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?




48. You’ll Be in My Heart


Music Referenced:

You’ll Be in My Heart, Phil Collins

Nelly Furtado - Spirit Indestructible


Some Screencaps courtesy of Broken Innocence (others from ScreenCap Paradise which is, sadly, no more). and also from


Thanks to 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:

Rating: 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.

Later that night…


“Okay, that should do it,” Xander announced as he tugged on the shackles he’d just finished bolting to the wall of the garage.


Buffy took them from his hand and jerked on them, HARD. The wooden studs of the building creaked, but held. She gave Xander an appreciative smile and a confident nod.


She’d decided to bring Spike out here in the garage for her … donation. Buffy didn’t know what to expect; she wasn’t sure he’d be able to fully control his demon once it rose. She didn’t want him in the house and unrestrained near the babies. It would be one thing if he hurt her – she could heal – but if he hurt the babies, she knew he’d never forgive himself, and he may never forgive her, either.


She firmly believed he would never kill her. Never. She honestly didn’t think he was physically capable of it. He’d had chances before, back in Sunnydale, plenty of them, and he'd never managed it. But, unlike her, the babies were fragile; it would only take a single moment of delirium for them to be severely injured.


“Okay, well, I guess it’s show-time,” Buffy announced, trying to sound more confident than she was inside.


“Buff, I know what you said about the standing and the un-bendy, but…” Xander began, looking concerned.


Buffy held up her hand stopping him. “This is what Spike needs; this is what I’m doing. You have no idea what he’s gone through for me … no idea,” the Slayer admonished him. “I’m not stupid … and I’m not taking crazy chances. Willow will be here with us. If something … goes wrong, then she can do that slow-motion thing that she did to Glory. Just long enough for me to get out of reach. Right, Wills?”


Willow bit her bottom lip, looking worried and sheepish. “I-I … think … I-I…”


“Willow’s not witchy-woman anymore, Buffy,” Xander piped-up in defense of his friend. “I think I should be the one in here with you. Willow can stay with the rug-rats.”


“No.” Buffy’s answer was immediate and emphatic. “You have way too many issues with Spike. I need someone I can …”


“Trust?” Xander filled in angrily when she paused, his brown eyes looking both wounded and furious.


Buffy dropped her eyes a moment, but then looked back at him defiantly, her lips pursed. “Yes … trust. I need someone I can trust to not hurt Spike, no matter what.”


“Didn’t I tell you I’d be all … ‘Team Spike’?” Xander shot back, as he jammed his fists against his hips stubbornly.


“Yeah, well, the way I hear it, you told Anya you’d be her husband too, and that didn’t quite come off, did it?” Buffy retorted sharply.


Xander looked like he’d been stabbed in the gut, all the air driven from his lungs. His shoulders slumped, his fists fell loosely to his sides, and Buffy thought she saw a glimmer of tears appear in his eyes.


Buffy felt immediately sorry for poking that obviously still-sore spot, but, damn it, she couldn’t take any chances. Not with this. This was too important.


“I-it’s okay!” Willow piped up, stepping between her friends. “I can do it. I-I’m fine. I can be witchy-woman! See?!” she said with obviously false confidence, picking up a screwdriver off a nearby table. “Bendy!” she pronounced, touching a finger to the screwdriver.


Instead of becoming flexible and bendy, however, the screwdriver grew as long and thick as a rolling pin in Willow’s hand.


“Uhhh …” Willow shook her head, smiled nervously at her friends, and tried again. “Tenditis! Bendy!”


The screwdriver grew to the size of a baseball bat.


Buffy and Xander stared at the witch worriedly. Willow tossed the bat-driver away behind some boxes and put on her best smile. “Must’ve had a spell-twisting hex on it,” she explained brightly. “I can totally do this!”


Buffy blew out a loud, sighing breath. She didn’t have a lot of choice. She didn’t trust Xander not to hurt Spike, or even dust him, if for some reason the carpenter thought Spike was harming her. She did trust Willow.


“I know you can, Wills. I mean, anyone that can get a perfect attendance award in Sunnydale can do anything!” Buffy encouraged her friend, giving her a warm smile.


Willow returned the smile, though it was forced and anxious. “I totally got this,” she repeated, nodding.


With another reassuring nod to Willow, Buffy turned and shoved the cot against the wall where Xander had installed the shackles. “Okay, Xander, you’re with the babies in the house. Wills, you’re here. I’ll get Spike and be back in a minute,” Buffy told them. “Let’s get this done. The Slayer's got a vampire to heal.”




A few minutes later, Buffy sat on the edge of the cot next to her husband. She’d dressed him in a pair of stretchy shorts and brought him down to the garage as gently as she could, but still his moans of pain had cut her to the core. There was simply no way to move him without putting him in utter agony.  After covering his bruised and broken body with the sheet, she’d shackled his wrists, one of the few unbroken places on his body, to the chains Xander had installed. She had no idea what would happen when his demon awoke and she wanted to take every reasonable precaution against him hurting himself or anyone else.


Willow waited on the other side of the garage, near the side-door. She’d continued to assure Xander and Buffy that she could do a spell to restrain Spike, or at least slow him down without hurting him, if it became necessary.  Buffy wasn’t sure who the witch was trying to convince, herself or them. Buffy had little choice for overseer, though – it was either Willow or no one. She just didn’t trust Xander enough to put her husband’s life in his hands; he was in the house with the sleeping babies.


Buffy took a deep breath and raised the razor-sharp dagger up over her forearm. The angry scars from her suicide attempt had nearly vanished thanks to her Slayer healing. A stranger wouldn’t even be able to see them, but she still could. She thought of Spike changing her bandages, of the Slayer blood that had soaked into them, and realized now how difficult that must’ve been for him. Of course she knew that any human blood was ambrosia to vampires, but at the time she'd never really thought about, she had been too caught up in her own emotional turmoil. And now, with the new information from Giles, she realized that Slayer blood was the Dom Pérignon of blood … the Holy Grail. And Spike had never vamped out on her, never showed anything but concern and compassion for her.


“Why didn’t you tell me?” Buffy asked him gently, blinking back tears. “Why didn’t you tell me how hard that was for you?”


With one last deep breath and a final, confident look at Willow, Buffy drew the blade across her forearm just above her wrist. She knew it wasn’t deep enough to nick an artery, not cutting across like that, but thick, warm blood quickly welled up from the incision and began to flow freely from the slash.


She dropped the dagger onto the floor and held her arm a couple of inches above Spike’s bruised and battered face, tilting her arm so the blood would drop onto his lips.


“C’mon, Spike…” she whispered as the blood dripped and splattered onto his mouth, some flowing between his slightly-parted lips.


For several long moments nothing happened apart from Spike’s swollen lips becoming coated with crimson. The blood began to run down his face, over his strong jaw, and pool on the cot below, and still nothing.


“Please, Spike…” Buffy begged, lowering her arm further until it was touching his lips.


Still nothing happened. Spike didn’t move, didn’t swallow, didn’t breathe.


“Fight, damn you! Don’t you dare give up on me, you bastard. You made me keep going, now you better get your ass back here with me, ‘cos I’m not doing this alone. Those babies are half yours, and if you think I’m gonna raise them myself, well, you’ve got another think coming, mister! You aren’t getting out of this marriage that easily!


“Fight, damn it!” Buffy demanded, pressing a hand down on Spike’s battered torso. She could feel his ribs shift and scrape against each other and Spike drew in a tortured gasp of pain.  Buffy cringed, hating herself for hurting him, but she had to get him to fight!


“Fight! What are you a … a… little ponce?! Fight! Fight me, you pathetic little wimp! I thought you were a vampire! You’re just a … wimpire! That’s what you are!” Buffy ranted at him, pressing down harder on his decimated torso.


Spike cried out in pain, his mouth opening wide, his whole body tensing in agony.


Buffy shoved her bleeding and bloody arm between his lips. “Bite me, you wuss! Riley could whip your pansy ass!” she asserted, pressing down on his ribs one more time.


Suddenly, Spike’s nostrils flared wide as he inhaled deeply. Buffy felt his tongue probing against the slick, blood-soaked skin of her arm. “Come oonnnn….” she groaned, not wanting to hurt him further. “Bite me, damn it…”


But still Spike’s demon remained buried beneath the tortured shell of the man.


Buffy leaned in close to Spike’s ear to make sure he could hear her clearly. “Angel always said you never finished anything you started; said you were a loser … a quitter.”


The next thing Buffy heard was the sweetest thing she thought she’d ever heard in her life: Spike’s growl. His lips vibrated against her arm and his tongue raked against her wound roughly. He began to struggle, a battle raging within himself. His fangs extended, then retracted, his brow wrinkled then smoothed.


“Quitter ... you’re a quitter! You aren’t a warrior at all! Angel told me so, and he was right! Angel was right!” Buffy insisted as she watched his features transform into the demon and fade again. Over and over again, Spike’s demon partially rose, struggling to the surface, but then faded again.


“You probably never really killed a Slayer in your life! I bet you ran away like a little, lost puppy when you saw one, your tail between your legs! I bet it was Angel who really killed them, wasn’t it? You’re a quitter, Spike! A coward and a quitter and a … a ponce ... and ... and ... you can't dance!”


In the next moment, Spike’s features morphed into the demon fully and completely. Buffy felt his fangs pressing against her skin as his tongue explored the fount of rich Slayer blood; licking, tasting, swallowing.


Swallowing! He was swallowing! Buffy nearly jumped for joy as she watched his disfigured lips and tongue work, drawing the powerful blood from her arm and taking it in – actually swallowing whole mouthfuls down on his own.


She reached down onto the floor for the scythe, preparing to super-charge her blood even more for Spike. She felt hope well inside her, hope that he would be alright after all, that she could heal him, that he would come back to her. She’d no sooner gotten her free hand wrapped around the shaft of the magical axe than Spike’s fangs slid into the flesh of her arm, slipping in like a hot knife through butter.


She could do little more than gasp as the world fell away in a sparkling swirl of brilliant red and silver light, taking her with it.




Spike hung from the ceiling of the dark, dank dungeon, suspended by cables attached to his ribcage. His arms and legs swung free, his body bowed backwards in a painful ‘C’ as he dangled there helplessly. The slightest movement sent red-hot-pokers of pain lancing through his body, and taking a breath to scream only exacerbated the agony.


The Cirque du Soleil meets the Spanish Inquisition.


I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!


NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition.


Spike would’ve laughed at the Monty Python scene that played in his head, only it hurt too bloody much. He had no idea how long he’d been here, a century, perhaps ten. He’d first tried to count the days, but there were no days, only darkness, only pain, only desperate loneliness.


“She’ll not come for you,” Dru purred into his ear, her long, red fingernail digging a deep gouge along Spike’s strong jaw, drawing blood.


Oh, yeah, and annoying sires; he’d nearly forgotten that little perk.


“She’ll come,” he replied weakly, barely a whisper, unable to pull more air into his lungs.


“The bright, little firefly doesn’t love you … never has, my sweet Spike. You failed her,” Dru insisted. “Not good enough for the Slayer, you aren’t. Filthy, evil vampire – you’re beneath her.”


Spike closed his eyes and swallowed. It hurt to swallow. It more than hurt, it nearly killed him – all the way from his crushed windpipe to his holy-water-burnt gullet to his pummeled stomach – but something was in his mouth, warm and slick. It occurred to him that he should know what it was, but couldn’t remember, couldn’t place it.


“She’ll come,” he repeated. Spike meant for it to be loud and adamant, but it was little more than a sigh.


Dru laughed gaily and twirled in place next to him. In the next moment she took his hand and spun her childe on his tethers, round and round and round. “Dance, my sweet Spike! Dance!”


Spike’s mind screamed, it shrieked, it wailed, it cried, it exploded in agony. His body stiffened as the cables suspending him twisted around each other, pulling his decimated ribs further and further out of his body. Even the relatively small g-force of his limbs spinning in mid-air was enough to send lances of excruciating pain shooting through his entire form as his ribs cracked and pulled and scraped against each other.


He spun and died a thousand deaths and he prayed for the only person in the world that could help him to come put him out of this misery.


Buffy, please come … please come … please help me. Slayer, please … dust me.


Nana-nana-na-naaa, she’s no-ot com-ing, the Slayer’s no-ot com-ing,” Dru sing-songed, taunting Spike as the cables holding him wound nearly to the breaking point.


For a brief moment in time Spike’s spin stopped, the g-forces abated, and all that was left was the pressure from his bodyweight. It was a relief … albeit a short-lived one. In the next moment, the cables began unwinding themselves and Spike began to spin faster and faster in the other direction as Dru continued to sing her song and dance next to him.


She’ll come, she’ll come, she’ll come … Spike repeated to himself as his body again stiffened against the pain and pressure being exerted on his demolished ribs. She loves me, she loves me … she’ll come.


Still spinning, his momentum building, the thing that he’d prayed for for the last thousand years happened: the cables snapped. Or perhaps his ribs snapped. It didn’t matter either way to him, all that mattered was the pressure was released. He fell through the air; fell much further than should’ve been possible. He fell and fell and fell through the darkness. Spike fell so long he began to think that he’d never land; he’d simply keep falling for the rest of eternity.


But he did land. He landed in a deep, warm pool of crimson. Spike sunk into the liquid gently … it felt like slow-motion, like sinking into thick, warm caramel. It coated him, covered him like a blanket, comforting and familiar. It flowed into his mouth and for the first time in recent memory, it didn’t hurt when he swallowed. In fact, it seemed to soothe the pain, heal the burns, ease the agony. He swallowed more and more, and felt his strength building as he floated in the healing elixir.  He felt his demon stir, awakening from the dark corner of his mind where it had taken refuge from the pain.


And then he realized what it was he was floating in, what was running down his throat: blood. And not just any blood: Slayer blood. Not just any Slayer: Buffy. Buffy’s blood. His wife’s blood. The mother of his children’s blood.


Panic surged inside him as he tried to fight the demon back down, tried to stop swallowing the manna that he was drowning in. He was killing his wife. He was killing Buffy. He didn't know how or why or where, but he knew it as surely as he knew that he'd failed her.


No, not Buffy … not Buffy … no!


But it was too late. The golden-eyed demon inside him had tasted the blood, had felt its power, drawn courage and life from its rich, warm depths. There was no pushing it back now; the pull was too strong. Eons of instinct passed down from sire to childe was impossible to fight – the eternal struggle between Slayer and vampire could not be suppressed for long.


Spike’s demon pushed the man aside, trampling over William's attempts to quell it, dismissing all objections of the poet’s heart, and slipped his fangs into the tender flesh of the first Slayer he’d tasted in many years. Too many years.


Rapture. Ecstasy. Nirvana.


The man gasped in fear while the demon moaned in pleasure as Slayer blood flowed freely into them both. Powerful, potent, life-giving … blood. Suddenly the world began to spin; the pool of warm, crimson bliss began to swirl, spinning faster and faster, pulling Spike with it. Flashes of silver mixed in with the red, dancing across Spike’s vision like sparklers on the Fourth of July.


And then Buffy was there, spinning and twisting with him in the whirlpool of blood. The man and the demon both reached for her, each for very different reasons, but neither succeeded in reaching the Slayer. They spun helplessly, going faster and faster in the sparkling sea of crimson and silver, neither able to reach the other or stop their momentum. For the briefest of moments their eyes met, sapphires and emeralds glittering with the flashes of light that they were immersed in, locked onto each other.


The moment was over before either of them could say anything as they both began to fall through time and space, their spirits caught in the ancient power and magic of the Guardian’s scythe. There seemed no way to stop the bright, flashing lights and swirl of blood-red magic as it carried their spirits away from their bodies, trapping them inside the magic of the Guardian's scythe, and carrying them both back to the origin of their power.




“Buffy?” Willow asked tentatively, stepping closer to the Slayer and vampire on the cot.


Spike was drawing long, deep draughts from her arm, swallowing the elixir down greedily. Buffy seemed to be unconscious, slumped against him, face down on the cot, one hand gripping the scythe on the floor.


“Spike?” Willow tried, moving closer as she rehearsed the spell for turning air to tar in her mind.


“Ummm … Spike? Buffy?” she continued, her voice trembling and unsure. “Are you okay?


“Oh, goddess…” Willow muttered as she neared the pair, certain that things were not alright. The witch closed her eyes and began to repeat the spell in her mind, faster and faster, before letting it flow from her lips.


"Kali, Hera, Kronos, Thonic. Air like nectar, thick as onyx. Cassiel by your second star, hold mine victim as in tar!"


She’d no sooner gotten the last syllable out of her mouth than the magic she’d thrown bounced back away from the pair of blonds and crashed over the sender. Willow struggled against the thick air, trying to escape her own spell. She fought it tooth and nail, trying to power out of the quicksand she’d surrounded herself in, but ultimately failed. Willow dropped – very slowly – to the floor of the garage, spent, exhausted, and trapped. She watched, panicked and helpless, as Spike drained the life-blood from his wife.




All the wind was driven from Buffy’s lungs when she landed. She gasped, writhing atop the large, flat, very hard stone that had broken her fall … and possibly her ribs.  Chains rattled as she moved, hugging her arms around her torso as the pain of having her lungs pancaked together began to wane. She lifted her arms to find them shackled, as were her legs. She tugged and pulled, rising to her feet, but the chains were secure – bolted to the large rock.


“HEY!” she yelled, still struggling against the chains. “Let me go!”


Buffy stopped and listened, then tried yelling again before realizing no sound was coming out of her mouth. She looked down at her body and realized it wasn’t her own, but rather that of the First Slayer … the one that had haunted her dreams after their defeat of Adam.


She tried again to move, but realized that she wasn’t actually in control of the body she was inside; it had only seemed that way as both she and the First Slayer struggled against the chains.


Buffy watched as three men approached the girl, who stopped struggling and began speaking to them in a language Buffy couldn’t understand. Though the words were lost on Buffy, the girl’s tone was pleading and frightened … she was obviously asking to be released, begging for mercy. The men replied curtly, unmoved by the girl’s pleading tone as they moved to stand in a circle around her. They began to walk around the girl, chanting and tapping their staffs on the rock at their feet in rhythm with their steps. The words were still lost on Buffy, but it was clear they were performing a ritual, some sort of spell.


Buffy watched through the girl’s tear-filled eyes as the men circled and chanted. The sound of their staffs clacking down on the hard rock was nearly deafening in the cavern. She could feel the fear rising inside the girl as she struggled fruitlessly against the shackles, trying to escape. Buffy had felt this kind of fear before, when she had been powerless in the Council’s dungeon, unable to fight back, unable to escape, at the mercy of another. Buffy felt bile rise to the back of her throat – or the girl’s throat, she wasn’t sure which now, wasn’t sure who was who – at the memory.


Buffy tried to look around the cave, past the men, for Spike. Was he here too?  She studied the faces of the men as they passed … was Spike inside one of them? None of them made eye-contact with her as they droned on and banged their sticks down on the rock as they walked. She couldn’t tell … couldn’t tell if Spike was here or not … if he was one of them.


Buffy tried to brace herself for whatever was going to happen next, though she could feel her limbs quivering and trembling with fear.


Suddenly, the men stopped moving, stopped chanting, and the cavern they were in became utterly silent except for the soft sobs of the girl they’d Chosen to be the First Slayer. Buffy watched as one of the men knelt before her and slid the top off a battered, wooden box.


Buffy watched as a black cloud of … evil – it was the only way she could describe it – rose from the box. Buffy suddenly knew where Spike was. She watched the cloud swirl around the roof of the cavern, dark and malevolent and powerful.  Her heart thudded in her chest, wondering if he knew she was here inside the girl, wondering what was going on, and what was going to happen next.


The men began tapping their sticks on the ground more rapidly as they backed away from the chained girl. Buffy felt her knees give way – or the girl’s knees – and she fell down onto the hard rock, sobbing and begging for mercy.  Fear grew into terror as the girl cowered on the ground, the dark cloud descending on her like a death shroud. Buffy could hear the clacking of the men’s staffs and more soft chanting, but could no longer see anything because the girl’s eyes were clamped shut in fright.  The girl tried to make herself as small as possible on the hard, flat rock, but the effort was useless against the diaphanous, malevolent energy.


Buffy felt the girl gasp, then scream, and her body tense and tighten in agony as the power flowed into her, surrounding her, filling her. She could feel Spike within the darkness, feel his heart within the heart of evil, his force within the spirit of the last pure demon on Earth. She realized then, this was the beginning. This was where the Slayer had started; this was where Spike, and all vampires, had started – both of them made from the last pure demon to walk the Earth.


Buffy’s head swam with the realization, the undeniable understanding of her origins. She was made from demonic power, the same demonic power that all vampires were created from. This was the wellspring; this moment was the very beginning, this primitive girl was the very First Slayer. This epiphany cemented the feelings inside Buffy that she’d harbored for quite some time and had told Giles earlier this day: the world was not black and white. Slayers and vampires weren’t on opposite ends of the good vs. evil spectrum, they were, in fact, first cousins.


Buffy thought she should be horrified by the realization that she’d been made from demonic power, and two or three years ago she undoubtedly would’ve been, but somehow it simply felt right to her now. It made so many things make sense to her, not the least of which was the undeniable connection she had with Spike.


The body Buffy was trapped inside convulsed in pain, pulling against the shackles holding her as the demonic power flowed into her, infusing her blood with its energy, trying to take her over completely. She could feel the girl’s spirit fighting against the evil trying to consume it, feel her soul being shredded and bloodied with the dark energy, feel the terror rise inside the girl.


Buffy could feel Spike flowing into her with the dark cloud of power, feel their spirits twining and merging, but she didn’t fight it or fear it. She welcomed it, welcomed his heart, his courage, his fortitude, his love inside her and gratefully gave back her own to him.




Willow could see Spike healing before her eyes, bruises fading, fresh, pink skin growing over cuts, bones straightening and mending as he took in the super-charged Slayer’s blood. The witch watched, wide-eyed and worried as Buffy shifted slightly atop Spike and her teeth clamped down on the side of his neck.


Spike growled against Buffy’s wrist before releasing it, retracting his fangs from her flesh as smoothly as he’d inserted them, leaving little more than two small punctures atop the slash she'd made. In the next moment, his fangs sunk into her neck, fully covering, obliterating, the old scars of his ancestors.


Blood flowed between the Slayer and the vampire, each taking and giving freely, willingly, eagerly.  Their clothed bodies began to gently rock against each other, their hips matching the slow, sensuous pulls of their lips against each other’s neck. Moans vibrated against skin as their demons met and twined around each other, merging and melding, claiming the other as their own. Two demons from one source, again united within their blood.


“Uhhh … guys? Buffy? Spike?” Willow tried from her thickened-air prison. “Not that I’m a prude, ‘cos, totally not!  Werewolf’s girlfriend here! Plus guitar player groupie! I mean, how cool is that, right? And … hey, gay now! But … ummm … maybe now’s not the best time for … uhhh … kinky ... uhhh ...” Willow’s voice trailed off with a sigh when it was clear neither of them could hear her … or perhaps they just weren’t listening.




Spike flowed into the girl, his demon laughing and gleeful, reveling in the pure evil it was swirling in. It hadn’t felt this free, this utterly liberated in centuries, perhaps longer. Passed down from one vampire to the next for eons, trapped within the dead bodies of its hosts, never able to live without the confines of that frail form, this suddenly felt like Shangri-La, Xanadu, and Sodom and Gomorrah all rolled into one. Rapture … utter freedom. This was how a pure demon was meant to live, not trapped within dead humans … a half-breed, a leper among demons.


But the man was there too – the heart, if not the soul. He could feel Buffy within the girl; feel her calling to him, searching for him. Spike wrestled with his demon, tugging and pulling to disentangle himself from the spirit the Shadowmen had set loose upon the frightened girl.  He fought with every fiber of his being to reach Buffy, she needed him … he needed her. Wherever they were, whatever they had been caught up in, they needed to face it together, of that he was certain, or neither of them would survive.


Spike’s demon resisted, clinging to the pure evil around them, to its origins, trying to reunite its very spirit. But Spike was determined, as determined as he’d ever been; he had to reach Buffy. Buffy was depending on him. His babies were depending on him. He would not let her down … never again. She had come for him. He knew she would. He knew she would.


Spike screamed in effort and exertion, dragging his demon away from the spirit that was invading the girl, infusing her with its power. He heaved and yanked and twisted, grunting and growling with the strain. Slowly but surely, he hauled the kicking and screaming spirit of his vampire with him, toward the light within the darkness that he knew was his wife’s spirit.


In the next moment, he felt her arms around him, her light engulfing him, their hearts melding, their spirits mingling. His demon sagged, unable to fight against both of them as Spike gave himself to her freely and took all that she offered. He could feel her courage, her fortitude, her love, her strength flowing into him and gratefully gave back his own to her.


Wrapped up in each other like ghostly spirits, the lovers were again hurtled through time and space. They bounced from Slayer to Slayer, demon to demon, living the lives and dying the deaths of all that came before them.


Buffy died and rose, fought and fell and was Called back into the fray time and time again. Some lives were short, there seemed barely a second between being Chosen and giving her life for her Calling; other lives were longer, with many fights, many near-misses, and many victories. But they all ultimately ended the same way: violently and alone.


Spike also rose and dusted time and time again as he traveled the lineage of his demon from vampire to vampire down through time. There were periods of rapturous evil and moments of sheer terror; there were feasts and famines and dancing and dusting. There were epic battles and pathetic scuffles. And there was blood, always blood – life-giving blood.


He traveled from one of his ancestors to the next, from the very first pure demon left on Earth down to Aurelius, through generations to the Master, Darla, Angelus, Drusilla ... and finally to himself. He watched through Dru's eyes as she found him that fateful night in London, felt his own warm blood fill her mouth, felt her ecstasy and lunacy and joy as she swallowed him down.  It was surreal. He remembered that feeling all too well, from the other side; this was akin to hearing an old 78 rpm record re-mixed into stereo surround sound and blasted at him through a room full of speakers.


Buffy’s head spun and her spirit ached for all the girls … so many girls, so much death. She wanted to close her eyes to it, but she couldn’t, it wasn’t possible, it was inside her, not an outside force. It was in her blood, literally. And then the moment came that she’d been dreading since she realized what was happening: she was fighting Spike. Not as herself … but as another Slayer, a now long-dead Slayer.


Their eyes met for the briefest of moments and they both froze, but there was no stopping it; there was no changing it. They could only live through it again. Buffy felt Spike’s fangs sink into her artery, felt her life-blood once again drain from the Slayer’s body, taking her spirit with it. And then, as with all the others, the magic that fueled the Slayer’s power carried Buffy away, out into the ether to find the next victim of the Shadowmen.


A young girl, no more than thirteen, died in a river of blood in a dense rainforest. Then it was off to another, this one in a filthy alley in a smog-filled city, and another and another. The places all looked the same after a while: they were all covered in blood.


And then Buffy was facing Spike again, the rain was pouring down. “I spent a long time trying to track you down. Don't want the dance to end so soon, do you, Nikki? The music's just starting, innit? By the the coat.”


Buffy couldn’t help but smile a little at the dance reference as she watched him disappear into the pelting rain. Her smile faded, however, when she looked into the eyes of her son … or Nikki’s son. Her heart twisted in her chest as realization set in – Nikki was a mother, just like Buffy  – but she had little time to contemplate anything more as she was hurtled forward, onto the subway train to face Spike again.


Spike had told Buffy this story before … she knew how this would end, despite how powerful and talented Nikki was. Spike was simply more talented; a more skilled fighter with nearly a century of experience. And, perhaps Nikki had simply grown weary of the fight, as Spike had told Buffy. Buffy knew that feeling too well; she'd given up in the past, but that was before... before Jade and Will. Buffy couldn't imagine a mother giving up on life, not with a son who needed her. No matter how many times Buffy felt like giving up lately, there was something inside her that kept her fighting: her family, Spike and the babies.


Again, their eyes met and held for the briefest of moments as the life was strangled from Nikki's body. Buffy could feel Spike – her Spike – looking through the dark eyes of the Slayer in front of him and into her own emerald orbs. She could feel his regret, his anxiety, his worry, his fright. Just how many evil deeds could Buffy witness and forgive? How many times could she be reminded of who he really was and allow him to remain in her life?


Spike had never felt ashamed of his past before; it simply was what it was. But now, as he looked deeply into Nikki’s frightened eyes, beyond the surface, into the heart and soul of the Slayer where his wife now dwelled, he felt ashamed. He’d taken so many lives, untold numbers; some for fun, some for survival, some simply because they annoyed him. But this was different. He’d hunted her down … he’d hunted the Slayer for decades just for the sport of it. She was the only one that could challenge him, the only one that could test his skill and strength. His only true equal in this world; the only one that would fight to the death with the same passion and zeal as he did. She was the only one that could dance this dance of death with him.


His heart folded in on itself. How could Buffy possibly forgive him for this? Yes, she knew that he’d killed two Slayers, but she hadn’t experienced it before. She hadn’t looked into his eyes as he delivered the killing blow, hadn’t felt his fangs pierce her skin, hadn’t felt her blood flow out in a crimson river. Would she have still come for him if she’d known … if she’d seen and felt all this before? Would she have saved him from his agonizing nightmare if she'd known?


Not a bloody chance in hell, was the horrifying answer that rang inside Spike’s mind as he watched himself break Nikki’s neck with a powerful, merciless twist of her head and watched the life fade from her eyes, from Buffy's eyes.




When Willow couldn't get Buffy or Spike to stop after what seemed many long minutes, but was actually only one or two, she resorted to the one thing she really hadn't wanted to do. “XANDER!!! XANDER, HELP!” she screamed from her invisible prison of thick air. She didn’t know if he could even hear her from the garage, but she hoped, being that it was Xander, that he’d be listening for any sign of trouble.


He didn’t disappoint.


The side-door of the garage was flung open and the harried-looking brunette stumbled in gracelessly. “What?! What’s wrong?!” he demanded, looking around frantically.


“I can’t …” Willow began, demonstrating her inability to move to him by trying to twist in place. “Buffy…”


Xander’s eyes fell on the couple on the cot, mouths locked on necks, blood flowing between them, bodies undulating sensuously against each other.


“Holy over-sharing, Batman!” he exclaimed, moving nearer the couple as he drew a stake from the waistband of his jeans.


“NO!” Willow screamed. “Just … they’re caught in some kind of spell. I… I think she’s okay. Wake them up!”


“But … he’s … and she’s … and they’re … with the blood and the …” Xander swallowed hard, waving a hand at the couple, their clothed bodies rocking together more fervently now. “… blood. I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in forty-eight states.”


“Xander Harris,” Willow growled. “Do not stake Spike.”


“Why not?! He’s killing her!”


“Oh, for goodness' sake!” Anya chastised, as she appeared suddenly near the cot. “She’s fine! Don’t you people know anything after all this time around vampires? And you call yourselves ‘Scoobies’! I’ve known trolls with more sense than you two! Hell, I’ve created trolls with more sense…”


Xander jumped in surprise then gritted his teeth in anger. “Anya! Would you stop doing that?!” he demanded, moving closer to the Vengeance Demon and the couple on the cot.


“What? Saving your sorry ass?” Anya snarked, crossing her arms over her chest defiantly.


“Stalking me! Harassing my friends!” Xander retorted angrily.


“Oh, excuse me for harassing your friends, Xander. Something happened that got me cranky. What was it now?” she pondered, tapping a finger to her lips and looking at the ceiling. “… … Oh, I remember!” she continued after a moment, looking back at her ex angrily. “You left me at the altar! Pardon me for looking for a little vengeance.”


“Guys! Now’s not the time!” Willow pointed out. “Can you wake them up?” she asked Anya, shifting her eyes to the pair on the cot.


Anya blew out a heavy sigh and rolled her eyes, dropping her arms down to her sides in exasperation. She stepped forward and kicked the scythe away from the cot, disconnecting Buffy’s hand from the magical artifact.


Suddenly both Buffy and Spike gasped against each other’s necks, the taste of blood on their lips.


Spike’s mind was reeling with jumbled emotions and visions and fears. All that he’d experienced, eons of evil deeds, victories and defeats, left him dazed. Just a moment before he’d been fighting Buffy, the best Slayer he’d ever faced. He’d been excited … in every way, as they’d traded blows. She was his equal and more … so much more.


The taste of Slayer blood on his tongue brought his thoughts into focus quickly, back to the present and out of the spell-induced haze. There was no mistaking the tang, the heavenly flavor, the aroma, the power of it: Buffy. He’d spent the last years yearning to cover her old scars with his own mark, and now that he’d done it, he felt nothing but shame. He’d failed to protect her, failed against Angelus and Dru, and for that she’d been forced to make this sacrifice for him. And now, after all she’d seen of his true nature … he felt sick. How would she ever forgive him for all that he’d done?


Spike forced his demon down; it went kicking and screaming, not wanting to leave the fount of heaven it had found, but it went. Spike pressed his tongue against the wound on his wife’s neck as he listened to her heartbeat, praying that he hadn’t taken too much. Though thudding hard and loudly, it was not slow … in fact it was racing. He sighed in relief as he closed the wound on her neck, healing it with his saliva. He hadn’t harmed her, not badly ... not physically, at least.


Buffy’s head spun. A moment before she’d been fighting Spike in the church where he’d taken Angel and Dru for the healing ceremony, and the next moment she crashed back to the present. Buffy swallowed the blood in her mouth, pulling her mouth away from the wound she’d made in Spike’s neck. She touched a finger to her blood-stained lips and brought it up in front of her eyes as realization of what she’d been doing slowly dawned on her.


The Slayer wiped the blood from her mouth hastily as she pulled back, seemingly unaware of the other people nearby, and looked down at Spike. For the first time in days she could see the blue of his eyes; the swelling and blackened skin was gone, healed completely. Tears of relief blurred her vision at the sight and in the next moment she dropped her blood-stained lips to his in a frantic kiss.


Spike tried to wrap his arms around her, but was thwarted by the shackles. His ribs still ached, but it was bearable, they were mending. At the moment, the most desperate ache he felt was in his heart. How could she forgive him for what he’d done after all she’d just seen … experienced? He wanted to hold her, to kiss her forever, to never let her go, never give her a chance to tell him what a bad man he was, never give her a chance to tell him that he couldn’t stay with their family any longer. He deserved that, he was beneath her, he knew … but he couldn’t bear the thought of it, of losing her, of losing the babies.


Anya smiled triumphantly as she watched the couple writhe against each other, devouring each other’s lips. Willow, released from her spell-gone-wrong when the connection with the scythe was broken, came up to stand next to Xander and Anya near the cot.


“Ummm … Buffy?” the witch tried tentatively. “Are you alright?”


“I doubt she’ll hear you. I doubt she’d hear an h-bomb at this point,” Anya advised, watching intently as Buffy’s hands roamed over Spike’s nearly-healed, nearly-nude body.


“Why? What’s wrong with her?” Willow asked, her eyes growing wider by the moment. “I thought you said she was alright!”


“Did you people ever bother to learn anything at all about vampires in all those years on the Hellmouth?” Anya wondered.


“We learned all we needed to know,” Xander shot back. “How to make them dusty,” he explained, raising the stake in his hand to demonstrate.


“I wouldn’t if I were you …” Anya warned before stopping and considering her words. After a moment a smile came to her lips and she waved a hand inviting Xander forward as she backed away from Buffy and Spike. “On second thought, go ahead. This should be extremely entertaining. Perhaps some popcorn … and an Orange Julius.  I haven’t had one of those in quite a long while!”


“What? Why? What’s going on?” Willow asked as she stepped in front of Xander, putting herself between him and his stake and Spike.


Anya rolled her eyes again. “Honestly, I don’t know how you cretins survived all this time. She’s been claimed … well, technically, they both have.”


“What … what does that mean?” Willow asked worriedly.


“They’re … part of each other now … stuck together … joined … like … Legos,” Anya explained as Buffy and Spike pulled together on the chains holding him, exerting enough strength to break them, leaving only the un-tethered shackles around his wrists.


Spike’s arms went around his wife finally. A small glimmer of hope sprang in his heart; perhaps he could simply hold her here forever … never give her a chance to send him away.


“But … but …” Xander stammered in a confused panic. “You mean she’s … a vampire?”


“Of course not, stupid!” Anya groaned, rolling her eyes. “They’ve shared blood … they’re … claimed,” she repeated.


“Defining a word with the same word is not helpful, Anya!” Willow pointed out as Buffy’s hands roamed lower down Spike’s body, sliding beneath the soft shorts she’d dressed him in. “Oh, Goddess…”


“Oooo … this is gonna be good,” Anya cooed as she pulled up a heavy trunk and sat down to enjoy the show. She looked up at Willow hopefully, "Could you wish for popcorn and an Orange Julius?"


"What?! No!" Willow replied, shaking her head in confusion. "What’s gonna happen now?” the witch wondered, averting her eyes from Buffy and Spike as best she could and looking at Anya.


“Oh, well, they’re gonna have sex, of course. And probably reassert the claim … then have sex again. Vampires and Slayers can have copious amounts of sex, unlike some humans I know,” she explained, shooting a scathing glance at Xander.


“Hey! You never complained before about my copiousness!” he argued, stepping away from the cot and in front of Anya.


“You make a better door than you do a window, Xander Harris. Please move before I move you,” Anya threatened.


“Ummm … guys? I think … ummm ... we should leave. I think Buffy’s … alright and … Oh! I hear the babies crying! Don’t you hear the babies? We should go check on the babies!” Willow urged, tugging on Xander’s arm.


“But … Buffy … blood …” Xander stammered, looking back over his shoulder as Willow pulled him away.


“I’ll just stay here and…” Anya began.


“No! No staying! No one is staying! Out! Now!” Willow ordered, getting behind Xander and pushing him toward the door he’d come in. “I mean it, Anya! I’ll conjure a whole … flock of bunnies! Herd? Gaggle? A bunch … a bunch of bunnies!”


“You wouldn’t dare…” Anya hissed, lifting her feet up off the floor just in case.


“Try me!”


Anya ‘hmphed’ and frowned dourly, but didn’t budge.


“Don’t you want to know what I wish would happen to Xander?” Willow offered brightly, still pushing the big brunette toward the door as he continued to protest. The moans and whimpers coming from Buffy and Spike were on the verge of drowning out their words as the witch hurried to get Xander and Anya out of the garage.


“Oh! Yes, that would be extremely enjoyable!” Anya brightened immediately, getting up and heading toward the witch. When she reached them, she gave an easy shove in the center of Xander’s back that sent him stumbling out the side door and into the backyard. “Now, what do you wish would happen to Xander? Perhaps his testicles would be skewered like shish kabobs and devoured by a school of hungry piranha, one little bite at a time?”


“Oh, that sounds … wow …” Willow stammered as she exited the garage and pulled the door closed behind Anya. “Let me think about that. C’mon, we’ll check on the babies while I’m thinking!”


“Or,” Anya continued, following Willow and Xander to the house. “Perhaps a scourge … like smallpox combined with Ebola and some malaria tossed in for fun!” she offered brightly, looking at Willow hopefully. “Oh! And some leprosy, so the necrotic, puss-laden parts can start falling off at regular intervals. That seems fair for such a cruel, heartless, lying bastard, don’t you think?”


“Uh … maybe…” Willow agreed as they reached the back door.


“Hey! The bastard is right here!” Xander interjected vehemently.


“Maybe some ice cream first, though. Ice cream always helps me think,” Willow suggested.


“Oh. Okay …” Anya agreed, following the other two inside. “Oh! Maybe the piranha can eat the parts that fall off!”




Buffy rested her forehead against Spike’s, breaking the kiss to finally breathe. Spike didn’t dare breathe, or move or hope. He could feel her emotions churning inside her through their newly-formed bond of the claim and he braced himself for what she would do next. Dust him or just send him off on his own. He’d almost rather she dust him. He didn’t think he could live without her, without the bits. He’d rather not even try.


Though not entirely sure what had happened between them, Buffy could also feel Spike’s emotions almost as if they were her own. It was only their tenor that allowed her to separate them. She’d been thrown for a loop by the magical mystery tour through the Slayer line, and she was still spinning from that, but mostly she was elated that her plan had worked. Spike was healed … or mostly healed. It was a miracle!


As she breathed, trying to calm her racing heart, she concentrated on those emotions that were most certainly not hers. They made her heart ache, her stomach twist … such sorrow, guilt and remorse, and above all: misery. She couldn’t understand it … he was healed! It would take time to get over their heartrending losses, Joan and India, but they had made it. Their babies were fine. They were fine.


As her pounding heart slowed and her breathing came under control, scenes from their mental time-travel popped into her mind: Spike killing the Slayer in China, Spike killing Nikki, and she realized what was triggering Spike’s distress.


She pushed up slightly, enough to look down into his worried eyes, and gave him a small smile that she hoped was reassuring.


“It’s alright, Spike … it’s okay, really. I know it was different then. You were different then,” Buffy assured him, her green eyes locked onto his shimmering blue. “I love you. I won’t stop loving you.”


Spike’s eyes fell closed, unable to look her in the eye another moment. He wrapped his arms around her tightly, holding to her like a man drowning – and he was, in a sea of heartache. “I’m a bad, bad man…” Spike whimpered against her.


“No … you’re a good man, Spike. It wasn’t your fault …” Buffy continued, touching a hand down gently on his cheek … his fully healed cheek. “Look at me,” she requested softly.


Spike blinked his eyes open hesitantly and their gazes locked. “Can you feel me … feel inside me … feel what I’m feeling?” she asked.


Spike nodded tentatively, unsure where this was going.


“Then listen … feel this …” Buffy instructed as she took a deep breath and pushed all the jumbled emotions from her journey through the Slayer line to the back of her mind, letting just her elation of having him whole and healed and awake fill her heart. “I love you. You’re my husband. You’re the father of my children. You believed in me when no one else did. You saved me ... literally. You’re in my heart … always.”


Spike’s eyes filled with tears, he couldn’t stop them, didn’t even try. They rolled from his eyes in waves as she showed her true heart to him, both in her words and her emotions that flowed into him.


Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes also as she held his gaze and felt his misery and heartache fade. The guilt, the remorse was still there, but it was shrouded now by something else … joy, certainly; love, definitely … but more. Something she couldn’t name.


She gave him a wet, tear-stained smile. “What … what is that?” she wondered, never letting her eyes waiver from his.


Spike smiled for the first time, a small but genuine smile. “Effulgence.”






You’ll Be in My Heart, Phil Collins




Come stop your crying, it will be all right
Just take my hand, hold it tight
I will protect you from all around you
I will be here, don't you cry

For one so small, you seem so strong
My arms will hold you keep you safe and warm
This bond between us can't be broken
I will be here don't you cry

‘Cuz you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more
You'll be in my heart
No matter what they say
You'll be here in my heart

Why can't they understand the way we feel
They just don't trust what they can't explain
I know we're different but deep inside us
We're not that different at all

And you'll be in my heart
Yes, you'll be in my heart
From this day on
Now and forever more

Don't listen to them, cause what do they know
We need each other, to have and to hold
They'll see in time, I know

When destiny calls you, you must be strong
I may not be with you, but you gotta hold on
They'll see in time, I know

We'll show them together cuz...

You'll be in my heart
Believe me, you'll be in my heart
I'll be there from this day on
Now and forever more oh oh

You'll be here in my heart (You'll be here in my heart)
No matter what they say (I'll be with you)
you'll be here in my heart always

I'll be with you
I'll be there for you always
Always and always
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
Just look over your shoulder
I'll be there always


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