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Chapter Thirty-Three: Just Out of Reach
A/N:Hello to anyone who is still reading this. It has been over a year since I've updated which is pretty inexcusable but my motivation and creative drive for this fic entered a comatose state over the course of the past year (you can thank uni and a very busy summer for that). I can't promise a quick follow up but I'll do my best. I'm adding a recap before the chapter because I don't expect anyone to remember what happened previously not do I expect people to reread previous chapters. I would like to thank those of you who left me reviews and emails letting me know you were still interested. I really gave me the kick I needed.

Recap: Spike escapes Giles's torture and returns to the lair just in time to save Buffy from Damon. A battle between the Spike and Damon, with the clan divided, ensues where Buffy is rescued by Giles and the Scoobies from her imprisonement. Spike loses the clan and Buffy, but eventually traces her back to Giles's headquarters. Buffy learns Cordy is alive and has been staying with the Scoobies since the raid on the Bronze. Spike intrudes on the reunion, which leads to Buffy confessing her love for him and discovering her new powers through a mishap with a wayward arrow. It's later deduced that Buffy inadvertantly claimed Spike and acquired some of his vampiric powers. Cordelia disaproves of the relationship which places strain on their friendship. Spike unwillingly joins the Scoobies against Damon and a plan is devised to fight a final battle to reclaim Sunnydale for the living. Buffy comes up with a plan to lure Damon's army into a large scale trap. Before the battle Spike refuses to return Buffy's claim, which places their relationship back on rocky ground. They both go to battle with tensions still remaining between them. We left off with Buffy flying out of a second story window to save Cordelia who had just been dragged into a crowd of vampires from her own top floor post.

Chapter Thirty-Three: Just Out of Reach

Must. Save. Cordy.

Three words. Solely those three words echoing in her mind, replaying continuously at the forefront of her thoughts, like a broken record stuck on an endless loop. The relentless internal mantra drowned out her conscience, the usually persistent voice of reason that had sustained her thus far might as well have been struck mute. She was deaf to rationality of any variation; any morsel of the natural survival instinct that resides in every human, any last vestige of rhyme or reason, was taking a backseat to her one track desperation.

Buffy’s sole concern remained with the immobile girl lying on the adjacent lawn. Her gnawing trepidation zeroed in on the twisted ankle that prevented Cordelia from returning to the safety of the main house, a fortress that would have provided much needed protection from the circling vampires were it not for her debilitating injury.

Yet as focused as she was on rescuing Cordelia, Buffy’s deadpanned sense of indignance somehow found a way to make itself heard against the sheer havoc of her thoughts.

‘C’mon! A twisted ankle? Could you guys up there get any more cliché?’

Her frustration over the whole predictably unfair circumstance which both she and her friend had been thrown into had to be abandoned. There wasn’t time to curse the irony gods for putting her in such a tight spot. She barely had a breath to spare to utter a single verbal disparagement toward the stilled heavens. Even if she had the luxury of venting, it wasn’t like anyone was listening.

Nearing Cordy, Buffy’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of her friend’s fraught attempt at survival. Her only means of defense was the ineffective waving of a cross in one hand and the threat of the deployment of the sun bomb she held in the other. The little grenade, which had been commissioned to every person in case of such an emergency, was firmly held in her grasp, held high above her head, which was enough to keep the bloodsuckers at bay. So like an island in a sea of fangs and disfigured faces, Cordelia frantically waved her weapons about, staving off any demon that sought a hole in her defenses.

Buffy watched on, her leaden feet unable to get to her friend fast enough, the panic in Cordy’s wide eyes scorched into her mind, driving her legs to push harder, to get there before it was too late.

As her heart mercilessly pounded in her ears and as the adrenaline coursed through her veins, Buffy’s tunnel vision intensified, the chaos surrounding her becoming nothing more than an inconvenient haze. One she currently found herself to be robotically navigating through in attempt to reach her wounded friend.

Run Buffy. Run. Faster.

Vampire. Shit! Okay. Stake in heart. Dust. Keep running.

Jump. Don’t trip. Keep running. Hurry up, Buffy!

Don’t stop. Can’t stop.

Another vamp. Stake. Heart. Dust.

Shit! Duck.

Run. Don’t look back. Run.

Keep running, Buffy.

Get. To. Cordy.

When exactly since her dare-deviled leap from her second story post had Buffy dusted the first vamp? She wasn’t completely sure. Neither could she recall when she had staked the second, third or even fourth vamp that had crossed her path. Her heightened focus seemed to be the cause of her hindered ability to recover all the details of her trek across the front lawn.

Nothing but the sight of Cordelia in danger warranted her attention. Not the burning ache of her muscles, not the bruises she had developed from the already forgotten tussles with the undead, not even the fear clawing its way to the surface, an inundation of panic threatening to consume her, could keep her from her mission.

Must. Save. Cordy.

Coming to the vague comprehension that the throng of vampires was becoming denser as she moved in the direction of the neighboring house, Buffy deployed the only sunbomb in her possession, having no other choice as to how she would strike a path through the swarming demons. As her eyes adjusted to the dark after the flash of white sunlight, she ungracefully skidded to a stop.

Buffy’s undeterred concentration must have been the reason why the giant pit before her seemed to have come out of no where. She was unable to mentally retrace the linear course of events that had brought her to the edge of the man made moat that surrounded the entire property. The same one with an interior lined with large wooden pikes meant to dust the unfortunate vampire that fell into the trap; an obstacle which also posed a danger of impalement to any human who shared the same fate. An experience Buffy gladly wished to avoid. She forced herself to focus, to draw her attention away for the briefest second so she could devise a strategy to cross this river of sticks.

The sudden sense of awareness made Buffy conscious of the menacing growl that reverberated behind her. Instinctively, she turned around to grab hold of the vampire’s arm, tripping him over her outstretched leg as she spun them about, sending him flying chest first into the chasm. The demon exploded into ash when one of the many sharpened planks found its mark. Hearing another snarl, Buffy instantly crouched, sending another charging vampire into the pit, his flight finishing with a very dusty end.

Staring momentarily as the vampire’s remains were swept away by the late summer breeze, a plan began to formulate in her mind, the once squeaky wheels in her head turning with an idea.

With no time available to second guess herself, Buffy pushed the next of countless assailing vampires into the trap, ensuring that her aim was a little off, causing the vamp to be pierced through the gut as opposed to the chest.

She ignored the gruesome sight of the impaled creature, refusing to hear the screams of agony that filtered through the void around her as the vamp fought gravity to free itself.

Buffy turned back to face the next vampire that was approaching, evading the blows he threw her way. She ducked beneath the last punch, scurrying behind the vamp so she could deliver the hardest roundhouse kick her newly heightened strength could afford. The caught off guard demon flew over the surprisingly powerful human’s first victim and by some form of miracle had avoided being skewered by the forest of pikes beneath him. Instead the vampire had caught hold of one of the taller wooden columns, his bleeding hands clutching desperately at the pointed top, holding on for dear unlife so as to not fall to his doom.

With one last glance over her shoulder at the horde of undead encroaching closer to the moat’s edge, Buffy sprang forward, leaping into the chasm. And like stepping stones in a stream, she skipped across the danger of the pikes on the heads of the two vampires she had strategically tossed within the vampire death trap. As her foot lifted off of the head of the second vampire, Buffy propelled herself forward, somersaulting through the air, giving her enough momentum to land on the solid ground on the opposite side of the moat.

Scrambling to her feet, nor giving herself a moment’s time to ponder the fact that she had just pulled some serious Xena meets Spiderman moves, she bolted to Cordelia, leaping into the air, dealing the first of many vampires swarming her friend one solid high kick to the back of the head.

“Buffy!” Cordy called out in both panic and relief as she futilely attempted to pick herself up.

Slamming her fist into the face of one vamp and then shooting her arm out to clothesline another, Buffy found herself with enough of a window of time to help her friend up from off the ground before the next inevitable onslaught of undead returned.

“Lean on me,” she ordered, wrapping Crodelia’s arm around her neck so she could support her injured friend, her stalwart gaze never leaving the group of vamps around her.

“Buffy, we’re trapped,” Cordelia cried in despair.

The sight of her best friend sprinting right at her, as though she had materialized from thin air, breaking her way through the thick demonic rabble like a valkyrie sent down from the heavens, had given Cordelia the smidgen of hope she was now desperately holding onto. And though the prospects of escaping the mess she was currently imprisoned in was only slightly better now with Buffy here at her side, Cordy knew that they weren’t out of the woods yet. Not even close.

“Come on,” Buffy urged, pulling Cordelia back toward the house, ignoring the brunette’s shrilled commentary on their current situation.

Staggering slightly with half of Cordelia’s weight on her right side, Buffy glanced back to see the vampire’s blocking her path to the house. They were still circling the two women, the gaps Buffy had inflicted on their ranks now filled in by the increasing number of Damon’s vamps taking notice of the scene in front of the main headquarters.

Buffy had to think fast. She was surrounded in every direction. She had to get Cordy back into the house, just less than twenty feet and about ten vamps away.

Bad odds.

Buffy considered just taking the chance and bolting for the front door but she didn’t want to turn her back on the significantly larger group of vampires she’d be leaving behind. It was too risky. Ergo her current dilemma.

In the corner of her eye she caught sight of the cross and, more importantly, the sunbomb still held tightly in Cordelia’s clenched hands. A plan formed instantaneously in her head.

Grabbing the grenade out of her friend’s clutches, Buffy pulled the pin and tossed it over her shoulder in the direction of the house.

“Don’t look behind you,” she vaguely instructed Cordy before she started taking back steps toward the sanctuary of home base.

Cordelia did as she was told, stumbling as Buffy led her backwards.

Upon impact, the bomb released the simulated sunlight composed of the harmful UV radiation which was deadly to vampires, but would only inflict a mild sunburn on any human who fell within its blast radius. A whoosh of air flew past them and screams resounded from behind, yet both women kept facing forward. If they turned to see the vampire obstacles turn to dust there was a good chance they’d be blinded by the intense light.

As the ball of light expanded further out, Buffy could feel the warmth of it on the back of her neck. From her peripheral vision she could see the brightness about to completely engulf them.

“Close your eyes,” she yelled out, picking up the pace as she dragged Cordelia further back across the lawn.

Blindly ambling in reverse toward the safety of the house, a moan of relief escaped Buffy’s lips when her back hit a brick wall. Realizing that the warm feeling, akin to being out in the sun in the middle of the day, had dissipated, her eyes shot open. The sight before her was a giant clearing of grassy lawn that had once held at least fifty vamps on the prowl. They had walked through the light and now all they needed to do was get to the door.

The vampires, however, were learning quickly. The fear of the strange devices was diminishing with every use. They weren’t hesitant to move after its detonation nor did they run in the opposite direction. No. Once the harsh and fatal light vanished, the surviving vamps would dash back in the direction of where the sunbomb had gone off because in that direction laid the human who was hurtling those pesky grenades at them.

Though the sunbomb had enabled Buffy to get Cordelia across the lawn with some remote sense of safety, the hoard was already closing in on them, strategically blocking their path to the house’s front entrance. The only thing standing between them and their protective sanctuary was a ridiculously immense gathering of now really pissed off vampires.

Turning hastily to Cordy, Buffy handed her one of her stakes, pressing it against her friend’s chest, wrapping the brunette’s hand around the weapon, ensuring Cordelia had a firm grasp of the lifesaving sharpened piece of wood.

“Take this.”

Cordelia clutched at the stake with a trembling hand. “Buffy, what are you gonna do?” she asked bewildered, her panic rising at what seemed to be insurmountable odds of surviving this new ordeal. They were out of sunbombs.

“Just stay behind me and don’t let go of the wall,” she instructed loudly over the resounding roars of the incoming demonic legion.

Cordy stared anxiously at her intended savior. “Are you nuts?!”

“We don’t have a choice.” It was the only argument Buffy would supply before turning her back to her best friend, acting as the only barrier between Cordelia and the remainder of hell’s army charging right at them. Even if she had to kill one vamp at a time to get to the door, she would.

“Buffy, no!”

The pleading cry immediately melded into the dominating noise that surrounded them as Buffy flew through the air into the undead crowd. The first strike of her stake had plunged into the first chest without much effort since the vamp had thrown itself at her. The dust hadn’t even settled before she was duking it out with the next two, simultaneous punches and kicks employed to battle the fanged monsters. Before her stake found its mark on the second vamp, another four attacked.

It was as though with every vamp she killed, twice as many would emerge from the darkness. The worst of it was that she hadn’t gotten Cordelia much farther from where she had left her against the wall. The short distance to salvation may as well have been a thousand miles away with all of hell standing in their path.

And suddenly there were just too many for Buffy to fight off, even with those still incomprehensible reverse-claims-endowed powers. Her moves were now mechanical, with no room for creativity, no space for drawn out brawls. Vamps went up in dust all around, bursting in erratic blasts as Buffy exacted every cold blooded monster within arms reach with frantic thrusts of her stake.

It still wasn’t enough. Vampire speed and strength couldn’t compete with the numbers. Hands were grabbing at her arms, pulling at her hair; roars were ringing in her ears. She glanced back and saw that Cordelia was facing the same problem, shoving back vamps with cross in one hand and gouging them with her only weapon, unable to meet the mark of their demonic hearts.

The droplet of water that unexpectedly splattered on her overheated cheek awoke her from the sluggish haze her overwhelmed senses had induced. As the world around her flew in fast forward speeds, Buffy’s turned upward. What she saw was nothing short of a blessing.

Coming down upon her, and more importantly, upon her blood thirsting enemies, was a barrage of holy water balloons. Alabaster skin hissed and ferocious growls erupted all around her as the first wave of sacrosanct missiles burst upon impact.

Standing as though her feet were cemented to the ground, Buffy’s mind needed a few seconds to process their sudden change in fortune. She could hear her fellow comrades calling out to her, screaming to her to come into the house. Through the jumbled mess of her mind, Buffy could discern Giles’s voice, issuing orders to increase the archers’ shooting range. It wasn’t long before arrows were whizzing by her, skewering vampires left right and center.

A foreign voice infiltrated her thoughts, its calm, firm tone imploring her to move. “Get Cordelia. Get in the house.”

Buffy glanced over her shoulder, her gaze met with that of the black eyed witch. Transfixed by Willow’s steady and somewhat hypnotic gaze, she nearly jumped out of her skin when the “Now!” that roared through her head matched the words mouthed by Willow’s frowning lips.

Shocked back into action, Buffy was propelled forward with a sudden rush of adrenaline. Bolting in Cordelia’s direction, she ran past the distracted vampires, stopping a couple of times along the way to fight through the bloodied mayhem.

Without a single word uttered, Buffy grabbed onto Cordelia’s upper arm, assisting her hopping friend to the front door now that the blockade that had once hindered them had dwindled significantly in number. Though their prospects appeared as though they were improving, Fortune’s fickle graces had left them with the unexpected emergence of enraged vampires, their searing skin and punctured limbs sending them into rabid frenzy, roaring as they pounced upon them.

Cordelia stumbled back at the force of the assault desperately clinging to the wall in attempt to get back on her feet. Buffy stared up from the ground from where she had fallen, her breath caught in her throat from the sight of five pairs of amber eyes staring down at her. She kicked her feet out, hoping to stun those closest to her legs to give her enough room to break through Satan’s circle. But the vampire’s refused to relent. Instead one of the vampires grabbed her by the collar, lifting her square off the ground.

With face full of vampire, Buffy squirmed and wriggled, kicked and punched, to free herself but to no avail. A fleeting glance to Cordelia had almost rendered her in a state of devastated paralysis. One vampire in the quintet must have branched off, since he was now looming over Cordy, pressing her against the rough brick of the house’s wall as he lowered his fangs to her neck.

As the dreadful scene unfolded before her, Buffy’s surroundings turned fluid, everything moved at a viscous rate. Noises became muted and garbled, and the hazy world was fading away in the distance. It was as though she was drowning, her mind shutting down so to cope with the fact that she had failed.

Cordelia was going to die and she would soon follow. Her rescue had been in vain and now she would die without having had the chance to reconcile with Spike.

“Spike,” she mournfully choked out, a tear trickling down her cheek with immeasurable regret strangling her heart.


Stars. Tiny diamonds sparkling in a sea of tar black sky.

Flat on his back, they blinked their tiny lights at him. Funny how the earthly bound distractions encountered during one’s meager existence made it so easy to forget their constant heavenly vigil from above, even their mere presence. Though never leaving their celestial location throughout both his mortal and immortal lives, these quiet stars appeared so foreign, so misplaced when juxtaposed to the chaos that ravaged beneath them.

‘You’re seein’ stars alright you ponce,’ his sense of reason chimed in. ‘Now get the fuck up and give that Wanker what’s comin’ to ‘im before Buffy gets torn limb from limb.’

May as well have been a bucket of ice water thrown over him the way he broke from his poetic reverie, swinging his legs in the air to give him enough leverage to jump to his feet. With a thunderous roar and without any form of pretense, he sent his fist flying at his smug nemesis, plowing the other vampire to the ground.

Holding onto his face, Damon rolled and groaned in pain.

Spike kicked him without restraint, aiming for his exposed sides and groin. Taking in a large breath of air to get his wits about him, he took a step back from the crippled vamp.

“An’ that’s for sullyin’ her good name,” he spat before taking off in a sprint toward Buffy.

With his eyes never leaving her, he watched in both horror and awe, in fear and pride as she took on legions of murderous vampires in the vain hope to rescue that damned cheerleader. He had witnessed it all from afar; her catapulting herself over the deadly chasm, her use of the sunbomb to bring her and Cordelia closer to the house and her current fight against the ravenous vamps amongst the shower of holy water and arrows, all the while forcing himself to the edge of his vampiric abilities of reach her.

Cutting around that death trap that was the makeshift moat between the adjacent houses, he had to traverse more ground, delaying him further. The torture of having her in his view but unable to do anything until he got to her was near unbearable but much like the steadfast resolution he had seen in her face as she had leapt from the safety of her post and dashed to the aid of her friend, he too had taken on an inhuman sort of determination, urging himself to nearly tear every muscle and ligament in his body so that he could reach her in time.

Time was what was against him. Nothing else. Buffy didn’t have much of it left and if he didn’t intervene, jump in and join her brawl to reach sanctified shelter, Spike knew she was good as dead.

It was why the sight of her stricken to the ground and then hefted up in the air like a child’s rag doll had almost knocked him to his knees. For a fleeting moment he thought he was too late, that he had allowed his love to perish without ever having asked for her forgiveness. In what was to be the longest second of his unlife, Spike was convinced Buffy was doomed and that his shit smear of an existence would soon follow her into oblivion.

His feet, and legs, and arms, however, seemed to function on different component of his brain, clearly disconnected from his heart. If anything, the revelation of impending disaster sent him into a speed that rivaled any earth walking creature. He was almost flying; the tips of his feet barely scraping the ground as he raced to Buffy. Desperation took on a new meaning as his feet tore through the grassy lawn.


The noise sounded as if it were a clap of thunder, rolling toward her like a runaway stampede, drawing both her and her would be attacker’s attention away from the fact his mouth was in close proximity to her neck. Snapping his head in the direction of the booming sound, the vampire wasn’t given time to even brace himself before his former Master ploughed into his side, the peroxide blonde deafening him with the sonic resonance of his belligerently incensed roar.

“Get off ‘f her,” he hollered, swiftly striking the vamp in the face with a rock-solid blow, sending his opponent crashing to the ground without a single attempt at defending himself.

Staggering back from the momentum of Spike assault, Buffy regained her balance and lifted her disorientated gaze to her savior.

The world screeched to a halt when familiar blue eye were suddenly staring back at her. They were both panting, though Spike’s heaving chest was more a vestigial emotional reaction than a necessity for breath. In this brief span of time, they were alone and the rest of the world was veiled in a layer of ethereal smoke, blurring its presence around them.

“Buffy…” Spike finally spoke through the prolonged silence.

Buffy would have replied but she was at a loss for words, still frazzled by his unexpected appearance, not to mention that he had just saved her from becoming vamp’s midnight snack. Luckily for her the intrusion on their suspended sense of reality in the form of Cordelia’s hysterical screams broke the trance they had fallen under.

Snapping out of his reverie, Spike dashed the ten paces separating him and Buffy’s friend, who was currently contending with a vamp who had a mouthful of her neck between his fangs. Ripping the demon off of the Prom Queen, he effortlessly tossed the vamp a hundred feet straight into the pike lined moat.

Confusion clearing, Cordelia held the wound of her neck as she stared dumbfounded at the vampire before her.

Spike watched on as the girl attempted to formulate some for of speech but the astonishment must have been too overwhelming. “Well what are you waiting for?” he asked irately. “Get in the soddin’ house already!”

Cordy reeled slightly at his brusque tone but quickly ignored her instinctive reaction to bitch back since another three hungry looking vampires were already heading in their way.

“T-thanks,” she stammered out before quickly hobbling to the front door, which she clumsily opened and fell ungracefully into the hallway, dragged completely inside by the few nurses that had been stationed in the house’s front lobby.

“How Buffy and that stupid bint are bosom chums I’ll never know,” Spike offhandedly commented, baffled by the girl’s lack of common sense in jeopardizing her safety just to show him a bit of gratitude.

Speaking of Buffy he spun around, expecting her to be neck deep in vamp dust, brawling it out with the dwindling few that remained scattered on the front lawn. What greeted him instead was a sight far worse than anything he could have ever envisioned.

Not twenty feet away was Buffy struggling against Damon as he held her arms behind her back, his bright fanged smile mere inches from her now twice threatened neck. Glancing around, Spike noticed that the few vampires that did remain had halted their attack on the houses, instead moving to Damon’s flanks, their eyes following their leader’s, boring into their former Master and now enemy.

“Come now, Spike. She can’t be that bad. Afterall she did get away,” Damon mirthfully argued. “That’s more than we can say for our precious Buffy here.” He said her name with a disgusted growl, shaking the girl in the painful grasp.

Spike shifted forward at the sight of Buffy’s silent wince. Her eyes were wide as saucers but she refused to vocalize fear. Damon wouldn’t get that form of satisfaction from her.

Buffy’s stomach churned as she felt the vampire press himself against her, his erection rubbing the cleft of her ass. Her breath caught in throat. It wasn’t a secret that Damon had some twisted fascination with her, whether because he wanted her, body and blood, or because she was Spike’s, Buffy wasn’t sure. What she knew for sure was that he would use her for leverage against the terror struck vamp standing before them. Damon’s attempt to make her his in the physical sense the same night Spike had returned to her as an escaped hostage made her certain of it.

“Better stay right there, William. Wouldn’t want to do anything brash with your girl between a rock and hard place.” He accentuated the last part with a vulgar thrust of his hips.

Spike roared, taking a lunging step forward. “Get your fucking hands off ‘f her!”

Damon’s self-satisfied smirk didn’t waver as his free hand snaked up Buffy’s body, purposely groping her breast before wrapping his fingers around her slim neck. “Not a chance. It’s too much fun watching you squirm,” he chirped, his mouth edging closer to Buffy’s neck. “Payback’s a bitch ain’t it?”