Chapter 3: Done to Death by Slanderous Tongue
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain - and most fools do.
As the currents of the raging river dragged him underwater for an indeterminable length of time, Spike could only think about the cold. And the dark. The dark didn’t bother him so much as the cold, though. No, it was the cold that made him remember. Remember what he was.
Yes, he was a vampire and didn’t actually feel the temperature of what was probably frigid water propelling him further away from the others. It was more the lack of heat – and sunlight – he felt upon his face. Heat he’d long since gotten used to from the years spent on Middle Earth.
Spike had tried to swim his way back to shore at first, but the weight of his weapons kept him firmly entrenched beneath the surface, making it nigh but impossible to see where he was going – even with his preternatural sight. He’d given up, deciding to ride out the tempest until it calmed into something more manageable for him to navigate, his arms and legs too sore from their futile struggle and the battle earlier. Leaving his body to dip and flip at will as the current smacked him about.
At the mercy of the river, he allowed his mind to wander.
And it was no small surprise that a vision of the Slayer popped into his head.
Tara was sitting near the head of the table on Elrond’s left eating her noon meal when she suddenly swayed in her chair; she would have fallen to the floor in a heap, if not for the Elven King’s quick reflexes.
Elrond gently lowered the unconscious girl onto his lap as he sunk to his knees, concern for the witch making his brows draw together.
“Tara? Are you all right?” Giles asked taking her cool hand in his much larger, warmer one after having shoved back his chair to kneel quickly at her side. Dawn, Xander, and Anya clamored around him anxiously; though of the three, Dawn’s face showed the most worry. In the absence of her sister, Buffy, Tara had temporarily filled the familial role.
The blonde witch moaned slightly, and Giles’ voice grew louder as he tried to pull her back to the here and now.
“Tara?” he called, continually patting her hand in an attempt to pull the girl from her trance. “Tara?” The watcher looked up at Elrond. “I don’t understand…she appeared fine just a few moments ago.”
“She has seen what I’ve seen,” Arwen announced from the doorway, her face unnaturally pale, her deep blue eyes haunted.
Elrond lifted his head and gave his daughter a sharp look. At her pale expression, his own became earnest.
“He has fallen,” she confirmed.
“Fallen? Who’s fallen?” Xander asked, perplexed.
Elrond barely paid the boy a glance as he rose with the unconscious witch in his arms. After having spent time in the boy’s company, the Elven King had seen much of his character, or lack thereof, and understood Kriger’s dislike for all but a few of his love’s friends.
Dawn flittered around Elrond while he strode swiftly down the hall, trying to get a peek at Tara. Her friend’s eyes were still closed, and the expression on the elf’s face bearing the witch to her bedroom filled the young girl with dread.
Support came from an unlikely corner. Though they’d talked often over the past weeks, months – Dawn had lost track – she and Giles hadn’t really bonded quite like he and her sister had. But, Dawn had to admit it was nice to get the stodgy older man to see what she’d been able to with Spike. That there was no length the vampire wouldn’t go to in his love of her sister. When the dust had settled after Spike’s selfless act, she’d been able to see as much and understand his actions, and guilt for her behavior, for her jumping to conclusions, had been her penance in the months since that day on the tower. That and the effect the vampire’s sacrifice had on her sister.
“It’ll be alright, Dawn,” Giles told her, placing an arm awkwardly around the girl’s shoulder as they trailed behind Elrond and Arwen.
They were almost to the room when Tara’s eyes flew wide, staring unseeingly straight ahead, a shocked gasp torn from her throat.
“Spike,” she moaned.
Elrond walked into the room, unmindful of the girl’s outburst, and carefully laid the witch down on the bed, then stepped back to allow his daughter to sit down beside her.
“She senses what I do,” Arwen told her father in Elvish. “I fear—”
Elrond laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. Sounds from outside the doorway brought his head around, cutting off what he’d been about to say.
“Whoa! Wait! All this concern is for Deadboy Jr.?” Xander asked. He ground to a halt, staring incredulously at the people in front of him.
“Xander!” Giles hissed. He ushered Dawn into the room with the others, afterward swiveling around to pin the boy with a look.
“No, Giles. I’m tired of people treating him like some sort of hero. He’s a demon. He’s evil.”
“And yet he still managed to jump off that tower to spare Buffy’s life. Spare all our lives,” Giles ground out.
“Since when are you on the ‘Spike is alright’ train, G-man? You’re the one that keeps telling us that demons can’t feel. That they don’t have souls.” Xander crossed his arms over his chest and glared up at the watcher.
Giles took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, his eyes closing wearily in the face of the boy’s argument. When they opened, his stare bore the look of his alter ego, the unflinching, hard-as-nails sneer of Ripper. He crowded the boy, driving him back against the far hall wall; he completely ignored the shocked expression of the former vengeance demon.
“Listen, Xander, because I’m only going to say this once. I don’t want to hear another word out of your mouth about Spike, unless it’s to thank him for his sacrifice or to extol upon his unwavering dedication to Buffy…”
Xander opened his mouth to object. Both to his words and the man’s highhandedness.
“I’m talking now, and you’re going to listen, or so help me, you can find your own way home,” Giles went on.
Though Xander closed his mouth, his expression was mutinous. Giles’ eyes narrowed, but when the boy remained quiet, he continued.
“Buffy was right. Spike is not Darla. They may be of the same line, but they’re nothing alike. She’s the one that killed your friend, Jesse, not him. So if you want to be mad at someone, be mad at her. Since getting that chip in his head, Spike has been changing. Fighting against his natural tendencies. His grudging assistance to aid our cause has given way to a willingness to assist Buffy with her calling. And, had I not had my head buried in the sand, I would have seen it sooner. But, I’ve seen the error of my ways now, thanks in part to Dawn and also to our host.” Giles leaned in close to Xander. “If you listen to nothing else I say, remember this…Spike is well regarded here at Rivendell, and I think Elrond has been very tolerant of your dislike of the vampire. But, you’re a guest in his home, and I’ll not hear one more disparaging remark from you. Do you understand me?”
Xander stared up at Giles, his jaw clenched tight. He wanted to open his mouth and blast the man for his assumptions, for his utter gall in telling him what to do, but there was just something about the watcher in that moment that gave him pause. His own eyes narrowed and he debated for a minute, and then another. Finally, he turned and walked off, uncaring whether or not Anya followed after him.
Giles stared after the retreating figure until he was out of sight. He’d really hated to do that, but the boy had a chip on his shoulder a mile wide and it was only a matter of time before his snide remarks about Spike were going to cause a problem. Part of him felt bad for Xander because he knew that much of the boy’s mentality was due to his own biased influence. But, he’d learned to accept that the blond vampire was different; it was time for Xander to do the same. And, if he couldn’t, to at least keep his opinions to himself.
Seeing Anya just standing there, unsure of what to do, he invited her inside Tara’s room.
“He just needs to cool off. I’m sure he’ll be back soon, Anya.”
Anya shrugged her shoulders. After dealing with Xander’s snide remarks and snippy comments over the last few months, she was glad to have him go off alone to pout – or whatever it was that he was going to do. Frankly, she was tired of listening to him go on and on about Spike and how evil he was, and how come nobody else could see it. It made her wonder where, exactly, she stood with him. Whether if, deep down, he felt the same way about her. She was once a demon after all, even though she’d been stripped of her powers and rendered human.
Maybe the break would do them some good. Give her some time to decide if Xander was what she truly wanted. Or if it was time to give their relationship the death it possibly deserved. The matter definitely bore some thought.
“Let’s go see how Tara’s doing,” she told Giles, ignoring completely the other’s comment.
“Hello, luv,” Spike murmured. Though his eyes were still closed, it was easy to discern the slight form that settled on his lap. The soft brush of lips against his own. He smiled into the chaste kiss and would have opened his eyes to look upon his love but a gentle glide of fingertips trailed over his eyelids.
He sighed and obeyed her unspoken command, allowing himself to enjoy the simple pleasure of her touch.
Warm fingers worked nimbly at his tunic until the fastenings gave way, and Spike couldn’t prevent the appreciative growl when her nails scored his chest and stomach. His back arched off the grass, his arms banded instinctively around her middle. Spike gasped when they came into contact with bare flesh and he couldn’t help but open his eyes, deep blue staring fiercely at the vision before him.
“I must be dreaming,” he whispered in awe.
“Then it is a good dream.”
Her lilting voice washed over his senses and the vampire couldn’t help but surrender to the magic of the moment. His eyes closed once more and he lay back against the grass. The sound of the waterfall somewhere in the distance lulled him into a sense of peace as he felt the Slayer’s lips nip at his neck before moving lower. Her tongue teased first one nipple and then the other, and Spike’s growl was back in full force.
Her lips continued their tortuous trail downward and he felt her fumble with the fastenings at his waist. Then she was lowering herself onto his cock. A seamless glide of moist, hot flesh that gave way to his penetration, sheathing him in molten heat—
Spike woke abruptly, the heat from the sun drying his wet face. He groaned, more from the fact of being pulled from his fantasies, than because of any undue pain he felt at his unwanted swim. Lying there on his back, his feet still submerged in the water, he assessed his injuries. A few cracked ribs, various cuts, a deep gouge in his leg, and the mother of all headaches – nothing he couldn’t handle.
He forced himself to sit up and rethought the bit about the headache. Blinding pain ripped through his temples, pulling a reluctant moan from his lips. Spike ignored it, however, pushing his way to his feet, where he swayed momentarily.
It took him a few steps to stabilize his equilibrium and get his bearings, then he set out for Helm’s Deep.
Praying he’d get there before Saruman’s forces could.
“Farmers, farriers, stable boys. These are no soldiers,” Aragorn grumbled. His recent altercation with the Theoden King had left a bitter taste to his mouth. So, too, had the disappearance of Kriger. He’d raced to the ledge, after finishing off the half-dead Orc, trying to find some sign of his brother. All that greeted him was the swift-moving current, headed away from them.
“Most have seen too many winters,” Gimli commented, his tone subdued.
“Or too few,” Legolas added.
“Look at them,” he muttered in disgust, eyeing the bare-faced boys and wizened old men that would make up Théoden’s contingent. “They're frightened. I can see it in their eyes.”
“And they should be... Three hundred against ten thousand,” Legolas told him in elvish.
“They have more hope of defending themselves here than at Edoras,” Aragorn argued, though his words held little conviction.
“We are warriors. They cannot win this fight. They are all going to die!” the elf exclaimed.
“Then I shall die as one of them!” Aragorn turned and stormed off.
Legolas made to go after him, but a grip on his upper arm forestalled him.
“Let him go, lad. Let him be. He is worried about his brother and it makes him speak in anger.”
The remainder of the day was spent seeing to the defenses of the Theoden King’s fortress. Swords were distributed and sharpened, arrows were prepared, bows tightened. All around men, young and old, prepared for the arrival – of what had been determined by a scout – of more than ten thousand Orcs sent out from Isengard.
As the sun began to dip low in the sky, Aragorn returned to his quarters to ready for battle. The chain mail came first, followed by his leather jerkin. He turned towards the bed to reach for his sword and found it held in the outstretched hand of Legolas.
“Forgive me, Aragorn,” the elf apologized, holding out the weapon as a peace offering.
“There is nothing to forgive. It is I who must apologize. I should not have spoken so harshly.”
Legolas inclined his head at his friend.
Sounds of the dwarf entering the room drew their attention away from each other. Both barely managed to suppress their smiles as Gimli dropped the chain mail and it crashed to the floor, nearly two extra yards pooling at his feet.
“If there was time, I’d get this adjusted.”
Aragorn and Legolas let out a bark of laughter.
The sudden trumpet of a horn quieted their mirth. Legolas’ eyes widened as he recognized the sound. “That is no Orc horn!”
Together, he and Aragorn raced for the gates.
“Open the gate,” Aragorn yelled up to the soldiers standing guard at the postern.
They hesitated until the Theoden King stepped up next to Aragorn and Legolas and nodded his head in assent. Outside, footsteps were growing louder as a contingent of soldiers drew closer.
The gate finally was flung wide, and Aragorn could do nothing more than gape in astonishment as his brother marched in next to Haldir, the two leading the columns of elf warriors.
Haldir and Kriger broke off from the main group, stopping before the Theoden King, Aragorn, and Legolas. If Aragorn wasn’t so relieved at seeing his brother, he would have cheerfully gutted him for his smug expression.
“I bring word from Elrond of Rivendell,” Haldir told the King. “An alliance once existed between Elves and Men. Long ago we fought and died together. We come to honor that allegiance.”
“Well met, Haldir,” Aragorn told the blond elf, embracing him warmly. “You are most welcome.”
“Haldir,” Legolas greeted.
“Legolas,” the elf replied, inclining his head, before returning his attention to the Theoden King. “We are proud to fight alongside Men once more.”
If you are under the age of 17, please use your head and do not read fics that are labeled "NC-17". Parents, I cannot control what your children are reading, so please be advised that the majority of the fics archived here are NOT suitable for those under the age of 17.
I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I am in no way making any profit from this site. This is for pure entertainment purposes only.
Concept: (c)bringonthebloodshed.com (2004), Code & Design: (c)Diabola (2006), Graphics: Selene & Always