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?




5. King of Anything


Music Referenced:

King of Anything, Sara Bareilles

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.


Spike had just barely regained his balance when Angel lunged, stake aimed directly at Spike’s heart. Spike swung his dagger at the oncoming weapon as he leaned backwards, away from the deadly wood. Spike’s blade banged against Angel’s stake, pushing it off-target, but didn’t knock it from the larger vamp’s hand. Spike’s balance wavered as he arched his upper body away from the deadly weapon Matrix-style, but, not having the special effects of the movies to aid him, he overbalanced and fell onto his back. The threadbare carpet of the room did little to cushion his fall, and the back of his head hit first, banging hard against the unforgiving concrete beneath the thin excuse for a rug.


Angel, sensing a quick and easy victory, followed him down, readjusting his aim, a murderous gleam in his yellow eyes.


Stars momentarily danced in Spike's vision, but he'd gotten used to dealing with worse pain since the Initiative chipped him, and he shook it off in just a second or two.  As Angel dove for him, Spike drew his knees to his chest and, with the strength and determination of a mule, kicked up with both bare feet. He hit Angel in the stomach, drawing an ‘oomph’ of pain from the dark vamp. Spike's powerful kick sent Angel flying backwards through the air and crashing into the already-dented steel door of the room, which had automatically closed behind him.


Angel’s back hit the door with a thunderous clang and he slid down to the floor with a thud. Spike flipped himself back up onto his feet and closed on the larger vamp with inhuman speed fueled by decades of rage. Angel sat on the floor, arms and legs akimbo, shaking his head to clear the cobwebs as Spike closed on him.


When Spike got within arm’s reach of Angel, the larger vamp suddenly swung the stake roundhouse-style at Spike’s thigh with all his strength. Spike screamed in pain as he jumped back, the stake finding purchase deep in the meat of his quadriceps muscle. The stake tore out painfully when he jumped back, leaving a ragged hole in his flesh and drawing a litany of growled curses from the blond.


Spike clutched at the injury trying to stem the bleeding as he backed away from Angel, who had jumped back to his feet.


“Forgot what a manky bugger you are, Angelus, can’t even fight straight up. Always with the bleedin’ tricks,” Spike complained as he backed away, holding his dagger at the ready with one hand while he pressed against the gaping wound on his thigh with the other.


Angel smiled mirthlessly as he closed in on Spike. “I’m taking Buffy out of here one way or the other, Willie. The only question is how much pain I get to inflict on you before I dust you.”




Buffy looked up in surprise when the Bot entered the bathroom. She grabbed the towel she’d just dropped and held it in front of her. “Occupied,” she informed her twin rancorously, Buffy’s look of surprise morphing into agitation.


The Bot held a finger up to her lips, shushing Buffy as she closed the door behind her. Then, in her normal, totally unstealthy voice she said, “Spike sent me in here while he investigates who is knocking on our door. I am to make sure you do not exit this room until he says it is safe.”


Buffy’s agitation slid back to confusion. She looked at the closed door as if she would be able to see through it into the other room. Then they both heard a loud thud coming from the other room and both of their eyes went wide.


“Spike!” they both exclaimed as one, worried chorus.


Buffy forgot her modesty, dropped the towel, and quickly pulled on Spike’s t-shirt. After stepping into a pair of stretchy shorts that Spike had bought her on their way back to the motel earlier, Buffy headed for the closed door.


Remembering her orders, the Bot blocked her path. “Spike said I am to keep you here…” she began, holding the Other Slayer back.


“Spike no die!” Buffy exclaimed, frantically trying to get past the Bot.


The two Slayers grappled for  several moments, neither gaining an upper hand, then Spike’s ear-splitting roar of pain cut the air. They both stopped and looked at each other, eyes wide with fear. In the next heartbeat, they both hit the bathroom door, nearly knocking it from its hinges, and almost bowling each other down as they charged into the motel room.


Although not out of options, will, or determination, Spike’s back was against the wall, literally, when the two blondes emerged from the door just to his right. Angel turned instinctively to the new threat, still brandishing the stake. As one, Buffy and the Bot descended on him like hyenas, knocking him back away from Spike and to the floor. Buffy instinctively grabbed the hand that held the weapon and slammed it down on the floor several times until he released it. At the same time the Bot pummeled his face with crushing blows from her powerful fists.

“Spike no die!” Buffy screamed at Angel as she retrieved the dropped stake and pressed it against the large vamp’s chest.


Spike limped forward and pulled the Bot off his nearly-unconscious grand-sire, certain that it was no trick this time. With a word from him, her assault desisted and she stood back.


"That is Angel," the Bot reported, pointing at the downed attacker. "He is at the top of our 'Do Not Trust' list. Aliases include: Angelus, Peaches, Gormless Tit, Magnificent Poof, Captain Forehead, Mr. Broody-Pants, Tall-Dark-and-Dreary. He is a vampire. He wears lifts, has poncey hair, uses Nancy-boy hair gel, and is a right wanker."


"Thanks for the report, luv," Spike offered with a grimace of pain as he put weight on his bleeding leg. The Bot smiled proudly, nodded sharply, and stood back to await further orders.


Spike turned to Buffy, who was clearly not herself as she pressed the stake further into Angel’s ribs, drawing blood. Her eyes were wild, nothing but primal fury shone in them as she scrambled atop Angel’s stomach for better leverage now that the Bot was out of her way.


“Buffy, luv …” Spike began. He tried to kneel next to her and Angel, but ended up more-or-less falling when pain shot up through his injured leg.


That drew her attention from Angel for a moment and she reached a hand out to help him. “Spike no die,” she said to him softly as she steadied him on the floor next to her.


“I’m all for that, luv,” he agreed, gritting his teeth against the pain. “But, ‘fore we dust the wanker, we might want t’ find out who else knows we're here,” he suggested.


Buffy turned angry eyes back to Angel who was trying to slap away the little cartoon birdies circling his head and fight through the blinding confusion and pain the Bot had inflicted on him. “Hurt Spike. Hurt Wanker,” Buffy snarled out after a moment. Then she pulled the stake away from Angel’s chest, lifted it out to the side, and swung it down in an oblique arc behind her, right into the side of the large vamp's thigh, burying it to the bone.


Angel screamed in agony, writhing on the floor beneath her, and trying to clutch at his leg. Angel screamed again when Buffy twisted the stake and pulled it out, his body bucking, trying ineffectively to dislodge her.


Spike smirked. “Love your logic, Slayer. Bloody brilliant.”




Angel’s eyes flashed open when cold water splashed over his head and face, shocking him out of his pain-induced trance. He blinked and sputtered the water from his mouth as he tried to remember where he was and what was happening. Two Buffys stood in front of him, both looking equally pissed off. He blinked again, trying to get his double-vision to solidify into one reality. It didn’t work.


“Really are two of ‘em,” a snarky voice said from beside Angel.


He looked toward the source of the words. “Spike,” Angel muttered when his eyes found Spike’s smug face.


“Well, now that we have that settled, how ‘bout you tell us what the bloody hell you’re doing here,” Spike suggested.


Angel tried to move, but couldn’t. He looked down and found that he’d been tied to a chair. Arms, legs, and torso were all wrapped with enough rope to outfit a professional rodeo.


“May I throw more ice water on the wanker? I find it extremely satisfying,” the Bot asked brightly.


Spike grinned. “Anything for you, pet.”


The Bot’s grin widened and she went to retrieve more water from the bathroom, stopping at the ice bucket on the dresser to drop a few cubes of ice in the pitcher first.


“What the fuck is going on here, Spike?” Angel asked, looking between the two Slayers.


“What’s going on is me asking the questions and you answering ‘em,” Spike retorted. “Now, let’s start simple: How did ya find us?”


Spike was fairly certain it hadn't been through magical means. He'd been careful to guard against that before they reached Las Vegas. Thinking Willow would do a locator spell to find Buffy when the Scoobies realized she was missing from her room, Spike had procured three talismans from a reputable, if eccentric, witchdoctor who lived in the Mojave desert near Zzyzx, California. The talismans cost him a pretty penny, and were guaranteed by the crazy old coot to deflect and confuse locator spells. He'd dealt with the old hermit before and was fairly certain the old man knew better than to cross William the Bloody. He, Buffy, and the Bot had all been wearing them practically the whole time they'd been gone, certainly before they'd landed at Paradise Lost.


Angel leveled a caustic gaze on Spike, who was seated on the bed near Angel’s chair. “I’m an investigator. I investigated,” he snarled back at his grand-childe.


Spike hit him with a closed fist in his already bruised, and possibly broken, jaw. Spike made a blaring sound, imitating a losing buzzer on a game show, then said, “Wrong answer.”


Angel let his head fall forward, clamping his eyes closed against the pain. A moment later more ice water fell over the back of his head and neck, shocking him back to alertness.


“Who called you?” Spike asked.


Angel blinked and sputtered a moment, before looking back at the blond vamp. “Giles.”


Spike lifted his hands up in front of his chest and began popping his knuckles menacingly before asking again, “How did ya find us?”


Angel looked from Spike’s fists back to his eyes, then over at the two Buffys who now leaned against the dresser facing him with identical looks of impatience on their faces. “Hospital records. They have to report attempted suicides to the police,” he revealed, looking from one of the blonde women to the other. “I have friends in the police department ... they helped me track you down.”


Angel finally found what he was looking for – the Slayer in the black t-shirt had the scars on her arms. “Buffy,” he said softly, looking that one in the eyes. “Please come back with me. We can take care of you. Get you the help you need.”


“She’s not going back t’ be locked up by those Council wankers,” Spike snarled. “Been through enough, she has. Doesn’t need them poking and prodding ‘er, keeping her drugged and caged like a soddin’ animal.”


“Oh, right ... looks like you’re doing a bang-up job of taking care of her, Willie,” Angel growled, narrowing his eyes at Spike.


Spike punched him again. The Bot tittered; bouncing on her toes, she practically danced back to the bathroom for more ice water.


When Angel was wet and coherent again, Spike continued his questioning. “Who else knows where we are?”


Angel didn’t answer him, he kept his eyes locked on the Buffy with the scars. “Buffy – you know I love you and I’d never hurt you. We all just want what’s best for you. Come back with me … I’ll make sure you’re taken care of.”


Buffy looked from Angel to Spike and back again.


“Angel love Buffy?” she asked tentatively, her green eyes intent on Angel’s now swollen brown ones.


“You know I do,” he replied gently. "I've always loved you – even before I met you – and I always will."


Spike drew his fist back to strike Angel again, but stopped as he watched Buffy. She seemed conflicted, unsure. Could she really still love Angel after all he’d done – or not done? Could she actually be buying this bollocks?


Where had Angel been during the fight with Glory? Where had he been when she’d most needed help? Where had he been when they buried Dawn? Spike’s chest ached and he suddenly wished Angel had plunged that stake into it earlier – that would’ve been easier than watching his Slayer melt under his gaze.


“Angel help?” she asked him, her voice growing more vulnerable and trusting the longer she spoke to the magnificent poof.


The dagger protruding from Spike’s heart twisted. The physical pain threatened to bring tears to his eyes and he had to blink to keep them back. Seeing her like this – talking to sodding Angel as if he was the one who had saved her – was going to tear Spike’s heart from his chest. How could she look at Angel as if he were the one who had stood by her all this time? As if he was her hero?


“Yes – you know I will. Anything. I’ll do anything to help you, Buffy,” Angel promised, his voice reassuring and full of sincerity.


“Angel do for Buffy?” she asked in that same shy tone – a child speaking to a parent.


“Yes … trust me, Buffy. I’ll do what’s best for you,” Angel agreed eagerly. "Just untie me and we'll go – we can be together. I'll take care of you."


“Angel … not leave Buffy?” she continued, pushing herself off the dresser and taking a tentative step toward the large vamp.


“Never – I’d never leave you,” he agreed, his voice cajoling and eager.


Buffy’s eyes suddenly went cold and hard. She drew her hand back and slapped him across the face, an opened-handed, but vicious, blow.


“Angel lies,” she stated flatly, glowering at him as he blinked in surprise and pain. “Angel leave. Angel not help.”


Buffy raised her eyes to Spike. “Spike help. Need Spike,” she announced firmly.


The dagger in Spike’s heart evaporated, leaving behind a gleeful chorus of joy. His eyes danced with delight as she reached the hand out that had slapped Angel and gently touched Spike’s cheek.


Spike smirked at Angel who gawped unbelievingly at the pair. “Reckon that says it all. She don’t want you, you gormless tit. Had your chance – blew it, you did. First sign o' trouble and you bolted, left the girl t' face a hell-god on 'er own. Some bloody hero you are!" Spike scoffed at him.


"You tell the Watcher and the rest of her bloody friends t’ back the fuck off. She’s fine. I’ll take care of ‘er,” he ordered Angel, poking a finger in the larger vamp's chest for extra emphasis.


“We!” the Bot interjected, raising her hand like an eager schoolgirl. “I’m helping! We’ll take care of her.”


Spike looked up at the Bot and nodded. “We’ll take care of the Slayer.”


“Spiiike,” Angel drawled the name out as if talking to a petulant child. “You have no idea how to…”


“Balls!” Spike growled back, interrupting him. “Who took care o’ Dru? Not bloody you! Me! All you wanted to do is shag ‘er – I had t’ live on the lunatic fringe, clean up the aftermath when you scampered off.


“I know what I’m doing and I’ll … we’ll take care o’ the Slayer no matter what. And if they think I won’t or can’t kill ‘em, you tell those so-called friends o’ hers different. If they try t’ take Buffy, we’ll stop ‘em – rip their bloody heads off.”


Angel shook his head, clearly not happy with the message, but finally said, “Fine – I’ll tell them if you tell me one thing.”




“Who in the hell is that?” he asked incredulously, looking at the Bot.


Spike smirked. “Slayer’s little helper.”




“The wanker is secure in the bathroom,” the BuffyBot announced as she slid the heavy dresser in front of the bathroom door as Buffy had done the previous night.


Spike nodded from where he sat in the bed, leaning against the headboard, smoking a cigarette. His leg still hurt like a mother, but it had stopped bleeding and the Bot had bandaged it up well enough. “Ta ever so. We’ll head outta here after dark. They should find ‘im tomorrow sometime. Give us plenty o’ time to put some miles between us. ‘Til then, reckon we should get some rest … recharge.”


The Bot nodded and took her place next to Spike near her charging equipment. She hooked herself up and lay back to recharge.


“You too, luv,” Spike said to Buffy, who was sitting on the edge of the other bed.


“Angel … not good … here,” Buffy replied, casting a glance over her shoulder at the door to the bathroom.


“Be alright, luv. He can’t get outta there without waking us up. Need him to carry the message back to the gits in Sunnydale,” Spike explained. “When they know we’re serious, reckon they’ll leave us be.”


Buffy nodded reluctantly and crawled under her covers. Spike crushed his cigarette out, turned off the light, and rolled over onto his side to sleep. The heavy curtains over the windows let in a faint glow of the dawning daylight outside, but otherwise the room was dark. The only sounds that could be heard were people moving about in other rooms above or beside theirs, as well as muffled voices and the sound of the city coming from outside.


After only a few minutes of darkened silence, Spike felt the bed behind him dip and Buffy slid under the blanket behind him. Her warm body spooned against his back and her breath tickled the nape of his neck as she snuggled against him.  Spike fought the urge to turn over and kiss her, to hold her in his arms and never let her go. Instead he laced his fingers through hers where they rested on his stomach and gave them a gentle squeeze. He heard her sigh as her warm, supple body settled into relaxation against his hard coolness. She’d chosen him over Angel – or at least part of her did – but that part was enough for him, for now anyway. One day he’d have all of her – it didn’t matter how long it took – he could wait.


“Good night, Slayer,” he whispered. I love you, he added silently.


“G’night, Spike,” she murmured sleepily.




Buffy woke in early evening with Spike curled around her, his body spooned against her back, his arm around her middle holding her in place. She tried to remember what had happened, how they had ended up like this, but could only get flashes of memory. The last thing she remembered clearly was being at the casino in the bar with him and the Bot. She pulled the cover up and looked down at her body – she was dressed in one of Spike’s t-shirts and a pair of shorts. That would seem to indicate that nothing but sleep had happened during the time she couldn’t remember. She was glad of that small favor, at any rate. Based on the little she remembered from the shower, having sex with Spike and not remembering would just be wrong ... very, very wrong.


The mission her mother had given her weighed heavily on her mind. She needed to get Dawn’s soul out of Limbo. To do that she either needed to dust Spike and allow Dawn to move on, or make a baby with him and draw it back. There was a time when dusting Spike would’ve been the obvious choice, but not any longer. He had fought at her side, did everything he could to help her keep Dawn safe, and he’d gotten her away from the impending threat of a Watchers Council intervention. She’d been captured by their Slayer retrieval team before when she was in Faith’s body. She’d escaped, but just barely. The mere memory of that Wet Works team gave her a wiggins – they were scruple-less ... un-scruple-ful? ... They were creepy lowlifes. 


She didn’t want to do that again. Ever.


She owed Spike. A lot.


Laying there in Spike's arms, she again wondered if she should just tell him about Dawn’s soul. Despite the loyalty he’d shown her, being told that someone had been mucking around with your soul might be a bit more than even he would stand for. Even if he wasn’t actually using it at the moment, it was still his. It hadn’t been fair for the monks to do what they’d done with it – but then lots of things the monks did wasn’t exactly fair. She’d been upset to hear that they’d taken part of her soul to give to Dawn; how would it feel to know they’d taken more than just a little nibble and given it to someone else?


No, she couldn’t chance it, Buffy decided again. She couldn’t tell him about the mission, about Dawn’s soul, about making a baby. What if he got angry? For being undead, Spike had a hot-blooded temper and he could be one stubborn SOB when he wanted to be. What if he refused to help her? There was no way to know what his reaction would be. It didn’t make her feel good – she’d be using him just like the monks had – but she’d promised Dawn that she would take care of her and she meant to do that. She’d failed Dawn’s physical self; she wasn’t about to take any chances with her sister’s soul, borrowed though it may be.


Buffy silently slid out from under Spike’s arm and headed for the bathroom. The room was completely dark now – no light shone in from behind the curtains, but the layout was simple and she moved to the door of the bathroom without hesitation. When she got there, however, she bumped into the dresser that was pressed against the door.


She muffled a curse when her toe banged into the unexpected obstacle, trying not to wake her roommates. Perplexed, she slid the dresser back where it was supposed to be on the wall and opened the door to the bathroom. Still concerned about waking her roommates, she closed the door behind her before switching on the light. She’d just started sliding her shorts down when she saw someone sitting on a chair in the shower enclosure.


“Holy shit!” she exclaimed, jumping back a step as she took in the stranger in their bathroom. “Angel?” she asked, mystified. He was bruised and bloodied and tied to a chair. His head lolled to one side – asleep or unconscious – leaning against the cool tile of the shower wall.


When she spoke he lifted his head and opened his eyes as much as they could through the swelling.


“Buffy…” he groaned. “If I can’t leave, could I at least have some blood so I can heal?”


“Angel … what … What the hell are you doing here? In our shower? Beaten and tied up?” Buffy stammered. It was becoming clear that something had definitely happened while she was out of it. “Oh, my God! You’ve gone evil again, haven’t you? Lost your soul…”


“Nooo, I haven’t gone evil again,” Angel protested with a moan of indignation.


“Then … what are you doing here?” Buffy repeated.


Angel snorted. “As if you don’t know…”


Buffy frowned. “Pretend I don’t,” she suggested, eyeing him warily.


Angel sighed. “Could you loosen the ropes … they’re cutting off my circulation.”


Buffy snorted. “I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night. Spike tried that one on me a long time ago. Didn’t fall for it then, not falling for it now. Just tell me why you’re here. And make it fast, I really need to pee.”


Angel rolled his eyes. “Don’t let me stop you.”


“As if,” Buffy retorted, folding her arms over her chest.


“I’ve seen it before,” he pointed out.


“Yeah, and we know how well that ended. Spill.”


“I’ve come to … take you home. To rescue you from Spike – get you the help you need. You can’t trust him – he’s an evil, soulless monster. He’ll take advantage of you, Buffy. He'll kill you if he gets the chance. Believe me, I’ve known him a lot longer than you have. I know what I’m talking about.”


Buffy nodded. “Uh-huh. Sooo, you’ve come to be the hero, is that it? Save the damsel from the evil vampire?”


“Buffy, I know you’re not helpless, I just think you’re not thinking clearly right now. Giles said that you’ve been … depressed and in some kind of fugue state since …”


“Since my sister killed herself to save the world,” Buffy filled in when Angel paused. “You know, I could’ve used some help then, Angel. I called you – I got freaking voice mail,” she snapped at him.


“I was a little busy myself,” Angel retorted angrily.


“We were fighting a hell-god, Angel! She was going to kill my sister and end the world – end all the worlds! What could’ve possibly been more important than that?” Buffy wondered.


“I … we … weren’t here. We went to … Pylea – it’s another dimension – on a mission,” he explained.


“Oh? And this mission, did it involve saving the universe?”


“Well, no, not exactly. We went to save … Cordelia. She got … sucked into a portal,” Angel admitted.


“Cordelia,” Buffy repeated dryly. She snorted sarcastically and rubbed at her eyes. If Angel and his crew had been there to help her fight Glory would it have made any difference? Would Dawn still be alive today? There was no way to know the answer to that, but it certainly wouldn’t have hurt to have had more muscle.


“Buffy, I’m sorry. I’m sorry about Dawn. I’m sorry I wasn’t here to help with Glory. But I’m here now,” Angel continued. “I still love you, Buffy. Let me help you,” he pleaded. “Come back with me – you don’t have to go to Sunnydale – you can come to L.A. with me. We can … get you some counseling, help you work through this.”




In the other room, Spike held his metaphorical breath as the silence between the two people in the bathroom stretched out. Was Buffy actually considering going back with Angel? It was clear that she was ‘back’ this evening. Just because Barmy-Buffy had rejected Angel didn’t mean that Sane-Buffy would. Sane-Buffy always had a soft spot for the poofter, no matter what he did, she forgave him his sins. Murder, mayhem, lies, rejection, humiliation … it didn’t matter, she would always give him another bloody chance.


Spike waited for the axe to fall on him; waited for Angel to win again. Angel, it seemed, had a knack for taking anything and everything that Spike desired and loved. He’d reveled in shagging Dru in front of Spike from the very beginning, in rubbing Spike’s nose in Dru’s desire for her ‘Daddy’. And now he was doing it with Buffy. Angel was going to take her away from him before Spike even had a chance to show her how much he truly loved her.




In the bathroom Buffy closed her eyes and rubbed at her temples. A headache was forming behind her eyes and, on top of that, her teeth were starting to float; she really, really had to pee now.


Finally she looked up at Angel, dropping her hands down from her aching head. “You really want to help me now?” she asked him hopefully.


“I do, Buffy. Let me help you,” he repeated, his voice more sincere and caring than she'd ever heard it before.


“Okay …” she agreed solemnly, nodding and moving forward toward him.


Spike’s heart fell. He rolled over onto his back on the bed and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes as anger, frustration, and heartache warred for dominance inside him. How could she do this after all he’d done for her? He’d been the one to stand up to Glory when he could’ve turned the Niblett over to her and saved himself a godly beat-down. He’d been the one standing with Buffy against the hell-god. He’d been the one protecting her every night when she sobbed at her sister’s grave. He’d been the one that believed in her when everyone else gave up.




Buffy walked over to Angel, grabbing the bath towel from the rack as she went. “Here’s what I need you to do to help me,” Buffy began. She reached in and turned the shower on.


Angel flinched when the cold water hit him. “What are you …” he began as Buffy lifted the towel up and dropped it over his head.


“I need to pee,” she told him for the third time as she pulled the translucent shower curtain closed. “I need you to shut up before my bladder bursts.”


“Buffy! I can’t breathe … or see!” he protested as the heavy towel covering his face was soaked with water.


“Yeah, kinda the point,” she agreed as she finally, thankfully, emptied her bladder with a relieved sigh.


When she was done, Buffy washed her face and hands, and brushed her hair and teeth while the shower rained down on Angel. When she’d finished, she turned the water off and pulled the wet towel off his head, dropping it on the floor of the shower enclosure.


“Leave us alone, Angel. Go back and tell everyone I’m fine – I’m just … done. I told Giles if Dawn died, I was done slaying, and I meant it. I’m out. I’ve given all I have to give.” Tears stung Buffy’s eyes and she blinked them back, squaring her shoulders and willing steel into her spine. “Tell them I’m sorry, but I don’t have anything left.”


“You can’t trust Spike. He’s not me, Buffy. He doesn’t even have a soul!” Angel argued.


Buffy snorted and began gathering up her toiletries from the countertop. “Thank God for small favors.”


“Buffy! You don’t know him like I do,” Angel continued.


Buffy stopped and looked back at Angel, her expression icy. “I know he stood by me when it was pretty clear we weren’t gonna win. I get that he’s an adrenaline junkie and facing insurmountable odds is his drug of choice. Surprisingly, that doesn't bother me – in fact it sounds sort of familiar in a 'been-there-done-that' sorta way. He doesn’t give up when things are hard – he just keeps fighting – and he wins. Unlike you.


“You could’ve stayed in Sunnydale – stayed with me. We could’ve found a way to lift that happiness curse and been together, but you wouldn’t even try. Wouldn’t even consider it. Wouldn't talk about it. I begged you to stay. I would've walked through fire for you. I loved you sooo much. But you left. You don’t have the right to tell me what to do anymore – you lost that right when you walked away from me. You aren't the king of me anymore, Angel.”


“Buffy…” Angel pleaded.


"Don't," she whispered, her voice choked with emotion. Buffy sniffed back her tears, swiping her fingers across her cheeks in a vain attempt to hide them from him. She said nothing more to the vamp that had been her first love and her first lesson in heartbreak before turning and walking out of the bathroom, turning the light out, and closing the door behind her. She dropped her things into her suitcase and then shoved the dresser back across the door, still fighting to get her tumultuous emotions under control.


Spike turned on the light next to the bed and Buffy looked up in surprise. “Sorry … I didn’t mean to wake you up,” she apologized, still sniffing and wiping her cheeks in earnest.


“‘S alright,” he rumbled, his voice deep with barely contained emotions of his own. “I didn’t win, luv … I failed you … failed Dawn.”


Buffy took a deep, calming breath, blinked back her tears, and walked over to sit on the other bed, directly across from him. “Spike, I … when I … did this,” she began slowly, turning one arm over and fingering the still-pink scar there. “I … talked to Mom. I thought I was dead, but she said I wasn’t … I don’t know, maybe I was for a little while. Anyway, she said that we shouldn’t blame ourselves for what happened to Dawn – neither of us. That Dawn did exactly what I would’ve done if I’d been in her place, and by blaming ourselves we were … cheapening the sacrifice she made.


“Despite part of me understanding that on an intellectual level, on an emotional level that really hasn’t sunk in. I wouldn’t have made it this far without you. I know I’m … not right … there’s something inside me that’s broken, but … maybe you can help me fix it. I know you won’t give up on me.” A sob lodged in Buffy's throat, stopping her. She closed her eyes in a vain attempt to stop the tears she’d been fighting from spilling down her cheeks.


Spike reached out a hand and touched her damp face gently. Buffy leaned into his touch and blinked her eyes open. “I need to get better, Spike – for Dawn. I need you to help me. Please,” Buffy begged him. She closed her eyes again, unable to meet his lest he see her hidden agenda. She couldn’t raise a baby in the state she was in. She’d told the truth: She had to get better for Dawn. But she hadn’t told him the whole truth – to save Dawn’s soul from an eternity in Limbo.


“I’m here, Slayer. I’ll stand by you ‘til the end o’ time, pet. I lo…” Spike choked on the words, afraid of sending her back into her fugue state, as Angel had called it.


Buffy nodded. “Insurmountable odds,” she murmured, opening her eyes and giving him a wan smile.


Spike returned her sad smile. “You’re wrong ‘bout that, Buffy. You’re my drug o’ choice, luv.”


Buffy snorted a soft laugh, shaking her head. “Not a junkie, then – a glutton for punishment.”


Spike wagged his brows and pressed his tongue against his teeth, opening his mouth into a wolfish grin. “Hurt me good, Slayer.”


“Be careful what you wish for,” Buffy warned, her smile widening slightly with his teasing tone.


“You’re all I’ve ever wished for, Buffy,” Spike replied, his voice suddenly somber.


Buffy bit her lip and shook her head. “Spike, I don’t know if I can ever be … what you need – what you think I am.”


“You already are, luv – and more.”



King of Anything, Sara Bareilles


Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)

Keep drinkin' coffee
Stare me down across the table
While I look outside

So many things I'd say if only I were able
But I just keep quiet
And count the cars that pass by

You've got opinions, man
We're all entitled to 'em
But I never asked

So let me thank you for time
And try to not waste any more of mine
Get out of here fast

I hate to break it you babe
But I'm not drowning
There's no one here to save

Who cares if you disagree
You are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died
And made you king of anything

Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)

You sound so innocent
All full of good intent
You swear you know best

But you expect me to
Jump up on board with you
And ride off into your delusional sunset

I'm not the one who's lost
With no direction, oh
But you'll never see

You're so busy makin' maps
With my name on them in all caps
You've got the talkin' down, just not the listening

And who cares if you disagree
You are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died
And made you king of anything

All my life
I've tried
To make everybody happy while I
Just hurt
And hide
Waitin' for someone to tell me it's my turn to decide

Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)
Oh (oh oh oh)

Who cares if you disagree
You are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died
And made you king of anything

Who cares if you disagree
You are not me
Who made you king of anything
So you dare tell me who to be
Who died
And made you king of anything

Let me hold your crown, babe
Oh oh




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