This chapter contains a graphic rape scene that was not present in the original story.
Monday. 5:37 AM
She hung like death, but she was not dead. Not yet.
Strange. She felt certainty in the air. Knowledge that outlasted no other. Today was the day. The day everything changed. The day she died. The day she lived. Whatever was going to happen to her would happen today.
Buffy would have questioned her understanding if she had not trusted it so implicitly. It was there and she knew it was real. She knew everything that had happened thus far was real, and she had no reason to doubt what she already knew.
Spike was coming for her today.
A small smile stretched her lips. Poignant and grieved, but there. Spike was coming for her today.
So strange. Not too much time had passed. Not really. If she tried really hard, she could see herself within her mind’s eye taking notes in her philosophy class. Exchanging pleasantries with Professor Spisak. Though she knew not how late or early it was, she imagined herself getting up for her ten o’clock after wrestling with the temptation to ditch and sleep some more. Willow would be pissed if she started slacking. After all, Buffy’s newfound enthusiasm for education had lent a hand in bringing them closer than ever before. They had argued over the French Revolution and debated how the weight of stress affected her occipital lobe.
That night she would patrol. And Spike would be there.
When had things changed so drastically? She remembered a time not too long ago when his threats to kill her were as numerous as hers to dust him. They had fought. They had strained. They had bled. They had attempted to kill each other ad nauseum. They had never been friends. Reluctant allies, perhaps, but never friends.
And now…now they were so much more than friends.
The dreams she’d had—those right before this and during—she’d come to recognize as prophetic. And Spike had been in all of them in some way. Subtly at first, but with growing emphasis. God bless slayer dreams. They had done what they could to warn her. It was on her for not listening.
She hadn’t known they were slayer dreams before. But after… After, when Spike’s face became more a staple, inspiring comfort and relief rather than fear and horror, and she’d been too worn down to rely on her tried and true defense mechanisms, Buffy had understood.
If she was to survive this, she would do so because of him.
And when the day had arrived that his visits were no longer hallucinations, she had never known such joy. He was really there. Really there to help her. But he never said why.
But then, the dreams had helped her there, too. She knew why. She felt it. She felt it with every fiber of her being.
By some cosmically unfunny twist of fate, he had fallen in love with her. She understood this academically, much the same way she understood that Spike was her way to freedom. The voice that wanted to argue against it or recoil from it had gone hoarse almost immediately. When you were stripped to nothing, you reached for whatever was in your path. Spike had been that.
Her feelings for him were muddled and uncertain, but she knew she had given up hating him. Even before this ordeal. Before anything. He had been by her side in the graveyard, giving her the reassurance that she’d so desperately needed but refused all the same. He had been there from the beginning—from the moment her mother learned the truth about her. It had been Spike at her side. Spike all along.
He was the one who was here. The one who had come for her. The one who was risking everything for her. And he loved her. He had never said it, but he didn’t have to.
After this, what would happen? Did he think that she would revert to form and start beating him up again? Would she? God, she hoped not. As much as being Angelus’s plaything had crippled her, it had given her something else. A something she couldn’t name but knew was important all the same.
That understanding being, Spike was not like other vampires. He just wasn’t. And holding him to the standards she held for other vampires wasn’t fair to him. He made mistakes—he blundered things rather spectacularly—but she could see now that at least he tried. Or he had been trying. A little foolishly, sure, but the effort had been there. Whether it was pointing out to her that no, he wasn’t taking blood from disaster victims or sitting next to her on the back porch, his hand on her back. Helping her kill demons. Not because they were things he could hit, but because they were after her.
These were all things Angelus would never have done if he’d been chipped. He wouldn't have tried. Spike was trying, at least, and he was doing so without a compass.
Except Buffy thought she might be his compass.
That thought was heady and terrifying, but she didn’t want it to go away. She didn’t want to lose this part of herself when tomorrow came. When this horrible nightmare faded into the past.
Because if she couldn’t convince herself that she felt differently…
Buffy didn’t know if love was what she felt. She wasn’t sure if she would be strong enough to love again after this. Her first dip into love had nearly killed her—hell, it might still. Learning to trust someone as she had eventually trusted Angel only to lose him—and not in the way other girls lost their boyfriends—wasn’t something she could just walk off. She’d thought so at the time. Hell, she’d convinced herself that she was over it. The months he’d spent terrorizing Sunnydale were, in her mind, a fog. Not because she’d forgotten what he’d done, rather because she couldn’t. More than anything, she remembered the way she’d felt—that awful, gnawing self-hatred and despair and grief and anger that had all but consumed her.
And somehow she’d rebounded. She’d managed to do the impossible—kill the man she loved. And he’d come back just to break her heart all over again, but that time not as Angelus. That had hurt worse.
For her own good, he’d said.
The reason she hadn’t truly loved Riley was because of that. Hadn’t truly allowed herself to love Riley. Because truly loving someone gave them the power to destroy you. She’d handed that power to Angel twice, and he’d all but crushed her. The thought of doing it again had terrified her, but she’d pretended like it hadn’t. Or she’d hoped that if she didn’t love someone too much, maybe they wouldn’t leave. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt.
But it had…just not for the right reasons. It had hurt because she’d known he was right. Because Riley had seen what she couldn’t. Skilled as Buffy had been at fooling herself, she hadn’t been able to fool him.
The thought that she could love someone else—give herself to someone else—the way she’d given herself to Angel scared the shit out of her.
That was why Riley had left.
But Spike…Spike was different. And she felt differently about him. Maybe because he was entirely unlike Angel, whereas Riley might as well have been her human substitute. Similar in appearance and build, and had Angel not had the whole vampire thing going for him, she imagined his non-tortured self could have been a lot like Riley.
That realization made her feel sick with herself.
But Spike wasn’t Angel. Not in looks, build, temperament, or anything else. For one, Spike couldn’t lose his soul. Spike had already proven he didn’t want to see her hurt. Spike had made efforts to change. Spike had come to rescue her when the easy thing, the thing a soulless creature would do, was join in the fun with his twisted family.
Sure, Spike could destroy her in new, horrific ways that Angel hadn’t explored, but Buffy trusted that he wouldn’t. Not intentionally.
If he did, it would be because his compass had failed him.
And that was the most terrifying thing of all.
Furthermore, she knew him. She knew him in ways she had never known Angel. For his faults, for his goodness, for his anger and insufferable impatience to his kindness and his resilience. He had cried for her when she could not cry for herself.
She had not known Angel when her heart decided that it loved him. She knew Spike.
Buffy exhaled a deep breath. It didn’t hurt as it had just a few short hours ago. It didn’t hurt because she had tasted his blood. The healing agent he’d claimed he possessed was working wonders. While the larger wounds ached still, the minor ones were practically nonexistent. She felt stronger than she had in days.
Because of Spike.
God, she wanted what she was feeling to be love. She also wanted—needed—him to love her. The thought of anything else right now was…
Buffy’s eyes went wide. It hit her with a powerful onslaught. Bold. Unexpected. And she knew. There. There it was.
He was right. Life was irony’s bitch.
“You look happy.” Angelus’s voice pelted her like ice. Not water, just ice. The cold hard sting of reality.
Buffy forced her eyes to open. He was leaning against the doorway, his arms crossed, his gaze dark. She hated that. Hated how he knew just how scary he was. How he could intimidate so effortlessly.
There was something different today.
“Now, from where I’m standing,” he continued, pushing himself up with an arched brow, “I wouldn’t think there’s much to be happy about. I mean, look at you. Naked. Beaten. Bruised. Bleeding. Stinking of me.” He paused when he neared, then slowly drew a line up the seam of her sex. “Inside and out. How ‘bout it, Buff? That make you happy? Or have I gone too easy on you?”
He shoved two fingers inside her dry vagina and grinned when she recoiled.
But Buffy refused to close her eyes. Instead, she steeled herself and looked at him straight on. “Well,” she said, “you know what they say. ‘Always look on the bright side of life.’”
“I’m surprised you can look at anything at all. But that’s on me. I let you keep your eyes.” He withdrew his fingers from her and sucked them into his mouth with a wink. Then he turned his back to her and began examining the plethora of goodies that adorned the rack on the wall. “Which of these do you think is best for eye removal?”
“I’m not an optometrist,” Buffy replied, her legs shaking.
“You got some spunk in you today, Buff. I guess I did leave some inside you yesterday, didn’t I?” He shot her a coy look over his shoulder. “Or did Spike eat that out of you, too?”
Buffy’s heart all but cracked her ribcage. Oh god. Oh god, he knew.
Her gaze met his when he turned to face her again and she saw the truth there. The stared at each other for a long beat before his eyes drifted to her mouth. Spike’s blood had dried and crusted around her lips, and while she had not noticed it, he most certainly had.
“He thinks he’s a fucking hero, doesn’t he?”
Buffy debated playing dumb but there was no point. The gig was up. “He is a hero,” she spat. “He’s more than you ever were.”
Angelus’s eyes darkened. It was a familiar sight, she knew. One shared among hundreds of thousands of victims whose lives he’d snuffed out over the years. Very deliberately, he advanced. “And yet, princess,” he said very, very softly, plunging his fingers into her again without warning and twisting. “He’s not here.”
Buffy bit her lip to keep from screaming as her head whiplashed violently, having nothing to fall back upon. Her body cried out but she would not.
“He’s not here,” Angelus repeated, freeing his erection with his other hand. “But I am.”
“Go to hell,” she spat.
“Been there, done that. Can I get you to wiggle this time? Last go, I’d sure like a wiggle.” He shoved himself inside her, and this time she did scream because something else pierced her side. Something sharp and awful that sent fire sprawling up her skin. And he was pounding into her with hard, brutal thrusts, his fangs digging into her throat, the blade in his hand twisting deeper.
He pulled back to favor her with a bloody grin. “I think I will miss you a little,” he said, then tore his fangs at her lips. “You do have the tightest pussy.”
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut, the fight fading, the air vacant of anything but Angelus’s grunts and the hard smack of flesh against flesh. The strength that Spike’s blood had given her drained, or rather evaporated like smoke. All that was left was Angelus.
“Coward,” she hissed through tears. “You’re a coward. You know what they’ll do to you if you actually go through with it. You know.”
Angelus paused, his eyes glinting. “Coward? Moi?” He backhanded her, then tossed the knife to the ground. “I don’t play by the rules, Buff.” He began moving again. “And Wolfram and Hart…can’t touch me. You think they scare me? Lindsey? Spike? Hardly, my dear. But I do so love leading them on.”
“And…yet…” she growled through her teeth. “You…you’re the…the one who’s…been…led…in circles.”
Angelus chuckled, lowered his mouth to her breast and sank his fangs into her. Buffy rolled her head back. Pain had a way of becoming an old friend quite fast around Angelus, which helped dull the shock. Even when he thrust his head back, taking a chunk of flesh with him.
He spat that chunk out, licked his lips, and turned those awful yellow eyes back to her. “What did he do?” he asked, his face shifting back to human as he continued to pump inside her.
Buffy didn’t answer.
“Don’t play games with me, sweetheart. You’re hardly in the”—he jabbed her hard with his dick—“position to try and gain the advantage. Spike made you stronger. How? Did he fuck you, Buff? Can’t imagine why not. After all, you’re hanging there, waiting and helpless. And he’s no different from the rest of us.”
She looked at him, eyes shining with tears. “He’s—”
“Ah. Right.” Angelus’s gaze fell to her mouth. “Of course. His blood. That old chestnut. Bold move. Bold and supremely stupid.”
Buffy hardened, her inside blistering. Blood fountained out and down her body—a body that was dying. She didn’t have long now. The corners of the room were beginning to blacken. “It was…” she said slowly, “fucking…delicious.”
This time when he smacked her, she knew it was coming. The blow sent shock waves up her chin and splintered through her bones. For a moment she thought this was it—the last she’d see—and she was glad. Death might mean the end but it also meant the end. Angelus couldn’t stab her if she was dead. Couldn’t hurt her. Couldn’t rape her. Couldn’t reach her. In death came relief.
Except she didn’t want to die. She didn’t want to leave Dawn or her mom. She didn’t want to be without her friends. She didn’t want the last lecture Giles had given her to be the actual last. She didn’t want Spike’s last memory of her to be this.
The world threatened to blink away but it came back into focus.
Angelus was no longer inside her. He was standing a foot or so away, glaring at her with his human eyes.
“You think he’s coming to save you?” he spat. “You think I’d allow that?”
“I think…” she said slowly, “that…you…are not nearly…as strong…as you’d like…me to believe.”
Angelus grabbed his cock and gave it a pump. “Do you need another demonstration, sweetheart?”
“If you were so strong…you’d give me a sporting…chance.”
Angelus crossed his arms. “I know my limits, Buff. I’m just having fun finding yours.”
He stepped forward, and that was it. She understood. No more games. No more sparring. Just this. He had come here with purpose. He had come here to kill her. He had come here to hurt Spike for his presumption and to silence her for good.
A long smile drew across his lips when he saw she understood, and then the demon face was back. Angel’s fangs had failed to faze her during their courtship and they failed again now. If he meant to kill her, she would not cower. She would not beg. Every minute since waking up in this nightmare, she had known it could end like this.
Now it would.
And still, Buffy internally called out for Spike. He wouldn’t know. Ever. He would never know, much less believe, that she loved him. That she had found solace during her last minutes—that he had managed to give her something beautiful in the middle of all this pain. Her sister, her mothers, her friends…they knew how much she loved them. All of them. But Spike didn’t.
Her deepest regret.
“Is that what you want, then?” Angelus asked. “Your freedom? That I give you.” His fangs neared, and she felt them skim the bite mark Angel had left behind two years ago.
The last bit of that love—the part that had remained—gave a final flicker and died.
She had forgiven. She had rescued him. She had placed him above herself.
And this was her reward.
Fool me once…
“But as all things…” Suddenly her arms were free, falling with blessed, tender relief to her sides as all the aches and pains that had made her body their home soared to life once more. Her basic instincts screamed at her to fight him. To hit him. Strike him. Kick him across the room.
She didn’t. She couldn’t. Her muscles were sore from inaction. Buffy blinked dazedly as Angelus buried his head in the crook of her neck—and it hit her. Unquestioning. Undoubting.
Knowing was one thing. Understanding was something entirely different.
She was going to die.
“Freedom has a price. You want yours, Buffy, and you can have it. I just hope you’re happy with the way things worked out. I know I am.”
And that was it. A pain like no other touched her skin, embedding through layers of tenderized flesh that had once been loved by the same face. Dying screams climbed into her throat, clawing their way to freedom. It touched every sense. Every nerve. That rawness. That heat. That blessed vat of nothing.
A blaze of color faded into the void. Feeling drained from her. Completion. She heard someone enter, but didn’t know who. Distantly, a voice told Angelus that an untamed vampire was on the grounds and that it was time to leave.
Too late. Too late. He was too late to stop this. And she lacked the strength to hold on.
Buffy tumbled down an endless spiral far before she actually fell. And by the time she met the cold of the floor, she did not feel it. Could not. And she remained as that. An object in the room.