|Chapter Title:||Jukebox, Chapter 43|
Early 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:||Spike, Angel and the Scoobies figure out that the First has planted a trigger in Buffy which is causing her to attack Spike. But they're still working on figuring out why and how to diffuse it.|
|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.
Spike woke from the dream with a start to find Buffy atop him, pounding him with her fists. He tried to grab her hands, but she was moving too fast, hitting too hard. Spike rolled over and tumbled them off the bed and onto the floor, landing on top of her so he could get the advantage. Buffy continued to hit out at him, but her punches didn’t have the strength they did when she was punching down, and he was able to grab her arms and pin them.
“Buffy!” Spike yelled at her. “Wake up! Snap out of it!”
Buffy continued to struggle beneath him, trying to kick him off and to free her hands. Finally, she got some leverage and kicked Spike up and over her head. He hit the nightstand and the wall behind it with a hard thud as she scrambled to her feet. Buffy rushed back over to her side of the bed and pulled the drawer to her night stand open, dumping it on the floor, looking for a stake, but there were none there.
As Spike struggled back to his feet, Buffy scanned the room. There, in the corner near the door, was the scythe. Apparently, Angel had set it down there earlier when he thought the threat had passed. Buffy grabbed it up and headed back towards Spike.
“Buffy,” Spike spoke as calmly as he could. “You don’t want to do this, luv.” He was trapped with a wall to his back and one side, the bed on the other and Buffy advancing on him with the scythe.
“Only I can stop it,” she said as she continued to advance on Spike.
“Forgive me, Buffy,” Spike murmured to himself as he brought the demon up and charged her. Spike grabbed the handle of the scythe with both hands as he hit her and knocked her to the ground. When she hit, Buffy’s grip on the weapon was jarred loose and Spike pulled it away from her as he rolled to the side and jumped back to his feet.
“Buffy! Stop!” Spike yelled at her as he backed up towards the door with the scythe. But she had jumped up too and was advancing on him again, bare handed, fists clenched. When Spike got to the door, he pulled it open and threw the weapon as far down the hall as he could. He had just got the door closed again when she tackled him and they both tumbled to the ground, each wrestling for the upper hand.
After trading blows and grappling on the floor for what seemed an eternity, Spike pinned her down with one arm across her throat. His hips pinned Buffy's thighs so she couldn’t kick him off and he held one of her arms with his other hand. She continued to hit at him with her free arm as he pressed harder against her throat. He screamed and begged her to stop, but it wasn’t until she finally passed out from lack of oxygen that her attack ceased.
He let go of her throat immediately and she took one ragged breath, then another and another until she was breathing normally again, although she remained unconscious. Spike jumped up, ran out of the room and down the stairs. He started rummaging through one of the weapons chests, pulling out cross bows and stakes along with swords and knives of every description, until he finally found what he was searching for: the shackles that Angelus had used on her all those years ago. Buffy had insisted that they repair them. “You never know when we might need them,” she’d said at the time. They never had, until now.
Spike raced back upstairs with them, opening the door cautiously at first to see if she was still unconscious before entering the room. She was. With trembling hands, he locked the shackles around her ankles and wrists. “I’m sorry, Buffy,” he whispered to her as he locked the last one in place.
After he’d settled her back on the bed, he went out in the hall and retrieved the scythe and put it in the bottom of the closet with the stakes. Then he settled himself into the chair in the corner of the room to wait for her to wake up.
“Spike,” Buffy moaned as she rolled over on the bed.
Spike jumped up from the chair, but dared not come too close to her. Even shackled, he knew if he got to close she could do some damage. “I’m here, luv,” he said softly as he knelt down to her level, still keeping his distance.
“What happened?” Buffy asked as she tried to sit up. Finally noticing the shackles, she started to struggle against them. “WHAT!? What are you doing! You’re not Spike! Where’s Spike?!” she screamed at him.
Spike came closer and laid a hand on her arm. “I’m sorry, Buffy. The dream. The dream set you off. I had no choice,” he tried to explain.
“Spike?” Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes. “No, no . . . you weren’t in the dream. I sent you away.”
“Buffy, luv, I saw the dream. It wasn’t just a dream, was it? It was a memory,” Spike said softly.
“Oh God, Spike, no! Y-you-you should have left when I told you to.” Buffy was shaking her head in denial, tears flowed down her face and she couldn’t meet Spike’s eyes with her own. She turned away from him and curled back into a ball on the bed.
“Buffy, please,” Spike started as he sat on the bed behind her. “Please talk to me. Don’t shut me out.”
“You should’ve left when I told you to,” Buffy whispered.
“Buffy, The First, it . . . it did horrible things to you. I saw it. I felt your fear. It did it to make you hate me, to make you kill me. The song, the lullaby, that’s what it set up as the trigger. When you hear it, you go into some kind of trance and all you can think of is killing me. Do you remember?”
Buffy didn’t answer him, so he continued. “Buffy, if you don’t talk to me, you let it win. Sooner or later, you’ll dust me. Talk to me, luv. Break the hold it has on you. We can beat it together.”
“Spike,” Buffy started slowly, her voice full of fear. “I dusted you. After that time . . . that time in the dream, I dusted you. I thought it was you. You came every day, I begged you to stop and every day you told me only I could make it stop. You sang the lullaby and every day I dusted you. I killed you fifty times. I counted.”
“It wasn’t me, Buffy,” Spike said softly as he lay down and spooned against her back, wrapping an arm over her middle.
“I know, I know that now, but I didn’t know that then. I thought . . . I thought you had turned on me. I couldn’t understand why. I mourned you every day. I prayed for the nightmare to end and it wouldn’t. I even tried killing myself. I plunged the stake into my own heart, Spike. But it just disintegrated in my hands,” she admitted to him.
“Oh, God, Buffy.” Spike sat up, turned her over to face him and started unfastening the shackles.
“NO! Spike, no! Leave them on.” She jerked her hands away from him, still shackled. “If I kill you, I’ll never be able to live with myself. Please just leave them on until we’re sure.”
Buffy turned back over, facing away from him. “Just hold me, Spike.”
He lay down against her back, molding his body to hers and held Buffy tight with an arm across her middle. “I love you, Buffy,” he whispered in her ear.
“I love you, too,” she answered sadly.
The next morning, Spike came downstairs to find the entire group gathered again in his great room, including Lorne, the green empath demon that worked with Angel.
Spike sighed. He really didn’t feel like this today.
“Spike! What happened?” Tara was up and walking towards him. “Your face!”
“’S nuthin’,” he said. “Just a little scrap with The First ‘s all. Nuthin’ serious.”
“Buffy attacked you last night?” Giles asked.
“Naaa, Watcher, was the bloody mailman! You know, you should never fuck with a postal worker,” he quipped before dropping down into his normal chair at one end of the table.
“You slept in the same room with her, didn’t you?! I TOLD you not to, Spike,” Giles said with a bit of Ripper coming through in his tone.
“Yeah? And between you and me, who you figure has control over what I do?” Spike shot back. “I’m not your bloody Slayer. I do as I please.”
“Yes, well, that isn’t any different than my Slayer, actually,” Giles pointed out, as he removed his glasses and polished them furiously.
“Guys! Can we stop squabbling and get with the doing part of the program?” Willow said, effectively shutting them up.
“Fine. What’s to do, then, Red?” Spike looked at her with raised brows.
“Lorne’s here,” Wesley answered for Willow. “Angel and I thought that he may be able to help diffuse the trigger.”
“OH! ANGEL THOUGHT! ANGEL THOUGHT!” Spike exclaimed. “Who the bloody hell died and left Angel in charge?”
“Spike, I believe it’s worth a try. It certainly can’t hurt to let Lorne do a reading, don’t you agree?” Wesley asked him.
Spike looked at the green demon and then back to Wesley. “Fine. Do your reading. I don’t think it’ll help. The First had ‘er a long time. She went through a lot just to survive it. It’s not gonna’ just go away overnight.”
“Did she talk to you about it?” Tara asked.
“Yeah, some of it, not all,” Spike told them.
“Well, that’s good! That’s a start, right?” Tara looked between Spike and Willow for agreement.
“Yeah, it’s a start,” Spike said with a sigh.
“What triggered her to attack you again? Surely you didn’t sing to her!” Giles questioned.
“Nooo, I didn’ bloody sing to ‘er! Do I look daft?” Spike glared at Giles. Giles eyes went wide as he raised his eyebrows as if to say “YES!” but Spike ignored him and explained about the dream, leaving out the part about the uber-vamps attacking Buffy.
“So, the song, even in a dream, can trigger the behavior? That is unsettling,” Giles said when Spike had finished.
“Has anyone other than me wondered why, if The First wants Spike dead, it didn’t just take Spike in the first place and dust him?” Xander posed to the group.
Everyone except Spike nodded. “And? Do any of you brain trusts have any theories on this?” Xander questioned.
Spike answered Xander. “It doesn’t just want me dusted, it wants Buffy broken.” Spike looked directly at Angel before continuing. “And, having a little experience with true evil in my unlife, this way’s just more fun, idn’t that right, Angel?”
Everyone turned to look at Angel who was now glaring at Spike.
“Didn’ hear ya, Angelus,” Spike prodded.
At the use of Angel’s “evil” name everyone backed up a bit from the broody vampire, everyone except Faith, who had been standing on the periphery of the meeting just listening. She stepped forward towards him.
“I DIDN’T HURT BUFFY!” Angel said through gritted teeth. “I helped you rescue her! I saved your sorry ass from her more than once!”
“Sure you did, so you can be the big hero when she finally dusts me. Swoop in and sweep ‘er off her feet like Prince fucking Charming!”
Spike raised his voice a couple of octaves as he mimicked what Angel would say to her. “‘Oh, Buffy! I’m so sorry, you know I tried to save William! Come ride into the metaphorical sunset with me on my white horse! I’ll make it all better.’”
Dropping back to his normal baritone, Spike leaned forward towards Angel and continued. “Idn’t that why Miss Calendar came to her and told her what she did? To push Buffy back to you? Why I was the bad guy in this little evil play o’ yours?”
Angel stood up. “YOU are out of your MIND, Spike! Did you not hear what Buffy said the last time I saw her? Something about ‘eternal fish food’? Because I damn sure heard and I damn sure believed her. I had nothing to do with this!”
Spike looked at him with raised eyebrows, saying “yeah, right,” with nothing more than the expression on his face. Everyone else looked suspiciously at Angel, as well.
Faith had walked up next to Angel while Spike was talking. She put a hand on his arm and said, “Maybe you should leave, Angel.”
Angel jerked free of her hand. “Fine, I’ll leave. But I’m telling you I didn’t have anything to do with this. The First is trying to divide us and you’re all playing right into its hands. I should know. It’s what I would do, if it was me.”
Angel turned and headed for the door to the garage. “I’ll wait for you outside, Lorne,” he said as he passed the green demon.
Everyone sat in silence a moment after Angel left. Finally, Lorne said to Spike, “I could be wrong, Sweet Cheeks, but I think Angel’s right. If this First guy’s as bad as you all say, all you champion-types should stick together.”
Spike narrowed his eyes at Lorne. “And if you’re wrong?”
“Well, then there’s the old standard, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’,” Lorne responded.
“Funny, you don’t look like a Pisan,” Spike retorted.
Lorne shrugged. “I’m just saying, if he is the enemy, some Corleone tactics could work for you. If he’s not, all the better.”
Spike changed the subject. “How ‘bout we get on with this readin’ o' yours?”
Spike went upstairs and told Buffy what they were going to try. He unshackled her ankles so she could walk downstairs on her own before re-attaching them. He locked a chain around her waist and attached the other end around a support column. Tara went upstairs to make sure Annie didn’t come down and they began.
Everyone except Faith and Spike moved as far away from Buffy as they could get in the great room.
“First, let’s do something for a baseline. Sing something that’s not the trigger, something soft, similar to the lullaby,” Lorne told Spike.
Spike rolled his eyes. “I’m not a bloody jukebox, Green!” Spike sighed and closed his eyes, trying to think of a song. The song they danced to when they celebrated Christmas together came back to him. He concentrated on remembering the words and the tune for a moment before he spoke.
“OK, I got one, but it’s not for you lot, it’s for ‘er, so back off.” Faith and Lorne stepped back a few feet and Spike moved close to Buffy as she stood chained to the column. He drew her into a hug and sang a bit of the song softly in her ear.
Come let me love you
Let me give my life to you
Let me drown in your laughter
Let me die in your arms
Let me lay down beside you
Let me always be with you
Come let me love you
Come love me again
When he’d finished, the blonds turned and looked at Lorne who seemed to be deep in thought as he watched Buffy’s reaction to Spike’s song. Lorne started waving his hand in front of his face like a fan. “Could I get some ice water?” he said to no one in particular before walking up close to Spike and Buffy. “That must have been some hot song, Sweet Cheeks,” he said to Spike, still waving his hand in front of his face. Buffy blushed slightly when it was obvious that Lorne could actually read her reaction to Spike’s voice and the memory of the night that the song brought up in her.
After composing himself a moment, Lorne said, “OK, let’s try the other one now.”
Lorne backed away from Buffy and Spike, but Faith moved closer. Spike released Buffy from the hug and stepped back slightly. “It’ll be ok, luv,” he said to her, seeing the fear in her eyes. The entire room held their breath as Spike started the lullaby.
“Early one morning, just as the sun was rising . . .”
He didn’t get any further before Buffy lunged at him, straining against the chain around her waist, and swung at him with her shackled hands. Spike leaned back away from her to avoid being struck, lost his balance and fell flat on his back. Buffy lunged at him again. She hooked the chain that held her hands shackled together over his foot and started pulling him towards her. Faith grabbed one of Spike’s arms and tried to pull him away. For a moment, Spike felt like a Thanksgiving wishbone ready to be snapped in two as the Slayer’s pulled him in opposite directions, then, suddenly, the chain slipped up and off his boot and Faith dragged him out of Buffy’s reach.
Buffy continued to struggle against the chain around her waist, reaching and lunging towards Spike. “Only I can stop it!” she yelled at him, tugging and jerking against her restraints in an effort to reach him.
Faith stepped up in front of her, just out of her reach. “BUFFY!” she screamed at her, trying to snap Buffy out of it, but Buffy didn’t even seem to see Faith, her whole focus was on Spike, who stood back up several feet behind the dark haired Slayer.
“How do you turn her off now that you’ve fired her up?!” Faith called back over her shoulder to Spike.
Spike really didn’t want to say what he had to do to “turn her off” last night but he was afraid, if Buffy kept on, she’d either pull the roof down or injure herself trying. “Last night I strangled her until she passed out,” he told Faith.
Faith looked back over her shoulder at him with wide eyes. “Got any other ideas?” she asked him.
Spike shrugged and was trying to think of something else that would work when Willow walked up beside him, held her hand out towards Buffy and said, “Somnus!”
Buffy suddenly crumpled to the floor. “What the hell did you do, Red?!” Spike asked her, clearly upset.
“I just put her to sleep. She’s ok, really,” Willow explained.
Spike walked up to Buffy and listened to her heart, it was beating slow and steady. Willow was right, she was simply asleep. Spike unchained her from the column and scooped her up from the floor before he carried her back upstairs and laid her on their bed, dropping a soft kiss on her forehead before he headed back downstairs.
“What’s wrong with Green?” Spike asked when he made it back to the great room. Lorne was laid out flat on his back, unconscious. Wesley knelt over him, trying to wake him up. “Send him to la-la land, too, Red?”
“NO!” Willow said, insulted. “I did not. He passed out – he passed out before you even finished your little ditty.”
“Bloody hell,” Spike muttered, hoping that they wouldn’t have to do it again just because the green demon was a poof.
When they finally got Lorne up and seated on the couch everyone gathered around him to hear what he had to say. Spike sat on the coffee table directly in front of the empath demon and that’s who Lorne addressed.
“You’ve got a problem, Sweet Cheeks,” he said to Spike.
“Tell me sumthin’ I don’t know, Green,” Spike retorted dryly.
Lorne ignored him and continued. “The rage in her is deep and fills every cell in her body. It’s not something that’s just going to go away by itself.”
“So, how do we break its hold?” Spike asked.
Lorne shrugged. “It’s coming from her subconscious. She’s been programmed to hate you with every fiber of her being and believe that the only way to be free of her pain is to dust you.” Lorne paused a moment before adding, “If you could change what happened, not literally, but somehow change it in her mind so she felt like there was a different way to end the pain, that might break its hold on her. If there was some way for you to access her subconscious and change the story there . . .” Lorne frowned at Spike and shrugged. “Sorry I couldn’t be more help.”
“No. In fact, I think I know just how to fix this.” Spike gave the green demon a small smile and slapped him on the shoulder as he got up. He finally had something he could do.
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