Rating: R for violence and fighting in this chapter
Summary: In a dystopian future, the Senior Partners sent a horde of demons to overrun Angel and his crew, and the Senior Partners won. Buffy and her friends are on the hunt for something to save the world, and on one mission, Buffy finds something belonging to someone she never thought she’d see again. After all, he lit up in the Sunnydale hellmouth, saving the world from a different source of evil.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Joss owns all.
Author's Note: I ran out of time...I have no idea where May went. This is skating in under the wire and I missed my posting day. Thank you to slaymesoftly for giving me a poke. But here is chapter four to my WIP. Typos are all me. This is a good chapter for Seasonal Spuffy because Buffy is on the hunt for Spike and there is a big reveal and lots of action.
You can read the first three chapters here: https://dark-solace.org/elysian/viewstory.php?sid=6887
“Damn, this place is a slaughterhouse. Blood and guts everywhere,” Faith said, peering into the rooms on the lower floors in the building where Willow had been held captive.
“I know,” Buffy said tiredly.
Buffy knew Faith had little taste for gore – a fair fight but not complete carnage. Even though it wasn’t preferred, they’d all gotten used to seeing things that couldn’t be unseen. Even Andrew didn’t even flinch and shriek anymore. Buffy didn’t know if the desensitization was a good thing or a bad thing though she assumed that her desire to get away from this place was some indication that she wasn’t completely hardened. Not yet.
Of course, Willow had insisted on coming with them in case there was something she could help with even if she didn’t have her magical fuel built back up again. “I don’t think the K’nyck actually had any say over how the rest of the building was run.”
“Stockholm Syndrome,” Faith insisted. “You had. . . have it. Know what that is, and it’s not a good thing.”
Buffy dismissed this assertion. “Wait until you see where she was held. It looked like – ”
Continuing to avoid really looking into any of the rooms or at the bloodstains on the walls, Willow completed Buffy’s sentence. “A fancy penthouse.”
“And at least this time, I’m not soaked from the rain,” Buffy said somewhat cheerfully – a cheer that felt hollow in the darkness. Vi had gifted them ponchos she’d found somewhere along the way. The rain was still coming down in buckets. Like the moonlight, Buffy had no clue how that worked given the lack of sunlight, but she was grateful to not be drenched like before.
“They won’t really help in a fight,” Faith groused. “Sleeves’ll get in the way.”
“There are lots of ways to use ponchos in a fight,” Buffy said.
“Suffocation, strangulation, flimsy shield against claws or pointy bits?” Willow asked, sounding way too bright for their surroundings in an echo of Buffy.
“Look at the witch, being creative with the killing,” Faith teased as they reached the final staircase.
Willow shrugged as she ran up the steps ahead of them. “Got to be. Without magic or Slayer strength of my own, improvisation is key.”
“Tell me about it,” Buffy said, thinking back to the time Giles sapped her powers in the Council trial or when she felt powerless against that first uber-vamp. There were lots of very powerful demons here now – lots of unknowns. Even research didn’t help much nowadays because most of the monsters were in the books. That’s why Dawn and Giles were always thrilled when there were “samples” to research and document. They had quite a compendium of new demons going.
At the top of the stairs, Buffy immediately noticed that the door to the “penthouse” was open. She whispered, “Um, did we shut it when we left?”
Willow hesitated, her hand on the way up to push open the door. The worry line appeared between her eyes, and she gripped her blade. “I dunno. Did we?” Swallowing, she set her jaw. “I think we shut it.”
Faith closed in softly behind them. “I don’t hear anything.”
All three women strained to hear. Nothing.
Faith silently stripped off the wet poncho, and Buffy and Willow followed suit. The plastic made a small wet lump on the clean floor.
Buffy nodded at Willow. “Be careful,” she mouthed as she gripped her scythe, preparing to push past her friend to attack.
Taking a deep breath and holding it, Willow nudged the door further open.
Of course, the world’s largest shriek emitted from the hinges.
“Fuck,” whispered Faith.
Buffy elbowed her into silence, and they all listened again. This time, there was a soft skittering sound like claws of a dog on the floor. After Buffy exchanged a look with Faith, the two Slayers pushed past Willow and entered the apartment as silent as stalking cats.
Everything was as pristine as Buffy and Willow had left it – only now the lights were dimmed. Low lights were interspersed like nightlights dotting the way. Shadows swam up from the walls – large and hulking.
Another burst of scuttling sounded louder and closer before abrupt silence again. This time, they had a direction to go – right. It was the same direction as the kitchen with all the food and the locked room full of weapons and treasure. It was the same direction as the room where Buffy had found Spike’s ring. Her hand went to her pocket where she felt for the ring. The metal was a reassuring lump against her thigh.
They continued down the corridor, moving and listening, moving and listening.
Though her ears heard nothing, Buffy’s every Slayer sense was ablaze with warning – a tingle at the nape of her neck that led to a spiral of energy to all her muscles and other senses. She imagined Faith’s were lit up, too. The sensation was like human intuition on steroids; Buffy had never been able to explain it very well to others but between other Slayers, the understanding was validating.
Several seconds later of inching forward and nothing, Buffy felt something touch her shoulder, and she jumped out of her skin, her knee narrowly missing a small hall table nearby but hitting the shaft of her scythe against the edge of the wood. The sound was tremendously loud in the quiet.
Faith glared back.
“Sorry,” Willow whispered almost inaudibly. With their attention, she pointed at the crossroads ahead and angled her head in one of the directions.
Faith’s eyes widened a little. “Right again,” she mouthed.
As she went the indicated way, a dark, slender form fell from the ceiling and landed on Faith’s head. Buffy blinked and took measure of the creature within the space of a second before Faith wrested the creature from her head and threw it off. As the demon seemed to ooze off the ground, flowing like dark slime, Buffy met glinting orange eyes before plunging the pointy end of her scythe into a surprisingly solid midsection.
The demon emitted what sounded like a hollow, low laugh before gripping the handle of the weapon and wrenching it from Buffy’s grasp and sliding it free from his belly. Buffy stumbled back, and Faith slipped in, taking advantage of the creature’s momentary shakiness to sweep her weapon at his legs.
The demon started to fall but used his momentum to switch directions in a very inhuman way to knock Faith into the wall where she was pinned by a powerful arm around her neck. Metal hit the ground with a clang. As Faith started to sputter and tried to push the demon’s hand away, Buffy scooped up the loose weapon and swung at the demon’s gelatinous neck. The ax blade whistled through the air but before the blade connected with flesh, the creature waved its free arm, and a wave of what Buffy could only describe as concentrated air fanned out from the movement.
Buffy flew back with such force that her body dented the smooth sheetrock that caught her. With a groan, she slid downward, struggling to breathe as the wind was knocked out of her. Helpless to do anything, she blinked away stars and watched as Faith choked and attempted to gasp for air. Buffy willed her muscles to work, but the re-animation was taking too long.
Buffy blinked back tears. Faith was going to die if she didn’t get some momentum back. With each passing, eternal second, energy and adrenaline rolled back into her muscles until they were twitching and straining in parallel to Faith’s losing battle.
Just as Buffy was about to lunge forward again, Willow swept in, her eyes solid white and her long, scarlet-and-white-streaked hair flowing around her with an invisible wind. Latin flowed forth from her lips, and white lightening darted from her fingertips and slammed into the demon.
The creature howled so loudly that Buffy had to press her hands over her ears. Faith dropped to the ground as the demon lost control over what he was doing. Willow let up or ran out of juice; Buffy wasn’t sure which. And the demon loped away, retreating deeper into the back of the penthouse floor.
Buffy scrambled over to Faith, and Willow joined her. The skin on Faith’s neck was torn and bleeding – too much blood for Buffy’s taste. Faith was in real trouble, and her eyelids were fluttering in an odd way like she was having a seizure or passing out.
Back to her normal green eyes and non-aerodynamic hair, Willow reached out a hand to Faith.
“How did you do that?” Buffy managed.
Willow shrugged even as magic glowed white against her palm. “He was using a ton of magic. I borrowed it.”
“Nice. Thank you.” That explained what had happened to Buffy and maybe even Faith. Buffy had almost forgotten how powerful Willow with access to magic was.
“It’s running out now. So, I’m going to use the rest on Faith,” Willow explained as she held her hand over Faith’s neck.
As Buffy watched, Faith’s flesh started scab and heal over. In seconds, her body was no longer trembling, and with a soft moan, she opened her eyes. “W-what was that thing?”
“No idea,” Buffy said. “Willow totally Medusa’d him though.” When Faith and Willow stared at her, Buffy added, “You know, reflected the magic back at him?”
“Sorta,” Willow said modestly.
Faith coughed a little and sat up on one elbow. “Thanks. Got a massive headache. Can we get what we came for and get out of here?”
“It’s probably better to grab and go,” Buffy agreed. “Prioritize.”
“We shouldn’t split up. I don’t think we could take him without each other,” Willow said, sitting back on her bottom.
* * *
When Spike swam up from unconsciousness, he had no idea how much time had gone by. But that was mostly always true nowadays. With the lack of sunrise and sunset, the passage of time was difficult to determine. He hadn’t realized how much he relied on the regular rotation of the earth and the march of the sun across the sky to mark time until it was no longer there.
His body was awash with pain as his senses came back online, and he strained to hear what was going on around him. There was only the steady breathing of Lynk next to him – no doubt still out. And the world outside their hiding place was eerily quiet. Spike supposed that was a good thing. No crocodile demons were hunting for them as of now.
He felt around on his own body, determined to discover how bad things really were, and he found that his duster was intact but his T-shirt and jeans were not. They were torn and sodden with slowly drying blood. The sensitive skin on his fingertips told him that the wound on his belly was still wide open.
Probing the injury sent stars of pain across Spike’s vision, and his hopes of trying to right himself were dashed. As he rode the wave of dizziness, he closed his eyes and slipped away once again.
* * *
“I don’t know how this works,” Buffy said, staring at the device on her wrist. Well, she did. She knew what Andrew had told her, but she still very much didn’t know what to expect.
She was standing in the middle of the tiny room where she’d found Spike’s ring. Faith was standing guard in the treasure room even though the entrance to the safe was locked from the inside. She had been greatly engrossed in examining the collection of blades and was probably trying out all the different ones.
“I don’t know either. What did Andrew say?” Willow asked, touching the tiny screen with reverence – the same way she used to look at the Buffybot. All curious and eager at the same time.
“He said to push this button to turn it on and the other to cast the spell. He also said it could go klablooey.” Buffy glanced up at Willow. “You sure there’s no borrowed juice left, so we can do a regular location spell?”
Willow pressed her lips together and looked rueful. “I’m sorry. I used up what I had restored and what I borrowed.” Her eyebrows went together as she considered something. “I’d put the ring on.”
“Yeah?” Buffy asked. Her heart skipped a beat. She hadn’t worn his ring since that night in Sunnydale when they’d been engaged. Part of the reason was that the ring was too big. The other part of the reason was that she was afraid to put it on. What would she feel if she did?
“Yeah. And if he was here, there should be some sort of trace of him here. It’ll help.”
“Like Andrew said.”
Willow nodded. “I think so. Cast the spell, and I’ll see if there’s anything I can do with what’s released.”
“O-okay.” Buffy retrieved the ring from her pocket, almost fumbling and dropping it because her hand was shaking. Willow took Buffy’s free arm and held her close – a stabilizing force. Buffy smiled at her. “Thanks.”
Before she could talk herself out of what she was doing, Buffy slid the ring onto the ring finger of her left hand on the side with the spell device and Willow’s hold. Buffy’s whole hand tingled in a way that felt. . . different. She shivered, and as tears welled in her eyes, she pushed first the left button. As soon as the little machine toggled to life with a tiny flash of light, she quickly pushed the second button.
Then, she closed her eyes and let herself think solely of Spike.
Buffy pictured the blue of his eyes as he gazed at her with love and devotion, the simple way the corner of his mouth quirking up made her smile, and the way his fingers felt on hers when he touched her hand to help her up or warn her or caress her skin. She pictured him here in the room with her, standing before her and touching her shoulder before drawing her close to him. She wanted to curl up in his embrace and sleep the way she had that night in the basement before he had died saving the world.
Something powerful stirred within her, and she almost dropped to her knees with the weight of how the magic of the spell twisted within her chest, but something bore her up. Warmth enveloped her as if the sun was shining on her skin, and the backs of her eyelids were red as if the light was brilliant on her face. In the back of her mind, she thought she heard Willow saying something but very far away. . . so far away that Buffy couldn’t make out what she was saying.
And with abruptness, the swirl of the spell lifted, the warmth dissipated leaving behind a feeling of utter coldness, and she opened her eyes. Shivering, she blinked in the dimly lit room and saw that someone was standing right in front of her. . . a stranger. And he was sorta translucent.
Buffy somehow found her voice. “W-who are you?”
The tall black man blinked at her. “You’re Buffy.”
“Gunn. Hi.” Willow gave him a little wave. “How are you here?”
Gunn’s eyes filled with tears, but he blinked them away before they went very far. “Willow. I could ask you the same question. You’re alive!” His eyes flicked back to Buffy. “Both of you are.” He glanced down at himself and half-joked. “And I’m kinda not.”
“You’re dead? As in a ghost?” Buffy asked, memories slipping into place now that her brain was recovering. “You work. . . worked with Angel.”
“That’s a very long story,” Gunn admitted.
“Which part?” Willow.
Gunn bobbed his head. “Okay, okay. I’ll give you the short version. Angel. . . we fucked everything up. The Senior Partners sent an army after us. We fought hard despite the odds. And somewhere along the way, I got turned.” At their quizzical expressions, he added, “Into a vampire. Or halfway there anyway. Illyria. . . she cast a spell before I drank the blood. Some power none of us knew she had, and now I’m stuck in that ring you’re wearing. She disappeared in the fight, and I never saw her again.” He shook his head. “I don’t know what it is about mystical jewelry. It’s weird stuff.”
Buffy felt Willow shrink in on herself. . . just a little. Her voice came out tiny. “I’m so sorry. I. . . I might have been able to save her.”
Gunn looked confused and then, his eyes lit. “Fred. You mean. . .” He reached a hand toward her. “God, no. I mean. You didn’t do anything. It was me. All me. I signed for that sarcophagus to be delivered.” Buffy could tell he was still anguished over this even though she had no idea what he was talking about regarding responsibility, and she remembered hearing about Fred, too.
Willow’s pressure on Buffy’s arm lessened. “If I had known, I would have been there. No question.”
“I know you would have. Fred liked you.”
Buffy frowned. “So, you’re not quite a vampire?” She had no doubt now that this was Spike’s ring. She ran her thumb over the metal band in relief.
“Yeah.” Gunn briefly turned his neck sideways, so they could see the bloody wound on his neck. “It’s never healed over. Product of being in stasis, I guess. The way I am now? I’ll never lose my soul, and I guess I’m immortal without the needing to drink blood part, of course. I can even touch things if I concentrate ala Spike as a ghost. He taught me how.”
“Spike was a ghost?” Buffy was surprised.
“Yep. Came out of that amulet all go-through-able.” Gunn softened. “Speaking of Spike. He’s gonna flip his shit when he finds out you’re alive and kicking.”
Buffy swallowed at the verification of her suspicion and managed, “Spike’s alive?”
“Oh yeah. Why are you wearing his ring? You must have seen him. Why else do you have his ring? He never takes it off.” Gunn tilted his head. “He’s usually the only one who can invoke me or hide me away. I’m like a damned genie in a bottle. More Robin Williams and less Christina Aguilera. I definitely can’t grant wishes or I sure as hell wouldn’t be in this predicament.” He gestured at the darkness around them, took a deep breath, and looked straight at Buffy. “Spike most definitely was alive. . . undead. Not sure he is now.”
Buffy suddenly recalled the spell they’d just cast and held up her wrist at Gunn like he knew what she was wearing. “Oh! I f-found this ring here. And this watch, bracelet thing helped me cast a locator spell since with all the magic changes, Willow couldn’t cast it herself.” She noticed that the device was completely off now. “Only I don’t exactly know how this works. The spell must have released you. I don’t exactly know where to look for Spike.”
Willow’s jaw set. “I do. The spell worked, and his location? It’s in my head.” She tapped her temple.
Buffy threw her arms around her friend. “We’re going to find him!”
Faith poked her head in the room. “You found him?” She saw Gunn. “Oh my god. Are you real?”
Gunn grinned at her.
* * *
Noises woke Spike a second time, and he recognized the sound of pounding feet – multiple sets of pounding feet. More demons had found them, and from their gait, they were humanoid. Bloody hell. He had no way to defend himself, no energy to move, and no recourse except to play dead.
Well, technically, he was dead.
The door to their sanctuary burst open, Spike stopped moving, and light from the streetlamps outside poured in, providing a red glow to the inside of his eyelids. The sound of boots on flooring was sharp and staccato like a gun being fired.
Then, someone knelt next to him, something made of wood and metal clattering to the ground nearby. Huh. No stabbing or beheading. Maybe he was too much of an easy –
And that’s when he smelled her.
He knew her scent anywhere; she used to hide it behind perfumes or body lotions, but he could always smell her underneath all of those trappings. He loved burying his nose in her neck and inhaling. Sometimes she’d shove him away in irritation, and other times she’d moan in delight. At the end, she snuggled closer.
Beyond the physical pain and incapacitation, he couldn’t bring himself to say her name.
Instead, she said his. “Spike. Oh, god, it’s you.” Her fingers were feathery light on his forehead and down his body as she inspected him for injuries the way she’d so often done that last year in Sunnydale. He knew when she found his flesh wound because she emitted a gasp.
And then, she called, “Hey, guys! I need your help.” She turned back to Spike. “We’re going to get you out of here.” She paused. “I think you might need blood.”
A knife slid out of her boot, and there was a moment’s quiet before metal met flesh. Now her scent was overlaid by the sweet manna of blood – Slayer’s blood.
He turned his head from her. He refused to be like his grandsire. Not with her.
She huffed at him, and her blood dribbled into his mouth. His tongue betrayed him, and he lapped the blood up like a sodding kitten with a bowl of milk.
He moaned. This was ambrosia. Luckily, he was unable to reach out for more – not yet anyway.
He had to see her. He knew if he saw her, he’d be able to stop his hunger from taking over. Heavy lids overcame gravity, and the light from outside framed her long, golden hair with a yellow luminescence.
She laughed when he saw her – a laugh tinged with a mix of emotions but also joy. Her joy was the most magical sound he’d heard in a long time, and this fueled him enough to reach up for her face. “Ah, pet. Buffy. . . . You’re glowing.”
She took his hand in both of hers and pressed his palm to her cheek, emitting a little sigh. “And you’re here.”
TBC...I'm writing chapter seven now.