Many thanks to my dear Beta Megan_peta who has been so enthusiastic about this fic that I have decided to add it to my list of WIPs – thank you sweetie for sorting through the typos and keeping me inspired.
Be warned there is a death of a main character-- and not just the one you might think! Also some squicky touching that may upset!
Italics – thoughts
He ran as fast as he could.
Dodging through the sewers with only one thought on his mind. She was dead; he was alone.
Buffy was gone.
Despair clutched at his heart and his throat ached from the continuous roars of anguish that unconsciously erupted from him as his feet pounded through the detritus.
She was gone.
He could still hear the excited voices of the demons chattering at the bar stuck on repeat. Over and over he heard them and their celebrations. ‘Ambulance…spotted outside the Slayer’s house… gurney with a black bag on it…closed…couldn’t see who was in it…heard the EMT say it was female…’
All around him they were toasting the death of the Slayer.
The cheers rang hollow in his ears as he’d gripped the bar to support himself. Spike had ignored the splinters that had cut into his fingers as he attempted to anchor himself in the maelstrom of emotions that were buffeting him--she was dead. He’d killed two of her kind with little concern for the knock on effects of his actions, they had fought and the Slayer had died. But this time it wasn’t just a Slayer who had fallen in the eternal battle between light and dark, it was his Buffy. Joyce’s daughter, the Bit’s big sis and the Scoobies friend.
He remembered exchanging a brief sorrowful glance with Willie. The little human barkeep had also frozen and paled at the news. The rat-faced bartender tentatively slid a shot glass of tequila over to the shaken vampire and they had silently toasted the Slayer, the girl who had been a pain in both their arses, but who had also earned their respect-- and in the vampire’s case, his heart.
She was dead.
His heavily booted feet drummed out the three words in his head over and over as he sprinted towards her. It was only recently that he’d realised that he felt something more for the chit than contempt, and now his heart was breaking. A new love that had been torn to shreds by the implacable hands of death before it had a chance to bloom. It had died aborning.
He was too late to save her.
Too late to stop her dying, yet still he ran. His focus was on getting to the morgue – he needed to get there. Splashing through God knew what, Spike ran on, faster than he’d ever pushed his body, desperate to get to the hospital.
Reaching the sewer entrance to the basement, the frantic vampire leapt up, fists clenched above his head and smashed his way through the grate. Spike grasped the edges and pulled himself through and rolled into the dank basement. Stumbling to his feet, Spike shook his hands, ignoring the splatters of his blood from the gashes on his knuckles. He sniffed the air and frowned briefly at the scent of decay. It was old but demonic in origin, however the odour still lingered, surviving the overpowering smell of hospital disinfectant.
He spotted the stairs and charged towards them, tripping over something on his way. Whatever it was it clattered against the cement floor. Spike paused and stared down at his feet in confusion. There was nothing there. He kicked out and heard something clunk against his boot. With a shrug he spun and ran for the stairs and the door, the mysterious noise forgotten in his single-minded obsession to get to his Slayer.
The invisible skeleton of the DerKindersoed lay forgotten on the floor as the door slammed shut behind the frantic vampire, running to the end of his broken heart.
“Hey fangless, what are you doing here?”
Spike brushed past Xander, intent on getting to her, to see her one more time before she was buried in Gaia’s depths. He hated the idea of his Golden girl entombed in a satin lined box and buried in the earth; she should be eternal and exalted by all.
A deep growl erupted from the mourning vampire. He ignored the pain of the chip firing as he slapped Xander’s clutching hand away from his shoulder. It didn’t even register that the blow had sent the brunette irritant to the linoleum floor with a yelp; Xander cradled his injured fist against his chest.
Spike sniffed the air again, trying to get a scent trail – anything that would lead him to her. He could smell the dried blood on the git he’d swatted away without a thought. He briefly wondered if the Slayer had been killed defending the Whelp, as per usual. That he’d gotten away with a small wound and his Buffy had lost her life. Spike’s anger was overwhelming him and his thoughts were running riot. He looked down at Xander’s huddled form with murder in his eyes.
“Hey! Spike, stop it.” Willow stared in fright at Spike’s partially vamped face. His eyes were a curious amalgam of gold and azure while his forehead was slightly distorted and his fangs were worrying his lower lip, thin trickles of blood anointing his pallid skin. He looked alien to her as she crouched next to Xander’s slumped form. It looked like he’d been frozen mid-change. But what weirded her out even more was the whimpers that erupted from the vampire’s throat. She helped Xander up, her eyes never leaving Spike’s tense form, which was swaying as he tried to find something. His feral behaviour and the sniffing of the air were really starting to freak her out.
Spike’s eyes darted around the waiting room and he inhaled deeply, futilely trying to find a trace of her perfume. He could taste her in the air, her and the Nibblet, and his shoulders slumped slightly, realising that the Bit would need tending to. He couldn’t walk into the sun – not yet. Not with the baby Slayer needing someone to look out for her now that her big sis was gone.
“Spike?” Tara’s soft voice registered faintly on his consciousness and his gold-flecked eyes flicked slightly in her direction. “Are you okay?” She was taken aback by the grief that suffused his aura; his rigid form was emanating utter despair and it was overwhelming to her. She steadied herself against the wall, her palm clammy with sweat, her other hand clutched at her roiling stomach. “I know…It’s awful…but we have to be strong. They’ll need us all,” she whispered.
“Where?” he growled, ignoring her compassionate expression and soft words. All he wanted to do was be with the Slayer and sod her friends.
“Get gone, Spikey. You’re not wanted here. See the sign? Friends and family only,” Xander sniped cruelly as he pointed. His jealously towards the blond vampire overshadowed everything and made him ignore the situation and place as he sneered at the grief-ridden vampire.
Willow gasped at his cruelty; it was unwarranted in this situation. Her thin hand whipped out and before she knew what she had done, Xander was holding his reddened cheek and staring at her accusingly. “Not now, Xander – not with what’s happened…” She flushed red and then looked imploringly at Tara, not wanting to see the recriminations in Xander’s angry eyes.
“That way – they’re all in there,” Anya interrupted, for once acutely aware about the undercurrents that were boiling up around her. She pointed to the corridor that ran behind her and the others.
She stared fascinated at the partially vamped face that was glowering down at her. Anya hadn’t seen anything like that in her entire mortal or demonic existence. The confused girl could sense his utter despair and wanted to soothe him, but had no idea how, now that she was a mortal.
If she had still been a demon then she’d have screwed him cross-eyed and then sent him on his way. For demons, sex was a cure-all for what ailed you. But mortals were so stuffy about that kind of emotional expression and nurturing, so she had no idea how to calm down the distraught master vampire. He wore his heart on his sleeve and let reign to his emotions. As most vampires did, letting the rage or lust overwhelm them. But of all the cadres of vampires that roamed this dimension and walked in other worlds, Anya knew that Aurelians were known for their emotionality--Spike more so than the others of his clan.
Reaching over she patted him on the arm. She pushed him gently in the right direction, with a rueful pout. It would’ve been interesting to see what he was packing in those tight jeans. From what she could tell it’d probably put Xander to shame. Shaking her head, Anya suppressed the inappropriate lusty Spike inspired thoughts and turned to help Xander.
Spike looked over his shoulder at Anya and nodded his thanks. With a burst of speed he disappeared through the exit, leaving the ex-demoness to cope with the angry exclamations that were thrown at her from her boyfriend and Willow. Tara took a few steps after Spike, wondering why he was so upset by Joyce’s death and worried about what he’d do in his grief. She was intrigued as to how the agitated vampire had heard the news of Joyce’s death and how he’d gotten to the hospital so quickly.
The fair-haired Wiccan’s forehead creased into a slight frown when she spotted a flicker of green light around the edges of Spike’s aura as he skidded around a corner and disappeared out of her sight.
Something big was about to happen, something that would change all their lives.
She could see it in his aura and it didn’t bode well.
She turned to the others with a panicked expression on her normally placid face. “Guys, something is really wrong.”
Spike rounded the corner and glanced over at the door marked ‘Women’ and dismissed it immediately. Instead, his focus turned to the double doors ahead marked ‘Authorised Personnel Only’. He pushed it open and started down the dimly lit corridor. His heart ached with each step he took, taking him closer to the corpse of his Slayer. He ran his shaking hands over his hair, trying to tame the curls that had sprouted during his dash to the hospital. He wanted to be as presentable as he could be for her.
Spike stumbled slightly at the sound of a faint scream, and then sped up, sprinting towards the morgue doors. Stopping, he looked in and stared in shock at the unexpected tableau. He froze for one fatal second, the surprise and utter elation that filled his unbeating heart at seeing the Slayer alive stalling him for those vital moments that she needed him for. Then he saw its fangs descending into her vunerable neck. Fear suffused his entire being. His hand slipped on the door handle as he scrabbled at it as he watched the events beginning to unfold through the glass.
Buffy ran up behind the newly risen vampire that had been left in the morgue by his sire. She grabbed him from behind, locking her forearm around his neck, grunting as she yanked the fledgling away from her sister’s exposed throat. She struggled briefly with him, grief and exhaustion sapping her strength. The vampire surged up and knocked her to the ground. Swatting her away with barely a thought, his focus was on the luscious teen. Her sweet blood called to him, making his mouth water in anticipation. Buffy’s head hit the floor with a sickening crack and her eyes blurred with pain. All she could hear was Dawn struggling against her attacker and then a flash of black.
“Get off me!” Dawn shrieked as the vampire grabbed her long hair and yanked her against his naked body. He ran one hand between the struggling teen’s full breasts-- pausing for an appreciative squeeze-- and then pulled her wriggling ass against his burgeoning erection. Groaning happily, he let her buttocks rub against his half-hard cock. He wrapped his other hand around her hair and with little finesse, pulled her head to once side, nearly snapping her neck in the process, and sank his fangs into her throat. He moaned blissfully as her powerful blood gushed down his throat. He shook his head and tore the wound violently open, allowing for more of his first victim’s blood to flood his dead system. He rocked his hips against hers as his hand slid down and cupped her mound. His fingers dug in cruelly as he drank deeply.
Dawn felt her body weakening with each pull on her neck. She gripped his forearm, trying to pull it away from her throat. Black spots danced in front of her eyes as she ran out of oxygen. She could feel her legs going numb as her blood was sucked out of her veins.
“Buff…y,” she gasped as her heart began to slow.
Dimly Dawn heard someone yelling ‘no’ and a crash behind her as the doors swung open. Dawn’s head began to feel too heavy for her neck; her fingers loosened and dropped weakly at her sides. She wanted to fight him—but she was too feeble. She wanted to get his disgusting hands off her body, but he was too strong for her.
Her eyes fluttered open and her blue tear-filled eyes focused on her mom. The sheet covering her had slipped as they had struggled and she could see her face. She looked like she was asleep; Dawn feebly raised one hand trying to reach her — to wake her up, knowing her mom could make everything better. Dawn’s legs gave up their battle and slipped out from under her and she hung loosely in her captor’s arms. Vaguely, Dawn felt one of her feet brush against her sister’s unconscious form. As her eyes fluttered shut, a small smile graced her lips; she’d see her mom real soon.
"No!" Spike kicked open the doors and leapt towards the vampire that had attacked his girls. He launched himself at the pervert that was dry humping and draining the little Bit and managed to yank him off the teen. With a growl he ripped its shoulder out of its socket. The newly risen fledge was no match for an incensed master vampire who's surrogate family were in danger. Being newly risen it was a feeling inherent to his existence.
Dawn stumbled forward and then fell onto her mother’s body. She lay there limply as the two vampires battled behind her. Spike doubled over as the vampire punched him in the stomach and he lost his grip on the bastard who had hurt his girls. He reached for the fledge and tried to rip his head off. Spike, intent on his battle, failed to notice Dawn’s faltering heartbeat or the Slayer. At least not until he tripped over her and landed awkwardly on his backside, watching dumbly as the vampire reset his dislocated shoulder.
Dawn had fallen facing her mommy’s face. The faltering teen managed to raise one of her arms, though it felt too heavy, and reached out to touch her cheek. It was cold and rigid, but Dawn felt comfortable touching the corpse. It was her mom and she loved her. It didn’t matter that her skin felt like cool marble. Drawing comfort from the contact, Dawn sighed and let her weak body slump.
Knowing that her mother wouldn’t let her fall.
Spike growled as he bent down and gently shoved the Slayer’s limp form safely under a gurney, clearing the floor for the fight. He spun on his heel and attacked the vampire with a fervour he had not felt in decades. His family was threatened and it was war. Spike’s fists were a blur as he punched the bastard over and over. Making sure that each blow counted. Spike bobbed on the balls of his feet and then spun around with a roundhouse kick. His heavy boot caught the vampire in the chest and sent him flying backwards. The enemy stumbled, bare feet slapping on the tiled floor, crimson stained lips snarling at his attacker.
“Nancy boy -- come on, fight me!” Spike snarled and lunged at the vamp, pounding him in the face over and over. “Wot the?” Spike growled as he was pushed off as easily as if the vampire were swatting a fly and went flying across the room. Shaking his head, the blond vampire pushed away from the wall and tried to stop himself from stumbling.
“What are you?” Spike grunted as his attacker hit him in the gut. It reminded him of the time he’d gotten wasted and challenged a herd of Chiarago demons to punch him in the stomach. He’d been showboating for Dru in Mexico, trying to garner her interest again. It had ended with him curled up in the foetal position on a filthy bar floor, coughing up blood and wondering how long his spleen would take to regenerate. All whilst Dru had buggered off with the largest of the Chiaragos.
“Vampire. What are you?” his opponent snarled, unaware that the blood from his first victim was infusing him with a power unheard of in the vampiric world.
“Same.” Spike cracked his neck and let his face finish shifting. He felt the familiar grind and crunch as his nose wrinkled and the flesh on his face tightened into familiar lines. His fangs extended and he roared a challenge at the fledge. The two vampires slammed into each other as they clashed, their bodies knocking into a table and sending medical implements showering to the floor. As they struggled, Spike reached for the vampire’s face, trying to dig his fingers into the other’s eyes. Failing to blind the vampire, Spike powered his knee into the vampire’s groin, making contact with a satisfied snarl.
They both spun and fell, Spike landing on top of the newly turned vampire. Reaching under his duster, he searched for the stake he’d shoved in the waistband of his jeans. Before his questing fingers could locate the weapon, he lurched sideways. As his opponent twisted under him, Spike retaliated and punched the vampire in the prominent lumpies as they rolled over and over, coming to a halt next to Buffy.
Buffy moaned as they jostled against her and her hazel eyes flickered open. Reaching up she managed to grasp one of the vampire’s arms and hold him still. Her slender fingers tightened and crushed his wrist bones as she stared in disbelief at Dawn’s slumped form.
“My sister – you bit her,” she exclaimed angrily.
“She was just so tasty and her body… What a peach, all lush and soft and just begging to be plucked and fu…”
Spike growled and grabbed a medical instrument that resembled a short saw. It lay glinting on the floor and he swung it at his opponent’s throat, determined to shut his filthy mouth up for once and for all.
Before Buffy could react or even move, she was covered in a shower of dust, Dawn’s attacker scattered to the wind. She lay there for a moment, staring at the ceiling with a small frown and then rolled to face her and Dawn’s saviour.
A pale hand reached down and she took it without hesitation. He’d saved her and Dawn when she hadn’t been strong enough. “Spike…thank you,” Buffy whispered as she swayed slightly. She felt his strong hands cup her shoulders and steady her. His hands slid down her body and came to rest on her slender waist, unconsciously Spike’s fingers flexed as his thumbs caressed her. Both of the warriors were unaware of their actions-- both still too numb in their anguish and fear.
Taking a deep fortifying breath, Buffy looked up at Spike with tear filled eyes. She felt unable to smile at him; her heart was aching and beaten to a pulp. Her mom was dead and now she had no one to look after her. She shivered slightly, for once letting the Slayer in her subside and allowing the fear of the scared child within her clamour to the fore. Her slim form shook with the terror that was running riot through her and Buffy swayed a little in Spike’s protective embrace. She unconsciously drew comfort and strength from her former mortal enemy.
"Sorry, pet. I'll let you and Nib pay your respects." Spike backed away, fully intent on leaving the two girls to their mourning in peace. His initial reaction to come to them was lost in a flurry of embarrassment and discomfort. Fists and fangs he could do, but comforting he had no idea how to begin.
Spike could feel the ache through his body from the run there and the pummelling the vamp had just given him. He had no idea what to do or say. He dealt in death. He didn’t know how to comfort the bereaved, as he was usually the one who was the cause of their grief.
He’d been about to start in a High Stakes Kitten poker game when he’d heard, instead he’d dumped the basket of Russian Blues he’d liberated from their breeder on his partner, a floppy skinned demon and shot out into the bar to confirm what his vampiric hearing had picked up through the door.
All through his frantic run all he could think of was that Buffy was dead.
But it was worse -- Joyce was dead, leaving his Slayer vunerable and emotionally wounded.
As a vampire he had dealt death out with no regard for race, sex, age or gender for his victims. Never considered that it was a brother or a mother that he was killing. They had been food or something to play with till they screamed.
But now they were friends and surrogate families, their fragile hearts counting down to their deaths. Slowly he was learning that mortals were to be cherished, cared for and loved. He ducked his head and glanced over at Buffy through his thick lashes. He ached to comfort her but didn’t know how his fumbled attempts would be accepted.
He turned and slowly headed for the doors, so intent on escaping the room that reeked of death that he failed to notice the absence of a heartbeat. He was delighted that the Slayer was still alive, but at the same time felt devastated that Joyce was gone.
“Dawn?” Buffy’s questioning voice was filled with horror. Spike froze in his tracks. A prickle of fear ran up his spine as the hairs on the back of his neck rose at the sound of his Slayer’s small voice. “Dawnie…wake up. Come on, I need you. Please wake up. You’re all I have left.”
Spike reluctantly turned towards the sight of his Slayer tugging her sister’s still form into her arms and sinking to the floor.
“Dawnie…wake up now…it’s time to go…” Buffy’s voice took on a childlike lilt as she rocked back and forth, clutching her sister’s dead body to her chest. She crooned childishly as she smoothed her younger sister’s brown hair off her pale face. “Where'd she go, Spike? I don’t understand. She was okay, you saved her.”
“No.” Spike slid across the floor and knelt down next to the two sisters. His hand shook as he gently pushed Dawn’s hair away from her neck and stared sightlessly at the two puncture wounds on her ashen throat. The fledgling had drained her dry, not a drop remained in her thin body.
“Christ, no.” Spike’s shoulder’s slumped as his eyes filled with tears.
“Wake her up now…I want to take Dawnie home.” Buffy thrust Dawn’s cooling body into Spike’s reluctant arms. He grasped the teen and pulled her away from Buffy’s fluttering hands.
“I can’t do that right now, sweetness. Let’s pop her next to your mum for now, yeah?” Spike stood slowly, carrying the precious burden of the youngest Summers’ body. “Up you get now, Slayer,” he coaxed gently.
“’Kay.” Buffy clamoured to her feet and watched as Spike carefully lay Dawn next to her mother’s body and then covered the two of them with the sheet. “Will they be safe now?” She turned her confused eyes up towards him trustingly as she tenderly stroked her mother and sister’s still faces.
“Yeah love, they will be. Come on, let’s go and find your Watcher and the others. They can help…” He wanted to get her to her friends before acceptance dawned in her heart.
He cautiously took the Slayer’s arm. Sensing her heartbeat accelerating, Spike knew that she was finally accepting that her entire family were gone. They made it as far as the corridor before she collapsed into his aching arms with a harrowing wail. “Not her ... not her ... she's gone, hasn’t she, Spike? Oh god, I failed mom. She told me Dawn was precious to the world and that I had to protect her…I failed mommy…I failed Dawnie. Oh god, I’ve lost them both,” Buffy wept.
“Oh Christ, pet…m’so sorry,” Spike purred anxiously as he held the shuddering form of his beloved Slayer against his unbeating heart and rocked her in his arms.
Buffy clutched at the leather he wore as armour against the world and wailed. Lines of pure misery etched down the sides of her open mouth, as her sharp fingernails cut into the collar of his duster.
Spike crooned at her and ran his fingers through her soft hair, trying to soothe her as best he could. All he could focus on was that his golden warrioress was broken; death had finally visited her home and torn everyone she held dear to her heart away with merciless hands. He sighed, wishing he could do more for her, but all he had was his bruised and battered heart, his fighting skills and a shoulder to cry on. He hoped it would be enough.
Buffy inhaled Spike’s comforting scents as she cried out her anguish. All she could smell and taste in the back of her mouth was him. His solid body and scent filled her frazzled mind and surprisingly calmed her slightly. She slid her arms up around his neck and hung on for dear life. Trying to anchor herself as the grim reality of her solitude buffeted her. Yes, she had the Scoobies and Giles, but they were friends.
She was alone.
No family to speak of, a father who seemed to think familial obligations were birthday cards a month late and a gift certificate at Christmas. She needed to know that there was someone there for her and not for any other reason than they wanted to care for her. Not like the others who wanted her to be the Slayer who either fought for the cause, or whose presence in their lives added something to their reputations and who offered protection to them by association.
For once she wanted someone for herself, a port in the storm that was her miserable life. She wanted what he’d offered freely to Dru—something the lunatic had thrown back in his face over and over.
A love that a week ago she had blithely thrown back in Spike’s face with a contemptuous laugh. But now… But now she was alone and he was there, offering her everything with his silent presence and she knew he would never leave her. She didn’t want to be alone. Angelus’s words still haunted her all these years later, she was alone now. But his grandchilde was there trying to soothe her.
Taking a deep breath she looked up through tear soaked lashes at his concerned face. Buffy knew that what she was about to do would send the Scoobies into a frenzy and Giles would probably have to buy a new pair of glasses, but she didn’t care. Mom and Dawn were dead, and she was not going to be playing by anyone else’s rules again. Instead of shutting down like she usually did, the troubled Slayer took a deep breath and changed her fate with a decisive nod.
“Slayer?” Spike gazed quizzically at her; he couldn’t work out what she was thinking. Her hazel eyes were red rimmed but stared up at him with such intensity that he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck rise. Something was changing and then his brain shut down.
Buffy wrapped her arms tighter around his neck and pulled his unresisting head down to hers. She consumed Spike’s shocked lips with hers. With soft nips and licks Buffy traced his full lower lip with her tongue. Savouring the rich taste of him, Buffy sighed softly as Spike finally reacted and returned her tentative kiss with a deep one of his own.
Unbeknownst to either of the grief stricken blondes something mystical was stirring in the charnel house behind them.
In the dead silence of the morgue, a secret was unfolding. The ashes of the vampire that had drained Dawn of her precious magical blood, the chalky dust that had so recently found its place on the floor began to swirl in a green cloud, slowly reforming under the influence of the magicks of the Key. Small flecks of light swirled in the dust as it slowly reformed into the body of the killer that had drained the fragile teenager’s blood.
Slowly the bones began to knit back together. Sinews grew to cover the pale bones and then muscles overlaid the sinews. Veins filled with a bright emerald green light, then began to pulse as skin began to regenerate. The power of the Key was now infused in the vampire that had destroyed its previous carrier. With a sigh he opened his eyes.
Standing, the vampire stretched and yawned. Turning to look at the still forms of the Summers women, he reached over and ran his fingers through Dawn’s brown locks. Slowly the emerald green bled out of his irises and the whites of his eyes turned the same shade of green.
“Man, I feel fantastic.” He stared at the back of his hand and watched the green light seeping through his veins and gifting him with a power unheard of in the demonic world.
“Time to make the world scream and shake the foundations of heaven and hell.”
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