full 3/4 1/2   skin light dark       
<<     >>
Disclaimer: All the characters you know and love are Joss Whedon’s
Keep them reviews coming! Thank you so much!
The Scoobies had been hanging around the Magic Box all day, waiting. Anya had served customers and counted money to keep calm, and Willow spent her time in research mode, trying to see what else she could find out about the Y’sogoth dimension and portal spells. Dawn had run in after school anxiously asking, “Are they back?” Her face fell as they sadly told her no. The others had spent the day in pacing, running out for coffee and other supplies, and other nervous pursuits.
As night fell, they grew more and more restless. They ordered a pizza, but no one had much of an appetite. Finally Xander snapped out, “Look, it’s obvious that Spike didn’t get the job done. We should go in after her.”
“Xander, we have no way of knowing that,” Giles responded. “We have no way of knowing what Spike encountered there. If we all go rushing in headlong we could end up making the situation worse.”
“I don’t trust him,” Xander said stubbornly. “For all we know he’s in league with them or something.”
“Xander what the hell is wrong with you?” snapped Tara. Her normal stammer and quiet voice had been replaced with clear anger. “If he wanted Buffy gone, why come to us? Why give us any information whatsoever? Why even stay at all after the fight with Glory? I know he’s a vampire, but for heaven’s sake think about it!”
“Why is everyone always defending him?” Xander cried, flailing his arms in frustration. “He. Is. A. Vampire. He kills people. Without that chip he’d be on our necks in a second.”
“He would not!” yelled Dawn, stamping her feet. “He took care of me all summer! He kept me safe from those biker demons, he put up with me when none of you would. I really don’t think there’s some big scary plan, Xander. Get over it already!”
“Would you all please shut up!” Giles yelled, exasperated. “Spike’s motives are entirely beside the point right now. We can’t go running into a demon dimension unprepared, and that is final. I’m not going to risk all our lives on the off chance that we might be able to help Buffy.” The others were stunned into silence.
It was at this point that they heard a rumble, and a wind blew out of the training room. “They’re back!” cried Willow, recognizing the sound of the portal opening. They all dashed into the training room as the shimmering wall appeared and grew larger. The noise increased to a roar as Spike dashed out with Buffy in his arms.
They were totally unprepared for what they saw. Spike was bare-chested, covered in scratches and gashes, with an enormous healing bruise on his side which was every color of the rainbow it seemed. Buffy was limp in his arms, wrapped in his duster, with blood dripping slowly down her exposed legs. Their cheers of welcome died in their mouths as they took in the sight of her pale, bruised face and her matted, tangled hair.
Spike’s wild, frantic voice burst through their shock. “She needs a doctor! Now!” he whirled and looked at Giles. “Where’s your car?”
Giles, to his credit, pulled his keys out of his pocket and ran toward the front door, with Spike on his heels. “What happened?” cried Dawn frantically.
“No time!” yelled Spike. He was already out the door. Giles held the rear door of his car open for Spike, who lost no time climbing in, still cradling the unconscious Slayer. Giles slammed the door and quickly ran around and jumped in. Seconds later he was screeching away from the curb on the way to the hospital.
Spike was nearly shaking as he clutched Buffy to him. Stay with me Slayer. Please stay with me. Her heartbeat was still audible, but getting weaker by the minute. “Step on it, Rupert,” he growled impatiently.
“Doing the best I can,” Giles retorted. “What the hell happened?”
Spike’s voice broke a bit as he answered, “Time ran different there. She just... gave birth.”
Giles’ eyes were wide and horrified in the rear view mirror. “Good lord,” Giles breathed. He increased his speed further. His mind reeled with the implications of Spike’s statement. He was relieved as the hospital appeared ahead.
The second Giles stopped the car at the emergency room entrance, Spike was out of the car and sprinting for the doors. Doctors and nurses looked up in wonder at the shirtless man with the unconscious woman in his arms. “Help us! Please! She’s lost a lot of blood!” Spike yelled wildly. A nurse ran up pushing a gurney on which Spike gently laid Buffy. A doctor started shouting about an IV and other nurses sprang into action as they wheeled her off into a treatment room. Another nurse stopped Spike from following with a hand to his arm and said, “You need to tell us what happened.”
“Just help her, for God’s sake, she’s dying!” Spike cried, his eyes flickering yellow as he struggled for control.
“We’re going to help her, but we need to know what we’re treating. Ok? Sir?” the nurse said in a calm voice.
Spike closed his eyes for a moment and clenched his fists. With his eyes still closed he said, “Her name is Buffy Summers. She just gave birth. I don’t… I don’t know what happened to the child. She’s got a broken leg and someone cut off one of her fingers. Now will you please go save her?” He opened his eyes again and fixed her with a look of pure desperation.
The nurse was visibly shocked at this recitation. Glancing once more at Spike she went to convey the information adding, “We’re going to have more questions for you, please stay here.”
Spike staggered a bit as he made his way to the nearest chair and collapsed into it. He dropped his head into his hands and tugged at his hair in worry and frustration. Giles sat down next to him. He had come in behind Spike and had heard his description of Buffy’s injuries. Giles shook his head in disbelief. How could all this have happened? She was only gone a week or so. He looked over at Spike. The vampire looked like hell, not just physically but emotionally. He looked painfully thin as well, Giles noticed. Truth be told, he looked about as bad as when he had first fought the Y’sogoths.
“How long were you there?” Giles inquired quietly.
“’Bout two weeks,” Spike said in an exhausted voice. “Lost the amulet for a while. While I was looking for it her time came. It was… bloody awful.”
They sat there in silence for a while, until the nurse who had spoken to them returned. “Sir, do you need treatment? You’re not looking too well yourself.”
Spike shook his head. “I’m alright. How’s Buffy?”
“Are you a relative?” she asked.
Giles spoke up, “I’m her uncle. What is her status?”
The nurse raised an eyebrow, not sure if she believed this man. But she answered, “She’s in critical condition. They are prepping her for surgery now. They suspect internal damage.”
Spike winced at the words internal damage. He could imagine what that creature must have done to the poor girl’s insides. Oh, Slayer… “Is she going to make it?” Spike asked quietly, his head still in his hands.
“Too soon to tell,” the nurse responded as gently as she could. “It’s good you got her here when you did. Can you tell me more about what happened?”
Spike had been thinking about how to spin this tale. Somehow he thought demon dimensions were not going to go over well. “She, um…” He took a deep breath. Concentrate, William, he told himself. “Do you remember back, last spring, when that big construction tower collapsed?”
“Not something that was easy to forget,” said the nurse. The collapse and the freak lightning storms that had followed had been all over the news.
“She disappeared around that time. We didn’t know what had happened to her. The authorities couldn’t find her, no one knew where she went. I heard a rumor that she had been seen with some gang out on the outskirts of town. Went to check it out, found her in an old warehouse, alone and in the state you saw. She told me about the baby before she passed out, but I didn’t see any evidence of a child anywhere. I called her uncle and brought her here.”
The nurse raised her eyebrow again. “You expect me to believe that story?” she asked skeptically.
“It’s all I can tell you,” Spike replied. He leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes. The nurse shook her head disapprovingly and went back to the nurse’s station.
“Ok, Spike, what really happened?” Giles asked in a low voice.
“Later,” Spike grumbled. “You’ll get the full report, but right now just leave me in peace.”
Giles was about to give the vampire a sharp reprimand when the rest of the Scoobies burst through the door, looking around wildly. “Over here,” Giles said.
“Where is she, is she alright?” Dawn asked grabbing Giles’ arm.
“She’s in surgery. She’s in critical condition. They’re doing everything they can for her.”
Tara held a gray t-shirt out to Spike. “Here. It’s one of mine, but I thought you probably needed something to cover up with.”
Spike took the shirt and pulled it over his head. It was a bit baggy, but plain and better than nothing. “Thanks, Glinda,” he said gratefully.
“Where were you all day?” asked Xander. His tone clearly expressed is disapproval with the vampire.
“I was sitting on a beach, reading a novel,” Spike snapped. “What the fuck do you think I was doing, you pillock?” There were some days he would gladly risk the wrath of the slayer and the massive migraine just to pound Xander into the ground. Fucking whelp.
“Spike, settle down!” Giles said sharply. “And Xander, shut your bloody mouth for once. You have no idea what went on, and you’re making an ass of yourself.” Xander opened his mouth to reply, but severe looks from Tara, Anya, Dawn, and Giles made him shut it again.
“Let’s just sit down and wait, ok?” said Willow, trying to keep the peace. She was proud of her interdimensional spell, but it seemed that Buffy had been tortured severely during the 8 days she was gone. Perhaps it was best to find out the details of what had happened before she asked Spike about the portal and the other dimension.
Dawn asked in a shaky voice, “Did she… did the demon…?” Spike knew what she meant, and nodded gravely, staring at the ground and biting his lip to keep control. The others gasped as they realized what had happened – Buffy had given birth to a demon. For once even Xander had nothing to say.
The group waited in silence for an update. Dawn sat down next to Spike. She looked so scared and pitiful that he roused himself from his own misery enough to take her hand in his and look her in the eyes, quietly reassuring her with his steady gaze. Dawn leaned her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes, tears squeezing out between her eyelids and tracing down her cheeks. Across from them Willow and Tara sat holding each other’s hands, while Xander sat with his arm around Anya’s shoulders. There were a million questions in all their minds, but it was clear that Spike was not in a talking mood right now.
After several long hours, the doctor came out. “Are you all here for Buffy Summers?” he asked the group.
“Yes. This is her sister,” Giles answered, indicating Dawn. “How is she?”
“She came through the surgery fine, although it was touch and go there for a while. She is still unconscious, but should be coming out of the anesthesia soon. Her leg will need to be broken again and reset sometime soon for her to regain full use of it. We’ll need to do some plastic surgery on her hand as well. But the bleeding has stopped, and she should make a full recovery.”
“Oh thank God,” said Giles as let out a sigh of relief.
“Can we see her?” Dawn pleaded. She needed to see for herself that Buffy was still alive.
“She is still in bad shape. I only want two of you in there, and you can only stay a few minutes,” the doctor responded.
Dawn turned to Spike. “Come with me?” she begged. The others looked at each other, puzzled by Dawn’s choice of chaperone, but said nothing.
Spike replied, “Of course, Nibblet.” He got up and followed her and the doctor through the double doors and down the halls. The doctor held open the door to Buffy’s room. “Only a few minutes, understand?” he admonished.
“We understand,” Spike replied. Then taking a deep breath, he went in after Dawn.
Buffy looked small and pale in the large white bed. An IV dripped into her arm as monitors beeped around her. They had cleaned her up, although her hair still needed some work. The remaining bruises and scrapes were fading with her Slayer healing, but still visible in many places.
Dawn sat down in the chair at the bedside and gently took her sister’s hand. “It’s me Buffy. You’re going to be alright. Just get better, ok?” Then she noticed her sister’s mangled finger and nearly dropped Buffy’s hand in shock. “Spike what happened to her?” she asked in horror.
“Demons did quite a number on her, Bit,” Spike responded. “But she’s a fighter, your sister. She’ll be ok.” Please be ok, Slayer, he added silently.
The doctor poked his head in again. “You need to go now. But we’ll let you know as soon as you can come back.”
Dawn gave her sister a kiss on the forehead and turned to go. Spike picked up her damaged hand and kissed it. “I’ll be close by, pet. You’re safe now,” he whispered. Then he followed Dawn out of the room.
When they returned to the waiting room, only Giles, Xander, and Anya were there. “The others went out for provisions,” explained Anya.
“How does she look?” Giles inquired.
“She’s resting,” Spike answered. “She still looks like she’s been through a war, but she’s cleaned up somewhat.”
Willow and Tara returned shortly with coffee, hot chocolate for Dawn, and a thermos of blood for Spike. Despite his reservations about the red-haired witch he could have kissed her for the very thought of something to eat. He savored every drop. It’s not Slayer, but damn, I needed that.
“Spike?” asked Giles carefully. “Do you think you feel up to telling us what happened?”
Spike stared into the empty thermos and sighed. “I landed not far from the big fortress where they had her locked up. It was daylight, by the way. Fortunately the sun in their dimension seems to have no effect on me, or it would have been a short trip.” Willow started guiltily. She had honestly not even considered the idea that she could have fried their best rescuer.
Spike continued, “When I found her she was… catatonic. She didn’t seem to know where she was, didn’t respond to me at all. She was big as a house – ready to pop. Turns out that a day here is about a month there.”
They all gasped. Tara said in a shocked voice. “We didn’t even consider that.”
“A lot of demonic dimensions have different time speeds than ours,” Anya chimed in. “Makes travel difficult between them. Ever try planning a party with demons from multiple dimensions? Not easy.”
Xander rolled his eyes at his girlfriend’s prattle. “What happened then? Why did it take so long to get back?” he had toned down his voice, but the thread of accusation was still there.
Spike fought the urge to growl at the Whelp. “I tried to sneak out with her, find a place to open the portal, but we got chased. In the process of trying to get away the amulet got caught on a tree and I lost it for a while.”
“Lost it?” cried Xander. “How could you lose it?”
“You try running through a forest, in the dark, with a girl in your arms and no weapon, with half an army of demons behind you. See how well you do, you git.” Xander wisely said nothing.
“Go on, Spike,” Dawn urged.
“We were there for two weeks. Hid in a cave. After a while she… came back to her senses.” No sense in telling them how she snapped out of it. Don’t fancy getting myself staked at present. “She went into labor a few days after that. When it was over, I took the… demon and left it near the fortress. On the way back I found the amulet, and got us back.”
“What happened to her leg?” Dawn asked. “And her hand?”
 “They took a sledgehammer to her leg for trying to escape,” Spike said in a voice barely above a whisper. “They cut off her finger when she wouldn’t obey them. The way she suffered...” He covered his face with his hands trying to block out the memory of finding her, broken and insensible.
While the others stared in stunned silence, Dawn wrapped her arms around the vampire. “You got her out, Spike. You kept your promise. It’s ok.” Almost lost her again, he thought. God it was so close. Too close. Dawn stroked his back as all the accumulated stress and worry crashed in on him at once. He didn’t stop shaking for a long time.
<<     >>