-surfing and settled on one show, Buffy was too tired to try and focus her muddled mind any longer. She gave up, turned over, and pulled one of the pillows over her head. Despite the coffee, she was content to give in to sleep after her heavy meal and stressful morning.


In her dream, Buffy found herself in a lovely park with what seemed hundreds of acres of green grass which rolled gently down to a sky-blue lake some ways off. She was pushing a child of perhaps four or five on the swings, a girl with curly, chestnut-brown hair that flowed wildly in the wind with each movement to and fro.


"Higher! Higher, Mommy!" the child squealed in delight as she was propelled through the air, clinging to the heavy chains that supported the swing with her small, delicate hands.


"I think that's high enough," Buffy replied, laughing at the girl's fearless enthusiasm, which reminded her of herself at that age.


"Nooo!" the child whined. "I wanna go all the way around! Push harder! Pleeaassee!"


"All the way around?" Buffy chided the girl. "I don't think even I could do that. C'mon! I'll race you to the jungle gym!" Buffy challenged, stilling the girl's swing.


Buffy waited for her daughter to dismount and then waited even longer, giving her a several second head-start before jogging after her. "I'm gonna catch you..." Buffy warned as she ran after the giggling child.


"Nuh-uh!" the girl disputed, increasing her pace in earnest. "I'm the fastest of the fastest!"


Buffy let her win and was just about to climb up onto the jungle gym to join the child when someone spoke from right behind her, "This is so touching. Such a load of crap, but still ... very touching."


Buffy spun around to find herself standing there. For reasons known only to the world of dreams, this didn't seem strange to her at all. "What do you mean?" Buffy asked as she backed up and turned so she could watch her daughter and talk to herself at the same time.


"Load. Of. Crap," her counterpart repeated deliberately, crossing her arms over her chest. "First of all, any kid with Dawn's soul would not laugh that much. I mean, you do remember Dawn, right?"


Buffy's brow furrowed. "Yeah, but ... she'd been through a lot and ... and the monks made her. They must've had some influence on her being the Queen of Brat-dom," Buffy argued. "This will be different."


"Oh, right..." Negative-Buffy intoned sarcastically, rolling her eyes. "Fine, let's talk about how you're going to support her, then. It's lovely that you're out here in the park in the middle of the day. No job, I suppose? What are you, living in a shelter? On welfare? Oh! I know! You won the lottery!"


"I ... I don't know," Buffy admitted, fretting her bottom lip with her teeth. "I might have a ... night job," she offered, brightening. "I can get a job. I have my high school diploma and..."


Negative-Buffy barked out a sarcastic laugh. "That barely qualifies you to flip burgers."


Buffy scowled at her. "I can waitress. I was a good waitress in L.A. I didn't have any problem getting a job, an apartment..."


"A Roach-Motel, you mean," Negative-Buffy interjected.


"I'm perfectly capable of supporting us," Buffy contended vehemently. "A-and ... plus ... maybe Spike..."


At that, Negative-Buffy burst out into fits of laughter. Buffy continued to scowl as her counterpart doubled-over and began to wheeze and cry with gut-busting glee.


"It could happen!" Buffy asserted through the other's gales of laughter. "You don't know!"


"He's a vampire! The 'duh' at the end of that statement is inferred!" Negative-Buffy asserted, still giggling but pulling her mirth under control. "What do you think, that he's gonna settle down in a little house in the 'burbs with a white picket fence and geraniums in the window-boxes, and you'll be a family?"


Buffy's frown lines deepened. "It could happen..." she repeated, but the words didn't carry much force or confidence.


"Oh, yeah, it could happen in some bizarro, topsy-turvy world where day is night, water runs uphill, and you can squeeze toothpaste back into the tube," Negative-Buffy claimed.


Buffy glared at her, her eyes flashing with anger. "Why are you being so negative about this?" she asked her counterpart.


"I'm not being negative, I'm being realistic!" Negative-Buffy contended. "I'm just trying to show you what you're getting into here. It's not all ice cream and giggles. C'mon, Buffy, you know as well as I do: you can't do this!"


"I can!" Buffy retorted angrily, then, lowering her voice to barely a whisper she said, "I have to."


"See – that's where you're wrong. You don't have to! You can release Dawn from Limbo by doing something you're actually good at!" Negative-Buffy explained. "Slay Spike. Problem solved. You are the Slayer ... you do remember that part, right?"


"Mommy! Look at me! Look at me, Mommy!" the girl called from the jungle gym where she hung upside-down by one knee that was looped over the highest part of the apparatus.


"Be careful," Buffy warned distractedly, barely sparing a glace at her daughter.


"Buffy, I know this was Mom's grand plan to save everyone, but you've got to face reality. She doesn't know us like we do. Face it, you don't have what it takes to raise a kid – you proved that with Dawn, didn't you? You're just not cut out for it. What you are cut out for is being the Slayer. So, buck up, put on your Slayer nametag, and get to work saving Dawn from Limbo!" Negative-Buffy demanded.


"But ... Spike's been helping me. He ..." Buffy argued meekly.


"He's a killer, Buffy! An evil, soulless monster! He is the thing you were made to destroy! He's killed two other Slayers already. It's only a matter of time before he makes you his third!"


"No ... he ... he wouldn't," Buffy stammered. "He's changed."


"What do you suppose will happen when you break his heart? How long is he gonna be your lapdog after he figures out that you aren't capable of loving him? When he finds out you've got nothing but an empty shell inside where your heart should be, he's gonna turn on you ... on us," Negative-Buffy warned.


"The chip..." Buffy pointed out, but the argument was without conviction. Even chipped, he'd managed to get her shackled and helpless in his crypt with Dru's help, hadn't he? And Negative-Buffy was right about another thing, Buffy had told her mother as much: she didn't have any love to give.


"The chip will do nothing if he puts a bomb in the car and blows it up with you in it, or hires those Taraka guys again, or just gets himself some minions to do the work for him," Negative-Buffy contended vehemently.


"Mommy, look! Look, Mommy, look! Look what I can do!" the enthusiastic girl called again.


Buffy turned just in time to see her daughter release her hold on one side of the dome-shaped jungle gym and hurl herself across the empty space toward the other. "Oh, God!" Buffy exclaimed even before the child's chin cracked against the bars she was trying to catch. The child tumbled to the ground, landing with a thud that was disproportionately deafening, given the short fall and the soft grass.


Buffy raced to her daughter's aid, flinging the dome-shaped jungle gym away and sending it rolling down the hill toward the lake. Buffy was on her knees next to the girl's prone, unmoving form in an instant. Blood gushed from the child's mouth where she'd bitten her tongue or cheek, several of her teeth were cracked and broken, and there was a nasty gash on her chin, as well. "Dawn ... Dawnie, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Buffy lamented, trying to stop the bleeding, but the child couldn't hear –  she'd been knocked unconscious.


Buffy's hands were once again bathed in scarlet. Blood coated her palms and dripped from her fingers as she tried desperately to help the girl. The girl Buffy was supposed to be keeping safe, supposed to be raising, supposed to be protecting.


"Face it, Buffy. You can't do this," Negative-Buffy insisted from just over her shoulder. "It's you or him, Buffy. Save yourself and Dawn at the same time! Do it! Do what you were born to do!"




Spike’s first instinct was to scramble away from Buffy or knock the stake out of her hand, but he reined in his basic ‘fight or flee’ response, afraid that would only provoke her to immediate violence and/or trigger his chip. Instead, he slowly – very, very slowly – reached one hand up toward the stake.


The look in Buffy’s eyes was one part loathing, one part revulsion, one part determination, and two parts murderous rage. He had to wonder if part of her was reacting to him on some primal, Slayer level. He knew how his own instincts reacted to being near her, or any Slayer, for that matter. Being near a Slayer made the hairs on the back of his everything stand up and scream, it sent pinpricks of fire down his spine, and sent his adrenal glands into overdrive.  It wasn’t precisely a recipe for peace, harmony, and goodwill towards men … or Slayers.


“Buffy, luv … it’s me, Spike,” he told her in a gentle tone as he lifted his hand. "Buffy, luv ..." he said again, keeping his tone as calm as he could. "You in there, Buffy? Not gonna hurt you, pet. No one's gonna hurt you. Fun as it may be, there's no need t' resort t' violence now, is there?"


The murderous rage in her eyes morphed into confusion, while a flash of what he hoped was recognition replaced the loathing and revulsion, and the determination lapsed into uncertainty.


“You remember Spike, right? The chipped vamp that loves you? Better that than a vamped chimp, I reckon,” he quipped dryly, his hand still inching up toward the stake.


Buffy didn’t react or move – not even an eye roll or a disdainful snort.


“Yeah, well you try comin’ up with a funny with a deranged Slayer standing over ya with a stake,” he continued grumpily.


“Just give me the stake, luv,” he cajoled as his fingers slowly, carefully closed over it. “Let go, pet,” he instructed as he pulled on it gently, trying to free it from her grasp.


For a moment he thought she was going to fight him over it – which he was afraid would not have ended well for him – but then she stuck her bottom lip out in a pout and simply released it. Spike breathed a sigh of relief as he pulled it from her fingers and began to sit up to talk to her, but she turned away and crawled back into the other bed. Before he could even get fully to a sitting position she had covered up and turned her back on him, whatever snit she’d been in apparently past.


He blew out a breath and put the stake back into his bag, out of sight, before lying back down. He watched most of another NCIS episode, keeping a wary eye on Buffy, before finally relaxing enough to fall back asleep.




"What happened!?" Negative-Buffy demanded when Buffy reappeared in the park.


Buffy shook her head. "We don't know me as well as we thought, I guess," Buffy explained with a defeated sigh.


"What is there to know? You're the Slayer, he's the vampire holding your sister's soul prisoner! It's a no-brainer!" Negative-Buffy retorted angrily.


Buffy shook her head again, her shoulders sagging. "It's Spike."


"And...??!" Negative-Buffy questioned incredulously.


"And ... it's Spike," Buffy repeated, unable to come up with anything more.


"Damn it, Buffy! He's a vampire!" Negative-Buffy retorted.


Buffy shook her head, her expression perplexed. "I know ... but ... I just ... can't. He loves me and ..." Buffy blinked a sudden flood of tears back from her eyes, unsure why they had even surfaced.


"Oh. My. God," Negative-Buffy exclaimed, flinging her arms out in frustration. "Mom was right! You love him!"


"What!?!? No ... no! I didn't say that! That would be ... a world of wrong! Ten thousand gallons of wrongness!" Buffy insisted adamantly. "It's just ... Spike," she added lamely.


"Mommy! Look! Watch what I can do! Look, Mommy! Watch!" Buffy's daughter called from the jungle gym, saving her from further discussion on the matter.


"No! Wait, don't let go of the bars! Let me help you!" Buffy insisted vehemently, moving quickly away from Negative-Buffy and the convo she didn't want to have, over to her daughter's side. "Ok, I'm here," Buffy told her daughter, taking her place near the girl as a 'spotter'. "Show me what you can do," she encouraged the child.


As Buffy helped her daughter release from one side of the jungle gym and 'fly' to the other side safely, Negative-Buffy rolled her eyes and shook her head.


"You are sooo gonna regret this," Negative-Buffy warned before strolling away, back toward the swings. "Hmmm ... I wonder if I can swing all the way around?"




When he awoke, Spike felt warm, gentle weight surrounding him. He hovered in the hypnopompic mist between sleep and wakefulness, not quite able to focus on the feeling other than that it was exceptionally pleasant. He let out a satisfied moan and relaxed back into sleep, hoping to re-enter the dream that cast him as the creamy center of a Buffy sandwich.


Unfortunately, the NCIS marathon had apparently gone off – or someone had changed the channel – and the cackling, grating voice of Judge Judy pierced his eardrums like a thousand toothpicks being rammed into them.


“Bloody hell…” he groaned as he reached blindly around the bed next to him to find the remote so he could end the torture.


He did not find the remote, however. His eyes blinked open when his hands met warm, soft bodies on either side of him.


“Mmmm, brilliant,” Spike rumbled, still-half drowsing, looking from the Bot on one side of him, her bits and bytes and fully-charged battery warming her – its – skin, to Buffy on the other, still dressed only in his t-shirt and light pink knickers.


Both Slayers were curled next to him on their sides as he lay on his back. Buffy’s arm was lying across his stomach and her head rested on her own pillow, which she’d apparently brought with her, near his shoulder. The Bot had one leg thrown over his and she used one arm folded beneath her head for a pillow.


Spike closed his eyes and waited for the dream to continue; he’d had a couple of dreams that started off exactly like this. But, after enduring several more minutes of Judge Judy, long enough for him to worry about his eardrums bursting, nothing changed, no one moved. Could this be ... ?? No.


Spike pinched his leg through his jeans to assure himself that this was a dream and nothing more – it hurt. He opened his eyes again and looked: the two Buffys were still there, he was still there. Bloody hell, he wasn’t dreaming! The two Slayers both appeared to be asleep … or in ‘energy conservation mode’. He saw the remote on the other side of Buffy and carefully snaked his arm over top of her head to retrieve it without waking her.  She stirred slightly when he moved. With his arm no longer at his side, she snuggled in closer and settled her head on his shoulder, apparently never fully waking. Spike stopped moving a moment, trying his level best to not wake her and end this … whatever it was.


When she settled against him and seemed content, he grabbed the remote and clicked the TV off. Leaving the remote on the bed behind her, he carefully wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her against his body even tighter. She shifted again when he did that and draped a bare leg over his jean-clad thigh, a mirror of BuffyBot on the other side.


Spike closed his eyes and swallowed, afraid to move lest he break the spell. After a few moments, when neither of the beauties next to him awoke, he carefully slid his arm out from between his body and the Bot. He wrapped it around her – sod it, he could not call her an ‘it’ – shoulders and urged her against him. She obliged, taking the shoulder he offered and using it for a pillow as she snuggled against his body.


Spike drew in a deep breath and let it out slowly. He could die now. Dust right here, surrounded by Buffy – two Buffys. There’s only one thing that could make this better and his mind started wandering off in very naughty directions. Ok, maybe a few things actually came to mind, sue me. The fingers of both hands drew soft shapes on his companions’ arms, caressing their warm skin with just the tips of his fingers as his imagination wandered down some naughty paths his mind had only rarely dared to trod before.


As he lay there, apparently having been lifted to heaven by some unsuspecting, and soon to be ex, angel, he felt just how different his two Slayers were. Despite looking so much alike, they felt completely different against his body. Buffy’s body was comfortably warm, but the Bot was approaching hot, with her myriad of electronics that whirred inside her almost constantly. Although the Bot weighed more than Buffy with all her high-tech components, Buffy felt heavier against him. He realized that she was completely relaxed in her slumber and had allowed all the weight of her limbs to press down on him. BuffyBot, on the other hand, seemed unable to relax that completely; even in sleep-mode she didn’t fully let go, she was holding her body in place like a mannequin imitating sleep, rather than just letting it fall naturally against him.


Their skin was obviously different. Despite the Bot’s state-of-the-art-ness, there was no way to imitate the soft, supple feel of a woman’s skin. The same was true of the Bot’s hair – although soft and silky and something Spike loved to run his fingers through, it lacked the natural vitality of the real thing that lay on his other side.


For Spike, perhaps the biggest physical difference was the aroma of his two Slayers. Absolutely nothing could imitate the heavenly perfume that wafted up to his sensitive nostrils from Buffy. Even now he could still smell the remnants of her arousal and climax from the previous night. He breathed in deeply, longing to taste her again, to feel her body shudder and hear her breathless scream of release. His cock, already awoken from any thought of sleep, jumped in his jeans as he relived the night before and added a ‘Doublemint’ motto to it: Double your pleasure, double your fun.


He sighed dreamily and indulged his mind’s trip down 'Triple-X Lane' for several minutes before pulling his brain (kicking and screaming) out of the gutter. He knew Buffy would never go for anything he’d just conjured on his little journey into the Double-Slayer Orgy-land theme park, but that didn’t really bother him too terribly. All he really wanted was her – Buffy, the Vampire Slayer – to be herself again.


“Buffy, please … please come back to me,” he pleaded, his voice a bare wisp of breath in the quiet room. She had been there last night – Buffy – all of her; mind, body, and spirit. He longed with all his being for her to return – longed to see that look of, if not love, at least acceptance of him in her eyes. Acceptance was a start – acceptance could grow into love, he assured himself. She’d looked at him like a man; treated him like a man in the last days before Dawn’s death. That was more than he’d ever hoped for, and that small victory made him hope for even more.


“I’m here,” Buffy murmured, her breath warm against the bare skin of his chest.


Spike lifted his head to look into her eyes, but she hadn’t awoken – her eyes remained closed, her face lax with sleep. He laid his head back down, still caressing his two bedmates’ arms gently, and closed his eyes against the hope that had swelled in him. I love you, Buffy, he thought deliberately, not daring to say it lest she awake and scamper away from him again. Love you so bloody much.



Later that evening when Buffy awoke, Spike waited for the explosion – for some outrage or tirade about being in bed next to him – but it never came. She stretched her body, arching her back and pressing her hips against his side harder. Spike remained perfectly still as Buffy yawned and stretched, then moved away and sat up on the edge of the bed.


“Sleep well, luv?” he asked from behind her, still waiting for her to get angry, perhaps accuse him of being in her bed or tricking her somehow.


She nodded, not looking at him.


“Was there … something wrong with your bed?” he ventured when she didn't attack him, trying to suss out what had brought her to his side so he could recreate it later.


“Cold. Alone,” she replied simply as she stood up and headed for the bathroom.


Spike pursed his lips and nodded as she walked away. If she didn’t drive him stark, raving mad, it would be a bloody miracle. He never knew what to expect from her: a stake, a cuddle, a kiss, or a punch – any could come at any time. He could’ve just as easily woken up dusty this evening instead of cocooned in the arms of his two beautiful Slayers. Come to think of it, maybe he already had gone 'round the bend. If he had, would he be able to tell? Waking up to a Slayer standing over you with a stake, and staying in the room with said Slayer seemed to indicate he had already succumbed to insanity.


But, oh the possibilities…



Spike couldn’t help but put a little extra ‘oomph’ in his swagger as he walked into one of the large hotel casinos that night with Buffy on one side and the Bot on the other. All eyes in the place turned to the trio of blonds as if a spotlight were shining on them as they strode by. Spike felt like Bond, James Bond, sans the poncey tux, walking through the casino: Men want to be him, women want to be with him. Oh yeah, who’s the Big Bad now?


Spike smirked as he hooked his arms through those of his companions and headed over to the cashier’s window to buy some chips. He pulled out a thick roll of cash, but only peeled off two one-hundred-dollar bills to trade for the chips. In fact, the rest were all ones, it just looked impressive. He really needed to parlay the two hundred into more tonight – lots more. With his twin good luck charms, how could he lose?


Spike could feel Buffy’s unease as the three walked around the blackjack tables. He could tell she didn’t like the crowds by the way her heart raced and skittered in her chest, and the way she twitched, as if ready to fight or flee, with each new sound. She hadn’t been around this many people since before they’d lost Dawn, and never in her precarious mental condition. He watched her jerk her eyes and head from person to person, as if scanning for danger at every turn.


“It’s alright, luv. No one knows where we are. Safe as houses ‘ere,” he assured her as he took her hand in his and gave it a comforting squeeze.


Buffy looked at him blankly a moment, then repeated, “Houses – safe,” in a flat monotone.


Spike chose a ten dollar blackjack table. It was a six deck table, odds weren’t the greatest, but he needed to start small and move up to the better tables, which also had higher buy-ins, after he had more dosh in his pocket. Buffy and the Bot stood nearby, just a little behind him, as he played.


“Spike is a genius,” BuffyBot commented to Buffy brightly as they watched.


Buffy looked at the Bot and rolled her eyes. Spike didn’t see since the women were standing behind him.


“Look at all the pretty discs he’s accumulated already,” the Bot continued. “He will soon take all the colors away from the others at the table because he’s bloody brilliant at blackjack.”


“Cheats,” Buffy replied dryly.


“Spike does not cheat! Don’t ever say that! He’s got a natural aptitude for games of chance. He’s simply more clever and adept than anyone else,” BuffyBot insisted, glowering at Buffy.


“More like inept,” Buffy sighed.


Spike heard that and looked around for a moment at his girls, paying special attention to Buffy. He missed the dealer asking him if he wanted another card, his attention focused on her. She wasn’t looking nearly as nervous as she had been, she looked … bored actually. Her arms were folded over her chest and one toe was tapping unerringly on the carpet in a classic ‘when can we get out of here?’ signal. He cursed when the dealer pulled his cards and wager away – he’d lost the hand while he was distracted with Buffy.


He waved off the next hand and gathered his chips up, rising from the table.


“Buffy, ya want t’ get something to eat, luv?” he asked her, watching her face closely for her reaction.


“No … could use something to drink,” she replied sounding completely lucid. “And something to do. What are we, your body guards … or just arm candy? Boring!”


Spike felt a wave of joy wash through him – it practically lifted him off his feet. Spike stepped closer to the ‘twins’ and raked his tongue along this teeth. “You can guard my hot, tight little body any day, Slayer,” he retorted, running his free hand down his chest to his belt suggestively.


“There’s nothing boring about watching Spike display his superior skills and intellect. It’s nearly as impressive as his washboard abs,” BuffyBot defended.


Buffy quirked a brow at Spike. “‘Superior skills and intellect’? Conceited much?”


Spike winced and turned to the Bot. “I thought we deactivated that file,” he growled at her through clenched teeth.


The Bot smiled at him. “No. We deactivated ‘Spike’s Favorite Phrases’, that is one of ‘Spike’s Favorite Compliments,’” she informed him brightly.


A muscle in Spike’s jaw twitched. “Well, let’s deactivate that one too, then,” he suggested.


“If we keep deactivating my files, I will not know the proper responses to outside stimuli,” the Bot protested.


Buffy smiled wryly and hooked her arm through the Bot’s. She turned her twin away from Spike and began walking towards the bar. “Tell you what, we’ll start a new file – ‘Smartass Retorts’ – that way you’ll never run out of things to say when properly … stimulated.”


“Oh, yes! That would be greatly appreciated. He had me deactivate all my sex programs, his favorite phrases, and now this… I’m very concerned that my limited banter and skills of engagement will become boring for Spike,” the Bot replied.


“Well, we wouldn’t want that now, would we?” Buffy replied, shooting Spike a devilish smile over her shoulder.


“Oi! My bloody Bot,” Spike protested. “Don’t be messing about with ‘er, Summers.”


Despite his protest, his heart was soaring higher with every moment Buffy was Buffy again. It felt like a thousand nightingales had taken flight inside his chest; an exaltation of joy, lifting him up to heaven.


Please, please let ‘er stay this time, he sent to whoever might possibly listen to the prayers of a heathen vampire. Was there a patron saint of vampires? He frowned and thought that Saint Jude would probably serve both Slayers and vampires – patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations. Suddenly, the Beetles began playing in his head, Hey Jude, don't make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better... Hey Jude, don't let me down, you have found her, now go and get her...


At the bar, Spike got himself a whiskey with a beer chaser and Buffy ordered a Coke. They took their drinks to a booth and sat down. Spike noted that Buffy slid in next to the Bot – was that to keep him from sitting next to the android? His ego swelled with the thought that Buffy might be jealous of his … relationship with BuffyBot, but he wisely didn’t mention it.


“You … feeling better, luv?” he asked Buffy, watching her face and her eyes carefully for signs of consternation or confusion.


Buffy nodded, but looked away from him as she took a drink of her Coke. “I … think so. I think I’m losing time…” she admitted. She looked down at the scars on her arms. She ran a finger over the worst one – the one on her left arm. It was still angry-looking, reddish-pink and the scar tissue was thick and deep. She looked back up at Spike. “I thought … this happened … yesterday. Everything’s … muddled.”


Spike shook his head. “Four days ago now,” he told her.


“Four days,” Buffy repeated in a whisper, shaking her head. She rubbed at her forehead with her fingers as flashes of guilt and confusion danced across her mind. “What … happened in those four days?” she asked finally, looking back up at Spike.


“You were in the … hospital for near-abouts three,” he told her. “Then … today – mostly just slept.”


“That’s … all that happened?” Buffy asked, the confusion showing in her face again.


Spike’s chest tightened. Don’t let her slip away. “Uh, well … you could say there was a bit of … excitement last night,” Spike admitted.


Buffy’s face flushed bright red and she looked down at the table, unable to meet his eyes. “So … that … in the shower, that was real?”


Spike cleared his throat and took a long swallow of his beer, unsure what to say, afraid of losing her again.


"Spike?" she prompted, keeping her head bowed but chancing a glance at him through her lashes and a veil of golden locks that had fallen in front of her face.


Spike shifted in his seat and cleared his throat again before answering. “It was for me. Thought you were there with me, luv. Wouldn’t ‘ave… taken advantage if I thought ...”


“No! I was there,” Buffy blurted out, suddenly feeling guilty for making him feel guilty. She summoned the courage to look up at him finally. “But I don’t remember how it … ended.”


Spike swallowed. “The same way everything between us ends: you got brassed off and threatened t’ stake me.”


A bark of laughter exploded from Buffy’s throat before she could stop it, but she stopped when she saw the pained expression on Spike’s face. “You’re serious.”


“As a heart attack,” he confirmed.


“I … I’m sorry … I don’t remember. I don’t understand why I would…”


Spike waved her apology off with a small motion of his hand. “Not your fault, luv. Should’a known better. Ya been in right state and I should’ve ‘ave …”


“No – it’s … Spike, I …” Buffy closed her eyes as the memory came back to her. She had come on to him, flirted with him, teased him – she had started it, not him. She had a mission. Her mother had given her a mission – rescue Dawn’s soul from Limbo. Make a baby. With Spike. She’d failed. Again.


Buffy opened her eyes and looked at him. He looked so concerned, so worried about her. She wished he wouldn’t look that way; this vampire who had unknowingly donated half of his unused-soul for Dawn; this vampire who Buffy was planning to use to make a baby and get said soul back out of Limbo.


Maybe I should just tell him about Dawn’s soul, Buffy thought. The answer to her silent musing came to her mind almost immediately. No! What if he gets pissed about the monks commandeering half of his soul? What if he doesn’t want to make a baby? What if he says no? What if he walks away from you? How will you rescue Dawn then? Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.


Finally Buffy said, “It wasn’t your fault. I … wanted it.”


Spike’s expression softened as he considered her, his head tilting to the side as he took her in. “Yeah?”


Buffy gave him a shy smile. “Yeah.”


“I … thought so, but been having a bit of a go readin' ya of late. Ya seemed … happy with it, but … errr … well, ya been a bit confused most o’ the last days – silent in the weeks before that. Ya keep talking ‘bout blood on your hands,” he told her truthfully.


Buffy closed her eyes and the image of Dawn lying in a pool of her own blood flashed in her mind. She’d never get that picture out of her mind. It was tattooed there – a permanent fixture. Then she could see her hands, covered in blood, Dawn's blood. She could only stare at them – frozen with the reality of her failure. Tears formed behind her closed lids and she had to blink her eyes to keep them from falling.


Buffy felt the crimson shroud of guilt-laden blood begin to descend over her mind again. She pressed her hands against her forehead – willing it to stop, to leave her alone. “No, no, no…” she muttered to herself, now pounding the heels of her hands against her forehead. “Mission … Dawn … focus … think … remember,” she admonished herself in a desperate whisper.


“Buffy?” Spike asked, urgent worry in his voice. “Slayer? Stay with me, Buffy,” he begged, reaching a hand across the table between them and gripping one of her forearms, as if he could hold her mind together with the gesture.


“Where is she going?” BuffyBot asked blithely, unable to process what was happening between her companions. Neither Spike nor Buffy replied to her or even heard.


“Spike …” Buffy panted – her heart galloping wildly in her chest as she desperately tried to keep her mind from drowning in the red river of confusion. “Help me … Spike.”


Buffy’s eyes were panicked – they looked just like she had that horrible night when she was bathed in Dawn’s blood. Helpless. Hopeless. Frightened. Forlorn.


Spike slid out of the booth and pressed into the seat next to Buffy, crowding her over against the Bot as he wrapped his arms around her. “Stay with me, Summers. You’re stronger than this. Too bloody stubborn t’ give in to it. Stay with me, Buffy,” Spike demanded of her – his voice strong and sure.


“She cannot leave. We have not created my new database of ‘Smartass Retorts’,” the Bot interjected with a pout.


Spike snorted. “Ya hear that, pet?” he said to Buffy. “Gotta stay – Bot needs them bloody insults o’ yours t’ hurl at me. Can’t leave that undone now, can we?” He held her and rocked her – he could feel her fighting the madness, the guilt – he could feel her losing the battle. His voice turned soft, agonized as he began begging her to stay with him. “Please, Buffy … please stay with me, luv. Please don’t leave me, pet. Buffy … please.”


“Spike,” Buffy grated out between panicked breaths. “Can’t … stop … it,” she gasped. “Too … heavy.”


“Balls!” Spike argued. “You’re the bloody Slayer. Nothing’s too heavy for you. Fight it, Summers. Bloody well fight,” Spike admonished her.


“Who are we fighting? I have many skills for slaying demons. I’m very good at physical confrontations and I look good while I’m doing it,” the Bot offered.


Spike could feel Buffy slipping through his fingers even as he held her against him. He clamped his eyes closed as tears of grief and frustration threatened to fall. Having her back for brief flashes was almost worse than not having her at all. He thought he would have been able to handle the sullen, monosyllabic responses from her better if he weren’t reminded of her wit and vitality with these periods of lucidity. How many times could he be lifted to heaven only to be slammed back into hell a few minutes later without losing his own mind?


“Inner demons,” Spike told the Bot grimly, “aren’t as easy t’ slay.”


He felt the fight go out of Buffy’s body. She relaxed and became still against him. She was like a completely different person in his arms – one moment a strong and determined warrior and the next a defeated, confused girl. It was almost like feeling the life drain from her; almost like feeling her die in his arms, and he was helpless to stop it.


“Buffy?” he asked softly, as if talking to a child. “You alright, luv?”


Buffy lifted her head from where it rested against his chest and looked up at him. He could see in her clouded eyes that she wasn’t in there – not his fierce Slayer.


She blinked a few times as if trying to reorient herself, then cleared her throat, touching a finger to it. “Thirsty,” she muttered wearily.


Spike nodded and released the hold he’d had on her. He pulled her Coke forward and handed it to her. Buffy took a few tentative sips, then downed the rest in one long pull. She wiped her mouth on the back of her arm and sat the empty glass down on the table.


“Need more, pet?” Spike asked.


She shook her head.


Spike reached across and retrieved his beer and drank it as Buffy had done her Coke, in one long swallow. “Right– let’s find a higher stakes table, then,” he suggested, although he really wasn’t in the mood anymore.


Regardless of his mood, he’d wanted to move Buffy out of that flea-bag motel into something nicer, and to do that he needed more money. The fastest way he knew to get more money, legally, at least, was to move up to higher stakes tables now that he’d built his ‘stack of pretty multi-colored discs’ into a fair amount of dosh.


He slid out of the booth, then offered Buffy a hand. She took it tentatively and followed his lead as if unsure what she was supposed to be doing. The Bot followed, and together they headed back into the casino proper.




It wasn’t really late by vampire and Slayer standards when Spike cashed in his chips before they headed back to the Paradise Lost Motel. He smirked as he provided the ID and non-citizen Social Security number of one 'Rupert Giles' for the tax forms, wishing he could see the wanker's face when the IRS and Inland Revenue came calling.  He hadn’t won enough to move them in to a Skyloft at the MGM Grand – yet. But, he had bet and won enough to catch the notice of the casino's floor managers, earning Spike and his ‘companions’ complimentary drinks while he played. Another couple of nights like that and they’d have a complimentary room too. Casinos really hate it when you walk out the door with their money. They prefer that you not leave the premises at all, lest you go next door and give all the money you won from them to their competitors. Spike had played this game before in casinos from Monte Carlo to Moscow – the key was knowing when to stop playing. It was just another dance.


While Buffy was getting her shower – quite alone this time – Spike lit a cigarette and settled in to watch the late, late movie: ‘Bloodbath at the House of Death.’ It was a comedy. Really. He listened to Buffy moving around in the bathroom. He could hear the water coming on, then the sound of the falling water change when she stepped under the spray. He wished he was in there with her as he tried to work out in his mind what triggered her sudden bouts of lucidity and what triggered her retreats into the darkness.


Certainly today mentioning blood had been the thing that sent her scurrying back into the security of confusion. In the shower the previous night it seemed to be when he told her that he loved her. How those were related, or if they were, he didn’t know. What triggered her sojourns into clarity was even less evident. It seemed random – it probably was; Dru had been that way. Perhaps the swings in both directions were nothing but chance – random occurrences that only the Slayer’s subconscious could hope to suss out. It was frustrating, but then again, she’d spent six weeks not saying anything at all. As farfetched as it seemed, perhaps Spike, the epitome of patience that he was, was simply being too impatient. He just wanted Buffy back. He just wanted a chance to build on the small thread of trust and friendship that had begun between them before…


He sighed. Before I let her down. Before Dawn sacrificed herself. Before we all had blood on our hands.


Spike heard the water shut off in the bathroom just as a knock came at the door to their room. He furrowed his brow and looked at the clock. Who would be knocking on their door at three am? Who would be knocking at their door at all?


The Bot was ‘asleep’, charging in the bed next to him. He quickly roused her, pulling the charging cord out and rebooting her. She blinked awake and gave him her brilliant smile. “Spike!”


“Shhh!” he warned, pressing a finger to her lips. “Go into the loo. Keep the Other Slayer in there. Someone’s at the door ….”


“Oh! I can get it. I have excellent conversation skills and can offer proper hospitality to a caller. I am very good at idle small talk,” the Bot informed him. “Nice whether we’re having, isn’t it? How ‘bout them Giants? Have you seen any good movies lately?” she demonstrated.


“Don’t think it’s that sort o’ caller,” Spike advised her, keeping his voice low. “Got a bad feeling.”


“Then I should stay with you. If they do not follow acceptable social etiquette as our guest and agree that the weather is quite nice and the Giants are doing well, I can beat them senseless and toss them into oncoming traffic,” she offered, looking menacingly at the door.


Another knock came at the door, more insistent this time. “Give a bloke a minute t’ get decent!” Spike called to the door. Then to the Bot he whispered, “No. Here’s your mission: you keep Buffy safe. Don’t let anyone take ‘er outta ‘ere or hurt her, no matter what. Got it?”


The Bot nodded sharply and headed for the bathroom. He heard Buffy say something when the door opened, but the Bot shushed her and stepped inside. Once the door closed on his two Slayers, Spike, a stake tucked into the back of his belt and a dagger in his right hand, went to answer the door.


The moment he turned the handle the door exploded in, knocking him back into the dresser with superhuman force. He began scrambling up to his feet, shifting the dagger to his left hand at the same time, as the apparently socially-inept visitor stepped into the room.


“Spike,” Angel spat the name as if just saying it left a bad taste in his mouth. “I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he snarled as he lunged forward, stake in hand.




Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here


So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We're just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.


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