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Eve of Destruction by slaymesoftly
Title: Eve of Destruction
Author: Slaymesoftly
Rating: PG 13
Disclaimer: My version of an alternate ending to AtS season V. They’re still Joss’s characters and it’s still his world. Drat!
Summary: Written for the Apolcalypse challenge at Good_Evil. Some Spuffiness and some angst. Needs a warning of character death, I guess, although I hate to put spoilers in the summary…

Eve of Destruction

Chapter One

Spike watched the doors with growing apprehension; waiting for the girl, whose presence had just been announced by a panicky main-lobby receptionist, to burst in. He knew she would burst in. It was her way.

“I wonder if the watcher wannabe told her about me?” he muttered almost to himself.

Before the man standing next to him could respond, the doors flew open and Buffy slammed into the room, doing a quick scan before focusing on Angel. Her eyes flickered briefly when she came to Spike, then narrowed to the glare that had once driven the First Evil out of her personal space. She pointedly turned her back on him and stalked over to the other vampire in the room.

“Ouch!“ Gunn sympathized, as the cocky blond vampire, who had become something of a comrade in arms, visibly deflated. “I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s a ‘yes’.”

Paying no attention to the other people in the room – although Lorne had also received a second look during her initial scan – Buffy stared into Angel’s eyes intently, searching for some sign that she was looking at Angel and not Angelus. He met her gaze steadily, if a bit impatiently, finally asking, “If you don’t think I’m me, what the hell are you doing coming in here alone?”

“I’m not alone,” was the terse response. “I’ve got twenty slayers sitting in your lobby making your clients very nervous, and another three just outside the door watching Harmony paint her nails. If I think for one minute that Angelus is back, we are going to take you and your organization apart.”

Leaving her perusal of the potted plant in the corner, Illyria glided up to Buffy and cocked her head curiously.

“What is this one who makes threats and feels like power? Not real power,” she added haughtily. “Not like mine; but power no lower being should have.”

“What the hell are you?” Buffy’s incredulous stare went up and down the blue-clad woman, her mind trying to remember what Giles had told her about Angel’s associates.


“Great. Good for you. Get out of my way, I’m talking to Angel.” Buffy’s abrupt dismissal brought the expected reaction from Illyria and Spike and Angel moved simultaneously to keep the slayer and the demi-god apart. Buffy threw off the hand Angel had placed on her chest, her eyes narrowing again as Spike put his arms around the blue woman and tugged her gently away.

“Come on, pet. Leave the nasty old slayer alone. You can thump on me if you want to.”

“She is arrogant.”

“I’M arrogant?” Buffy’s angry disbelief was not lessened by watching Spike successfully coax Illyria away from her, whispering into her ear the whole time he eased the god across the room..

(Is this why he never wanted Andrew to tell me he was back? This blue skank?”)

“What are you doing here, Buffy?” Angel’s tired voice broke into her thoughts. “What do you want from us?”

“I want to know what’s going on,” she said firmly. “The council’s seers said something really big is going on here and that you were responsible for it. I just need to know what we have to kill. Is it you – or is it some apocalypsy thing?”

Angel gave a resigned sigh and gestured to a chair near the large polished desk. “Sit down, Buffy. Let me get Harmony to bring us something to drink and we can…talk.”

“I don’t want something to drink- much less something delivered by Harmony – who, by the way, last time I checked had no soul and was trying to kill people.”

Angel’s jaw tightened. “Things aren’t quite as black and white here as they might have been in Sunnydale,” he growled. “We have to be…flexible.”

“Flexible. That’s what they’re calling it now?” Buffy stood, hands on hips waiting for someone to tell her what was going on.

To everyone’s astonishment, he waved his hand at Spike.

“You talk to her. Take her out somewhere and explain…things.”

There was a tense silence as the two blonds stared at each other – one tight-lipped and angry, the other doing his best to keep any trace of expression off his face as he waited for her response. Finally, with a terse nod, Buffy visibly relaxed. As the tension left the slayer’s body, everyone in the room unconsciously allowed their own tenseness to ebb. Everyone except Illyria, who looked back and forth between Spike and Buffy before insisting, “She does not have permission to take my pet anywhere.”

Before Buffy could say anything challenging, Angel hastily put in, “I’m ordering Spike to talk to her, Illyria. They have my permission to leave.”

While Illyria mulled over the propriety of Angel’s making that decision, Spike quickly moved towards Buffy and, putting a gentle hand against her back, he urged her towards the open doors.

“Don’t touch me,” she hissed, as she shook him off. “You don’t get to touch me.”

“Right. No touching. Got it, Slayer.”

Spike kept his voice neutral as he followed her through the doors. He carefully avoided looking at his grandsire, and therefore missed the puzzled frown that Buffy’s vehement protest had sparked. For just a second, it occurred to Angel that he might have made a mistake sending Buffy off alone with the vampire that she had told him was “in her heart”. While to the others in the room, it may have appeared that Buffy’s rejection of a simple hand on her back was indicative of a strong dislike for Spike, Angel knew her better. Only when she was hurt was Buffy capable of that kind of irrational anger. And if she was hurt by Spike’s not having contacted her since he got back… Telling himself that he had no time to worry about personal relationships - his or Spike’s - he shrugged and turned back to his employees.

“Well? What are you standing around for? You all know what you’re supposed to be doing. Get to work, people.”

With noncommittal nods, they all went back to their own areas to prepare for the coming show-down, leaving the large vampire to sit behind his desk and brood over the looming battle. He had no doubt that there was going to be a battle at some point. Once the Senior Partners realized what was going on, they would throw everything they had at Angel, and by extension, anyone standing with him.


Buffy and Spike walked to the elevators in silence, the slayer’s boot heels clicking loudly as she channeled her anger at the vampire into her steps. He followed quietly, his usual swagger barely visible as he took the opportunity to study her without exposing his interest. He noted the new clothes, expensive boots and carefully groomed hair. She’d put on a little weight since the previous year when worry and stress had made her so painfully thin, and he couldn’t help but appreciate the way her body now filled out her expensive clothes.

When the elevators slid shut behind them, she whirled, hands on hips demanding, “Well?”

He just shook his head silently and raised his hand for patience, indicating the camera in the corner of the small room. He winced when Buffy jumped in the air and kicked the offending appliance off the wall and then crushed it under her feet. With a sigh of exasperation, he growled, “That’s not going to help, Slayer. Just keep your knickers on for a bit longer, won’t you?”

“I don’t think that will be a problem,” she snarled back at him, visibly fighting the urge to do more damage to something.

“No,” he responded with uncharacteristic calm, “I don’t suppose it will.”

They rode the rest of the way in tense silence, eyes front and hands clenched into fists. When the doors finally opened in the lobby, Spike shrank back, his vampire senses reeling from the impact of a room full of slayers. There had been no time, while Sunnydale was crashing around him, to make note of the effects on his system of being surrounded by the beings designed to kill his kind without mercy. Now, without the distraction of the amulet, he was assaulted by an irrational fear and he unconsciously stepped behind Buffy as they exited the elevator.

If she noticed his reaction to the slayers, she didn’t say so; only telling them that she was going out for a while and would meet them back at the Hyperion in a while. The three girls who had accompanied her to Angel’s office stepped off the other elevator and the whole group walked out, their hands twitching with the urge to slay the non-human employees scurrying around on the fringes of their vision.

When the area was cleared, Buffy finally looked at Spike again, asking only, “Where are we going?”

He shrugged and began walking towards the door. “Just for a walk, I guess. There’s a park down the street that should be far enough away.”

As angry as she obviously was at him, his heart warmed just a little at the trust she still held. Without complaint or question, she ducked under the arm that he used to hold the big door open for her and began walking in the direction he had indicated. When they’d put several blocks between themselves and the large building that could still be seen in the background, their steps slowed until, with a nod at a nearby bench, Spike said softly, “Let’s talk, luv.”

She startled a bit at his use of the endearment, even though it didn’t sound quite the way it used to when his eyes were as full of the emotion as was the word. Wordlessly, she nodded and sat down on the bench, careful to leave enough room for him to sit without touching her. With a resigned sigh, he settled himself just short of the edge and dropped his hands between his knees, his gaze on the pebbled ground.

When she didn’t ask anything, only looking at him with cold curiosity, he sighed and began. “First off – Peaches hasn’t gone off the deep end. Not the way you think he has, anyway. Can’t say I think he’s completely sane, but he’s not turned evil.”

“And you know that because…?”

“Because I’ve been here for quite a while.” He almost missed her unconscious wince at the reminder, and he had to resist the urge to touch her again. “I’ve watched him, seen what he does, how he tries; and, because, he told us what was going on. Won’t say he hasn’t done some awful things recently – but they were necessary. He had to convince the Black Thorn that he was the real deal.”

“The Black Thorn?”

Raising his head, Spike looked at her and began the long tale of what had led them to where they were. He tried to stick to only the things that he knew about first-hand, telling her that “Oxford” could fill her in on what led to the move into Wolfram and Hart’s building. When he had concluded his story of Angel’s planned attempt to bring down the Circle of the Black Thorn from the inside, and what was likely to be the reaction from the Senior Partners if he succeeded, he stopped to let Buffy process the story. She was quiet when he finished; then she surprised him by asking softly, “Do you believe him? Do you believe that he is doing bad things so that he can do more good?”

“Yes, love.” His reply was equally soft and she thought she might have caught a change in his pronunciation of the endearment. “I believe him. He’s planning to take them down and deal with the consequences as they come.”

“Well then,” she said briskly, sitting up straight and clapping her hands together. “I guess it’s a good thing I brought a lot of help, isn’t it?”

“It’s not your fight, pet. I don’t think very many of us are going to walk away from this one – would just as soon not have to count you as one of the casualties.” He thought he’d done a good job of keeping his fear for her out of his voice, but the narrowing of her eyes told him he probably hadn’t succeeded.

“It’s an apocalypse, isn’t it? That makes it my fight. Mine and all those other girls who need to practice those skills we’ve been teaching them.” Her demeanor changed again. “Not that I expect you to know this, but why didn’t he trust me enough to tell me what was going on? Why didn’t Wesley call Giles about it? Why didn’t you tell me? How could you guys want to keep us out of the loop?”

Spike’s eyes hardened. “Do you recall that uppity bint that didn’t want you takin’ me out?”

Buffy’s expression hardened to match his. “What about her?” She allowed no trace of anything but a demand for information to leak into her voice, carefully smothering the surge of jealously that shot through her.

“Her highness there used to be one of the sweetest and most brilliant girls on this planet,” he answered with a growl. “When that god thing started taking over her body, the poof called your precious watcher to ask for help. Don’t know if anyone could have stopped it, but it would have been good to know we’d tried everything. Maybe Red could have mojo’d it away or somethin’. I don’t know. I just know that we asked for help and he turned us down flat. Somethin’ about you not trustin’ your ex now that he was with Wolfram and Hart. So, yeah, we had some issues with letting any of you lot know what was goin’ on here. You’d already cost us too much.”

Buffy skipped past everything else to focus on what Spike had said about the girl who used to be in Illyria’s body. A girl that she realized must have been the “Fred” whom Willow occasionally mentioned as having been a good friend.

“Did you love her?”

“Course, I did. Was the only one who was kind to me at first, wasn’t she? Worked her skinny little arse off tryin’ to keep me out of hell and make me solid. Everyone loved her – Oxford maybe a bit more than the rest of us—“

“So, that’s why you didn’t tell me you were back? You came back and fell in love with somebody else?”

He stared at her, mouth open, eyes blinking rapidly. “What?”

“I’m just trying to understand what’s going on,” she replied, her face as immobile as she could keep it. “I wanted to know what would allow you to hurt me like that – but I guess now I do. You’re in love with someone else and didn’t have the guts to tell me.”

“Don’t be stupid, Slayer.” He looked away from her, thereby missing her rapidly blinking eyes. “I did love her. Just like I love the Bit. But there’s nothing there for you to get your knickers in a twist over. It’s still all about you.” He waited to see if she was going to respond, then sighed and continued. “It probably always will be. Much as I’d like to move on – like you did – I don’t know that I have it in me.”

“Then why--?”

“Don’t know that I can rightly answer that, pet,” he admitted, eyes still firmly focused on a nearby tree. “Used to change my mind almost every day, I did. Thought that dying a hero might have been the smartest move I ever made and didn’t want to admit that I’d blown it, maybe? I don’t know. Knew you’d moved on and were enjoying life, and I couldn’t see where I’d fit into the new picture. Had myself a bit of a place here, too. First time in a long while that I felt…accepted. Had some mates; had a sweet girl to flirt with; had Peaches to irritate and to fight the good fight with; bad guys to offer a spot of violence whenever I needed one–“

“And you thought I didn’t mean it when I said I loved you.” Her voice was flat, giving no clue as to whether he was right or wrong.

“And that,” he agreed quietly, sliding his eyes to the side for a quick peek at her face.

She just nodded her head as though that was the answer she’d been expecting and stood up. Without looking at him, she said, “We want to help. Tell Angel to let us know when it goes down so that we can be ready. We’re staying at his hotel – I hope he doesn’t mind. It was the only place I knew to go.”

“I’m sure it’s fine, Buffy,” he responded, also standing up. “But I’ll tell him. I’m guessing we’ll end up there too after we do our bits. Kinda thinkin’ we won’t be too welcome at Wolfram and Hart after we finish destroying half their customer base and breaking all those contracts.”

She nodded, then lifted her eyes to his briefly. “Thank you for being honest with me,” she said without a tremor. “It’s good to finally know. And, Spike?” Her lips twitched into a sad smile as she cupped his face with her hand. “Just so you know - I wasn’t lying.”

Her hand dropped and she turned, leaving so quickly that he was still rooted to the spot long after her rapid gait had taken her out of his reach and out of hearing distance.