Season 5. Begins with
‘Spiral’ in the abandoned gas station, and goes far off-canon almost
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?
YOU for reading and especially to those of you who take the time to
email me feedback! Love hearing from everyone! Thanks also to Paganbaby
for taking time out of her hectic life to beta this for me! Her
suggestions ROCK! All mistakes
are mine because I can't stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Rating / Warnings:
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.
Angelus began to giggle, then to chortle, then to laugh. He
laughed so hard that he doubled-over, holding his stomach as gleeful giggles and
roaring cackles rolled from his throat. If he weren’t already dead, he would’ve
died of laughter.
Joan furrowed her brow, trying to understand his reaction,
as she pulled the stake out of Faith’s literally lifeless body.
“I do not understand what you find so amusing,” Joan said
to the dark vamp as she watched him carefully. “Your companion is dead. You have
one less ally. This should garner rage or despair, not hilarity.”
Angel waved a hand at her, still doubled-over in laughter
and tried to speak, but could only gasp out, “You … the … look … priceless …”
He mimicked the surprised and worried look Joan had had on
her face when she realized she’d killed Faith. “Ooops!” he copied her, raising
his voice to a high falsetto before dissolving into more fits of laughter.
“You are even more of a pillock than Spike conveyed to me,”
Joan informed him as she stepped away from Faith, carefully stepping over the
ever-expanding pool of Slayer blood on the floor and moving away from the first
human she’d ever killed outright.
Across the room, Dru caught the scent of Slayer blood. She
dropped Spike onto the dirty wooden floor, drawing a barely-audible scream of
agony from him. He just didn’t have enough energy or breath to scream any
longer. Dru began to dance, twirling and twining her way across the floor of the
old bottling plant, around and over and under the conveyor system and stacks of
crates and bottles, toward the source of that delicious aroma.
Joan looked between Dru and Angelus, neither seemed to
notice that Spike was now ‘free’ and unguarded. Angel was still laughing, wiping
at his eyes, though his hilarity was waning; Dru was lost in her own little
world, dancing her own dance to her own drummer, fueled by the scent of Slayer
Joan raised the scythe, holding it with both hands, and
began to work her way toward Angel. If she could take him out now while he was
still distracted, then taking out Dru would be simple.
As Joan worked her way around and under the metal conveyor
system, Angel began to catch his breath and recover from his fit of giggles. She
still had time, though. He was bent over, his hands on his knees as small bouts
of laughter shook his shoulders between deep sighing-breaths.
Joan ducked gracefully under the last of her obstacles and
stood up, raising the scythe up to shoulder level and taking aim at the
vampire’s neck. Just as she began her downward swing, a perfect strike right at
Angelus’ neck, Joan was hit from behind with a violent blow and knocked forward.
She lost her balance, completely missed the oblivious Angelus, and crashed
face-down onto the worn, wooden floor.
In the next moment, Angelus’ foot crashed down on one of
her hands where it was wrapped around the shaft of the scythe, all his amusement
gone. She screamed out as her digits were smashed and broken under his power,
then screamed again when he raised his foot and crashed it down against her
Joan tried to hold onto the scythe with her injured
fingers, but Angelus yanked it from her grasp, much like she’d yanked it away
from Faith. The weight that had been on the Slayer’s back lifted and suddenly a
children’s song, sung in a child’s gleeful voice, filled the large room.
Say the bells of St. Clement's.
“You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.
“When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
“When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.”
Joan rolled away from Angelus and looked toward the voice –
a voice she knew: Hana. The girl skipped merrily around the pair, ducking under
or leaping over the metal conveyor system as she circled, singing. She looked
perfectly fine … except that her head was still the wrong way ‘round.
will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
“I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.
“Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
“Chop, chop, chop, chop!
The last man's dead!”
Hana stopped next to Angel, her back to Joan, facing her,
Linda Blair style. It’s quite disturbing to be faced from the back, even for
Joan, who had seen her fair share of oddities. She could only stare at the
strange girl for some moments, trying to take it all in.
Hana tugged on Angelus’ shirt sleeve, looking up at him
pleadingly. “May I chop her!?” she asked hopefully. “Please, Daddy, may I?”
Regaining her composure, Joan pushed herself up to her
feet, backing away from the pair as she struggled to repair, or at least
straighten, her broken fingers. She backed into the raised conveyor system and
stopped as she worked desperately to regain the function of her hands.
“Not right now, sweet girl,” Angelus told Hana as he raised
the scythe. “Maybe later. This bitch is mine…” he purred as he stepped forward,
the red axe poised to strike.
The Slayer managed to get three fingers and her thumb
working on one hand and quickly retrieved a stake from her clothing as the
vampire closed on her.
Joan readied her stake as Angel moved in, but he never gave
her the chance to use it. As she lunged for his heart, he swung the Guardian’s
supernatural weapon at Joan’s head.
He struck Joan across the face with the flat of the blade,
sending the android stumbling back, her head whipping violently to one side, and
the stake skittering out of her tenuous grasp. She crashed against the metal
conveyor system, and fell onto her back with a motherboard-rattling thud, taking
a large section of the steel rollers down with her.
Hana advanced on the downed Slayer, fury flashing as pink
sparks in her teal-blue eyes. She drew back a small fist and planted it squarely
on Joan’s jaw, whipping the stunned android’s head to the side again. “That’s
for turning my head the wrong way ‘round! It’s quite inconvenient! I simply do
not fancy it.”
Joan swung back at the unnaturally-strong girl, but from
her position on the floor she had no leverage or power, and Hana side-stepped
the blow easily. In the next moment Angelus was there, dragging Joan up to her
Joan’s balance-stabilizers had been shattered by the
vicious blow from the scythe and she wobbled on her feet, her vision swimming.
She could feel and hear her microprocessors begin to spark and fizzle on the
side of her head that had been hit by the scythe as she swung her fists wildly
at Angelus and Hana alike.
Joan’s vision began to fail as the electrical short-circuits spread
from one delicate processor to the next within her head. She’d landed one or two
blows to Hana’s body, and was fairly sure she’d bloodied Angelus’ nose, but her
power was dwindling as the damage sparked from one microprocessor to the next in
line, taking them down like dominoes.
“What the…” Angelus breathed when he saw the electrical
sparks through the Bot’s broken outer dermis on her forehead. He lowered the
scythe absently, letting it dangle next to his leg as he studied the injured
“She’s not a gumdrop!” Hana explained gleefully, bouncing
on her toes and clapping. “Chop, chop, chop, chop! The last man's dead!
“May I chop her now? Please, Daddy … please?” the
girl begged, pulling the axe away from his lax grip.
Angelus let Hana take the weapon, but didn’t answer her.
“What the hell is this?” he questioned as he began to smell the distinctive odor
of burning electrical wiring. He grabbed Joan’s upper arms and shook her
roughly, realizing immediately that her skin was too warm and too artificial to
be Buffy. Her eyes were unfocused and disconcerting, each peering a different
direction. The cut on her forehead did not spew red, delicious Slayer blood, but
blue-gray smoke as the fragile wires and insulation inside frizzled and fried.
“Spike! Release! I demand!” Joan exclaimed in an
Angelus scowled at the Bot, then back-handed her across the
face, his fury overflowing.
Joan’s head whipped around nearly 180° with the blow before
jerking back to the front to face her captor.
“I can't resist the sinister attraction of your cold and
muscular body,” Joan blurted out as her disc drives began frantically searching
for the appropriate programs to run for the situation.
Angelus snorted a laugh. “Just like Buffy – she never could
either,” he replied snidely, shaking the Bot roughly as he held her upper arms.
Joan tried to get her eyes to focus, but couldn’t. She
turned her head so that one eye was looking at Angelus; the other eye looked
across the room to where Dru had dropped Spike.
Dru herself was somewhere behind Joan, no doubt imbibing on
spilled Slayer blood. Joan could hear her talking, apparently deep in
conversation with the stars, which only the lunatic-vamp could see. Dru prattled
on, naming each one and reciting its horoscope, seemingly oblivious to anything
else going on.
Across the room, Spike gritted his teeth and pushed with
his heels, about the only part of him that wasn’t broken or bloodied, trying to
keep his toes from touching the floor. He aimed his head in the general
direction of the last place he’d heard the Slayer. He couldn’t really see much
of anything through his swollen eyes or even smell anything with his blood-caked
and flattened nose.
Every move, every twitch of muscle required monumental
effort from the beaten and tortured vamp. Every inch he moved across the floor
sent lances of agony stabbing through his body. It was all he could do to keep
from passing out, screaming, or both.
More than once he thought his broken ribs would simply be
ripped from his torso when they would catch on a rough patch of the old, wooden
floor. He brushed against a supporting leg of the conveyor system with one
shoulder and nearly passed out from the daggers of agony that lanced into his
body from the simple touch. The trail of blood on the floor was a testament to
how far he’d moved – not nearly far enough. He needed to get to Buffy. He needed
to do … something. There had to be something he could do to get her to go, to
leave him and run. Take the babies and disappear.
Joan turned her attention away from Angelus and
concentrated on the eye that was focused on Spike. He was lying on his back and
pushing with his bare, broken, and bloodied feet to slide himself across the
floor. Joan calculated that Spike had gone ten feet away from his original
spot. The stairwell, however, was still twenty feet away from him. Joan had
enough of her vital programs still functioning to know that she had to stall
long enough for Spike to reach the stairwell, at least, for him to have any
chance at escape.
“Buffy remains with the small humans behind the safety of
the threshold,” Joan replied to Angelus, speaking loud enough that Spike could
easily hear her. “She waits there for Spike to return.”
Spike momentarily stopped pushing himself across the floor
as the realization hit him. It wasn’t Buffy here; it was Joan. His foggy mind
chugged and clanged and tried to suss out what to do. He’d been heading for her,
but now he didn’t know what the proper course of action was. Was he supposed to
find the exit? Was Buffy actually downstairs waiting for him? What was the plan?
Would they perhaps flood the whole upstairs with sunlight as soon as he was
His head spun and shards of agony stabbed into his brain
from the multiple hammer blows he’d taken, not to mention the punches, kicks,
burns, and cuts. Spike slowly turned his head and used his blackened and broken
fingers to part his swollen eyelids. His one eye met Joan’s across the distance
of the bottling plant. Her eye darted from him to a spot further down the long
room, about halfway between his position and hers, then back again. Over and
over she made the same movement with the one eye that was focused on him, her
meaning clear: that's where he should head, get to the stairway.
Finally, she let her eye focus wholly on Spike, their gazes
meeting and holding for what seemed an eternity. In that moment Spike knew in
his heart that he’d never see her again, and the pain in his chest doubled,
becoming virtually unbearable. Her eyes were different. The heart that had
sparkled in them before wasn’t there. Her joy was gone. All that shone in them
now was determination and resolve.
He didn’t know what had happened, but something had changed
her. Spike knew then: he had to get out; he had to get to Buffy. His adrenaline,
which he thought had been depleted long ago, surged inside him, fueling him. He
began pushing with his heels again, now more determined, more frantically than
before. His demon surfaced as he began to move again in earnest, lending its
last reserves of strength to the effort. Inch by painful inch he made his way across the filthy, time-roughened
floor. Something had happened. He had to find out what. He refused to entertain
the thought that something had happened to the bits or to Buffy. He refused.
Utterly refused. Still … the fear inside him was palpable, and for the first
time since he’d been taken captive, tears leaked from his swollen lids.
The connection between Spike and Joan was broken when
Angelus growled in frustration and shook the Bot again, rattling more of her
screws loose – literally.
“How do you signal her to come out?” the angry vamp pressed Joan,
still oblivious to Spike’s escape attempt.
“I'm helpless against you, you fiend!” Joan exclaimed out
of the blue.
Angelus shook her again. Joan’s head flopped back and forth
on her shoulders like a rag doll. “Tell me how you signal her!” he demanded
“That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!” Joan
announced triumphantly, her face down, chin against her chest.
Angelus lifted her head up and turned it so one of her eyes
was focused on him again. “Tell me, you crazy robot!”
Joan could see that Spike was nearing the stairwell with
her other eye. She knew that was important but was having a hard time finding
the logic to support that conclusion. Her discs whirred as small sparks
continued jumping from one microprocessor to the next, frying each one in turn
and cutting off more and more of her functionality.
Her hard drive suddenly surged and skittered and finally
hit on the correct segment. Her mind focused again, although she still could not
get her eyes to function properly. When the correct algorithm triggered, the
direness of the situation nearly overwhelmed her. With one eye she watched Spike
struggle to move across the floor. Her entire body seemed to tremble suddenly
and the newly-familiar feeling of dampness formed in her eyes. Spike would not
make it if she could not find a way to defeat these foes.
“Tell me or I swear to the devil I’ll cut Spike up into
little, bite-sized morsels!” Angelus threatened the Bot, still not noticing that
Dru was no longer guarding Spike.
The Bot refocused her attention on Angelus. “Do not harm
Spike further! I will tell you,” she insisted. “There is a signaling device in my right
arm,” Joan told the vamp, trying to lift her arm, but failing. “However it is
Angelus let go of Joan’s upper arms and she crumpled to the
floor, unable to support herself as her systems continued to shut down. He
grabbed her right arm and bent over to examine it, trying to determine how to
trigger the signal for Buffy to come out. He found the seam at her wrist and
bent back on her hand.
There was a loud ‘crunch’, which sounded eerily like
breaking bones as the top of Joan’s hand was folded back onto her arm. The latch
holding her hand in place had been cracked and broken, sending more pulses of
agony through Joan’s still-undamaged sensory system.
She screamed out from the pain of having the locking
mechanism broken and her hand forced backwards. Her eyes closed against the
as she struggled to keep her drives and memory focused on her mission.
“You scream just like Buffy,” Angelus purred to her as he
knelt down to peer into the opening at the end of the Bot’s arm. “I wonder what
else you do like Buffy?”
In the next moment, Joan heard Spike let out a howl of pain
when he began to tumble, uncontrolled, down the rickety, wooden staircase. Loud
thuds and hollow thunks could be heard through the whole building as he crashed
down to the first floor. If there had been any unbroken bones or un-bruised
flesh in his body before, there was none now.
The Bot’s eyes flashed open in time to see Angelus look up
at the sound as well. This was her last chance. She had to stop him from
following Spike. Joan used every ounce of excess power she had and funneled it
into the controls for her right arm. Just as Angelus dropped her arm and began
to rise to go retrieve Spike, Joan triggered the .44 Magnum embedded in her arm
The blast hit Angelus in the stomach and chest, knocking him
backwards several feet. He fell onto the dirty, wooden floor, writhing and
screaming in pain as his blood gushed out, forming a crimson pool beneath him.
The sound of the gunshot in the enclosed space pulled Dru from her Slayer-blood reverie. She
looked up to see her daddy bleeding and screaming several feet away. A wild
yowl rang from her throat as she leapt up to her feet and ran towards Angelus in
Hana, who had still been standing near Angelus screamed,
“Daddy!” when the blast hit him. She was showered with gobbets of gore and blood
from the gunshot wound, painting her creamy skin in a spray of brilliant red.
The girl dropped the scythe and also ran to the downed vampire, reaching him at
nearly the same time Dru did.
“Get … Spike,” Angelus ground out, still writhing on the
floor in pain as he pressed his hands down on the gaping wound.
Dru didn’t grasp what he had said through her panic and
growing rage, but Hana did. Hana skipped backwards merrily, her head still
facing the rear, to retrieve the scythe. As she hopped and skipped back to the
weapon, she sang gleefully, “♫Here
comes a candle to light you to bed, and here comes a chopper to chop off your
As Hana laughed and sang, Dru turned flashing golden eyes
on Joan, advancing on the helpless Bot with amazing speed and agility. Dru
snatched the blonde up by the throat and slashed her long talons over Joan’s
torso time and again in a wild fury, shredding her clothes and dermis.
Joan gasped against the pain that traveled through what was
left of her wiring to her main sensory processor. Each new wound sputtered and
sparked as more microchips and sensors shorted out and began to smolder.
Joan tried to raise her right arm to fire on Dru, but Dru
caught it in her free hand, still holding the Bot up off the floor with the
other, and twisted violently. The Bot’s arm tore off with a sickening sound of
ripping skin and connective material, and a flash of sizzling wires.
Joan screamed out in renewed pain, the sensory receptors
and wiring still in working order. She tried to thrash against the dark vampiress,
but barely managed to twitch her remaining arm and legs. In the next moment,
Joan felt her power level drop below seven percent; if it reached four, her
memory would be wiped; below two percent and the incendiaries embedded in her
frame would ignite. She had been fully charged before leaving the house, but the
extra effort it had taken to make her arm and gun functional had sapped too much
of her reserves.
Dru hurtled Joan’s dismembered arm across the room in her
fury, then did the same with the Bot’s other arm, ripping it off and sending it
crashing through the dirty windows at the front of the warehouse. Sun suddenly
bathed a swath of hot, golden light across the dirty, wooden floor and Angelus
had to roll several feet to get out of the deadly beam.
He cursed at Dru as his skin began to smolder from the
exposure, adding to his pain, but she seemed unable or unwilling to hear him
through her fog of fury.
Hana, on the other hand was thrilled with the beams of
light shining in through the broken windows. She completely forgot about going
after Spike and instead danced and twirled in the golden rays, swinging the
scythe in one hand as she held her magical flower in the other. She danced with
the dust motes, slashing at them with the pretty axe as she pirouetted like a
possessed ballerina in desperate need of an exorcism, her head still facing the
wrong way round.
“Bits and bobs, and tasty globs,” Dru sing-songed,
smiling as she let her demon mask fall away. “Do you
have gumdrops on the inside?” the dark vamp asked Joan dangerously as she thrust
her hand through one of the slashes she’d made in Joan’s stomach, closed her
fingers over what she found there, and yanked violently.
Joan’s body tensed and trembled as shockwaves of pain
signals flared up from the center of her body and raced back to her main
The pain flared inside Joan like a lightning-bolt striking
her main processors. Everything flashed white as she was bombarded with the
agony of having her inner-workings ripped out. Thankfully, in the next second,
her sensory receptors reached maximum capacity and the overload shut them down.
The pain, at least, was gone.
“Such pretty insides you have,” Dru cooed as she looked at
the rainbow of brightly-colored wires she’d extracted from the Bot. “But no
tasty treats! Where are your tasty treats? Slayers have the best treats … hot
and red and delicious. Better even than tender, red gumdrops … drip, drip,
dripping like snowflakes on a rainbow.”
“Dru! Forget her! Get Spike!” Angelus demanded again from
where he now sat with his back against a wall well away from the sunlight,
holding a badly-burnt hand over the bleeding hole in his stomach.
“Damn it, Dru! Hana! You crazy bitches need to focus! GET
SPIKE!” Angelus continued to scream, as he began pounding one fist down on the
wooden floor to get his cohorts’ attention.
Joan blinked her eyes open just as Dru dropped her back
onto the floor. The Bot still could not get both eyes to focus in the same
direction, but she could see Dru looking around for Spike. The dark vamp had
finally heard Angelus’ angry plea, unfortunately. Hana had also heard him, and
had stopped her singing and dancing in the bright Texas sun as she looked around
for the missing prisoner.
Despite her pain sensors being overloaded and shut down,
Joan felt a tightening in her chest as she realized with perfect clarity what
she had to do. Her power reserves were dangerously low now – her memory would be
wiped any moment, and then it would be too late. She wouldn’t be able to help
Spike if she waited any longer.
Dampness again filled her unresponsive eyes and began to
trickle down her cheeks and drip from her chin as she readied her last weapon
for deployment. Joan accessed her memory banks, flipping through images of her
life with Spike, Buffy, and the twins as if turning pages in a photo album.
Her tears came harder as she reached the images of India,
the memories of their too-short time together, and the guilt and regret of not
protecting her, of not being able to save the woman she loved. The too-fresh
memory of staking her lover, her friend flooded her mind and brought all her
processors to an agonizing, abrupt halt for several moments. Her body convulsed
in a fitful, agonizing spasm as the image filled her sentient drive with
unmitigated misery. Then mental
images of the dreams she’d had for the future weighed in. Dreams of a life with
India, dreams of watching the twins grow into adults, of being Aunt Joan, of
helping them grow and learn and teaching them the elusive secrets to assembling
Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Those
dreams, that life, would never be now, those visions would never be realized.
That world was shattered.
This was the end.
There was no other option – Dru and Hana were advancing on
Spike's trail of blood and would find him soon. Joan's power level was dropping
dangerously low. She had no more time. She had to
help Spike escape by any means necessary. She couldn't help India ... she'd been
too late, but she could do this. She could save Spike. She could save what was
left of her family. She could make sure Jade and Will didn't grow up without a
father; only without an Aunt.
Tears in Heaven, Eric Clapton
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.
Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way
Through night and day,
'Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven.
Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.
Beyond the door,
There's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven.
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.
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