|Chapter Title:||Warm Champagne, Chapter 24|
Late April, 2001. Annie is a little over 2 years old. Buffy and Spike have been married a little over 2 years.
Glory makes a house call, she knows that Buffy and Spike are protecting the Key and gives them an ultimatum.
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, violence, sex and adult themes which may include rape, attempted rape, blood play 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. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.
Buffy was standing on the edge of a cliff holding Annie on her hip as she looked out over the horizon. The sun was just starting to rise and she could feel the first rays of light as they touched her skin.
“What’re we doing ‘ere, Slayer?” Spike walked up behind her.
Buffy looked at him and frowned. “You aren’t supposed to be here.”
Buffy turned to face Spike, handed Annie to him and smiled. “Silly Vampire, Slayer dreams are for Slayers.” Buffy stepped backwards to the edge of the cliff before opening her arms wide, leaning her head back and falling backwards in a swan dive into the black void below.
“Buffy!” Spike screamed, but she was gone. Looking over the cliff, there was nothing but blackness.
The pair woke with a jerk.
“What the fuck was that, Slayer?!” Spike was wide awake, looking at Buffy.
Buffy shrugged. “It was just a dream, Spike. It’s nothing. Just my subconscious playing games . . . haven’t been sleeping well, you know that.” She tried to make it sound like no big deal, she hoped he believed her. She kissed him and pulled him to her, one sure way to make him stop talking and stop thinking. "Make love to me, Spike,” she murmured against his mouth, and the topic of the dream was forgotten.
The Scoobies were gathered around the research table, still going through all the papers the Council had left on Glory and trying to cross reference it with other books and prophecies. Spike was leaning over Giles’ shoulder to read something that Giles had found in one of the older tomes. Buffy had taken a break and was sitting on the couch playing peek-a-boo with Annie.
It had been just a couple of months since they had buried her mom and Buffy felt an overwhelming need to stay close to Annie as much as possible, doing so at every opportunity. She couldn’t bring herself to sell her childhood home, so she offered it to Xander and Anya for free rent, all they had to do was the upkeep and keep the bills paid. The couple had jumped at the chance to get out of Xander’s parent’s basement and happily accepted.
The whole gang had helped Buffy pack up all the personal items from the house, her mom’s clothes, photos and mementos as well as all of Buffy’s things that were still in her old room. They brought it all to the mansion and put it in the basement. Buffy said she’d go through it later and decide what to keep and what to give away, but she hadn’t even started looking through the boxes, the pain of losing her mother was still too fresh to do it.
“Ahh, isn’t that just the sweetest thing,” came a voice from the doorway.
Everyone looked up from what they were doing. “Glory!” Buffy exclaimed, jumping up from the couch and pulling Annie up to rest on one hip as she started to back away towards where the others were working.
“Glory?!” came a cacophony of voices from behind her as the Scoobies all jumped up from their own seats at the realization of who was addressing them.
Spike was already beside Buffy, taking Annie from her, as Glory continued to speak. “Imagine my surprise when I started asking around about a couple of bottle blonds who think they own this town . . .” she said in a conversational tone as she continued walking towards Buffy and Spike. “and found out that it’s the Slayer and her vampire lover who attacked me and took my monk.”
Glory was standing in front of the pair now, smiling. Buffy’s heart was racing and she could feel Spike tense beside her as he turned to put more of his body between Annie and Glory.
Glory smiled and sing songed sweetly, “Isn’t she just the cutest thing?” as she reached a hand towards Annie. Buffy stepped between Glory and Spike and blocked her hand from reaching the child.
Glory shrugged and dropped her hand. “She yours?”
“Yes,” Buffy answered curtly.
Giles had come up behind Spike, taken Annie from him and started moving back towards the group by the research table.
“Funny.” Glory shoved Buffy to the side so she was face to face with Spike again. “She looks more like him.”
Glory ran a finger from Spike’s brow, down one cheek bone and settled it on his jaw. Spike tensed, squaring his shoulders and clinching his fists preparing for the fight when he heard Buffy in his mind, NOT HERE, too risky.
Spike forced himself to relax. Opening his fists and taking a breath, he spread his feet, threw his shoulders back, tucked his thumbs into his belt buckle and pursed his lips together, giving her his best "Big Bad" look.
“You must be something else,” Glory was saying, “vampire knocking up a Slayer.” Glory let her finger trail down his throat, across his adam’s apple and down his chest to settle on his hands that were on his belt buckle.
“Oh, I am.” He smirked, tilting his head slightly. Spike leaned in closer to Glory, his lips just an inch from hers. “Perhaps you’d like a little demonstration,” he said seductively as he raised one hand and ran a finger lightly down her bare arm.
Glory smiled, tilting her head as if to kiss him. “I could ride you at a gallop until your legs buckled and your eyes rolled up. I've got muscles your Slayer never even dreamed of. I could squeeze you until you popped like warm champagne, and you’d beg me to hurt you just a little bit more.”
“Would I, now?” Spike cocked an eyebrow as he continued running his fingers up and down her arm. “That sounds positively charming.” He ran his tongue along his teeth before continuing. ”You’re tense as a bow, pet. A good shag might be just the thing for you.”
Suddenly, Glory stepped back. “STOP!” she commanded at the group making their way upstairs.
While Spike was occupying Glory, Buffy started to usher the Scoobies, along with Annie, upstairs. “Go to Annie’s room,” she’d whispered to them, knowing that the Dagon Sphere was in there and would, hopefully, help repel Glory if she got by Buffy and Spike.
Everyone abruptly stopped and turned to face Glory. “It’s not polite to leave in the middle of a conversation. Where were you people raised, in a barn?”
“Now, I’m not here to fight," Glory continued. "If I were, you’d all be dead right now . . . well, maybe not the vampire.” She looked back at Spike, raking her eyes up and down him, before continuing. “I think you have something of mine or you know where it is, so this is simple. You just give me my Key and I’ll be on my way.” Glory smiled sweetly at the group and waited for a response.
Buffy stepped forward in front of the group on the stairs. “We have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, little girl, I think you do and it would be so much simpler if you’d just give me what I want.”
Buffy folded her arms across her chest and tilted her head to the side. “Got nothing you want.”
“Hmmm, well that remains to be seen.” Glory cut her eyes at Spike again before looking back at Buffy and continuing. “Here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re going to give me my Key or I’m going to start killing all your little friends here, starting with your daughter.”
“Not very good strategy, that, pet,” Spike said matter-of-factly to Glory. “You kill the least important first, then work up towards the most important, only way to be taken serious. Thought you were a Hell god, or did ya’ miss that day at University?”
Glory smiled at him. “I like you.”
“I get that a lot.” He narrowed his eyes and smirked back at her.
Turning back to Buffy who was still standing in front of the group on the stairs, Glory smiled and continued. “You’ve got twenty four hours to hand over my Key or your friends will start dying and you, little girl, will get to watch each and every one of them as I rip them into pretty little red ribbons. I’m running out of time, so that means you are, too.”
Glory turned back towards the door, bringing herself within arm’s reach of Spike again, she trailed a finger across this chest and said, “See YOU later,” before walking out the door.
Everyone let out a collective breath as Glory left.
Buffy took Annie back from Giles before walking up next to Spike who hadn’t moved from his “Big Bad” stance. Snapping her fingers in front of his face she said, “You couldn’t have been a little less convincing with that?”
“What?! You told me not to fight, ‘s the next best thing I do, luv.” Spike smiled at her. “You’re not jealous, are you?”
“PLEASE! Of that bad home perm bitch god?” Buffy rolled her eyes.
Spike smiled, she is jealous, he thought to himself. Taking Buffy and Annie in an embrace he whispered in her ear, “You’re the only god I want, Buffy.”
Buffy rolled her eyes again and smiled. “I know,” she sighed.
Handing Annie to Spike, Buffy turned back to the group. “Ok, you heard her. We have twenty four hours to come up with a plan. Giles, I have to have that date like YESTERDAY. She said she was running out of time and she’s right about one thing, that means we are, too.”
“NO! Spike, that’s the craziest idea yet!” Buffy stared across the table at her husband. The group had been discussing ideas for hours and Spike’s latest one was the worst yet.
“Hear me out,” he started. “We just drive away, Buffy, all of us. Go out in the desert, Glory’ll never find us. If time’s short, then we just wait it out.”
“Spike, do I have to remind you that you’re a vampire? The desert, not big on shady places. If we have to fight in the middle of the day, then what? Or are you planning on luring her into the car and seducing her until sunset? Please think this through,” Buffy admonished him. “We go to L.A. Angel and Faith can help us.”
Spike rolled his eyes. “Don’t need help from the wanker, Buffy.”
“Yes, we do,” Buffy countered. “This isn’t about you, Spike, this is about Annie and how to keep her safe . . . how to keep us all safe. Going to Angel’s is the best place to do that. If we’re lucky, Glory won’t find us and we can just have a nice vacation . . . if she does, then we have two more strong fighters on our side.”
Spike folded his arms across his chest and glowered at her. He didn’t want help from Angel. It was ok for him to go help Angel and his rag-tag crew with beasties from time to time, but he wasn’t asking Angel for anything.
“Spike,” Buffy started again, her voice soft. “You told me you’d do anything to protect Annie and me, do you remember?”
Spike didn’t answer, just continued to scowl at her, arms still folded across his chest.
Buffy continued. “This is what we have to do. This is what you have to do. This is the anything, Spike.”
Spike rolled his eyes to the ceiling before looking back at her. “Fine, but I still say going to the middle of nowhere would be better.”
Giles interrupted them. “Buffy, I believe we’ve got the time calculated properly now.”
Buffy and Spike looked expectantly at Giles and Willow, who were both looking at her computer screen.
“Yeah, it was a little tricky with the ancient algorithms, but, I think this is it,” Willow concurred.
“So, when is it? How long do we need to stall?” Buffy asked.
“Basically, two and a half days, starting now,” Willow said. “The window of time for the portal to open is Thursday at dawn. It’s . . .” Willow looked at the clock before continuing, “four p.m. Monday right now, so you’ve got tonight, all day and all night Tuesday and all day and all night Wednesday. If we can get past dawn on Thursday, we should be home free.” Willow smiled, pleased that she’d been able to work out the equations.
“So, Glory wasn’t kidding about time running short,” Buffy mused. “She may not wait the full twenty-four hours, either, before coming for us.” Buffy looked at Spike, ”You need to leave tonight.”
“What d’ ya’ mean I need to leave tonight? Don’t you mean WE need to leave tonight?”
“No, I mean you and Annie, Willow and Giles need to leave tonight for L.A.,” Buffy said confidently. “Xander and I will stay here and stall Glory as long as we can . . . Anya . . . Anya can go with you or stay here, whichever she’d like.”
Xander, who had been sitting quietly listening to the discussions around him was suddenly jerked to attention. “What?!”
“Harris!?” Spike was incredulous. “What the fuck, Slayer! Have you lost your bleedin’ marbles?”
“Spike, you have to take Annie and go. You’re the only other one here that has any chance of protecting her. Xander is a good driver, if I can’t stop her from following you, I’ll need him to get me to L.A. to help you.”
“The monks said it would take the both of us to defeat her, Slayer. We need to stay together,” Spike reasoned with her.
“No, Spike . . . we’ll defeat her together . . . just not together together.” Buffy shook her head and started again, “We are together . . . our hearts are together, our minds are together, Spike, our souls are together . . . just because we aren’t physically together means nothing. This is how it has to be.”
Spike started to stand up and leave the table. “Please sit down,” Buffy implored him. “There’s more here to discuss.”
Spike purposely stood the rest of the way up and folded his arms over his chest in defiance of her request.
“Fine, stand then,” Buffy shook her head. “There’s one other thing that everyone here needs to know.”
When she was sure she had everyone’s full attention, she continued. “If anyone has any grandiose plans about saving the world by doing something to Annie, I’m here to tell you that Spike, Angel and I will kill anyone who tries anything.”
Buffy looked directly at Giles when she said it. She hadn’t told Spike of Giles’ "suggestion", but wanted to make sure that he knew of the threat and, at the same time, warn all of her friends in case any of them got the same idea or in case Giles had discussed it with any of them.
“Buffy, no one here would ever hurt Annie!” Xander spoke up.
Buffy looked at him, Of course Xander wouldn’t think anyone would hurt Annie, she thought. “Fine, just want everyone to be very clear on that point.”
Buffy stood up. “I need to talk to Spike in private, can you guys watch Annie a little while?”
"Of course," everyone agreed and watched the pair start up the stairs.
“You know, they’re going up there to have sex,” Anya pointed out.
“Yes, Ahn, we know,” Xander assured his girlfriend.
In their bedroom, Buffy sat down on the end of the bed and pulled Spike down to sit next to her.
“Spike, you have to make me a promise now.” Buffy looked at him, tears threatening at the back of her eyes.
Spike considered her a moment and said, “Anything, you know that.”
“You have to promise that, no matter what else happens, you'll keep Annie safe.” Buffy’s eyes held his, green and blue each looking deep within the other, below the surface and into each other’s heart.
“You know I will, I promised you before, I’ll protect you both with m' life,” he assured her.
“No, Spike. Your priority is Annie, you keep Annie safe. Not because she’s the Key, but because she’s ours . . . yours and mine, no matter what else happens, you keep her safe.” Buffy’s meaning was clear.
“Buffy, I’ll not lose you . . . I couldn’t live without you . . . don’t make me choose.” Tears now burned at the back of Spike’s eyes, as well.
“You aren’t choosing, I’m choosing. I’m the Slayer and I’m always the one that has to make the final choice, Spike. Please do as I ask . . . if it comes down to me or Annie, you must choose her.”
When he didn’t respond, she implored him, “Promise me, Spike.”
Spike closed his eyes and rolled his head around and up to the ceiling before looking back at Buffy with glistening eyes. “I promise,” he whispered.
Buffy nodded and leaned in to kiss him, her hand gentle on the side of his face. Pulling away from the kiss and resting her forehead on his, she asked, “Would you just hold me a little while before you have to go?”
“’Course, pet.” The pair laid down, her head on his shoulder, one of her legs draped over his, one arm across his chiseled chest. Spike held her close to his body with one arm, slowly smoothing her hair as she snuggled against him, both warriors lost in thought. Thoughts of the battle to come, of their daughter, of memories past and what their future may hold . . . neither wanting to think further of the possibility that they may not both make it through the coming battle.
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