Five and Six
The two vampires quickly walked to the waiting beds, shedding their boots and clothes as they did so. Their room temperature bodies had no need of the bedding, but they automatically slipped between the sheets just as they had done as humans. Every window in the Hyperion was covered with thick draperies, which provided not only safety from the sun’s rays, but from any distracting light that might have kept them awake. Spike’s eyes were just falling shut when he heard a strained voice.
He examined all the things his grandsire might have had to apologize to him for, then shook his head and gave up.
“Well, you should be!” He waited until he heard the angry growl; then asked quietly, “What for?”
There was a long silence and he began to think that Angel wasn’t going to answer him, then, with a heavy sigh, the older vampire said, “For Buffy. I knew she loved you. I could see it when she was here – right after you did your hero act and she was just beginning to realize that you were really gone. Not that you stayed gone very long,” he added, under his breath, before continuing, “She was just beginning to grieve and I think she ran off to Europe hoping she could get away from the memories.”
“That’s my girl. Never face an emotion if you can run away from it.”
Spike’s shaking voice belied his light-hearted words and Angel continued quickly. “I should have called her for you; and I should have put you on a Wolfram and Heart plane as soon as you were solid. My selfishness hurt both of you – and for that I’m sorry. I don’t think you deserve her, but it’s not my place to tell her what she should want. And she apparently wants you. Don’t blow it.”
After another long silence, Spike’s voice drifted across the space between the beds. “Who are you and what have you done with Angelus?”
“Go to hell, Spike.”
“Been there – didn’t like it much.”
There was no response and even with vampire hearing there were no sounds to give away that there was anyone else in the room. When he was sure Angel had no more surprises for him, Spike rolled to his side and allowed the much-needed deep sleep to claim him. While his body did its best to heal the night’s wounds, his dreams were full of sunny meadows where a blonde girl ran towards him.
The following night’s battle seemed, at first, almost anti-climactic. The number of demons pouring through the rift in the storm clouds seemed noticeably less than it had been the first night, and the dragon did not make an appearance with the initial rush. The small army of slayers spread out again, each girl taking on whatever demons attempted to out-maneuver the two vampires by coming at them from above or from the side. At the other end of the alley, Buffy and Illyria had forged a reluctant alliance as they repeatedly turned away attempts to infiltrate the alley from the rear.
Gradually, there were fewer and fewer pure demons to fight, the denizens of the hell dimension having been replaced by run-of-the-mill vampires. Vampires which the slayers began to decimate, moving from the safety of the brick walls into the open where they could put their athleticism and speed to best use. The air began to fill with dust as the slayer army put a year’s worth of training to good use.
It wasn’t until the slayers had all moved away from the Hyperion in pursuit of the few vampires and demons left standing, that the Senior Partners’ strategy became clear. With the all-too-human girls now in the open, gunfire rang out from groups of black SUVs that had crept up during the battle. The street began filling with dead and wounded warriors that looked much too much like ordinary teenage girls as they began dropping to the pavement.
Buffy’s outraged scream had barely tapered off, when she and Illyria found themselves under the same sort of deadly fire. Ducking back into the relative safety of the alley, they worked their way towards the two vampires, only to see the dragon reappear in the sky. Mouth open and flaming breath preceding him, the dragon flew directly at the two souled vampires. Another heartbroken “Noooooo” came from the remaining slayer as her two vampire loves stood, swords poised and waiting for the inevitable. Buffy threw her sword at the dragon and sprinted towards them, screaming Spike’s name as she did so, only to be spun around from the force of the bullet that found its way into her chest.
With a cry that startled the dragon in mid-strike, Spike flung himself towards the inert slayer, his ears listening frantically for the sound of a heartbeat.
“Don’t you die on me, Slayer,” he begged, even as he was scooping her up and running towards the loading dock door. The door was flung open and a Willow he had never seen before was standing in the entrance. Her hair was billowing straight out and her face was a mask of fury. She took one look at the bodies of the slayers she had helped to train as they lay in the street, some moving and moaning, others frighteningly still, and her eyes darkened until it was impossible to see her pupils. She turned her frightening gaze onto Spike’s anguished face and glanced down at the still figure in his arms. The sound of gunfire could still be heard as the hidden shooters continued to pour bullets towards Illyria and the downed slayers.
Spike’s body jerked as the ammunition being aimed at the open doorway began to slam into him. He sank to his knees, trying to shelter Buffy’s now-lifeless body with his own, and he remained there whispering his eternal love and devotion into the deaf ears of the woman he’d only just found again. He was only vaguely aware that the bullets were no longer reaching the concrete platform upon which he crouched. Willow had halted her perusal of the slaughter going on outside to take in what she saw before her; for just a second, the frightening mask of a powerful and angry witch slipped as she absorbed what the vampire was saying.
“…say hullo to your mum for me, love. I know you’ll be glad to get back to the place you were happiest. You’ve earned your rest, sweetheart. Doubt I’ll be joining you there – but if there’s a way, I’m going to find it. You hear me, Buffy? I’ll find you. I swear it. I love you, Slayer. You knew that, didn’t you? Of course you did. Told you often enough, didn’t I? Did I tell you today? I do, you know. Will forever – wherever this soul of mine goes – it will love you and be yours always. Rest in peace, my love.”
The vampire and the witch exchanged glances – finding themselves in perfect agreement that there would be no attempts at resurrection this time. The world’s longest-lived slayer - the one who had shared her power with an entire sisterhood of heroes – would be allowed to go to her well-earned reward. Spike gently laid her down and, forcing his bleeding body to its feet, he turned to face the alley.
A muffled sound brought their attention back to the immediate situation and they watched as Illyria was struck by one of the bullets that, up until then, she had been able to slip through without harm. With a hiss, the witch threw up a hand and the bullets that were on their way towards the few opponents still standing halted in mid air, then turned completely around and with rapidly increasing speed began to hurtle back towards the very guns from which they had originated. The results were very satisfying, if short-lived, as Spike’s enjoyment of the screams of pain and fear faded when he saw the dragon once again preparing to breathe out onto his grandsire. With a cry that was mingled anger and grief, the younger vampire threw himself in front of Angel and dove into the beast’s fiery maw, sword first and Buffy’s name on his lips.
With a bloodcurdling shriek, the dragon leapt into the air and exploded into a fireball that continued to ascend until it had burned out. In the sudden silence on the ground, a battered and bloody vampire leaned weakly against the scorched wall of his hotel, while a reformed witch gazed in horror at what remained of the young and brave warriors that had faced everything the Senior Partners had thrown at them, only to be defeated by humans with guns. Even as her eyes darkened again and her face began to change, she saw from the corner of her eye, the blue demi-god striding purposefully towards the large vehicles in which the armed men had been hiding. Blood trailed unnoticed from the shoulder in which the last bullet to reach a target was still lodged.
Ignoring Angel’s request that she come inside and be tended to, Illyria approached the first vehicle, casually tossing the body hanging from the window out of her way. Inside, the only sharpshooter not to have been blown up by his own returning bullets, tried frantically to make his frozen gun work. He was still trying to fight the spell Willow had tossed out when the large SUV was picked up and thrown with unerring accuracy in the direction of the Wolfram and Hart building.
As it began to come back to earth, the scream of its only living passenger echoing down the empty street, a small, feminine figure could be seen running frantically away from it. Not bothering to watch the vehicle as it landed on Eve, Illyria methodically worked her way through the small army of Wolfram and Hart security vehicles, tossing them towards the building like so many pebbles. When she ran out of SUVs, she began walking in the direction from which the demons had come, holding up an imperious hand when it appeared that the portal was going to close before she got to it. She turned and gave one last impassive look around at the devastation and ruin before jumping through the portal without so much as a backward glance at the weary vampire in whose building she had spent the past several months. The portal winked closed behind her, leaving an eerie silence broken only by the moans of the injured slayers.
As Angel began to stagger towards the loading dock and Buffy’s body, Gunn appeared in the doorway, leaning heavily on one of the slayer medics.
“Did we win?”
Angel took a last look at where the ashes of the dragon and his grandchilde had drifted to the filthy floor of the alley, and then bent to pick up the body of the woman Spike and he had both loved.
“I suppose we did,” he said dully as he walked past, handing the body off to a teary-eyed medic. Gunn hobbled back into the building after him.
“So, what now?” he asked as Angel headed for his office and pulled the door open.
“Now, I have to make some phone calls.” He pulled the door shut behind him with great finality.
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