Buffy stood up and slung her bag over her shoulder. “And that’s it for my report,” she said. “Gotta run!” She scooped up her books from the table and turned toward the library door.
It was almost like she had some sort of crush on Spike the way she looked forward to seeing him, but it was just the--you know--the sex stuff. She still felt a twinge of conscience every time she thought about her and Spike, but it was getting smaller and quieter every time. Who did it hurt really? It’s not like it was going to go all after-school special on her, she couldn’t get pregnant, she couldn’t catch anything…
“Buffy, could I have a word with you?”
Buffy groaned inwardly and turned around to look at Giles.
“Please, sit down.” He removed his glasses and indicated the chair she’d just vacated. He looked serious.
Buffy’s eyes went wide. Instantly, she was on the edge of panic. She searched his face, but she could tell nothing from his expression. For some reason all the justifications that were working so well for herself, she would be ashamed to even try on Giles.
Feeling as though she could barely breathe, she walked back to the chair and sat down. She let her bag slide to the floor, and set her books back on the table. She sat back casually, and tried to look like she had no idea what he might want to talk to her about.
“Buffy, I am concerned about the number of demons that you are killing.”
Buffy blinked. That was the very last thing she’d expected Giles to say. She felt a rush of bewildered anger and relief.
“Giles, I’m the Slayer. I--I’m slaying. You used to bust me about not taking my duties seriously enough, and now I’m doing too good of a job?”
“Buffy, you don’t understand. The Slayer’s job is to maintain the balance and to protect the innocent, not to… wage war on demonkind. Unlike vampires, most demons are not a direct threat to humans. They are barbarous and intensely self-interested it’s true, but most are quite comfortable with the status quo. You provide a service to them as well when you slay those that would throw our world into chaos.
“For that reason, as well as their difficulties in cooperating with one another for any length of time, they don’t interfere with you.” Giles caught her eye. “However, if you continue to pursue your duties with such--enthusiasm, that could change.”
She must have looked mutinous, because he came and lowered himself into a chair next to her.
“Buffy, don’t mistake me, you’ve become an incredible warrior in a very short period of time. But you are The One, and not The Many, for a reason. Slayers were never meant to wage a war in that sense.”
Buffy pushed open the door to the library and stepped out into the hall. Direct threat. Barbarous. Intensely self-interested. Giles was right; Buffy had seen it over and over again. But Giles hadn’t seen everything. The memory of Spike shielding her body with his own was still vivid. He’d been so close that she’d felt the shock of the impact through his entire body. She’d never seen one vampire protect another that way, much less a human.
* Notes *
Spike and Buffy encounter some sort of bad ritual. Buffy recalls Giles’ caution and she planned to follow it, but she sees there is a human sacrifice. Part of her job is protecting the innocent. She’s letting her Slayer side go, it's exhilarating. In the process she almost kills the intended sacrifice. A little girl. Buffy looks at her, still stunned by what almost happened. What bugs her the most is that a big part of her doesn’t care at all. It’s just a little more blood, and her blade is endlessly thirsty.
Spike lopes up in game face, snapping her out of her thoughts. He is still high from the violence. She sees him look at the girl, sees the hungry expression. Spike shakes off the game face but the implacable lust is still there. She's never seen anyone look at a child that way, and never wants to again. She knows that if it weren't for her presence he would kill the girl without a thought. He would enjoy it. Buffy snatches up the girl and backs away. The movement surprises Spike out of his bloodlust. He looks at her, and his face changes, he smiles, inviting her to share his joy in the fight, in being alive. She can't look at him. Makes an excuse and goes.
The girl is too traumatized to speak, but Buffy walks into police dept. Parents recognize her immediately. See their hysterical relief, their love for their child, maybe thinks of her mom's love for her. The parents love for each other.
Spike pulls up next to her in his car as she walks home. He thinks she has post-fight let-down, he knows just the trick.
As soon as Spike stopped the car Buffy opened the door and got out. She looked around. They were atop one of the foothills east of town. To the north was Sunnydale in all its glory, to the south the pale line of the road bisected the scrub until it vanished into the gloamy unknown.
It was a popular make-out spot. Which—would be why Spike knew about it, of course. Buffy wrapped her arms more tightly around herself. He liked a little sex with his blood.
Buffy turned; Spike had his forearms braced on the roof of the car and was watching her over it with a fond expression. Buffy didn’t have a clue what to say.
She opened her mouth. What came out surprised her as much as it did Spike, “Was it you who killed that teacher on Parent-Teacher Night?”
Spike looked at her like she had thrown a handful of pretzels at him and done the hula. “You want to talk about that now?”
“When do you think would be a good time, Spike?”
He raised his eyebrows and spread a hand, like the answer was obvious. “Never?”
“Was it you that night?” She circled the car toward him.
Spike made an incredulous noise. “What does it matter? People die all the time. Hell, woman, I almost killed you that night.” He seemed genuinely confused.
Buffy grabbed him by the collar and slammed him against the side of the car. She brought her stake down over his heart hard enough to bruise.
“Was. It. You.”
For a moment Spike shook his head, his mouth worked, then something in her face made him go still, his jaw slack.
A shift in his expression was her only warning. It should have been enough. As it was, she ended up on the ground several feet away, choking and gasping from the boot to her diaphragm.
Struggling for breath, Buffy watched from the ground as Spike ambled toward her in game face.
“Yeah, I killed him,” Spike said, his voice deadly soft.
Buffy watched him hold out his hands, skull width apart. He flexed his fingers savoringly. And then he whipped them up and apart, miming the snapping of a neck.
Buffy felt herself grow cold; for a moment she thought she was going to be sick.
Spike let his hands fall to his sides. “I killed him because I wanted to. Because I could. I killed him because he was born to die.”
Buffy wrapped her arms around herself. Her body was bruised, but was it was nothing to the pain in her heart. “His son went to that school, did you know that? Or he did until it became his dad’s murder scene.” Buffy’s head fell forward, her hair covering her face. Grief tightened her throat, pulled at the corners of her mouth; her words came out high and quavering, “I saw him at the service and he—Oh God, I can’t imagine if I lost my mom.”
“Cheer up, Pumpkin. She’s almost certain to outlive you.”
Buffy’s head whipped up on a surge of anger and hatred, she could feel the tears cold on her cheeks.
She staggered to her feet, and looked him up and down. Her lip curled. “Now I’m finally talking to the real you.”
The demon faded away to reveal a human face tight with confusion and anger. “The real me?,” the words were a growl of frustration. “What in the bloody hell is this all about? You’ve always talked to the real me. There is no—” he made a frustrated gesture with his arms, “—other me, you loony bint.”
Buffy was the first to look away.
“I-I know,” she said finally. She sniffled. It was a balm in some ways to admit this, but in others it just cut more deeply, and it already hurt more than she thought possible. “But, I can’t be with you, anymore.”
“Buffy,” his exasperation was plain. “I love you,” he said. “In spite of your—nasty righteous streak and the fact that you’re a bloody tremendous bitch.”
He shrugged. “OK, it turns me on when you’re a bloody tremendous bitch.”
She was startled into a hiccup of laughter.
Spike stepped closer. “And you love me,” he said, his voice coaxing.
Buffy looked down at her hands. Maybe there was something deeply wrong with her, but even now it was true.
She lifted her head and looked at his face, she saw the confusion and the… love.
For a long moment she let herself see him, his passion for her and his fierce loyalty, his physical beauty, and even his smart mouth. She saw the life that ran through him like lightening, stolen but never wasted; his effortless acceptance of the darkness in her; the warrior’s confidence that let him revere her strength rather than resent it. There were things about Spike--real things--that she could love. Wasn’t it just too bad; he was also everything that she would give her life to fight--even in herself.
She lifted her hand to his face and he fit his cheek to her palm. He smiled a little at her touch, though his eyes were still watchful. He was so beautiful, her monster. Maybe she would never find a better match than this, not in whatever time she had left.
But Spike wasn’t the only one who liked a hard fight better than a sure one. She let her hand fall away. “I do love you,” she said, “but I won’t become you.”
Spike frowned a little, sensing the danger in her quiet words. “You’re already like me,” he said, the words a little too rushed for confidence. “You always have been.”
Buffy took a deep breath. “You're right. I kill things. I do… get off on it sometimes. But that’s not who I am, not why I slay. I won't let it be. I can’t be with you anymore.”
Spike’s brows snapped together. “Even if it means you'll die sooner?”
“Even if.” She looked at him and felt… pity. “Some things are worse than death.”
Spike seemed to take that personally, and she couldn’t really blame him.
The crypt had one of the best views in Sunnydale. A tarnished silver expanse of perfectly groomed lawn sloped downward from it, finally becoming pricked and pocked by the graves of the less affluent. Over the dark tops of the artfully placed trees was the orange glow of suburbs and the sparkle and flash of the city center.
Too bad the dead couldn’t possibly enjoy it. Most of them anyway. Spike flicked his fag over the side and gave old Horace P. Sweet a sympathetic slap on the roof his tomb. He kicked his boots against the side as he watched the Slayer stride onto the scene, stage left, her shiny hair all a-bounce.
The group of vamps waiting around the fresh grave, stage right, noticed her too, for all the good it did them. He leaned forward; this was better than anything on T.V. It went fast after that, his girl was good.
Too good to be his girl, apparently.
He grimaced and took a pull from his flask, still keeping one eye on the action—he didn’t like the way that one vamp was hanging back—so he was watching when the fight turned to shit just as fast it had started.
Buffy dropped the stake and fell back, clamping her hand down hard on the wound to her upper arm. The pain lit up her skull, leaving little spots on her vision. Her left arm hanging useless, her right occupied, Buffy watched the vamp edge nearer.
Look ma, no hands! Buffy felt her throat convulse with hysterical laughter. She swallowed it down and tried to tighten her grip on her arm, but her fingers slipped in the blood. She’d noticed that this vamp hadn’t exactly been leaping into the fray, she’d thought maybe he didn’t have much taste for fighting the Slayer, even surrounded by six of his buddies. She’d expected him to run when she staked the last of his friends, instead he’d stepped in and cut her deeply.
The vamp made a gesture with the end of his knife. “Better keep pressure on that. Otherwise you’ll bleed out in a few seconds,” he gave her a fangy smile, his teeth almost as yellow as his eyes, “and that would be such a waste. My new friend will be hungry when she wakes up.”
“I hope your new friend is smarter than your old ones.” Buffy shook her head a little; her voice sounded weird and echoey. Her pulse throbbed against her grip, pounded in her skull.
The vamp sneered. “They were idiots. They fought you like you were a demon, but you’re just a girl.” He looked her up and down, and made a suggestive motion with the knife. “I know just where to cut girls.”
Buffy swallowed hard, her breath coming faster.
Instead of attacking, he stood straighter and his grin suddenly took on an obscenely boyish cast. “A little something I picked up at Harvard Med actually.” He gave an embarrassed little shrug. “Summa cum laude, 1979.”
There was an enraged shout off to her left. Medical Genius whipped his head around to look, but Buffy was staring with a dreamy fascination at the curve of bone behind his ear that marked the base of his skull. She leaped into the air; she was as light as a feather.
The tip of her boot connected, punting his head neatly off his neck. As she slumped onto her butt next to his dust she sniffed, “Karate Kid, Nineteen Eighty--something.”
She should do something about her arm, even though it didn’t really hurt anymore. She was just too fascinated by the big black boots coming toward her across the moonlit grass. They were soundless, wasn’t that weird. The boots came to a stop next to her, and she tipped her head back, not really surprised to find them attached to Spike. He was in vamp face, and he looked pissed. Buffy staggered to her feet, still clutching her arm.
“You want a piece of me?” she said. “I can—” And with that, she swayed forward and did a face plant on his chest.
Cursing, Spike lowered the Slayer down to the grass. Her right hand fell away, revealing a gaping cut across her left bicep that was still bleeding strongly. The blood loss terrified and enraged him at once. Snarling, he sat back and yanked his belt free of his jeans. Her blood was his, she was his, whether she liked to admit it or not. He yanked the strap tight just below the curve of her shoulder, pushing the point of the buckle through the leather to hold it fast.
He checked for other wounds, but didn’t expect to find any. He did notice that she was cold though; blood loss, shock, they did that to people. Shrugging out of his coat, he bundled her up in it before picking her up. Now what?
He wasn’t exactly set up to give aid and comfort. The emergency ward would serve her well enough, but he hadn’t the patience for the fuss and flutter that would ensue. He’d end up cracking a lot of heads, and this was no time for fun. He also knew Buffy well enough to know that she was prickly about the whole slaying bit and who was in the know. Her friends were useless.
That left ol’ Rupert. He hitched her up a little higher on his chest and started walking.
It was past time she took him home to meet her Watcher anyway.
Giles tossed back the last of his drink. It had been a long, long day, and that was before some spotty chit had asked him where the best place would be to plug in her hairdryer. Sometimes, he amused himself with trying to decide which circle of hell best represented the fate of the high school librarian. But tonight he was engaged in his true occupation: worrying about his Slayer.
She was keeping something from him.
It had all started with that damn prophecy. She’d not only gone completely out on her own with something of that magnitude, she’d dragged her little friend along with her. His fingers tightened on the glass. It was a serious breach of the Slayer-Watcher relationship, and he had yet to see her demonstrate any true remorse—there was a surprise—further she’d refused to tell him anything more about the proceedings than that it was done and that she was alright.
There was a fine tale for his chronicles. It would be of great use to future Watchers he was certain. She didn’t seem to realize that this battle was more important than individual lives, certainly more important than her girlish reticence.
Giles set his glass on the counter a little too hard. If what she’d told him were true, perhaps it wouldn’t rankle quite so much. But something wasn’t “alright” with her, anyone could see it. With a sigh, he reached for the switch on the nearest lamp, rubbing his hand over his hair. That’s when someone—something?—banged on his door. It sounded more like a couple of kicks, actually.
He doubted that it was Buffy, ready to bare her soul and seek his counsel.
Leaving the lights on, he crossed to the chest against the far wall and took out a crossbow. The bow was already cocked, he had only place the quarrel. He stood well to one side of the door. “Who’s there?”
There was a muffled curse, and another bang. “Sometime before dawn would be nice.” The speaker was British, and had a strong local accent. The locale in question, however, seemed to change with every other word.
Stepping forward quickly, he yanked opened the door, crossbow at ready.
Level, blue eyes stared back at him. The creature’s bloodless skin and distinctive hair reflected the golden light of the lamps. If the quarrel aimed at his chest bothered Spike, he didn’t show it, perhaps because the thing was carrying some sort of bundle over his heart. That’s when Giles noticed it, the bright tuft of golden hair sticking out of the black leather, and then the small, familiar boots dangling over one arm.
It was as if Spike had driven a sword through his chest, stopping his heart, his breath. He’d known this day would come, just as he’d known nothing could really prepare him for it. He gaped, uncaring in that moment if he looked foolish or even if the creature killed him as well.
He looked at the vampire, wanting denial, confirmation, something. For a moment the creature watched him choke and struggle with obvious enjoyment. Then it seemed to tire of the sport and said, “Your Slayer’s fine, Rupert, stronger by the minute. But it’s no fun killing her in this state, so I’ve brought her back to you for some patching up.”
Spike looked impatient. “What’d I just say? Get a move on, Watcher, I think she needs help if she’s going to heal up straight, the sooner the better.”
Giles looked the motionless bundle, and then at the vampire. He wanted to believe Buffy was alive, did believe it. However, it was impossible that the vampire had brought her here just to hand her over. Vampires, Spike’s line in particular, were well known for using their victims to get at their family.
Giles abruptly understood, in a way he hadn’t before, just how very effective the tactic could be. Even knowing what he did, he knew he was going to reach across the threshold for her. He could see that the vampire knew it too. Its nasty little smile got just a fraction wider. It was enough to make Giles’ desperation blossom into sudden, welcome rage.
Before he could act, the bundle stirred. A small arm emerged, reaching up to curl around Spike’s neck; the hand wore a rusty glove of dried blood. The covering fell away to reveal a head of rumpled blonde hair. What he could see of her looked like Buffy, but the way the girl was butting her head into a more comfortable position against Spike’s neck and shoulder made no sense at all.
Then she spoke. The voice was small and tired, but undeniably Buffy’s.
“Spike? Take me home O.K.? I really need to get home.”
That’s when his evening truly took a turn for the bizarre. For a moment, Spike reminded him of nothing so much as the boy he’d seen “pantsed” in front of a cheerleader earlier today. The expression swiftly condensed into a scowl; he dipped his head and murmured something over Buffy’s ear.
Giles got a glimpse of a pale cheek and one over-bright eye, before Buffy buried her face in Spike’s shirt and burst into hysterical sobs. The sight of her small, bloody fist clenched in the vampire’s shirt spurred Giles out of his shocked stupor. Buffy was alive, she needed help.
“Give her to me.”
He set the crossbow down and stepped across the threshold, arms outstretched; perhaps if he were authoritative enough, the vampire would somehow forget to kill them both.
As he tried to lift the shaking girl away, all the time excruciatingly aware of the vampire at his throat, he said more gently, “I know a doctor, Buffy. Everything will be—”
At the sound of his voice Buffy seemed to get more hysterical if possible; what was worse she seemed to have a death grip on her captor. “NO! No doctors! Spike!--”
After a brief, awkward tug-a-war, punctuated with muffled shrieks and muttered curses, the vampire stepped back, taking Buffy with him.
He hitched her up higher on his chest, “Look, the vamp that did this said he was a doc, alright?” He gestured toward the street with his head, “Why don’t you just show me to your car.”
“Spike, I don’t want—”
“Hush, Sweetness,” the vampire said, his voice soft, almost weary, as if he’d said it times without number. His unblinking gaze was anything but soft, however. “I’m here, no one’s gonna hurt you.”
anywayz later at some point she finds herself fighting a demon. She wounds it, but a few strokes later it returns the favor, a long cut across her forearm. The cut is shallow, but the demon’s sword is sharp and blood wells from the wound, dripping to the grass. The demon hisses in triumph, but instead of pressing forward it jumps back. Her blood on its sword glows and sinks into the metal as though into sand. A moment later the demon glows too, its image blurs and begins to shrink. Buffy watched as the demon shook its blond head, a look of disgust on the round-cheeked face.
“OK now that is just…” The demon looked just like her: shoes, cute earrings, everything.
“I totally wore this outfit before you did. So, you—“ She lunged forward with her sword. “—are just going to have to go home at lunch and change.”
“Ahh!” Buffy jumped aside at the last instant to avoid skewering—and being skewered.
Instead of blocking, or parrying or falling back the demon had mirrored her move exactly. Buffy sized up the Buffy!demon for a moment and it sized up her with a pouty frown that she assumed she must be wearing as well. The frown deepened. She waved her sword a little, the demon waved back. Buffy couldn’t help smiling then, but she resisted the urge to do a little two-step. Giles would be so proud.
“I am so not falling on my sword for you,” she said. After a moment she lunged toward a nearby crypt running as hard as she could straight at it. The demon matched her stride for stride. Catching a hand on the corner, she used her momentum to back flip. As her feet hit the ground, her sword arm was already extending. The edge sliced through the demon’s neck all the way to the stone, neatly beheading it before it could recover from the Wile E. Coyote it had done against the marble face.
Buffy grimaced at her headless corpse, rubbing at her throat and hoping the demon would melt into goo or at least stop looking like her. She waited, and waited some more. It didn’t seem to be in the mood to do her any favors.
Her shoulders sagged. “I have got to bury this one.” She sighed, turning around with a distinctly martyred air and heading back to the house for a shovel.
Spike finds and thinks it is her, he falls to his knees. The scent of her blood is everywhere. She comes back to the scene and he turns his head towards her. The grief on his face makes her drop the shovel.
She watched transfixed by the emotions playing across his face: accusation, pain, realization, hope… He levered up and stalked forward, grabbing her by the arms. His fingers are holding her painfully hard but she didn’t protest. There’s no mistaking the tears now, he’s so close. She didn’t think vamps cried, didn’t think they felt anything but lust of one kind or another. This one was not just crying, he was crying over a human, a Slayer.
He seemed to remember himself and looked away, pulled back. But as soon as he released her arms she reached up to touch his wet cheek. At the touch of her fingers he made a sound of protest, and then she could taste the tears in his kiss. They were cool and salty, and real.
The Ending - from my notes
Spike finds what he thinks is her body. When he discovers she's not actually dead he is galvanized into action. Something has to change. He knows it’s not going to be Buffy, He sees that same fierce, unbreakable will that transfixed him the night of the spell, changing him forever. Spike goes off to find the Queen of the Dead. She got him into this, she can get him out again.
Spike gets his soul/ or maybe Persephone tells him it’s something to help him 'remember'.
Spike returns to Buffy. Convinces her that she needs help dealing with army o' vamps. Buffy can tell he’s changed. They agree that they are friends but Buffy finds that disconcerting. She wants more. One night Spike comes onto her, much to her delight, they have awesome emo sex.
Spike gets up and leaves thinking Buffy is asleep. Buffy follows Spike sensing something is wrong.
He goes outside. The demons immediately engage him. Beat him up a little. They stop just when Buffy is about to charge out. Spike demands to be taken to the leader. Says he has valuable inside info. A few of the demons stay behind, but they keep glancing in the direction that Spike has gone along with the honchos. Soon she sees them leave, their curiosity gotten the better of them.
Buffy slips out, follows them.
She follows them to a warehouse. Buffy slips along the wall toward the open bay. But she needn’t have bothered. All their attention is fixed on a gesturing figure in black with hair like a beacon. She hears “…can’t believe you are going after the Slayer.” His voice was full of incredulous amusement. He bent forward a bit, his hands open. “The Slayer is just another stick I was using to beat you all with.” Spike shook his head. “If I’d any idea she’d steal my thunder, I’d’ve snapped her neck instead of just kicking her to the curb.”
There was a pause as he looked around at the gathered throng. “I made the Slayer my bitch. I shook up the hellmouth like it’s never been shook. I turn my back for one minute, and who do you guys go after? That deadly bunch of suburbanites at 1630.” There was another pause. “‘Course maybe that’s all you can handle. When your only tool is this big—” Buffy couldn’t see his hand but she could guess how far apart his thumb and finger were, “--every problem starts to look like a pack of kids and a librarian, doesn’t it then?” The demons start roaring for his blood.
Buffy had heard all she needed to hear. She kicks open the doors and goes charging in. Spike spins around. She sees a flicker of surprise and despair on his face and then he sneers. She plants a fist right in the middle of it, lightning quick, Spike spins to the floor. Buffy looked around at the mass of scales and horns, glaring inhuman eyes, and bared fangs.
The emotion welled out of her, all the terrible rage and fear and love, in a voice that was hers and yet not. It filled the vast chamber, passed through the gathered army in a visible wave, her will made manifest.
“I AM the Taker of the Light.”
In its wake there was restless rustle of hundreds of bodies, a scattering of grunts, snarls and whimpers.
“Look on me,” she commanded. And they did.
She looked around the vast room, more certain than she had ever been in her life. “I will send each and every one of you to Hell.” Not a single demon could hold her gaze for more than a few seconds.
Buffy smiled then, a cataract of relief and triumph pouring into her, making her giddy. When she spoke again her voice was once more her own. “Go on, rush me,” she said. “Cuz I need a pedicure, I mean, WOW. And if you all come at me at once? I’ll have time for a second coat before bed.”
She looked around again. There were grumblings, but the demons looked more surly than ready to die. None of them took her up on her invitation.
“You have the right to be angry,” she said finally. “Things will be different from now on. But you can’t have me.” Buffy gave Spike a firm kick in the ribs, “And you can’t have him.”
Remembers Persephone rescues him in the end? Demands a pardon for him. Buffy starts to glow and be all goddessy.
Demon’s get all WHOA and leave.
Spike runs off after her big rescue, in a hurry to get away and not particularly chatty or grateful.
A few weeks later, Buffy is patrolling on her usual route and discovers Spike is waiting in his old spot, asks her if she minds if he tags along. She's where the demon action is after all. Buffy shrugs, "Sure, why not," but she can't quite hide her grin.