|Chapter Title:||Goldilocks, Chapter 41|
January 2003. Annie will be 4 years old in February 2003.
Buffy died in early May 2001, brought back in September 2001.
Buffy will be 22 years old on January 19th, 2003.
|Summary:||Buffy's nightmare isn't over. Who will come to her aid? Faith? Angel?|
|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.
“There you are, Goldilocks! Feeling better today, are we?” Spike sauntered into her cell with two uber-vamps trailing behind him.
Buffy sat up from where she’d slept on the floor of her cell and grabbed one of the many stakes that now littered the area. She’d counted them yesterday; there were forty nine. Today, she knew, she would get number fifty.
“Spike, please,” she pleaded with him again today, as she did everyday. “Please stop this.”
“Only you, Buffy. Only you can stop it, luv,” he reminded her. Another stake dropped to the ground next to Buffy.
Spike knelt before her. “Early one . . .” he started to sing before she plunged the stake she already had in her hand through his heart, dusting him for the fiftieth time since this ordeal began.
Spike walked cautiously up to where Buffy lay on the floor of the cell. “Buffy!” he yelled and she jumped, grabbing a stake from the floor before standing up in front of him.
“Buffy! Thank God!” he
yelled again as he grabbed her into a strong embrace. Buffy struggled against
him, freeing the arm with the stake in it from where it had been caught between
them. She heard Spike’s voice start, “Early one . . .” and drew the
stake up behind him before plunging it down towards his back.
Suddenly, something had a hold of her wrist, stopping her. She looked over Spike’s shoulder to see what it was. “Angel?”
“Buffy! Drop the stake!” Angel instructed her as he struggled to keep her from plunging it into Spike.
“Angel!?” she said again, dropping the stake as she fought out of Spike’s embrace and flung herself at the dark vampire. “Oh, God, Angel! How did you find me?!”
“What the bloody hell!?” Spike said, turning around to see his wife wrap her arms around Angel, clinging to him as if he were her savior.
“We have to get out of here!” she said to Angel, completely ignoring Spike who stood, mouth agape, watching her hold onto the vampire that she’d grown to hate. The vampire that she’d threatened to drop to the bottom of the ocean and make into fish food for all eternity if he fucked with her again.
Spike walked up to them and put his hand on her shoulder. "Buffy! What're you doin', luv?"
Buffy jerked away from his touch and moved so that Angel was between her and Spike. "Get away from me! I played your game already today! GET OUT!" she screamed at Spike.
"What the bloody hell are you on about?" he asked her.
"GET OUT BEFORE I DUST YOU!" Buffy screamed at him as she bent down quickly and picked up one of the many stakes that littered the floor.
"Maybe you should just do what she says, Spike," Angel admonished him.
Shaking his head, Spike said, “Right. Let’s go then.” Spike brushed past them and led the way back out of the dungeon and towards the portal that he and Angel had come through. Buffy eyed Spike warily, but Angel assured her it was alright and she clung to his arm as they followed Spike away from her cell.
It turned out that Willow was right, it only took a small amount of Annie’s blood to open the portal and it closed as soon as the blood stopped flowing into it. They’d brought another vial with them to open the portal to come back when they’d found Buffy. It had taken a long time to find her, and even longer for them to fight off the beastly vampire that had guarded her cell.
When they’d finally dusted him, Angel said, “Told you you’d need me, William.” Spike had wanted to come alone, but everyone had finally convinced him that it may be best to allow Angel to go, too, since there was no way to know what he could be facing on the other side.
About half way back to the where the portal would open, Buffy paused. “Stop! Wait!” she said to Angel as she moved towards one of several heavy wooden doors that lined the hallway they were walking through.
“Buffy, we need to go! There are some kinda scary vampires down here,” Angel said, looking up and down the hall.
“No. There’s something here – something that’s mine. I can feel it.” She pushed open the door. Inside, four Harbingers guarded a weapon, a scythe, but unlike anything she’d ever seen before. The blade was made of red and silver and it shone even in the dim light, as if lit from within. The other end had a long wooden stake, obviously made for fighting vampires.
The Harbingers charged at her but she ducked them. Then Angel and Spike were there and the three of them easily took out the four guards. Angel walked over to the weapon. Its blade was embedded in a large rock. He pulled on it but it didn’t move. “Buffy, we can’t take this out of here. It’s too big, too heavy,” he informed her. “We have to go before we meet more of those vampires!”
Angel grabbed her hand and started pulling her away from the weapon, but she yanked free of him and easily lifted the scythe out of the stone.
“PPPFFFTT!” Spike snorted. “Some knight in shining armor you are, mate! Looks like the girl’s royalty, after all! Can we GO, NOW?”
When the three emerged from the portal, the rest of the gang that had been waiting for them jumped in surprise.
“How did you find her so fast!?” Willow asked Spike.
“What fast!? We were down there for fucking hours!” he told her.
“No – no, only a few seconds! Spike, you JUST LEFT!” Willow assured him. Spike looked around at the rest of the Scoobies, along with the two Watchers, who all nodded in agreement.
“Time moves at different speeds in different dimensions,” Anya reminded them.
“Oh yeah,” Willow agreed. “God, that means Buffy’s been gone a really long time.” Willow looked at her friend, she was grimy from one end to the other, blood stained her skin, her dress was ripped and covered in blood and other stuff that Willow didn’t want to think about.
“What’s that axe thing?” Willow looked back at Spike.
“Excalibur,” he said. Then, at Willow’s confused expression he clarified, “She pulled it out of a bloody stone. Said it’s ‘ers.” Willow still looked confused, but Spike had no other explanation to offer her so he just shrugged.
"Why's she with Angel?" Willow asked, brows knit together in concern.
"Fuck knows!" Spike said, looking at Buffy who was still hanging onto Angel's arm.
“Did she say what happened?” Willow continued to question Spike.
“No, didn’t have time to ask. Look, Red, we better get home before someone decides to open this portal again and suck us all back in there.”
Willow nodded and everyone headed back for the mansion. Buffy stayed at Angel’s side, clinging to his arm as they walked. Spike walked behind them, trying to suss out what the fuck was going on. Once in a while, Buffy would look warily back over her shoulder at him, clutching the scythe tightly in one hand and Angel’s arm with the other.
Willow and Tara finally convinced Buffy that she could let go of Angel’s arm and took her upstairs to get a bath. After running the tub full for her, they left her alone in the bathroom and came back downstairs.
Extra chairs had been pulled up around the research area. Everyone was waiting for Willow and Tara to come back down before they started asking Spike and Angel questions. When the witches had settled into their seats, Spike explained what had happened, how Buffy tried to stake him and how she pulled the scythe out of the stone.
“The biggest soddin’ problem there were the vampires. Took the both of us to take out just one, and we barely did that,” he told them. “Don’ know what kind of vamps they are, but they’re bloody hard to dust!"
“We need to find out what happened to her and who did it,” Willow said.
Giles began to ask about the beings that were guarding the scythe, but was cut off by a voice coming from the top of the stairs.
“It was Spike.”
Everyone looked up. “Faith!” came the surprised cry from the whole group.
Wesley jumped up and ran up to where she was at the top of the stairs. “When did you wake up!? Are you alright?”
"Five by, well, three and a half," Faith replied.
"We need to get you back into bed," Wesley told her.
“No. Been in bed long enough. Just . . . just help me down these stairs,” she replied.
Once seated at the table, Faith threw a dagger stare at Angel and he lowered his eyes from hers, choosing to stare at the table top, instead. Then Faith turned to Spike. “She said it was you. That you’d lost your soul and had been possessed.”
“Bollocks! I didn’t hurt Buffy!” Spike eyed Faith suspiciously. “Just when did she tell you this?”
“It was in a dream. I don’t know when . . . time gets wonky when you’re unconscious,” Faith told him.
“Faith, did she say what Spike did to her?” Giles asked the Slayer.
“OI!! I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO ‘ER!” Spike rose from his chair and started pacing around the group.
Faith ignored his outburst and answered Giles. “No, she just said she needed me to wake up and help her because she couldn’t count on Spike, he’d been possessed or something. She looked pretty bad. She was pretty upset.”
“Looked bad how?” Wesley questioned her.
Faith described how Buffy looked, what she was wearing, the blood caked on her, even the cell in the dungeon where she talked to her in the dream, all the way down to the rank smell of the place.
“Bloody hell!” Spike said as all eyes turned suspiciously on him while he continued to pace around the group. “I’m telling ya’ I didn’t do it! Fuck! I was right here when she got sucked into that portal!” he pointed out. “Been here with you lot the whole bleedin’ time!”
No one could contradict that, he had been with someone nearly the entire time since Buffy had disappeared that afternoon.
“Can we go back to the men that were guarding the scythe a moment?” Giles asked the group.
Angel and Spike described the Harbingers that guarded the weapon.
“Hey! That’s the same thing that attacked me and Buffy in the library!” Faith said. “From beneath you it devours.”
“Indeed,” Giles began, removing his glasses and cleaning them as he considered this. Putting them back on he looked at Spike. “I believe what attacked Buffy was The First.”
“Spike’s The First Evil?” Xander asked, looking around to see where the nearest weapons chest was.
“No,” Giles started as Spike stopped pacing and faced the Watcher. “The First Evil can look like spirits, like dead people. Spike is dead, or undead, but, at any rate, he’s been killed. The First can take the form of anyone that’s been killed.”
“If that’s true, then how do we know this is Spike and Angel here right now?” Xander asked.
“The First is a spirit, it cannot manifest into corporeal form,” Wesley answered. Xander poked a finger into Angel’s very corporeal shoulder, eliciting a low growl from the broody vampire.
Spike ignored them and said, “If The First isn’t solid, how could it hurt ‘er?”
“It doesn’t have to. Its foot soldiers, the vampires you met or perhaps the Harbingers, do its dirty work for it. Most likely one or both of them are what actually hurt Buffy. The First, apparently appearing to her as you, was simply the conductor of the symphony.” Giles explained.
“Some symphony! The Devil’s concerto in Torture-minor,” Willow said. “Do we even know what happened to her?” Willow looked between Faith and the two vampires. They all shook their heads.
“Well, I think it’s time we found out, don’ you?” Spike started walking towards the stairs.
“Spike! You can’t! She thinks you’re the enemy!” Tara said, trying to stop him.
“Yeah, well, time she found out different, idn't it?” Spike said, taking the stairs two at a time.
Spike checked the bathroom first, but Buffy wasn’t in there. Her torn dress was still on the floor. He picked it up and looked it over, noting with dismay that the panties she’d had on under it when she left that day were not with it. The dress was covered in blood, her blood, with vampire dust stuck to it in places, along with other smells that he couldn’t identify. He tossed the garment in the trash and headed back to their bedroom.
When he walked in, Buffy jumped up off the bed and grabbed the scythe, which she had leaned up against the night stand next to her when she laid down. She had on shorts and a t-shirt and didn’t appear to have any injuries, at least not on the parts of her he could see, and he couldn’t smell any blood. Spike could, however, see and smell her tears.
“Buffy,” he started, his voice slow and calm. “I’m not gonna hurt you. I'd never hurt you, luv. I didn’t do this.”
Spike started to move towards her, but she turned the scythe in her hand so the stake was poised to strike at him if he came too near. Spike held his hands up in surrender and stepped to the other side of the bed, instead.
“Buffy, it’s me,” he started again when she didn’t relax her hold on the weapon. “It’s Spi . . . It’s William. I won’t hurt you. Whatever happened to you, I didn’t do it. You have to believe me, luv.”
Buffy eyed him warily. “Just stay away,” she said, her body ready to attack at any moment.
“Buffy, THIS is the MONSTER! You know it! Look at him!” Buffy looked towards the new voice. Jenny Calendar stood near the door. “You know what you have to do. Only you can make it stop, Buffy,” Miss Calendar admonished her.
“YOU. ARE. NOT. REAL!” Buffy screamed at her dead teacher.
Spike watched Buffy in confusion as she looked at something he couldn’t see then started screaming at the door.
“Buffy, who are you talkin’ to, luv?” Spike asked and Buffy turned nervously back to face him across the bed.
Jenny Calendar began to sing softly, “Early one morning, just as the sun was . .”
Buffy sprang across the bed at Spike, the scythe already poised in her hand, ready to drive it into his heart. She was slowed by having to go across the bed and Spike was able to grab the weapon as she came at him. They both went down on the floor, each wrestling for control of the scythe.
From downstairs, Angel heard them when they hit the floor and sped upstairs. In their room, he saw Buffy and Spike rolling around on the floor on the other side of the bed. Buffy trying to stake him and Spike trying desperately to defend himself, to get the weapon away from her, without actually hurting Buffy.
When the pair rolled over so that Buffy was on top again, Angel wrapped his arms around her and pulled her off of Spike, flinging himself onto the bed and carrying her with him. He rolled over on top of her, still holding his arms tightly around her, and pinned her down with his body.
“STOP! BUFFY STOP!” Angel yelled at her. Buffy wriggled and squirmed under him, trying to get free. “Buffy! It’s Angel! STOP!”
Finally, Buffy stopped moving and focused on who was holding her down. “Angel! Oh, God. I’m sorry! I thought you were Spike!”
“Bloody hell!” came from behind them as Spike got up off the floor.
“Buffy, listen to me,” Angel started, still holding her down on the bed. “First, give me the axe.” Angel pulled at the scythe, which was trapped between them. “Let go of it, Buffy,” he said calmly. “It’s ok.” Buffy released it and Angel pulled it out from between their bodies and handed it behind him to Spike.
Angel still had her pinned down under him, his face inches above hers as he spoke to her. “Who did this to you? Who took you?”
Buffy closed her eyes, tears welling up behind her lids. “It was Spike.”
“Buffy. It. Was. Not. Spike,” Angel said emphatically. “Listen to me now, it was The First.”
Buffy shook her head as Angel spoke, her eyes closed, tears spilling out from the corners. “It was Spike,” Buffy repeated through her tears.
“It was The First Evil, Buffy. It can look like dead people. It can look like Spike, or me,” Angel explained as she continued to shake her head “no”.
“Buffy, have you seen any other dead people?” Angel asked her.
Buffy’s eyes flew open. “Miss Calendar,” she said in a whisper.
“Ok – see? It can look like anyone who’s died, Buffy. It wasn’t really Spike. Do you understand?”
Buffy shook her head. “No. It was. It was Spike. He knew things . . . things only Spike could know.”
Spike watched as Angel held his wife down on their bed and continued to question her, continued to try and make her see that it wasn’t really Spike that had hurt her.
God, what happened to make 'er ever believe I would ever hurt 'er? he thought.
“And Miss Calendar? Did she know things only she would know, Buffy?” Angel pressed her. “Did she know how Angelus killed her? What did she say, Buffy?”
Buffy closed her eyes again. “She said Spike was the monster. She died so you and I could be together and instead I married the monster. She said she died for nothing.”
“Buffy, do you believe that?” Angel asked. “Would you have believed that before you were taken?”
Buffy took a deep breath. She was so confused.
She didn’t answer his question, instead she asked, “So, you don’t think it was Spike?”
“No,” Angel answered her simply.
“What about Giles? What does he say?” She looked at Angel hopefully.
“He says it was The First. Buffy, it wasn’t Spike,” Angel assured her as he pressed himself up off her and stood up.
Buffy looked between the two vampires, now both standing next to the bed looking at her expectantly.
"How do I know you weren't sent by The First to lie to me? Telling me it wasn't Spike when it was?" she asked them. "How do I know what's real!?"
"Buffy, The First isn't corporeal, it can't touch you. It can't hurt you," Angel explained to her.
"HA! Then it was SPIKE that took me! Because I most definitely got hurt!"
Angel looked at Spike suspiciously.
Spike sighed and handed the scythe to Angel before stepping forward towards Buffy. “Buffy, please believe me. I would never hurt you, luv. It wasn’t me.”
"No - no, no, no! Don't come near me! You're not Spike! I dusted him! He's gone! You're not him!" Buffy crawled backwards across the bed until she could reach her nightstand. She pulled open the drawer and quickly grabbed a stake before turning back to look at the two vampires.
"Buffy," Angel started. "What made you think that Spike took you? How do you know it was Spike?"
"I told you, he knew things only Spike could know."
"Like what?" Angel asked her. "Why don't we see if this Spike knows the same thing?"
Buffy looked between the two vampires, considering this for a moment before saying, "Ok, fine." She looked at Spike and asked, "When did Spike fall in love with me?"
Spike rolled his eyes at her use of his name like he wasn't in the room, like it wasn't him she was talking to. He took a breath and slowly exhaled before answering her. Spike met her eyes with his, his voice was soft as he spoke, the memory of when he fell in love with her played in his mind. “It was the very first time I saw you. You were dancing with Harris and Red at the Bronze. Do you remember? You had on that knit top and short skirt and your hair . . . your hair shone like spun gold under the lights. You were laughing and your body swayed to the music with the grace of an angel. Then, I watched you fight . . . ." Spike's voice trailed off, lost in the memory of that night. Pulling himself back to the present, he said, "I couldn't help myself. I fell in love with you that night, Buffy.”
Buffy was shaking her head, her eyes unfocused, lost in the memory of what the Spike in the dungeon had said to the same question. This Spike's answer was nearly word-for-word what the other had said. What does it mean that they both gave the same answer? Are they both the same? Maybe this is the one that took me, re-materialized like he did every day, just so I could dust him again.
"T-t-that's what Spike said," Buffy whispered, eyes unseeing as she tried to sort through all the contradictions.
Angel walked over to where she was on the side of the bed near her nightstand, knelt down on the floor and took her hand. "Buffy, this is Spike." Angel waved one hand towards the other vampire. "Trust me, he's WAY too annoying to be The First Evil, plus, corporeal."
"Buffy! Are you listening to me?" Angel squeezed the hand he was holding to get her to focus on him. She looked at him and nodded. "Ok, now, think very hard, this is very important. The Spike that took you, how did he hurt you? Did he ever actually touch you?"
"Of course he did!" she answered without thought.
Angel's eyes went wide. "Are you sure? You need to be sure, Buffy. Tell me one time that he touched you. What did he do?"
"He held . . . no. He rap . . . no, wait. He reached out and . . . no. He . . . OH GOD!" Buffy's eyes went wide as it dawned on her that the Spike in the dungeon never had actually touched her at all. "Oh, God!" she said again. "It wasn't Spike!" Her eyes turned to her husband who still stood at the foot of the bed.
"Are you Spike?" she asked him, tears threatening her eyes.
"I am. I really am, Buffy. I would never hurt you. It wasn't me. I love you," Spike assured her.
Buffy nodded. Sobs racked her body. She dropped the stake to the floor and curled into a small ball in the middle of the bed. Spike toed off his boots and climbed onto the bed, pulled her to him and rocked her gently in his arms. As she clung to him and cried against his shoulder he comforted her as he always had.
“Early one morning, just as the sun was . .”
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