He heard her laugh before he saw her, felt the weight of his body pulling at his shoulder blades, smelled the death and decay that permeated the room as he slowly regained consciousness.
“My Spike, I knew you'd come back to me.”
He managed to raise his head, groaning as the shift pulled at his muscles, his arms twisting in the shackles he was strapped in. Bloody hell.
Drusilla smiled as he raised his head, tipping his chin up further with one slim finger, the tip of her nail blood red and manicured to a deadly point. “You've been a bad, bad boy.” She snapped at him, then traced the tip of her nail up his face, and ruffled his slicked back hair.
“But I like my boys bad, my Spike.” She laughed, a trill he'd once worshipped, and twirled around the room, touching the faces of the other vampires who circled the open room. All clones of him. “See, so many pretty, pretty bad boys that love me, don't you, my pets?”
He recognized the place now, the lobby of the ramshackle hotel that had Angel had lived in before he moved on up into the sky at Wolfram & Hart. Trust Dru to pick this spot. He was surprised she didn't have Angel clones as well. Maybe she didn't love her Daddy best after all.
A groan to his left caught his attention and he turned as best he could, finding the Slayer similarly chained across the room, head down, probably still out of it. Two or three vamps were standing around as though to guard her, but the look of hunger on their faces suggested they were just waiting for the word. This didn't look good.
He tested his chains again, the metal holding firm. He needed to get Dru to unlock him, get to the Slayer and set her free. The two of them together maybe stood a chance, but alone . . . he scanned the room full of the fledglings. They were new, probably not trained, but the sheer numbers. He noted one at the side, a cattle prod still grasped in his hand. Oh right, there was that. Must have been what they took them out with.
He heard another groan and the Slayer started to stir, attracting the attention of more vampires. He didn't have much time before they'd go for her.
“Dru, darling, I heard you were in town, I had to come and find you,” he called, flashing his best smile and fluttering his baby blues at her. She'd always liked him to be a bit of a flirt with her.
She turned from the vampire she was fondling, her hand fluttering to her chest as she smiled, almost child like. “You did, my Spike? I knew you would. Miss Edith told me – she told me if I made my pretty dollies, you'd come back to me again.” Her shoulders slumped. “The others are gone, gone away, and the stars told me you were lost too, but they were wrong.”
She waltzed towards him, her body swaying back and forth in that familiar hypnotizing motion he remembered all too well. “I've been so lonely without you.”
He doubted that. Dru, for all her little girl mannerisms, had a surprising ability to land catlike on her feet no matter where they were. Up until Prague . . .
But even then, she'd known he would take care of her. He stared into her green eyes, wide and delighted as she swept closer, giggling as she pressed against him, her fingers buried in his hair again. “No more little wires making my Spike writhe and ache,” she whispered in his ear. “You can play with me again. Won't you? Mommy and Daddy are gone, they're all gone, and I tire of these children. Don't leave me alone again.”
He looked down into her eyes, watching as she slid into game face. He'd loved that face once. She was a striking vampire, her golden eyes alight, the set of her face deadly and dangerous and beautiful, like a cobra ready to strike. But there was more there. There was a tiredness about her eyes. She wasn't lying about being lonely – she'd always been a social creature, never more happy than when surrounded by her family. Even when it had just been the two of them, he knew she'd missed having Angelus and Darla around.
He closed his eyes for a second, letting the waves of so many years of memories wash over him. The death and destruction he lived with – it still haunted him, but there had been good times as well. She was his maker, his first lover, his dark mistress, and there had never been anyone else like her. He understood her craving for family. First Darla, then Angel. Even when they'd gone their own ways, they'd still known the others were there. But now . . . now it was only the two of them left.
“Don't let the glow of the sunshine inside keep you from me now,” she whispered into his ear as she leaned in close, and he knew she could sense the soul inside. “You're stronger than Daddy. You can fight it.” He felt the slide of her nail against his cheek again, the burn of her slicing his skin and the sweet caress of her tongue as she drew from his blood.
“It's always the blood, my Spike. It calls to us,” she crooned, whirling back and laughing madly.
“That it does, my love,” he replied. “Now when do I get a taste?”
Buffy hissed with pain as she came to, her senses buzzing with the prickles that signaled vamps ahoy. She rolled her head to the side, cracking one eye open as she took a survey of the room.
Vamps ahoy alright. More like crawling with them. She tried to do a mental head count, got to twenty and stopped. Final tally? Somewhere in the neighborhood of way bad.
She tilted her head again, noting that the couple guarding her seemed riveted on something on the other side of the room. She eased her eye open again and swallowed hard. Spike. In chains. Being macked on by Drusilla.
“What do you want to taste?” she heard the female vampire coo.
“I'd like a taste of you, pidge, but I think I'll need my strength for that.” His voice was low, that seductive purr that always made her tingle. “I'm betting a taste of the Slayer over there would be just what I need. You remember that Slayer in China, don't you?”
Buffy felt her blood run cold as they laughed together, before Drusilla pulled down Spike's head and tangled her tongue around his. The slurping echoed loud and clear across the room and she felt the bile rising in her throat.
He'd said he was here to stop Dru. Had it all been some kind of trap? An elaborate ruse? She had him in chains, but . . . she felt the blush rise to her cheeks. As she recalled, Spike kind of liked chains. Maybe this was a game for them.
“I've missed you, Dru. Unchain me, love, and let me have a taste so we can-” His voice dropped and even with Slayer hearing she couldn't make out his words, but given the way Drusilla was rubbing against him like a cat in heat, she could imagine.
She pulled at the chains, but there was no give. Must be enchanted. She tried to remember that simple lock picking spell Willow had tried to teach her. Was it aperire? Open sesame? Neither seemed to work.
She felt the panic start to rise up like something writhing from her belly, and all she could do was stare at him across the room, watching as he stared at Drusilla, his eyes trained on her as though she was everything he'd ever wanted.
She'd tried to prepare herself for this, but deep inside, she knew why she'd come alone. She believed it would still be him. The one she'd loved. The one she'd lost. The one she still loved. And now she was going to have to kill him.
She took a deep breath, flexing her wrists, trying for a little more give as she raised her head. No point in playing like she was out of it now. Drusilla unlocked one cuff from around Spike's wrist, giving a little lick to the torn skin there, then the other, her thin arms encircling him as he staggered slightly, then rose to his feet.
Buffy met his eyes across the way, the cool blue that was assessing her as the pair made their way across the open floor together, still intertwined. She could see he was sizing her up, and she threw her head back in defiance, nostrils flaring as she rattled the chains again.
Drusilla caught his hand and twirled herself around him. “Look, Spike, the nasty Slayer is awake. Do you think she'll scream? Maybe we should drink together!”
“Perhaps we can share, pet.”
He caught her mid-twirl and dipped her other his arm, leaning to plant a kiss on Drusilla's throat as she leaned back. He raised his head from Dru and caught Buffy's eye again, softer now. “A hundred plus years, and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of. You.”
She felt something come alive inside, unfurling and warming her as she watched him raise Drusilla and follow her across the room. She dropped her head back down.
“Unchain her, Dru. Need to get a little circulation pumping, make the blood sweeter. She's hardly a match in this condition for a room full of vampires.”
Buffy tensed as she felt Drusilla lean in, snapping her teeth by her ear. “We're going to have a treat, treat, treat, so sweet, sweet, sweet.” Cool fingers encircled her wrist and she felt the click of a key freeing her left side.
She let her arm drop like a stone, trying to suppress a shiver as Drusilla brushed behind her and reached for her other wrist. She could see Spike in front of her, his shoes moving a step closer so that she was pinned between them as Drusilla turned the key with a snick and leaned forward.
“You ready, love?” he asked.
“Ready,” Buffy replied, jerking her arm away as Drusilla hissed with rage and grabbed at her hair.
She butted her head back, then ducked as she watched Spike's arm swing overhead, a stake clutched in his hand as he buried the wood into the chest of his maker. Buffy could hear Drusilla's gasp as she whispered, “William,” then exploded into a shower of dust.
She straightened, feeling for the extra stake she kept hidden in the top of her boot, to find Spike frozen, his face blank as the room full of vamps, looking half-dazed, began to stumble towards their direction. She arced up, dusting the ones on each side of them in a one-two combo as they lurched forward, then snapped her fingers in front of Spike's face.
“Spike, need some help here.”
With a roar, he turned, like a berserker possessed, and threw himself into the melee at her side. The numbers were daunting, but the vampires were young and ill-trained, and she found herself falling into familiar patterns as Spike fought with her, in a rhythm they perfected long ago.
The tide turned and she saw a few vamps make for the door as they dusted those who remained, still foolhardy enough to think they stood a chance. Within minutes the room was silent, small piles of ash and two pairs of chains the remnants of what had been.
He sat down heavily next to the gray smudge beneath where she'd been chained, his hand sifting through the ashes that lay there. “Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis,” he murmured. “May you find your peace now.”
Buffy stood awkwardly, unsure of what to do now. She watched his bowed head, his hand still touching the ashes, and moved towards him, letting her hand rest on his shoulder. “I could have done it, Spike.”
He looked up, shaking his head. “No. She was mine and I was hers – wouldn't be right to let someone else. And perhaps there's some part of her, that sweet girl that Angelus drove mad, that can be at rest now.”
He gave a half-smile. “It's why you came alone too, isn't it? I'm yours to take care of.”
She wanted to deny it, but he'd know it was a lie. She nodded slowly.
He held out his stake. “Be my guest.”
The wood hit her hand and she threw the stake across the room, eyes narrowed. “Why the hell would you ask me to do that, Spike?”
He rose wearily. “I'm tired, Slayer. I've given it a couple of good turns. Think I'd like to find my own peace now.”
He turned and began mounting the steps and she followed behind him as they climbed higher and higher until she realized where he was leading her. The roof.
He opened the door and walked out, inhaling the night air that was just beginning to lighten. She followed behind.
“What are you doing?”
He smiled, and pulled a packet of cigarettes out. “Just having a bit of a smoke. Staking an ex wears a bit on the nerves.”
“Spike, I don't understand what happened here.” Buffy paced to the edge, surveying the alley below. “I don't even know how you came back. Was it Angel?”
He shook his head. “Not directly. Used to be a law firm here. Wolfram and Hart. Angel . . . Angel went to work for them, awhile back. Thought he could change things from the inside. Some other goings on – I got pulled into it. Magic amulet we used in Sunnydale got shipped back to Peaches and poof, Spike's back.”
She stared down to the pavement below, afraid to look at him. “When?” she asked.
“More than a year ago. Was complicated though. Wasn't solid right off, almost got dragged back to hell, tied to Broody for a bit. Pain in the arse.”
He'd been back for more than a year. And she hadn't known.
She glanced over at him and he gave a half-smile. “It all worked itself out. I'm as I was.”
“Soul?” he asked. “Still there.”
“I'm glad,” she murmured. “After all you went through for it.”
He shrugged and fell silent.
“So then what?” she prompted.
He walked to the edge beside her. “Angel decided to take on the big boys. He tried, you know. Best he could, but it all ended down there . . ." He trailed off, as he gestured below.
"What happened, exactly?" Buffy asked.
He took a drag on his cigarette, letting the smoke escape slowly. "You don't know? He asked you for help."
She shook her head. “When was this?”
“Last May. We saw you in Rome, a few weeks before that.”
She stared at him, puzzled. “I haven't been to Rome this year. May . . . I think I was in Iceland then. They send me on recruitment missions. Face of the Slayers, that's me."
He gave a small snort. "Never though you'd let them make you just a pretty face."
She frowned, although a small part of her was pleased that he seemed to still think she was pretty. "I'm more than that," she responded, but her voice lacked real conviction.
He shrugged. "If you say so, Slayer. I wasn't exactly in the loop on it all, but the word from Angel was that the Watcher's Council wasn't interested. Can't quite blame Giles, I suppose. Angel was pulling some pretty nasty tricks there, towards the end. Trying to get inside the Circle of the Black Thorn, play their own game to take them down."
He flicked the ash of the cigarette away. "Was a good try."
She waited, impatient for more. "Well?"
He raised an eyebrow.
He sighed. "Angel pissed some folks off, not just the flunkies. They unleashed the hordes of hell and we faced them down in an alley. That alley back there," he indicated with a flick of his wrist. "Dragons, demons, things I've never seen before. Bad stuff. Weren't many of us left by then. But we did what had to be done - plunged in and went to work."
He dropped the cigarette to the ground, his hands nervously patting at his jacket for another. He busied himself with pulling another from a pack, finding his lighter, and inhaling from the newly lit cigarette before he continued. She was surprised that his hand had a slight tremble to it.
"It was bad, Slayer. You'd have been proud of him. Don't ever think I saw him look that way before. We tried our best, but the odds . . . band of buggered is what we were. Was only a matter of time till they finished us all off. Some horned bastard, don't even know what he was, covered in slime and missing a eye, had knocked my sword to the mouth of the alley, and I went after him trying to stop him with fists and fangs. We tumbled right to the end, and I got a good angle, popped his neck 'bout the time I heard this roar behind."
He stood up and walked away for a minute, the smooth flash of silver from his lighter catching the moonlight as he flipped it over and over.
"Don't know what happened. Somebody bigger than any of us in that alley decided to put a stop to it. There was a flash of light, and a pop, and they were gone."
"Just . . . gone?" Buffy asked.
He nodded. "I was the only one remaining. Don't know if it was 'cause that bloody demon knocked me out into the street, or . . . of if I just wasn't . . ."
"Wasn't enough, for whoever stopped things, to take along for the ride. For all I bloody well know, Angel and the others are trapped in hell fighting those demons for eternity!" he growled.
"And you wish you were there with them?" she asked softly.
He was silhouetted on the other side of the roof now. "I'd found a place of sorts here. A purpose. Never thought I'd say I missed him, but . . . I understood more, when I got the soul. Didn't mean I liked him, but-"
"I understand," Buffy said.
“I looked a bit, after, tried to find a portal to where they'd gone, but the demons in this town were scared. Shook up. Was like they'd never existed and no one would talk about what happened. So I left and went north, until I heard about Dru. And you know how that ended.”
He stubbed out his cigarette and crossed his arms. “Your turn.”
“What do you want to know?” she asked. “We left Sunnydale, after. The first few weeks – I wasn't sure we were going to make it. But Giles started calling people, connections, and the next thing I know we're in England and the Watcher's Council is being reformed.”
“Rupert the head now?” Spike asked.
She nodded. “Yeah. And Willow and Xander are involved. It's . . . pretty big. We have a castle, and there are all these slayers now, so many more than were in Sunnydale.”
She crossed the rooftop and stood next to him, watching as the sky began to barely lighten. “What did you mean about seeing me in Rome?”
He shook his head. “Not important.”
“It was Arianne you saw. She's my double there.”
“Your double?” he raised an eyebrow.
Buffy nodded. “There are a couple of girls – Willow's gotten good at glamours, even long-term ones. So the Council thought it'd be good to have a decoy, kind of throw the baddies off if they thought I was living it up.”
“Had me fooled.” His eyes swept over her slowly before he turned away. “Sun'll be up soon.”
“So that's it?” She felt the frustration rising in her. “You stake that, that bitch, and you want to take a walk in the sun?”
He shrugged. “We don't all have castles and councils. I've lived a long time, Buffy. Done a lot of harm, done a little good. There's a point when there's not much left to live for.”
She frowned and moved closer to him. “What about all those reasons you gave me for not wanting the world to end? Like, like dog racing, and that soccer team.”
“And happy meals on legs?” he chuckled. “Soul tends to put a bit of a damper on some of my prior enjoyments.”
She took a deep breath and stepped even closer, forcing him to look up at her. “And what about me?”
He tilted his head to the side and smiled at her. “You're still a hell of a woman. Always will be, I suspect.”
“Why didn't you try to find me, after you came back?”
He looked away. “Couldn't at first. After . . . figured you had a life to live. Still do.”
He stood and brushed past her, walking to the far side of the roof where she could see him against the sky growing lighter by the minute.
“It's still true.”
He half-turned. “What's that?”
“I still love you.” She walked forward with determination. “And I'm not just saying it. What was had wasn't pretty, or easy, but it was real. And if I'd had a single clue that you were here, I'd have been here sooner. So you can throw yourself on the pyre, and pretend like what we had didn't matter. Or you can come back inside with me, and we can go on living. Together.”
She rose up on her toes and pressed her lips to his, then turned and walked towards the door, her hands clenched to keep from shaking. The heavy metal clanged shut behind her and she stood there, waiting, trying to stop the tears she felt gathering in her eyes. The sun would be up in only a few minutes, and the creeping rays would catch him soon after that on the bare exposed roof. Stupid vampire.
She turned, about to head back out and plead her case again when the door swung open, and he appeared in a swirl of black leather, pinning her against the wall of the stairwell.
“You mean it?”
She nodded as she linked her arms around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss, her heart at rest.
Thanks for reading!